There really wasn't a story, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing
When watching a SoL anime, especially one which originated from a 4-koma manga, you don't really expect a story. There may be some overarching story, such as Nobue not having a lot of money, but this isn't really about a story. It's about each episode having a mini-story to tell, whilst focusing more on the character interactions.
The mini-stories in each episode are good, and allow for the characters to show their true self, whether that's the first day at school, or going to a festival. They aren't complex, they aren't unique, they aren't well-developed, and none of this matters. You don't need to spend time trying to understand the goings-on of the surroundings, as they are nothing you haven't seen before, as what you want to be focusing on is the characters, and their interactions, and trouble they are causing.
The characters really do make this show
From the Briton who's forgotten how to speak English, to the trouble-maker who never runs out of energy, the variety in the character line-up is quite broad, especially for an anime which only has 11 characters with more than 1 line of dialogue (if memory serves me correctly) - and of those only 7 or 8 which are in more than 1 or 2 scenes.
There is definitely life in these characters too, and not just that they seem alive, but they also seem like they could be alive; they are eccentric enough to be abnormal, but not so much that you can't imagine you'd not bump into a group of kids like that one day. And that life adds to the humour that just pours out of Icihiho Mashimaro, as you can imagine a group of friends trying to protect the innocence of the only remaining friend who believes in Santa, or being insensitive about a friend's weight.
The art and sound are nothing to write home about
I'm lumping these both together, as they are pretty much the same with this anime. As you would expect with this genre, it isn't anything groundbreaking in the visual or audio departments. There's a great OP and a kind of lacklustre ED, which reminded me of Azumanga Daioh's... but beyond the great OP, there's nothing stand-out between this or some of the other anime I have seen from the mid-2000's.
However, all of these points don't do anything to subtract from the value of a great little anime. At 24 minutes an episode, I somehow watched a little under 6 hours disappear, but it felt like so much less time, due to how good of an anime this was. It's great for what it is, there's no way it could hold up to my 10/10 anime list, but it's definitely a high scorer for its genre.
I'm finally back from Japan, and writing reviews again. Whilst I was in Japan I finished watching Comic Girls and Oniichan no Koto nanka Zenzen Suki ja Nai n da kara ne, so I will probably do reviews on these next. So look out for these over the next week or so.