「君が見せた笑顔」 (Kimi ga Miseta Egao)
“The Smile You Showed Me”
Perhaps for Nourin, a four episode rule should be in place. Episode four easily matched the image of what I was expecting when I first decided to cover this series and boy, it made me happy. It gave us the framework of Ringo’s character and a general idea of how she’ll go about her development. By connecting the characters to Ringo through an explicit goal, the series created a framework where all the following episodes would logically make sense, something that the plot was sorely lacking before. For Baka to Test, it was getting Himeji back into Class A that united the team–for Nourin it is getting Ringo to finally learn how to smile again.
While this episode made me smile and feel good inside, it also provided a dilemma: how should one go about watching this show? Nourin can easily throw logic out the window for the sake of entertainment with one episode, but with following episode weave a narrative that’s pretty well-made. This episode forced me to swallow my words where I assumed that the agricultural setting would be more a convenient backdrop–the interesting metaphor of crop rotation, rest, and solid work brings up a lot of potential. So while we’re here this week contemplating about how the slow healing process of a farm contrasts with the gratifying yet unstable nature of the idol world, next week one could be flipping tables and laughing at how stupid the show is once again. What kind of mindset do we approach this show with?
That’s something I leave up to each individual to decide, but no matter how one approaches it, Nourin has demonstrated that it CAN utilize its premises and setting effectively while also providing lots of gags for us to either smile or outright laugh at. It’s a mixed bag that doesn’t always produce the results that we want, but somehow I feel like it’ll turn out alright in the end. After all, with that smile towards the end, how can one not have hope for this series?