Non Non Biyori Movie: Vacation

Non Non Biyori Movie: Vacation

Non Non Biyori Movie: Vacation cover art
Non Non Biyori Movie: Vacation

Movie Overview

Non Non Biyori Movie: Vacation (劇場版 のんのんびより ばけーしょん) is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a movie from the Non Non Biyori series and it’s about the girls (and Suguru) going on vacation in the summer.

If you liked the Non Non Biyori anime series, you’re going to like the movie as well. It’s basically just a longer episode (about three times the length) with a different setting. The character interactions and comedy are all the same.

Now, this movie isn’t just your standard beach episode, but longer. We actually already had a beach episode — season 1 episode 5, titled “I Pretended I Forgot My Swimsuit.” No, this is a full-blown vacation in Okinawa.

— Slight Spoilers Incoming —

The movie starts off with Surugu winning a four-person trip to Okinawa and giving it to his Komari, Natsumi, Hotaru, and Renge. But, since those four can’t go alone, that means Kazuho has to go as well to chaperone them. And since Surugu was the one who won the prize, they bring him along as well.

However, the group expands further when Kaede also joins the trip as a second chaperone, Hikage begs to be allowed to go as well, and Konomi joins the fray as well for some reason. It’s been a few weeks months since I watched it and I honestly forget how Konomi becomes involved.

So what we end up with is the whole main cast going on a summer vacation to Okinawa. The only characters missing who appeared in the first two seasons are Yukiko, Hotaru’s parents, and Honoka and her grandmother.

Aoi Niizato

The only new character introduced in the movie is Aoi Niizato. Aoi is the daughter of the hostess of the inn our main group is staying at. She’s the same age as Natsumi, and so the two of them become friends.

Something to remember is that until this point in the series, Natsumi hasn’t actually had any friends who are the same age as her. The closest one to her age is her older sister, Komari, who’s one year older. And, the same is really true for all of the main Non Non Biyori cast with the exception of Renge.

Well, technically speaking, Hotaru also has friends her age from her old school. But she doesn’t have any friends her age who have been real characters in the series. Natsumi has always lived in the middle of nowhere, so she’s never had friends like that.

Renge, Hotaru, Komari, Natsumi, and Aoi from the anime Non Non Biyori Movie: Vacation
Renge, Hotaru, Komari, Natsumi, and Aoi

Compared to the other characters in the series, I think Aoi is probably fairly low-ranked. Surugu effectively isn’t a character, so I’m not counting him. But I think I probably like Aoi more than Komari, Natsumi, and Hotaru. Everyone else who goes on this vacation is better than Aoi.

With that said, I do think Aoi improved Natsumi’s character a bit. The two of them are similar not only in their age but also in their hobbies. Natsumi is the sportiest of the main girls, and Aoi is a member of her school’s badminton team, so they bond over that.

However, they’re also very different in one major way. While Natsumi is known to shirk her chores, homework, and anything else she has to do, Aoi reliably helps out at her mother’s inn every day. This causes Natsumi to reflect on how she behaves — at least for the short duration of her vacation.

Is the Movie Necessary?

To me, the big question you should have at this point is, “is the movie necessary for watching the rest of the series?” The simple answer to that is no. I watched the movie before the third season began because I was told that it was canon. However, while it may be “canon,” you don’t need to watch it.

As of the writing of this review, we’re 10 episodes into Non Non Biyori Nonstop, and there’s been no reference to the events of the movie. If that changes over the next two weeks, I’ll update this review accordingly. But for now, there’s no need to watch the movie before Nonstop.

It was assumed that Aoi might make an appearance in nonstop, but that hasn’t happened yet (spoilers, I guess).

Renge sitting on Kaede's lap and enjoying a drink from the anime Non Non Biyori Movie: Vacation
Renge sitting on Kaede’s lap and enjoying a drink

Now, does this mean that you should skip the movie entirely? I think that depends on your commitment to the series. I’m not usually much of a movie person, but I did enjoy it. It had a lot of good Renge content — which I’m all for — despite a large portion of the movie focusing on Natsumi.

If you wanted to skip the movie, though, you wouldn’t be missing out on any “important” information. Not that any information in Non Non Biyori is all that important. But like I said, the events of the movie haven’t even been referenced since.

And, to wrap up this section on the relevance of the movie, let’s see where it fits in the chronological order (featured in my review of Non Non Biyori Repeat). I’m not sure exactly where it falls, but I’d place it after season 1 episode 6. It takes place at the end of summer vacation, and season 1 episode 7 is the first episode back to school, so I’ll place it just before that.

Conclusion

In the end, I gave Non Non Biyori Movie: Vacation a 7/10. It’s a good movie, but it’s not anything spectacular. Really, it’s exactly what I expected based on the TV series; and exactly what I’d expect from Non Non Biyori is still pretty good even at its worst.

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