"I once overheard Sasahara-senpai talking to someone... Our Everyday Lives may, in fact, be a series of miracles. They just may be... no, I believe they must be..."
— Mio Naganohara
Nichijou (or My Ordinary Life) is a Japanese comedy manga by Keiichi Arawi. The manga began serialization in the December 2006 issue of Kadokawa Shoten's manga magazine Shōnen Ace, and received an anime adaptation by Kyoto Animation that premiered on Japanese television in April 2011.It is a Sketch Comedy series about a group of ordinary High School students and their teachers. Except for the robot girl with a wind-up key in her back. Or the girl who keeps bringing guns to school that she procures from nowhere. Or the Principal who has a penchant for wrestling deer. Or the Science Teacher who occasionally poisons her students (and herself)...Those living in the US can watch this anime legally at Crunchyroll.
Also, Sakamoto, when his cat nature takes over and he gets distracted playing with something.
Mai's dog, Oguri, in Episode 15.
Awesome Animation: Drop-dead gorgeous, even by Kyoto Animation's high standards. The backgrounds are very highly detailed, seeing real-time perspective shifts in a 2D plane is not uncommon (although some Conspicuous CG is used where it would be otherwise too difficult and expensive to animate by hand, see below), the frames-per-second is remarkably high for this sort of anime.
Baby Talk: The Professor regresses to this from time to time, befitting her age.
Do not insinuate that robots are not cute in the Professor's presence.
Nano frequently gets highly upset whenever the Professor installs some useless new feature in her. Later on, the Professor installs a plastic pellet machine gun in one of her arms. This turns out to be a mistake.
Sasahara's very existence is this for Misato. To the point that you can consider yourself lucky if you manage to talk to her about him without getting hit in return. And don't even think about suggesting she should admit her feeling towards him. Not even blood relations will save you from her bazooka if you do.
Bifauxnen: Ms. Nakamura is easily mistaken for a guy before you hear her voice.
Even some of the subbers are fooled, making it even less obvious to the viewer.
Brick Joke: At the beginning of Episode 8, Nano accidentally activates a Rocket Punch. Her right hand then flies across the sky during Sasahara's segment (causing him to write a haiku about it), and comes back again later to sock Misato in the head.
Right in the first episode there's the objects that go flying in the explosion at the start and, more significantly, the poor boy who only shows up atop a chimney at the end of the episode when you've forgotten all about him.
In Episode 22, Misato's little sister tries to hit Mio's big sister with a shinai, only to accidentally hit the assistant kendo instructor (who just happened to appear at the right moment), knocking him off of the bicycle he was riding. Later, when Fecchan tries to make the best of having dropped her ice cream by claiming that she can still eat it after cleaning it off, the bike (and the instructor) come by and ruin what was left of her ice cream. In Episode 25, while Ms. Nakamura is walking down the street, the bike is incredibly, still continuing its path without the rider.
A dorayaki Tanaka pulls out of his afro for Sakurai-sensei resurfaces in an appropriate 'Short Thoughts' segment later on.
Butt Monkey: Nano, mostly due to the Professor's rather childlike inventions placed throughout her body.
Yuuko, whether she accidentally sets Mio off, falls for one of Mai's pranks, gets competitive, annoys her mom, or just witnesses something weird, the universe doesn't like her. In fact, Episode 23 of the anime gives us a small montage of the universe being mean to Yuuko.
Mio can qualify as well, since she has to deal with Yuuko, often unknowingly, pressing her Berserk Button, her own Covert Pervert tendencies landing her in a position that's far from ideal, and her Gadfly of an older sister.
Sakamoto. Looks like his fate is to be the pet of a well-meaning but careless Mad Scientist, no matter where he goes.
It turns out that almost anyone can can get hit with this. Two big contenders are Nakanojou (in addition to his complex about his hair, bad things continually happen to him) and Annaka (what with the universe almost seeming to hate her as much as Yuuko in terms of the weird stuff that gets thrown at her).
Calvin Ball: 'Go-Soccer', kind of. The guy who wanted to invent it (Daiku, the club president) was never actually able to come up with any rules.
Turns out that there are some rules in the game, as Makoto Sakurai demonstrated in Episode 14. Though what they actually are is still a mystery. The Go-Soccer match that occurs between Makoto and one of the teachers does nothing except leave even Sekiguchi with her jaw hanging open.
The Cameo: The next episode previews are done by various voice actors, expressing the thoughts of inanimate objects that appeared in the show. Almost all of these voice actors are industry vets with 20-40 years of experience — for example, Norio Wakamoto was a set of hair decs, Aya Hirano as a shogi piece, etc.
All the airship segments are filled with cameos of ultra-famous seiyuus doing extremely trivial roles. Hilariously enough, the voice actors of Kirei, Rider and Tokiomi all appear one after the other within the span of 5 minutes during the airship sequence in Episode 21, the first two of whom are killed within minutes of each other.
Apparently now Sekiguchi with Daiku (the two in the Go-Soccer Club).
Cast Herd: While Nano is a student of the high school in the manga, in the anime the segments with her, the Professor, and Sakamoto are kept strictly separate from antics at the school until Episode 14 when Nano finally starts attending.
Finally, in Episode 16 Yuuko visits the Shinonome Lab and meets the Professor and Sakamoto. Hilarity Ensues.
People shot by Misato tend to come out completely white as well, such as her younger sister, and especially Sasahara.
Conspicuous CG: Used for a rotating shot of the entire classroom in Episode 6. The switch back to traditional animation is very smooth, however.
Also happens during the Dog and Pen Laser scenes regarding the laser fired due to pain. We are given a dramatic circle shot before Yuuko's laser takes out the rest of the planets because she accidentally stabbed herself with a pen.
Conspicuously Light Patch: In Episode 3, Sakamoto walks around under an overturned box in the distant background; the box loses its conspicuous light whenever he stops moving.
Continuity Nod: The stained glass windows in 1-Q, the main Homeroom. What at first looks like a throwaway gag has consistently been given the nod ever since. Even in the OPENING!
Episode 23: Mio and Yuuko sport bandages where Mai's dogs bit them the previous episode.
Cool Big Sis: Yuuko seems to have earned this with the Professor in Episode 16.
After some rough patches at the beginning, Mai's relationship with the Professor becomes this.
Cool Plane: Kenzaburou uses a Blackbird to arrive at school.
Covert Pervert: Mio. The whole chase in Episode 2 was the result of such a moment. Also, in Episode 5, she stops what she's doing immediately upon hearing that Yuuko was going to attempt to draw a cool guy and ends up getting carried away.
She later ends up trying to turn herself in for a crime she didn't commit and bribe a police officer just to keep him from searching her bag and finding her drawings. When that fails, she beats the crap out of him, Yuuko, the "OH GENTLEMAN" guy, and Sasahara's goat.
Deconstructive Parody: Nakamura-sensei visits Shinonome Labs. Knowing that Nano-chan is a robot, and that the Professor is extremely intelligent, she behaves terrified, like a normal person would in a (potentially mad) scientist's lair. She even notes that the Professor appears too young to have built Nano.
Denied Food as Punishment: Nano frequently threatens the Professor with this, but then either forgets or just simply forgives her for whatever the Professor did to cause said punishment in the first place.
Disaster Dominoes: When goof-off Yuuko does her homework and her studious friends don't, they trigger this. The high school trio hides out in a nearby shrine during the rain, Yuuko trys to pay a coin to the shrine, Hilarity Ensues, and ends with the entire place destroyed.
Does This Remind You of Anything?: The build up to this page is Yuuko swearing off jokes, only for Mai to dial her 'boke'ness Up to Eleven. Yuuko's reaction after letting it all out is...interesting, to say the least. Even more so in the episode this skit's featured in (17).
Early-Bird Cameo: Ms. Nakamura is seen looking for Sakamoto in Episode 3 after the Professor and Nano adopt him. The Kendo assistant instructor turns up to offer Mio sage words of advice in Episode 18.
In contrast to Mai being a stoic version of Osaka, Yuuko definitely gives off Tomo vibes with her similar hair style and Tareme Eyes, overzealous earnestness, slacking, and Butt Monkey status, though most of the time she's a good deal less annoying when hyped up.
Sasahara looks and acts like Keima Katsuragi, all the way down to the collar, to the point of multiple people calling Sasahara "Keima's long-lost brother". He also reminds many people of Miles Edgeworth, with his collar and classy attitude.
Family-Friendly Firearms: Double subverted. The guns Misato uses are fairly realistically displayed, and quite powerful since they cause quite some damage to the surroundings. However, it still comes off as this trope since the characters hit are so Made of Iron that they only end up with smoke emitting from their bodies, and occasionally slight bleeding.
Funny Background Event: Oh man the background artists had fun working on this show. Take the second episode - the Go-Soccer club has recruitment posters up on the classroom walls, there's a 'don't sweat it in the hallway' poster up in the hallway, the convenience store has Wou~i Ochanote parody of 'Ooo-i Ocha', the first sound representing a shout across a field and 'Overcooked Soup' (the black one being sold for 100 yen - cheaper than the others!), the list goes on.
The Gadfly: Mai. Almost makes you wonder why Yuuko and Mio are friends with her sometimes.
Yuuko is prone to outbursts of gratuitous English when shocked or utterly confused.
GOD IS DEAD
Koucho (Principal) DEATH
When she is forced to wait a very long time for her order at a restaurant: "Goddamn!"
Episode 11, Super Ultra Great Delicious Wonderful Yabai ("yabai" is Japanese for "bad"). Her attempt to catch a cold Come On, Come On too, which was especially amusing as she was trying to catch a cold in order to avoid having to take an English exam.
Nano in Episode 6 when she's trapped a cockroach under a bowl.
A more classic example of Gratuitous Japanese : In the Helvetica Standard segment of Episode 9, as Chirashizushi spells her name to the Tengu, each syllable is accompanied by its corresponding Japanese characters.
Gretzky Has the Ball: Episode 7 has the Professor and Nano playing baseball with Sakamoto officiating, but neither player has any idea how the game works.
Imagine Spot: Yuuko's in-class dreams of the Fey Kingdom. Takasaki-sensei and Mio occasionally have these with their respective love interests. Mio once even comes up with an entire romantic scene for Nano and Sasahara when Yuuko convinces her they're dating, complete with a slight Art Shift.
Incredibly Lame Pun: In one manga chapter (Episode 8 in the anime), Yukko tries to get a rise out of Mio and Mai with a series of bad Japanese puns and only gives up after they get to school with no reaction whatsoever.
Informed Ability: We never actually see the Professor do any research. She seems to spend most of her day with typical activities for an eight-year-old, like reading picture books.
The books are sometimes vaguely science related, but it still doesn't explain much.
Instant Bandages: Yuuko sports some on her head in Episode 24 shortly after Mio finds out that she was lying about Sasahara and Nano getting a little too friendly with each other.
Iron Buttmonkey: Yuuko - considering the universe that she lives, she needs to be. Sakamoto also counts, to a lesser extent.
Iwo Jima Pose: Mio imagines raising a Sasahara flag this way when she talks to him at the drinks machine in Episode 24.
Mad Scientist: Both the Professor and Nakamura-sensei. The former is much nicer and much more competent, though.
Made of Iron: Sasahara can take everything Misato gives him and barely shows any damage.
Magic Skirt: Oh so much. Three glaring examples are when Yuuko does a fliptake after making several horrible puns (What nice tenki (weather) today... I MIGHT BUY A TEN KEY PAD!) and yet her skirt magically stays up. Another is her time spent as the coffee shop. Several angles show her throwing herself around in frustration at being unable to buy an expresso, and most of them are at her legs yet her skirt is always protected by a wonderfully convenient impossibely cast shadow. The last major one is when Mio does a 50-foot jump into the water.
Moment of Weakness: Inverted when Mio & Yuuko get into a serious argument. Yuuko accidentally blurts out a sincere complement and the argument ends up defusing, in a very cute way.
Mood Whiplash: Mio's Heroic BSOD run in Episode 25. You think this might be the show's first Tear Jerker.... then Mio jumps out of the window.
More Dakka: Misato. As she gets more and more embarrassed, she pulls out bigger and bigger guns (getting as far as a bombard at one point).
Nano uses this on the Professor after discovering she had a machine gun installed on her right arm. Fortunately it only shoots BB's, but that doesn't stop Nano from shooting the Professor repeatedly as a result.
Mundane Made Awesome: With its over the top jokes and everyone generally overreacting to everything, this show may as well be called "Mundane Made Awesome: The Series."
Never My Fault: Whenever Nano expresses displeasure with one of the Professor's practical jokes, it immediately becomes Sakamoto's idea. Nano does sometimes falls for it, though.
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Once in a while Sakamoto will let himself fall for one of the Professor's pranks only for said prank to be more than he bargained for.
No Name Given: The Professor and Misato's two friends Fecchan and Weboshi.
One is two people wearing the daifuku "costume" from chapter 16 swinging a jump rope, and one of the characters attempts to join in.
Then there's the Professor and Nano playing Rock-Paper-Scissors, only the Professor's modified Nano in a way that's either humiliating, or works things out in the Professor's favor. In later episodes, the two do a little dance instead.
More recently, the "Things we think are cool!" segments.
Even more recently, the "Like Love" and "This is..." segments.
The Rock-Paper-Scissors segment made a comeback in Episode 26. Nano finally wins! ...But Sakamoto accidentally covered the Professor's face, preventing her from seeing it.
Only Six Faces: There are only four or so unique faces, and even those are subject to change based on the situation. This is actually the source of a lot of stylistic parody — the school trio and scientist trip lend themselves well to being photoshopped into other character's costumes.
Rule of Three: Episodes 8 and 9 both have a "Things we think are cool!" segment, done by the schoolgirl trio. In Episode 10, it's subverted — Mai does the segment herself, in her usual manner.
Running Gag: Yuuko has a tendency to throw together haiku on the fly, but she consistently ends them all with "Mogami-gawa" (Mogami River). This is a parody of the rather large number of haiku by Basho that do the same.
Whenever in trouble, the Professor tries to convince Nano that Sakamoto told her to do it or that Sakamoto was a partner in crime.
Throughout the series, when Yuuko is having a hard time, this one dog walks up to her and puts a paw on her to comfort her. A couple times you see him running long distances (with his master in pursuit) to reach Yuuko.
In Episode 5, Nakanojou tries to disprove the spiritualist by asking him to summon soap. When the medium does so, he fearfully thought "Is there a person named Soap?" This could be a possible shout out to Soap MacTavish of Modern Warfare, since, for one, both characters sport mohawks.
In Episode 6 of the anime, a car and married couple from the Game of Life appear.
In Episode 16 Mai has a Specialman eraser. In the same episode, during her Unstoppable Rage Mio does Akuma's signature shadow step "Ashura Senkuu" before pulling off a Dragon Screw on Sasahara's Goat.
The incantation of resurrection that Mai used during the stair climbing game is a password for the first Japanese Dragon Quest (although Mai remembered it wrongly as evidenced by her failure to start her save game later).
In Episode 21 Misato and Weboshi each hit Fecchan with a Double Lariat.
The Episode 21 one above can also double as a Kinnikuman shout-out, as Neptuneman and Big the Budo's move predates the Naruto one, as well as there already being two Kinnikuman shout-outs in the show already. The other shout-out is in Episode 17 on "Like Love" where the boss is doing the Palo Special, made famous by Warsman.
Status Quo Is God: Semi-averted for Nano in Episode 13 - the Professor allows her to go to school, which was the status quo in the manga from the start... Although outside of two gags early on, all of Nano's scenes in the manga involve the laboratory in some way.
Surprisingly Good Malay/Indonesian: Yuuko and Mai were greeting each other in Malay/Indonesian in Episode 1. Not only what they are saying is correct (including Yuuko correcting Mai that she should have replied "Selamat pagi"(Good morning) just like what she said earlier, not "Selamat malam"(Good night)) but their pronunciation was good as well.
"Selamat tinggal" also. Meaning "Farewell".
There is speculation about more surprisingly good Malay/Indonesian. It's the Kuma (bear) joke. When Mio's sister takes the money from Mio, she says "Aru toki wa kuma, soshite aru toki mo ku-ma", which means "Sometimes I'm a bear, sometimes I'm a be-ar". In Malay/Indonesian, kuma (bear) is translated "beruang". It could be separated into ber-uang (ku-ma), which means "has money". If it's intentional, the author speaks surprisingly good Malay/Indonesian, to the point that he can make Malay/Indonesian puns that possibly no Japanese person will understand.
There's also a few "Gamelan" posters here and there. A gamelan is a traditional Indonesian and Malaysian instrument
Misato, each and every time Sasahara is mentioned.
Misato: Why do I have to marry him?!
Take a Third Option: Episode 4: You've forgotten to buy your cat food because you bought a snowman on a whim and were then blackmailed by your creator into buying her snacks, so what do you do? Feed him shaved ice.
Talking Animal: Sakamoto, the Professor's pet cat, thanks to a scarf she made for him.
Which she then "borrows" to put on a crow in Episode 17. Sakamoto gets it back later.
Tempting Fate: "I should be happy that I wasn't hit by any raw foods." Not even five seconds later...
Mio in Episode 5: "I can't believe I drew that picture. Even though I lost control, it could have been worse." Cue naughty picture being used as part of a quiz.
The Scapegoat: The Professor is almost always quick to blame Sakamoto for any misfortunes, or at the very least, try to make him a guilty party to it, such as when she knocked down the laundry line while it was raining, then trying to claim he told her to drop the clothes in the mud. Nano however, hardly ever finds him guilty of those incidents, and instead punishes the professor instead. Or not...
Third Line, Some Waiting: The anime is currently divided between two main plotlines and multiple minor plotlines. The stories around Mio, Yuuko, and Mai and the story at Shinonome Laboratories are presented in equal measure. The running plot about the Go-Soccer Club is presented less than a minute at a time. The teachers' romance and Misato/Sasahara also get their day, but infrequently.
Meanwhile in the manga, there's a bit more overlap between Mio and Nano, as Nano starts out as a student in the manga — everyone knows she's a robot, but are too polite to tell her they figured it out. This was changed for the anime in order to more decidedly separate the Shinonome Laboratory skits.
Third-Person Person: The Professor. Justified by her age — referring to yourself in third person is markedly childlike in Japanese.
Throw the Dog a Bone: Yuuko is sent to stand in the hallway after forgetting her homework at home - the homework she remembered to do all by herself, for once- and a dog appears standing next to her. It puts its left paw on her shoulder. A universe out to get her, yet a small dog is ironically the one to throw her a bone!
Later in that episode she gets an 80 on a test though it's subverted: The class average was 92.
Buddy (the name of the dog) does it again in Episode 14. Pet the Human?
Buddy also makes an appearance as early as Episode 6 on the girls' camping trip and in Episode 8 when Yuuko tells her awful jokes, where he can't reach her.
Looks like Buddy is a recurring character now. He even shows up in the new opening!
He has a smaller companion that serves the same function for Mio. His name? Kobuddy (little buddy).
Both of them show up after Yuuko and Mio get trolled by Mai's dogs. Unfortunately, being dogs they still scare off Sakamoto and the Professor.
Nano gets one when the Professor lets her go to school.
And a really big one when Yuuko basically tells her she doesn't mind about her being a robot.
Episode 14 proves why this is such a big deal, as it changes the dynamic of the school scenes. Then it turns it Up to Eleven with a full-scale shouting match between Yuuko and Mio, and the revelation that Go-Soccer is an actual sport. And there's a new opening.
When She Smiles: Mai with her usual dull, emotionless expression, becomes rather adorable the few times she smiles, or even laughs.
Wind-Up Key: Nano's most noticeable feature, much to her dismay. Not only is it a dead giveaway to the fact that she's a robot, but it's also useless: its only purpose is to launch Nano's toe like a rocket when spun manually. The Professor still absolutely refuses to remove it, as she finds it cute.
Wiki Walk: One of the school faculty members has one in Episode 11.