Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Nichijou OVA

When Kyoto Animation does something, it's usually worth sitting up, taking notice and paying attention.  Is that going to be the case with forthcoming spring season series Nichijou?  Judging by this pre-emptive OVA episode (otherwise known as "episode 0"), probably not.

Nichijou is, quite simply, a slice of life anime (albeit one with a twist), with this OVA split into three segments.  The first section of the episode introduces us to schoolgirls Mio and Yuko, with the latter of the pair "boasting" (or rather, trying to avoid admitting the truth about) a truly terrible test score.  Once Mio finds out the truth about just how bad this score is even by Yuko's dumb standards, she tries her best to placate her friend with complements and empty statements aplenty with varying degrees of success, before finally safely reeling in Yuko (to use the show's clumsy fishing analogy) towards a more positive frame of mind.

From here, we skip to something completely different - namely a girl named Hakase with a cold (and a runny nose to boot), a talking cat named Sakamoto and a wind-up girl (well, she looks like one anyway) called Nano - a trio which probably fills in the blanks about why I call this a slice of life series with a twist.  Anyhow, the focus here in on attempts to get Hakase to take her cold medicine, with Nano's forceful methods failing and leaving it up to Sakamoto to provide a more cunning plan - well, he is a cat after all... Finally, we return to Mio and Yuko (together with mutual friend Mai) as they make the most of an empty station platform and train to enjoy some "irregular" pursuits - that is, irregular pursuits for a train and station, I don't mean dogging or anything, get your minds out of the gutter.

Anyhow, what to say about this taster of what is to come from Nichijou?  Oh, I know something to say here - It isn't very good.  Period.  Think Lucky Star without the reasonably sharp observational comedy, K-ON's quiet moments without the sense of energy, or Azumanga Daioh without.... well, all of the things that made Azumanga Daioh a great series.  For all of KyoAni's neat little touches of animation of directorship, this OVA was almost entirely laugh-free (saved only by aforementioned talking cat Sakamoto on a couple of mildly amusing occasions) while also proving to be incredibly dull as it went about its nondescript business.

Slice of comedy being what it is I'm not ready to write Nichijou off entirely just yet (even Hidamari Sketch took time to warm up, and to be honest most shows of this ilk do), but it does need to improve markedly if it's going to prove itself as anything other than a blot upon KyoAni's copybook.  Come on guys, we really need something truly funny to laugh at right now, so please don't let us down now.

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