The Beginner’s Guide to Anime, No. 82 – Nichijou

Nichijou

This (I imagine some readers will be relieved to learn) is the last of the “anime set in schools that would never exist in real life” I am currently covering. This anime possibly holds the title for the most inaccurately named anime around, because the title translates as “My Ordinary Life”. The issue is that the reason this school would never exist is because it is totally surreal.

Nichijou started as a manga by Keiichi Arawi in 2006. Following a single straight-to-video episode, a 26-episode long series was broadcast in 2011. In Britain the anime was streamed on the now shut-down website Anime on Demand, and since then the main problem has been trying to release the series on DVD in English. There is neither a Region 1 nor a Region 2 release of Nichijou, but there was a release in Region 4 from Australia.

The series mainly focuses on the students of Class 1-Q in an unnamed school. The main characters are three girls: lazy Yuko Aioi who never bothers with her homework and hates being insulted; blue-haired Mio Naganohara who has a very short temper; and quiet Mai Minakami who seems to excel in just about everything and has an odd sense of humour. Their school has all sorts of odd people studying and working there: male teacher Manabu Takasaki is secretly in love with timid female colleague Izumi Sakurai; the bald Principle Shinonome may be terrible at telling jokes but he is brilliant at wrestling deer; student Kojiro Sasahara acts aristocratic but in reality he comes from a family of farmers, and he is often the victim of schoolgirl Misato Tachibana who has the habit of pulling guns out of nowhere and shooting him, despite also being in love with him.

However, perhaps the oddest person in the series is the Professor. She is a genius inventor and is responsible for many great ideas despite her age – she’s eight. Her greatest work is creating an android schoolgirl, Nano, who really wants to go to school but is worried about people finding out her true identity. The problem is that her identity is totally obvious to everyone around, because she is powered by clockwork and has a huge wind-up key sticking out of her back. Together they are both accompanied by a black cat called Sakamoto, who due to a red scarf created by the Professor is able to speak to humans. In cat years, he is 20 years old and is thus really the senior of the trio.

The main appeal of Nichijou is the surreal comedy. As stated before when reviewing other shows of this kind, surreal humour can appeal to just about all nationalities. If you like your comedy to be a bit bonkers, then this is a show that has it in abundance. The characters themselves are pretty much all loveable, with the stories between the Professor and Nano being a personal favourite. The art is also to be commended. It has a warm, friendly look to it.

The big problem that Nichijou has is the lack of availability in the west. It was streamed when it was first aired back in 2011 but since then it has been a real struggle to get a release of either the anime or the original manga. Both versions were originally going to be released by Bandai Entertainment, but the company later shut down all its English-language operations and the plan never came into being. It has since been released down under, only in a Japanese dub. The problem for us in Britain is that we tend to only release anime that have been released in the USA, so if the Americans don’t get their own release it is unlikely the British will too. It would be nice however to see a British anime distributor bypassing the Americans and working with the Australians.

Nichijou is released on Region 4 DVD by Madman Entertainment.

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