Nichijou – Episode 16

Alright alright it’s time for Nichijou! I have no idea how long it’s been since the last post from your perspective, but over on this side, I’ve taken a few weeks off from the Nichijou train to restore my nichijuices, since it felt like I was getting just a little too inured to nichijokes for the last couple. I really love this show, and I’d prefer to be in a frame of mind to appreciate it, since we are probably never going to get an anime comedy this good again. Plenty of time has passed by now, so I think I’m ready to return to this maddening world of talking cats and screaming Yuukos. Let’s not waste one more god dang minute. LET’S NICHIJOU.

Nichijou

Starting off at school! With Nano now attending class, the focus has shifted from letting the Shinonome Lab set the baseline of the show’s tone to generally starting off with the school itself. It’s a shift that I’m not yet comfortable with, but I’m guessing that’s because the show itself is not yet quite comfortable letting Nano spend time with the other three girls. Once their relationship becomes more stable, this environment will likely gain the same level of comfort that defines settings like the K-On! or Hyouka clubrooms.

The teacher drawing attention to the fact that days are actually passing. We’ve had a bunch of summer-focused skits already, so I’m guessing the show will slowly be crossing into winter now

Some interestingly perspectived shots here that enhance the sense of the classroom as a lived-in space. Yuuko and her friends have always had adjacent seats at the back, so there’s never really been a sense of depth to the classroom, but placing Nano up front by the door means the camera has to tilt lower to capture exchanges across that distance. Not only does that frame the classroom from a new vantage point, thus inherently giving it more of a sense of space, but it also places us much closer to the perspectives of the students themselves

Nichijou

Jeez, this idly excellent animation for Yuuko’s swinging fingers as she walks up to Nano. This show is so extravagant

We’re getting both flashbacks to give context to Nano’s anxieties and punchline-less cliffhanger hooks. Nichijou has certainly become a different show since the halfway point – I get the feeling these are more growing pains of the original manga creator, since KyoAni and this director are perfectly comfortable handling similar mixes of narrative and comedy

And now we’re 100% back in the show’s comfort zone. A Yuuko segment where she’s her own worst enemy, propelled by this anxiety-ready music, snappy direction, and excellent body language. And this is even an actually relatable experience – having to order a coffee at a shop where none of the words make any sense

Nichijou

But of course, Yuuko being Yuuko, she sees this menu as a challenger that will not best her

The sales lady getting anxious for Yuuko’s sake is a nice touch

Once again, I can only marvel at the lengths Yuuko’s voice actress will go, destroying her voice for our entertainment

And then the wonderful long-form punchline, as mournful piano and the saturated lighting convey Yuuko’s slow emotional defeat. As so often happens, this is a very simple and perfectly parsable joke, but the execution here could slot very easily into a scene in a serious drama where the protagonist is just returning from the funeral of her father. Nichijou’s ability not just to reference, but to actually embody its genre shifts make its jokes feel like entire tiny worlds

Nichijou

Oh god it’s the sad old grandfather why did they even make him a recurring character I hate this show

A succession of tremendously quick stylistic shifts for the punchline – first the conventional color-faded “panel look” of the throw, then the goofy TV-style playback of the baseball’s trajectory, then the splattered outlines for the grandfather’s reaction. Each has a different purpose – the first conveys speed, the second takes time to illustrate the seriousness of the throw, and the third places us in the grandfather’s perspective. And then the slow reaction to let it sink in, another of Nichijou’s favorite tricks

Some gag elements need to pass by in moments, some can be given room to breathe

Haha, this punchline actually using limited animation to make a mockery of Yuuko’s despair

Nichijou

A traditional shot of someone’s feet, creating a sense of slight suspense, but here he’s riding the goddamn goat, so we know exactly what’s going on

Yuuko is unsurprisingly the kind of person who apologizes as soon as a cop talks to her

“She’s just preparing in case a stray volleyball comes her way.” Airtight excuse, Yuuko

Oh god, what nonsense does Mio have in that bag

So I guess this conclusively answers the eternal question, “what kind of setup would make Mio the absurd one?” And the answer is unsurprisingly “a setup predicated on her embarrassing doujin drawings”

Nichijou

IT JUST KEEPS HAPPENING

Once again, the show is very thorough about conveying Nano’s uncomfortable body language as she packs up after school. Nano is still the heart of the show, but now that she’s so far outside her comfort zone, her moments don’t really return things to a comfortable slice-of-life neutral. Nano is unhappy, and so the overall show is a bit more anxious around her

It’s kind of a testament to how carefully Nichijou normally balances its tonal elements. If you shift one of the key variables to a different steady tone, it significantly changes the overall mood of the production

More low-angle shots conveying the vast distance between Nano and the girls at the back

Nichijou

And of course, everything proceeds as if Mio’s recent killing spree had never happened

“When I can, I like to pretend I know everyone.” One of the benefits of being a wise old teacher

Yuuko turning the stupid eraser-guessing game into a progressively more complicated system. The joke again proceeds according to Calvinball logic – all of the individual additions sort of work, but they collectively add up to something entirely ridiculous

Baby Star ramen! I know that one! Thanks, Dagashi Kashi

Nichijou

This bit was more tonally focused than joke-focused. The three girls stepping up to fill in the gap

Nano looking sad about her key will be the death of me

We’re actually getting some narrative movement here, as Mai slowly comes to understand Nano’s true nature

The classic scenario. Two kids waiting at a bus stop in the rain. The shots are framed to both push them together and highlight the small distance between them, while also coming in close enough to feel weirdly personal, highlighting the rain on their cheeks

Nichijou

Dumpling man is Mohawk’s father! And of course, the mohawk trait is hereditary

Yuuko visits the Shinonome residence!

Ahaha, the timing on Nano slamming the door is so good

Oh my god, Nano’s eyes as she’s begging Sakamoto for help

This sequence is perfect. They’ve waited an entire series to screw up Nano’s home life, and having Yuuko be the culprit is just too good

Nichijou

Yuuko must enjoy getting a break to just be astonished by everything in this skit

Just continually one-upping the robot bits Nano has to explain a way. Simple, wonderful stuff – her wrists are one of the show’s most consistent running gags, after all

Of course Yuuko and the professor were made for each other

Please give Nano a happy ending. This is so cruel

“You’re just Nano. Isn’t that enough?” They’re super cheating with this golden hour lighting, but it’s certainly something Nano needed to hear, and Yuuko is the perfect person to tell it to her. Yuuko has a great deal of experience being nothing more than herself, and accepting that that’s a perfectly fine thing to be

Nichijou

And Mai ends up offering support in her own quiet way – a wordless return of the screw

There’s a light garnish of family and “be yourself” that certainly helps bring the pathos of this show home

And god, this ED is just so, so strong. What a poignant way to bring all these characters together, and to emphasize the solidity and significance of this world. Their neighborhood becomes more important and alive all the time

Yuuko is such an idiot that it’s hard to tell if she’s actually coming closer to suspecting anything

Nichijou

AND THERE WE GO! This was a wonderful episode of Nichijou, containing some great standout gags and offering some surprisingly necessary narrative progression. The show is certainly still in a transition phase, and that affects its overall tone in a variety of sometimes negative ways, so I’m happy to see Nano growing closer to the other girls. Plus that sequence of Mio just taking out half the neighborhood was another one for the highlight reel. I AM CONTENT.

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

2 thoughts on “Nichijou – Episode 16

  1. Nano actually starts out as a classmate of Yuuko, Mio, and Mai in the manga. A lot of the sequences in the second half of the anime are actually from the first volume!

Leave a Reply

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