Studio: Kinema Citrus
Directed By: Takao Abo
When I was writing about the Norn9: Norn+Nornet manga, I promised that I would watch the anime to see if it’s better than what I read. I finally did and I must say, it was decent.
The anime still has the same premise like the manga. A group of youngsters have special abilities and must travel on a ship, Norn, heading to meet the World, an organization that has the power to “reset” the earth’s history. It is told that they will use their abilities to promote peace among countries. However, there are individuals trying to stop them from doing so.
First thing I want to mention is that this show doesn’t follow the typical reverse harem tropes we’ve come to expect from otome game based anime: one girl, several guys, and the other female girls are just side characters. Instead, we have three female characters each having their own story arc involving some of the guys on the ship while still maintaining the main storyline with the mysterious sudden ship attacks.
Now the main girl in this whole anime is Koharu who happens to have the power to manipulate fire. She is the newest member on the Norn ship and has become close to one of the guys, Kakeru Yuiga. Unlike the manga, the other girls are also in the spotlight. Mikoto Kuga, and her childhood friend, Sakuya Nijo, are stuck worrying about a prophecy where Sakuya will sacrifice himself for his beloved which happens to be Mikoto. While Nanami Shiranui has a complicated past involving Akito Syukuri who seems to hate her for some reason. My favorite episode is when Itsuki Kagami creates a dream world for all the members, which allows the audience to see the true feelings and insights among characters towards each other and also to foreshadow events that will happen in later episodes.
I thought it is cool that the anime focuses on the three heroines in the otome game, each having their own storyline. The anime provides depth to each character so that they aren’t just a busy body of fanservice. However, I do feel that we are still left with some unanswered questions after the anime concludes. Although each female protagonist has her own storyline, I don’t think the anime flesh out their issues well, but rather, we are given a problem and then there’s a somewhat of a resolution that we should just accept at the end. For example in Nanami’s story arc, we don’t know the real reason as to why Akito hates her, and at the end of the anime, their story arc just dwindles down to “they are on good terms.” I didn’t like that especially when the anime built up their characters to some degree.
The concept behind this anime is pretty interesting if you like time travel. The ship, Norn, and its occupants have the task of deciding whether or not to “reset” the current state of the world with the help of a humanoid named Aion. Now if we could actually do that in the real world, I wonder how many resets we would go through based on wars and natural disasters. “History shouldn’t repeat itself,” but in this anime, it seems that humanity has progressed far too little to the point where it constantly engages in war and is abusing technology and science. I understand that the “reset” is to establish peace, but let’s be real, the ideal utopia that Aion has set out to create isn’t feasible. Just because you re-do your mistakes doesn’t mean it won’t happen again. You must learn a moral or life lesson from your mistakes, and by doing so, it will prevent future mistakes to occur but if you constantly change history, that prevents you from learning anything in the past. This also puts perspective on our lives. In the anime, mankind went through multiple alternate histories to “maintain peace,” but in actuality, we only got one history and one planet, so we shouldn’t mess it up for everyone.
If I have to pick between the manga and anime, I’d pick the anime. There’s more character development in the anime that we don’t get to see in the manga especially with some individuals that I would consider important. For example, Sorata Suzuhara, the kid that magically gets on board the ship, and the two “antagonists,” Shirō Yuiga and Natsuhiko Azuma that are trying to prevent the reset, all serve a purpose in the anime. They aren’t just mentioned and then forgotten like in the manga.
Overall, I think this anime is a decent one in comparison to all the other ones based on otome games. It actually has a storyline that conveys a moral purpose even if at the end, it is all about love.