Nourin

August 3, 2014

Where do idols go when they retire? Fade into obscurity. Haha! Okay, call it a bad joke but don’t you think with so many super idols around and new ones coming up faster than productions of commercial vehicles, do you think this just pushes the old ones out of the scene unless they do something really relevant or unique to stay mainstream? But we aren’t here to talk about idols retiring nor is this anime is about that. Have you ever thought that some idols who have retired from the scene end up farming and in agriculture? Woah. Sounds like something that would never happen as both careers can be considered as at the opposite end of the polar. But then again, it isn’t quite shocking that many of us in the real world studied and took up something in college but end up in a totally different field when we are working. But seriously, idols going into agriculture? This is something that I have not heard of. What more an idol. I know idols do lots of ‘work’ but not the kind that breaks your back under the hot sun all day long. Can they really withstand that without hurting their good skin? if so, I need to see this for myself then.

Nourin is however not to be mistaken as an anime about an idol trying to glamorise the agriculture and farming sector. Since you might be thinking that if an idol is doing farming, it could only mean one thing: To increase brand awareness and make your product sell like hot cakes. That is what idols do, right? I mean, don’t you want to buy the product that your favourite idol endorses on the TV advertisement? Instead, Nourin isn’t about the former idol at all. It’s about the ex-idol and a group of other students in an agriculture school as she learns the farming ways and how it can be applied in your everyday life. Because the modern world has grown into such frenzy technology (want to bet how many of us cannot go by a minute without the internet or our Smartphones?), sometimes going back to basics and looking at things and the world from a different perspective may bring about some refreshing views.

Episode 1
Super idol, Yuka Kusakabe is strutting herself on stage. After her song, she introduces Kousaku Hata, the most important man in his life. They proceed to kiss. I’m not sure if the fans are roaring in approval or horror. Suddenly it was just a big dream of Kousaku. Needless to say, this guy is her biggest fan although currently he is just a student in an agricultural school. Cultivating plants with his fellow friends, Minori Nakazawa and Kei Kamatori, he talks about forming a trendy farm just for Yuka in Tokyo. They are distracted when the cow goes berserk so Minori strips naked just to put her red clothes on him and make him the matador. I don’t know how he survived it. In class, they talk about their future career and of course Kousaku wants to go to some private high school in Tokyo that Yuka goes. Minori seems to want to get a ‘permanent’ job as a bride-cum-housewife. Then here comes Kochou Yoshida (booooooooobs!) and eh cow. This arrogant b*tch views the vegetable cultivating division a lower class compared to her elite livestock division. Then there is also their teacher, Becky Natsumi (spunky magical girl?) whose mouth is ranting like a motor whom nobody seems to care what she’s talking about. Because the vegetable and livestock divisions are arguing about bringing their products to class, this has Becky tell her story about her and her boyfriend having a nice romantic time in a restaurant. The catch is, she doesn’t have a boyfriend. Suddenly everything just feels so gloomy and all the students become obedient. Don’t want to worsen that, don’t you?

During the break, Kousaku is having his usual Yuka-is-God thoughts when suddenly the TV news reports the abrupt resignation of Yuka from the idol world!!! OH NO! God is dead!!! Kousaku locks himself up in his room as his friends try to bring him out and back to class. Time to face reality. I don’t know what is he doing covering himself with the body pillow cover of Yuka. Trying to be one with her? Face reality, please! He doesn’t care about his trendy farm dream anymore since he only grew vegetables and sent to Yuka. Now that she’s gone, it means nothing. Yup, this guy really sent vegetables to her but anonymously. Of course his friends think he might be purposely sexually harassing her seeing the choice of vegetables he sent. Eggplants and cucumbers among the many. Since he wants to stay this way forever, Minori crosses the line and calls Yuka a b*tch. Kousaku gets furious and launches an attack but Minori kicks him in the crotch. Ouch. Say goodbye to descendants. A familiar loli is making her way to this agriculture school. Becky once again rants like hell about the cream she used this morning. Till she found out she was just covered in grease and looked like some porn star. Gloomy aura again… But on the bright side, she introduces a new transfer student, Ringo Kinoshita. However Kousaku recognizes her as Yuka despite the disguise. Too pretty, too angelic, too cute and too magical to be just an ordinary transfer student, no?

Episode 2
The gang asks Becky to confirm if the new girl really is Ringo. Yes and no. What? Although she was an idol under that name, she has discarded it and is now enrolled as a student here so speaking of her past is forbidden. It’s all good news to Kousaku since as the dorm leader he gets to show her around. Yeah. This is Heaven. However she seems to be putting up that boring look. Is his talk that boring? Even explaining how his wallaby pet, Wakadanna came to be didn’t move any emotions. Is this girl’s emotion broken? Even talking to Yoshida about chickens and eggs but Ringo felt bored because she couldn’t understand a damn thing. And then it turned a little like sex education about birth control and repeated cultivation issues. I didn’t realize agriculture had such sex innuendoes too. When they have a little party at the dorm, she is the usual tundra queen. Kei tries to break the ice with his lame doll imitation but it didn’t work. Kousaku won’t let him do some chicken laying egg imitation. Yeah. It would be just gross. Surprisingly, Ringo wants to play King’s Game. Kousaku’s friends hint the number they are but Minori keep sending the wrong signals to him so he as the king ends up having her do silly stuffs to him. Each time, Ringo seems to be breaking the stick! Hmm… So when Ringo becomes king, she forces Kousaku to tell his number. With that, she wants him to call her by her first name casually.

Kousaku thinks everything is just a dream till he sees Ringo trying to do laundry. A transfer student did happen yesterday. Kousaku gladly teaches her how to separate her clothes to wash but he is a little surprise that she separates her undies before him. He seizes the chance to wash her panties but Minori beats him up. Ringo asserts he hasn’t done anything wrong as she was the one who asked him. A strange standoff between the duo… Minori claiming to know Kousaku longer than her. But that guy interrupts about handing the panties back since he doesn’t want it stained with impurities. Minori thinking he wants a girl’s panties so much, gives hers to him but he throws it away! So it becomes a 3 way fight to get the panties when Kei seizes it. He’ll be holding on to them. To settle this, he shows his collection of panties!!! WTF???!!! He wants them to choose one and it will show them how much they really know about it. Minori picks a simple and cute one but Kousaku won’t pick any as they are not used! A worth of a panty is in the value of its wearer!!! Kei passes Kousaku and gives the panties back to him. But when he sniffs it, Kei mentions it doesn’t belong to Ringo but his. Since when was he under the impression it was hers? Kousaku is freaking out of being deceived so here is some words of wisdom from Kei about the value of panties. “Panties stop being panties once they are seen”. Yes. Panties are valuable because they are unseen. Enlightened? Kousaku apologizes for calling Minori’s panties a filth and he too has his own words of wisdom: “Everyone wears their own personal panties in their heart”. Before they can celebrate their panties enlightenment, Ringo calls them idiots and takes back her panties. What was all this about again?

Episode 3
Suddenly all of Kousaku’s Yuka’s posters and items in his room are gone! Looks like an empty room, eh? Courtesy of Minori who is his acting mom as she feels having such things will creep Ringo out. Yeah. She burnt them all! NOOOO!!!! Plus, Minori won’t accept Ringo as a student of this school till she proves herself. Smell a childhood friend-idol battle coming up? Kousaku wonders if Minori is just a big bully for making Ringo wear an armour bikini. Test to see if she can focus on the job without being embarrassed? Well, Minori herself wears a sexy leotard. And here is Kei looking like a paladin in his armour since he is fresh from his welding class. Yeah, they look like some sort of RPG party. The test is to see which of them can finish checking a line of cucumber plants to make sure it is not diseased or no bugs. I guess this is a setup by Minori to send idol girl crying back to Tokyo because cucumber plants have this prickly feeling and as a beginner you might find it hard. Minori builds a big lead and when Ringo hits trouble with bugs on the leaves, she isn’t scared of them and picks them up in her palms! Deluded fans conclude she is too pure that she doesn’t even know insects are disgusting. Ringo catches up and the match ends in a draw. The next match will have them clean the chicken coop which is dirty and smelly. Minori is waiting for this moment where she’ll open the closet and all the cockroaches will fly out and it’s game over. However… Ringo is not afraid of them as she stomps them all and cleans up!!! Perfect! Ringo is definitely the winner but Minori won’t acknowledge defeat as the next match will be planting paddy.

Come Saturday, before the big match, we’ve got Kousaku commenting on their dresses. I believe I haven’t seen such abominable swimsuit since that butterfly guy in Busou Renkin. Looking at Kei’s ‘fearful’ swimsuit brings back memories of knowing the true meaning of fear. Then there is Minori in bloomers and even Becky in a wedding dress! Speaking of that corrupt teacher, she’s hinting sexual innuendoes of wanting to get dirty and planting seeds in her. Just ignore her! Ringo isn’t going to lose out and reveals her old fashion swimsuit under her jersey. Ringo blushes when Kousaku comments how cute she is. But it somewhat descends into a boobs pushing showdown between them. WTF. So let’s start the match already. Because Ringo is a beginner, Kousaku teaches her how to plant rice, much to Minori’s dismay. Ringo even gives Kousaku the green light to be in touching distance and guide her with his hand. Of course jealous Minori won’t have it and simply bumps into them. Just start the match… Minori will start further back as she is more experienced. When it begins, Minori is planting fast while Ringo seems to be doing it slow and steady. But her paddy is lining up perfectly. And the guys are happy to see such fanservice. Isn’t that what they are here for? When Ringo’s foot gets stuck in the mud, she pulls it out and accidentally crashes into Minori. Oh sure. That’s an accident. Minori also has an accident by bumping back into her. You know what? It now descends into a mud fight. Ultimate dream wrestling! The guys would love to watch but they’re ruining the paddy. Unfortunately none of them can stop the might of the girls. In the end when everything is just messed up (their clothes, the field), seems some sort of friendship was born between Minori and Ringo. Whatever. As long as they’re getting along.

Episode 4
The gang finds the crops destroyed and Yoshida saw last night it was a child who did it. However further analysis shows a monkey might be behind this and so the operation to tackle this issue begins. Minori suggests electric fences but it won’t work since they have no money. Yeah. Those things cost a lot. Ringo suggests feeding it so it won’t ravage their crops if it isn’t hungry. But that won’t do either since the monkey is also destroying non-edibles so it is clearly doing this not because of an empty stomach. What is this plan of using Super Hitoshi-kun by Kousaku? That’s the name of his Gatling gun filled with fireworks. He demonstrates but you know at times like this, it won’t work unless you put your face near the barrel to check… No go! Yoshida wanted to begin ranting about her big family plan but it was shot down before it could even take off! So the only possible solution is Kei’s hunting plan. Does this mean they have to kill the monkey? Sometimes you have to be cruel in agriculture. And so this hunter Kei got… Is he some sort of an otaku???!!! Oomori specializes in blowpipe in which are made out from his anime posters… But is he a real hunter in real life? Nope. He is unemployed. But thankfully Oomori tranquilizes the monkey and when the gang goes to check, the see its injured arm. Ringo is worried that they really have to kill it. Fortunately they don’t as Yoshida has friends in the zoo that will take care of the monkey. That night, Kousaku wants to talk to Minori. She gets the wrong idea and wants an hour to prepare. An hour… Her place now looks like a love hotel but dumb Kousaku thinks she renovated it. Minori’s dream comes crumbling down when Kousaku says he invited Kei to come talk too. She just lost interest… Anyway Kousaku shows a video of Yuka in concert. What is the difference? She is smiling. Ringo hasn’t been smiling ever since she came here. So the friends agree to help make her laugh.

Kei thinks his jokes are good. But just like Ringo, I don’t get his ‘hairy dark matter’ joke unless it’s some sexual innuendo about his pubic hair. Must be…Minori tickles Ringo but no reaction. Ringo tickles her back and out Minori goes. Kousaku gets frank. Doesn’t she like it here? He apologizes for trying to force a smile. However she says she cannot smile. At first she thought she was just tired but soon it became permanent. Now she couldn’t no matter how hard she tries and just like that monkey, she has nowhere to go now. Probably this is why she retired early. The friends feel bad for her especially Kousaku who has a dream of Gaia (Wakadanna in a long dress. Don’t ask) telling him to think back what humans have done to her. Kousaku thinks of showing Ringo that land. It is a tomato field but there is patch in which the soil is dead due to repeated cultivation. Also, chemical fertilizers were used to cover the drop in production which in turn leads to spread of diseases and harmful insects and in turn causing them to use even more chemicals. Nearby is a soil with tomatoes growing that started out with the same dead soil. Although not perfect, these crops are still doing their best to live in this soil. Ringo wonders if this place will be reborn and requests to eat a tomato. It tastes bitter since it is not ripe but it made her smile! The rest hand her better ones to eat as Kousaku explains that raising crops brings joy and those grown with care can satisfy the body and soul, bringing happiness. So people, be thankful for your food.

Episode 5
Ringo tries her hand at dry farming soybeans. Because the gang are out of miso, the guys dread going to Class B (Biotechnology) to ask from them because they are just weirdoes. But they don’t have a choice since they’re hungry. They meet one of the Big Four (those top students with unusual talents), Akari Suzuki and she gladly gives them miso. Of course there is a catch. She wants them to test out some botanical lactic acid bacteria called ANaL BB. That’s All Natural Lifescience Bio B. The guys will have to cover themselves with it. Not just simply cover on their skin, but shoot at each other with water pistols. You know… Suddenly it seems like a yaoi scene and Suzuki is furiously taking pictures of them! I don’t think it’s for scientific records. Heck, she has a bunch of cronies suddenly snapping away and like in the movie if they don’t play a part right, they have to redo it again! But Kei seems to enjoy it… Oh sh*t!!! As thanks for that big part, Suzuki hints to them that Class F has made their move. I guess there is something about that forestry department that scares them. So here they are in the woods as we are explained that these guys possess military skills and physical abilities thanks to their training in the woods. Rintarou Woodsman Miyamoto is one of the Big Four and he isn’t pleased with Kousaku. Because he gets to talk to girls normally. I guess you can’t blame them when this department is deprived of girls. Uh huh. They want to sit next to girls and experience things with them. He’s being jealous that he has been childhood friends with Minori whom they all adore as the ideal wife. Even more jealous to a point of wanting to kill him when he learns they both have bathed together when they were young. So when Minori and Kousaku get into an argument about bathing together later, all the forestry guys got ‘defeated’.

But suddenly Ringo emits a very deadly aura!!! Jealous about the bathing too? Rintarou collapses even further because he cannot take love triangles! And then he revives with his vow to make this department into some Forest Girl which the rest view is an outdated idea. F for Females! But Kei gives them more inspiration and a new motivation to take it to the next level. Make it Mountain Girl! F for Fuji! And so those wood guys start running up the mountain. When Ringo is attending to her soil, she is taken away by one of the Big Four, Rose Hanazono, the prettiest and hottest guy in this school. Kousaku sensed something wrong when she didn’t turn up at the library and when he sees her dropped book at the soil, he knows who took her. He confronts Hanazono of Class E, the landscaping division. To add to his shock, Ringo easily followed him because he lured her with snacks. He blames Hanazono that this womanizer tried to hit on Minori last year and thanks to that, she couldn’t stop bragging it to him. To settle this, Hanazono suggests the Pocky (Pockin?) game. They have to bite their ends and the first one who breaks off or lets go loses. Their faces are getting closer and Kei is too late to stop them as Hanazono kisses Kousaku!!! It seems Hanazono is gay and he baited Minori and Ringo was all part of his plan to lure him! Suzuki and her men are taking pictures of this gay scene like mad and plan on selling it at Comiket. Rintarou and co are rejoicing that there is new hope since Kousaku is gay. Minori can’t believe he is gay. Amidst the commotion, Ringo points out a more pressing matter. Who is the fourth member of the Big Four? Oh gosh. We’ve run out of time. Maybe next time, eh?

Episode 6
The gang are talking about Moerice that became a big hit with its own mascot character and sold online. Tarao Kanegami suggests they should do the same. Who is she? The last of the Big Four (also the big fish who rules them all) and from Class D of agricultural business. Mind boggling thing: If Yoshida is also part of the Big Four, doesn’t that make them the Big Five? Anyway Kanegami was suspended due to some fund incident but is now back. She has got some famous illustrator, Kippu to help draw their mascot character so it will definitely sell. Now they need something to sell in large supplies. Kousaku tries to plead to Yoshida about helping out with her eggs (no sexual pun intended. It means what it means). Initially she refused but smooth operator Kanegami mentions how they will reach everyone across the country and that it is not about the money or fame but for the people! Ah yes. That got her on board. So they’re marketing their new product called Moetama. With the mascot called Innocent Peggy, her lines sound so sexually suggestive… Business is picking up and doing so fine that you have to wait 3 months to order and the server crashed because of too many orders! Subsequently, Kei tells Kousaku that he is dropping out of this. Because they should be focusing on product quality instead. Despite this is what people want but that is missing the point. With Moetama now a very recognizable brand and Yoshida getting her own interview (nervous, isn’t she?), Kousaku and Kanegami are having a little grill meat party to celebrate their success. To Kousaku’s surprise, she mentions Moetama is over and they’re withdrawing from it as a local chicken business company is acquiring its rights. What comes next are words of wisdom that we could all learn from her. Kousaku must remember that they are students and school isn’t a place to make money. It is a place to learn and you can make money all you want after graduation. What is important is that they explore as many opportunities as possible in a risk-free environment. The connections they made are much more valuable assets than the money.

Kousaku is surprised that he always thought she loved making money only. That’s true but there is more to life than that. Money is only part of it and even if she knows there are more things important than money, that is precisely why she makes money. Enlightenment! Respect! She suggests moving to another product and target a different consumer. How does the women demographic sound? Uh huh. BL. That’s where Suzuki comes in. How are they going to link BL with agriculture? You know Class F cultivates logs and mushrooms, right? What anatomy do they look like? Get the picture? Oh yeah. Suzuki just wants to add ‘yoghurt’ to them. Kanegami says a high impact hit and run strategy is the key in a venture. Make quick cash and then withdraw. Kousaku goes to persuade Rintarou and clearly that guy rejects. But leave it to Kanegami to do her smooth talking. Imagine if her logs and mushrooms that they are targeting for those fujoshi females become a hit, their department will become famous and who knows, there might be more girls joining his department next year. And suddenly Rintarou is all ears. Easy. He just took the bait. And so the quartet plan their strategy into this unknown territory. They got busted. Kousaku is lucky he got the lightest punishment with suspension of 3 days. Kanegami got 3 weeks due to her past records and was the mastermind. Rintarou and his men got disciplinary action. However Kanegami plans o start another venture when her suspension is over. She invites Kousaku to join but this time he has learnt his lesson and is wiser. He declines. But he had fun, though. Everyone writes their wishes on Tanabata festival and hangs them up. Kousaku sees their wishes and realizes that unless everyone else is happy, he won’t. This will be his wish.

Episode 7
Minori cooks a lot from leftovers and being in agricultural school, they can’t waste. Eat ‘em all up! Kousaku’s stomach is fatter than a pregnant lady. Once is okay but all the time they can have such big meals? Yeah. Those aren’t muscles from the toil in the farm. It’s fats! They can be sumo wrestlers at this rate. So with Ringo blaming Minori over the rich food, I don’t know how it ends up as some tummy pushing showdown. It’s not as exciting as the mud wrestling, though. Oh, they tire easy. Burn those fats out! Thankfully they slim down to before as Kousaku cheekily threatens to send fat photos of Minori to her family since she was the last one to be thin. But Ringo mentions some mould growing in her soybean’s soil. When Kousaku checks it out, looks like it is serious enough that he has to call the teachers. As explained, it is a disease called southern blight that contaminates the soil. If they do not get rid of it to the last bid, it will also affect net year’s crops. Sadly, all affected crops must be destroyed. Ringo feels depressed and wants to spend some time alone. As suggested by Minori, Kousaku goes to talk to her about the harsh realities that farming has unstable income despite it is fun and enjoyable, the reason why there aren’t many who take up farming. For him, he doesn’t know the answer yet. Later Kei talks to Kousaku that he suggested soybeans to Ringo was hoping that she would change and that she wouldn’t regret coming here. Big Four pop up not because there is some yaoi bonding going between the guys (Suzuki is hoping for it) but also give some ingredients to them for Ringo to cheer her up. Amazingly Rintarou is the one being tsundere. More woes when it rains heavily that night. Every able student is gathered to save the tomato crops. As it has been a dry season, the continuous downpour means the tomatoes will absorb the water and subsequently rupture. Thankfully, the ruptured ones can be saved by making it into some preserved jam.

Ringo ponders how everyone can still be so calm and lively after crop failures. Kousaku takes her to the rooftop to show the scenery of the town. It might look natural but they aren’t true nature as mankind’s predecessors have built things up slowly. Perhaps this is what they imagined this town would be in the distant future and that is what kept them going. When someone eats their vegetables and feels good, it gives them the will to make them become amazing in the future or simply gives them enough energy to go on another day. Those are the kind of crops he wants to grow. Ringo reveals she knows it was him who sent her the vegetables. Back then she was really tired so her staffs let her eat some vegetable sent by a fan. She forced her first bite and tasted it strange. Bitter, hard but gentle. It made her feel like as though someone was supporting her to carry on and it made her kept going. From that day on, she ate whatever vegetables he sent and looked forward to reading his letters. But there is a catch. He didn’t write her any letters, leave his name or address. Ringo shows proof of it and even pictures that was in the letters. Kousaku knows what is going on. He confronts Minori about this. She admits writing it on his behalf because naturally nobody is going to just accept anonymously sent vegetables, right? It would have been disposed. Minori apologizes to Ringo for using Kousaku’s name but Ringo doesn’t mind since the contents were true. And then something disturbing happens… Ringo hugs Minori and mentions she has always wanted to meet her and this school. Since she was also hiding her true feelings, they are even. They become best of friends. Hey, wait! WTF?! Don’t tell me… Say it isn’t true???!!! Did something yuri just happened???!!! Kousaku is one devastated kid!!!

Episode 8
While tending to the crops, they sense something not human running wild. BECKY!!! Yeah, she’s a monster and is targeting girls in love! Quick! Hide the girls! In the end, Kei on his goat defeats Becky on her scooter in some jousting and she is sent flying into the mud. In class, the boys talk about boobs as they wonder about Yoshida’s humongous boob size. Could it be the World Cup? Of course there is the other faction of flat chest lovers. So Kei and that Lolita guy descend into some ridiculous argument why boobs or flat is the way of being the true man. Kei lost. As for Kousaku, he is more into feet than boobs. When Becky comes in as her usual annoying self, the class tells the ‘granny’ to shut up. This causes her to go berserk and will make everyone feel what it’s like to be lonely. Yeah, the psychological visions must be horrifying, eh? For home economics, it’s like Kousaku and Ringo are hosting some cook show with Becky. As usual, everything Becky says or does have some sexual meaning to it. What’s more, she’s trying to irritate Ringo. The former idol cannot hold it in and really wants to kill her but thankfully there is Kousaku to restrain her. So why spite her? Simple. She’s jealous. She was the idol here before Ringo came. Now that both girls are in battle mode, the only way to settle this is via cooking competition. The judges have a taste of Ringo’s seemingly normal miso soup. Only Kousaku the weirdo will taste something good while others feel it’s bland or weird. So what did she put in? The sole of the shoes. Can they stomach this? Becky made plain rice. Where are the other toppings? That’s the catch. She is the topping! I think everybody lost their appetite. She wants everybody to eat her but the boys aren’t impressed and throw away the ‘bad food’ out the window! Good move! In the evening, the gang notice a poster of a local rock festival and discuss if they should enter when they hear the next participant taking the stage, AKB40! Actually it’s Becky. Aged Kooky Becky 40 years old! And you can guess what she is singing about. Men and chasing them down… Do we want an encore?

Episode 9
Because Minori has never been to the beach, she wants to go and Ringo agrees. However… After freeing up their schedules, it suddenly rains! More accurately, a typhoon! Minori is so desperate that she’s throwing a tantrum. Kanegami seeks shelter at their place since her ride home got cut off. Seems she was trying to cultivate some flowers in some bus. For money of course. Because outside looks like the sea, Minori goes crazy and ‘swims’ in it. Having fun in the mud? The rest tries to go stop her but gets hypnotized by the ‘fun’. Uh huh. They can’t resist and join in too. However all the beach things they try to do get blown away and for the BBQ, they pour all the kerosene onto the BBQ grill and turn it into a bonfire! Have some music too! Yoshida comes running to tell them to stop because it’s scaring her cows but they force her to join in. A couple of volleyball guys join in and beg them to play with them but Kanegami mentions something more urgent that needs to arrest now. The rice fields are in danger as the water level is going to flood it. With Kei using his super human strength to open the water gate, the rest rope the rice field. However Class D’s rice field is in extreme danger thanks to Kanegami planting some breed of rice that could fetch a high price. The result is that they are much taller and won’t stand a chance against the wind. It’ll be over if they fall over. They need something to block the wind since they can’t move the field. Kousaku gets the idea to use the bus to shield the wind. He seems to be handling it fine since it is quite similar to driving a tractor. But since mud is kicked up on the wind and he doesn’t know how to use the wiper (because tractors don’t have any), Ringo sits on his lap and becomes his eyes. No time to fantasize. Concentrate. Kousaku knows he is risking getting scolded by the teacher by doing this but Ringo assures him she will be by his side. When they make a final sharp turn, Ringo falls out but Kousaku grabs her with one hand. Wow. Holding a girl with one hand and driving with the other? How does he do that? We know they succeed because the next scene shows the gang on a bus trip to the beach. This is the reward the teachers gave them for saving the rice fields. Thankfully Kousaku and Ringo are lucky to have gotten off the hook with just an earful because they could have been suspended. Ringo doesn’t mind it if that happened. Just when Minori relishes going to the beach, the radio reports a bigger typhoon is coming. Somebody is going to throw a tantrum again… What is this? Is there some sort of conspiracy trying to keep Minori away from beaches?

Episode 10
Late one night, Kei gets a call from someone familiar who wants him back. Of course he won’t as he has nothing to do with him anymore. Becky calls the gang since the principal has gone nuts. He wants eggplants. That’s it? The farm is full of them. Sure, she did feed him but he rejected them all claiming they aren’t true eggplants. Kei agrees as they are manufactured. Comparing his and Becky’s eggplants (no dirty minded thoughts here, please), Becky’s are better looking like how you would find them in supermarket as Kei is… One word: Ugly. The gang taste Becky’s and find it worth the expensive eggplant it is. Before they can taste Kei’s, the principal hijacks and swallows it. Universe! This is what a true eggplant tastes like! The big difference is because of its seeds. Most eggplants nowadays are F1 hybrids, meaning that its taste is sacrificed for its shape, texture, etc. This also means the large use of fertilizers, pesticides and chemicals in a very unnatural environment. In short, Kei’s eggplants are 100% organic. The principal mentions of an overseas agriculture programme over summer and offers Kei and Yoshida to study there. However he declines since he is not interested in agricultural overseas and is here to learn what is needed for organic pesticide-free farming for local consumption. Suddenly Hajime Menjou enters and wants Kei to quit this school and return to him. Minori recognizes him as the president Hexa Techs, a large company that does everything from growing to shipping and selling vegetables. And yes, he is Kei’s father. He doesn’t want him to be in a place like this. That statement irks Ringo as she mentions that this school grows the best vegetables in the world. He finds it funny and wonders if they can grow something better. He throws down a challenge to see who can sell more vegetables. If Menjou wins, Kei must quit school and come with him. Otherwise, Menjou will leave the agricultural business forever.

Kei shows the gang his secret garden of growing vegetables the traditional way, free of all those pesticides. Kamatori is his aunt’s name. He views his dad a scum because he may be a good entrepreneur but lacks ability in agriculture. They once had a melon farm. The crops are prone to pests so excessive chemicals are used. His mom was sensitive to them but he continued using them. His greed caused his mom’s death. That’s why Kei believes chemicals shouldn’t be used in farming. Though he apologizes for getting his friends involved, he hopes they can help him out. During the big sale, the one with the most sales (not profits) will win. So it doesn’t matter if you set your price dirt cheap. Kei will match Hexa Techs’ price then. With Kanegami, she brings in lots of techniques that bring in the customers compared to Hexa Techs who seem to be only giving out samples. Kanegami introduces techniques that make their ‘ugly’ vegetables looks fresh, wrap them up for merchandising, advertising using girl groups (NOL48?!) and poster girls and sandwich tickets to pull in male customers. Even the guys start cross-dressing! With all Big Four helping out, there is no way they can lose this one, right? Becky wants to help too but since she’s just being an annoying pervert, the lock her in. Too bad she won’t be ‘harvesting’.

At the end of the day, Hexa Techs wins as all their vegetables are sold out! How can this be? Menjou has everyone taste their sample and they find it super delicious. He questions them how much time they spend on their vegetables. One? Two? At most 6 hours? Hexa Techs spends 24 hours on them and there is no way kids who grow vegetables in their spare time can compare. Kei calls his methods dirty but Menjou argues what is wrong using advanced techniques in agriculture to create safer, cheaper and tastier vegetables? Is he saying that naturally grown vegetables are not better than vegetables improved via research? Saying that is an insult to all farmers and consumers. Kei though he has always been thinking about the consumers by growing pesticide-free vegetables. However he is just forcing his superficial ideals on the consumer. Can you grow better vegetables without them? You need advanced cultivation techniques and experience too. Hexa Techs has them and people buy them not because of their brand name. Kei admits defeat and will go to wherever he is taken. But Menjou has changed his mind. Hexa Techs hasn’t fallen so low that she needs someone who can grow crops of this level to succeed. He lets Kei do whatever he wants because if he thinks he can prove him wrong, then grow better vegetables than him. The eye opening and bitter defeat left Kei to accept the overseas agriculture programme. He intends to broaden his perspective and needs to know his enemies if he is to beat them. Of course Minori can’t waste this chance and goes with him. But she dresses up like as though she is going on honeymoon…

Episode 11
With Kei and Yoshida gone overseas, could it be the start of the catfight between Minori and Ringo over Kousaku? One can only hope… Anyway the trio return to Minori’s countryside hometown of Aioi. They are greeted by her older sister, Tsukasa as well as the little twins. When Kousaku returns to Minori’s home, he is baffled to see uncle and aunty dressed up in ceremonial gear for an engagement gifts exchanging ceremony! Holy sh*t! What just happened?! Kousaku realizes he has been had. This is a setup by Minori! No wonder she got Wakadanna to tag along and hide in her makeshift clothes to look like pregnant! No wonder she made him come back with her. I wonder how Ringo is taking all this? See her deadly aura? Not good. When her parents find out it’s a scam, Minori breaks down under the pressure. Yup. It’s disappointing the pregnancy was fake and there is no progress in their relationship. So what gave them the impression there was some progress? The photo Kousaku accidentally sent when Minori was fat. Yeah. She looked pregnant. Tsukasa mentions about some non-profit hook-up project to revitalize the village. In short, a gathering of 200 men and women and it needs Kousaku and Minori being a married couple to work. If they bail, they’ll incur millions of losses. So after a hard day pretending to be engaged, Minori’s mom leads Kousaku and locks him in a room with Minori! Just the 2 of them! Minori thinks they should have children since it would stop her parents from nagging. But just like any other guys, Kousaku doesn’t want to take responsibility so he is giving all sorts of excuses to say no. But he could have fallen for her charms if not for the twins rushing in to sleep with them. How did they get in? I thought it was locked?

Next morning, Kousaku sees a note. Minori and Tsukasa have left for town to plan for the wedding. OH SH*T!!! But the rest of the episode sees Kousaku taking Ringo out for a stroll. He lets her taste the fresh delicious tomato and hopes the techniques he learnt at school will continue here. Because he views that with the population decline, people are leaving farming. However Ringo sees it from a different perspective. People left because farming has lost its charm. If it was attractive, people would come back. Then they overhear the village chefs lamenting about Tsukasa’s new project wondering if it will work. They worry that even though it might bring in hundreds of amateur farmers, they will eventually leave. This has Ringo wonder about Kousaku’s family. He doesn’t want to talk about it but she insists because Minori knows about it and doesn’t want to be left out. His home is now dilapidated and abandoned. When his parents first moved here when he was young, they view farming as awesome. However their tomato crops failed and they incurred massive debts. They took up other jobs and mom fell ill after overworking. Dad left farming to pay for the medical bills but when mommy died, he left the family and village. That was when he last saw of him and was brought up in the care of Minori’s family. But the important question Ringo wants to know is Minori’s relationship to him. Too bad it won’t be answered as the twins come bugging Ringo as she looks like a princess. From which country? Yukatan Kingdom. Where? In the hearts of the adults. Her job? Being the cutest in the universe. I guess kids are gullible to believe. Yeah, they want to work for her! So they have fun for the rest of the days and one night they head to the river for the festival to set their paper lanterns afloat. Ringo mentions she likes the countryside because of the nature although it might be tough. Then she sings him a song. Not as Yuka but as Ringo.

Episode 12
Tsukasa hosts the hook-up project. She lets Kousaku know there is a creepy and troublesome participant: Becky!!!! Oh God… I think we all know what she wants. Yeah. He is entrusted to ‘handle’ her. So Kousaku approaches this dried up mummy and since he has had enough of her charade, he tosses a tomato to revitalize her. Super refresh! She joins in the crowd but finds that the gap in their topic too large. I mean, Becky only knows stuffs from the 80’s. Just depressing. Then she becomes some kind of desperate monster and chases one of the guys. Kousaku talks to one of the female participants. He wonders why she is interested in farming since it is boring and lame. On the contrary, she views it is a trend that girls are trying to get into farm families. Kousaku paints a gloomy picture of the countryside compared to the city but she argues back she hates all those traffic jams, packed trains, sexual harassments, overtime, etc. Just when she is about to find comfort in him, Kousaku senses a deadly aura… Minori and Ringo are watching! The pregnant wife and master are watching! Tsukasa hosts a game for the participants to play. All they need to do is point to the person they think fit the description such as the cutest and kindest. Minori and Ringo first point to themselves and then force Kousaku to point which of them he thinks is the best. It’s like the devil or the deep blue sea, right? He’s screwed. For bad points, the girls point to each other. For the final point, who do you want to get married to?! The girls are awaiting his answer… What would it be, Kousaku boy? He runs away!!! Unfortunately for him, the village caught him and now he is tied up in his white wedding suit. Looks like it’s inevitable. Kousaku asks Tsukasa why she came back here. Didn’t she hate this village and left once? She replies that no matter what she did or where she went was all the same. She thought she could live her life running away but for once, she wants to face this head on. Kousaku walks around the village as he thinks back of the times he spent here during his younger days.

That night, the wedding ceremony begins with Ringo and Becky becoming the bridesmaids. Becky is already starting to murmur some sort of curse… Thanks to Oomori’s blowpipe, she got sedated before she can be a desperate male grabbing devil. So the wedding, mix of traditional and modern influence gets well underway. But one of the twins isn’t happy about this. She is worried that with Minori away, she is going to take care of them less. Plus, she wants to be Kousaku’s number one! She flips Minori’s skirt up to reveal her fake pregnancy and the crowd screams in horror seeing the wallaby. Heck, I thought they would believe that this is their baby! Didn’t. Anyway they are very upset that they have been duped. Tsukasa is at a lost as they believe she has been tricking them since the start. Kousaku calmly goes to the front and then gets on his knees and screams his apology. He apologizes that it all started out as a joke and went too far to a point of no turning back. He thought of carrying it through to the end. Then he explains how much he hated this village because he was brought here against his will by his parents who thought farming was attractive. It would have been a different story if they were successful. But it wasn’t so his family was in shambles. Left behind, he had no choice but to take up farming and for a person who hated it, it was excruciating. Truthfully, he wanted to run away. That’s when he saw a certain idol on TV. The way she sang and acted in the big city gave him hope. It was that dream of thinking of her that gave him the strength to go on. Despite he hated this village, that idol told him she liked it here. That’s when he realized the village he hated so much was the village that raised him. The natural surroundings and crops he grew made him who he is. He wanted people to love this village. He doesn’t care if they insult him or get mad, but please do not take it out on the village. The speech is well worth of everyone’s applause. Minori feels bad and asks if he likes Ringo and the city more. Kousaku doesn’t want to look it that way. Instead of saying one is better, why not like both? Because both depend on each other. The crops grown in the countryside can soothe the city while the city dreams can inspire the rural areas. Just like a bird, it can’t fly with just one wing. It needs two. Therefore both the girls are his wings.. If thisis his answer to not pick a girl, I’ll give him huge points for his convincing argument. Or excuse. However it is not convincing enough and not what the girls want to hear so they uppercut him to the moon! However Frontier! When summer break is over, everyone returns to school and continue learning more about agriculture. When the cow runs loose again, Kousaku is made to become the bait again. See? How deep a woman’s grudge can run? So now you better run for your life!

Where Getting Down And Dirty Is Fun!
This anime is actually not bad at all. Just like any other typical human being, I too had my sceptic views that this anime would be boring and all about farming. Besides, how can they make farming look fun? I guess that is where I was wrong. This show didn’t exactly focus everything entirely on agriculture and farming but put in some bits of comedy, drama, romance and a little fanservice. Although I must say that the biggest comedic factor are the sexual innuendoes laced throughout the dozen of episodes thanks to a certain depraved teacher. So maybe that is why I didn’t find this series to be such a bore as they kept me ‘entertained’ with the dirty innuendoes. Yeah. Who knew that farming and agriculture could be such a ‘dirty’ business too. I won’t be surprised if there are porn themes surrounding agriculture and farming. Heck, as the rule says, as long something exists, there is always porn to it. But let’s not go over that and get back to the anime. And perhaps it is those sexual innuendoes that made some viewers feel that this series wasn’t really worth it and there is nothing other than this that stands out.

This series although doesn’t delve very deep into the agricultural and farming business, at least there are some basic and simple farming explanations for certain crops like tomatoes and cucumbers that enlighten us for those who knows nothing about agriculture, let alone know how to plant a flower. Like yours truly :(. Therefore the explanations of these prove to be quite interesting even though I would have probably forgotten all about it by next week. It’s a good thing that they didn’t spam us with more agricultural facts and the likes or else it could have been boring (I think) at the expense of those sexual innuendoes. I guess that’s why farming in this anime works. Yeah. Sex sells. But it goes to show that agriculture is a risky business if not managed well. Chances of failure are high and only hard work and perseverance are the guaranteed (though not fool proof) formulas to ride through tough times.

The characters look like ordinary kids just that they have passion for agriculture and farming. But passion and hard work isn’t all that is enough to keep them going in farming. They need the experience and all the other techniques and expertise in this department if they want to continue growing crops that bring higher yields. It is great to see Kousaku and Kei have their own family and background issues to deal with and this anime was just enough to scratch the surface. Needless to say that after Kei’s bitter but well learnt loss, there is much they need to improve on and it shows the different in level of the students and the adults managing the business in the real world. Despite they may not improve so much in a short time, at least they learn something valuable and they can use what they have learnt to improve themselves. Had Kei not lost to his dad, he would probably have continued his dream world enforcing his ideals on consumers and what he thinks is the best for consumers may not be entirely the best for them. The loss opened his eyes that things are not as simple as you think. So we can definitely see that Kei will grow into a wiser and much more productive man when he comes back armed with more knowledge. As for Kousaku, he might not love farming 100%, but there is no use b*tching about it. The trip back to Aioi is an eye opener for him. It made him think about his future thanks to the past he was built from. People back then supported him so now it’s his turn to support them back.

Taking into consideration that Ringo is an ex-idol, although she seems to be fitting well with agriculture and farming and now that she is at least smiling (she could still at least work on her monotonous voice, though), it still bugs me that why isn’t the media hounding her? I believe she is quite famous so when she announced her retirement, didn’t the media make a lot of noise about it? Even so, shouldn’t they have tailed her to the countryside and ‘stalk’ on whatever she’s doing? Even if the media didn’t, I believe she has hardcore fans that would. If you noticed, Ringo is able to adapt well because the lack of the pesky media and obsessed fans from the city. Nobody flashing cameras and microphones and cameras stuffed in her face asking stupid questions about her decision. It’s like she has her own private life here. That is why I find it boggling that there is nobody who came bugging for Yuka. Unless you tell me that everybody got disinterested in her knowing that she went into agriculture. Where is the fun in that? Unless there are hotter and newer idols that got all their attention. So much about loyalty. Unless this isn’t the real idol Yuka… Yikes! More plausible is the fact hinted from Ringo that she is like that injured monkey. Nobody cares about a faded star, right? A curious case is about her emotions. Are they really ‘broken down’? Reminds me of that case of that stony cat in Hentai Ouji To Warawanai Neko. If this is really the cause of her early retirement, it goes to show that show business is just cruel. Personally, I would prefer Ringo to be livelier instead of some deadpan robot. Minori is okay too. She grows with the rest of the gang and supports them with her incredible cooking in addition to her lively character.

Best (or worst, depending on how you look at it) character definitely goes to Becky. She is a big riot. One wonders how she ended up in this agriculture school when men and getting married are the only things that occupy her mind. So if she doesn’t get what she wants, she’ll just snap and go berserk like a monster. Tells you how deprived and desperate she is. Isn’t that a reason why men don’t go for her? I don’t know, it is like they’re trying to paint women who are still unmarried at 40 years old are just sex crazy or will develop into a sex fiend after being deprived of ‘love’ for so long when ironically people reaching middle age should have experienced diminishing sex drive. Trying to hint to women to get married young? Seriously, so how did she end up as a teacher? More importantly, you worry if she is teaching the wrong things in class. Even her students aren’t too impressed with her. Maybe that’s why the students can do well in agriculture. Each time they see her, they are reminded not to become a sex starved b*tch like her. She could have easily made it as a porn star and possibly get done in as many times as she wants. Heh. She can make every sentence in farming sound so dirty so much so that after spending a dozen of episodes hearing her spout sexual innuendoes of farming, I am starting to think negatively of words like harvesting and seeds. Thanks Becky, for corrupting my mind even further. The Big Four are bigger weirdoes since each have a really peculiar behaviour and because it stands out so much, it makes you think that if they are really agriculture students. Suzuki is a fujoshi, Rintarou a lonely boy loser and Hanazono a narcissist. Of course the best on is Kanegami because of her uber cool perceptions about money and life. It’s no wonder is the leader and greatest of the Big Four. I should take note and learn from her too.

I think there is potential for romance but of course with the choice that Kousaku decided in the end, you’re not going to see him end up with somebody too soon. Could it boil down to a race of the first girl wins? Right from the start I could guess that Ringo is in love with Kousaku because of her certain actions and reactions that make it all too obvious. The same with Minori too. Getting into constant catfights are rare since they are best friends-cum-rival. But I think Kousaku sees them as an idol and a childhood friend so I figure that kind of love isn’t the kind where you take responsibility and settle down as a family. Yeah. Every guy doesn’t want to shoulder that kind of responsibility. If that catfight ever escalates into a full blown war and Kousaku gets caught in it all, I would say that it would be FARM-ageddon for him! Haha! I just really wanted to say that. Obviously tsundere Yoshida also harbours feelings for Kei but it is unknown if that guy is just playing dumb or being truly dense to see it. Yoshida’s body reactions are so obvious whenever she gets close to Kei. She suddenly has speech impediments or murmurs like a cat whenever she blushes. I hope the romance part will bloom in a straight fashion because I definitely don’t want to see Minori-Ringo yuri fanservice or even the horrifying Hanazono-Kousaku pairing! Yikes! I’m glad nobody made a big deal about Kousaku’s first kiss. I can imagine the reaction if the girls remember about this. Speaking of Minori-Ringo yuri part, for a short time I believed that they really had feelings for each other and was ‘panicking’ that if this love triangle would turn upside down. Unless their patching up just seemed yuri and sending the wrong signals to us guys. Thank goodness no such thing because if both girls really end up as lesbians, Ringo wouldn’t subsequently really have that kind of jealousy reaction towards Kousaku or compete with Minori for him.

The drawing and art seems plain but not to the point where it is bad. Just that I find the character designs and the details to be plain and simpler than your conventional anime bishoujo and bishonen type of art. Personally the oddest I find is Minori because she looks so plain that I sometimes can’t make her out as male or female. Too plain that it looks a bit cartoonish. Like as though she is some sort of cartoonish character that came out from some comic strip or something. Then the pupils and eyes of the characters that had me raising an eyebrow too. It’s like you take a pencil and sketch a few lines in it to be their eyes. Because of that, sometimes when I look at it, the characters look like ‘dead’. Suzuki’s pupils are slightly different because they resemble like a cross. Then you have Yoshida’s huge boobs. So big that it makes you wonder if she underwent some boobs transplant and but real watermelons in it. Serious! Hmm… Are they trying to hint something since her prized pet is a cow. Those huge breasts… Those udders… I guess that is fanservice for you. Speaking of which, there are a handful of them besides those jugs (that panty selection episode was just mind boggling) but some are censored out with those milk bottles…

In the voice acting department, the best one goes to Chiwa Saito as Becky. She’s running riot with her character and I believe I haven’t heard her sound this lively and crazy for such a long time. It’s like Taokaka from BlazBlue Alter Memories but only much crazier. Make that sexed craze crazier. I have a suspicion that they may be paying tribute to her Pani Poni Dash’s Rebecca since both character’s names are similar and Becky did imitate that signature “Hauhau~” cry once. It is also been quite some time I have heard Yukari Tamura in a leading role as Ringo. Although her trademark voice is still recognizable, I still prefer the ones where she goes squeaky lively high pitch like Yamada in B Gata H Kei. As a character that has no emotions, I thought it was a waste not to take advantage of that cute voice of hers but it can’t be help since the character is like that. I was also waiting whereby the character would burst back into that lively genki-ness. Alas it did not. Kana Hanazawa is as lively as her many other anime roles (from the titular character in Kobato to Nessa in Fractale) so it is no surprise she befits Minori like a glove. Other casts include Shintarou Asanuma as Kousaku (Tsuda in Seitokai Yakuindomo), Wataru Hatano as Kei (Gajeel in Fairy Tail), Marina Inoue as Yoshida (Armin in Shingeki No Kyojin), Yuuka Ootsubo as Suzuki (Kyouko in YuruYuri), Nobuyuki Hiyama as Rintarou (Madarame in Bleach), Kishou Taniyama as Hanazono (Natsuki in Uta No Prince-sama Maji Love 1000%), Rikiya Koyama as Menjou (Kiritsugu in Fate/Zero), Rina Satou as Tsukasa (Misaka in To Aru Kagaku No Railgun) and Mariko Higashiuchi making her debut as Kanegami (so far this is her only voice acting role).

The opening theme is more like it. What I mean is that Yukari Tamura displays her cutie voice that we all are familiar of and love. Himitsu No Tobira Kara Ai Ni Kite sounds like your usual lively idol anime pop but only its cuteness enhanced thanks to Yukari Tamura singing it. I’m not sure if this song is the right motivation for you to get into farming work but it sure wants to make you shuffle your feet. The main ending theme is Mogitate Fruit Girls by the duet of Yukari Tamura and Kana Hanazawa. Lively and fruity if I should say. Fruity fanservice too. Feel like eating them? Other ending themes last for only an episode and are solos from the seiyuus of the main girls of the series such as Minori no Zokkon Mirai Yohou by Kana Hanazawa in episode 3, Ponytail No Yon Juu by Chiwa Saito in episode 8, Kimi To New Days by Marina Inoue in episode 10 and the slow but lovely Cordless Tere Phone (how cleverly named for a blushing telephone) by Yukari Tamura for episode 11.

Definitely I am not drawn into the world of agriculture and farming after watching this anime. It is a back breaking business of long hours in the sun and field in which your income is not completely certain thanks to natural climatic threats of floods and draughts. I am sure that this anime is just being anime. They’re trying to make it seem more appealing (sexual innuendoes, what else?) and make it look like agriculture and farming are fun (I know this is just an agriculture school but if you look at the characters, they aren’t weather-bitten at all – a sign that they may not be spending lots of time outside – or it could be just that anime makes everyone looks good). But my guts tell me the truth and reality are far more different than what it is portrayed here. However you can’t deny the fact that we should be thankful for all kinds of food that was grown, naturally or GMO, they still feed the ever growing population. More importantly, don’t waste them. In view of that, all farmers and people involved in the agriculture line should be given their utmost due respect. In the meantime, I can’t see myself going into farming in the near or distant future because I won’t have any time for my animes :). Besides, every guy knows how to ‘plant a seed’ or two, don’t they? :p. Thanks Becky for those unwarranted lessons.