New opening and ending credits coupled with the opening of a new door for Nano means that we have something of a much-needed fresh start from Nichijou as its second half kicks off.
Of course, a significant chunk of this episode is aligned towards focusing on Nano as she prepares for, and begins, her first day of school - a surfeit of excitement and exuberance before the sudden reality that she's somehow going to have to explain away the screw on her back sinks in. Still, despite the presence of said screw making things rather difficult for her, thanks to her placement in the same class as Mio, Yuuko and company she certainly isn't the only oddity within the class; although her opportunity to make friends with that group doesn't quite come to fruition attention is soon shifted away from her by a mammoth argument of impressive proportions between Yuuko and Mio born from some confusion surrounding the latter's lunch order.
Whether it will continue to do so is another matter, but this certainly felt like a much improved episode of Nichijou - bringing Nano into the school life half of the series looks promising (and more focus on her in general is no bad thing), but even without her input this was actually a pretty funny instalment between Yuuko losing her shoes in a suitably slapstick manner and the arrival of a boy at the seemingly made-up "igo soccer" club who reveals that such a game does in fact exist.
It isn't wall to wall hilarity, but in terms of pacing, layout and its overall comedy value this felt far more satisfying that your average episode of the series. Of course, we've had false dawns from this hit and miss comedy before, but bringing Nano into the Mio/Yuuko/Mai circle of friends could really freshen things up big time while also allowing the series a chance to be more focused without having to concern itself with jumping between character groups quite as often. At last, Nichijou seems to have some rich potential to mine.