EVEN POPSTARS CAN’T RESIST A BIG CUCUMBER!
strong>What They Say
There was once a teen named Kousaku who was… mildly obsessed with an idol. He mailed her some veggies to keep her bod healthy, and… SURPRISE! She showed up at Agriculture school!
Now that Ringo (the artist formerly known as Yuka) is a student at Gifu Prefectural Tamo No-Rin High School, things are about to get hairy. Kousaku’s best friend, Minori, is waaaay jelly of his crush on account of her not-so-hidden feelings for him, and a rivalry begins to heat up between her and Ringo. But the biggest mystery still remains: what’s a world-famous pop star doing at an agricultural high school?
This series has very strong audio in terms of dialogue, though I feel the musical composition could have used some work and didn’t always blend or complement the anime. Both the English and Japanese versions were funny, though I would say the English version was stronger. While this series had some major Japanese seiyuu like Yukari Tamura, who debuted as a voice actress in 1997, and has been in hundreds of productions since then, I feel like a lot of the humor goes over the head of an English speaking audience unless you are familiar with the Japanese language and all its nuances. Also, the English production has Austin Tindle, Jad Saxton, Bryn Apprill, Morgan Garrett, and Tia Ballard, who are basically all-stars an anime dubbing.
The artwork for this series is cute and works well with the fan-servicey nature of the anime. At the same time, there are some minor production quality issues with BluRay. When I did a side-by-side comparison of the BluRay with the streaming version on FUNimation’s website, I could detect no noticeable difference. This might make it sound like a good thing because the streaming version is up to snuff, but the truth is that it means the BluRay version simply can’t compare with higher quality products. Saying that, this series is an overall well-done anime. It was produced by Silver Links, who are known for their quality fan service/action anime like Strike the Blood and Masamune-Kun’s Revenge.
The director for this series is Shin Ōnuma, who directed several great series like Baka & Test seasons 1 and 2, Ef: A Tale of Memories, Kokoro Connect, and Princess Tutu. You can see his unique brand of humor in the directing. This series is very much in the same vein as anime like Baka & Test, which was a great comedy anime.
Set against a green background with white dots and vegetables is Ringo—the main heroine for this series. She is wearing a cute white dress held together by a single strap that wraps around her neck and a blue and white undershirt. A large straw hat like the kind you’d expect to see in the countryside is resting on her head. Immediately above her is the title, No-Rin The Complete Collection. The green background contrasts with Ringo and the title, making them both pop out more. The back of the sleeve has much the same. The green background makes the chibi characters pop out as they stand above the title. On the left side are screenshots of various humorous scenes. On the right is all the information about the anime like its description and the extras features.
With the title displayed prominently smack center, and the background constantly shifting between various scenes from the anime, the menu visually appealing but a little chaotic. And since the title is so large, it is hard to see the scenes that are being played. Down below are the options you can choose from: Play All, Episodes, Setup, and Extras.
This anime comes with all the essential extras you’d expect like textless opening and ending theme songs, promotional videos, commercial collections, and U.S. Trailers. However, it also comes with commentary episodes. Given this series comedic nature and the voice actors who star in the dub, I found the commentaries hilarious. Austin Tindle and Tia Ballard are great fun to listen to. The addition of Bryn April and the others made watching the commentaries well worth it.
Content: (Please note that this portion of the review may contain spoilers):
Some anime are bad—and some anime are so bad they are good. No-Rin is the latter case, a series that is so funny I could not help but enjoy it. It’s a comedy anime that pushes the boundaries of what could be considered acceptable humor, mixing sex jokes with farming techniques and agriculture for a story that could only come from Japan.
This series starts off with a young man named Kousaku who is heartbroken over his favorite idol—who he is obsessed with—quitting show business. He locks himself in his room and cries while hugging his dakimakura of Yuka—the idol—until his friends drag his sorry butt out of there. However, his depression is not long-lived. A new student arrives at his agriculture school, and she looks just like Yuka! Her name is Ringo, and she is the former idol whom Kousaku has religiously obsessed over for however many years she worked as an idol.
One has to wonder what an Idol is doing in a dinky little prefecture attending a school for agriculture. It’s impossible to imagine a city girl like Ringo being able to handle the great outdoors, dealing with the scorching sun as she harvests the crops their school is growing while wearing a skimpy swimsuit—because of anime—and playing around in the mud to plant new crops. However, Ringo is a surprisingly determined girl and the only real issue she seems to have is her rivalry with Minori—Kousaku’s best friend.
As expected of a series that relies on its gratuitous humor, No-Rin is filled to the brim with inappropriate jokes. One of Kousaku’s classmates, Kocho Yoshida, is basically a gag character who is mostly there so people can harass her for her massive bust size, much to her embarrassment. There’s also Natsumi Bekki. She is the homeroom teacher for class 2-A. Her major mood swings often plunge the entire class into despair. She’s a forty-year-old single woman who is so desperate to get married that she becomes near-hysterical whenever her lack of marriage candidates is brought up. During one of the episodes, Bekki (nicknamed Becky) got naked in class, put food on her body, and asked the boys she teaches to “devour her.” It’s the kind of behavior no teacher in real life would ever have.
Because the jokes are inappropriate, a lot of more sensitive people might be turned off by this series—especially in the current social justice landscape—but I personally thought this series was hilarious. While an anime can never survive on gags for long, a comedy like this works well as a simple 12 episode anime. There was enough substance in the main story that I found myself engaged in. However, the story development’s primary purpose was to deliver the comedy and running gags.
In keeping with this being a gag anime, the art style will periodically change to suit whatever is being referenced. There’s a JoJo reference thrown in (because what parody would be complete without at least one of those), where Soji meets with one of the four most powerful students in the school (a young man who is gay for him), and the young man—Rose Hanazono—kisses him and says, “you thought Ringo Kinoshita would be your first kiss, but it was really me!” A various obvious reference to Dio from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. There were also times where the art style would change to something resembling Akira Toriyama’s style—the artist who created the critically acclaimed and incredibly popular Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z manga, along with the games Dragon Quest and Chrono Trigger.
None of the characters are what I would call unique. Ringo is a girl who quit her career as an idol because Kousaku kept sending her vegetables. We learn early on that this was the reason she had decided to learn about farming at an agriculture school. We also learn that Minori attached letters to Kousaku’s packages so it wouldn’t seem creepy, which was what caused Ringo to ironically falls in love with Kousaku. On that note, Minori is very much the stereotypical childhood friend with a one-sided love for Kousaku.
Kousaku is definitely your typical perverted male protagonist who is, for whatever reason, incredibly dense with it comes to the feelings of the women around him. He doesn’t seem to recognize either Minori’s or Ringo’s feelings. The many misunderstandings between these three are endearing at first, but they quickly wear out their welcome. I found myself more invested in the side characters and comedy between them than the love triangle between the three main characters. Becky was probably the funniest of the bunch, though the humor she brings is rather grim thanks to her desperate nature.
I would say this series was overall an excellent example of humor done right. The directing is very strong in that regard. However, while the humor is great and the story has enough to be entertaining, the love triangle romance—one of this anime’s defining aspects—falls into very typical anime rom-com tropes. Not only was it cliched like most anime, but the ending where Kousaku is asked to choose between Ringo and Minori and asks if he can choose both (which results in him getting punched by Ringo and Minori) is such a boring stereotype that I could only roll my eyes.
Content Grade: A
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: C
Extras Grade: A
Released By: Funimation
Release Date: March 26, 2019
RunningTime: 300 minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
55″ Class AQUOS HD Series LED TV LC-55LE643U, Xbox 360 DVD player