Apologies for the delay: certain family members were in the ER this weekend.
- Idiotic and energetic male lead? Check.
- Equally as idiotic and energetic female lead who will lose the love triangle? Check.
- Relatively calm male character who makes fun of the male lead’s idiocy? Check.
- Pairing female character for the straight male character who is capable but wavers in the presence of her crush? Check.
- Female lead who is competent at some things, a failure at others, and will form a close bond with the male lead? Check.
Welcome to Baka to Test S3! Wait, no? Awwwwww. It’ll never get a third season, will it?
With Silver Link listed as the animation studio and Oonuma Shin as director, its certainly easy to see why this series parallels Baka to Test so much. Aside from the molded roles of rom com standard, Nourin brings the comparison closer though the high energy of the show (slapstick, gag comedy, over-the-top situations) and certain artistic decisions (constantly blushing females, heavy use of explaining-chibis). I’m sure that this point has been hammered on the nail several times throughout the internet, so I won’t waste anymore time there.
What’s important is to label what distinguishes Nourin from the rest (and Baka to Test).
An easy one to start with is the increased fanservice of the show–all-out naked service is on the rise. One can argue that the bull scene was meant to illustrate Minori’s (Hanazawa Kana) idiocy and the milk scene to be an illustration of sensei’s (Saito Chiwa) single desperation (why are all anime female teachers single?), but that’s beside the point. Nourin, while no Queen’s Blade, steps up its fanservice intensity as compared to its comparison partner, where stepping up is an understatement. This may prove as a large turn-off for those watching primarily for the comedy if the nakedness proves too distracting and random.
Second, Agricultural School. Moyashimon and Gin no Saji are the first that come to mind, and now we bring to the fray Nourin. Just as Gin no Saji uses the agricultural setting to bring a humbling and down-to-earth reality to a character, we will most likely see Nourin doing the same. While this isn’t necessarily a distinguishing factor by itself, it is an important distinguishment to apply it to a romantic comedy setting. Rather than placing focus on why the rice fields grow because of certain fertilizers, or how the rice tastes because of hard work, this show will focus on five kids’ approach to picking the rice and how that creates romantic and friendly bonds between them. Less education and philosophy, more focus on characters. This could be a great distinguishing factor for Nourin if they can pull the right humbling and comedic strings and focus on a part of the agricultural genre that’s generally placed in second.
So, who should be watching this show? First, Silver Link fans. If one liked Baka to Test and didn’t mind the brazen fanservice, give the first three episodes a go. The gags are pretty funny, the characters are unoriginal yet likeable, and the school atmosphere puts a smile to the right faces. It helps that so many experienced seiyuu are part of the cast, because the execution of various scenes such as Natsuki-sensei’s outbreaks and Hata Kousaku’s (Asanuma Shintaro) lament at a god’s death would not have been a fraction humorous if not for the skilled voice acting. If one is looking for some of the more random and high-octane comedy offerings this season, this show also qualifies. Bulls appearing in classrooms, dakimakura shame, and of course the adorably random pet Wakadanna–there’s no shortage of energy anytime soon. That’s not to say that the serious character exposition won’t happen on occasion–there is much potential in exposing an idol who’s actually reserved in real life (Michael Jackson and Freddie Mercury immediately come to mind as real examples), as well as breaking the expectations of her number one fan. We’ll focus more on that emphasis later on in episodes two and three, but today’s focus was more of introductions to get out of the way.
However, seeing the polarized opinions of various other forums, it’s fair to point out that the fanservice can be a killer for some, especially if of the type that has high standards for “tasteful fanservice.” The generic layout of the show in terms of characters and plot may become boring for veterans who’ve seen this schtick many times before, where new gimmicks just don’t cut it. The idol aspect is also a potential unoriginal breaker, where the “I’m not perfect after all, I have a sad story,” setup isn’t as emotionally successful as it once was.
As always though, it’s best judgement to try out three episodes if the slightest of curiosity or interest is piqued. After what I’ve seen this season, it looks like comedies could well be on their way on being the most successful genre this season, with Nourin definitely joining their ranks as contender. Overall, it is a well-produced show with good animation and excellent voice acting, where presentation is the least of its concerns. I personally will keep blogging this show for at least the three episode rule to see how it pans out after introductions, so let’s keep our fingers crossed that things go better than expected–that Nourin can break away from comparison to stand on its own.
OP: 「秘密の扉から会いにきて」 (Himitsu no Tobira kara Ai ni Kite) by Tamura Yukari