“Punchlines sure feel…. satisfying!”
Original Manga: Arai Keiichi
Anime Adaptation: Kyoto Animation
After a long hiatus, I’ve finally finished watching Nichijou. Literally translated into “everyday life” or “regular life” and indeed it is a compilation of stories about everyday life… yes that… and a lot of other things. The first episode… didn’t hold back at all. After a strikingly appropriate opening theme and a few minutes into the first couple of gags, I was already rofling so hard my tummy ached. Through the following episodes it was truly enjoyable and I was eagerly awaiting what twist on reality the characters would do the next event sequence. When I would feel moody, I’d watch the next episode, and it gets me laughing again.
I watched an episode every other week when I reached around ep22 when I realized I was nearing its completion. (I started watching Azumanga Daioh this time, I do terribly like it as well, :3 but that’s another story) I wanted to keep the feeling of looking forward to the next episode. I was really enjoying it and didn’t want it to end. Thus I stalled for a long time after ep25… which I shouldn’t have because how the last episode played out was a bit lackluster. It was still pretty good, but compared to their previous antics and the episode before I felt an slightly empty feeling, but an even bigger emptiness that I’ve actually watched everything. I wish there was more Nichijou.
The skits primarily revolve around three best friends: Yukko – a carefree airhead, Mio – an aspiring mangaka with her own set of quirks, and Mai – a quiet girl who has woodcarving and trolling as regular hobbies. The other main characters are comprised of a child professor – Hakase, a humanoid robot – Nano, and their talking pet cat – Sakamoto-san.
First up, the plot in this series is non-existent. This would usually be bad, but in Nichijou’s case, it intentionally discards a series encompassing storyline in favor of successive short skits. It works. Although there doesn’t seem to be a long term direction where the story is going, I did like the fact how it referenced items and events in its early episodes and built jokes using them in later episodes. Like this guy’s hair for example:
There is little character development due to the nature of the show, the biggest chunk of which comes from Nano who yearns to be a real girl, yet the characters are lovable especially when you get familiarized with them. If I were to summarize the changes that happened with the characters in one sentence, it would sound something like this: Yukko is not as dumb as we think she is, Mio reconciles and accepts her passions, Nano learns that she is fine the way she is, and Mai… well Mai just trolls them all, oh wait I think she developed an affinity for Hakase at some stage, but she will be primarily remembered for her cunning traps and her simplistic, yet calculated actions. Though there’s not much in overall plot, as one gets to know the each character individually, the gags become much more meaningful since each nuance of the characters becomes a joke in itself, even the supporting characters become very attaching.
Visually, everything looks clean and all pastelly. The way the camera angles work and the out of this world exaggerations do really well in selling the jokes. Like…
let’s not forget…
In the music department, I really like both opening themes and almost all of the ending themes. Both opening themes are done by Hyadain, and the tune and the lyrics describe well the friendship that is found among the characters; while the ending themes are all relaxed balancing out the hyper characters and lively opening. It also brings a sense of “Now let’s return to the real world.” feeling and that despite all the exaggerations, the feelings are based on real emotions and interactions from people. The voices feel like they really belong to the characters and are done really well. There’s really nothing to criticize from this end.
I almost forgot, aside from the main skits, Nichijou features intermission sequences that provide variety. Helvetica Standard, one of the regular sequences, is not standard at all. If there is something standard about it, is its randomness.
Then there’s stuff that make you feel all sentimental and attached like, Like Love and its cold attack!
These add value to the Nichijou experience. Aside from laughing my heart out. The benefits I gained from Nichijou are: I learned what kokeshi and akabeko are. I also learned that a friendship voucher for life with crazy friends is one of the most valuable things a person could have.
Overall, Nichijou’s comedy is very surreal and very random. If you’re into that sort of thing, you will most definitely enjoy this. You could watch any one episode and pretty much tell if you will like this or not. It’s lack of a fixed encompassing storyline is also its strength. Each episode is complete on its own. It’s also brimming with cuteness overload. Art is good, so is the music, and effects. It does its job of making me laugh. An excellent comedy series in my book.