Sunday, 7 August 2011

Nichijou - Episode 19

As episode nineteen of Nichijou begins, we're treated to another of its more madcap and experimental moments - perhaps an indication of what would happen if you had to animate a shounen series featuring a super-powered guy who can't find his glasses.

As this episode goes about its merry business, visual comedy seems to be the order of the day from this instalment, and to be honest it's the kind of comedy which suits this series best.  Thus, Mio's struggle with even coming close to mastering the Fosbury Flop works pretty well as part of a wider view of her complete inability to follow the rules when it comes to sports and athletics, while one of the highlights of the episodes is seeing what happens when the Professor tries to bring in laundry in the middle of a sudden rain shower - we don't get to see her efforts, but it serves to make the static shot of the final result all the more amusing.

Aside from another crack at Igo Soccer (which tries too hard to be funny in my opinion), this episode's master of visual comedy is a sketch in which Mio and Mai both forget their sculpture homework, with the latter's surprising forgetfulness bringing forth an exclamation that they "might see more rain" - cue the heavens opening, and a decamp to a nearby shrine.  When Yuuko idly decides to given an offering to said shrine, a chain of events is set about that is slapstick comedy gold and perhaps one of the best things that Nichijou as a whole has managed to far, even if it does try to carry on the sketch for a little too long after that particular denouement.

In fact, trying to take scenes and sketches on for longer than they perhaps require is arguably one of Nichijou's biggest problems, and this week in particular it felt as though otherwise decent efforts threatened to outstay their welcome by trying to wrong too much out of them when they should perhaps have been closed off at their comedic peak.  Whether this is an indication that the show simply doesn't have enough source material to work with, or whether that material is equally flabby I can't say (having not read the manga) - still, I can't let that detract too much from the fact that this was at least one of the better, sharper episodes of this series in the grand scheme of things.

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