Slice of life is basically split into two parts, comedy-based and ..not comedy-based. I’m not a huge fan of “not comedy-based” types. People argue that there aren’t “points” to slice of life. I disagree. A good slice of life always has a point somewhere. Nichijou however, is a comedy-based slice of life, so this discussion is moot.
The trick to making a comedy-based slice of life funny is to create a huge cast, give them insanely quirky behavior, and make up quirky situations for said quirky behavior to bounce off all the characters. Hilarity should ensue. That’s basically Nichijou in a nutshell. It’s Lucky Star, except a lot weirder, and no references. Being comedy-based, it’s also hard to appeal to everyone, and makes my life difficult because I can’t tell you if the show is truly funny or not. But I can tell you that I thought it was funny, and I enjoyed how weird the characters are. However, most of the first skit became boring after the first 5 minutes, and while the second skit was better, the subject matter was a little juvenile. Third skit was just… wtf, but that’s the best thing Nichijou’s got. Wacky characters doing weird things like pretending they’re sleeping on a three stack bed on a train, and remarking the fact that sleeping on the floor doesn’t really make her feel cheated. Plus, Shiraishi Minoru returns as a mature cat that can’t help his cat tendencies. Yes, he talks.
And yes, this is a Kyoto Animation show. If you haven’t noticed by now, Kyoto Animation is not about the animation. No, KyoAni is about the adaptation. They choose the weirdest things that no one likes in the beginning, then spits out a money making machine in a matter of weeks, making unknown 4koma artists much richer than they should be. This is what they excel at. I think it’s one part business on why they chose Nichijou, and the other part venturing into unknown territory. KyoAni tends to add a lot to the shows they choose to adapt, although it can be good and bad things, depending on your stance. Nichijou seems to have had the moe injection required to ensure business, but is also purely based on comedy, which is new for the studio, but definitely one of their fortes. Their shows always have some great humor, so I’m hoping they can make Nichijou funnier than it already is. The lack of your expected KyoAni sarcastic male protagonist is a bit disappointing though.
It can be argued that the “moe” KyoAni utilizes is with fairly innocent notions. Think about it, people love babies because they’re cute, and KyoAni is pretty much taking that attraction and marketing it. Hakase attempting to eat a pill and failing because she didn’t take water was so cute I could die, but I don’t have to feel guilty because it’s somehow “pandering.” K-ON proved successful because it could appeal to a wide variety of audiences, including adults and females, being a family friendly series. In that aspect, it’s not a bad thing. Does that mean it’s a great thing for them to keep on marketing moe? No, I think it’s a waste of their superb adaptation skills, because I’m hankering for some actual storyline, but beggars can’t be choosers.
I’ve come to enjoy the polarizing effect KyoAni shows have on people. It’s always an extreme love it or hate it thing ever since Lucky Star, and it’s pretty amusing. I’m seeing some terrible scores for this show already. It’s interesting because at the end of the day, almost every show the studio has done has created incredibly large fanbases, and enjoy relatively great success as well as influence across the medium. I wasn’t as into K-ON as I was their previous shows because of the lack of varied substance, and I’m not too high with hopes for Nichijou either. Still, I enjoyed K-ON, so I’m curious to see how far this one goes. I mean, when you’ve got a freaking deer on the front cover of the first volume, you know some weird stuff is going down. I’d watch it just for the wtf factor I feel this show is going to bring. It’ll be like watching Panty and Stocking, except the extreme opposite. The TV series will be airing this Spring season.