Nichijou – Episode 23

Alright, let’s get back to Nichijou! It’s been a little while since I’ve entered Nichiland, at least from my perspective – I’ve burned through half a dozen Casshern Sins since I was last in the neighborhood, for example. With only four episodes left, it’s important for me to carefully ration the remaining Nichijous for the sake of my own emotional stability. A world where there are no more Nichijous is significantly darker than the alternative, but I actually have to watch these Nichijous to get any advantage out of them, so ultimately it’s tough all over. That’s why I gotta savor this exact moment, right before I chomp through another precious episode.

Mmmmmmmm… yeah. Alright. That’s some good savoring. LET’S NICHIJOU!

Episode 23

Back to the school again, with Yuuko up to no good. No establishing shots this time, though – I assume we’re going for some quick non-sequitur pre-OP

Ah yes, the classic scenario of acting like an idiot when no one is theoretically watching. That’s a kind of comfy setup in its own way

It’s Mio and her terrible, terrible sister

Don’t try her jam, Mio. You know you’ll regret it

“Try guessing what kind of jam I made!” Is it… bug guts jam. Is it booger jam

Sometimes it’s the simple things. The back and forth of her sister mildly offering her one terrible item after another

Time for a return to insane running animation

The joke, as it so often is, is “absurd execution of a very simple gag,” but I really love the sub-jokes within this “life flashing before her eyes” sequence. The origin story of her wooden cubes, and the random inclusion of occasional shots of her in the rice cake mask

Today’s interstitial is a lovely shot of the riverside. The first one normally just sets the tone, but here we have Yuuko arrive and set up an easel. I wonder if that implies they’ll be telling more of a narrative through these shots than usual

A sequence called “Accident” where the professor walks in and drops her head on a sleeping Sakamoto. I feel like we’re intended to infer the title is the punchline – the professor says it was an accident after the scene cuts

And now we’re getting a glimpse of nervous teacher’s home life, with another classic scenario – finding the younger sibling’s porn. Though of course this is Nichijou, so god knows what the stand-in for porn will actually be

Nichijou clearly understands how adorable it is to watch the teacher get tossed out of this bedroom and bounce in the hallway

This sequence builds up the punchline and then cuts it short. The segment has the teacher repeatedly get flustered over the dirty magazine, building up expectations of some kind of punchline. And then her brother gets super flustered as well, further ratcheting up the tension… and then it gets defused by the interstitial. Sometimes the interstitial conveys the passing of time, but other times it offers timing-based punchlines of its own. I doubt we’re done with this sequence, but it’s already offered a major composition-based punchline through the sequencing of these cuts

“Since when was this my room? It might not even be my room!” A bold line of play, little bro

Such wonderful character acting here. And this perky piano melody really undercuts his panic – Nichijou often elevates its characters’ feelings through hyper-dramatic orchestral instrumentation, but here it’s refusing to take his feelings seriously

And she gets tossed out again

Oh my god, their relationship is so adorable

Yuuko’s current interests: global warming, low birthrate, and longevity. What the hell Yuuko

Yuuko’s “extremely nervous about this awkward teacher meeting” face is wonderful. Also, we’re once again being reminded that time keeps passing, and the girls are nearing the end of their second year

“I’d like to be on TV once before I die!” God damnit Yuuko. Well, achievable goals aren’t a bad thing, and it does seem pretty likely that Yuuko will end up on the evening news

It feels like the theme of this episode is, uh, sweat drops? The teacher has been the most consistent character, and she’s made everyone she’s appeared with extremely nervous as well

And so she blurts out “I’d like to be a teacher like you,” and that just makes the teacher cry. These two

Helvetica Standard! And a tiny joke based on a very simple premise: what if the runner handing off to another runner just couldn’t catch up to him. Bless Nichijou for giving such absurd thought and polish to such simple jokes

A followup to last episode’s finale which basically just doesn’t have a joke – Mio and Yuuko explaining what happened, with the camera sticking to Mai’s perspective. This can be an inscrutable show

And we’re back to the teacher’s brother, once again defending the Go-Soccer club

Time for a randomly ambitious segue, as the camera swoops upwards out of the club room and down to a different area of the school. That’s certainly one way to create a sense of congruity in this world!

Aaaand then we leap back right to the teacher. This is a wild episode

They’re tonally setting up a conventionally dramatic encounter between the brother and the teacher. Smooth animation, as opposed to the show’s often jerky and hyper-dramatized cuts, heavy shading, and an emphasis on the sound of rain in the background. You could imagine this scene existing in a standard anime drama

“Well, teacher? What will you do?” And yeah, this sequence even leans on the classic phrasing of those sorts of sequences. Except the teacher’s reason for hesitance is he’s very lazy, and he’s got “stuff… and things…”

“While I may be a teacher, I’m also a man.” Oh my god, this fucking wolf image in his eye. Sensei, you are terrible

“If I’m doing this, we’re aiming for the national championship!”

Oh no Mohawk, you shaved your mohawk. LOVE IS OVER

Also what the fuck am I supposed to call you now

As expected, Yuuko has spent every moment of these interstitials trying to set up the perfect shot instead of actually painting anything

A Love-like featuring a girl checking the test announcement numbers to see if she passed. This system has always struck me as an incredibly cruel way to announce these things, since if you fail, you’re surrounded by people who’re celebrating not failing, and you actually have to look for your number, thus increasing the sense of cruel anticipation. But hey, they work really well for building dramatic tension in storytelling!

Times are tough for Yuuko

I appreciate that Nichijou has decided Yuuko should be the general audience avatar for most of these “how it is” sequences. We are all Yuuko

Oh jeez, Mai come to Nano’s house by herself. Can the two of them even carry a conversation together? Normally Mai needs Yuuko around, who’s dumb and confident enough to believe the two of them are actually having a conversation, and thus does basically all of the work

I love that Nano basically ignores the professor’s very reasonable dog-related complaints

Oh my god these two. The professor sulking is so good

“Draw another shark!” These two becoming friends is wonderful. This also feels like maybe the first time ever that Mai has expressed a genuine emotion – the desire to make up with and become friends with the professor. This whole sequence is predicated on her seemingly feeling jealous in that mid-episode reflection on last episode’s finale

Welp, congratulations Nichijou. You made Mai into a character. They even have this episode’s consistent rain end with her making friends with the professor

In the end, Yuuko doesn’t accomplish a damn thing

And Done

Whew. That was a very strange episode – the Mio segment that opened it was one of the only conventional jokes, and a lot of it was overtly and almost solely dedicated to moving actual narratives along. It certainly wasn’t as much of a highlight as last episode, but it opened a variety of doors for the show’s final act. Now I just need to avoid scarfing down those last few episodes all in a row…

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