The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Nichijou OVA

Title: Nichijou OVA aka Everyday Life – OVA aka Nichijou Episode 0
Genre: Comedy
Company: Kyoto Animation
Format: 1 OVA
Dates: 12 Mar 2011

Synopsis: After an everyday test, Mio and Yuuko show each other their respective scores on the count of three… but after seeing Mio’s modest 67 points, Yuuko baulks, and tells Mio she got 32 points. After Mio tricks Yuuko into showing her real score, the truth is revealed: Yuuko has managed the impressive feat of scoring a solitary point. Yuuko starts to become depressed, but Mio takes it upon herself to cheer her up, and convince Yuuko that her academic deficiencies do have some positives.

The Highlights
Comedy: Absurd; reminiscent of Azumanga Daioh.
Introduction: Virtually none to speak of.
Character interactions: Ironic, particularly regarding the members of the Shinonome lab.

The Nichijou OVA is a taster for the TV series which has just started airing, but as an introduction, it pretty much throws you into the deep end. And that’s a fair place to start for an anime with a very absurd sense of humour. The opening vignette, in which one character attempts to rationalize positives about her friend’s low test scores to make her feel better, smacks of Azumanga Daioh, particularly in the way that it makes a big deal of the mundanities of classroom life for an otherwise ordinary pair of students. As is the case for most anime comedy, the appeal is in the reactions, and the way Mio tiptoes through a field of landmines to avoid saying the wrong thing to Yuuko is likened to her patiently trying to reel in a monster fish. Not the analogy I’d have gone for, but cute nonetheless.

What’s much cuter, and easily the highlight of this short taster, is the interaction between Professor Shinonome (the ironic absurdity being that the Professor is a genius inventor eight year old girl… gap moe, anyone) and Nano, along with their cat, Sakamoto. Sakamoto can talk, and Nano sports a large key in her back, two quirks which are explained in the early episodes of the TV series. Nano is extremely motherly, and the Professor is definitely the child in this family, as she’s quick to pout and direct blame for any of her shortcomings towards Sakamoto. They interact as a normal family would, but the big punchline is that they’re not a normal family at all, and that the hierarchy is definitely stacked in the Professor’s favour.

This is the type of comedy that won’t appeal to everyone: try to imagine an anime being raised in the environment of an awkward marriage between KyoAni and Shaft, after they confused the works of Azumanga Daioh and Seto no Hanayome for guidebooks on parenting. I always consider the cultural barrier issue something of a copout warning when it comes to anime comedy, in that I don’t think it’s relevant as frequently as some like to argue, but I guess it should be said that this has a very Japanese sense of a humour (with what appears to me to be a smidgen of a continental European influence, particularly with how the members of the Shinonome lab look and act), so I could imagine some English speaking Westerners struggling a bit with this.

With that said, this OVA is cute, and it’s funny, and that’s what it ultimately set out to be. My concern is its lasting power, which is a typical issue for a random comedy like this, and the TV series is already showing signs that the number of variations of the same set of punchlines it has is limited. I had enough fun with this OVA to be satisfied, but whether Nichijou can maintain the same levels of novelty and charm for 26 episodes will be a severe test, and one I don’t think it’s up to.

The Rating: 7

Reviewed by: Sorrow-kun

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