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Nichijou – My Ordinary Life Complete Collection Blu-ray Anime Review

9 min read

Nichijou Header 1-31Ordinary lives we all wish we really had.

What They Say:
Follow the adventures of three ordinary girls as they make life’s awkward moments a thousand times worse. Along with a colorful bunch of classmates, they learn their most important lessons the hard way. Like whether goats are an appropriate form of transportation, who would win in a wrestling match between the principal and a deer, and most notably, if the three-second rule applies to weenies that fly through mohawks.

Meanwhile down the street, a pocket-sized professor makes life difficult for a robot who just wants to be normal. But normal is the last thing you can expect in a town where salmon fall from the sky. In fact, the only thing you can count on is your friends, but even they are totally weird.

The Review:
Audio:
The audio presentation for this series brings us the original Japanese language track only done up in stereo using the lossless Dolby TrueHD codec. The show is one that is largely dialogue based but it has some wonderfully fun expansive moments where the mix handles it well as it goes big, crazy, and chaotic. With sudden explosions, quick movements, and all sorts of other physical comedy elements, the design holds everything together well with some great placement and depth at times as well as some impact where needed as well. It is, however, largely a dialogue based show and that’s done up just right. It’s a solid mix with placement as needed and clarity throughout without any problems such as dropouts or distortions during playback.

Video:
Originally airing in 2011, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The twenty-six episodes are spread across three discs with ten each on the first two and six on the third, which is also where the forty-seven minutes of extras are. Animated by Kyoto Animation, the series is one that is simply fantastic with what it does and the encoding brings it to life in a near perfect way. Though a comedy series, Nichijou runs the gamut of styles throughout and has such high quality animation and fluidity that each scene is like a revelation in terms of detail and overall color clarity. The end result is a show that’s very appealing with a bright look and so many wonderfully expressive moments that the encoding captures it all just right. Even though I had seen it in streaming high definition before this encoding takes it to a whole other level.

Packaging:
The packaging for this release comes in a pretty thick box considering how much it has to hold but it does some good stuff for fans.The set has an o-card with it but it differs from the case artwork, which makes it worth keeping, as we get the familiar image of the core trio of girls having lunch at their desks while others are walking around and showing off their personalities to a good degree as well as a bunch of items from throughout the series. The back of the o-card is the same as the case artwork with the layout but they both use different character pieces along the right. With a white background we get a good breakdown of the premise in the summary as well as what extras are included. The shots from the show are small but cute and the technical grid breaks everything down in a very clear and easy to read way with the white background. The case artwork itself for the front is wonderful as we get everyone outside the school at the entrance where they’re heading home for the day and it works similar to the o-card but with additional characters that don’t attend school. While there are no show related inserts with the set we do get artwork on the reverse side where the left panel breaks down the episodes by format and set with some cute Mio material while the right side has a full panel spread of the core three girls laying about under a tree with lots of fun items.

Menu:
The weakest part of this release is definitely the menus and frustratingly so. With so much possible artwork out there, Funimation went for the simplest route possible by reusing the same image across all three discs. And it’s just a simple image where the left has Yuuko jumping over Mio’s back, all of which is set against a blank white screen. The right has the series name in pink and a pink box below it that has the menu navigation that doubles as the pop-up menu. It’s simple, bland, and doesn’t capture the show well at all. And reusing the same pieces just makes it even more unappealing by the time you get to the third disc. It’s all functional and works well but it’s definitely a very weak element here.

Extras:
The extras for this release are pretty copious overall as we get the special episode zero installment that came out a few months before the show itself bundled with the sixth volume of the manga, and we get all the clean opening and closing sequences, which are just a delight to soak up with all their details.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the manga by Keiichi Arawi, Nichijou – My Ordinary Life is a twenty-six episode anime series that aired in the spring and summer of 2011. Animated by Kyoto Animation with TAtsuya Ishihara directing, the series had the herculean task of bringing a short-form manga series with varying lengths and styles to life in a kind of linear and engaging way. Gag manga properties can make the transition well depending on how it’s done and what they did here was the best considering it’s using full-length episodes. By going the route of shorter stories within while having some ongoing subplots that are tackled from time to time, much like the manga, it keeps the variety at a high level and allows it to expand where necessary and shorten elsewhere as well.

I had watched this as one of the earlier streaming series when it was simulcast and it’s one that I really did struggle with in the early episodes. The style of humor takes a little getting used to and trying to get into the mindset of it all with its regularly expanding cast and quirky humor was problematic at the beginning. It wasn’t until about six or so episodes in that the show “clicked” for me and i became a hugely faithful fan, craving to own it ever since – which was made problematic when Bandai Entertainment licensed it and then closed up shop. Thankfully, Vertical picked up the manga in the interim so I’ve been getting familiar with the source material and that made going back to the anime all the more fun. And I’ll be one to easily admit that in many ways I really think the anime is superior in what it accomplishes compared to the manga, though each has their own strengths.

The show is a full on ensemble piece that follows a lot of students and a few adults in the town of Tokisadame. Its primary focus is on the core trio of high school girls Mio, Yuuko, and Mai, but it expands well with a robot named Nano and her eight-year-old inventor that we know only as the Professor. Who is utterly an eight-year-old in so many ways. She’s definitely brilliant as she even creates a scary that allows a stray cat they take in that they name Sakamoto to talk, who in turn does his best to be the parent to these two since he’s technically the oldest. What the show does is work through so many little gags and quirks of life that this type of storytelling is ideal in bringing to life because it doesn’t drag it through the ground. Mio has an arc about the yaoi she draws, Nano wants to go to school while discovering her body has a lot of bizarre attachments that the Professor put into it, and there are some hilarious daydream arcs that lets the show simply go wild.

And realistically, what helps elevate this to a whole other level is the animation. Kyoto Animation is known for some top notch shows but this one stands apart because of its origins and style. What we get here is something that goes into some truly gorgeous and beautifully fluid sequences because it adjusts to the style as needed to tell it that it’s shocking. It’s easy to imagine the show getting a basic kind of simple gag-comedy look and feel, but this is one of the most richly layered and detail shows out there that’s done as a slice of life show that it’s just striking through and through. The high-action pieces are just so intensely done that it’s like a passion project put on adrenalin ten times over. The expressive natures of the characters, the wild takes, the non-standard moments, and the over exaggerated pieces where everything slows down for comedic effect is simply beyond words to describe right. It takes a bit to really get into the groove of the show but once you realize the mastery of it you can’t help but to be hooked.

Because it’s done in such a format with so many little things and no really strong overall arc, though the characters do grow and change across it, we’re not going to break it down too much further. But I do recommend checking out our reviews from the simulcast to see our view of it over time and the passion that it generated from us.

Episode 1 Episode 14
Episode 2 Episode 15
Episode 3 Episode 16
Episode 4 Episode 17
Episode 5 Episode 18
Episode 6 Episode 19
Episode 7 Episode 20
Episode 8 Episode 21
Episode 9 Episode 22
Episode 10 Episode 23
Episode 11 Episode 24
Episode 12 Episode 25
Episode 13 Episode 26

In Summary:
Several years in the coming, Nichijou – My Ordinary Life is exactly what I wanted and hoped for. It’s a full on run of really great humor, wild takes, subtlety, and so much more. It’s a series that you get more of the more you watch it and the more you watch other shows in a lot of ways. Funimation’s release brings us a whole lot of goodness that delivers in almost all ways except for two. The menus are weak and I really wish it had a dub just so that the voice actors could have something really fun and creative to work with. Nichijou is that rare cult series that has such high end values to it and so many layers and richness that people will overlook because it’s a comedy that I cannot recommend it enough. This is one that should be in most people’s collections as it’s an absolute treasure and is very well presented here, making it a worthwhile pickup.

Features:
Japanese TrueHD 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Episode Zero, Clean Openings, Clean Closings

Content Grade: A+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: A-
Menu Grade: C
Extras Grade: B+

Released By: Funimation
Release Date: February 7th, 2017
MSRP: $69.98
Running Time: 650 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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