Daily Lives of High School Boys is a 2012 comedy anime by Studio Sunrise, which perfectly describes what it’s about right there in the title. It follows the tumultuous lives of several friends as they survive their school days, combat boredom, and philosophize about what makes girls so darn cute.
I have heard the show being referred to as “Male Nichijou” before, owing to it having a similar name to Keiichi Arawi’s Nichijou and both being high school comedies. Both series also follow a group of 3 lead characters of the same gender and both shows have an energetic, often-surreal sense of comedy. Fortunately, Daily Lives of High School Boys does enough to set itself apart.
Tadakuni, Hidenori, and Yoshitake are three friends who are in the same class and go back quite far. Their hobbies include video games, play-fighting, and coming up with strange games and adventures they get a little too passionately involved in, often getting them into some sort of trouble as a result. The show loves contrasting their childish behavior against the strangely philosophical tone of the narration and the boys’ inner monologues. I gotta say: it’s quite dependable as a comedy anime.
Every episode guaranteed at least a few laughs. I was particularly fond of the side-characters, like the various classmates, other students, and Tadakuni’s frightening little sister. As an older brother, I can confirm that they are depicted truthfully by this anime. The running gags are reinvented often enough to stay fun, with my favorite being Hidenori’s romantic side-story. This involves a clumsy amateur writer who is obsessed with cringy one-liners and overdone tropes.
The show also frequently surprised me and a few of the sketches were even touching. Even then, the show stays focused on delivering strong punchlines and never gets too distracted, even during its most surreal moments. The actual Nichijou may have been tempted to roll with a Gundam reference and create an ongoing saga of short sketches out of it, whereas Daily Lives of High School Boys is content with just letting it be a quick joke.
The show is well-produced, with pretty character designs and fun animation that often lends a literal punch to the comedy. There is a confidence to the show that I admire, making even the awkward moments in the lives of these boys tolerable, if not fun, to sit through.
It does have a few weaknesses, however. Tadakuni is an uninteresting protagonist who felt absent for much of the show, often making it jarring when he’d reappear to take center stage once again. Like with Komi Can’t Communicate, I also found myself being surprised by the kinds of games high school boys are allegedly playing in Japan. I could imagine myself picking up a stick and playing out an RPG storyline with my friends at age 10, not so much around age 16.
These are minor, easily-ignored problems and, for just 12 episodes, I can recommend giving Daily Lives of High School Boys a shot if you’re in the market for a plain fun comedy show. It may be more simple compared to the artistry of Nichijou, but as a high school comedy, I rate it much higher than average.