The many faces of Mile: Noukin has a solid working formula

[Busy –> Lazy, hash-tag-self-cringe]

Hm, I guess it really is just one face. But Mile’s moods carry the whole show (Watashi, Nouryoku wa Heikinchi de tte Itta yo ne!Noukin for short, I guess. The title’s even longer in English so I can’t be bothered to copy-paste it again).

Noukin has a simple, solid formula for its semi-parody: whenever some stupid tropey-dopey anime or isekai thing pops up, played seriously by the supporting cast — pop — a disbelief face in reaction from our lead heroine Mile. After all, why attempt to dispute the ridiculous foundations of the isekai genre when you could just stare in disbelief?

I like it best when the faces *pop* across just a single frame. Low animation quality and production shortcuts hidden behind an excess of static reaction faces, you ask? Nahhhhh… Shhh shhh, quiet now. It’s just an, um, stylistic choice, like a budget Humanity Has Declined vibe. Compare to that series:

We don’t need words, no no no

Hmmm, Mile’s face from Noukin isn’t quite up to Humanity Has Declined‘s superb quality of deadpan, but it’s still close enough for me, a real keeper — the first isekai I’ve enjoyed since I don’t care to admit — if only because it seems to enjoy mocking the genre as much as I do!

6 thoughts on “The many faces of Mile: Noukin has a solid working formula

  1. Fun gallery, heh. I’m enjoying the show for much the same reason. I’ve heard people call the show Average Mile in English, which I quite like.

    There’s a lot of isekai this season, and most of it is comedy. Surprisingly, I enjoy all of them.

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    1. I gave up on Mairimashita and that High School Prodigies series in literal minutes — no joke — because I couldn’t stand the voice acting. Bookworm is a sleep aid, and I haven’t watched the other two yet so that leaves me with this one. I’m glad to see more comedies around though; maybe the prevalence of parodies is evidence of the genre challenging its own tired formulas.

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    2. I should learn to say “most” by default, because the ones you don’t enjoy are always the ones you forget exist. I really like Iruma-kun, but I can sympathise about the voice acting (between getting used to it and them toning it down it gets bearable for me, but – yeah – it stays an issue). The Hish School Prodigies show, though? It’s a train-wreck. I’m still watching it, but it’s out of morbid curiosity.

      Kemono Michi is probably my favourite. The pro-wrestler angle is integral to the comedy, as you basically have this guy who takes wrestling story-lines seriously and treats the entire world as one big ring. (It’s not perfect, though; a few too many jokes rely on abuse, and it’s got the common anime problem of animals in too small cages.)

      The overpowered hero show, while coming with diminished returns, has great reaction faces, too, but it does sorely need more characters to mix up the dynamics as the formula’s been wearing thin for me in ep2.

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    3. I got around to watching a few episodes of those other isekai. I don’t have enough to say to write a full post about it so I thought I’d drop my impressions here since you wrote so much before.

      I think both the wrestling show and the over-cautious show have too-narrow gimmicks. I really like the goddess in the over-cautious show, but I have trouble overcoming Goblin Slayer vibes from the male lead (same voice actor). I usually like deadpan, but here, I don’t think he’s funny at all. Most of the comedy comes from the goddess’s reactions, not the hero’s own behavior or comments. Meanwhile, the wrestling show looks like a pretty typical Japanese slapstick gag comedy, which I’ve never much liked. Unlike Noukin or even the over-cautious show, it doesn’t have much satirical edge. I might watch a few more episodes of the over-cautious show, but I don’t see myself finishing either of them =/

      Then I suppose the new Swort Art Online counts as isekai too, but after the endless-exposition snore-fest that was Alicization I think I’m taking a break from that franchise for a while…

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  2. Mile’s reactions really do carry a lot in the anime though I also love the group dynamic that is developing and just the overall light tone of it so far. While it is mocking the tropes of isekai it doesn’t feel mean-spirited or smug which is kind of appreciated.

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    1. Yeah, the series uses that sort of genre-savvy parody, some light mockery in the “I only hurt you because I love you” style. It recognizes the ridiculousness of a lot of otaku nonsense while still enjoying it anyway (see: those little figures Mile made and Pauline sold or the goofy poses they did at the end of the tournament in episode 3). And of course, Mile’s sardonicism only works in contrast to her group! I’ve really enjoyed Noukin.

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