This post is a little late because I had a bunch of stuff to catch up on. Although, the best show of Fall 2013 had become fairly obvious to me some time ago.
It’s not like there was little competition either – Fall 2013 was awesome for anime as we were gifted with a whole bunch of excellent titles.There was however, one stand-out. The winner is…
Non Non Biyori!
Congratulations for guessing correctly. Seriously though, there is a reason that Non Non Biyori was so well received by the anime community. Not only was it awesome, but it was consistently awesome and left us hanging out for more every single week.
So how did a modest slice-of-life anime rise up to take the crown on so many top-10 lists this season? I’m glad you asked.
The success of Non Non Biyori stems from its brilliant characters, careful direction, and seemingly effortless ability to set a relaxed and inviting mood from beginning to end. The gentle cicada buzz of the Japanese countryside, coupled with a lush soundtrack made it distinctive and constantly refreshing. The landscape artwork was gorgeous, and watching the seasons change later on in the show was just delightful.
Through the characters we got a glimpse into what its like to grow up in rural Japan where the other students at your school could be 5 years older or younger than you, on top of this you’re entire school is only made up of one teacher and a handful of students. There are barely any shops in town and busses don’t show up that often, so you have to make your own fun. Thanks to the age difference in the cast, Non Non Biyori explored the different stages of childhood and adolescence within this setting to great success.
The show’s pacing was also spot on. Dramatic moments were inserted with sensible restraint to make sure the audience actually cared about the characters before they were faced with challenges. However, Non Non Biyori’s main strength came from the character comedy. Jokes, miss-understandings and other gags were well-timed, a little more subtle than usual, and always hit the mark.
Amongst the laughs, Non Non Biyori was not without some heart-warming moments too. These came later on in the show and wrapped it all up perfectly.
On that note, bring on the OVA (scheduled for late July) and hopefully a second season! I hope you enjoyed Non Non Biyori as much as I did, and if you’re a Slice-of-Life fan make sure you don’t miss out on this one.