June 3, 2011

Everyday, Ordinary Life Needs More Side Characters

I’ve been watching Nichijou because I don’t like doing useful things like catching up on Doctor Who or getting work done. It’s got the sort of comedy I enjoy, certainly. It’s very surreal a lot of the time. I mean, you saw when I linked the video of the principal suplexing the deer, right? (I hope so, as I have found that they have gotten that video pulled from Youtube!) That’s pretty normal for the show.

I really don’t understand the general composition of the show, though.

Like, okay, I understand that the series is based off of a series of 4-panel strips: basically funny papers stuff. I mean, Azumanga was as well, so that’s not weird. However, the scope of this show is just all over the place. There are two “main” sets of characters, and then side characters of those two main sets that sometimes get screen time, and then a bunch of completely random little skits only tangentially related to those. For example, every so often the show will show some of “Helvetica Standard,” which is a comic that the girl in the Igo Soccer Club reads, which is a barely related set of skits to the main set of three girls in high school. It’s this incredible drilling-down into these side-side-side characters that really gets me. It’s clear that neither of the two main sets of protagonists are fully mined for humor yet (Hell, I feel like Nano, the Professor, and Sakamoto-san could easily carry an entire show all by themselves) and, frankly, going after my specific example, I feel like the Igo Soccer Club really has more room for funny jokes as well. I just don’t get the narrative need to go one deeper.

All the other random shit, like the jump-rope and rock-paper-scissors, well, they’re perfectly fine.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I tend to expect even my humor shows to hinge on their characters, and Nichijou really does not. It does literally whatever stupid thing the writers thought of at the time, and if they thought of something with their stock group of characters, fantastic, and if not, they slot them into the joke if they can or otherwise leave them behind. I guess on one hand, that’s kind of bold, as not having recognizable elements that make up your show makes it less marketable.


Either way, I’ve enjoyed the first, what, 9 episodes enough to watch the entire season at this point. It’s just certainly not how I would have put a show together. Then again, they aren’t asking me to script any anime comedy shows, so maybe there’s a reason for that.

[…] which I have been following and enjoying, has a new opening. It’s interesting, because in a lot of ways, this opening fits the show a […]

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