Moving into another city can be a great change. Moving into a small rural village can be an even bigger change. Non Non Biyori tells us how it’s like.
I was very young when we moved to the city. We first lived in a small village and we moved to a more urbanized city where thousands of people live within a square mile. I got used to fast paced living, traffic and crowds all day every day and facilities within walking distance.
The moment I move away from this lifestyle, on a trip or vacation to a less crowded place, I get confronted with the slower paced and more spacious life outside the urban zone.
Non Non Biyori shows us how Hotaru moves from Tokyo to a small rural village in the middle of Japan. She enters a local school and gets familiar with her classmates who become her new friends.
The class she enters is divers with students from all different age groups mixed into one small class. This gives the producer room to play with different perspectives, exploring different aspects of life on the country. Viewpoints from people who are older and those who are younger, highlighting multiple facets of country and city life.
Non Non Biyori has a heavy focus on the country side. Through dialogue it tells a story of a life away from the city where life is more slow paced and more intimate. People are no strangers to each other. The series shows how everybody is connected. Whereas in the city living in anonymity without ever knowing who lives around the corner is more common.
The contrast is greatly portrayed through Renge who asks questions about the big city, often times astonished by the way people live there. Because she is a young child, her world view is limited to her own environment. This is a great window to subtly portray the contrast between two worlds.
While Non Non Biyori was very good and did an amazing job, there were dull moments throughout the run. While moments of little activity are not a problem and are familiar traits in slice of life, the moment they lose the viewers attention, is the point in which the series loses momentum.
Non Non Biyori played around with ups and downs, but my mind started to wander off while watching. This is not because my attention span is very limited, but when my mind boggles of and a series grabs my attention again, elements of the story may get scattered or lost.
K-ON! is still the benchmark for slice of life in which it pulled the viewer in for around 20 minutes and let him or her go when the ending song made its entry. Whether you like K-ON or not, the fact that it made the ordinary entertaining was something not a lot of series could achieve.
Silver Link did a great job in portraying a summer like vibe around the series. The colors are bright and the characters fit the setting.
The music wasn’t anything special, it was present, but it didn’t really struck a chord with me. The visuals made the show and enhanced the viewing experience.
Despite having dull moments, Non Non Biyori created a credible slice of life setting. The visuals created a subtle summer vibe that transported me towards more sunnier days.
The way Non Non Biyori explored its theme through clever dialogue was entertaining to watch. Therefore I rate this series an 8 out 10. It is an absolute must watch for those who love the slice of life genre.