Summary: While the title suggests a story of simple, everyday school life, the contents are more the opposite. The setting is a strange school where you may see the principal wrestle a deer or a robot’s arm hide a rollcake. However there are still normal stories, like making a card castle or taking a test you didn’t study for.
Review: Yet another comedy for the Spring/Summer 2011 seasons. After seeing so many it is hard to say which is the best. I can say that Nichijou managed to hold its own for the whopping twenty six episode run. Quite a few episodes for a purely short skit comedy. Like always I was skeptical after learning about such a long season for such a strange anime. Random comedy can work for some time, but after a while you generally grow tired of it. The jokes become stale, overused, and possibly even lost in translation. Nichijou was one of the few comedies that actually had me laughing just about every episode, even if it were a little chuckle. The characters for the series were probably what made it so great. All the characters from the idiot Yuuko and the strangely normal-for-a-human robot Nano were very enjoyable to watch. These short skits kept getting better and better as the weeks passed.
The art style for Nichijou can be argued for either being simple or complex. Personally I found the balance between the two a notable subject. While much of the anime had very simplistic art mixed with outrageous facial expressions, there were scenes where the anime took to a whole new level. Still maintaining the general structure, it did a great job with lighting and shading. The best aspect of the art were the backdrops. The backdrops for Nichijou were top of the line. It was ridiculous the amount of chaos going on in the background while still maintaining an orderly visual. The over the top chase scenes were one of the best in the business. I loved every single one of the scenes because of how crazy the series got with them. There were so many things going on at the same time (most of them random) it was difficult to keep up; each one having its own joke embedded inside. Nichijou didn’t just have art for comedy either. Strangely enough it had a lot of sweet moments as well. The art complimenting each scene with soft colors and quite a lot of thought put into the facial expressions. As you can tell I’m pleasantly surprised by the versatility of a rather coloring book drawing style. It was probably one of the better points of Nichijou.
The story, or generally plot device of Nichijou didn’t fall shortly behind. It had a lot of great things to it; it kept me entertained for twenty six episodes at least. That says a lot about a comedy since most fall short after twelve. I’m still waiting to see how the new lineup of second season comedies will fair against a twenty six episode single season. I’m pleased to say that whatever Nichijou was doing, it did it right. I’m still not sure why I laughed at some of the parts, possibly because my brain was so jumbled by all the random humor its natural instinct was to laugh. I’m still not convinced that random humor has long-term comedic value, but Nichijou puts up a good argument. Laughing nearly every episode is proof of that. However, it wasn’t all sunshine and happiness every episode. Toward the middle of the season I did find myself drifting off from time to time absolutely spacing out the episode completely. It turned more into background noise than anything. The gags did become repetitive at some point. It wasn’t till the end when things started mixing up again. In the middle it felt like it was just the same overreacting five minutes with a different color. One episode Mio would be yelling at Yuuko for buying the wrong paper, the next Mio would be yelling at Yuuko for not buying rice. It got old pretty quick and guilty as I say I fast forwarded through the skit. To this day I don’t think I missed anything that would change my mind about the series. Between these carbon copy skits were some gems; shorts that had me busting up laughing and reminding me why I didn’t drop this series at the beginning of the season. There were a lot of reoccurring gags that had me laughing harder each time with the slight tweaks and modifications they made each round. More specifically how Mio possibly got her hair ties. I couldn’t get enough of Yuuko’s imagination. For a comedy it served its purpose. I wasn’t looking for heavy character development or a suspenseful storyline. In fact, every time they had a sweet slice of life moment it came as quite a shock. I sat there waiting for a punch line that never arrived. Instead of smiling from a laugh I would be smiling from a swelled up heart. So for whatever the reason the series put a smile on my face from beginning to end.
The soundtrack for Nichijou was as widespread as the characters and gags. The tranquil sounds of nature and strings mixed with the side splitting short was a great combination to really amplify the scene’s atmosphere. The second opening was especially addicting. Not only did I get a kick out of the moe poses happening in the background, I found myself humming the song to myself after the episode was over. It had a playful melody that fit the series like a glove. Probably not something you would casually listen to unless you’ve watched the series. I know every time it comes on I get a smile on my face thinking of that one skit with the hard pumpkin.
Final statements: Nichijou did its job and did it fairly well. At the beginning I was completely behind the series, in the middle I got a little bored, and in the end it picked it up for a final wrap up. The sweet moments between the comedic shorts were a nice touch too. It reminds you that your everyday life is filled with tiny miracles and people you should appreciate. A preferred watched that got me thinking maybe a simple life isn’t a bad one.