In the past few years, the Slice of Life genre gained a lot of popularity. Many of these shows while similar have unique stories. As I explained in my editorial about the genre back in 2010, there is really no defined definition of what makes a show a Slice of Life.
In particular, Kyoto Animation has pushed few of the most popular shows of this genre. Lucky Star and K-On has a huge following for cute characters, but both of them have two different premises. The former focuses on the anime subculture and the latter, the true essence of friendship. On the other hand, Nichijou takes a spin of the genre with less emphasis on characters and more on ingenious comedy (Image Source).
In the past, Kyoto Animation was not known that much for its creativity or creating original stories. Their strengths were in the faithful adaptation of source material into a show. Underneath their various adaptations, they have made an original production called Munto with subsequent remakes in 2009. Even though the 2003 production allowed them to produce the Full Metal Panic and Air anime, the sequel fell flat from the half-baked story and the fact that nobody cared for it after several years. This happened as a result of their strengths being mostly in adaptation and animation. They simply didn’t have enough experience with original productions, which PA Works have been successful at. However, with their adaptation of Nichijou, they were able to bring some creative juices in certain aspects.
Compared to their previous productions, Nichijou takes a distinctive approach with the emphasis more on the jokes than on the characters. Each episode is split up to several segments and focused on different sketches that vary in size. Sometimes, they are not always continuous. This makes the comedy segments feel separate, which makes it easier to recall the funniest moments in the episode. In a way, this also allows the minor characters to get time in the spotlight even though Hakase/Nano/Sakamoto, Mio, Yuuko and Mai get shown more often for oblivious reasons. Although all the characters don’t get developed much, there are some as shown with Nano herself as she eventually able to experience a mostly normal life and attending school.
Unlike Lucky Star and K-ON, some of the segments in Nichijou are creative and even memorable. The source material basically outlines how these comedic moments will play out and the creativity is mostly seen through the execution. This is noticeable in numerous instances such as Mio brutally attacking people, Yuuko helping her make it over the pole and of course the blimp. Out of all of these moments, “Helvetica Standard” is where they show most of this in a very weird manner, especially in Episode 19 where they go over the top. Most of the comedic moments are enjoyable, but there some are just a hit and miss. So, it’s mostly going to depend on the viewer.
Overall, Nichijou might not be the best of what Kyoto Animation has done so far, but how they show the comedy made the show entertaining. Through the characters and the performance of each joke, they can apply their experiences they used in this show and use this knowledge if they ever make another original production. Hopefully, they won’t make the same mistakes as they did in the previous production.