Hey, how’s it going there? My last post was in… holy shit, it was back in June. Anyway, before I get to reviewing New Game, I think I owe you readers an explanation for my very long absence from the anime world in general. If you’re friends with me on Facebook, you might know already. But for those people who don’t even know I have a Facebook page, get over there and like it already.
So, I’ve decided to continue my studies in Singapore. It’s a one-year Master’s degree program, so things are quite jam-packed. I’ve been cooped up with lots of reading and work and to be honest, I just feel so bummed out. Thanks to this workload too, I can’t even keep up with all the new anime that continuously comes out. However, a lot of my friends recommended New Game as an anime that I should watch because Aoba is a good girl reasons. So, since I finally got a well-deserved two-week break, I decided I might as well binge on it. And that I did.
Hey there, long time no see… and nobody cares. Alright, I know I said I’ll be doing a review of my favorite slice of life anime, Gin no Saji, during the first season of the anime. But, I decided to wait till the second season because I wanted to see more of the story before passing out judgment. But first, it’s the Year of the Horse, so…
Gin no Saji is an anime created by the person who brought us one of the most epic anime series of all time, Full Metal Ball-chemist. Sorry, Alchemist. The name? If you claim to be an otaku, you should know. It’s Arakawa Hiromu. Now, Arakawa-sensei, after finishing FMA, discovered Harvest Moon. The sensei got so addicted to it, she poured hundreds of hours into it. When she finally had enough, she couldn’t get it out of her system and she needed a manga to work on after the FMA series ended. Under Harvest Moon’s influence, she decided that otakus had enough trashy moe and declared to create the best slice of life to compete with FMA. And boom! Gin no Saji was born.
But really, those who’ve played Harvest Moon: Back to Nature should be able to relate to the protagonist of the series, Hachiken Yuugo. He’s a city boy who only knows how to study. Because he had a row with his parents, he decided to attend school as far away as he could get. He landed in Ezonoo Agricultural School, thanks to some help from his former teacher.
He thought he could just study his way to become a farmer. Oh boy was he wrong. DAMN WRONG.
Unlike our character in HM:BTN, Hachiken had to learn the basics of agriculture the hard way. And of course, he didn’t have Mythril farming equipment. Waking up at 4 AM for barn duty, attending the equestrian club, formal studies, and lights out at 10 PM becomes the routine for Hachiken. It seems that the only reason he’s alive is Mikage Aki, the stunning beauty of the equestrian club who captured Hachiken’s heart from the beginning.
Farming and agriculture is a theme rarely explored in anime. That’s because the anime fanbase is chock-full of retarded weeaboos and creepy otaku who only want fans service, boobs, and cute girls who they can masturbate to and make body pillows out of. Arakawa actually went out of her way to explore one of the rarer fields in anime. The results? An amazing and almost-realistic story of how a lost teenager finds his path.
Gin no Saji gives us a flowing story that is both touching and funny at the same time. The story has a nice pace. You can feel normal at one point and get gradually serious along the way, only to be sighing in relief once the episode nears its end. The story really connects with the viewer, especially during the time when Hachiken was taking care of Pork Bowl, the piglet. The anime really puts you in Hachiken’s shoes. When Pork Bowl became (literally) bacon and everyone was eating it, you can grasp the emotion that the anime brings. I almost cried when Hachiken labored himself to make bacon and sell it off.
And it’s not just that. The story is rife with moral lessons, intended for lost Japanese teenagers who can’t decide on their path in life. When watched closely, every episodes conveys at least one message centered on the theme: “Live your life the way you choose” and “Don’t give up, there’s always a way”. This can really be seen when Hachiken decided to work at Mikage’s house during the summer and when he met his elder brother.
And who could forget when Hachiken saw a chicken being decapitated? Perhaps that is the most important lesson the anime teaches us: how food gets to our plates. It teaches you the meaning of life, served in anime-style. I don’t know about you, but after this anime ends, I’m going vegan.
Let’s also not forget one of the best aspects of the story: the occasional humor inserted in serious moments. These jokes actually catch you off guard and are really hilarious just because of that. And no, the humor is not anime girls slipping and showing off their panties.
What’s the best part? No crappy fans service, no girls talking in high-pitched artificial voices, and no showing off boobs or panties! Woohoo!
But there’s always a drawback. I can’t seem to find anything to tie the plot together except the whole farming theme. I guess I’ll have to face it: this anime lacks an adhesive. The episodes sometimes wander about without a clear arc. There’s likely not gonna be an epic finish like FMA. But since this is a slice-of-life anime (and a good one), I’m sure we can all forgive that.
Art and Graphics (4/5)
If you’ve watched FMA, then you’ll recognize Arakawa’s drawing style. Yep, all of the characters are different, even the background characters! And don’t forget the characters with the special physical traits in FMA; they’re back (with more human appearances) as teachers and adults in Gin no Saji! Arakawa doesn’t design overly cute girls; she draws them as realistic as possible, but not too realistic to maintain the anime element. Take a look at Tamako, the chubby rich girl, and Mikage, the female protagonist.
What’s next? The almost-realistic “farmy” feel you get when you see how intricate the animators made the backgrounds, various equipment, and farm animals. Especially the farm animals. Now I know real-life farm animals aren’t that cute, especially pigs. I’ve been to a pig pen myself a few times. Not the slick, industrial ones regulated by the government; but the smelly, muddy, and gross ones in small homes in the country. But it’s anime. It’s cool. They did their research alright.
Music is not a selling point for this anime. The background music is pretty standard and the OP for the first season is just… plain. I liked the ED songs though (both seasons), especially “Hello Especially” by Sukima Switch. It has that country-feeling to it and would be great as a campfire song when y’all be camping out in the woods with a banjo, beer, and loaded shotguns.
Let me point out three things which summarizes this entire review and be reasons why you should watch this anime:
One. The anime has heart and will probably share it with you if you don’t have one.
Two. It teaches us a lesson. Scratch that, MANY lessons about life, morality, and friendship.
Three. It has no crappy fans service.
Four. It has BACON.
Wait, that was four… Anyway, this is a really recommended anime for you to watch. But again, this anime is not for everyone. If you’re looking for something to masturbate to, this is obviously not your thing. Unless you have a thing for cows like the three weirdos in the club that worships cows. See you around!
At first, I thought Non Non Biyori was gonna be another typical moe anime with your typical fan service and nothing else than fan service. After I watched six episodes in one sitting, I realized I was wrong. It’s fair to say I haven’t enjoyed some anime warmth and laughter since Nichijou. Now, Nichijou is just plain twisted. Non Non Biyori on the other hand, has heartwarming moments and its fair share of tickling comedy. It’s not like the overly idiotic, physics-defying comedy like Kill la Kill, but it’s something fresh. Well, I was getting tired of the typical romance comedy or “girls being too kawaii to actually be funny or mean something”.
Non Non Biyori tells the story of Hotaru, a fifth-grader who has the bang-able physique of a high-schooler, who moved from Tokyo into the boonies. That means she’s the transfer student. Please Japan, does the main character always have to be a transfer student? What’s so special about them?! Anyway, she discovers that the school in the country only has five students including herself, and they’re all in different grades! Wow why is that school still standing? So, Hotaru’s new life begins with her new friends, which we shall now refer to as the anime Non Non Biyori.
Yeah, it’s a moe-loli anime. Yes, I may suggest that creepy otaku may be fapping over this. There’s one thing that has me hooked on the anime, and I can assure you it’s not the loli… well, it may be the lolis… OKAY FINE! It’s the lolis. Loli aside though, this anime is a very light anime and can be processed without any real thinking. The overall ambiance is “warm, heartwarming, and just cute”. Yeah, I smiled every time I finished an episode. It’s kind of those “awwwww that’s so fucking cuutteee!” feelings, just like when you hold a Nendoroid three centimeters from your nose. I haven’t seen a major plot line yet, since it feels like every episode is well… episodic. There’s one story per episode, and the only thing linking them together is a consistent timeline. From spring, to summer, and perhaps we may see autumn and winter. Oh yeah, there’s minor girls’ love involved. Nothing that serious though, just saying if you’re one of those who don’t like girls’ love.
So, my recommendation? Grab a dose of Non Non Biyori when you feel there’s nothing cute in this fucked-up world anymore. I guarantee that one episode per week is gonna change that frown into a warm smile. Oh yeah, if the anime isn’t warm enough, the OP sung by nano.RIPE does the trick. It’s smooth, mellow, and… warm. Gosh I’ve been using that word a lot in this post.