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.