Nichijou primarily focuses on the daily antics of a trio of childhood friends—high school girls Mio Naganohara, Yuuko Aioi and Mai Minakami—whose stories soon intertwine with the young genius Hakase Shinonome, her robot caretaker Nano, and their talking cat Sakamoto. With every passing day, the lives of these six, as well as of the many people around them, experience both the calms of normal life and the insanity of the absurd. Walking to school, being bitten by a talking crow, spending time with friends, and watching the principal suplex a deer: they are all in a day's work in the extraordinary everyday lives of those in Nichijou.
Conventional wisdom has always taught us that more is usually better. We think that the more expensive car should have more completely unrelated features, the better ice-cream sundae should have a bigger pile of fresh fruit on top, and the better statistics report should be able to pull more numbers out of it’s arse. We compare phones by the multitude of apps it can run, our enjoyment of horror films is based on how many different ways the various victims die, and we often rate anime by how many story arcs, characters, subplots and themes it can cram into it’s 26 episode season.
As the modern entertainment sector continues to emphasize excess and surplus, Nichijou is a much welcome, and frankly much needed throwback to a more old-school approach to entertainment. Nichijou’s frugal yet distinct style reminds us that something is perfect, not because there’s nothing more to add to it, but because there is nothing more to take away.
Nichijou brings to us a fusion of gag, moe, slice-of-life and slapstick comedy. It’s humor is very reminiscent of Azumanga Diaoh while it’s art style borrows heavily from the distinctly colorful palette of Lucky Star. Nichijou adopts a very light-hearted approach with it’s tone; it’s jokes are played fast and loose, and while there is a constant shift of pacing throughout each episode, Nichijou never seems to take itself very seriously.
Perhaps the most noteworthy thing about Nichijou is it’s production value. Frankly speaking, Nichijou is GORGEOUS to look at; it’s animation so incredibly fluid and it’s art so crisp and vivid that it actually puts other supposedly competent studios to shame. The artwork selects it’s palette very sparingly, with a result that is both vibrant yet easy on the eyes. This gentle tone is then frequently punctuated by segments of metaphorical (and in some cases literal) animation explosions, showcasing KyoAni’s talent with a huge variety of styles from gritty realism to crayon slapstick.
One can’t help but wonder if KyoAni isn’t deliberately showing off their workmanship with this anime. Many originally very short panels from the manga are translated into incredibly imaginative and stunning sequences of animation that simply scream “because we can.” Show off or not, Nichijou’s cinematography is nothing short of outstanding; it’s liberal interpretation of the original source material has really allowed the creativity of director Ishihara Tatsuya and the KyoAni animators to shine through like nothing we’ve ever seen before.
Special mention to Nichijou’s OP and ED songs, which are creative shorts (incredibly well sync’d I might mention) in their own right. As a fun fact, both of Nichijou’s OPs are sung by Hyadain, who is ONE guy. No female backing vocals at all, he does it all himself. Seriously I’m not joking, go look it up.
The aforementioned dynamic pacing forms the basis of Nichijou’s entertainment value. Each episode tackles it’s structure with a large degree of unpredictability. You never know what’s going to happen next, be it a humorous dialogue scene, a fast paced action sequence, an amusing random still image or a hilarious but completely unrelated skit. Despite this seemingly chaotic approach, Nichijou still manages to find a good balance between all it’s various styles so that no episode feels too weighted. While such a haphazard approach may seem counter-intuitive for a slice-of-life anime, this style ends up working greatly in Nichijou’s favor, adding another layer to it’s texture of absurdity.
The humor itself is very simplistic, almost to a fault, and one would normally attribute this as one of Nichijou’s flaws. That is of course until you remember that “Nichijou” translates to “My Ordinary Life” and as such, the simplicity of the jokes are a fitting homage to the show’s title and premise. Many of the jokes are simply exaggerated normal events like missing the train or a waiter forgetting your order, relying on witty dialogue delivery and clever timings to get the humor across. Some may consider this a hit-or-miss sort of comedy, which is only a fair judgement. All the same, you don’t necessarily have to laugh at jokes like these to appreciate them, which is one of the main reasons why slice-of-life can have such a widespread appeal (remember K-On?)
The characters are very likable, despite the obvious utilization of moe in many of their design. If you can shed that manly exterior and look past the few excessively “cute” scenes, there’s actually an abundance of things to enjoy about Nichijou’s characters. Conventional archetypes are few and far between in this anime, and all the characters harbor their own quirky habits and flaws that you’ll quickly grow fond of.
The best thing about Nichijou’s characters however, isn’t their individuality, but how they interact with each other. The personalities of various character groups clash, contrast and complement each other in extremely interesting ways; the conversations and activities of the two golden trios of Nichijou: Yuuko/Mio/Mai and Hakase/Nano/Sakamoto make up the abundance of material in each episode and just their hilarious adventures by themselves could probably carry an entire show. This is furthered by the great voice acting that the Nichijou provides; Nichijou is one of the rare shows where the seiyuus genuinely sound like they’re enjoying themselves. Dialogues are delivered with copious amounts of enthusiasm which really helps sell the spirited relationships that the various characters enjoy with each other.
With all that has been said though, I would like to come back to that idea I mentioned when we began, that idiom of “less is more.” The thing I love most about Nichijou, isn’t the amazing artwork, the clever cinematography, the light-hearted humor or even the imaginative characters. What I love most about Nichijou is the fact that, behind all the technicalities and production values, lies a very simple ideal. Everything about Nichijou revolves around this central principle of being enjoyable. All that it does, every scene, every character, every line of dialogue alludes back to this principle. Because at the end of the day, all Nichijou wants you to do is one thing; it wants you to enjoy yourself. With Nichijou, there is no story, no subplots, no recurring themes, no character development, no product placement, no lessons to be learnt, no obscure references to pander to a niche audience, no obvious fan-service pandering or ploys to sell related merchandise.
Fun is the only thing that matters, and it's this frugality, this ingenious simplicity, that allows everything to just click together like magic.
When you finally get home after a long tiring day, the only thing Nichijou wants to do is to give you an excuse to prop your feet up after and wash that blue feeling away as it slowly puts that grin back onto your face. read more
If I had to sum up all of Nichijou in one word, it would be "beautiful." As a slice of life, this anime can't be for everyone, as most people like to have a story that is actually driven by the plot. But even if you aren't into slice of life anime, there is something in Nichijou for everyone to enjoy.
Every episode is a series of semi-random "moments" in each of the characters' lives. As far as an actual storyline goes, there is no distinct beginning or end to Nichijou. No goal, no real conflict - as to be expected of a slice of life, "storyless." However, at about the halfway point, I started to question whether all of Nichijou somewhat revolves around Nano and her dreams of leading a normal, everyday life (which is what "nichijou" roughly translates to). There are some really beautiful moments that do advance the plot, which is part of what makes Nichijou so special as a slice of life.
Stunning. Characters are distinct, cute, and thoroughly enjoyable to look at. Animation has very fluid movements, and the "camera" work, especially during the funny scenes, is just brilliant. One thing that I particularly adore about this anime is the fact that, as opposed to some anime like Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood, in which the art style becomes overly-simplistic during moments of comedy, Nichijou's art style becomes vastly more serious and dramatic for almost all of the hilarious moments. Without losing an ounce of fluidity, Nichijou will abruptly switch from cute and colorful to intense, fast-paced action with over-the-top explosions and yelling. Everything about the art in this anime is something to behold.
Hats off to Hyadain, as he did both of the OP songs and one of the ED songs, which are fun and upbeat, as expected of him. The background music is also very well-done, it's unobtrusive and mellow, allowing the characters themselves to set the mood more so than the music.
This is the glue that holds the entire thing together. The characters make up for the lack of a concrete story and then some - this anime is definitely NOT just something pretty to look at. During the few times that the plot progresses, so do the characters. They learn and grow, they have problems and they help each other. I found myself growing attached to all of the characters, I don't think there is a bad one in the bunch.
Overall, I love this anime. It is certainly beautiful in more ways than one, and it stands above many other anime in terms of being a slice of life and a comedy. If you like Lucky Star and Gintama, I can almost assure you that you'll have a blast with this anime. I know I sure did!read more
This is an anime that I went into with high expectations. I was told OVER and OVER online that this was one of the funniest anime series to ever exist! I don't think I laughed once. I'm not just saying that I didn't get any sidesplitting laughs out of this, I don't think this series made me smile more than 2 times! Nichijou is certainly a series with an outstanding online reputation, but in this case I don't feel that the reputation was well deserved.
Nichijou was actually a bit of a flop in Japan and wasn't able to build a large Japanese fandom. However, it became a massive hit on the English speaking internet after 4chan latched onto it. For the last 3 years, Nichijou fans have been to /a/ what the bronies are to /b/! They are an absolutely devoted cult that recycle the same tired image macros OVER and OVER and team up the attack anyone that doesn't worship this piece of shit. Much like the Bronies, it is very difficult to tell how many actually like the show and how many embrace it entirely out of irony. Considering Nichijou is a comedy that is less funny than dropping a hammer on your big toe, I would say the latter is likely. Most of the humor consists of Japanese language puns and wordplay that doesn't translate well to a non-Japanese audience and even Japanese audiences didn't like it! This places Nichijou in a similar humor category as Vampire Holmes, which I also hated. The rest of the humor is "uber moe UGUUU" BULLSHIT, and tired slapstick gags that were old when Charlie Chaplin used them in the 1920s.
Story and Characters:
The story is simply the everyday life of a group of schoolgirls. Nichijou seems to borrow elements from both Azumanga Daioh and Cromartie High School without ever coming CLOSE to achieving the same level of humor and charm. A portion of this was that Azumanga and Cromartie had hilarious characters, while Nichijou just has really obnoxious characters. If I had to compare Nichijou to another anime it would be Lucky Star, but a version of Lucky Star that toned down all the anime and gaming references, leaving only the most mundane topics like finding a skirt that fits. Each of the characters fits into a well established archetype, but that alone doesn't explain why it's so bad. The Italian "commedia dell'arte" plays recycled the same stock characters and still won over audiences with their farcical humor. It is the combination of bland characters, linguistic humor lost in translation, tired gags, and horrible comedic timing that all come together to make this show a nearly un-watchable clusterfuck. If the show told a purposely bad joke and stretched it out until it became awkward for the audience, that would actually get a few laughs. When used right even "dead air" can be a useful comedic tool. Consider the opening of the famous comedy movie "Spaceballs". The joke is that the ripoff Star Destroyer is absurdly long in comparison to the ones in Star Wars, but that alone wouldn't be funny. It becomes funny because it just keeps going...and going...and going until the audience laughs because they don't know how to react. Nichijou just hits the audience with one bad joke after another in rapid succession like a machine gun of FAIL.
Animation and sound:
Here is where Nichijou got its points from. The opening theme is at least kind of catchy and the animation has moments where it shines. Having said that, I fucking HATE the art style of this series for taking even "moe" to a new rock bottom.
If you want to tell other people online that Nichijou is great in order to fit in, go for it! However, I warn you to NOT actually bother watching Nichijou yourself because it is a massive waste of time. There are few experiences more annoying that watching a horrible comedy with no laughs. Avoid this anime like the plague!read more
Reviews of shows that haven't finished are utterly pointless. They are only good for a couple of weeks at most, and of no use to anyone once the show is finished.
And yet I sit here, writing this review. I am fully aware that this review will become useless waste of space, it is inevitable, but having seen the series average MAL-score of 7.6, I decided to make a statetment:
Nichijou is fucking awesome.
The animation is outta this world (at least as far as slice of life is concerned) and the execution is flawless. The timing of the jokes is so, so good, and the physical nature of almost every scene really floats my boat. I love the characters, I love the voice actors, I love the music and I love that goat guy's butler. This is the show that could actually beat Azumanga Daioh at its home turf, and damn, I've longed to say that.
This score should by no means be viewed as final. It is work in progress, like the series itself (I usually don't rate unfinished shows). But at this point in time, at episode two, Nichijou has done a wonderful job of launching itself as a top dog of the 2011 spring season. Hell, maybe even the entire year!read more