The Infinite Zenith

Where insights on anime, games, academia and life dare to converge

Non Non Biyori Repeat: Review and Reflection After Three

“I like to be lazy. I do like to be busy and really active, but when that’s done, you can be sure I will be a lazy boy. I like to take time and relax and enjoy life.” —Olivier Theyskens

It would appear that my predictions are completely off the mark about what the second season would entail: thus far, it would appear that Non Non Biyori Repeat is set in the gaps between episodes of the first season. Shortly after Hotaru moves in, the girls and Suguru play a tabletop game with their rulers. Hotaru then gets lost while walking her dog, and shares a moment with Komari as the two go stargazing. Exam season shows up soon after, and Natsumi performs poorly in her usual manner. Renge then invites everyone over to study, but finds herself trying to motivate Kazuho to be a more focused, effective instructor. I’m immensely grateful that no one is keeping score: it would appear that the entirety of my speculation was incorrect, and true to its name, Non Non Biyori Repeat will indeed just fill the gaps between episodes of the first season.

Non Non Biyori Repeat has successfully addressed is how it would go about depicting the aforementioned gaps without yielding a show that was too repetitive: the episodes simultaneously convey to new viewers the mood and pacing of the series, but offer enough new content to entertain Non Non Biyori veterans. One example of an anime that had successfully used this approach towards its storytelling was the K-On! Movie, which likewise was able to expertly integrate characterisation into the narrative without detracting from its progression. The K-On! Movie is widely considered to be a success, and in utilising similar techniques as did the K-On! Movie, Non Non Biyori Repeat could very well draw in interested viewers and retain their interests as the season progresses.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Non Non Biyori exemplifies the capacity to portray the ordinary as extraordinary. Aspects of daily life are given a refreshing new take, reminding viewers that there are numerous subtle things in their lives that make things worthwhile. Despite this slower corresponding pacing, this post will have twenty images’ worth of content.

  • While the notion of learning to appreciate the smaller things doubtlessly apply to almost anyone, Non Non Biyori is intended for Japanese audiences. With 93.5 percent of their population in urban areas (GeoHive, as of 2015), life in Japan is said to be remarkably hectic and crowded: anime such as Non Non Biyori act as a form of entertainment that slows things down and allows the viewer to unwind a little in ways that even beer fail to achieve.

  • As such, in Non Non Biyori Repeat, something as simple as a game with rulers is turned into something engrossing, illustrating how people can nonetheless have fun with a powerful imagination and everyday items. There’s no need for apps on a smartphone to while away the time, and the advantage about such activities is that they are not dependent on a battery that only lasts for ten hours.

  • Compared to any large urban area in Japan, my home city is relatively small (with a population just a ways over one million). A city of this size is just large enough to have enough infrastructure so life’s not too dull without having too many people, and my favourite pastime when bored out of my wits (sufficiently bored such that blowing things away in Battlefield 3 or Modern Warfare 3 doesn’t cut it) is to go for a talk in one of the continent’s largest municipal parks.

  • The protensity to explain any move in a tabletop game or similar is an element that has origins in older anime involving tabletop elements: this is done to keep the viewers informed of what’s going on, but in-universe, simultaneously builds anticipation as the characters explore in-depth how they’ll counter one move with another. The back-and-forth dialogue is reminiscent of some of the games in Calvin and Hobbes, where both Calvin and Hobbes attempt to one-up the other as they make the rules up for a game.

  • Discussions about the rulers game is still going strong even as Renge and the others head home after their day’s done. Later, when walking the area for the first time with her dog, Hotaru gets lost, but manages to find her way back when her dog picks out Suguru’s scent from the main road.

  • The group agrees to go stargazing by nightfall, but when the time to do so comes, Renge and Natsumi are fast asleep, leaving just Hotaru and Renge. The dynamics between their friendship slowly begin to take shape here, and one must applaud how this is depicted, with traces of Komari’s desire to have Hotaru see her as reliable, and Hotaru’s growing crush on Komari, being shown in their early stages.

  • The reason why some insects exhibit positive phototaxis is not fully understood, but it’s hypothesised that insects may lack effective night vision and therefore instinctively navigate to sources of light to avoid predation. Regardless of what the cause is, the presence of numerous insects at the local vending machine strike fear into both Komari and Hotaru’s hearts, although in the spirit of maintaining her image as the senior, Komari fights her fears to buy a drink.

  • Because I live in an urban area, the faintest stars that can be seen with the naked eye is magnitude 2.5. To put that in perspective, Polaris (the North Star) has a magnitude of 2.0: I typically use binoculars for stargazing to see anything fainter. Curiously enough, rural Japan actually has darker skies than most areas in my province; because Komari and Hotaru reside in the countryside, it’s not inconceivable that their entire sky is filled with stars.

  • In a scene that winds up being as hilarious as when Hotaru and Renge get locked in the rabbit pen of season one, Komari’s flashlight powers down, leaving the two in near-total darkness. Fighting her own fears, Komari takes the initiative to help Hotaru find their way back, and a bottle cap that the former inadvertently dropped earlier proves instrumental in helping them find their way back. I made a Guile’s Theme Goes With Anything video of this moment a year ago, and I wager that a similar moment could be quite funny.

  • Komari collapses out of relief after they two make it out of the woods, and Hotaru decides to carry her back. Last week, I took an afternoon to drive to the mountains: there’s a small restaurant there of sorts that serves Montreal cuisine, and I’ve been longing for a good Montreal Smoked Meat sandwich ever since I began watching Pure Pwnage. It turns out that the sandwich is as delicious as it looks: compared to corned beef, it’s less salty and has a more savoury flavour to it. In the words of Jeremy, that was a pro meal (in conjunction with an epic poutine).

  • I’m sure to make a return visit at some point in the future to try out their other poutines. After lunch, I hiked the nearby trails before a thunderstorm rolled in. Returning back to Non Non Biyori Repeat, this here review/discussion/reflection focuses predominantly on the characters, rather than the scenery, because as gorgeous as the landscapes are in Non Non Biyori, there isn’t much to really discuss beyond praising the vivid colours and composition that serve to really bring out the tranquility in Asahigaoka.

  • Viewers are treated to the origins of the Komari plushies: they appear to have been conceptualised shortly after Komari and Hotaru go stargazing, so if this is anything to go by, their adventure together marks the first instance where the two have spent time together alone, leading to Hotaru’s gradual development of a crush of sorts on Komari.

  • Renge whistles to call forth her “pet” raccoon. For first time viewers, this is adorable, and for returning viewers, it’s a clever callback to the first season. By this point in the summer, I’ve finished building the latest features, a mitochondrion environment and protofilament assembly, for my thesis project. Although the latter just works, it’s sufficient to illustrate self-assembly, and with the content I’ve got, I can finally turn my attention towards preparing my project for a virtual reality environment. If I’m fortunate, I’ll also be able to start the thesis paper itself by mid-August.

  • Kazuho’s laziness at breakfast preparation leads her to combine fresh spring vegetables, salad oil, salt and pepper to form a meal. I generally put in a little more effort in meal preparation, although there are times when I do wish to eat special offers: today, I took a day off from my research to mow the front and back yards, then walked down to a nearby Subway restaurant for their seasonal lobster sandwich. The lobster in the sandwich was quite nice, with the lobster’s texture and sweetness quite discernible.

  • While trying to get an answer from Renge regarding a practise problem, Renge reacts with a nonsensical answer. Natsumi’s poor performance in her coursework formed the basis for numerous jokes during the previous season, and for the first time, viewers really get to see how Natsumi handles exams.

  • I still fondly recall my days as a secondary student, during which I floor with my coursework and nonetheless found plenty of time for extra-curricular activities, plus Ragnarok Online on top of that.

  • Natsumi’s terrible exam performance leads Kazuho to assign everyone additional homework during the course of a break, and Renge decides to invite everyone over to study with the hopes that having company would make studying more bearable than studying alone for Natsumi. Back during high school, for my high school diploma exams, I studied alone: armed with my notes, textbooks and study materials, I would put on some music and completed practise problems until I exhausted them. However, what works for me might not work for everyone, and as I found out in during my undergraduate program, there are merits to studying in a group, provided that everyone remains on-mission.

  • While Non Non Biyori Repeat is not the sort of anime that intrinsically has numerous spoilers, there are moments that are endearing to watch and cannot adequately be captured in words. Watching Renge offer suggestions to Kazuho on being a more effective teacher and her reaction to Kazuho’s mention of cake (and subsequent lack thereof) was easily the best part of the episode, and is best enjoyed by watching said episode.

  • That’s pretty much it for this review: don’t forget to like the review, comment on the review and subscribe to this blog if you want to see comment similar to this review. I’ll be returning after the six and nine episodes have aired to further discuss Non Non Biyori, but until then, I’ll be swinging in and out to write about various things, starting with the Strike Witches OVA.

The passage of the seasons was a major theme in Non Non Biyori‘s first season, and Non Non Biyori Repeat has already hinted, through its opening sequence, that the seasons will play a substantial role in the upcoming episodes: each of spring, summer, autumn and winter all have their unique charms and atmospheres. Thus, there is no doubt that the remaining three-quarters of Non Non Biyori Repeat will depict the different seasons set between Non Non Biyori‘s episodes. Quite personally, I would be most grateful for more episodes set in the winter; Asahigaoka is a beautiful place under a blanket of snow, and winter conditions would lend themselves to additional adventures for Renge and her friends.

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