This starts out as an entry in the ‘nothing’ show category, as it is nothing more than a series of disconnected stories and tales that sometimes have no point, regaling in the strangeness that life has to offer.
When it was a manga, it was called “Regular Life”, but when it became an anime, it turned into “My Ordinary Life”, and is highly reminiscent of “Daily Life of High School Boys”, in that we see these events and you can watch the show out of order or miss an episode and you do not miss (that) much.
The tales are broken into two portions: school life and laboratory life. The school life segments involve Mai Minikami (Slot 1) who is very intelligent, but very quiet, Yuko Aioi (Slot 2) who is always forgetting to do her homework or forgetting to bring her homework if, by some rare confluence of time and space, she has managed to actually do it and Mio Naganohara (Slot 4) who is a manga artist, but doesn’t want people to know this. We see them go through the paces of being in school. The three of them have a caliber of relationship as was seen in “Kill Me, Baby” (minus the physical mayhem) but it is played for strangeness, as when Yuko is sent into the hall for not doing her homework and sees the vice-principal have a wrestling match with a deer that has come on campus.
The laboratory life involves Professor Shinonone (Slot 3), who is an eight-year-old genius and her creation, Nano Shinonone (Slot 5), her robotic caretaker who worries constantly that people will find out she is a robot (despite that massive turn-key on her back). There is a sixth member of this entourage, and that is Sakamoto. He is a runaway black cat that has been fitted with a red bandana which allows him to talk English (or, I assume, Japanese in the original version). He is, potentially, the smartest of the group here, but he has such a condescending tone and attitude towards everyone, as he is the oldest of them all. He also gets painfully embarrassed when he ends up doing cat-like things (like chasing after a piece of string) as he’s better than that.
There are these bridge or segue bits that add to the strangeness of things, like when the Professor and Nano play rock-paper-scissors or some shrine priests do jump rope. They also fling in this very bizarre, out-of-place tale about how Dolf kidnaps King Albert and his daughter, but it gets reconnected into the story, but by the most circuitous of routes.
The series actually does not really take off until the ‘second season’ (episode 14), when Nano is allowed to go to school and the storylines merge. If you thought it was weird then, the stops are all pulled out with the inclusion of a story arc where the science teacher, Kana Nakamura, is fixated on getting to the bottom of Nano’s robotic nature and sets these Rube Goldberg-style traps to capture her. This is a caliber of results similar to the Road Runner and Coyote cartoons, but it is executed with great aplomb.
This is a show populated with off-kilter characters, but they are not wacky merely to be wacky. They function quite well in their universe. It’s just that their universe may be closer related to Bizarro World than our own. Mohawk Boy, Mr Fancy Pants (who rides a goat to school), Sweaty Student Teacher, they all have a very good reason to be the way they are.
I really liked this show. Some ‘nothing’ shows just sit there and certainly, for the first half of the series, it was just that, but when the decision was made to expand things, story possibilities opened up greatly. The Coffee Episode is hilarious (ever gone into Starbucks for the first time and did not know how to order something?) and Episode 19 has a sequence that ends up in total mayhem, even though it didn’t start out that way.
Despite the rather oblique misdirection approach to things, I really enjoyed this show. They understand the tropes used in anime and reuse them to great effect. Is this show over? It could be, but there is a coupler point and the tales are far from being done. Kana still has not captured Nana, Yuko still has to get a good grade on her homework (when she decides to actually turn something in), the Professor is not finished inventing and there is still Sakamoto. Come for the story, stay for the characters, have a wonderful time.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 7 (Standard anime style)
Plot 8 (Later tales overcame early uncertainty)
Pacing 8 (Can explode into screwball quickly)
Effectiveness 8 (Works well, as it supports the story-telling)
Conclusion 7 (We get a coupler point)
Fan Service 0 (A similar show would be “Honey and Clover”)
Overall 8 (Done quite well)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. How can you get 1% on a test?