Non Non Biyori Episode 1: Life in Asahigaoka

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Non Non Biyori is a favorite show of mine, thanks to its relaxing, bucolic atmosphere – the town of Asahigaoka exists in the Japanese countryside, away from all the bustle of city life, and one can get that impression from the opening shots of the first episode. Renge, the youngest of the four protagonists, serves as an introductory element; she openly wonders if she lives in the country while playing her recorder, and gives a very cursory introduction to the town she lives in. Throughout the opening sequence, one sees the protagonists getting ready for school, along with images of the town; along with Renge, we meet the Koshigaya sisters, Komari and Natsumi, as well as the new transfer student Ichijou Hotaru (who used to live in Tokyo prior to moving).

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Sailor Moon Episode 2: Fortune-Telling and Corruption

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Fortune-telling is a venerable tradition in Japan – the particular fortune-telling technique featured here with the Juban District priest happens to be kau cim, which utilizes sticks in the divination. Of course, Jadeite is on hand to observe; as a member of the Dark Kingdom, he opts to use corrupted versions of familiar practices in order to gather energy, something established with the first episode with Sailor Moon. Here, Jadeite appears as a bit of a shady individual who observes from a distance – he doesn’t completely show his face to the audience when we first see him, because he’s undercover, wearing a classic all-black ensemble to obscure his features to avoid detection. He has keen awareness of the tribulations of human society, but uses it for personal gain.

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