First Impression: Non Non Biyori, Season 3

Amid shots of gorgeous scenery, a handful of elementary and middle school-age kids attend the Japanese equivalent of a one-room country schoolhouse. Silliness ensues, periodically interrupted by more landscape shots. The heart of Non Non Biyori is Renge, a precocious and hilarious first-grader. Then there’s Hotaru, a former city girl whose family moved out to country. The last of the main cast is a pair of sisters, Komari and Natsumi. Highlights of this episode include playing the recorder for an unconventional audience, blaming one’s sister for everything in the class records, making mummy-like dolls out of insane quantities of tape, and using a toad to help someone overcome shyness.

The first season of Non Non Biyori aired in 2013. It got a second season in 2015. And now, in 2021, we are blessed with a third season. I, for one, am thrilled. This is possibly the most slice-of-life-y slice-of-life show I’ve ever seen, perhaps even the platonic form of the slice-of-life show. Beautiful, relaxed, hilarious, free of objectionable content, it’s a true joy to watch. Don’t expect any action or drama, just giggles and good times. I wholeheartedly recommend this series, with the caveat that you really ought to watch the earlier seasons first. (That’s because A. they’re great, and B. it helps to get to know the characters as they’re introduced; there’s no ongoing plot you need to worry about.) I love Non Non Biyori and this episode gave me every reason to expect the new season will be more of the same.

All three seasons of Non Non Biyori can be found on Crunchyroll.

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