The story takes place a little in the future. Guided by one particular song, young elementary school student Suzuhara Sorata, from the Heisei Era, is warped through a time skip to an unfamiliar place that looks much like the towns from the Meiji or Taishou period from his textbooks. In this world, he meets three young ladies and nine young men and joins them on a journey aboard the mysterious Norn ship, a giant globe that floats in midair.
Those of you who have not watched this show are probably looking at that 7 over there thinking "A reverse harem that deserves an 7??". At least that's what I'm thinking as I'm typing away on my keyboard!
There is a summary of the review at the bottom if you fin this to be tl;dr.
As any reverse harem goes we have a heroine with amnesia who finds herself on a ship gliding through the sky, surrounded by guys. There are only teenagers aboard the ship as they explain that only people with special abilities are allowed on board. By who?? "The World". Our Heroine quickly befriends the obvious love main interest, and that's where character development starts. The story so far hasn't really revealed itself so I won't talk about it for too long, but something that is for certain is that this is way more story focused than any other reverse harem I have watched so far! The focus is not on the heroine and what guy she'll end up with, which is so refreshing and makes for way better story and character development. The ship itself is a big mystery as well as the characters on board, we don't really know anything about the world which is the most amazing thing you could hear about a romance, reverse harem story to me; It actually keeps you as a viewer by other means than romance!
I'm actually not going to dawdle on the main character at all here, if you've seen any reverse harem, romance show based on a visual novel you pretty much know her in and out. What is the most interesting thing to note about this story is that there are two other girls who are getting more development than the MC, and I'll be talking about them first.
First we have Mikoto, a stoic leader type who has a kind hart but knows when to put her foot down. She makes for a perfect center since she is not a target of all the guys' attention. I also feel a lot of respect for her since she keeps her calm and makes decisions even tough she herself is a bit unsure of what "The world" wants. She has some deeper bond with a guy named Sakuya, but what they share is something that you should see and think about yourselves. The third girl on board is Nanami, a kuudere type who doesn't talk a lot. Without spoiling too much she has a "we will never get along" kind of relationship with a guy named Akito, who is the stubborn, always mad character of the show. What has happened between the two of them we don't know so far, but it makes her character which seems a bit lost and very introverted so much more interesting since she herself and Akito's hate for her a mystery in itself.
I actually don't know what to say about the rest of the vast cast of guys on this show since they follow the basics of any reverse harem visual novel; they are all stereotypes. There is a happy upbeat one, a leader type, a quiet & mysterious type, a gentleman type, a girl hunter, and the "perfect" guy who is the main love interest. There is however someone more worthy of note who isn't actually a member of the crew, but since he seems like a very important character I won't spoil what very little there is to spoil about him, let's just say that he is voiced by Ono Daisuke.
Look and Sound:
This is what puts that 8 up there! Not only is the animation very refined for a reverse harem, but the soundtrack is gorgeous! It's hard to notice at first, but if you go back through the episodes once you've watched them and just concentrate on the soundtrack I can promise you that you will find some new favorites if you like these kind of shows. The ost is actually pretty unique and takes some risks, but at the same time it's way more timid and subtle than many shows that are similar. One strange risk it takes for example is the very beautiful song at the end of the first episode; it's sung in Swedish, which no one knows why for. All I can really say is that I am looking so much forward to the complete ost release! The animation isn't really all that stand out, but the colors and backgrounds are stunning. While it's nothing super new it all has a very new feel to it, and it just calms you down and makes it all the more so that you can concentrate on the actual story.
All in all:
This is a very dignified reverse harem show which loads of promise! I can write that sentence with complete honesty because I have watched and tried to watch a lot of similar shows which left me with nothing but disappointment. The characters are all very cliché, but the few characters that stand out are very well written and have already gotten some very good development. The soundtrack is amazing, and the animation keeps up by keeping a very balanced tone as well as beautiful backgrounds.
I think that both people who usually love reverse harem, and people who usually hate reverse harem can find things to love about this show. I am usually in the latter category, so I am actually a bit overwhelmed by my surprise love for the show! And even tough I realize that my love for the show is based off of me comparing it to shows like Brother's Conflict, Dance with Devils, and Utapri I think that that is a fair comparison and I am happy that I'm making it. I can't wait to see where this anime is going to take me!read more
This is not a Reverse Harem anime, so if you like romance and fantasy this anime is definitely for you.
At first I thought this was the typical Reverse Harem anime where the main female character is the poor girl who need to be saved all the time by a bunch of attractive guys. But, this is not the case of this anime.
If you like animes where there are several couples formed between main characters this anime is for you.
Story: The main story is about a world in 1919 where a bunch of teenagers with different powers are living in a special floating ship which is called "The world".
The world is created in first place to protect the humanity from wars. With this background story, there are at the same time a lot of stories about the characters life and they relationships with the others in the ship.
Art: AMAZING. I'm in love with the art of this show. If you like detailed anime this is definitely one for you. Characters and backgrounds are awesome.
Characters: Main characters are really well developped. This is not the case of some of the side characters but this anime is airing so there is time to explain a little more about the others. But mainly the best characters (in my opinion) are awesome.
Enjoyment: When you can stop thinking about the next episode this is definitely a good anime. Being a romance and fantasy addict, having both in a show is like magic. Norn9: Norn + Nornet 8 combined awesome art, beautiful main characters, sweet romance moments, some action,
unexpected moments and a lot more that you would have to discover.
Don't miss Norn9: Norn + Nornet 8!! Romance and Fantasy is what you will get :Dread more
Norn9: Norn + Nonet is a shoujo anime with a twist, fairly enjoyable for anyone to watch. The anime is an adaption of a reverse harem otome game of the same name - but fret not: the anime hardly hints reverse harem.
The anime differs from a lot of otome game adaptions by actually having a decent plot. The story is set in a fantasy world in the past but with technology above current level - actually a fantasy sci-fi. The plot is from early episodes shrouded in mystery, the actual function of ship Norn not know, abilities of the characters unknown and so on. The plot is given piece by piece in flashes, hints, character stories etc. The mystery works fairly well to build up a certain suspense throughout the series. I imagine this way of narrative would have worked very well for an otome game, but for an anime it just doesn't.
The episodes seem mismatched and the story is delivered clumsily, ruining every kind of suspense built every time information is delivered. Some episodes are just completely out of place and almost could have been taken out, eg. dream episode. Other episodes seem to fast-paced, and all in all the anime is very unbalanced. Even so the core of the story is quite interesting and compared to other reverse harem/otome game anime this one is actually good, so story gets a 5.
For once, an otome game based anime without horrible art was actually made! The characters look very handsome and style is consistent. Backgrounds are also quite nice, usually consisting of nature. Animation is not that good though, but luckily there are few fight scenes in the anime. Art is a solid 7.
Sound is what surprises me the most. They've really done a great job with this. VA's are good and fitting for their roles. They've gone as far as to hire someone famous like Kaji Yuuki for the male lead, but even side characters have good VAs. The opening is done by Nagi and fits the series well. Ending is slower paced, but again a good fit. The OSTs are positively beautiful. Sound is an 8.
Now the characters however... are all in all very generic, but better than what is usually seen in otome game based anime. The studio has chosen to make more pairs rather than more pairings with MC, which is a blessing for the series. Thus we have three pairs with very different characters.
MC is as annoying as usual. Small, pinkhaired with a high-pitched voice and zero independence. It really is a shame that reverse harem heroines always are like this... The other two girls have more personality: one being bosy and clever, the other rather emotionless.
As for the guys, there's one for every taste. One is charming and playful, one is quiet and responsible, one is wolfish and manly, one is shy and a loner, one is very "grown-up", one is a player, one so on. I think the main guys are a good pick.
Some of the main characters stories are quite good and explored through flashbacks or talk, they are however, told very quickly, making the stories seem rather shallow. All in all characters are a bit too shallow and unoriginal, only a 4.
The series is all in all ok, but nothing special for an anime in general. For a shoujo/reverse- harem, however, the anime is good. The anime deserves something between a 5 "Average" and 6 "Fine", but gets a 5 from me. For anyone who enjoys shoujo, it is however worth a watch, especially if you like mystery and sci-fi.
Hmmm...Did you read that synopsis for Norn9 ? If you didn't, read it and come back.
Good? Ok. Now you can erase it from your mind because that synopsis is a lie. Did I ruin your hopes and dreams for this show yet?
Story - 4
I am serious, what the synopsis says is not even a quarter of what's really going on. If it would have indeed focused on the story from Sorata's eyes from episode 1 to the end, maybe we could have gotten a decent sci-fi story, but nope. The kid arrives around episode 3 or 4 and gets ignored for most of the show in favor for the romance, till when he was needed in the ending for whatever reason he was brought from the future for, which seriously, felt more like a need for emotional impact rather than anything else. And yes, I am fully aware this is an otome game adaptation and as such it's only normal to focus on the "otoge" fanservice more, but do I ask for the impossible when I expect a nice story with it too? (Excepting those that really have only romance as main point. ex: basic highschool otoges) Even having a bunch of people coping up with their supernatural powers would have been great! I'm not even asking for much.
The worst is that Norn9 has all the cards set to make a solid base for a good FF Type-0*coughs* fantasy/time-travelling story, it just didn't know how to cramp it all up in 12 episodes (13, if we count the summary episode too, which I question even the existence of; was it too hard to give it one more story-episode instead of a summary ? It really felt like they needed to be SURE we REALLY understood the plot, which made me fairly suspicious. Was it trying to tell me that the story is actually worth it enough to understand? That makes me feel even more sorry for the wasted potential, instead of feeling enlightened. It makes me feel like it was supposed to be so much more.)
Was it the fault of the 12 episodes being way too short for such a story? Personally, I don't think so. A good chunk of the fault goes to whoever directed/wrote this. Their choice to focus more on Kakeru and Sakura-...wait, what? Her name is not Sakura? Well, I don't care, Fire- bender Pink Missy? (I must have insulted all Fire Benders of the Avatar realm, ImsosorryZuko!) - only turned the show duller rather than help it. Why them? Why her? Why not Cool-Ojousama or Miss Kuudere which were by far more interesting? No. Why focusing so much on one pairing at all? The story could have completed itself so much better if it was told from 3 perspectives instead, which sounds like too much, but believe me, it is not, seeing the complexity of the story that they wanted to present here. Yet it all felt so...distant...and done for the heck of it. Chaotic. All over the place.
Plus, there's that deus ex machina 100% convenient and 100% foreseeable ending (for the main couple). I would have been ready to raise my rating for it if it wouldn't have turned out in such a foreseeable manner.
Characters - 3
God have mercy on my soul. Okay, no, that was an exaggeration, but God have mercy on my soul when it comes to Kakeru and ...*checks for her name properly now* Koharu! RIGHT. If any of you watched Kamigami no Asobi just please put Kakeru next to Apollon and then tell me what you think. Comparison done? Great! They're awfully similar, aren't they? Just that, while I could ...kinda...understand Apollon's pain to a greater extent (and I put emphasis on "kinda"), Kakeru just managed to make me want to hit myself. I could never manage to put my finger on him and the overall chaotic storytelling didn't really help me care either. No, I'll go even further. I've seen so many Kakeru's that I can't help but go cold when I'm able to realize all his issues from the first glance. It's just that simple.
It all goes so slow, but then so fast. All these characters seem to not care all that much, only to care later on for no apparent reason. Koharu was another one of those dull heroines that's there to just make the guys look better, always in need of saving, always in need of reassuring and not able to do anything without her man; and to top all that, she's selfish, because her happiness with Kakeru is more important than the whole world, and I don't care otome games need a happy ending. I do not even remotely agree and it simply frustrated me more. Rant over.
Fortunately, the other two heroines were really fun and if they were given a better chance, the anime wouldn't have been such a pile of mess (but unfortunately, they weren't). Mikoto was the strong-willed, sometimes rough girl, trying to find a path that fit her ideals, then there's Shiranui (who really looks like Echo from Pandora Hearts to me) who couldn't forgive herself for a sin she made in the past. Yeah, Koharu fitted into the main story better than the other two, but seeing how she's almost a blank sheet of paper, I would have went around it somehow...
The other guys...Welp, must not lie, I didn't particularly like anybody. Sure, there was Natsuhiko, Senri, Itsuki, Shukuri and Sakuya who are types that I usually tend to like, but in this case, I didn't really have much of a reason to just fawn over them.(*coughs* besides when Shukuri got the wolf ears *coughs*). Sure, they're all pretty guys and those that I mentioned actually have some sort of backstory and some thoughts of their own, but they didn't hit me as characters; too little, too little time. Some of them can barely even categorize as characters. They're just...there. And there's Ron. I really, REALLY think that Ron is an underrated character and the way the anime treats him is only obvious. There was always that type of mystery around him, but we never found out anything about him, he was just there when it was convenient, then disappeared when he was no longer needed. And I find that a shame because I was really interested in him, no matter how much some people that played the otome game tend to dislike him. (or so I hear)
Is this enough? ....No, you say? Oh right, I forgot the villain. Welp, he's not an original one and not even remotely unique in any way. We've seen his type of characters many times and done way better. By the time he came in, I just wanted it all to end.
Animation & OST - 6.5
I was pretty happy with the animation for the most part as well for the character designs though some of them are clearly overused, but it's ok, it's nothing particularly fancy. There are very brilliant and vibrant colors throughout the entirety of the show and the animation got particularly better in the last 2-3 episodes and all through the climax. I also remember some scenes of the dream episode and the flashbacks which were really pretty. Must be honest that some other parts were more flashy than actually good, though.
As for the OST, decent. I really loved the opening and ending themes and Aion's song was really pretty. Nothing outstanding though.
Conclusion - 4
Welp, could have went way better. Just a note though, I did not play the Norn9 otome game so I don't know how they deal with it there; I also make no parallels to the game and if I disliked the execution of the anime, it doesn't mean that I also dislike the otome game or Norn9 in its entirety. I really don't. I'm just salty about the potential that it had.
Do I recommend it? I guess I do, but only to the people that already played the game or to people that just want to stare at some handsome bishies. Want a good story? Look somewhere else.