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I was considering starting to watch the Nichijou anime series, and then thought that maybe I should read the manga first. Then I noticed that MAL lists Helvetica Standard as Nichijou's manga side-story, and that there is also an OVA listed as a prequel to the anime series, and 14 1-minute special episodes listed as the anime's side-story.
Bearing all this in mind, I thought I might as well ask:

Is the anime (including the OVA and specials) a faithful adaptation of the manga (including the side-story), with only slight variations? Or does it add a lot of new content, and possibly stray from the original content?
Or should they be regarded as two separate pieces?

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    This is no answer to your question, but my >opinion is that Nichijou is a perfect example of the KyoAni crud-to-gold machine at its very best - the manga is rather dry, but KyoAni really brings it to life on the screen. (I haven't read much of the manga, so I don't have an actual answer for your question. Though, with a gag show like Nichijou [there's virtually no plot at all], I wouldn't find myself terribly concerned with faithfulness to the source.) – senshin Dec 29 '14 at 20:13
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Having seen the anime and read some of the manga (I own the first volume), I would have to say that the differences are minor. The only real exception is that Nano starts going to school for the first time in Vol.1 and then later I think it shifts the focus back in time to before she went.

The anime simply re-arranged this and some other events for convenience's sake.

I would still suggest reading it though, as while I am pretty sure most of the anime comes from scenes in the manga, the manga naturally has more content and as it is still running at time of writing, more will be added.

Only a few scenes were taken from Helvetica Standard though, so I would also suggest reading that too. Some of them are less random and could fit in Nichijou as well.

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