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Nourin – 11,12 (END)

Episode 11

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「あかるいのうそん」 (Akarui Nouson)
“Cheerful Farming Village”

Full-length images: 2, 16.

Episode 12

Nourin   12   01 Nourin   12   02 Nourin   12   03
Nourin   12   04 Nourin   12   05 Nourin   12   06
Nourin   12   07 Nourin   12   08 Nourin   12   09
Nourin   12   10 Nourin   12   11 Nourin   12   12
Nourin   12   13 Nourin   12   14 Nourin   12   15
Nourin   12   16 Nourin   12   17 Nourin   12   18
Nourin   12   19 Nourin   12   20 Nourin   12   21
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Nourin   12   25 Nourin   12   26 Nourin   12   27
Nourin   12   28 Nourin   12   29 Nourin   12   30
Nourin   12   31 Nourin   12   32 Nourin   12   33
Nourin   12   34 Nourin   12   35 Nourin   12   36

「みんなののうりん」 (Minna no Nourin)
“Everybody’s Nourin”

My apologies in advance everyone for the double posts for both of my shows. I’ve become extremely sick over the past few days and I’m only now just getting over it. Again, please excuse my tardiness.

Even though someone may be your childhood friend, red flags should immediately be raised when they try to fake a pregnancy–two flags should go up if they try to use that pregnancy to try and lock you into marriage. Kousaku, I’m not sure you can trust the intentions of the Nakazawa family anymore, especially if they’re trying to marry you into their family AND use you for a so-called non-profit cause.

My friends, the above basically sums up the last arc of Nourin. Kousaku finds himself about to marry Minori in order to revitalize a farming town’s population and popularity, but of course ends up butting heads with the jealous Ringo and the desperate Becky. However, due to blackmailing and guilt tactics, Kousaku is forced to go along with the charade anyways, which invites a whole lot of romantic comedy drama along the way. However silly the plot was, this ended up being the most enjoyable arc to watch throughout Nourin. Oh yes, nothing got resolved in the end per stereotypical romantic comedy standards, but at least it was nice to see the show close on a positive note with some final character expositions for Kousaku, Ringo, and Minori. That’s all I personally wanted from this show, and we sure did get it in the end.

First, it was nice to see Ringo finally open up her heart to singing once more. If you didn’t notice before, there was a nice full-circle surprise with episode 11′s ending choice of song–コードレス☆照れ☆PHONE (Cordless☆Dere☆PHONE). It’s the exact same song that was sung by Yukatan in the beginning of episode one, but in an acapella voice. However, the significance in the song changed when the context changed as well. When sung in front of thousands on a loud stage with a cute demeanor, it’s an idol performing for her fans, but not necessarily saying ‘something’ to them. It’s just a happy and catchy song that happens to be sung by a beautiful idol. However, now that idol is gone, and from the ashes comes Ringo. When she sings this song 11 episodes later, it’s something without frills, but it’s something she sings because she has a message she wants to honestly convey to Kousaku, as a person and not a character on stage. Now of course this can all be construed as a really underhanded message of, “screw the city, the farm makes you into a real person!” kind of deal, but at face value it’s great to see Ringo go from an absolutely broken down character back into someone who can appreciate life.

Second, the exposition between Kou-tan and Minori’s history together in Aioi was pleasant to listen to. I do regret that this wasn’t more central to the plot before this arc, but it does explain a lot about Kousaku’s quirks as a character as well as some of Minori’s. Have we explained Kousaku’s obsession with Ringo? Check. Have we cleared up why Kousaku wants to make farming fashionable? Sort of, but we get the general picture. Is it explained why Minori is so open about getting together with Kousaku? Not really, but at least we know that Minori’s feelings aren’t completely unreciprocated–she does have a chance as the childhood friend, surprisingly enough. Aside from answering questions, it was overall a pleasant experience to switch the setting to the countryside, where the main focus isn’t academics or farming persay, but rather countryside culture and down-to-earth communities. Oh, and of course the siblings. Let’s not forget about the cute siblings.

Finally, this final arc helped cement a certain factor that distinguishes this show from say, Gin no Saji and probably other agriculture-type shows. Nourin, surprisingly enough, touches on an interesting social issue involving farming communities– it is a point that I’m sure is of some national importance to Japan, and that is the future of farming communities as a whole. As urbanization happens on a global scale thanks to industrialization, it is becoming less popular to go to sparsely populated provinces, where the ‘cool’ things in life are all far away. Thus, for Nourin to directly touch on the efforts to revitalize interest in farming (despite how silly that attempt is) and farming province retention rates is an interesting angle I wouldn’t have expected the show to take. Of course, most of the macrosocial issues are merely brushed over in favor of Kousaku and Ringo’s personal struggles, but it still is an interesting backdrop issue on which to portray the main plot.

So, with the final arc over, where does this leave us with the series as a whole?

Final Impressions

To keep it brief: this wasn’t the strongest offering that Silver Link had to offer us. Even though having Oonuma Shin onboard as director should’ve been a big plus, Nourin for the most part wasn’t able to capture the massive enjoyability that Baka to Test had. In reality, it felt to me as if it were a smuttier version of Baka to Test, set on a farm school rather than a normal school. The same character types were there, the same setup of a love triangle was there, yet it didn’t elicit as strong an enjoyability as its predecessor.

That’s not to say that Nourin is a bad show though. On its own, the show itself was enjoyable to watch every week. Becky was an amazingly shameless character in particular to watch, doing justice to the ‘desperate teacher’ archetype that she parodies. Minori was also a star of her own, with her over-the-top efforts to win Kousaku’s heart often smile-worthy. In fact, one can immensely enjoy this show by simply turning off your brain and closing your eyes. A major strong point of this show was in the seiyuu, where every over-the-top line was delivered with such over-the-top gusto and intonation that you couldn’t help but feel happy listening to it. In particular, Kousaku and Minori’s accents made this show a whole lot better, where it only served to make their reaction scenes all the more enjoyable to listen to. Yoshida’s tsundere stumblings were also a pleasure to listen to, which is a shame, since her character feels severely underutilized for this show.

However, Nourin does make admirable steps to create a sense of character progression, which is often something unheard of in comedies, much less most romantic comedies as of recent seasons. The key progression to focus on here is clearly Ringo’s, as her character progression was the only thread that really kept the show cohesive in progression. Reflecting back on her attitudes in episode two and onward, it is applaudable how well the story transitioned her from being a reserved character to one that smiles many times an episode, all without us really noticing when that change happened. I was holding out for a complete recovery of Ringo’s character, but in a sense I’m happy that she hasn’t fully become cheerful again. One, time constraints would’ve made that transition awkward, but two, it does tie in quite well with the theme of change that Nourin has been attempting to portray. Think back to the scene where Ringo is introduced to the student project involving revitalizing the soil. They said quite clearly that it would take a long time for the soil to heal and the crops to grow, but Ringo was already happy with where the current status of the plants were. She didn’t need to be completely ‘healed’ to be happy–the fact that she was in a healing environment was happiness enough for her. Thus, when we see Ringo smile at the end and give that final song just for Kousaku, it signifies that it is not the end product that mattered to Ringo, but rather the transformation process behind it and the people supporting her.

Now of course there were many obstacles in making the above themes more salient and touching to our hearts, but the fact that Nourin makes these attempts in a romantic comedy setting is admirable enough. Perhaps from the lessons learned in making this show, Silver Link may be able to revitalize their craft and truly produce another hit romantic comedy that we’ve been dying to have. Not one that rests its laurels on sex and sheer madness, but one that makes its characters enjoyable and its plot cohesive yet a joy to follow with.

Dear reader, thank you for your patience in following this series with me. I’ll hope to see you guys next time!

March 30, 2014 at 4:50 am
23 comments »
  • March 30, 2014 at 4:57 amCraig McLeod

    Came into this world being asked “Why are you not BakaTest 3?”, left this world being asked “Why are you not BakaTest 3?”

    Such is the sad life of Nourin.

  • March 30, 2014 at 5:56 am~fineyristensen

    Cant believe he didnt decide for JUST RINGO……..unfortunate (subconscious) force of childhood friends!

    • March 30, 2014 at 6:15 amgoldcut

      He will choose Ringo, but it will take another season or two..the author need to carry on the work luring money with more volumes of LN. And
      Show Spoiler ▼

      • March 30, 2014 at 6:33 amedo

        the anime ended with vol 4 ?

        Since there won’t be a second season it would be great if you could tell us what happens in future volumes

      • March 30, 2014 at 6:29 pmTheLastIdiot

        goldcut, its really amazing how you hit the jackpot on which part of the volume the series will end… “you two are both my wings?” :D —- so he choose ringo huh?……………… YES!!!!!!!!!! ringoXkousaku fans win!

        i wish we could see the other current volumes get animated though i got a feeling that once volume 8 or 9 is released we would get a season 2 that covers 5 – 7 given how season 1 = vol 1 – 4 which, WOULD TAKE A WHILE I BELIEVE.

        anyway its also nice that she sings on that last part of episode 11 and the quality that goes with it. final note, nourin actually got a potential of becoming a hit if they dedicated their episodes to covering the plots of the volumes that has effect to the story as a whole and not the most comedy plot that is clearly doesn’t have any effect to the MAIN PLOT of the story thus, wasting that specific episode. and another, we still didn’t get that clear explanation why ringo quit being an idol… im pretty sure, stress of work isn’t just the reason… and yeah, because of this, i hope if there would be a season 2, we would get a chance to look more to ringo’s idol era which was forgotten due to much more focus to agriculture, other character’s story and the comedy…

        i don’t know if the UNCOVERED VOLUMES provides us such look at ringo’s story so i’m gonna ask goldcut for that :D

      • March 30, 2014 at 7:35 pmgoldcut

        To edo
        More philosophical/ethnic/political/economic/social discussions about agriculture and less random comedy. I might be over it by using those big words because the discussions are pretty shallow for academic standard. After all, one shall not expect too much from light novels. There are also new characters and some (only some) character development.

        To TheLastIdiot
        Season 2 mostly relies on disc sales which has not started yet.
        There is definitely wasted potential, I feel the show would be better if the pace could be slower, although I suppose it has to finish vol 4 because the tram company is a sponsor. Many details explaining the transitions and links of the main plot were deleted, leaving the rest somewhat awkward and fragmented. Also a lot of character development and comedy got cut, including
        Show Spoiler ▼

        And so on. You might have an idea what was lost in the adaption.
        As for the reason of quitting idol, how could the author continue luring money if that is resolved? Not until vol 8, and vol 9 doesn’t seem to have that either.

      • March 30, 2014 at 8:58 pmThe Last Idiot

        does the author already gave a hint of how many volumes nourin would be? anyway thanks for the reply goldcut. it is just that i am not really that satisfied because, there is no sufficient character development adapted for anime specially for ringo’s case. all we know is she quit idol because she lose her ability to express emotions which is clearly already solved which gave a hint that there’s more why she cant and doesnt want to go back to being an idol…

        Show Spoiler ▼

        maybe silverlink intentionally leaves ringo’s character development and story that undetailed, so it becomes a “connection” that can be used if they want to produce a season 2.

        anyway, nourin definitely got a wasted potential indeed even if you look only at all of those “agricultural knowledge” and those serious scenes adapted but was literally destroyed by comedy plots not related to the main story plot then add a number of deleted important plots… im just hoping this would get fixed once they decided to produce a season 2 if ever.

        on the last note, if we remove all useless comedy plots and just take in important plots, including comedy but still related or important to the story, i can easily say all of those could easily fit on 4 volumes only and nourin could have been better

  • March 30, 2014 at 6:09 amanothercat

    I didn’t think much of this series, but the last episode really surprised me with all its references: Sailor Moon, Saint Seiya, Ken, Berserk, Macross F.

  • March 30, 2014 at 6:28 amKurisu Vi Britannia

  • March 30, 2014 at 6:37 amPeTdo

    have i told you that this serie suck since ep 1?? i guess i did

  • March 30, 2014 at 7:05 amJ-Luke

    http://randomc.net/image/Nourin/Nourin%20-%2012%20-%20Large%2032.jpg
    Those little ones were soooo cute…
    By the way, the four sisters have the same hair and eye color and even their faces look alike (almost as if they are clones of one another). Maybe that’s also a reason why Minori wanted to marry Kosaku: to have a fresh DNA-infusion into the village gene pool…

  • March 30, 2014 at 7:36 ammagoiichi

    Nourin didn’t bore me with constant in depth details of farming like Silver Spoon does, which is why I stopped reading the manga.

    I’m going to be lazy and skip all the reasons why I like this anime and just say give me a season 2!

    • March 30, 2014 at 10:40 amShun

      Gin no Saji is about character development. In comparison, Nourin is shallow comedy.

      Personally, I love it when an anime teaches me something new, but hey, education isn’t for everyone.

      • March 30, 2014 at 8:48 pmmagoiichi

        What character development? Last time I checked, Hachiken is the exact same person as he was in the beginning of Silver Spoon. So is Tokiwa, so is Tamako, so is Komaba, and especially Aki. Even the side characters act the same and use the same comedy routines like the senior ex president who can’t find a job.

        Shallow comedy? It’s either funny or it isn’t. Nice try though.

        Just because an anime gives you details about how to do a certain job doesn’t mean you can do it, that is not an education by any definition of the word. It’s equal to reading a pamphlet. If that was true, I’d know all about how to do farming, boxing, and several other things that anime “taught” me.

        But hey bullshit isn’t for everyone.

  • March 30, 2014 at 8:12 amGinobi47

    In all honesty, I am fairly disappointed with this Nourin. I guess it was my fault for expecting a baka to test level of comedy

  • March 30, 2014 at 8:54 amJason Isenberg

    Hey it’s good you’re taking it easy Zanibas, you need to feel better don’t apologize :). Also I never thought about the whole School Days thing…LOL crap. I do agree the fact it wasn’t as good as Baka Test but hell that show was far more higher quality and funny 9 times out of the 10. This one had the comedy but there was quite the bit of drama no doubt. It was a good mix though don’t get me wrong, oh and Kosaku is a f’n idiot for wanting to go the harem route! YOU CAN ONLY PICK ONE YOU IDIOT! haha seriously why pick both when you know Ringo and Minori are battling it out for you! D< pretty funny though seeing him get owned haha. All in all great series with a catchy opening!

  • March 30, 2014 at 9:41 amHalfDemonInuyasha

    Gotta give Kousaku an A for effort with his “You’re both my wings!” attempt.

    Too bad for him that It doesn’t work.

    • March 30, 2014 at 10:36 amMgMaster

      I really liked that part :) It’s like Ringo & Minorin telling him: “What do you think think this is? A harem anime? We’re not taking this BS.”

  • March 30, 2014 at 10:34 amMgMaster

    As someone who didn’t watch Baka to Test I honestly enjoyed this show way more than I expected. All the characters made me laugh in some way or another.

    Also,Becky for president.

    • March 30, 2014 at 2:26 pmfrubam

      If you haven’t watched BakaTest, and you like this show, you should really check it out =03. Uses the same kind of comedy, but the general story arcs are more cleverly written than what this show does, esp since there are ‘battles’ and being in the lowest class, lots of strategies are used to(possibly) win. Good stuff all around =03

  • March 30, 2014 at 11:44 amzasxkok9

    However good the director is, he can’t do much since he had to follow the source material closely. I personally enjoyed Nourin, although not at the level I did with Baka to Test. Having read the novels before watching this show, I am satisfied with its overall quality. The seiyuu’s were great, the storyline was exactly what I have expected, and the animation did not disappoint me as well. Overall, it was a decent job by Silver Link.

    I personally hope there would be another season, as the light novels are still ongoing, but I would prefer they make a season 3 of Baka to Test and season 2 of Kokoro Connect first though XD

  • March 30, 2014 at 1:12 pmflap

    For a show I decided to watch because I wanted to find out WTF the milk jug scene was about, I really did enjoy this a lot. The cast was a lot of fun, and I’m surprised at the balance of story and laughs. And boy did this show make me laugh at times, like that Macross parody at the end (which is much more realistic than the original).

    Plus I love Ringo.

  • March 30, 2014 at 6:44 pmThe Last Idiot

    pretty sad that this anime end without any more details on ringo’s story. >_<