The Infinite Zenith

Where insights on anime, games and life converge

A preview of Non Non Biyori season 2 through the manga

“The seasons dye the water, it shines in the colors of the rainbow. When I stopped to catch my breath, it disappeared; nndlessly pouring laughter, echoes like a song from far away.” —Nanairo Biyori (Rainbow-coloured weather), nano.RIPE

Announced back in April, it is not old news that Non Non Biyori is going to get a second season at some point in the future. Its first season was spent depicting the daily lives of Renge, Houtaru, Komaru and Natsumi in the peaceful, idyllic village of Asahigaoka in rural Japan. Over the course of twelve episodes and an OAD, viewers saw the kind of laid-back, easy-go-lucky life away from the hustle and bustle of urban areas: it is no surprise that Non Non Biyori (literally, “Non Non Weather”) is considered as an iyashikei anime, a subgenre of slice-of-life characterised by an exceptionally slow pace and an emphasis on the ordinary. There is a great deal of focus on landscapes, and calming musical pieces are liberally used to reinforce that things are going to happen slowly. As one of my favourite anime of the 2013 autumn season, it was quite welcoming to hear that Non Non Biyori was getting a second season. In my original reflection for the first season, I concluded the anime ended on a decisively positive note and did not speculate on whether or not a second season was a possibility. However, because the anime is an adaptation of an ongoing manga, a second season does not seem unreasonable: one imagines that the second season will follow the manga quite closely, so there is limited need to speculate on what will happen.

  • Exactly as the title says, I will be doing a talk on what is expected to happen in the second season of Non Non Biyori. Such a talk is by nature spoiler laden, so in the name of fairness, the spoilers are all located at the bottom at the page, and some fifteen images, plus their accompanying figure captions, act as a buffer between the top of the page and the spoilers at the bottom, given readers plenty of opportunity to hit the back button before they accidentally indulge in some spoilers.

  • From a personal perspective, spoilers aren’t that big of a deal to me because knowing what happens and seeing what happens for myself are two different things: my mind’s-eye is particularly weak when I’m listening to or reading someone’s description of what happens, so when I see something for myself after hearing about it, the impact remains.

  • With that said, I do respect the fact that other individuals do wish to see something for themselves without any a priori knowledge, hence why I’ve decided to leave all of the spoiler elements at the bottom, which can only be reached with a bit of scrolling. For individuals who do not mind the spoilers, what I’ve done is gone through the manga and summarised the major arcs that were accessible, then estimate how long each arc will roughly take.

  • All of the images in this post were taken from Non Non Biyori‘s opening sequence to the first season, and even though people do not necessarily like nano.RIPE, I personally found that it’s grown on me somewhat, and some of the songs that they perform are actually quite good: the opening song to Non Non Biyori is an upbeat, yet calming song that evokes memories of a hot, sunny summer’s day.

  • Renge actually reminds me somewhat of Is the Order a Rabbit?‘s Chino; this series, like Non Non Biyori, is relaxing to watch and remarkably amusing for similar reasons. It is also set in a unique location that lends itself to a particular style of depicting the characters’ lives, alongside all of the humour. I will probably come back at some point in the future to do a similar post and speculate upon what a second season to Is the Order a Rabbit? could entail.

  • The animation in anime opening sequences are remarkably nice, and while most viewers typically skip over them to get to the really good stuff (i.e. the anime itself), many opening scenes contain short segments that provide insights/clues as to what is likely to happen in an anime. Like some of Bill Waterson’s Calvin and Hobbes comics, the scenes in an anime opening are sufficiently well-crafted as to be able to tell a story on its own even without dialogue.

  • For Non Non Biyori, the opening suggests that the anime will predominately make use of the seasons to accentuate some of the things that this group of friends experiences as a year comes and goes. Nowhere in the anime do we actually see Natsumi, Hotaru, Renge and Komari wield umbrellas and don raincoats, but this short moment shows that this group of friends, though different in personality and manner, are also remarkably similar and get along very well through the choice of giving them different umbrellas (whose pattern reflects on their personalities) and the same raincoats.

  • Without any dialogue or narration, the imagery of Hotaru on a train with her gazing wistfully out the window gives viewers the impression that she is moving between places and longs for company. On a disjoint note, this weekend saw pub-style chicken wings and breaded coconut shrimp yesterday for dinner, and lunch today was to celebrate a housewarming party with family. It may not be Christmas, but the festivities are slowly starting to make their way into my schedule.

  • Natsumi is a carefree spirit who lives in the moment and according to her own terms: sitting in a tree and looking out to the horizons, the mood conjured by this moment suggests a character who can be boisterous and spontaneous, partaking in adventures as frequently so the opportunity presents itself.

  • On the other hand, Komari is portrayed as an individual who wishes to be adult-like, while retaining a more childish side to her. This is evidenced by this moment: her room is littered with stuffed animals, and she appears to be working on her assignments, showing that for her childish tendencies, she also knows what responsibility is, standing in stark contrast to Natsumi.

  • Renge hangs up a teru teru bōzu on a rainy day in the hopes the sun will return. An amulet with origins in the Edo period, these are typically made by children and showing Renge with one here is intended to outline that even though she’s only six and filled with naïveté, she’s also well aware of her surroundings and is quite wise for her age.

  • All of these impressions were gathered from just a seconds-long moment, illustrating just how effective visuals can be in painting a picture about a character. The Non Non Biyori opening also shows the girls playing in the snow by winter; near the end of the series’ run, two episodes were set during the winter.

  • Such a moment never appears in the anime, but it is quite endearing to behold, and provides yet another example of the fine animation and details that go into the opening sequences of anime in general. From here on out, I think that using creditless opening sequences to discuss and speculate on future seasons for an anime series might not be a bad idea. Such posts would probably take the form of this one to reduce spoilers.

  • By Spring, Sakura trees are in full blossom. It was actually quite surprising to learn that there are actually Sakura trees on campus, and this spring, I will see if it’s possible to partake in hanami on campus. This will come right before my personal trip to Japan in 2015 (at present, tentatively set for May), and ironically enough, though I am an anime fan through and through, I am visiting for their culture and historical elements. After this trip, I will have set foot in all of the major East Asian countries.

  • Spoilers lie below now, and if the reader is not predisposed to hating them, they may now begin reading through the things that happen in the Non Non Biyori manga. The events of the manga motivate the anime, so I imagine that once Non Non Biyori‘s second season comes out, this speculation should be quite accurate. Coming up within the next week will be a talk on Infinite Stratos²: World Purge Hen. It’s finally released now, and I’ve just begun watching it. As an OVA, the fanservice levels are off the charts, but there are things that merit discussing, so I will aim to have that post out as soon as possible.

Recalling that the OAD was about the preparations for the Okinawa trip, the manga continues on with Okinawa. The anime will start with the plane trip there, viewers will be treated to a spectacular depiction of the Okinawa islands under the summer sun and the classic antics we’ve grown to enjoy from the cast. The first three or four episodes will probably deal with the Okinawan beaches, cuisine and scuba-diving, bringing to mind the Okinawa trip in Azumanga Daioh. This arc will probably be three to four episodes long and close off on a touching moment with Renge (in the manga, she picks up a shell off the beach to commemorate her visit). Upon returning to Asahigaoka, the girls settle back into the languid summer weather, experimenting with their appearances and watching fireflies by night. The later chapters appear to have the girls playing with a smart phone and Komari reminiscing about her childhood when she stumbles across a stuffed bear she had. Despairing at its condition, she asks Hotaru to fix it and stumbles upon the latter’s vast collection of Komari plushies. The remaining summer episodes would likely cover around two to three episodes. By the second season’s halfway point, classes resume again and on the first day of classes, Kazuho is late. As a result, the girls play a variation of air hockey with triangular rulers to entertain themselves. Suguru steps in and demonstrates a high degree of skill, upping the intensity. Later, Renge decides to make herself into a teru teru bōzu to ward off the rain, but winds up frightening Komari instead. This material will probably constitute another episode. There is an extra manga chapter with the girls dressed in costumes and Hotaru having what appears to be a sleepover. The remainder of the second season, as per its predecessor, will likely deal with winter and a return to spring. This is about the upper limit for what I can access as far as the manga goes, and with these things to potentially happen in the second season, I look greatly forwards to seeing its release. At the time of writing, there’s been no news of when this second season will be released, but they say that patience is well-rewarded, and armed with a rough idea of what will constitute the second season, I am quite excited to see another season of Non Non Biyori.

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