This is certainly a stunning example of a ‘nothing’ show. OK, things do happen, but they are not of great or grand designs, as least not in our lives. But such is “Non Non Biyori”. The title is a bit confusing, as it means “Non non weather”, but then that means we are mixing language (‘non’ is French for either ‘no’ or ‘not’, so I read this as Not not weather? Should there be a hyphen? But I digress).
Greetings and welcome to the countryside village of Asahigaoka. Being where it is, like, not even on the map, many conveniences are several miles away and the school consists of only five students, each of whom come from different grades of elementary and middle school.
Hotaru Ichijo, a fifth year elementary student from Tokyo (the tall number on the far right), transfers into the Asahigaoka Branch School and adjusts to countryside life with her new friends. Taking role call:
Natsumi Koshigaya, first year middle school
Komari Koshigaya, second year middle school
Renge Miyauchi, first year elementary
Suguru Koshigaya is the only boy and doesn’t have much of a presence, not even in the picture. He’s a third year middle school.
Oh, and the only teacher is Kazuho Miyauchi, Renge’s sister.
The show is their ruminations about life in this quiet village and what they want to do when they grow up. In that sense, it is a typical ‘nothing happens’ show, but the show does eventually find a plot of sorts as the girls try and make being together a lot of fun.
I did feel sorry for Brother, as he is more of a foil than anything else and it felt like he was put into the show so it wasn’t another All-Girl Fun Fest. But, still, you could have had one episode about him and how potentially lonely he gets as the only guy.
It is a light farming community, so rural that the school folks don’t even consider themselves rural, just not in the big city. They all have well-defined personalities and Natsumi gets into the most trouble of all, as she rarely does her homework (such as it is) and is always getting conked by her mother for being sassy and tart. We follow a year in their lives in this location, where things pretty much stay the same. When the highlight of your day is to go down to the general store and hassle the owner for some candy, you’ll grab on to anyone who can be a friend.
Is it a soft and gentle show and would make a fine first entry into getting people to like anime. The tales are quirky enough to keep one’s interest, like having a cultural festival (what? Really?) and it never feels repetitive or overworked. As I said, I really would have liked to see more of Brother, but that’s just me.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 8 (Interesting artwork and backgrounds)
Plot 8 (A simple plot that turns better)
Pacing 7 (Sometimes a bit too slow)
Effectiveness 7 (Doesn’t play its strength well enough)
Conclusion 7 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but doesn’t really end)
Fan Service 2 (A similar show would be “Ouran High”)
Overall 7 (A nice change of pace)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. Can I have some candy?