Anime Review: No-Rin (Lights, Camera, Action!)

By Drew Hurley 25.02.2017

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No-Rin (UK Rating: 15)

Protagonist Kousaku can't wait to leave school and move to Tokyo, where he has an elaborate plan for how his life is going to go. He's going to make farming cool as a "trendy farmer" by introducing rice farms to Harajuku and milk farms to Roppongi, before finally wooing the idol of his dreams, Yuka Kusakabe. He's been laying some groundwork already, by sending boxes of big thick eggplants and warty cucumbers to her... Just as he's getting ready to put these plans into action, though, she retires… and instead transfers into Kousaku's school under her real name of Ringo Kinoshita. Kousaku finds that Ringo and Yuka are very different people, and his life is suddenly thrown into a mess of a love triangle between Ringo and his childhood best friend Minori in this crazy comedy series that comes courtesy of Anime Limited on 27th February.

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This is very much a comedy series, and is absolutely overflowing with innuendo and risqué humour. The overarching story that plays out in the background is primarily a love triangle between Kousaku, his dream girl's real personality, and his busty childhood friend who has always loved him. Ringo is the vessel to deliver information on farming to the audience and there's plenty of it delivered across the 12 episodes, most of which are made up of standalones where the students of Tamo Agriculture School get themselves into fairly unique slice-of-life style situations. There's a beach episode set in a typhoon where the boys get roped into testing "topical" yoghurt via squirt guns, while a Yaoi fan enjoys watching them get covered in creamy goodness; there's also farming in raunchy cosplay, and even a fake wedding. There are tons of parody moments from iconic anime, too: Berserk, Death Note, Fist of the North Star, and even Princess Mononoke, amongst tons more for the knowledgeable to keep an eye out for. It's not just gags here, though, as there is some heart to this story, looking at agricultural hardships like the use of pesticides and chemicals for cosmetic improvements compared to organic farming, the reality of people giving up on the old fashioned farming methods, and the death of small farming towns.

The characters in No-Rin are really enjoyable. The love triangle of Kousaku, Ringo, and Minori are the focus of the show. Kousaku is a typical hot-blooded protagonist who bottles it when the ladies actually accept his advances. Ringo seems cold but is fiercely loyal and jealous, with an interesting reasoning to her retirement. Finally, Minori is subtle with her attraction to Kousaku at first, but then really comes out of her shell at the risk of losing him to Ringo, fighting for him, and proudly showing off her ample assets. The extended cast has some great characters, too, including a bespectacled odd-ball named Kei, who loves wearing mankinis straight out of Hentai Kamen; a snooty uptight husbandry student who is known as "Boin Yoshida;" or "Funbags McGee" in the English dub (can you guess why?). An excessively dirty fujoshi with a penchant of tricking boys into risqué situations, and plenty of other students besides, all under the tutelage of Natsumi Bekki, or "Miss Becky," the teacher of the class, and a woman that looks like a teen, yet admits to being in her 40s; a teacher who's sad and alone, always ranting about her terrible life and shamelessly coming on to her students.

The series was produced by Silver Link and looks decent enough, with the characters faces certainly emotive and designs being unique, but the colours and tones throughout end up looking a little flat or washed out. This release includes dual audio, and again, the English is acceptable enough for dub fans, yet it's not without its issues. The characters deliver massively cringe-worthy lines regularly, and Austin Tindle's voice as Kousaku, in particular, can be grate at points, completely different to his performance as the star of Tokyo Ghoul, and Derick Snow's Kei has just as many awful moments. Conversely, the ladies give some great performances, with Tia Ballard's performances as a perverted, dirty older lady delivering some fantastically funny lines. There are 12 episodes in the series, along with the usual bonus features of promotional videos, trailers, clean openings/closings, and even two episode commentaries with the cast.

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10
No-Rin is overflowing with genuine laughs, with some hilarious writing, and combined with the classic Japanese slapstick humour and tons of parody moments of numerous iconic anime series that the hardcore otaku will really enjoy. Funny, charming, and light-hearted, with just enough touching moments to make you care about the cast, this is definitely one to watch if you are needing a good laugh.

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