Non Non Biyori is an anime series set in the countryside village of Asahigaoka. The story focuses on four girls who attend the Asahigoaka Branch School: Renge, Natsumi, Komari, and Hotaru. There’s also a boy in their classroom, but he’s a rather unimportant character and we don’t even know what his name is. Renge is the cute little first grader, Natsumi is a first-year middle school student, Komari is a second-year middle school student who is small for her age, and Hotaru is a fifth-grader who just transferred to the school from Tokyo.
While this episode may be titled, “We Went to the Candy Store,” only about half of the actual episode focused on that idea. The first half of the episode has two vignettes. The first vignette shows Natsumi struggling with her classwork and deciding she would rather play instead of trying to finish her schoolwork. This vignette was somewhat amusing.
The second vignette has two focuses to it. First, we see Komari and how sensitive she is about her size. We also get the impression that Hotaru has developed a slight crush on Komari because she looks so cute for her age. This is followed by Komari finding a piece of candy in her bag that she had forgotten about, and how Renge and Natsumi try to beg her to give it to them. Komari gives the candy to Hotaru to get the other two off of her back, and Hotaru is so excited. When Komari later asks for it back, Hotaru turns on the waterworks and ends up keeping the candy.
Then we see Komari calling Hotaru from a phone booth near Hotaru’s house, and asking if Hotaru wants to hang out. Hotaru is excited, but then freaks out about needing to fix her hair and looking more grown up. When Hotaru goes to meet up with Hotaru, she is wearing glasses and is dressed in what appears to be her mother’s clothes. Komari doesn’t recognize Hotaru and thinks she’s an adult. Hotaru doesn’t pick up on the fact that Hotaru doesn’t recognize her, and the two of them end up going to the candy store.
From the title, this was obviously meant to be the main story of the second episode. Unfortunately, I had a hard time using my “willing suspension of disbelief” for this one. While I will admit that I could potentially buy Komari not recognizing Hotaru because of the glasses and clothes, I can’t believe that Komari didn’t recognize Hotaru’s voice. As I listened, it didn’t sound like Hotaru had tried changing her voice to sound older. Because I couldn’t believe what was going on, I didn’t find this story to be anywhere remotely close to humorous or even cute. Instead, I thought it was rather stupid and fell flat on its face.
I admit that I’m really not a fan of the “cute girls doing cute things” shows, but I still wanted to give this show a chance to see if maybe it could potentially be better than I thought it was going to be. Unfortunately, this episode didn’t change my overall opinion of Non Non Biyori.
That’s not to say there’s anything necessarily bad or wrong about these kinds of shows, because there is definitely an audience for it. I mean, if there wasn’t, then you wouldn’t be seeing at least one of them popping up every season. Non Non Biyori seems to be a decent show for one that features cute girls doing cute things, and moe fans should be able find something to really enjoy in it.
As for me, I’m going to go ahead and drop Non Non Biyori and start watching another show instead.
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