I think everyone who watched slice of life anime found it monotonous because of the lack of characters, story, and plot which became pointless at the first from the end. Everyone seems to miss the entire point what is “slice of life.” According to Wikipedia, a slice of life is an overview of mundane experiences in art and entertainment while in literary, a narrative technique which seemingly arbitrary sequence of events in a character’s life is presented. I emphasize, “often lacking plot development, conflict and exposition, and often having an open ending.” Regardless, there are still many people missed the whole points of what slice of life in which I always find it such as “Lucky☆Star” and even “K-ON!“. One of the best slices of life that describes the whole genre, personally, is “Non Non Biyori” which I think is one of the best of all. Adapted from a manga by Atto, “Non Non Biyori” is one that describes everything from how the characters relate their daily experience without any interference other than the plot, characters development, and conflict. Everything in this anime “almost” approaches the main points of what is a slice of life and it’s one of well-crafted yet so peaceful.
It’s not quite interesting when we talk about the story itself. With a rural background that looks boring without any knowledge, this is the main setting of how to describe a slice of life in a peaceful way. Simply put, this is a story about four girls of various ages who live in a quiet village, are in the same class with the same school. As its story introducing Hotaru Ichijou, the fifth grader who is a new student at the school, that’s just the beginning. The story’s told calmly in your heart as if giving you an impression such a life is still worth it. It pulls you into the story so that you really feel how these characters feel too. It’s told in a realistic way with not too exaggerated impressions. In a nutshell, it’s a kind of “turn your brain off” anime where you don’t need to find out who is the perpetrator of serial killing or the final confrontation between Gary Stu and Mary Sue.
Each episode sometimes contains one or more stories which sometimes one or two characters are the major of the story. Takes the example of Renge Miyauchi, the youngest student first grader and Hotaru Ichijou which is sometimes the main center in some stories. There is a unique relationship between daughter and sister who are contradictory between who is younger and vice versa such as Komari Koshigaya and Natsumi Koshigaya. Like the slice of life in general, which I always watch, the humor is in a low-tone. It’s valuable to not ruin the atmosphere of peace itself. But, I found that kinda funny in some parts yet there is a special nuance that directly touches your soul. It’s not your typical humor of laughing out loud but it’s more into lowering the tone so that it doesn’t impress too much.
The artwork is like a photograph presented anywhere. The depiction of a rural setting that is so peaceful makes you want to participate in it. Yet it’s more like the character of the movement and the background which sometimes seems as if it’s not in there but such a pure one like an art on display or could be put in a wallpaper desktop. The sound effects are one of the best, almost. Because the main focus of this anime is to use “peace” as its main major, almost all the sound effects I find being silence while sometimes are like a whistle that is peaceful as if blown by the wind. While all the voice act supports all the characters, Kotori Koiwai, in my opinion, is the cutest and most unique of all yet all of them also participate in the full performance. The first opening theme song came to “Nanairo Biyori” by nano.RIPE which one of my personal favorite Japanese bands. The ending theme song, “Non Non Biyori,” which performed by all the voice actress from all the heroines is one of that seems peace yet it’s like a day that ends yet you waiting for tomorrow.
While the cast just focuses on four girls of different ages, it’s not one that needs to be considered. Renge Miyauchi is indeed the most interesting of all and the most focused of several specific stories. This character is also one of the most popular characters on the internet and you certainly always see this character in GIF pictures. She has a brilliant and the most solid yet flat facial expressions I’ve ever seen. With “Nyanpasu!” As her daily catchphrase, this character is no doubt one of the most unique of all which means there is no reason to like this character. Please, don’t swat me. There is Hotaru Ichijou which can be said to be so contradictory to her physicality and age, as one of the fifth graders. She’s kinda one of the most mature characters of all characters apart from Komari and Natsumi as her seniors of Hotaru, she has a feeling towards Komari which makes her always amazed at her being a senior. Natsumi is the younger sister of Komari which she is taller than her sister. Her lazy characteristics make him a character which contradicts to her age while Komari is the older of the four characters. She is always ashamed of her little, where her age is growing up, she has done various carelessness. As all supporting characters support these characters, the rest, there are no male characters except Suguru Koshigaya, Komari and Natsumi’s brother which I never found he’s talking at all even MyAnimeList or other anime database websites don’t show who the voice actor is from this character.
This is one of the suitable anime to be enjoyed in a short time or in a mood when you are at the top of laziness. The entire episode isn’t like the other slice of life anime which I found forgettable. Unlike “Non Non Biyori,” every episode I can watch over and over again even though I know what the story is. The pace is a bit slow and as I said, it would be better if you watch it at the right time. Each jokes lands on me with just some chuckles as if this anime is touching you. When you have too much drama, trouble, stress, or whatever, this anime becomes a hell of a drug three times a day in the morning, afternoon and night before going to bed.
“Non Non Biyori” is not one of the best anime ever, but when talking about a slice of life with a so peaceful theme, this anime is the best recommendation. It’s so hard to believe that many people still don’t understand how this anime or slice of life works where everybody still complains about the plot or no characters development. Some people I could also reply to because this is not the genre they enjoy. “Non Non Biyori” is a pure innocent show that can be watched many times. Various characters which are full of contradictions both physical and characteristic and supporting cast are partially unique, this anime is in a perfect tone, an anime that makes you like the theme, the background, the music, even the characters. What an anime, what a lovely anime.