Our goal is to make things a little easier with a system that doesn't exactly rank shows, but gives a sense of it in terms of animation, soundtrack, storyline, characters, and "hype" (how prominent the series is on the radar due to marketing and/or notoriety of the staff).
The story to My Ordinary Life (Nichijô)? If you can locate one, then a winner is you!
Based on the manga by Keiichi Arawi, My Ordinary Life covers two simultaneous storylines—the high-school life of three girls (Yukko, Mio, and Mai) and the daily give-and-take between a child professor and her android creation. Granted, due to the slice-of-life situations that ought to resemble Azumanga Daioh on paper, the story starts off as dry in concept as a rice cracker, but the humor comes out of left field in such bizarre fashions that it starts to resemble Cromartie High School with its manzai fashions.
For something so simple, the folks at Kyoto Animation have put together a nice package. The colors used for these daily activities are muted and neutral, neon greens and pinks traded for pastel robin's-egg blues and earthier tones. While the designs are perhaps too close to Kiyohiko Azuma's designs, Arawi establishes his own unique style of design through the use of a sledgehammer on the fourth wall and some pretty clever mini-animations that come from his yonkoma comics. The "Helvetica Standard" interruption is a rather welcome one, feeling quite a bit like the parody comics at the end of dôjinshi.
There's the nagging feeling that we have characters that have been transplanted from Azumanga (Yukko, Mio, and the robotic "Nano" are just Tomo, Chiyo, and Osaka with the contrast knob turned down), but for the most part the characters are likable, if not fruity at times. You do have some different personalities in the school-girl trio, and the give-and-take between faux-elitist Sasahara and his weapons-toting classmate Misato are an ultrasonic variety of the typical tsukkomi-boke duo altogether. There are plenty more characters to come, so the score is average from expectations alone.
Nothing special here, apart from a catchy opening theme, but the silence in My Ordinary Life fits well. There's not too much to jumps about regarding the acting either, so it's an average performance in general. There could be a point where "Professor" gets a little too much on the nerves with her babytalk, but that's yet to come.
Again, this is KyoAni we're talking about. Considering that the source for adaptions of yonkoma comics to moe animation has been absent from television screens for almost a year (Half a year, but that's still significant lost time. - Ed.), a lot was expected from this show. Director Tatsuya Ishihara has directed some pretty solid shows in the past few years (Haruhi Suzumiya, Clannad), so he has reputation on the line here.
I wasn't expecting My Ordinary Life to rewrite the book on how nonsense manga comes to life in animation, but I was certainly happy that the subject switched back and forth enough to make the show feel like the fancy-free story that was advertised. From the appearance of things, it doesn't look like we're going to get the "calendar" sort of school-life story that we got from Lucky Star, but we'll certainly be getting the corny inserts we got from Lucky Channel. In fact, I'm going to go on a limb and say that this might be the show from KyoAni that I could end up appreciating the most.
(My Ordinary Life is simulcast on Crunchyroll every Saturday at 12 AM EST, 9 PM PST.)