Nichijou – Episode 14

Is it time for more Nichijou?!? FUCK YES IT’S TIME FOR MORE NICHIJOU. In fact, to be totally honest, it is basically always time for more Nichijou – but this exact moment is a subset of Always, and so we have certainly arrived at an appropriate time for Nichijou shenanigans. The show’s last episode actually dipped the furthest into legitimate pathos the show has ever gone, offering some very endearing scenes between Nano and the professor and ending on Nano finally getting the okay to attend school. Will this merging of the show’s two main threads change its fundamental nature? All I know is I should stop writing, since writing is not watching Nichijou. LET’S DO THAT INSTEAD.

Nichijou

We open with the usual sunny pillow shots outside the Shinonome lab, but the scale starts out one shot further than usual – including the nearby streets and buildings, not just the backyard. There is a larger world outside of that house now

And the usual shot that would feature Nano doing laundry is now just Sakamoto by himself

And yep, we’re diving right into Nano’s first day of school. Opening with an actual narrative setup! This is certainly new ground for Nichijou, but the show’s already demonstrated it can tell structurally solid stories in a variety of genres, if only to create a baseline of normalcy before things go entirely incoherent

Nichijou

Very nice character acting here, as Nano can’t contain her excitement at seeing her own uniform. Looks like it may not be her actual first day, though

“Sakamoto, don’t go over there.” It’s great how well this show navigates the disconnect between Sakamoto talking and Sakamoto being a normal cat. It is very classic cat behavior for a cat to notice you’re paying attention to some particular area, and then immediately walk over there and try to sit in front or on top of whatever you’re paying attention to

A new OP! One that really prioritizes Nano’s shift

Nichijou

More wild animation highlights in this one, and the music is exactly the same frenetic, multi-vocalist pop-rock as the first. Kinda reminds me of Architecture in Helsinki

Some new characters as well. The poor teacher who has a crush on the eternally flustered one doesn’t seem to get much material here

I like the detail of Nano’s key spinning wildly when she’s happy with Sakamoto’s “compliment”

A very different side of Nano here

Nichijou

I could probably listen to the professor proudly shout “SNICKERSU” forever

“What? But five is at night.” The professor’s dual role as child/creator sure makes for some funny sequences. This tantrum was basically inevitable

“Now I can take my first step as an ordinary person.” Basically a title drop. And an appropriate one – Nano is the closest thing this show has to a protagonist, Nano’s desires are the closest thing to a narrative arc, and her feelings on wanting to be “normal” in spite of being a robot created by a child genius echo the show’s overall blending of normalcy and the bizarre. Nano wants to be “normal,” but normal in the world of Nichijou doesn’t really mean much. I’m not sure I’d go so far as to call that an actual theme or anything, or reflective of something true about the real world, but it’s certainly a guiding principle all the same

Nichijou

“What am I going to do about the key on my back?” leading directly into a “things we think are cool” segment. A bit of an awkward shift – the whole first quarter of this episode proceeded as a traditional narrative, and the transition isn’t an intentional setup in the way the “Mio’s cubes” fantasy segment was. Last episode managed its general comedic needs and its more formal narrative aspirations by using the three other leads as buffer sequences between Nano and the professor’s more dramatic sequences – I’ll be interested in seeing how the show manages this emerging divergence in dramatic style/goals going forward

And then we just jump directly back to Nano. So this tiny segment also acted as a transition

Nano, this is a class of insane weirdoes. Your key ain’t a problem

Nichijou

More solid animation work and a good style shift as Nano panics over her key. I like the transition to a larger head and smaller body style – it makes the inherent comedy of Nano flailing her arms that much more effective when they’re these stubby things that don’t match up with the rest of her body

The show is getting wonderful mileage out of that one still reaction shot with Mio and Yuuko

The Go-Soccer club finds a new member, who predictably was actually in a Go-Soccer club back in middle school. A fine joke, but I feel like it was too obvious of a place to take this group for the overreaction punchline to fully land for me. Though the shot of all the Life game pieces flying through the air is nice

Nichijou

Oh my god, Go-Soccer sounds terrible and the club president is actually into it

This episode seems to be counterbalancing its increased narrative focus with a bunch of hyper-short segments. I actually don’t think those segments are as effective when they’re stacked so closely together like this – the very short jokes tend to draw some of their comedy effectiveness from the way they act as counterpoints to the longer gags, being funny partially because their resolutions feel like such anticlimaxes in comparison to whatever else just happened. When you get a bunch of them in a row, they start to feel routine

And the dog who was once in the school halls finally catches up with Yuuko. This show has a very weird idea of what constitutes continuity

Nichijou

Nano’s first day of school allows Nichijou to engage in some more traditional visual-dramatic storytelling. Here we get Nano framed through the half-open door as other students chat during their lunch break, emphasizing how Nano feels both hemmed-in and isolated from the students around her

Mio starts a conversation with her! Mio is a Good Girl

And of course Mai offers to let Nano look at her wooden statue. Mai’s heart is… probably in the right place??? And now that I write that, I wonder if it’s even physiologically true

“You wouldn’t happen to be a robot, would you?” God Damnit Yuuko

Nichijou

It’s almost strange to see a conversation between the main trio that isn’t dedicated to setting up some joke. Their “ordinary life” is basically non-existent in a tonal sense

Also interesting seeing a scene start from Nano’s perspective and then essentially be carried by Mio into an entirely unrelated conversation. That’s something you don’t even regularly see in more traditional anime narratives

“My stupidity has nothing to do with your lunch”

“You must be really petty, going on and on like this.” She actually is! They’re setting this up as Mio’s breaking point likely to make more of a contrast with Nano’s behavior

Nichijou

Nice trick using the shaky cam to amplify the feeling that this is an unscripted outburst. Feels a little similar to the way the camping trip used its unusual camera position and steady-cam to make the physical confrontation between Mio and Yuuko feel more realistic and impactful

Hah, the other teacher actually does get a little segment. And this offers an example of how those tiny sequences are generally used – you just weathered a massive extended gag, now here’s a tiny non-sequitur

Huh. The evening shots of the Shinonome neighborhood make me realize this episode didn’t even have a dedicated interstitial shot. I guess the consistent focus on one traditional narrative made that unnecessary

“I can’t make friends with this.” The key as all anxieties everywhere forever

Nichijou

And that’s another one! This episode honestly did feel like the show was suffering some growing pains as it transitioned to more conventional narrative/slice of life material, and a number of the jokes felt more like role-players intended to get Nano where she had to go than hilarious sequences in their own right. That’s perfectly fine, though – I’m glad to see Nano and the professor’s relationship actually evolving, and I assume the other three will be back to their usual shenanigans soon enough. You can’t keep a good Nichijou down.

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

One thought on “Nichijou – Episode 14

  1. “and the music is exactly the same frenetic, multi-vocalist pop-rock as the first.”

    It’s actually a single vocalist! Hyadaruko is just Hyadain’s voice computer adjusted to a female pitch.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *