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Non Non Biyori Vol. 1 Paperback – June 30, 2015
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About the Author
Atto is a Japanese artist best known as the creator of Non Non Biyori.
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Top Customer Reviews
Non Non Biyori really is a one in a million manga that I cannot recommend enough, I really recommend this manga.
She makes the best of the situation and becomes fast friends with the other three girls, including the six year old one. And this delightful mix of ages and the differences such bring to the table makes the the manga hilarious, as does the typical tropes of "mature for her age", "small for her age", and so on, that affects the various girls. Hotaru is the "mature for her age" type, Natsumi is the trolling one who is kinda bratty in not taking responsibility for her actions, Komari is the smart one who is self-conscious for being small for her age (the oldest girl there), and Renge is the mature for her age first-grader who is still very young, as her behavior sometimes reminds the others.
The story makes great use of showing how beautiful life in the countryside can be. Yes, the city is awesome and being so far away from many conveniences is annoying to a great degree, but there is a certain beauty to rural life and scenery that can make up for the hassles.
This is just a sweet, fun manga. One I certainly recommend.
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars.
Intro & Background
Non Non Biyori is a slice of life comedy focusing on the nonchalant life of (from left to right on the cover) Renge, Komari, Natsumi and Hotaru in their countryside town. Asahigaoka is actually based on the town Shimozato outside of a larger city Ogawa in Saitama, Japan. The school is then called Ogawa Elementary School of the Shimozato Branch, which is now closed unfortunately, but only adds to the mystery and awe of the school now breathed with vitality and color in this featured manga and it's latest Anime adaptation.
I've taken the liberty to upload a handful of pictures to compare the difference between Seven Seas localization (NA version) and the original Japanese book (JP version), as I am a huge fan of the series, and will also be using these pictures to make my points in this review.
Story, Characters, and Setting
It's a very mild slice of life, so the story is nothing over-the-top special, nor should anything be overtly expected of this series. But, as with all slice of life genres, it then relies on the reader's connection with the environment within the manga and its characters for one to really get into the series. Many who are into the series can argue than Renge brings the most enjoyment to the series; due to her unorthodox and unreadable nature, witty sense of creativity, and simply how cute she is that she becomes some what of the poster girl for the series. The new transfer student is also unorthodox, which her personality isn't because of how normal and mature she tends to be aside from when she is in her senpai's presence, but unorthodox due to how she's a 5th grader who looks like a High School Student and can even pass for an adult, especially in Komari's eyes. Speaking of Komari, the 8th grader who reacts easily towards any remarks of her size and development in-general. Her dream is becoming a proper adult lady, and she has a stern belief that she is on the right road to that proper development, that is until everyone, especially her younger sister Natsumi, keeps telling her she's doing it wrong. Though Natsumi may be a year younger than her older sister, she's taller and has a playful demeanor that allows her to get along perfectly well with the much younger Renge. She's constantly troubled by her poor academic performance, but she doesn't allow that nor her upset mother to stop her from having fun whenever she can. The 4 girls mostly interact with one another throughout their country town, but they also have their moments with the older young folks that also live nearby. Though the Anime may bring out the sounds and sights of Asashigaoka's countrysides, the manga does not leave us out of the intricate designs of the girl's old Japanese schoolhouse, bustling farm fields and wooded mountain ranges crossed by rocky rivers and the like.
Manga's Physical Features
Both books are paperback. They're roughly the same B6 size book (roughly the whole palm of your hand), but as most of you may know the difference in their prices are quite substantial due to obvious economic reasons. The difference in quality, I can elaborate is also quite different. The NA version does not have a slipcover like the JP version, and its cover is glossy and standard thickness for a paperback cover. The JP slipcase is textured and has much more vibrant colors than its NA counterpart, and its inside cover is a non-glossy, standard paperback cover. The 3 color pages at the start of the manga is also much less vibrant in the NA version, but when it comes to the black and white pages, the NA version is slightly thicker.
Personal Critic on Localization
There's a noticeable editing error on the 8th black and white page where Natsumi and Hotaru's lines are mixed up. This is seen in the 1st edition. I have to say that I'm very confused with what Seven Seas was trying to do with the translation. As seen in the comic panel examples I uploaded you can see how they translated "Nyanpasu!" into "Meowning!", but that's not actually the problem (actually it is a big problem, I take that back lol) I have with this localization. They then decide to use the spun-around Japanese honorifics "chon" for when Natsumi was referring to Renge as "Ren-chon". So, they go ahead and decide to call her "Ren-chon" instead of "Renge", but they translate "Nyanpasu" into "Meowning". This is something that really REALLY grinds my gears. How DARE they. Not to mention "Gu" (SPOILER: The Racoon Dog, or Tanuki [Note: that they throw around the translation for Tanuki as well] that Renge has formed an interesting friendship with that lives in her backyard) into "Pom Poko". Ren-chon is supposed to be very gibberish-like and extremely simple when it comes to her naming animals, but this move sort of pushes her away from what many individuals might be used to from not just the Anime, but also the original Manga. (Not to mention how Natsumi is supposed to say "Oh, Psychedelic Name!!". This scene is originally at the bus stop, but as many know from the Anime it occurs in Renge's House in her backyard.) I hope they fix up their editing in the next volume, which I wholesomely will support, but I'll start to shake my fist if it continues.
I may have rated this product 4 out of 5 stars, but that's mostly due to quality control and awkward (very nasty) translations, as I would easily rate this series more than 5 stars if critically possible, again due to how big of a fan of this series I actually am. This Manga's story may have literally no driven themes or plot, but it's filled with a colorful cast, vivid environments, mouthfuls of jokes and puns that have now scoured the interwebs, and many cute encounters that is sure to make your investment and time well worth it. A small thanks to Seven Seas for bringing it over, but for now I will give you guys a huge thumbs down for their translation and editing decisions. Atto, on the other hand, always deserves a big hand. Nyan shall pass up this delectable manga, for sure!!