About Nichijou (Nichijou – My Ordinary Life)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Apr 2011 - Sep 2011
If we had to describe Nichijou in just a few short words, it's like a super moe Regular Show. ("It's anything but"). The title MEANS 'everyday life' but while the general settings of a school and house are rather normal, the characters themselves and the situations they get into are absurd. The only way this can be seen as normal is that everyone is uniquely quirky. There's a haughty farm boy who speaks like a nobleman but rides a goat to school, a robot whose body parts hide secret snacks even she doesn't know about, and a high school girl who secretly fantasizes about her crush with other dudes. With incredible feats of strength and a convenient negligence to the laws of physics, Nichijou excels at taking supposedly ordinary moments and turning them into ridiculous and hilarious situations.
Liked Nichijou? Watch Poputepipikku (Pop Team Epic)!
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jan 2018 – ongoing
Pipimi and Popuko long to break out from their 4 koma manga (the format where 4 panels of equal size are read top to bottom, commonly used in gag comics) origins and become an anime, even if they have to take over another anime to do it! These two friends may not have a clear idea about how to achieve their goals, but they'll copy every theme they can get their hands on. Skits with seemingly no connection are thrown at you and you'll only have two consistent things to keep you anchored: Popuko's extreme fury and Pipimi's stoic demeanor.
Three Major Similarities Between Nichijou and Poputepipiku
1. Random skits
Forget finding a connection episode to episode. Often times, the skits in both of these shows don't seem to be connected at all! Poputepipikku is almost entirely completely new scenarios or scenes which aren't even connected by time or space. Nichijou consists of short scenes that look like they could be played in any order, but at least the characters backgrounds stay primarily the same. The schoolgirls stay school girls while in Poputepipikku, Pipimi and Popuko range from normal young girls to astronauts, to yakuza! Characters often don't seem to think the absolute randomness of their scenarios is out of place either. In Nichijou, Yukko asks to borrow Mio's homework which initially she is ok with, but then Mio gets very aggressive about getting her notebook back. Instead of questioning this drastic change, Yukko just high tails it out of class at lightning speed! In Poputepipikku, Popuko doesn't seem too shocked even when Pipimi goes from affectionate to violent!
2. Mostly school girls! Probably?
Nichijou focuses on three high school girls, a young scientist and an awkward robot girl who wants to become a high school girl! Poputepipikku has... Popuko and Pipimi; in school uniforms at least. Both shows have a predominantly female cast with some male supporting characters. While Nichijou is decidedly more feminine and moe and Poputepipikku more abrasive and angry, that's not to say both shows stick to those main displays. In Nichijou, Mio repeatedly punches her sister hard enough to send her flying after she scares Mio and then heaps verbal abuse on top of it. Between Popuko's outraged faces and middle fingers from both girls, we are sometimes gifted with tender scenes between Pipimi and Popuko.
3. Special repeated segments
Despite the overarching randomness of these two comedies, they both have repeating skits that follow a certain pattern or theme. In Nichijou repeating skits of certain games are used always in a way where the unexpected happens. One example is the little Hakase (professor/doctor) and her robot Nano playing what appears to be a happy game of Rock Paper Scissors. It always starts with a cute dance and chant they both pull off perfectly, and the gag is in the reveal. Something often goes wrong with poor Nano as she often discovers in these moments new 'modifications' Hakase made to her without her knowledge. Another segment is Red Light, Green Light. Sometimes used with characters outside the main cast, the one who is 'it' holds either red light or green light too long with varying effects. Sometimes people get tired of waiting and leave, and sometimes people are stuck in purgatory wondering how anyone could hold on so long?? In Poputepipikku, we have a lot of segments that get repeated throughout the series. There's Bobunemimimmi or Bob Team Epic which doesn't seem to have much of a punchline other than the art looks like a kindergartner was shown Popuko and Pipimi once and asked to recreate them and come up with a story himself. Pop Team Cooking is another short, repeated segment which starts off like a cooking show and never includes any real cooking. Pipimi is usually the one causing problems of some kind and it's fun wondering just what will go wrong each time! Pop Team 8 bit has Popuko and Pipimi as characters in old retro games and usually their powers or death scenes reflect their crazy antics.
Liked Nichijou? Watch Saiki Kusuo no Psi Nan 2 (The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. 2)!
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Jan 2018 - ongoing
Taking off where Saiki Kusuo no Psi Nan left off, which was definitely only a week ago, not a year, we continue to follow poor psychic Saiki Kusuo who tries so desperately not to draw attention to himself. Funnily enough, the people he most tries to avoid end up being incredibly drawn to him. Whether it’s empty-headed guys, chuunibyous (edgelords) or vain, beautiful girls, he somehow attracts the most troublesome characters. It's a tough life having phenomenal powers no one can know about, and just when Saiki thinks he's got normal humans all figured out, they end up surprising him.
Three Major Similarities Between Nichijou and Saiki Kusuo no Psi Nan 2
1. Absolute insanity portrayed as normality
In both shows, weird, unrealistic things happen all the time even though the most out-there things are played out as normal and reasonable. One such example is Hakase and Nano in Nichijou and Saiki's psychic powers in Saiki Kusuo. A child scientist that can create an incredibly human-like robot would be news throughout the world, but it's accepted easily in Nichijou. While students are surprised at the key in Nano's back alerting them to the fact she's a robot, Mio has a much greater reaction of shock and anger at Yukko mishearing yakisoba as fried mackerel.
Saiki Kusuo takes the extraordinary as ordinary trope one step further by coming up with reasons as to why no one bats an eye at anything. Using his psychic powers, Saiki’s changed human DNA to produce crazy colored hair and an ability to heal surprisingly fast, all to mask Saiki's differences from what used to be normal. Of course, his powers are seen as completely normal by his parents and would be likely to cause a stir to normal people, but whenever he's in danger of being found out, people come up with even more ridiculous reasons to explain things. Like in Nichijou, people's reactions to the smallest things are always more exaggerated than how they react to actually bizarre situations.
2. School Days
Nichijou and Saiki Kusuo both predominantly take place with our main characters at school, or at least always around their hometowns. Most of the hilarity we see is from taking a common school occurrence, be it turning in homework, walking to school, or classroom interactions, and creating completely unlikely situations from them. Humor can be found in regular situations like an embarrassing introduction or a secret accidentally left on homework. However, in lieu of a secret confession among math homework, Mio straight-up draws her beloved Sasahara having sex with another guy. Beyond her secret feelings coming to light, there is clearly much more at stake if her teacher finds her 'work'. Similarly, Nano's nervousness at meeting her classmates is funny enough on its own, but the class’ reaction to the key in her back adds a new level of craziness to make the scene even funnier.
Saiki Kusuo takes what would be regular occurrences and transforms them into hilarity with the help of Saiki's psychic powers. When a girl in Saiki's class develops a crush on him, she attempts to draw his attention with every anime trope she can think of, from dropping something near him to crashing into him with a stack of handouts. Of course, Saiki is able to use his telekinesis to put everything back where it needs to be, giving her no reason to talk to him. Saiki just wants to avoid her feelings without addressing them, and so he goes to such drastic lengths as opposed to just saying he's not interested. For someone who claims his powers are a burden, he relies on them a lot in order to avoid normal human interaction. Of course, addressing feeling like a normal person wouldn't be as funny as teleporting on top of buildings or moving things to surprising locations, so this works better for us.
3. Predictably unpredictable characters
What's a good comedy without characters that act far outside of what's considered normal? Both colorful casts represent some easily recognized tropes so you sort of know what trouble you're going to get into with each one. Saiki and Mai are both pretty straight characters, the things they do being so funny because they are so devoid of emotion or a proper reaction to the things going on around them. Yukko and Riki are the totally friendly fools of their group, always trying to be close to others and inconveniencing them in the process. Shun the chuunibyou and Sasahara the noble farm-boy are both haughty boys who act superior to others and while their delusions are unpredictable, you always know they will try to act above everyone else despite having nothing to show for it besides an attitude.