Plot: Koharu has always lived alone, but she always had a bright destiny ahead, which would arrive on her 17th birthday. Once she was 17, a spacecraft known as the Norn arrives and she is taken inside. This is the first time she feels at home and content, as the Norn just feels like where she is supposed to be. Koharu was chosen to be part of a very important mission by an organization known as The World. This group has assembled some of the most gifted, talent young people around, as Koharu is just one several aboard the Norn for the mission. She pairs up with Kakeru, but there are also others who have special talents and will form the rest of this elite squad. Each was selected for a unique ability they possess and they will need those special kills, as their mission involves more than they could ever imagine. Can this quirky unit of young people protect the world and how will they adjust to life on the Norn?
Entertainment Value: This is a twelve episode series that centers on Koharu and others chosen to fulfill crucial missions for a secret organization. The show starts off strong and lets us meet Koharu and Kakera, as well as learn about what makes them tick. The others are more or less skimmed over to focus on the leads, but soon they’re given ample time to develop as well. After the first episode, the series kind of stalls a little and has a lot of what comes off as filler. I am sure will enjoy those episodes, but the exposition wasn’t handled well, in my opinion. I know not every episode can be packed with crucial information, but still. But the last five or six episodes kick things back into gear and start weaving the narrative threads together. Once this happens, Norn9 really shines and the series has some terrific moments. This type of anime isn’t my personal favorite, as I prefer more outrageous humor or action driven anime, but it has a good story and is fun to watch for the most part. The tone varies between serious and comedic, with a good amount of romance thrown in as well. I liked the sci/fi elements the best, as the drama often lacked the depth to allow me to connect with the material. Even so, the blend of all these genres is fairly smooth and with so many angles run here, there’s bound to be a little something for most viewers.
I think the strongest trait of Norn9 has to be the visuals, as this series looks excellent and is beautiful to soak in. The opening scenes of the series are gorgeous and really kick off the show right, letting you know the animation is going to kick ass. I loved all the little touches and attention to detail, as it made the world seem more alive and I liked looking for all the small nuances. The color choices are beautiful as well, combining with the animation to provide some truly stunning moments. If you can, watch this in HD, as it simply sparkles with the added resolution. The character designs are familiar, but also have some unique traits. I did appreciate that Norn9 features some strong female characters as well, always a plus. The interactions between the couples adds a lot to the experience and unlike some anime series, it was nice to see some genuine romance instead of just lust here. As I said, I normally watch anime that has a deeper wild streak, but this was still a solid series. A good story, perhaps a little too much filler, as well as some gorgeous visuals. If you like a strong dose of sci/fi with your anime, Norn9 is one you should check out.