That time has come again. Pull up a seat, grab a snack, and let’s dive into another episode of Kyoto Animation’s stupidly brilliant and brilliantly stupid comic masterpiece. There are some changes to the formula this time, as the show seems to have established what passes for a sense of normalcy, but Nichijou is still full of its sharp, absurd, and very endearing gags. We’re all busy people, so let’s get right to it and watch some cartoon madness.
For once, we open with a shot of a dark and stormy night instead of a quiet suburban neighborhood. Wonder what kind of gag they’re setting up, and how they’re going to undercut this totally out-of-tone premise
Ah, it’s an evil businessman on a zeppelin. Of course
Some really nice shots here using the framing of the table and the ornate candelabra
Dolph has captured the king! Apparently
They’re going pretty deep on this businessman’s crazy-eye. It’s a classic look – a triumphant smile that feels like it could dissolve into tears at any moment. Pretty much Trump’s default expression
He reaches into Albert’s pocket and pulls out… one of Mio’s hair-cubes? So I guess this is Mio’s dream, considering they’re also talking about a princess
“Get the wooden cube. Don’t kill the princess yet.” Oh man, they’re dispensing with the OP altogether. Going deep on this fantasy
I’d figured most of this adaptation’s storytelling was KyoAni invention, but from scanning the manga, they’re actually adapting reasonably close versions of the original stories. So I guess this one is solid material meets fantastic adaptation team
The sequence is honestly leaning maybe a bit too heavily on Dolph’s faces, but I do like style digressions like the classic “watching the storm in the mirrored glass” trick. The more this sequence plays up its tonal distance from the usual Nichijou visual vocabulary, the stronger it will be
Haha, this absurdly animated and voice-acted “okay, I’ll be right there!”
It is remarkable how much harder Nichijou tries than basically all the other comedies
Interesting transition trick – this swing to the princess’s perspective starts with classic Nichijou backgrounds (just an orange to white gradient, like something from the OP) before fading into the zeppelin walls. An odd choice
Princess Starla feels more like a Nichijou character than the others, between her style of dialogue and wild faces. Fitting, since I assume she’s actually Mio or something
Dolph falls over! AND DIES! The crowd is stunned!
Nichijou really likes to overdo reaction shots – it’ll have a dramatic reaction shot, and then flip to another angle, and then flip to another angle. Here they’re jumping across a wide variety of henchmen, but the show also likes to break the 180 degree rule just for the sake of them, which serves the same “okay, please stop” comedic purpose
“I need a cigarette.” It seems like they intentionally emphasized the facelessness of the henchmen to make for a dramatic contrast when one of them is turned into an actual character. Venture Bros made good use of that trick
And he puts them on the windowsill. Oh my god, is this actually an origin story for Mio’s hair ornaments? Are they going to fall out of the zeppelin and just be a terrible kingmaking weapon that Mio happens to wear on her pigtails?
And it was all a fucking Yuuko dream. God fucking damnit
I love the immediate cut from the cubes falling through the storm to them somehow replacing Mio’s ornaments. Wonderful “and then this happened” dream-logic, combined with the visual shift to a standard Nichijou shot
The show gives more dramatic significance to Yuuko briefly thinking she won a minor lottery than it does to seven entire minutes of deadpan setup leading into a stupid punchline. This is some paradog-tier hilarious bullshit
Man, even this show’s tiny bits of character acting are so good. Yuuko’s transition from despair over the failed ticket to excitement at Mio’s present is such a fluid and human sequence of motions. And of course, the humanity of the character acting in these small bits enhances the solidity of the universe, another way the show sets up a tonal expectation of normalcy to undercut
“Sakurai-sensei is like a bamboo shoot that suddenly began to grow in my yard.” So I guess that somewhat explains his brief moment in the OP, when a chance encounter with Sakurai is followed by bamboo shoots blanketing the school
Today’s interstitial is a shot across the rooftops of the town!
“I want to take her mushroom hunting…” This guy seems like he might build into another straightman character. Funny how both he and Mio, the other straightman, are both partially defined by their crushes on another character. There’s nothing more routine than a high school character with an unrequited crush
“Talk to her naturally, like you’re talking to eggplants!” I say “straightman,” and yet in this show that still means a dude who parses the entire world around him in terms of vegetables
But yeah, the fundamental dynamic between the two of them is charming romcom foibles. There’s actually something to root for there, a stability at least in terms of dramatic goals. As opposed to someone like Mai, who will likely never express an entirely human emotion
Welp, now even Helvetica Standard has some narrative congruity – the poor tengu from the second bit has stolen the scythe from the reaper in the first bit
Another rock-paper-scissors, as usual. Lots of shows rely heavily on recurring jokes, but Nichijou is kind of unique in the way it bakes so many pieces of repetition into its structure, and then iterates on them in new ways every time. It’s more “predictable” than a show which simply has recurring character gags which come up from time to time, but it’s also more inventive, since there’s always a new twist. Neither of them are necessarily more “correct” choices, and I haven’t found Nichijou’s repetition 100% effective, but it’s certainly a unique style choice. I suppose different members of the audience would have different feelings on which rotation of the gags falls into “tired” before it loops back into funny again
And as I say that, the two egg-headed men have switched from jumprope to tossing a baseball. Barely a punchline, just an absurdist shift based on our expectations of the prior episodes
Two ten second gags in a row that end with Yuuko in despair. Are we gonna get a third to complete the set?
Hah, yep. Some comic rules are pretty damn established
Nano meets a woman who’s very entertained by her robot parts. Nice pacing in this sequence, and that makes the second major introduction of the episode. Between that and the opening gag, it seems the show feels it’s established enough of a baseline to do some larger-scale changes
This apples gag is really great too. I guess Nichijou understands bullying Nano is very important
Ohh, that’s Mio’s sister. Forgot that’s what she looked like
Nano and the professor essentially playing a baseball version of Calvinball. Calvinball is always a pretty good joke, and very in type for Nichijou
Sakamoto getting embarrassed about being a cat will likely never get old, considering the internet’s been mining that exact joke its entire lifetime
And it’s also nice that it’s one of the only things Nano and the professor agree on – each of them understand Sakamoto’s charm in the same exact way
Nano runs across the three girls!
Aw, this is such a genuinely melancholy little moment. Nano needs more friends
And a second touching moment to end, as Yuuko tries to use Mio’s birthday present. The show seems to be expanding in two directions this time – broadening its core cast, and also imbuing the existing cast with a bit more emotional significance
And that’s it! Nichijou has yet to trip in any major way yet, and seems to be solidifying its dramatic platform while still tossing off tons of inventive new gags. I am still just generally shocked this show exists.
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