First Impressions – Nourin

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Turns out all series set in agricultural high schools are not created equal.

The worst first week of any anime season since I’ve been a fan is winding down, and we can scratch another series off the list of possibilities to really impress.  Truthfully I never expected Nourin to be that “wow” premiere I’m waiting on, but I did have some hopes for it based mostly on the work Oonuma Shin did with Watamote.  It’s not much to go on, but that’s the kind of season this is – any series has any one point in its favor, no matter the red flags, you have to hope for the best.

As it turns out Nourin is okay, but I’m at the point now where most of my positives for new series boil down to “it’s not as bad as it could have been”.  And Nourin isn’t – there are some fairly funny moments here, the best of them coming from Saitou Chiwa’s hilarious scenery-chewing as the unstable teacher “Becky-sensei“.  But the rest of it is all pretty pedestrian, though listening to Kana Hanazawa do what I can only assume she thinks is a rural accent is interesting in its own way.

Oonuma Shin, like most directors, is only as good as his material it seems, and this LN adaptation certainly makes one appreciate how good stuff like Watamote and Gin no Saji really is.  Yes, this season has me reduced to watching idol anime – though the idolatry seems to be confined to the first few minutes.  That’s when we see idol Yuka Kusakabe in the dreams of cultivation student Hatta Kousaku (Asanuma Shintarou), her biggest fan.  He’s such a big fan, in fact, that he sends her phallic vegetable gifts and sleeps with her body pillow.  Meanwhile Hanazawa’s Nakazawa Minori plays the thankless osananajimi role and the incredibly wooden Hatano Wataru plays stick-up-the-butt BFF Kamatori Kei.

Yeah – you got that this was a light-novel, I’m sure.  Again, this falls into the not-as-bad-as-it-sounds category because the humor occasionally hits and Shin keeps the energy amped, though with weaker material to work with he once again falls back on his hyperactive pseudo-Shinbo habits too often.  This is surprisingly ecchi stuff too, one of the more sexually explicit this season both in terms of language and imagery.  We’ll see what happens when the now-retired idol – now re-named Kinoshita Ringo – shows up at Kousaku’s school (played by Tamura Yukari).  This is all a cut above most of the crap we’ve gotten this season just for curiosity’s sake of nothing else – Nourin seems pretty fearless and it’s definitely madcap.  I guess on this schedule, that makes it a standout.

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  1. w

    Becky-Sensei is such a Pani Poni reference, even down to Saitou Chiwa.
    I liked this much better than I thought I would, the MC seems to have an actual personality which is increasingly rare in romantic comedies these days.
    Also, is that supposed to be a Wallaby? If only Hoozuki were there..

  2. I dunno what the hell it is. I was thinking dog, but whatever it is Porkbowl is way cuter.

  3. e <—- I want the black cat letter envelope.
    I'm a bit disappointed you mention phallic vegetable gifts (given the price of fresh veggies isn't that a very valuable kind of gift? Aw that's some love) but offer no screenshots of those and instead picked the oiled-looking squeezed oppai bit :,>.
    Ah well I'll have to live without ever knowing probably. I'll go chomping my sorrow on my carrot&mayo snack.
    Space Dandy was a very mixed bag – let's see if and how the fully clothed redhead in the preview manages to impress me otherwise the characters left me pretty indifferent save for the robot – . Seems like Hoozuki and GnS2 are my only season locks so far.
    *grabs for more mayo*

  4. e

    Bit of a meager broth from those bones for now :,).
    And about SD I must agree with one of the comments… as much as I appreciated his voice this kind of MC is losing out to Kimutaku's JP in Redline.
    Unless reviews make me smell some improvement soon I might simply excuse myself from the table.

  5. S

    I liked Noragami a lot, but everyone says it's a shonen action series from a not very exciting manga, so I'm trying to keep my hopes low on that. I'm not going to stick around for Bleach 2, that's for sure.

    And yeah, this season is the worst. Even the much hyped Space Dandy was kind of a disappointment. If it wasn't for Silver Spoon 2 I would probably just revoke my Crunchyroll subscription until April. Hoozuki was kinda nice, but also so damn obscure most of the times. Jokes about Japanese ads aren't exactly easy to appreciate for us European residents.

  6. s

    Id have to disagree with what everyone is saying about noragami. Sure the first ep didnt truly jump out of the screen but it was very well executed and its only going to get better from here (assuming bones continues to make the adaptation decisions they made in the first ep because their doing a good job so far) Noragami is more about the characters and themes than it is about the action (and its a better series for it), and truth be told, it doesnt really feel like a shonen (though why that genre is being used as a way to knock on a series, i dont not understand). Noragami and 2 other series this winter might end up being the only good series this season…damn this winter is terrible.

  7. w

    Everyone seems to have already written Winter off as a bust, is it really that bad? It's still only been one week, and one week isn't fully indicative of a season. I know it hasn't had anything completely amazing, but it's not like it's been particularly bad, either. It's been a mediocre week overall, not a terrible one, but here's plenty of potential for most of these series. I don't think it's fair to write it off just yet.

  8. I would say it has been particularly bad, a lot worse than mediocre. But all I've really stated is that it's the worst first week since I've been a fan, not that it's going to be the worst season.

    Again, though, unless Inari Konkon pulls a rabbit out of the hat (or Seifuku surprises me more than I've ever been surprised) this will be the first time we've not had a single outstanding premiere since I've been watching anime.

  9. M

    I've been here plenty of times before with anime seasons. IIRC Winter 2009 was dire and Fall 2009 was garbage. Summer 2008 wasn't hot either. I'm probably in less shock at how flat this week has been because of them.

  10. w

    I wasn't actually referring to you for the season write-off comment, I can't recall you expressing anything other than (understandable) disappointment with this batch of premieres. I've just noticed that a lot of people commenting here, RC and around the web in general seem to have already given up on the season as a whole, which I think is unfair. One week does not a season make.

    Thing is, I actually do agree with you that its been the worst batch of premieres I can remember. For some reason though, even if it is the worst week, to call it a really bad week seems wrong.

    The thing is, individually, not too many series are total write offs (though I think I enjoyed several premieres a bit more than you). The problem is the lack of anything outstanding to pick up the slack so collectively, the week falls quite short. Which is basically why I think mediocre fits the description better than bad.

    Also, Seifuku ended up being waaay better than I expected. Though I did expect to despise it…

  11. A

    ' …Saitou Chiwa's hilarious scenery-chewing as the unstable teacher "Becky-sensei". '

    Whoa, deja vu! But if I want to see that, I think i'll pop in a "Pani Poni Dash" DVD instead.

    That's two shows today I've bailed on, both of which feature idols.

  12. i

    GE reduced to watching an idol anime, how bad is this winter going to be. Fall has some good carry overs with sports, LH, GT and NnA so I think that even if all winter can gives a few shows to complement it won't be too bad next three months. NnA's 2nd OP is the best of 2014 so far and I really can see myself going and buying the series up now, if it ever makes its way across the pacific.

  13. t

    someone said to me it's "Hannah Montana the anime version", partly true I have to say…LOL.

    anyway, this wasn't as bad as it sound. mostly it's nice, somehow expected but funny, yet sometimes scenes disturb to the flow, mostly it's teacher which is pretty annoying, but I can live with that for now. in general, the it went well and all.

  14. E

    I liked this one, very funny, only now i discovered that is the sama writer of Watamote, that was

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