Nourin (aka No-Rin) (Silver Link, Funimation) – Genre: Romantic Comedy, Shonen, Ecchi, Music
My foray into anime coverage starting this season has gotten off to an unusual start. Deciding to challenge myself, I was given two series at random. I threw two darts at a board, and that was used to determine which two series I would cover from a list of available anime. I got Pupa, the horror series I covered a couple days ago, and for my second series, Nourin, a romantic comedy series about a retired pop idol. I should explain that I tend to dislike the horror genre’s conventions in general(I read Battle Royale and Cage of Eden, and both disappointed me to some extent), and I loathe cookie cutter rom-com anime, especially shonen rom-coms. Getting these two series by pure chance is a cruel joke, but I will follow them to the end.
With that said, Nourin, based on the light novel series of the same name, was oddly pleasing. Cookie cutter? In many ways. We’ve got our horribly lopsided female to male ratio of characters(in the first episode alone, I counted a 2:1 ratio), our tsundere, our childhood female friend, our straight laced male friend that wears glasses, our impossibly attractive and age-defying female teacher, and a beautiful girl so impossibly out of the protagonist’s league that we just know she has to fall for him anyway. But it doesn’t have any tsunderes voiced by Rie Kugimiya(yet) , so there’s a break from convention.
Nourin still has something to offer for the viewer like me, that can’t stand watching the same retreaded archetypes and structures. This series is undeniably funny, using ecchi themes in a way beyond the usual “awkward situation+misunderstanding= female character hitting male character” format. The gags feel mostly fresh, and the voice actors and animators provide good delivery on their ends. And I can’t let go of how well animated the opening sequence was. Seriously, it’s gorgeous.
The story set up for what I feel will be a frustrating experience for me. Kousaka Hata is obsessed with a pop star, Kusakabe Yuka . Disgusting amounts of posters on his walls, figurines, a body pillow with Yuka in a bikini printed on it, frequent mailing of fan letters and packages to her, the full extension of grossness. Hata is creepy to the point of being borderline antisocial. When Yuka announces her retirement, his devastation keeps him bedridden, even when his loving, caring friends take the time to visit him and ensure he gets to class and keeps his grades up. Hata goes as far to be rude to his friends, and it was this that made me decide once and for all that I am not going to root for the protagonist of this series. Screw Hata, he’s not good people.
He has two primary friends, Nakazawa Minori, and Kamatori Kei. Minori, the childhood friend-girl is sweet, outgoing, a little dumb at times, and has large breasts(I only bring this up because this is something I feel will be a recurring theme for her character). Kei, the glasses-wearing straight-man best friend, is smart, responsible, and a generally upstanding guy. If you can’t tell already, I like Hata’s friends much more than Hata himself.
We haven’t gotten much of the side supporting characters yet, but they’re gearing up to be my favorites. Kochou Yoshida is a minor twist on the tsundere stereotype. She’s got the “full sized” tsundere characteristics, large breasts, a mean, haughty attitude, but rather than going after the undeserving protagonist, Yoshida is nursing a bit of a crush on our straight man, Kei, who serves as a good foil to her antics. It’s cute, I’m probably going to end up shipping this couple
Then we get to Natsumi Bekki. Oh man. She’s the kid’s homeroom teacher, and a slightly misogynistic portrayal of a woman approaching middle age that is losing it from lacking a man in her life. On a daily basis, she tells the class a story of the depressing, crazy lady stuff she does to cope with her loneliness. One particularly sad and sexually provocative story is one where she oiled up her naked body and posed in front of her mirror with a video camera to make herself feel worthy of attention. It makes it hard to buy when a woman that sexually deranged can’t get a date in Japan, but it’s amusing none the less. Her downward spiral promises to be my favorite part of this series, if it keeps up.
Overall, this 1st episode has gotten my hopes up. Plenty of dirty jokes, sight gags, and off-kilter humor.