「ホタルと仲よくなった」 (Hotaru to Nakayokunatta)
“We Made Friends with Fireflies”

Every week I’m afraid I won’t be able to write anything about this show and then the episode plays and I feel like I have too much to write about.

Genius Natsumi

After giving everyone plenty of on screen time, I suppose it was about time for Natsumi to get an episode that focused mostly around her. Luckily, things didn’t focus on all the typical things we usually associate with Natsumi like her bad grades or somehow getting in trouble. Instead, we got to see a nearly different character that took the time to consider the people around her.

Starting with Hotaru, I think I almost died watching her try to keep up the facade she accidentally created by trying too hard to strike up a conversation with Hotaru. I mean, I’m sure we’ve all been in that situation where a misunderstanding starts brewing and there’s just nothing you can do to stop it from getting worse. And instead of just putting your foot down and rectifying the situation on the spot, things just keep spiraling further and further down until you’re at the point where you have to take everything you’ve heard and somehow craft a somewhat intelligent response in a weak attempt not to get caught. Something that I thought Natsumi was going to get away with until she started talking just a little too much.

Following that nearly gut-busting moment, I was a little surprised to see just how knowledgeable Natsumi was when it comes to stuff out in the real world. Seeing how she’s the most active in the group, I suppose it shouldn’t have been such a surprise that she was so knowledgeable, but seeing her actively teaching both Hotaru and Ren-chon about things was pretty fun to watch. Fun in the sense that we get to see another side of her character that starkly contrasts the everyday Natsumi we usually see.

Hotaru Fireworks

Boy oh boy did I feel bad for Hotaru when her firework plans went down the tube. Being the newbie in the group, I can totally sympathize with how bad she felt when she realized that she wouldn’t be able to bring the prized fireworks and not even contact everyone to tell them the event was off. But to add insult to injury, I couldn’t believe the one motor firework she had was some lame launcher that didn’t even shoot something that exploded! Literally, even as watcher, it felt like someone was vigorously rubbing salt into an open wound. Luckily, Kazu-nee managed to salvage the night with her impromptu firework display and in the process reclaimed some of those “onee-san” points she’s lost since the season first started.

On a side note, I’m kind of impressed with how pretty the whole firefly scene ended up being. Good on you Non Non Biyori for spending some money in all the right places!

Looking Forward

With another episode down, it looks like we’ve hit the halfway point! Something that came way too quickly, but leaves me with a lot of hope that the next batch of episodes will start really ramping up in all the departments that we love about this series. Besides that, there really isn’t much else to say! See you guys next week!





  1. Definitely my second favorite show this season, after my guilty pleasure, Symphogear GX! Never before have I found a show to be as simultaneously…well…zen…and hilarious as Non Non Biyori. You’d think that comedy usually equates to over the top, insane, irreverent, adrenaline-infused antics (ala Shimoneta or D-Frag, etc.)- but Non Non Biyori somehow manages to elicit a strong comedic effect while also maintaining a subtle, subdued tone overall. It’s slice-of-life at its best!

    How does Non Non Biyori achieve this? Well, I think the secret has to do with how it delivers its jokes. Firstly, Non Non Biyori often builds its jokes up slowly; a calculated, gradual set-up phase flows into an eventual comedic climax- like the one where a montage of immediately antecedental interactions between Kazuho and Renge lead into the comedically climactic event where the girls arrive at the Miyauchi residence only to find Kazuho derping about blindfolded in the yard, scaring Natsumi straight- the writers slowly set things up for this comedic climax through the prior interactions between Renge and Kazuho. The comedic climax was not delivered suddenly and explosively- rather arising naturally out of antecedental events as an eventuality.

    And secondly, the delivery of punchlines/comedic climaxes is almost invariably done with deadpan seriousness- high-energy, exclamatory tsukommis ala-Gintama are a no-no. The situation is funny because of its real-world absurdity/improbability, but is simultaneously low energy and deadpan because of its in-universe plausibility/mundaneness. The characters tend to react to comedic situations as if they were natural occurrences- like how Natsumi’s reaction to the decidedly real-world absurd sight of Kazuho derping around in the yard blindfolded was a serious expression of worry that she might end up just like Kazuho in the future if she doesn’t try harder in school due to the in-universe plausibility/mundaneness of the scenario. Neither Natsumi nor any of the girls reacted with exclamatory adrenaline- and thus imparted no empathetic exclamatory adrenaline on the audience, maintaining a subtle, subdued atmosphere in the face of comedic absurdity – as the situation is absurd only within the context of the real world; it’s been well established in-universe that Kazuho is just that sort of person, and that Kazuho doesn’t seem to be entirely serious because she’s really just sort of playing with her little sister- in-universe it is plausible and unsurprising that the other characters are unsurprised by Kazuho’s actions. What is improbable/unlikely/unexpected in the real world has now become established as probable/likely/mundane/expected in-universe. Even when the characters do react energetically, their energy is natural- an organic byproduct of present in-universe circumstances, and not induced by the underlying comedic absurdity itself; the comedic absurdity remains as meta-real-world comedic absurdity- perceived as mundane by all characters and ignored in-universe, their excitement arising purely out of other in-universe reasons- the prime example of this would be the ruler-wars skit.

    And as it turns out, Renge is the perfect tool for achieving the second (deadpan delivery) effect. Through the innocence and naivete of a precocious child, and through imparting that child with a certain peculiar personality, outrageous comedic scenarios that would ordinarily be absurd in the real world are made to be plausibly mundane in-universe when wrought by her hands. Renge can induce comedic real-world absurdities without appearing as absurd in-universe, due to the context of her character- and this in turn allows the other characters to respond nonchalantly to these comedic real-world absurdities caused by Renge without appearing to be absurd, as the those absurdities really aren’t absurd at all in-universe. Real-world absurd things become plausible in-universe and cease to be absurd when Renge is their causal nexus- they become meta-absurd, mundane in universe and absurd only in the real world. The character-construct Renge Miyauchi is truly a work of genius.

    Not much else to say, really. Non Non Biyori is definitely among the cleverest of comedies in anime that I’ve ever had the pleasure to watch. Please never end…

    1. To clarify, other characters have also been crafted to allow for deadpan delivery just like Renge, but what makes Renge so special is that she’s the jack knife/omnitool of deadpan delivery, whereas the utility of other characters is far more limited…

      1. Kazuho’s laziness, Kaede’s overprotectiveness, Komari’s complexes, Natsumi’s mischievousness, Nii-chan’s introversion, etc. All personality elements designed specifically to make the real-world absurd in-universe contextually mundane. The utility of each of these personality elements individually in terms of the facilitation of deadpan delivery is limited. However, when all of these are combined, with Renge as the centerpiece, the whole becomes an inexhaustible wellspring of deadpan delivery utility. Non Non Biyori really could go on forever, or at least for a very long time, like Kochikame or something of it’s like…

  2. Gotta show those nee-san skills at some point, right? Nice way of salvaging an incredibly disappointing situation. It was also kinda interesting to see Hotaru bawling after feeling like she disappointed everyone, since she usually acts so mature for her age. Felt bad for her, then when I thought, “At least they’ll have one blast,” nope, all they got was a parachute, just to twist the knife.

  3. Renge’s failed attempt at trying to compliment Hotaru, then giving up to orz was the best part XD And just goes to show that no matter how mature Hotaru looks, she is still a 10 year old at heart.


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