Meet Kosaku Hata — the world’s #1 fanboy of the one and only Yuka Kusakabe. Who is Yuka Kusakabe? With a serene smile, beautiful hair, and a voice of an angel, it is no wonder that Yuka Kusakabe has stolen every fangirl and fanboys’ hearts. That was until Yuka made an announcement that shocked the entire world: her retirement from the entertainment business.
Away from the fame and glory, this shocking announcement sends Kosaku into depression. Luckily, Kosaku’s faith in life is renewed when a new transfer student arrives at his school. But she isn’t just any new student. The transfer student looks exactly like his beloved idol Yuka Kusakabe — but quieter, moodier, and under the name of ‘Ringo Kinoshita’. Could she be THE Yuka? Realising that this is the ultimate lifetime opportunity to get close to his dream girl, Kosaku and his friends must try to befriend Ringo and unveil her true identity.
From the director of WataMote, Pani Poni Dash! and Negima OVA, Shin Onuma’s NO-RIN revolves around the life of Kosaku and his friends at Tamo Agriculture School. Based on the concept of agriculture, the audience gets to learn the ropes of agriculture — the good and the bad — through Kosaku’s eyes. And believe it or not, viewers will find themselves amused by the show’s offerings. From learning about different sowing methods to diseases such as the Southern Blight Disease, No-Rin will instantly transport viewers back to high school agricultural studies. However, don’t let this educational approach deter you from the show. The world of agriculture may not be exactly exciting but No-Rin will convince you of agriculture’s greatness throughout the show. By the show’s finale, not only will viewers appreciate the simplicity of life but the role that agriculture plays in the world.
Yet, the direction of No-Rin ended up shifting to the left field which does not quite meet our initial impressions. In what could have been an earnest story about a retired pop-star turning a new leaf and experiencing an adolescent life, No-Rin is far perverted than we expected.
With episodes dedicated to panties and using poster girls to sell produce, the spontaneous shift in the storytelling has stirred us by surprise. Like any other ecchi series out there, No-Rin isn’t short of waifu girls flaunting their looks and getting their flirt on. In fact, No-Rin actually goes to a whole new level that we often don’t see. Daring to make dirty jokes and references in many confronting ways, the anime will leave viewers gobsmacked. We can’t say too much — you will have to watch the show to understand what we’re saying.
Despite all these references, No-Rin isn’t all that bad as we make it out to be. Besides the various references to Japanese pop-culture such as Sailor Moon and AKB48, what makes No-Rin interesting is its cast of characters. With Kosaku leading the anime, we are intrigued by Kosaku’s obsession with Yuka Kusakabe to the point that he sends vegetables to her anonymously. But unlike other male leads in ecchi anime, Kosaku’s character is not the stereotypical perverted male. Rather obsessed with other things such as feet and growing crops, his character is refreshingly to watch especially for a male protagonist.
Unfortunately, we cannot say the same for Ringo as we are highly disappointed with how No-Rin approached her character. From the charismatic idol persona to the shy observer, Ringo silently manipulates the audience until it is later confirmed that she is indeed Yuka. As much as we appreciate the laid-back approach to developing Ringo’s character and her bond with Kosaku, the story should have delved into her idol life. Who was Ringo in her idol life as Yuka Kusakabe? Why the sudden change in personality? Why didn’t she use her idol power to bring fans to the agriculture world? Is Yuka doomed to be stuck in the agriculture world now? Will she regret it? With so many unanswered questions, only the audience could answer the questions with imagination. The greatest disappointment of them all? We wanted the full Yuka-tan idol experience — music, costumes, dance moves and personality. We can’t win, can we?
Overall: The adventures of NO-RIN isn’t in-depth nor meaningful but the overall story is humourous, enlightening, and down-to-earth, especially when the subject of agriculture is dissected. If you’re after a short fun series revolving around a group of agriculture geeks, No-Rin will momentarily satisfy your waifu obsession to some degree.