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.
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.
What else is there to say about Norn9 other than I found it to be the most boring anime of the Winter 2016 season.
There is this grandiose plot that involves time and history, but it felt out there. I'm not sure if it was that I missed something, but the logic in this is just confusing and makes no sense. It also makes me wonder why everything is as it is. While I don't mind this concept, per se, what made it uninteresting (besides it's mind-boggling logic) is the rest of the story being mixed in. Whatever that wasn't about the overall plot is so boring to the point where I begin to doze off.
The characters are probably the worst thing about this show. These people are one of the blandest set of characters. It may look like they are showing chemistry, but it's horribly done. There is absolutely nothing about these people that make me care about them at all. Whatever would happen to them would not bother me one bit.
The animation was all right, having a mostly blue theme to it, but the plot and everything else is stopping me from being too positive about anything else.
This wasn't a case where I hoped the show would get better. I was hesitant to even watch this after doing research, yet I gave it the benefit of the doubt. In the end, there's no doubt I will never watch this again.read more
I'm just as surprised as you are that I enjoyed this anime enough to give it a 9/10. Having played the visual novel beforehand, I had been expecting the anime to suffer as much as many other anime adaptations of visual novels, but that is not the case with Norn9. While the anime does not cover every single detail from the visual novel, I was pleasantly surprised at how similar the anime is to the VN. Some lines and scenes play out in exactly the same way as they do in the VN! And to my amazement, the anime even makes some necessary changes to the story and to the villain, touching upon plot points that are left open in the VN. I can't fault this anime for anything and that is why I am giving it a 9/10. But whether or not you will enjoy this anime as much as I did is another story.
The characters are by far the best thing about both the Norn9 VN and the anime. Not all the characters get as much development in the anime as they do in the VN, of course, but you learn enough about the central characters to at least have some understanding of who they are as people. The anime also picks the most interesting couples from the VN to focus on: Kakeru/Koharu and Akito/Nanami. While Kakeru's route is a little more interesting in the VN, I think that the anime does a great job adapting his story with the time allotted. Akito's story is exactly the same as it is in the VN with a few minor changes here and there. Sorata and the main villain are given a purpose in the anime that is not present in the VN, much to my surprise. My only complaint regarding the characters is that one of my favorite characters from the VN, Natsuhiko, has a much smaller role in the anime than I would have liked. Oh well. The anime is only 12 episodes long, after all.
Be warned, the plot takes a backseat to the characters in Norn9. Sometimes it even feels like the plot only exists to give the characters a reason for being together and having their powers. That being said, nothing too crucial to the plot is cut from the anime. The anime even makes several changes to the plot that I found to be thought-provoking, such as the idea of reincarnation being possible.
I'm on the fence about whether or not I would recommend this anime to you, partly because my enjoyment of the anime may have stemmed from my love of the VN. Even so, I do think that the anime is good in its own right. Give it a shot. Nothing I say or don't say will affect your enjoyment of the series. read more
Oh Norn... the anime I had good expectations about from the synopsis but ended falling so... short...
This is not actually a review. It's more like a rant/advise for those who haven't watched this yet.
Please notice I know nothing about the source material.
About this anime... BE WARNED! For me, this is NOT a bad anime, it's just.. disappointing or at least very anti-climatic.
I will not focus on the art/animation because I actually liked that and at least THAT didn't disappoint me.
Started as interesting... setting the stage for character introductions and the world of the series but then it quickly tried to stretch too much into character development/backgrounds while the main storyline got left way behind schedule for almost half (if not for more than half) of the series and then... the shovel push!
By the time I was getting frustrated because of too much character background (but still not enough to contextualize the whole thing) and no focus on the main storyline (which for me was like the most promising aspect of this series)... Said storyline just got so rushed in the final episodes and therefore ended up being very lacking that it felt to me that the studio making this took a shovel and threw whatever they could fathom from the source material to try to make up for it by the end of the series... for focusing way too much on romance side!
And even the romance in this series ended up being way too rushed which also didn't help, in spite of it being like 70% of the whole plot...
If this didn't end up being so rushed on almost all aspects, especially the plot or lack-thereof, I actually would have given this a 7.
For me albeit anti-climatic and therefore disappointing at the end... I found this anime entertaining and for that I gave it a 6 and not a 5 or less, since for me "entertaining" is better than "average".
I ended up giving a 6 since I recognize that this series had potential if only they didn't make the mistake of rushing everything and focusing on the (heh) romance.read more