Nichijou (My Ordinary Life/Everyday Life) is Kyoani’s latest anime. Unlike other studios that turn out more than half a dozen shows a year, Kyoani tends to be resourceful, making generally only making one to two shows a years. Kyoani of course also is one of my favorite anime studios. While I could have waited till the show was over (going to be 26 episodes versus the 12-13 most other shows are), felt the halfway mark was enough to form an opinion.
Nichijou is very odd, even by slice of life comedy standards. Unlike other Kyoani shows that won me by the first episode (Haruhi, Lucky Star and K-On!), this show has been slow in winning me over. Visually, it resembles Lucky Star (and if you recall on my old blog, Lucky Star is one of my favorite shows ever). While using highly stylized puni plush character designs with pastel colored hair (but not as saturated as in LS) and water-color backgrounds, it doesn’t resemble LS comically. Lucky Star’s main form of humor was poking fun at the obsessive traits of otaku while reveling in otaku related references. Nichijou has little to no otaku references. Its humor doesn’t come for an observation of cute girls doing things cutely in an observational matter (ala K-On!). So what the hell is Nichijou’s shtick?
Nichijou is basically school life (some of the characters are schoolgirls, but not all. In fact I say a third of characters are males) SOL comedy of characters doing ordinary things in an extraordinary exaggerated matter. That’s where the problem in viewing this show lies. It’s similar to another SOL comedy of schoolgirls doing things in a humorous over the top matter, the SHAFT anime Pani Poni Dash. PPD took some time for me to get into. I LOVED the character designs with their roundedness, but the humor was hard to get into in the beginning. It wasn’t the references but the hyper kineticism in the humor. There lies the challenge in viewing Nichijou. This show is NOT for people who want a realistic SOL. Nichijou is deliberately artificial.
So many shows made today use visual sexual fanservice to draw its viewer. While the recently ended SHAFT produced anime Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko did it fantastically, other shows just half ass it and thus end up having to censor the good stuff to cover their asses (I recently just watched R-15 and Mayo Chiki and promptly dropped both for not doing a thing for me). It also resembles the 90’s American cartoon Animaniacs by way of having lots of characters and various segments both long and short devoted to them.
Back on topic, Nichijou has no sexual fanservice and in fact Kyoani shows tend to have little to none (Haruhi Suzumiya was probably the most out there in terms of it, but mostly for humor at the expense of poor moe Mikuru). Nichijou hasn’t even had a so-called beach episode that’s the staple of SOL anime today. So then, why bother watching it? Here’s the secret: no matter how pure or chaste the show is, you KNOW that there’s going to be perverted fanart work produced from its fans. Here lies what makes the show work for me. There’s little subtle things in the series that practically beg it for sexualized fanart and doujinshi.
Take the character Mai Minakami. She’s fits the kuudere “I have no emotion and like to read all day” character. Because she is SO stoic, you could imagine her being ” cold tuna” if you get what I mean, to the point where she would STILL continue to being reading even if she were doing a certain other activity (wink).
In the latest episode, a school science teacher Nakamura was introduced. Basically, a reverse trap she is (you would have thought it was a guy at first if not for the earrings). She want to study the recently transferred Nano, who just happens to be a robot that looks just like a schoolgirl with the exception of a big wind up key on her back and built by an eight year old professor who looks like Becky from Pani Poni Dash. You KNOW that there’s going to be fanart and possibly doujins depicting Nakamura “studying” Nano.
There’s of course things in the show that are just legitimately cute. I love any scene withe the professor and Nano. I hope the show continues to improve.