Offering small-town relaxation in both anime and manga form, Non Non Biyori is the perfect low-stakes iyashikei series to chill out to.
As much as anime is known for over-the-top action and wacky concepts, there are just as many low-key shows that are easy to relax to. Many of these make up the iyashikei genre, and these titles tend to be peaceful takes on the slice-of-life premise. Though sometimes more on the comedic side, these shows are ultimately very easy to sit back and watch — almost the anime equivalent of gathering around the campfire.
One of these iyashikei anime is Non Non Biyori, which is actually a sequel of sorts to its creator’s previous works. Set in a small town with a smaller school, this series is best summed up in one word: wholesome. With the subgenre of iyashikei growing more popular, here’s a look at why Non Non Biyori is such a good example of the genre, what it’s about and where to enjoy it.
Non Non Biyori is set in Asahigaoka, which is the epitome of a one-horse town. Lacking a lot of modern conveniences, including nearby basic stores, the town’s school reflects this by hosting several students of different grades. One of them is main character Hotaru Ichijo who, despite her height, is in fifth grade. Moving to the small town due to her father’s job, she becomes close with the other students, most of whom are in different grades and age groups.
Initially out of her element, Hotaru learns to love her new home while bringing a fresh perspective to her classmates. The series’ setting of Asahigaoka is the same location featured in Toko-toko & Yume no Yume, a previous work from creator Atto. Stories in the manga and anime are fairly simple and lackadaisical, but this just adds to the sense of calmness that comes with watching it.
The original Non Non Biyori manga ran for exactly 11 years, resulting in 16 manga volumes that have almost all been localized into English by Seven Seas Entertainment. A brief spinoff titled Non Non Biyori: Remember also ran for a year and was compiled into a single volume. This volume came out in Japan in March, so its eventually English release shouldn’t be too far behind.
Basic book retailers such as Barnes & Noble and Books-a-Million both carry Non Non Biyori, as do online retailers such as Amazon and Right Stuf Anime. However, some of these retailers do not carry the initial volumes or have them at rather high prices, so reading them digitally through Comixology and Kindle might be the best bet.
Known for producing a host of recent isekai anime, Silver Link handled the Non Non Biyori anime starting back in 2013. Receiving three seasons and just as many OVA specials, the show has 36 episodes in total. Sentai Filmworks licensed the series in the West, and it’s currently hosted on numerous streaming services for fans to enjoy.
Non Non Biyori can be streamed through Crunchyroll, VRV and HIDIVE, with many of the aforementioned retailers and Sentai Filmworks themselves selling the Blu-ray collection. Unfortunately, these usually contain the first two seasons only, so streaming them from one source might be the better option. There’s also an anime movie titled Non Non Biyori Vacation, which can be found on HIDIVE.
Timothy Blake Donohoo is a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where he majored in Communication and minored in Creative Writing.
A professional freelance writer and marketing expert, he’s written marketing copy and retail listings for companies such as Viatek.
In his spare time, he enjoys reading, playing video games, watching documentaries and catching up on the latest Vaporwave and Electro-Swing musical releases.