I wish I had a river clean enough near me to go swimming in…

Summary:

It’s still summer vacation, and Hotaru gets a letter from her friends back in Tokyo.  Later that day, she hangs out with Renge and the middle sister, Hikage.

I sometimes forget that Hotaru’s just a fifth grader… Her friends are so small…

Renge takes playing with dolls VERY SERIOUSLY

The next day, Hotaru once again hangs out with Renge and Hikage, but accidentally forgets her bag on the bus.  Thus, the trio has to go to the bus depot to retrieve the bag.  Although Hikage isn’t amused at having to walk such a long distance, the three do end up having fun along the way.

Eating pomegranates by the river.

After the bag is retrieved, they manage to meet up with Komari and Natsumi and play in the river.  Hotaru finally overcomes her fear of jumping off the bridge into the river, and Renge is able to snap a picture of it with Hikage’s phone.  Hotaru sends this and other pictures off to her friends in Tokyo.

My Opinion:

This was a very laid back episode, coming close to episode 1 in tone.  Except that this time, the focus was on Hotaru.  Hotaru’s relationship with Natsumi was explored last episode, but this time we see her relationship with Renge.  Oh, Renge’s second sister, Hikage, also makes an appearance here.  Hikage’s a pretty neat character.  I wish we could see more of her, but that would probably ruin the “four girl” dynamic the main characters have.  Also, Hikage already has her own (manga) series.

Although all four girls in Non Non Biyori have equal importance, I still think Renge qualifies as the “main” character with how many episodes focus on her point of view.  Hotaru can also be counted as a “main” because her arrival in the village was basically what started the series.  Anyway, it’s nice to see her in the spotlight more often in the second season.  It felt like she didn’t get too much character focus last season compared to Komari and Natsumi.  We also finally see a glimpse of Hotaru’s life in Tokyo!  I was wondering if this series would ever address how Hotaru felt about the move (obviously having to leave friends behind).  The series never goes too deeply into how much Hotaru misses her friends or her life in Tokyo, but it seems she’s adjusting well to the country life if the ending of this episode is any indication.

Overall, this was a very pleasant episode.  If you’re expecting something plot-heavy or action-heavy, you are looking in the wrong place.  This series is not afraid to take the slow-paced route, but at least it has lovely backgrounds and animation to go with it.  The water animation in this episode was simply lovely!  I’m actually getting a bit tired of summer vacation themed episodes, so I hope the girls finally go back to school next time.  It seems like we’ll get a bit of a flashback to Renge’s toddler days too!  That should be fun.

Out of five for this episode:

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