Nichijou – Episode 2

Welp, I’m still burning through Nichijou, and it’s still offering a wild menagerie of jokes to comment on. As with the first episode, I found enough to comment on just within my notes that I’m making the second episode an article in its own right. These are almost turning into accidental time-stamp writeups, which is very craft of you guys to trick me into doing. Let’s get right to episode two!


Plenty of the usual establishing shots that bring KyoAni shows to life, though in a very distinctive visual style. Somewhat flatter shading, hard outlines, pastelles, and fewer digital effects – it results in a more ‘comic book’ aesthetic, and it’s really effective for this material. It’d be interesting to see the studio do more significant style digressions like this

Oh my god, their nonplussed reaction faces are so good

Another deadpan conclusion. I actually lack the context to make much sense of this joke, but there’s still some great work going on with the style digressions to express the various reactions of the characters

Even minor scenes like Mio dashing down the stairs are brought to life by the character animation. It sure is something to transition from Lucky Star to this


The insane smears and dynamic squash-and-stretch moves for Mio running away from the bear-headed girl. So much of the impact comes from the visual execution. The animation doesn’t just “enhance” the jokes – the jokes only exist because the animation is so strong

“What a spectacular corkscrew we’re seeing early this morning.” Nichijou all works according to its own dream-logic, so I can see it being a divisive show. It finds absurd twists and visual non-sequiturs funny for their own sake, but many people want more conventional comic structures

And here’s another unconventional structural joke – long after the cold open, Mai attempts to enter the spell of restoration she chanted, and the game tells her the spell is incorrect. A very long con that leaves the audience off-balance


Nano and the professor are too goddamn adorable. Here’s another vignette where the punchline is just “look at them, they’re fucking adorable”

“Why do I have to live with a roll cake in my arm?” Their dynamic is amazing. Stupid mad science by a baby professor is clearly an under-explored genre

A sweet bun in her forehead, of course. This scene also has some nice slowrolling – the long sequence of Nano waiting to ask for a snack properly sets up the punchline, and emphasizes the contrast in the way the two of them treat each other

Rule of three again with the log cake, of course ending with the misdirect of it being in the fridge. The rule of three is basically like any other bluffing game – you establish an action, use a second to turn it into a trend, and then subvert it with the third once the audience has learned to expect the initial pattern


Actually laughed out loud at Yuuko leaping on the ground and being slapped by the jump rope. This show’s small variations on its physical comedy are wonderful

“A warrior never goes back on her word!” “You just did.” There’s a fine distinction and chemistry between the leads, which is fairly important. Their idle conversations have to both ground the show in a more mundane place and also work as comedy in their own right, a set of demands that requires different strengths than the show’s more adventurous comic bits

Mio doodled BL in the notebook she handed to Yuuko. THE GAME IS ON

I love this heavy sketched, almost chalk-like style for the small shots of Mio trying to grab the notebook back. The images really strongly convey the sense of friction and impact those moments are supposed to possess


The show deliberately breaks the 180 degree rule to emphasize Yuuko’s stunned reaction. A neat trick

And like the wonderfully shitty friend she is, Yuuko takes off the moment she realizes Mio is desperate to get the notebook back

This show has lots of small jokes, but it’s also peppered with these wonderful long-form gags as well

“Not everything was perfect, but it was a good life” contrasted against a slice of toast sticking out of a tissue box. This show just won’t stop


Holy shit this sequence is gorgeous. Wild smears, wonderful effects work, constantly shifting character art, even a great sequence where the camera spins while panning to track the two of them around a corner. Remarkable stuff

Some of the smaller bits are just kinda there. The show’s combined love of deadpan and frequent tiny vignettes can result in some undercooked bits, when a sequence just doesn’t offer enough to be anything more than nonsensical. Though I suppose Nichijou is at least partially dedicated to creating a constantly off-balance tonal space, which does make even the weaker sequences do some work

And of course, a show that ends on a girl wearing a bear mask being tsundere towards a high-class farm boy who can’t dress himself is worth watching regardless of how individual jokes land


And that’s episode two! This show is great, I keep finding more stuff to talk about, I’M GONNA GO WATCH MORE OF IT. KyoAni’s comedy is almost always a smaller highlight of their shows, so it’s nice to see a show just entirely leaning into how good their key staff are at managing comedic timing and visual humor. Fun times ahead!

This article was made possible by reader support. Thank you all for all that you do.

2 thoughts on “Nichijou – Episode 2

  1. This was a good comedy, watched it again when I saw your writeups. Could have been great if they had been willing to drop about 1-2 minutes per episode, those long shots of a random building or something get old real fast though. I think the high points stay about even through to the end, but the long nothing scenes get slightly longer and more common, and the great short scenes like the jump-rope really drop in quality for season 2. So for me this show sits more in the 7 range instead of the 8 to 9/10 its strong points could reach.

    Love reading your writeups most of the time I see something in them that makes me enjoy my next watch even better due to something you mention (like in this one I had never noticed that toast was in a tissue box). Also I noticed in one of those pictures there are 4 paper lanterns then a tengu mask, seems like there should be a joke there I am missing due to lack of cultural knowledge??

    • For me, the show only got better and better as it went on. It’s one of my few 10/10s.

Comments are closed.