The Infinite Zenith

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

Non Non Biyori Nonstop: Finale Review and Whole-Series Recommendation

“Be the reason someone smiles. Be the reason someone feels loved and believes in the goodness in people.” –Roy T. Bennet

In the New Year, Hikage attempts to smooth-talk New Year’s money out of Kazuho and Kaede to Renge’s disapproval, but upon visiting the Koshigayas, is strong-armed into giving her New Year’s money to Komari and Natsumi after Konomi reasons that it’s proper tradition for older people to give New Year’s money to their younger peers. Later, Hikage, Renge and Natsumi stand outside in a blizzard as Renge and Natsumi attempt a conversation that leaves Hikage irritated. When Honoka visits Renge, the two share time together. Honoka reveals she’s leaving soon, and Renge decides to give her some sweets from Kaede in order to properly say goodbye. As the winter weather recedes and spring returns to Asahigaoka, Renge plays dodgeball with Shiori and learns that Shiori will become an older sister soon. Kaede and Kazuho later have a drinking party: Kaede gets wasted but does her best to maintain a responsible, focused demenour for Renge. Hikage comments on the fact that Kaede’s always been fond of Renge, prompting Kaede to reminisce to a time when Renge was still a baby. After Kaede falls asleep from exhaustion, Kazuho tearfully notes that everyone’s growing up, while Renge, still unable to fall asleep, tucks Kaede in. The end of a semester finally arrives, and Suguru graduates from Asahigaoka Branch School. In between term, Hotaru, Renge, Natsumi, Komari, Konomi, Shiori, Akane and Kaede have free time, allowing them to hang out together. They spend the afternoon sledding down a grassy slope, and upon walking Shiori back home, find that her mother’s going into labour. The girls quickly contact a taxi to get Shiori’s mother to a hospital. Some time later, a new term begins, and Shiori is set to start term at Asahigaoka Branch School. Renge meets Shiori’s younger sister, Kasumi, and Shiori’s parents thank everyone for having been helpful that night. As Renge and the others head to school with Kazuho, Renge notes that while the scenery on the way to school never changes, it’s a little different every day, and that makes every day special. Thus ends Non Non Biyori Nonstop, whose finale adapts the sixteenth volume of the manga: with this knowledge, Non Non Biyori has come to a complete finish, bringing a twelve year journey (for the manga) to a close.

Nonstop‘s emphasis on personal growth and the passing of the torch dominates this third and final season: Shiori’s introduction into the cast allows Renge to act as a senior for her, showing her the ins and outs of life, and Konomi does her best to ensure that Akane is ready to lead the wind instruments as a second year student. Komari remarks that with Suguru graduating, she’ll need to rise to the occasion and act as a responsible older sibling, as well. Altogether, Nonstop has done a fantastic job of showing how knowledge and experiences are shared from seniors to juniors, and that being in a more senior position really accelerates individual growth. Renge had long been the youngest amongst the group of friends, but after Shiori is introduced, Renge feels protective of Shiori, promising to look after her and show her the things that she knows. The end result is that Renge begins to mature in a different way; while Renge had always been astute and observant, she’s never really had someone to pass knowledge or show things to. The friendship between Shiori and Renge has striking parallels with Akane and Konomi; Konomi recognises Akane’s potential as a flautist and wishes to leave behind a tangible legacy for the wind instrument club. Through their friendship, Akane is able to relax around her peers, and by the end of Nonstop, she’s shown as being at ease with carrying out a conversation with classmates. During their drinking session, Kazuho and Kaede both comment on how much things have changed, that the children they’re looking after are growing up and bettering themselves, ready to one day become the mentors themselves. In this way, Nonstop celebrates the cycle of life: youth grow old and mentor the next generation with the things they learn from their seniors, much as how after summer gives way to the icy cold of winter, warmth gradually returns to the world as spring arrives. The comings and goings of the seasons are mirrored in the cycles that drive people, and Non Non Biyori has done a phenomenal job of tying these learnings together to create a work that is truly timeless.

Non Non Biyori‘s anime adaptation has been around since October 2013: over the course of eight years, Non Non Biyori‘s focus and themes have slowly become more tangible. The first season suggested that each of the four seasons had their own merits, and that it was with an open mind (through newcomer Hotaru), one would really be able to appreciate being in the moment. Non Non Biyori Repeat is set in-between the events of Non Non Biyori to show how in life, there are numerous moments in between our most vivid memories that are worth recalling. Nonstop finally wraps things up and demonstrates how cycles are a central part of life, as people grow old and learn. The anime evidently matures with the manga, and as author Atto become more decisive about where Non Non Biyori would head, the anime became clearer and more confident in its direction. The end result is that Nonstop acts as a conclusive finale for the series. Altogether, Non Non Biyori‘s charm lay in the fact that the series brought the manga’s original stories and themes to life through sound and motion: in particular, the gorgeous landscapes and use of pauses to let the irony of a situation sink in created a sense that the series really cared about immersing viewers in Asahigaoka, as well as the outrageous and exciting events that each of the characters goes through. However, while humour is a well-done part of Non Non Biyori, the series also is able to deliver emotionally mature topics, from parting ways to life and death, in a manner that is appropriate and respectful. Further to this, Non Non Biyori strikes a balance between having characters experience misfortune for a few laughs and having them learn through meaningful experiences, as well. Komari is a longtime victim of circumstance; Non Non Biyori is fond of showing her as stumbling and swallowing her pride, but allowing viewers to see that she has her moments, it confirms that Komari is a well-rounded character who is capable in her own right. As Non Non Biyori matured, so did the series’ ability to tell and deliver both jokes and lessons to viewers: that Non Non Biyori covers things that we experience in everyday life, but often take for granted, is why the anime remains so enjoyable over the course of its run, a time-frame spanning an impressive seven years and five months.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Before I delve into this finale finale post, I will note that since this is likely the last time I’ll write about Non Non Biyori, I’ve decided to make this post much larger than usual so I can adequately cover all of the details. I had originally planned on publishing last Sunday, when the finale aired, but after finishing, I realised there was a bit of turf to cover for Non Non Biyori Nonstop, and so, the post got pushed back. The tenth episode to Nonstop opens with Renge warning Hikage against being too greedy with the New Year’s money. In Chinese custom, New Year’s money is also a thing, although unlike Konomi’s suggestion, only married couples gift New Year’s money. Nonstop has really given Konomi a chance to shine, and while she’s a kind senior who looks out for those around her, it turns out she’s also got a sharp mind capable of turning Hikage’s stunts against her. The plus side is that Hikage comes away from this with a net loss of zero, acting as a mostly-harmless lesson about not being too greedy.

  • I’m only going to spare a single screenshot on the conversation that Natsumi and Renge attempt to have with Hikage while a blizzard is raging. The conversation is non sequitur, and while not offering anything to Nonstop in terms of themes, demonstrates the series’ ability to create humour in a variety of means. This is something that I certainly won’t be doing: over the past weekend, a winter squall rolled into my area, and yesterday was continuously windy. The average wind speed was 59 km/h, gusting up to 72 km/h: a brief blizzard also struck the area, but the subsequent weather was surprisingly pleasant afterwards. The wind’s finally died down now, and the weather is much more agreeable.

  • The highlight of episode ten was when Honoka returns to Asahigaoka by winter: Honoka had briefly visited during a summer day back in the first season, and Renge had been utterly heartbroken when Honoka returned home suddenly. Seeing Honoka again put a smile on my face: I’d been hoping Renge would have a chance to hang out with her again for the longest time, and it is under the snow-covered Asahigaoka that the two have a chance to see one another again. After receiving a phone call from Honoka’s parents, Renge can barely contain her excitement and rushes off to meet her.

  • This time around, Honoka’s staying for a couple of days, so Renge has plenty of time to hang out. The whites and blues of Asahigaoka by winter are beautiful. The cold, I’ve never really minded; what I despise most about winter are icy roads and the accumulation of haze in my area on overcast days. Conversely, on sunny days, there’s a wonderous feeling about that of a winter day, and I attribute this appreciation to Non Non Biyori. During the shortest days of the year, the low angle of the late-day sun bathes the landscape in gold, and even mid-day, it feels much earlier or later than it really is.

  • One of the first stops on Renge and Honoka’s list is the candy store: Renge promises to show Honoka the coolest places in Asahigaoka, and this mini-tour brings to mind how even in the most remote corners of the world, there’s always cool stuff to check out. The mindset in Non Non Biyori stands in stark contrast to Your Name, where Mitsuha Miyamizu longs to leave the town of Itomori for Tokyo because the former doesn’t have anything of note. While Asahigaoka is a small rural village even smaller than Itomori, Non Non Biyori‘s portrayal of Asahigaoka suggests a quiet but peaceful town whose natural beauty is particularly standout.

  • After introducing Honoka to Kaede, Renge and Honoka buy yogurts, which Honoka finds to be delicious. While expectations amongst adults are invariably greater, for children, all new experiences are exciting. Non Non Biyori‘s portrayal of children in its stories also opens the series up to the open-mindedness that children have, so there’s never a dull moment. Bill Watterson was able to similarly capture this in Calvin and Hobbes: while Calvin’s mom and dad are down-to-earth people not susceptible to flights of fancy, Calvin’s active imagination means that unexpected adventure could be found most anywhere, and even in a more mundane case, after Calvin and Hobbes find a trickle of water running through mud, declares their afternoon to be booked solid.

  • While Honoka is visiting her grandmother over the winter break, she and Renge decide to have the most fun possible before Honoka returns home. The pair build a little snowman, slide down a snow covered hill and explore the local shrine, where they find a cat sleeping. Oddly enough, the montage also features a cut of a tropical waterfall before promptly switching back over to the winter, where two snow-covered pinecones are laying together in a field. I’m not too sure if this is a minor mistake in the animation

  • Asahigaoka is beautiful indeed, if there’s full-fledged mountains here to check out. Most of Japan’s countryside is covered in heavily forested mountains, but the larger mountains are found in central Japan: these include the Minami Alps and Hida Mountains. The precise location of Asahigaoka is never mentioned in Non Non Biyori, similarly to how Bill Watterson never wrote where Calvin and Hobbes is set, leaving the location generic so the adventures could feel a little more timeless. Honoka is blown away by the scenery up here; it’s clear that Renge’s probably been here before, and the two’s adventures reaffirm that Renge is someone who’s always eager to share happiness and discoveries with others.

  • The true highlight of Honoka’s visit lies in how Renge handles Honoka’s departure. Last time, Honoka had left quite suddenly, leaving Renge no time to say goodbye. This time around, after receiving a bunch of sweets from Kaede, Renge decides to give them to Honoka so her ride back will be a little more flavourful. In return, Honoka gives Renge one of her kitten hair ornaments as a little something to remember her by. Once the two say their farewells, Honoka promises to be back again some day: since she has family in the area, she’ll have a chance to return and chill with Renge in the future.

  • For Renge, the biggest takeaway this time was that she was able to say goodbye properly. For me, this was one of the biggest moments in Nonstop, showing that Renge is maturing and better able to do her part in a given scenario: as she grows older, increasing agency will allow Renge to do what she feels is right and leave no regrets. One of the most poignant moments of the original Non Non Biyori is thus addressed, and viewers can be reasonably confident that Honoka will come back to Asahigaoka in the future. Nonstop subsequently fast forwards a few weeks into late winter, when all of the snow has melted.

  • By morning, Renge chills with Shiori and explains that the unusual-looking structure on a tree is a praying mantis egg sac. It is here that Shiori mentions that she’s got a baby sister on the way, and that it’s time for her afternoon nap. Once Shiori heads home, Renge runs into Hotaru, Komari and Natsumi. Despite having spent the morning out, Renge has energy to spare and promptly agrees to play dodge ball with her friends.

  • After schooling Komari, the girls take a breather and mention that because Suguru is graduating soon, he’s studying for entrance exams. There’s a sort of finality here: as the girls speak of transitions and changes, this does hint at the fact that Non Non Biyori is drawing to a close, as familiar characters leave. Renge comments that even Shiori is growing older, and that she’d like to show Shiori some pro dodgeball tricks. Of course, talk of the future can be a little melancholy, so Renge suggests having another dodgeball match, typifying Non Non Biyori‘s approach towards life: be mindful of the future, but also make the most of the present.

  • To mix things up and take a break from graduation preparations, Kazuho invites Kaede over for a few drinks. Things quickly go south for Kaede, who is rocking the emperor of all headaches from drinking too much and is on the verge of simultaneously throwing up and passing out. While this is purely comedic, things quickly turn around when Renge wanders in, and Kaede shunts away her headache, appearing completely and totally fine. She’s even able to stand up, make her way to the kitchen and fix Renge a glass of warm milk to help the latter sleep. Hikage is impressed that Kaede is able to pull that off when mere seconds earlier, she didn’t look like she could stand under her own power and comments that Kaede goes to great lengths for Renge’s sake.

  • Hikage’s remarks reminds Kaede of something Hikage said years earlier. Kaede is somewhat tsundere about Renge; a flashback shows that Kaede’s always had a liking for Renge, and even back then, Kaede finds it difficult to be honest that she simply likes chilling with Renge. I would hazard a guess that Renge’s at least 10 months old at this point: she’s able to crawl and walk short distances. If the stories about me are correct, I began talking before I could walk. Renge, on the other hand, is a bit more mobile, but still babbles.

  • Because it is a quiet day, Suguru, Komari, Konomi and Natsumi show up to play with Hikage, as well. Konomi decides to hang out with Kaede and Renge, and despite Kaede’s remarks about Renge being fussy around new people, Konomi gets along with Renge just fine. However, Kaede is visibly bothered when Renge takes an immediate liking to Konomi, even lightly slapping Kaede after Kaede’s peek-a-boo proves to be intimidating. Kaede rage quits, but after Renge starts crying, nothing Konomi does calms Renge down. Being most familiar with Renge, Kaede is ascertains that Renge is sleepy and coaxes her to sleep without trouble.

  • The juxtaposition between baby Renge and Renge the Explorer meant that Nonstop had made very clear what this third and final season had been about: the passing of the torch and preparing to transition from one part of life to the next. Showing this flashback was meant to indicate that things keep on changing: Kaede notes that six years earlier, Hikage had been a bit unruly. In the present day, she’s grown enough to look after Kaede after the latter’s had one too many to drink. A part of the humour in this scene comes from Kaede pointing out everyone’s strong points, only to struggle with Natsumi.

  • The reality is that Natsumi is very knowledgeable about the outdoors and is good with her hands, although I’m guessing that Kaede is salty about Natsumi pranking her all the time. While we viewers have only had a total of thirty-six episodes and one movie to know the characters, even during the course of Non Non Biyori, we see subtle changes in the characters that indicate they’re maturing. It stands to reason that these changes would only be more pronounced for someone who’s lived alongside these characters all their life. After putting on a show to set an example for Renge, Kaede ends up reaching her limit, and Hikage helps to get her to a futon.

  • When Hikage returns, she finds that Kazuho’s begun tearing up, probably from a combination of the drink and reminiscing. When Kazuho starts crying, I believe this was the first time we see Kazuho lose composure. Non Non Biyori had presented Kazuho as a very stoic and composed individual, someone who takes things in stride and views the problems that Renge, Komari, Natsumi and Hotaru encounter as being solvable, and who despite having a very lax attitude, is also knowledgeable and genuinely cares for those around her. A part of me began wondering what the exact circumstances behind the Miyauchi and Kagayama families are: their parents are never seen, and Kaede seems very close to Kazuho, such that she is able to take effective care of Renge and know Renge’s nuances as a mother would.

  • Kazuho’s words here suggested to me that both of them have had a rougher time, but managed to make it in spite of the challenges they’ve faced; meeting Renge sounds like it changed Kaede and allowed her to open up to others. While Non Non Biyori‘s always been a cheerful series, and the focus on comedy allows viewers to smile, moments such as these also creates the sense that Non Non Biyori‘s characters have a much greater depth than they appear to, really driving home the messages that the series aimed to convey. With this being said, Non Non Biyori‘s decision to leave this to the end is actually reassuring for viewers: it shows that everyone’s matured and grown to the point where they’re ready to take on whatever the future holds, and that the tough times are behind them.

  • As a final visceral reminder of this, upon spotting that Kaede’s blankets are strewn about, Renge tucks Kaede back in properly to ensure that she stays warm. Nonstop went above and beyond in portraying the entire series’ intended themes, never hesitating to show the good and bad sides of things, as well as how people react to and learn from their experiences. Non Non Biyori as a whole is more than being merely a funny slice-of-life anime with fantastic scenery; the anime and manga are both authentic, honest portrayals of different aspects in life.

  • It’s finally the day of graduation, and the entire school’s invited to watch the diploma presentation. Renge notices that the cherry blossoms are starting to bloom, and there’s no finer time to graduate: spring represents a new season, a time when life returns to the world. For Yukiko, it is with pride that she watches Suguru cross the stage and prepare to take on the next stage of his life. Because Asahigaoka is so small, there are no high schools here, so Suguru must attend a high school in the town nearby, which requires a train commute.

  • Because Suguru’s the only student in the final year of middle school, the graduation ceremony and diploma presentation takes less than a minute to complete. This is a far cry from the graduating ceremonies I’m familiar with: in primary school, my class had around sixty students, and my graduating class in middle school had around a hundred and eighty students. By secondary school, there were a few hundred students in my graduating year. In university, there were only a hundred people in the Bachelor of Health Sciences programme, so the university arranged for our convocation to be with the Faculty of Kinesiology. It is a reminder that I am aging very rapidly, since I’m now able to say that my final graduation was from graduate school some years earlier.

  • Anime presents graduation as a major milestone to be celebrated: it marks that transition from one leg of the journey to the next. Yukiko tears up here, and shortly after, the class sings the Asahigaoka Branch School’s theme, Asahigaoka Bunkou Kōka, while Suguru plays the piano accompaniment. This song had been included with Non Non Biyori Repeat‘s soundtrack and is a remarkably well-written song. I don’t remember if the song was used in Repeat, speaking to how much time has passed since the second season, but to see it now in Nonstop was very heartwarming.

  • In the aftermath of graduation, Natsumi comments that things don’t feel too different because Asahigaoka Branch School’s so small, and Suguru will still be returning home after classes each day. However, in spite of this, Renge decides to thank him for having helped out in looking after everyone; Hotaru, Natsumi and Komari follow suit. While Suguru never had much of a presence on Non Non Biyori, as a part of a long-standing gag for humour’s sake, he does care for his sisters and friends, quietly slipping in and helping out before disappearing without a word. Suguru’s lack of dialogue has not prevented his character from showing: he’s dependable, capable and is an otaku of sorts. Viewers had been hoping that Nonstop might break with tradition and bring in someone to voice a few lines for Suguru, but this never happened.

  • As the spring weather sets in, the entire group gathers to slide down a grassy hill on large cardboard sheets. Initially, Konomi, Hikage and Akari show up at Kaede’s candy store looking for something to do, claiming that since it’s Kaede’s day off, she should do something anyways. Quite separately, Renge, Shiori, Hotaru, Natsumi and Komari seek to make the most of such a beautiful day, as well, and they head to the candy store, thinking to pick up free cardboard. This marks the first time in Nonstop that everyone’s gathered togather, and what follows is a fun-filled afternoon of sledding down a hill.

  • For safety’s sake, it’s decided that everyone should go in pairs. Renge immediately takes off with Kaede, and while Komari had wanted to go with Shiori to demonstrate that she’s mature enough to look after someone, Hotaru is picked instead, and Komari rides with Akane, although she wipes out almost immediately. The juxtaposition between Komari’s desire to be seen as mature and the misfortune she suffers is meant as humour, and indeed, said misfortune never does any long-term harm.

  • Konomi reminisces about how quickly time flies, leading Hikage to wonder if someone so young should be so nostalgic. The passage of time in Non Non Biyori had been something that I’d previously mentioned, and one reader was quick to comment on how Nonstop was technically not a continuation, that there was evidence in Non Non Biyori to suggest that the series employs a floating timeline (one where the characters never age despite an evident passage of time). However, by the end of Nonstop, I can state with complete confidence that the passage of time and aging in Non Non Biyori is normal: Suguru’s graduated, and Konomi is entering post-secondary. As such, Nonstop is plainly a continuation, contrasting with Repeat, which was more of an interlude, but a highly enjoyable one, to be sure.

  • After a highly enjoyable afternoon, the sun begins setting as everyone heads home together. The reds of the evening sky bring to mind a key visual that was released nearly a half-year ago, which shows the group of friends walking home by evening. At the time, besides the knowledge that Nonstop would feature new characters, I had no a priori knowledge of what this third season would entail, and so, entering with an open mind, I was able to fully enjoy the series for everything it had to offer. Nonstop is a series that is full of surprises, and in its finale, there’s one more surprise awaiting viewers.

  • Once Shiori arrives home, she’s perplexed to wonder why her mother isn’t answering. As it turns out, Shiori’s mother had been packing, preparing to go to the hospital and suddenly began experiencing contractions: she’s very nearly going into labour, signalling that Shiori’s sister is close to being born. Komari immediately suggests calling a taxi so Shiori’s mother can head for the hospital, and Hotaru indicates that they can stay behind to keep an eye on Shiori until her father returns. That Komari and the others act so swiftly show that this is a group of children who aren’t really children any more, and that when unexpected events occur, they’re ready to handle it with maturity and confidence.

  • After the taxi arrives, and Shiori’s mother boards, Renge takes Shiori’s hand: Shiori is quite worried, and Renge’s gesture nonverbally indicates to Shiori that everything will be fine. The entire scene was quite suspenseful: there’s absolutely no incidental music at all, but once the taxi arrives, a gentle piece of the incidental music begins playing. The song conveys a sense of uncertainty and melancholy in the moment, fully capturing precisely what Shiori must’ve been feeling in that instant. Nonstop‘s use of music here was excellent, telling viewers the tenour of the moment without dialogue.

  • However, when the scene transitions over to that of a gorgeous spring morning, viewers are left with the sense that things have gone well enough for Shiori’s mother and father. Renge and Kazuho prepare for their first day of a new term: Renge is now in second grade, and the two walk along a path lined with blossoming cherry trees. Spring’s now back in the world fully, and looking back, it’s been an eventful year in Asahigaoka.

  • Along the way, Kazuho and Renge run into Natsumi, Komari and Hotaru. However, as Renge notes, they’re still short one classmate and friend, so there’s one more stop to make this morning. A new year means new routine, new experiences and new friends: the girls thus prepare to head over to Shiori’s place. The ending song begins playing here: I’ve always been fond of Non Non Biyori‘s ending songs, which are performed by Hotaru, Natsumi, Komari and Renge’s voice actresses. Making use of friendly vocals and woodwinds, the songs are cheerful and fun. Nonstop‘s ending song follows in its predecessor’s footsteps, being titled I’m Home (ただいま, Hepburn Tadaima).

  • On this morning, Renge gets another pleasant surprise: Shiori’s baby sister is finally here, and she’s named Kasumi. Shiori and Kasumi’s parents thank everyone for having been so expedient that evening: it’s clear that things have gone very smoothly, and Shiori’s family thus welcomes their newest member with a smile on their face. Shiori and Kasumi’s mother hopes that Renge will be a reliable senpai for Kasumi once the latter’s old enough to attend school. This looks to be in about five years’ time, so by then, Renge will be as old as Natsumi was when Hotaru first came to Asahigaoka.

  • As children are wont do doing, Renge figures it couldn’t hurt to ask Kasumi make a promise that they’ll be classmates in the future. She reaches out for a pinky promise, and is astounded when Kasumi wraps her little fingers around Renge’s pinky. Renge immediately takes this to mean that their promise is now sealed. I was all smiles during this scene; in addition to being a symbolic moment for Renge, it also shows that Non Non Biyori had clearly done their research: babies instinctively close their fingers around something when their palms are stroked.

  • This is known as the Palmar grasp reflex, and in humans, lasts until a baby is two to six months old. Stroking the back or side of a baby’s hand will result in the hand opening. It is thought that this reflex is a vestigial trait leftover from a primate ancestor that had fur: being able to instinctively close one’s fingers allows the baby to cling to an adult’s fur. Of course, since humans lack the hair/fur as other primates do, the Palmar grasp reflex isn’t too functional for human infants, but it works perfectly in Nonstop.

  • Renge began her journey in Non Non Biyori as the youngest of the group, a precocious child with a vivid imagination, maturity beyond her years and excellent art skills. However, now that Shiori and Kasumi are introduced, Renge really has a chance to become the onee-san. This was a central aspect in GochiUsa: Cocoa’s insistence on being addressed as onee-san stems from her desire to be seen as reliable and competent, and in time, Chino comes to appreciate why Cocoa had such a fixation on this concept. As she matures and becomes a role model for small children, Chino understands why Cocoa’s always doing her best.

  • Shiori’s now old enough to start first grade at Asahigaoka Branch School, and looks forwards to being classmates with Renge. She greets Renge with her signature にゃんぱすー (Hepburn nyanpasu), an endearing trait that has led some folks to wonder if there’s any etymology behind it. However, it turns out that nyanpasu is nonsensical: an interview with the producers found that it was created to mirror Renge’s character, and the derivation appears to be にゃん (the sound of a cat’s mew) and おす(Hepburn osu, a very informal way of saying “Good morning”). Owing to pronunciations in Japan, it becomes easy to misread おす as ぱす (similarly to why senpai is occasionally written as sempai), and thus, we’ve got how Renge’s signature greeting came about. That Shiori’s picked it up shows that she looks up to Renge: children often imitate the styles of those around them, especially those they see as role models.

  • In the epilogue, Hikage is shown at the train station platform with her friend, Haruka: Hikage also appears in Atto’s Ko-akuma Meringue (Little Devil’s Meringue), a manga about the Devil’s daughter, Ruche, who transfers into Haruka and Hikage’s class with the aim of conquering the world, and failing at every turn. Haruka is seen without her signature double-ahoge here, heading for school together. Assuming that Ko-akuma Meringue and Non Non Biyori share the same universe, it probably stands to reason that Ruche’s plans for invasion are completely unsuccessful. I note that were there ever to be an anime adaptation of Ko-akuma Meringue, I’d watch it in a heartbeat.

  • The epilogue also shows Konomi headed off for campus, and Suguru taking the train to his new high school. I’ve chosen to show Akane sharing a laugh with one of her classmates, because this was a simple but significant moment, showing how spending time with Konomi, Hotaru, Komari, Natsumi and Renge had helped her to relax around new people. With this single scene, viewers are assured that Akane’s going to be fine around other people now, having overcome her anxiety.

  • It goes without saying that I greatly enjoyed Non Non Non Biyori Nonstop and Non Non Biyori as a whole. For having accompanied me through life for the past seven years and five months, providing comedy, life lessons and meaningful stories in a consistently strong fashion, Non Non Biyori Nonstop is very easy to recommend to readers. This is a series that easily earns its A+ (4.0 of 4.0, or 10 of 10). For folks who’ve not seen Non Non Biyori, the recommendation is similarly straightforward. Non Non Biyori‘s first and second seasons are very much worth watching; I would go as far to say that one is missing out if they’re a slice-of-life fan but haven’t seen Non Non Biyori. I understand that this post took me a little longer to write, but this was because I wished to fully convey how I feel about this series: today’s the last day of March, and the winter anime are beginning to wrap up. Before I turn my attention to the new spring season, however, I note that I still have Yuru Camp△ 2‘s finale to write about, as well as my overall thoughts on The Quintessential Quintuplets ∬ (that’s a double integral, by the way) and World Witches: Take Off! turned out.

When I began watching Non Non Biyori, the stand-out message from the first season encouraged me to appreciate the passage of the seasons more. At the time, with the warmth of summer fast fading, I resigned myself to a long and cold winter after the Great Flood affected my area and caused me to fall into a depression. With Non Non Biyori, I would come to be reminded of the fact that every day of winter I passed through meant I was one day closer to spring, and light. Two years later, I was in graduate school and preparing to wrap up my second year. Non Non Biyori Repeat accompanied me through this time, reminding me to be more appreciative of the small things that we tended to miss or take for granted. Non Non Biyori Vacation spoke of travel and the joys of coming home to familiar scenery. The whole of Non Non Biyori is earnest, sincere and genuine, and just like that, almost seven-and-a-half years have passed since I picked this series up. However, like all journeys, Non Non Biyori must also come to an end: now that Suguru and Konomi have graduated, Renge prepares to enter the second grade and welcomes Shiori to Asahigaoka Branch School as a new student. As timeless as the series is, even in Asahigaoka, the clock does not stand still, and with Non Non Biyori covering all of the territory Atto has intended, this gentle and relaxing series now draws to a close. It’s been a fantastic journey, and with the whole of Non Non Biyori in the books, I can now say with confidence that this series is well worth the watch: I have no qualms about recommending this series to anyone, given that there’s something for everyone. people looking for a few good laughs will definitely be entertained by the jokes; Non Non Biyori is so successful in creating humour because of the series’ exemplary use of space and time to let viewers absorb what’s happened (and correspondingly, how unfair a situation is). However, the series also allows its characters to shine, discover and smile, showing both the ups and downs in life. Coupled with the series portrayal of a cathartic pastoral lifestyle set far from the hustle and bustle of Japan’s urban areas, Non Non Biyori is also a highly relaxing series: the sum of Non Non Biyori‘s strong points makes this an easy series to recommend to viewers.

4 responses to “Non Non Biyori Nonstop: Finale Review and Whole-Series Recommendation

  1. Nekomura Namuru September 21, 2021 at 07:46

    Hi

    Oddly enough, the montage also features a cut of a tropical waterfall before promptly switching back over to the winter, where two snow-covered pinecones are laying together in a field. I’m not too sure if this is a minor mistake in the animation

    In Episode 4 Season 1, Renge promised that she will take Honoka to a “small waterfall” at the last time they met before Honoka suddenly leave Asahigaoka. I think this cut is a reference to this promise.

    Like

    • infinitezenith September 25, 2021 at 18:02

      You are absolutely correct about that; it is the case that Renge indicates she’d like to take Honoka to a small waterfall she knows of! It’s been just a shade under eight years since I watched Non Non Biyori‘s first season, and I’d completely forgotten. It looks like the time is appropriate for me to go back and watch things again 🙂

      Like

      • Nekomura Manuru September 26, 2021 at 03:32

        Yes,and I guess they couldn’t go to this place in winter because of snow.

        Thanks a lot. I love your suggestive reviews on Non Non Biyori, the best of best anime for me, a one who had grown up in Japanese countryside (a bit urbanized than Asahigaoka,though.) Now I’ll try to read yor review for the first season. Nyanpasu!

        Liked by 1 person

        • infinitezenith October 1, 2021 at 23:13

          Similarly, thanks for clearing that up for me! It makes things easier to understand.

          If you do decide to read my review for the first season, I wrote those posts eight years ago, and speaking truthfully, those posts weren’t written with the same finesse as my current posts. Perhaps the time is ripe for a revisit?

          Like

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