Narumi Fujishima isn’t your typical high school student; he’s never really fit in and has been becoming increasingly more isolated from his fellow classmates. But he’s not alone, and when Ayaka, the sole member of the Gardening Club, introduces him to the reclusive girl who lives above the ramen shop, Narumi enters a whole new secret world. Alice is a NEET, someone who is Not Employed, being Educated or in Training, but as Narumi quickly discovers, that doesn’t mean that she does nothing all day. In between tending to her small army of stuffed bears, Alice is an expert hacker and very exclusive, private detective. To his surprise, Narumi finds himself drafted as one of the strange, but elite team of associates that Alice has assembled from her NEET acquaintances. Together they’ll battle gangs, thieves, murderers and drug lords. The only thing is that the cases keep getting closer to home and before you know it they have become personal. Can Narumi, Alice and the other NEETs get to the bottom if the mysteries that could destroy their own existence?
The stories are light in tone, but do deal with some social issues and cultural issues, so this isn’t just a paper thin chain of plot lines. The only character that I felt grew or was open for change was Narumi–everyone else just stayed in their shell and didn’t change, and what I mean by that is the only character we really are supposed to care for is Narumi, and I think the staff did a good job of having Narumi grow. The characters, for the most part, are not important. e never got to know the characters except the lead dude and a couple of side ones, so it was really hard to relate to and/or care for them. Also, while there were plenty of elements to the writing that were good, the show’s tendency to make NEETs cool fell flat. I also thought the way the gangsters were portrayed was pretty far-fetched.
So as I said there are a couple different episode arcs, each spanning a unique story. For the most part they start the same, someone approaches Alice for a job and they have to figure out “who done it.” But after that the story takes some pretty great turns and no story is the same. Later episodes will throw you a curve ball of drama at times. Literally there is one event that happens that will leave you speechless as a character deals with some real dark problems. I myself remember watching as it aired and thinking,”did that just really happen? Did I just see that?” When the moment happens, don’t stop watching. See the rest of the story. It will be worth it, trust me. On a side note if you are fan of the music from animes you might fall for this one as well. I personally loved the soundtrack for this show. That said, you will never feel like you’re being preached to and even in the most obvious moments, the series still entertains. And in the middle of it all, Narumi will find his life changing forever in Heaven’s Memo Pad!
In the end, while it is a solid series, some decisions made by the staff and overall a poor finish to the series leave what could have been a good series into just above average. BUT, overall this is a great show, one of the best that aired the season it aired on. Hopefully others that aired that season like God Dolls will get a release here as well. There was a lot of good anime airing when it did. Till then, enjoy God’s Notebook! One great piece of anime that, although short, is well worth your time. It could have used 12 more episodes to flesh out the protagonist more. As for glorifying NEETs, well, that’s kind of the point with shows where the show needed to portray underground NEETs having certain talents that may not be possible otherwise for more preoccupied peoples. I’m pretty sure that aspect is fully intentional, not necessarily trying to say being a NEET is something great in itself.