Azumanga Daioh Vs. Nichijou: Which Is the Better Slice-of-Life Anime About Nothing?

In the world of anime, there are tons of shows full of non-stop, high-octane action and adventure. These titles, typically aimed at the shonen demographic, are full of deathly stakes and epic battles. On the other hand, there are also slice-of-life stories that are far more easygoing and chill. Subgenres of these stories include “moe” and “cute girls doing cute things.” One of the greatest examples of this is Azumanga Daioh, a comedy that has inspired plenty of memes over the years.

Azumanga Daioh isn’t the only great anime comedy that’s about… well, nothing. Nichijou easily gives the series a run for its money, comedically remixing the everyday into the straight cray. This begs the question of which one does its non-existent yet constantly zany premise better. Here’s a look at these two titans of the non-sequitur -- and which serves up the best slice of the crazy life.

What are Azumanga Daioh and Nichijou About?


Originally a terse yonkoma comedy manga series from Kiyohiko Azuma, the somewhat eponymous Azumanga Daioh follows the everyday adventures of a group of Japanese high school girls. These include the diminutive prodigy Chiyo, the introverted and tall Sasaki (who’s usually hated by the same cats she loves) and even their creepy male teacher, who’s known for mentioning his “waifu.”

The series is mostly funny due to picking on the idiosyncrasies of the characters’ personalities, although it occasionally ventures into the absurd. This includes giant talking animated cats and other such weirdness, although the show makes it all seem relatively normal given the tone. The fact that said cat creature claims to be Chiyo’s father only makes things even more absurd.

Nichijou is very similar in that it follows the random townspeople of Tokisadame, lacking much in way of a recurring plot. The characters are even wackier than in Azumanga Daioh, and their ranks include another talking cat as well as an android! This, along with its haphazard and over-the-top humor, makes it a constant comparison to Azumanga Daioh, but which one is better?

How Nichijou Perfects Azumanga Daioh's Formula

Mai, Nichijou

On the one hand, Azumanga Daioh is a better representation of true "slice of life" elements in that, beyond Chiyo's father and a few other things, it's actually fairly mundane in terms of what happens. This sense of realism makes the otherwise wacky antics even funnier. At the same time, when things finally do get a bit out there, it can definitely seem jarring, if still hilarious.

Nichijou in many ways feels like the natural evolution of what Azumanga Daioh did first, namely in its more even tone. Things get crazy far more consistently in Nichijou, making that type of comedy feel more at home and less out of left field. Thus, principals wrestling deer feels par for the course in a good way without ever getting old.

Likewise, while both shows lack a central plot, the anime version of Nichijou deviates from the source material a little by having the android girl Nano as a pseudo protagonist. This gives the craziness something to anchor itself to, as well as making it less hectic than Azumanga Daioh's revolving door of focus. While both are some of the best anime comedies of all time, Nichijou edges out Azumanga Daioh just a bit by having more structure to its madness.

Azumanga Daioh can be enjoyed on HIDIVE, while Nichijou is available on Funimation.

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