As Non Non Biyori continues it’s march through the rural summertime, we have now finally reached the school holidays now placing the events of episode seven, most likely in late July which makes me wonder just how far the season will go as it is entirely possible that the five episodes remaining after this weeks will be set during the summer holidays which would certainly wrap up my initial thoughts of this being a series to watch in the summer nicely. Though that said it is perhaps a little ridiculous to spend ones summer indoors watching an anime heavily featuring the enjoyment that comes from being out in the fresh air but I guess that much is a bit like asking why play a computer game about football (originally interceded meaning what I would call football but I guess this works for both) when you can just go out and play it yourself. Not that this is a concern of mine though as at time of writing I am in the garden enjoying the distinctly mediocre late British summer weather but I digress, we might get past summer, only time (or perhaps reading the manga) will tell.
Anyhow for the content of this episode I do have a lot of praise for the director. Like usual the episode has two stories going on; the fist story of Hotaru’s lack of courage and the second about letters to and from Tokyo. Both stories running along side each other and neatly tying themselves together at the end of the episode. I have before mentioned the fact that I do very much like how self-contained the episodes of Non Non Biyori are and I feel that this episode is very much a shining example of what is achievable in a singe twenty-four minute episode.
As I’ve said the first story of this episode starts off in the per-opening scene, depicting Hotaru and friends playing in a river draped in the summers sun. For those native to Asahigaoka (Fail on my part for having to look up the name of the village in which the story is set) this much has been something they have always done and things like jumping from bridges into the water is a norm but for Tokyo’s Hotaru this is quite the scary prospect and she is not able to leap from the bridge like the others. This much is temporarily shelved as the episode proper begins and we get into the main body of the episode showing off the girls secret base (I’ll spare you from my nostalgia driven comments on this much) and setting up for the rest of the episode by giving Hotaru a letter from her friends in Tokyo, when she returns home for the day, containing a photo of them at an amusement park.
If the characters were to realize that they are in a fictitious story I do perhaps suspect that no one would look forward to the summer holidays more that Komari as they are the time when we get to see the reappearance of a character who will be subjected to much of the misfortune in her place in the form of Hikage. Though this much misfortune can actually be somewhat explained as I recently learned that she features in another work by the same author, Koakuma Meringue, in which she is subjected to the “terror” of a small demon lord but I digress once again. As proud of Tokyo as ever, Hikage has returned with photos of Tokyo for Renge which prompts Hotaru to mention the photo she received and to promise to show Renge the next day. The next day, however, does not go as originally planned as Hikage’s misfortune is apparently contagious as the bag containing the photo gets left on the bus promoting an epic trek to the bus station in the grueling heat but thanks to the various joys of the country side the three intrepid walkers begin to have fun and lose sense of the time.
Photo retrieved safe and sound, the course of our episode takes us back to the same river that we stared at, now with Hikage in tow. Hikage gets Renge to take a photo of her jumping into the river so that she has something to remember her holidays by which gives Hotaru the idea of sending a photo of her having fun in the river with Natsumi and Co back to her friends in Tokyo, giving her the courage to once more climb atop the bridge and leap from it thus tying the main events of the episode back to the scene from the pre-opening.