Whenever visual novels find themselves adapted into an anime, any multiple choice routes that would usually rely on input from the player are almost always cut down into one linear route. This results in multiple character arcs being merged into one story or otherwise the “true” hero / heroine route is chosen above all others. Noucome (Aka. Noucome – My Mental Choices Are Completely Interfering With My School Romantic Comedy) is a series which attempts to put the “multiple choices” back into a story with hillarious effects, requiring (or to be more specific, forcing) the main protagonist into choosing and going through with one of the often ludicrous options which appear before him randomly.
Kanade Amakusa once lived an ordinary life, until he befell a curse known as “Absolute Choice”. Randomly during his day-to-day life, he is presented two options to choose from – with both generally causing extreme duress and embarassment on his part. Should he decline, Amakusa suffers agonizing pain until he follows one of the options presented before him. These random outbursts have caused him to be branded as a member of the school’s “Fail Five”, with the only support coming from his homeroom teacher who managed to beat the curse prior to the show starting. However things change when he is presented the option to “have a beautiful girl fall from the sky”, with this option beginning a route which could lead to him defeating the curse permanently. With some assistance from the mysterious girl named Chocolat, Amakusa is forced into completing timed missions with his fellow female aquaintances – from making the emotionless Furano Yukihara laugh to catching the glimpse at the shy Konagi Yawakaze’s panties.
The whole “Absolute Choice” premise is clearly the main highlight of Noucome, and while it isn’t as prevalent as it could have been, it does tend to pop up once or twice every episode. Sometimes this leads to some random behavior which would be considered inappropriate to the situation while others pose a genuine conundrum for Amakusa. There is also the occasional absurd response thrown in somewhere during an episode as well, which is often presented post-credits as a “what if” scenario. To give you an example of how the “Absolute Choice” system works, in the opening of Episode 1 we see Amakusa noticing a pornographic magazine lying on the ground in a park. With Absolute Choice kicking in, he is forced to choose between two options:
- Press it to your face and smell it
- Eat it
Therefore the conundrum is if Amakusa should try to digest something that is more or less unpalatable or risk public embarrassment by acting perverted. Despite coming across as a genuinely likable protagonist who would go the extra length to help a friend, he is forced to break down his personality in order to avoid insufferable pain. It is a unique idea which is effectively used during the episodes.
The remaining character cast, who are often dragged into the missions faced by Amakusa, are a mixed bag of fairly generic personalities. These include (but are not limited to) the shy and emotionless Furano Yukihara whose actual personality is a polar opposite to what she publicly displays, the upbeat Ouka Yuuoji and the loli “childhood friend”, Yuragi Hakoniwa, who likes to call everyone big brother or sister. While a couple of the characters are fairly well developed for the amount of screentime granted, there are many characters including Chocolat who really need more attention given to them in a second season. With the light novel series by Takeru Kasukabe still ongoing, there is still a possibility of a second season being commissioned at a later date. That being said, without more episodes, there isn’t really anything to justify the first season existing as it has not received any form of conclusion.
While it does provide an interesting concept and delivers it well, Noucome is still first and foremost a harem anime laden with fanservice. I would have personally liked a little less attention put on the fanservice and more towards constructing a solid storyline with the strong concepts introduced during the series. As enjoyable as it was, I couldn’t help but feel Noucome would have been much better by trying to offer the viewer more serious and emotional moments. It was clear that they tried to offer some more serious moments when developing select characters, however often stopped short of fully taking advantage of them. However, the eleven episodes delivered where undoubtedly entertaining in my mind, and those looking for plenty of laughs may find them more satisfying.
In terms of production value, Noucome is pretty average. While available on both DVD and Blu-ray in North America, Australian anime publisher Madman Entertainment have opted to keep this as a DVD-exclusive release. This in my opinion was an appropriate move, and while not delivering anything close to a bad and aesthetically unappealing experience, there are certainly better designed and animated anime on the market. For a slice-of-life comedy, it is of the standard that you would expect to see on average – decent character designs, good animation and adequate environments. That being said, kudos must go to Diomedéa for all the creative ways they managed to have the Absolute Choice options appear to both Amakusa and the viewer – opting to be elaborate rather than simply presenting an option visual novel style.
Noucome features a single opening and single ending theme. The opening theme, S・M・L☆ by Afilia Saga is an enjoyable upbeat pop song which suits the series as a slice of life comedy. The ending theme Taiyou to Tsuki no Cross by TWO-FORMULA actually turned out to be a bit more creative and enjoyable, both in terms of the song itself and its complementing animation. The remainder of the soundtrack however wasn’t very memorable.
North American anime publisher Sentai Filmworks opted to not commission an English dub for Noucome, and at this time have no announced plans to retrospectively produce one for a re-release either. The Japanese dub however is fairly enjoyable, with most of the cast suiting their respective characters well. Some personal highlights include Toshiyuki Toyonaga as Kanade Amakusa, Yui Kondou as Furano Yukihara and Shinnosuke Tachibana as God.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much of note to discuss in terms of on-disc content. With the exception of trailers (Oreimo Season 2, Mayo Chiki!, Date a Live and Ikki Tousen Xtreme Xecutor in the Australian edition), all that is available are textless opening and ending sequences. Overall, fairly unremarkable.
While the fanservice can sometimes be a tad overbearing, Noucome manages to deliver an enjoyable slice of life comedy experience, with the Absolute Choice idea helping set it apart from other similar series on the market. However, more episodes need to be commissioned as either an OVA or second season to justify this anime existing, as currently it is little more than the groundwork for something bigger.
Images: ©2013 Takeru Kasukabe/yukiwo/Kadokawashoten/NOUKOME Partners
Acknowledgement: DVD Review copy provided by Madman Entertainment