My Ordinary Life Episode #04 (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Sunday, April 24, 2011
Release Date: Sunday, April 24, 2011

The ordinary continues, with a couple of dashes of the surreal.

What They Say:
Principal's Office/Midterm Exam

The Review:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
I haven't exactly come to dread My Ordinary Life, but it's a show that has left me kind of bewildered. I can see the approach they wanted to take, the kind of humor they wanted to achieve, with its similarities to Azumanga Daioh and Lucky Star, but it's the execution that has left it largely lacking. There's some potentially interesting characters here, but the structure of the show and the lack of really focusing on them in any meaningful way has left us having a hard time even remembering who is who, especially since many never even say anyone else's names. It's not a huge cast, but it just adds to the overall disconnect that the viewer can find themselves feeling as the episodes go on and they're all just one dimensional gags and atmospheric moments flowing across the screen.

One of the focuses on this episode is that one of the teachers that has been given the task of being a student advisor. She takes it pretty seriously in her kind of shy and inept way, as she walks the halls and nervously looks at everyone and sees ways she can advise them. One of the students is walking through the halls with a tray in front of him so he can eat and she takes him to task for that, though he talks his way out of it smoothly. The cute moment comes with the Mohawk kid as she tells him that it's not the most appropriate cut for someone in school. Little does she know that he can't actually grow it out on the sides and saying it out loud shames him, causing him to run off. This is essentially the kinds of things she runs into which pushes her shyness and nervousness even further. The kid at least has another gag later in the episode when he does pull his hair down that is amusing, especially his mothers reaction to it.

There's a cute sequence with the professor and her robot that do a little dance together against a white background which then causes the robot to go haywire in a small way, leading to an awkward moment. It's a great little scene that lasts barely 20 seconds, but was one of the highlights of the episode. And that kind of says a lot about the show. It's so full of fluff and pointlessness that it's hard to get enthused about. Some of the school daydream bits were cute, it's certainly easy to remember those kinds of feelings at times when I was young, but they're one-off gags that go by quickly which have no lasting impact. When the show works through what feels like eight or more gags in the space of the first ten minutes, gags that are their own short story sequences, the series simply feels far too disconnected.

In Summary:
A lot of My Ordinary Life is just so ordinary and uninteresting that the show really has a hard time keeping my attention because it's so full of nothing. The only sequence that really kept me interested and mildly entertained was the one that involved the talking cat, Sakamoto, as he goes about his day with some of the girls, including the professor, and just has a grand old time. It's the small moments here that work, unless elsewhere in the episode, in watching the surreal nature of the cat and his antics and interactions. Other than that, there are cute moments to be had, but nothing really sticks. I know the show has its fans, but this is a hard one for me to really get a handle on even after four episodes.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles

Review Equipment
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.



Mania Grade: D+
Audio Rating: NA
Video Rating: NA
Packaging Rating: NA
Menus Rating: NA
Extras Rating: NA
Age Rating: 13 and Up
Region: All Region DVD
Released By: Crunchyroll
Running time: 24
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: My Ordinary Life - Nichijou