It Got Better – Nichijou 1

Nichijou teaches about some of Japan's most famous souvenirs... by dropping them on Yuuko's noggin.

The most terrible thing that can happen to a fan is seeing their object of affection losing its touch. Hipsters cry indie tears when they hear the new ‘mainstream’ album by what used to be their favorite band. Film lovers pull the hair out of their heads when they see the person who used to be a great director releasing one piece of crap after another. And I suppose a lot of Kyoto Animation lovers felt the exact same when the studio wasted another 26 episodes on the Sakura High Light Music Club and dealt the death blow with the terrible abomination that was Nichijou episode 0. But worry not, fellow slice-of-life fans: the actual show makes up for this. Kinda.

What I Liked

Apparently, 'Salamat Pati' is Malaysian. That's a fun fact.

The comedy: While Episode 0 was an unfunny mess most likely penned by the same ‘writers’ who somehow succeeded in stretching out eight pages of K-ON! manga to 22 minutes of anime, episode 1 was actually based off the original manga by Keiichi Awari and presented us with a whole different kind of humor than that in the OVA. Nichijou takes equal parts Seinfieldian ‘cute girls doing cute things’ and ‘absurd hyperactive everyone-shouting-a-lot’ comedy, and winds up resembling a Lucky Star X Pani Poni Dash! crossover slashfic.

It’s not K-ON!: With guns being fired, wieners being launched through mohawks and an USB stick toe narrating the preview, this is KyoAni’s clearest attempt at comedy yet. Nichijou doesn’t seem to focus on the cuteness as explicitly as K-ON! or even Lucky Star does, and this is rather odd considering when that shows about girls sitting around a table drinking tea can sell millions. It appears as if KyoAni has decided that moe alone is not enough, which is quite the admirable effort for the studio. And you know what’s even better? There are guys in Nichijou!

The OP/ED: That terrible aural rape machine of an ending song from the OVA gets replaced by a catchy OP and a cute ED. The songs themselves aren’t that big of a deal, missing a catchy hook à la Working!!‘s OP, but the visuals are certainly worth mentioning. The OP is just as crazy as the show itself and is supported by -of course- some obligatory KyoAni dance moves. The ED on the other hand, sports a wonderful and dreamy cutout art style, quite fitting to the accompanying ‘Zzzz”.

What I Hated

Mai occasionally shoots the dog.

Oh, hi there, err… Tomo? Ritsu? Yuuko?: Nichijou‘s characters suffer from the same problem as many of their slice-of-life comedy colleagues: Mio, Yuuko, Mai and company are carbon copies of the archetypes established more then 10 years ago by Azumanga Daioh. Yuuko is the idiotic Tomo to Mio’s rational Yomi, Mai is the silent one of the bunch, and Nano and the Professor could easily pass as the Hirasawa sisters. Oh, and then there’s that guy who looks exactly like Keima Katsuragi from The World God Only Knows. Hoo boy.

Everyone looks like a kid: Kyoto Animation, you bunch of goddamn lolicons.

Overall Impressions

‘Don’t judge an anime by its episode 0’ might have come off as a rather moronic comment, but for Nichijou it proves correct. Unlike it’s predecessors, it doesn’t even seem to care about taking the otaku world by storm. The colorful art and absurd humor, despite being held back by the archetypical… err… everything and the bitter taste left by the OVA and K-ON!!, will surely guide me through the spring season laughing. Occasionally. I hope.

I give it 4 Picards, because I definitely LOL’d.