#1 You have already seen the gifs. Admit it.
Nichijou is a show that owes a lot of its popularity to the internet. The short comedy sketches that make up each episode are very easily shared around on video sites like Youtube or Reddit, but those sketches themselves are then also easily cut up into various gifs which are even easier to share through any image hosting platform.
I myself discovered the show through random videos and have since seen its gifs used as profile pictures on forums and hardly a week goes by without me seeing it somewhere on social media, even 8 years after the show first aired. The bizarre comedy, the fantastic pacing of each joke, the impact and ridiculousness of its animation, Nichijou is almost certainly made with social media and memes in mind.
It also shows restraint in this regard and doesn’t let itself be led by the allure of viral internet fame, which sets it apart from something like Pop Team Epic in my opinion.
#2 Still a slice-of-life
Nichijou is often marketed as “a slice-of-life, but everything is explosions and insanity.” While set up as the daily life stories of high school girls Mai, Yuuko, and Mio, the presentation and absurd sense of humor mean that daily life becomes a lot more extreme.
The show is full of visual jokes and frantic directing, like in the first episode where two people bumping into each other sets off a giant explosion that sends debris flying across the city, which of course just has to strike one of our unfortunate main characters. Explosions, lasers, robots, it’s all very crazy and present in abundance within Nichijou, yet it also never betrays its slice-of-life genre roots.
While it is all presented in absurd ways, the jokes are often highly-exaggerated takes on situations that aren’t as unlikely as they may seem. Getting bit by a dog, having to chase after a classmate stealing your notebook, awkward flirting between co-workers, it can all happen. If you come to Nichijou for a slice-of-life story, you’ll get it.
#3 Them explosion though
Still, it has to be said that the show is good at covering that slice-of-life core up with a whole bunch of hilarious nonsense. Everyday situations are presented not with comedic realism banking on familiarity, but rather with absurdist comedy brought to life by the fantastic Kyoto Animation.
Though often praised for their heavy-hitting emotional series like Air and Violet Evergarden, Nichijou shows off some of the more exciting animation skills that would continue to serve the studio well in later series like Dragon Maid. Nichijou is as hilarious as it is beautiful, a show with an instantly-recognizable artstyle and design, and with comedy that probably could not have been tackled as well by any other team.
You can feel the love and passion spark from Nichijou in every one of its scenes. Whether it is lasers or explosions, knights or fantasy, or just something weird like a guy riding a goat, Nichijou always feels like the people making it were giving it their full 110%.
#4 The supporting cast
The supporting cast for Nichijou is massive. You got classmates and teachers, various adults and family, and a whole bunch of semi-recurring characters, all of which are very memorable and have fantastic running gags.
The principal of the school, for example, is a caring but terribly unfunny man who constantly faces danger as the elderly vice-principal attempts to usurp his position through terrifying and intimidating schemes. While not every character is as elaborate, a surprising amount of them are. Plenty of sketches don’t feature the main cast at all and instead develop various side-stories featuring these supporting cast members, such as recurring stories about an after school club based on a made-up game that turns out to be less fictitious than the club president thought it would be.
An absolute favorite that I just have to mention is Sasahara, the son of a local farmer who considers himself an aristocrat and has a servant who constantly follows him. He ends up in a lot of scenes with the show’s resident tsundere Tachibana, who tries to hide that she has a crush on him by constantly attacking him with various firearms.
#5 Nano’s predicament
While most of the characters are regular kids facing high school problems, the show also makes main characters out of The Professor, Nano, and their talking cat Sakamoto. The Professor is an 8-year-old girl in a lab coat who is capable of inventing the most amazing things, which includes the robot girl Nano who acts as a big sister to her.
Nano is shy and timid, as well as very self-conscious about the fact that she isn’t really human. This is made even worse by the big wind-up key sticking from her back, which The Professor insists is necessary because it is cute. Nano just wants to appear normal and be a regular girl, which ends up being an important arc that unites the two sets of main characters and allows Nichijou to pluck at the heartstrings of its viewers.
It’s not typical slice-of-life content, but watching Nano come to terms with who she is and try to find people who accept her is probably what I look forward to the most on any rewatch.