Nichijou

Tagged: TV

Japanese animated tv series (2011; vt Nichijou: My Ordinary Life). Based on the Manga by Keiichi Arawi. Kyoto Animation. Directed by Tatsuya Ishihara, Written by Jukki Hanada. Voice cast includes Mai Aizawa, Shizuka Furuya, Mariko Honda, Chika Horikawa, Yoshihisa Kawahara, Hiromi Konno, Kaoru Mizuhara, Minoru Shiraishi and Misuzu Togashi. 26 25-minute episodes and one OVA. Colour.

Attending Tokisadame High School are the academically challenged but cheerful Yūko Aioi (Honda); occasionally temperamental manga artist Mio Naganohara (Aizawa) and the quiet but dryly humoured Mai Minakami (Togashi). A mundane surrealism percolates their lives, reflected in animation that can be sedately beautiful or highly dramatic, the latter seen when Yūko drops a piece of sausage and attempts its recapture, or when her yell apparently shatters Saturn's rings (see Outer Planets).

Nearby are the Shinonome Laboratories: here The Professor (Konno) creates AI-level Robots, her finest creation being Nano (Furuya): fully human in appearance, but for a clockwork key on her back. The Professor wears a white shirt, tie and long lab coat, so her Scientist bona-fides are irrefutable, despite her being only eight. Shinonome Laboratories is a normal house, save for the big sign saying "Shinonome Laboratories".

The Professor's other Inventions include an animal language translation device (see Linguistics; Universal Translator), which resembles a red scarf: this she ties onto the cat Sakamoto (Shiraishi), whose affectation of dignity is regularly undermined by his cat instincts; the scarf is also briefly worn by a crow, who proves to be civilized company. The Professor has built two other robots, more basic in design than Nano: Biscuit 1 and Biscuit 2, named after their power source.

Despite her genius The Professor is a spoilt child who likes snacks and sharks; she regularly upgrades Nano without telling her, adding food storage compartments and a detachable rocket hand. Nano, dearly wanting to pass as human, wishes her key removed; but The Professor, whilst admitting it serves no purpose, argues that it's cute and so declines. Built a year previously, Nano is effectively The Professor's guardian and acts as her big sister: despite their conflicts they clearly love each other. In season two Nano goes to school and befriends Yūko, Mio and Mai; she tries to hide her robot nature; but, as Yūko sweetly observes, "You're not a robot, you're Nano" (see Identity). The school's science teacher, Kana Nakamura (Mizuhara), wishes to capture Nano for study but is too accident-prone to succeed.

Also worthy of mention is Misato Tachibana (Horikawa), liable to produce heavy-duty high-tech Weapons out of nowhere when irritated by fellow pupil Koujirou Sasahara (Kawahara) – or if anyone dare suggest she has a crush on him: though often fired, the weapons cause no permanent damage. An occasional feature is the Zeppelin carrying Albert, the King of the Fey Kingdom (see Supernatural Creatures): suspiciously, these segments all end with Yūko suddenly waking up in class. Funny, eccentric and of immense charm, this Anime might be described as Magic Realism, with robots – reflected in Mio's repetition of an overheard remark: "our everyday lives may, in fact, be a series of miracles". [SP]

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