Let's just call it the 'slightly surreal life' instead.
What They Say:
If you think this is going to be a typical story of school life, you'll be surprised to know that the ordinary definitely doesn't happen in My Ordinary Life.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the manga Nichijou by Keiichi Arawi which began running back in 2006 and is still ongoing with five volumes, the Shonen Ace series is the latest from Kyoto Aniamtion which will certainly get it some attention considering their slate of titles over the years. With this being a comedy series, it's interesting to see what style of laughs they go for, and it certainly makes me curious as to what the upcoming PSP game will be like when it hits in Japan. The new TV series is directed by Tatsuya Ishihara who has directed a fair number of hits and misses over the year, from Clannad and Kanon to Power Strone and Tenchi Universe. Just from the first couple of minutes, you know we're not getting a Key based series obviously, and it's good to see him dipping his toes back into that after a few years of very serious series.
My Ordinary Life feels like a blend of a lot of other shows based on the kinds of characters that are involved in this high school setting. It has a bit of an absurdist feeling to it with how things happen, such as when a piece of salmon falls out of nowhere and lands on Yuko's head as she and Mio are walking to school. The high school setting itself is a rather welcome change from the usual perfectly, modern and up to date schools we see as there's a bit of a slightly lived in and worn down feeling as well as things that are just a bit out of date in a way. With the color palette used for the show, it adds to this atmosphere and helps it to feel more like a real classroom in a way. And these kinds of elements are mixed into other parts of the show as well which is rather welcome.
Because of how the original manga was created, where it uses both four panel strips and regular pages as well, My Ordinary Life has that kind of small and almost disjointed feeling to it at times that is rather charming. It's reminiscent of shows like Lucky Star on a number of levels, but it goes a little further as well. One of those things is the introduction of a girl named Nano who is actually a humaniform robot, albeit one with a big windup on her back. She's a surprising addition when she first appears, having just lost her hand, and is in a panic. Bringing that in as the girls go through their normal lives while dealing with exaggerated problems feels strangely right. There's an epic moment when a piece of food is about to be dropped in class during lunch and the girls freak out over it, making it a huge and ominous moment. It actually works pretty well and I rather liked the brief use of a Mohawk kid as a slight foil for events.
The use of small moments throughout the show has a lot of appeal with its kind of quirky humor. I was reminded heavily of Lucky Star but also a lot of times it reminded me of Azumanga Daioh as well with the way it handles these characters interactions with each other. Lucky Star dealt more with geeky matters and a lot of verbal sparring of sorts whereas this feels like Daioh more because of its more relaxed atmosphere and the, for lack of a better word, absurdity of some of the situations. Yet outside of the robot, they're all mostly realistic in a way. Grappling with the evil they feel about wanting to push the fire alarm, a subplot involving a piece of squid tentacle and so forth provides for a lot of fun. In a way, I'm still not sure what to really make of the show though, but it has some really cute ideas to it that could lead to a lot of fun as it progresses and we get to know these girls better.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.