Eva’s Final Impression
We have reached the finish line with today’s finale of Norn9! So it turns out last week’s confusion was justified because what we were seeing was simply a test in order to determine whether or not they wanted to go forward with the Reset. In order to perform a Reset, the decision must be an unanimous, so when Koharu started freaking out, that was it. The decision was made, they would RESET. Aine then proceeded to deactivate the system herself, which in part with Koharu’s power going haywire resulted the Norn ship for an inevitable destruction, forcing everyone to have to retreat from the ship. However while the others were able to safely escape, both Koharu and Kakeru were kind of trapped at where they were and only had one option- to sky fall and hope their friends can catch them. In the end, because their friends couldn’t get to them, Kakeru made the selfless decision to put Koharu’s life first and push her to safety and fall to what
should could have been his death. Time then passed on, and a year goes by without knowing Kakeru’s whereabouts (which contradicts itself later), and Koharu is living alongside with Akito and Nanami. They live on the beachside, not to far from where the Norn had crashed, and ever since it’s been considered forbidden to visit. Why they would put a restriction on it, I don’t have a freaking clue. Were they worried about it blowing up or something? Then why live next to it? It just doesn’t make sense- but whatever- eventually Koharu decides she wants to the Norn and basically moves there to live and then later on at some point, Ron comes by and drops Kakeru off and the two lovebirds are finally reunited.
Now there appears to be a contradiction behind the explanation behind how Kakeru survived. So for a little more than a year, everyone kept on saying they didn’t have a clue where Kakeru was. Then later, we learned it was Ron found Kakeru swept onto a beach with coma. We then learn Ron was at was at Natsuhiko’s place with Kakeru- sooooo why didn’t anyone mention him- or did I miss something?
I have to say, this episode did make me cry-which surprised me because I wasn’t expecting it to make me cry. I think it was Aine’s final song that got to me, because she was on her dying breath. Norn9 has an absolutely stellar original soundtrack, and I absolutely love every single one of the tracks. That being said, this finale was a bittersweet one and in a way I am sad to see it has finally come to an end. I wished it had twenty-four episodes, because goodness- what a treat it could have been to have all three couples given a chance to develop. My biggest disappointment is how both Nanami x Akito and Mikoto’s relationships were neglected. This was a rare opportunity, and it saddens me they couldn’t play with it more. In the end, the final ships determined as canons are Koharu x Kakeru, Nanami x Akito and Mikoto x Natsuhiko. Now what gets to me the most (because of my bias of Mikoto’s love interests being my favourite) is how even though they decided to go with Natsuhiko and Mikoto at virtially the end of the show, we didn’t even get any time in the finale. And the applies for Nanami x Akito! Was it really that hard to put a
romantic special moment for each of the couples? All we wanted was ONE special moment for each of them, but no- only Koharu x Kakeru gets the good stuff. Look I get it, they are the MAIN couple, but come on, give us some crumbs at the very least, we’re not asking for much!
Besides that letdown, I was at least able to enjoy a lot of other tidbits. I was happy to see Itsuki and Heishi keeping in touch, I was greatly entertained by the fact Mikoto took it upon herself to learn how to be a pilot (that’s so like her!) and it warmed my heart to know Sorata was now living with Natsuhiko and is helping him build the rocket that will one day take humans to the moon. It delighted me to know Nanami did not erase Senri’s memories of the truth, and now he and Akito can rebuild their relationship as brothers. My heart broke for Sakuya, seeing him standing out there all alone, and I was caught off guard by the fact it was Ron of all people to have saved Kakeru in the first place and drop him off for his reunion with Koharu. (See Ron, you don’t have to live as an asshole!)
This is the first time I have watched an adaption of an Otome Game I had the opportunity to play beforehand (or more accurately: During the show). So for once, I was able to offer my perspective of how the adaption was being handled in the eyes of the one who played the game. And honestly, I have to consider myself lucky, because the adaption was a very interesting one to say the least. The staff involved with this project are in no way “big names”. They are people who were part of big projects, but were often not the ones in charge. This is why I went into this with the benefit of the doubt. I was curious to see how they would handle a complicated story as Norn9, and a game with three heroines, each with their own group of love interests. And you know what, although it wasn’t perfect and I wished they balanced out the screen-time more among the three girls and their love interests, it is fair to say they did a pretty darn good job. Anyone who played the game understands how complicated is it for anyone to make this into TV-Adaption. The biggest hurdle the staff have to overcome is the script. This is a struggle because in order for the story to make sense for anyone who has not played the game, they have to not only merge events taking place in various different routes but also figure out how to tie them together. They succeeded in doing that by creating some clever original anime-content material, but there was a huge risk involved- which was, High Risk, High Reward. This would determine whether or not the original anime-content would be a Hit or Miss. I can’t say for sure whether or not there were more fails than success, but I would say it’s about equal. One of the benefits from creating original anime-content material was creating curve-balls. It created some suspense for those who have played the game, offering something new to look forward to. One example was Mikoto’s relationships, or as I had liked to describe it as, “Love Triangle” due to how complicated it was getting. Now of the three girls, Mikoto was the last one to be addressed and was also the one who suffered from the cuts the most. While they did a really good job creating this tension and anticipation of which one of her routes they were going to follow, it ate up a lot of time for her to flesh out her relationships. In the end, it was Mikoto, Sakuya and Natsuhiko who suffered the most from the amount of the game’s original content cut out.
Now that being said, there were also a handful of stupid and questionable decisions. First off, the one thing that irritated me the most in this adaption was how much they watered down the heroines’ personalities. For example, Koharu starts off a bit timid and incredibly naive, but make no mistake: this girl has fire in her belly. I was disappointed how we were not able to see more of Koharu’s fierce and brave side of her. And to make matters worse, they decided to do a “role reversal” by turning Koharu into a damsel in distress, when in the game- it was Kakeru who needed saving and Koharu was the one to save him! I can’t tell you how disappointed I was to see them do that! And Nanami too, suffered from a watered down character. While Nanami does shoulder a lot of guilt, she isn’t as helpless as they made her to be. They actually adjusted the setting where some of her scenes with Akito takes place- such as the first one, I will never forget it- have the wind suddenly blows her over? Like um, why couldn’t they just stick with Nanami being knocked out of the hole from the impact of the earlier attacks (aka: she and Akito almost falls out of the ship).
Overall I enjoyed Norn9: Norn+Nonet very much. It was something I looked forward to every week, curious to see which direction they were going to take the show. It was far from perfect, but at the end of the day at least I am not ranting about how terrible it was. It was so refreshing to finally see actual romance take place- something that is sorely lacking from Otome Games’ adaptions due to ‘Open Endings’. It was fun while it lasted.
Final Score: 6.5/10
Imperfect, but is still worth to watch if you are looking for some romance. Unfortunately only one couple really gets to experience it.
Characters & Development: 5/10
Animation Quality: 7.5/10
Original Soundtrack: 10/10