Wednesday, March 7, 2018

No-Rin (2014)

No-Rin is a 12 episode anime based on the light novel series of the same name.  It follows protagonist Hata Kosaku, who is obsessed with the idol Kusakabe Yuka.  He lives in a rural town, attending high school and majoring in agriculture (i.e. growing crops) along with his two best childhood friends, Minori and Kai.  The school is special in the fact that it focuses on agriculture, from raising domestic animals to farming to woodmaking.

To Kosaku's surprise, a transfer student by the name of Kinoshita Ringo, who is actually Yuka, joins his class, majoring in the same area and even staying in the same dormitory.  It's as if the stars aligned and the universe is wanting him to get to know his idol and of course, Kosaku wants to understand her and become more than just friends.  It isn't just a random coincidence either, as it is shown that Ringo actually singled out the letters and vegetables that Kosaku had mailed to her as fan-mail, which became a major reason for her being there.

On the other hand, Minori obviously has a crush on Kosaku but with the appearance of Ringo, she sees her as competition and tries to scare her back to Tokyo via cockroaches, caterpillars on crops etc.  Ringo appears emotionless and hard to please but you can tell that she is interested in Kosaku too, which sets up the love triangle that Kosaku will have to work hard to get out of.  No-Rin's charm comes from its humour, stemming from exaggerated reactions and sexual innuendos (and outright censored elements).  It's really funny and surprisingly goes a bit far at times.  It references various anime in its gags which makes it all the sweeter.  It's the random actions that get you the most, when the characters do something completely unexpected.

There are plenty of over-the-top characters, including the "Big Four" most powerful students within the school.  The teacher is also weird in that she is your typical middle aged woman who is yet to find love and is constantly getting rejected.  Mumbling to herself and to her class about her unsuccessfulness, she is very aggressive in her quest for love and often laments or gets jealous of other people in love.  This leads to a lot of interesting situations but the funny thing is, no matter how provocative she is, all her students feel revolted.

With the setting in agriculture school, from time to time, it gives you some interesting facts about growing crops.  The agricultural setting is different enough to provide some unique scenarios in which the characters have crazy fun.  After the first episode, the setting loses the idol concept very quickly.  Random plots that's slice-of-life in a way, fill out the rest of the season.  Scenes get more crazier, to the point of characters riding a goat to joust, playing beach activities during a severe typhoon to informing you how to save rice from falling over.

Ringo learns how to grow crops, seeing the love and labour that goes into it.  Through her, you understand the sadness that comes when all that hard work can amount to nothing such as when the tomatoes split under heavy rain.  As the season progresses, Kosaku has to pick either Minori or Ringo more and more.  Although the ending provides no resolution, it's still fairly sweet.  Overall, No-Rin is the fun, relaxing anime that's funny and entertaining. Constantly swapping from crazy scenes and gags to being a bit more serious, it's a solid combination.


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