Review: ‘Non Non Biyori’ a Beautiful Slice of Country Life
Asahigaoka, a quaint countryside village, where no one ever locks their doors and vegetable stalls are left unattended. Due to the village’s remote location the nearest stores are miles away, and the local school consists of only five students, each of whom is in a different grade. When Hotaru Ichijo, a fifth grader, moves to Asahigaoka from Tokyo she has to adjust to the laid back country life with her new friends.
Silver Link, the studio that produced Bonjour Sweet Love Patisserie, lends a soft animation style to this slice of life tale. Great care is taken to bring a photorealistic quality to the backgrounds, depicting the simplistic beauty of the country town. Colors are blended together so that each object seemingly bleeds into the next and gives the background a feeling that it is expansive. The main characters have solid outlines, which cause them to stand out drastically against the background. However, the scenes use a lot of negative space, showcasing the characters while still establishing how small they are in comparison to the open country.
Like many slice of life anime, Non Non Biyori is fairly simple. Its main narrative follows the day-today life of the five students at Asahiagaoka’s one-room school and whatever seasonal activities they get up to. However, do not read “simple” as “boring.” Slice of life anime go towards the angle of the mundane made awesome, turning even the simplest of activities like going to the candy store into an engaging narrative. Similar to Gourmet Girl Graffiti there are certain gags and tropes that spice up the narrative. Most commonly used in this anime are the kouhai desperately wanting senpai to notice her, and the oldest in the group being one of the smallest, thus always mistaken for a child.
All in all, I truly enjoyed this anime. Since the storyline is episodic I was never scrambling to get to the next episode to see what happens. This made it easier to have a longer period of time between watching the episodes, because I did not have to worry about keeping up with a larger plot. Because of this I would highly recommend Non Non Biyori to anyone who does not have a lot of time to dedicate to a complex series. Each episode is a twenty-minute piece of lighthearted entertainment that can put a smile on your face without eating up too much of your time. Even if you have a lot of time to get invested in a series I would still recommend this anime. It is charming and showcases a unique and beautiful part of Japan that is often overlooked in anime for larger cityscapes.
(Of course, I should admit that I am partial to Non Non Biyori because I was raised in a small country town and so this series makes me a bit nostalgic.)
Based off of the manga of the same name, the popularity of this anime has its second season slotted to come out this summer under the title Non Non Biyori Repeat. As of now there is no official release date or simulcast schedule for the new season.