Who knew an anime about the average lives of average people living in the Japanese country-side could be so freaking great? Non Non Biyori has an all but nonexistent plot, which at first may seem like it’s not a good thing at all. But when you begin to get into Non Non Biyori you realize that having no plot is exactly what makes the anime so charming. You don’t need to worry about character drama, or development, or story progression, or anything else that you’d likely look for in almost any other story. You can just sit back, relax, and enjoy the antics of the characters as they simply live their lives. It certainly may not captivate everyone, especially those that mainly enjoy fast-paced, exciting stories. But for what it sets out to do, it accomplishes it with near perfection.
The art in Non Non Biyori might not seem like anything spectacular at a first glance. But again, for what it sets out to do, it’s simply stellar. The character designs are nice and simple without feeling lazy. They aren’t flashy or spectacularly stunning or diverse, so they don’t distract you from the main focus of the show. They, simply put, just look like normal, average people. On the other hand, the backgrounds are beautifully detailed without being hyper-realistic, and again, not distracting from the show itself. You can really put yourself at home in the setting of the quiet country village.
The sound in Non Non Biyori works as the glue that holds everything together. The music is simple, quiet, and lighthearted. The voice-acting and dialogue is sincere and realistic. Oftentimes you’ll experience long periods of silence and stillness, accentuating the quiet, everyday life nature of the show. It happened to me a few times that I had to check to see if the video had paused!
You’d be hard-pressed to find anything in a single in one of the characters that even closely resembles a flaw. I’ll admit, at first I was disappointed that Natsumi and Komari’s older brother didn’t have a single line of dialogue in the entire series. That is, until I discovered that it worked PERFECTLY into his character and made him one of the funniest characters in Non Non Biyori, second only to Renge in my eyes. But I digress. The characters and their interactions with each other make the show an absolute bliss to watch.
If there’s one thing other than fluffy happiness that you’ll feel while watching Non Non Biyori, it’ll be a sentimental nostalgia like you’ve never had. It will make you remember back to when internet and gadgets were the least of our worries, and we’d just waste the hours away with our childhood friends, many of whom we’ve long since lost contact with. It made me sad watching the last episode today, realizing that if this were real life, the close-knit relationship that these characters have would eventually turn to dust in the wind.