Once in a while, I’d end up in the middle of watching slice-of-life anime without me realising it. I couldn’t help but wonder about this occurence; maybe what I’ve always wanted is not to watch a spectacular and amzingly crafted anime, but a simple one to give me—a nostalgia that I never had. I’ve always appreciated such feeling and this, might have made me unconciously craving it from the stories that I’m discovering.
But, what got me to watch Non Non Biyori, was not the synopsis nor its genre tags, but the sound of a flute playing, accompanied by piano: two simple instruments, with repeatable rhythms to orchestrate a tale imbued with melodies.
I don’t think I’ve heard such a nostalgic melody before that can lucidly paint the image of countryside inside my mind: it, surprised me. A slice of life that is not centered around camping, a trip to Antartica, or a light music club—but countryside. A place where there are no events bigger than the yearly summer festival, nothing to do on weekends except walking around the town, fishing beside the small river, picking up flowers and visiting the few shops there are.
Non Non Biyori, is in essence, a pure slice of life: there is no definite start, nor a defining ending—the second season is a ‘Repeat’, while the third season that is yet to be aired is tittled ‘Non-stop’. What it portrays is a life of only little drama, little conflict and just throwing the word ‘relaxation’ into the play, contrasting their carefreeness to ours.
Because, in many ways, we realise the simplicity of life in countryside for children and adults. The four main characters epsecially, are still growing, learning, discovering, and the foods, everything they need are still within their grasp. They create their own fun, and draw their own world. Without desire, there is no need to feel pressured. Sakura blossoms are as beautiful as they are, bento is as delicious as it is, and the sky, is as blue as it is.
Fun things, are fun.
And occasionally, they’d try new things, go to a new place, make some new friends, embrace a new culture, and create some special memories. Then, they’d come back to where their home is. These are the things that we all are familiar with, and Non Non Biyori (the movie, in particular) managed to capture that yearning of something, of some ways to unwind ourselves that are all tensed up.
Blending the varied facets of the four main characters and their nuanced dynamics, with the melancholic yet cheerful soundtracks, and the delicate landscapes—a peaceful, soothing ambience is all set. And adding a few drops of potions with heartwarming scenes and wholesomeness, a colourful story is illustrated:
Non Non Biyori.