Azumanga Daioh poster

Azumanga Daioh

Chiyo Mihama begins her high school career as one of the strangest students in her freshman class—a tiny, 10-year-old academic prodigy with a fondness for plush dolls and homemade cooking. But her homeroom teacher, Yukari Tanizaki, is the kind of person who would hijack a student's bike to avoid being late, so "strange" is a relative word. There certainly isn't a shortage of peculiar girls in Yukari-sensei's homeroom class. Accompanying Chiyo are students like Tomo Takino, an energetic tomboy with more enthusiasm than brains; Koyomi Mizuhara, Tomo's best friend whose temper has a fuse shorter than Chiyo; and Sakaki, a tall, athletic beauty whose intimidating looks hide a gentle personality and a painful obsession with cats. In addition, transfer student Ayumu Kasuga, a girl with her head stuck in the clouds, fits right in with the rest of the girls—and she has a few interesting theories about Chiyo's pigtails! Together, this lovable group of girls experience the ups and downs of school life, their many adventures filled with constant laughter, surreal absurdity, and occasionally even touching commentary on the bittersweet, temporal nature of high school. [Written by MAL Rewrite]

Ranking 505

User Count21946
Favorites Count432
Start Date9th Apr 2002
Next ReleaseInvalid date
Popularity Rank505
Rating Rank795
Age RatingPG
Age Rating GuideTeens 13 or older
SubtypeTV
Statusfinished

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Reviews

This was always going to be an interesting one to review. Azumanga Daioh is frequently held up by people such as myself as a cutesy 4-koma adaptation that is actually good and therefore proof that I don’t unconditionally hate moe comedies. But Azumanga was made long before those series became a commonplace and diluted the market with their terribleness. I was genuinely unsure what returning to it would reveal. Was there some secret trick Azumanga pulled that all subsequent series failed at, or will I regard Azumanga with the same disdain at disgust I usually reserve for stuff like A-Channel?People often say that Azumanga doesn’t have a plot, which isn’t true. Or perhaps ‘plot’ isn’t the right word, but there is a very strong narrative running through the show. You know the way Japan has this idea that high school is the greatest time of your life. There’s a whole load of societal reasons why this time period is fetishised to this degree, from the oppressive lifestyle that is working salaryman life to the widespread culture of idolising youth in general, but it’s a big part of why 99% of anime are set in high school. Anime fans take issue with this, but that’s because anime fans are nerds and therefore high school sucked for them. Western culture likes to idolise college life because it’s seen as when you finally get freedom to get away from your parents, drink alcohol legally and have lots of sex, which again comes down to a whole load of cultural reasons.But anyway, Azumanga is selling this idea of this idolised highschool life, and does this by presenting it through the eyes of a 10 year old girl. It’s similar to the author Kiyohiko Azuma’s other work, Yotsuba-ampersand, which takes the view that you can enjoy even the simplest things in life if you view it through the eyes of a 6-year-old. The other thing that Azumanga does is, while events are certainly suger-coated in that nobody in the show suffers severe repercussions from their crippling social anxieties, child-molesting teachers, or closet lesbianism, it’s also not like everyone is wonderful to each other all the time. A nice subtitle for the show would be “Teenagers bully a 10 year old girl: The Animation”.The first half is more about setting up the various characters and giving them their single defining trait that will make up every single bloody joke they’re involved in for the entire rest of the goddamn show, but the second half leans way more heavily on the high school life portion. This is largely because the characters are leaving school and everyone becomes introspective about how their friendships formed and what they’re going to do with their lives from now on. It’s about the importance of the relationships you form and how each person’s eccentricities make up the entertaining concoction that is your school life. But equally it’s about this being the last portion of your life where you don’t have to make any serious choices that effect your career direction. It’s about the characters coming to terms with what they like and making those decisions by themselves, but also about hoping for the best for your friends and giving them support, even if it’s as dumb as giving them charms to take into exam.The inclusion of the teachers as major characters is fascinating, because in many ways their constantly reliving their high school life. Apart from still physically being in the school, they spend most of their time together reminiscing about high school. They also are made face the decisions they made at the end of highs chool to become teachers in the first place. That episode in particular was weirdly poignant. It came before the rest of Azumanga got more reflective and was mostly a dumb comedy, so the teacher’s hard thinking about where they were in their life and whether they made the right choices was a perfect mirror to hold up to the same questions the girls had once the final batch of episodes kicked in.The comedy in Azumanga isn’t particularly clever or anything. Its connection to the overarching narrative of girls growing up and forming relationships gives it a bit of weight at least, but as singular jokes they’re hardly the height of social satire. There are a few occasions where it slips into the surreal, in particular an episode focused around each character having bizarre dreams involving Chiyo and her cat-dad. Those episodes are brilliant, both from a surreal humour perspective, and the way they tie how the other character’s views of Chiyo. Chiyo is kinda surreal in her own way, being this ball of cuteness so concentrated that it forces you into a fever dream that distorts reality around her, so seeing that presented in the form of dream sequences was fantastic.But those surreal sequences are few and far between. Most of the rest of the humour is the same gag for each character repeated to breaking point. Sakaki is the worst in this regard. At least when Osaka is dopey, she’s dopey about a different thing every time. Sakaki is so single minded about cats that she basically has nothing else inside that head of hers. Yomi is even worse, to the point that they struggle to come up with any personality trait whatsoever and in the end make a half-hearted attempt to have her weight issues become something more character defining. The comedy gets by mostly on its timing, for which it has the best comedic timing for anything anywhere anytime. There was a scene where Osaka runs after her friends with her hands above her head yelling “CAKEEII~”.By itself not particularly funny, but the pause they did before where Osaka’s brain clunks into gear before she realises that there’s cake to be had is so perfectly timed. Osaka is usually the recipient of these pauses, which work brilliantly because you can practically hear the rusted gears inside her brain whirring as she comes to some nonsense conclusion. Generally though, the humour’s quality wanes alarmingly quickly because there’s so little to it and it repeats itself so bloody much. The show’s depth doesn’t truly appear towards the end, so the occasional surreal episode and cuteness of Chiyo are left trying to hold up the rest of the show by themselves. They do a surprisingly good job of it though. Only towards the 3rd quarter did some of the episodes really start to bore me.As I was watching this show and formulating these thoughts about Azumanga’s depiction of high school life, I realised that I had seen these exact same arguments made about another anime: K-ON! This idea that you’re watching the characters form relationships and live their high school life, coupled with that same depressing feeling when you reach the end and watch them leave school together. That is exactly what I got from Azumanga through exactly the same format with exactly the same genre construction. Which got me thinking as to what the hell it was K-ON did wrong that caused such an internet backdraft against it? Perhaps I could blame the fact it came once the moe boom was in full swing, or that it came after Lucky Star ruined that genre forever by being literally Hitler. But Azumanga’s jokes are fairly repetitive with stupid characters and leans heavily on cuteness too. I didn’t enjoy Azumanga as much this time around, but I still certainly enjoyed it. Maybe I should try watch K-ON aga-NO SCAMP BAD SCAMP DON’T DO THIS QUICK GET OUT BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE!!!

When I first watched the series two years ago, I couldn't even imagine the impact that it would have in my life. During these last two years, I have been rewatching episodes, catching brief scenes in Youtube, compiling texts, data, points of view across the Internet, only to feed an obsession that has lasted for a lot of time. When I say that it's my favourite anime series, I understand that the choice might seem weird, because, in appearance, it's not any more or less than the typical school comedy; and also, the fact that it doesn't have a thrilling storyline like some others has made it always look like an alternative to sit and enjoy when you want to get relaxed from watching more emotionally intense works for many people. However, in my view it remains, invariably, in the highest position. The reasons for this are what I will try to explain in this review. First and firemost, I must say that the series changed drastically my perceptions of humour in fiction. Before watching it, I always thought that the comedic effect of one joke was sort of independent from the context, so a line could be funny without the need of setting it in some place or some character, and that only served to add some more quality to what in itself was hilarious. I couldn't do that with "Azumanga" for two reasons. The first one is that most of the series lacks enough sharpness, as it tries a more innocent style of comedy, devoid of satire. The second one is the lack of originality of many jokes, which basically feel like remakes of already beaten interactions in many other works; however, they stood out as improved versions in most of the cases. So with this series I started to notice some other details. Who said the phrase, which tone they used, the fastness of their talk, in which exact moment it was pronounced, the silences between phrases and interventions of characters, the spatial position of them, etc. I had never seen anything that was so aware of and promoted so much these context characteristics that in other shows only served to increase the enjoyment of an already effective joke. However in "Azumanga Daioh" these kinds of details were simply vital, as they also describe the characters perfectly. To put an example, Tomo always reacts fastly to the other interlocutor, her discourse is fast and rushed, very loud (yelling) and the pacing of the conversation gets also incredibly quick and hysterical; on the other hand, everytime that Osaka takes part in the conversation, the pacing slows down and the atmosphere gets more relaxing, there are lots of silences between phrases or even words, and she talks in a much smoother way... We could say that the comedy in this show is purely character-based. The same lines pronounced by other characters wouldn't have even a little percent of their effectiveness. And this drives me to the second point of my comment. Like most of you may have guessed, I am going to talk about the characters. Because just saying that they are a cast of likeable personalities is not enough. This is one of the very few shows in which every single character is almost equally likeable to me. Actually, they are not so original and respond to already beaten stereotypes; there is the shy girl (Sakaki), the loud and hyper one (Tomo), the rude but well-intentioned (Kagura), the more mature and irascible (Yomi), the weird and calmed one (Osaka) and the cute innocent little girl (Chiyo)... but these are just the premises. The characters end up getting a development and acquiring new traits during the series, sometimes in a very subtle way, through the jokes or a reaction at a given moment. The series doesn't just stay in the level of "this girl is shy", but shows you how does she see the world, in which way she reacts before specific situations and why. Following with the example of Sakaki, we can see that her, apart from being just "shy", usually has slow reactions, always immersed in her thoughts; for that reason we notice that a lot of people consider her a rather inaccessible person and tend to ignore her, which in the end could explain her insecurity at socializing with the rest. Another characteristic of the series, in fact, is that it holds an amazingly powerful ability to suggest; that is, we can deduce things about the past of a character in connection with the current moment. We can imagine that Sakaki has always had that problem to socialize, and for that reason the reinforcement of her newly acquired friends is so important in her life. And finally, we see that the character evolves, but not in a very obvious way, just standing up and making a decision for the whole group, in a scene that doesn't prepare specially for that. This whole comment is just given by one single character, and I haven't even taken in account what in the end is her most noticeable characteristic in the show: the love for cute things and her conflict with cats. In regards to this, I think saying that the series is just a chain of hilarious character situations is, again, an error because its qualities are sold too short. That is, leaving aside its humorous qualities, "Azumanga" is, above all, a tale about friendship filled with nostalgia. We could describe it as an idealization, the filter that the passing of time offers and ends up choosing those memories that tend to be more positive of every stage of our lives, forgetting the bad moments and reinforcing the little instants of happiness. The show has been criticized sometimes for not having conflicts -which is not true, although they are mostly easily solved- and, for that reason, being excessively positive; however I think that it transmits very well the feelings that are with anybody who tries to remember other stages of their life with their current perspective. And why do these girls transmit their friendship so well? I think it's because of their marginal character. During the whole series we see them as individuals isolated from the rest, in fact, for the other students they are weird, unapproachable, absurd, stupid, to sum it up, their friendship works like an alternative world, they tolerate and support each other. None of the girls splits from the group when she is in love with a boy or something like that, they remain always together and in some way they manage to survive through an experience that otherwise would probably have ruined their life for years. But, apart from this, say, positive simplification of friendship, the series talks about other things, that are many times not given enough attention, maybe because they are commented half in serious, half kidding. In that sense, we have references to their sexual arouse (ridiculed by Kaorin's sudden lesbian rants and Tomo's obsession with the weight of her boobs), the school competitiveness, the exams, the doubts about the future, etc. Whoever thinks that this series can't take anything seriously enough should watch episode 19 (which is the only original one, not appearing in the manga), and tell me how many light comedies speak so clearly about things like labour stagnation or the influence of family and cultural values (the slight sexism of Japanese society, Nyamo trying to find a man before she has past her prime, because otherwise she will never feel fulfilled in life) in the objectives and decisions that one sets in their life. I don't say it is specially critical of the situation, but this, say, awareness, is at the very least surprising, and very uncommon in similarly-themed shows. I could keep talking about everything contained in this series, which is, in my opinion, a lot more than what the first sight might make it look, but I think I have to stop at some point. For me, "Azumanga Daioh" has trascended, not only as my favourite anime series, but as a work with which I feel a strange and unshakeable complicity. Not just because I understand every character, and I laugh with them, get moved by them, but because, in some way, I feel here reflected many of the feelings and emotions that I, myself, passed through in its day.

Most of my friends who watch anime alongside me have often asked me questions like: 'Why do you like slice of life anime so much? \*Insert anime here\* has like no plot at all!' My answer? Is to direct them to <em>Azumanga Daioh </em>which is and still will be my favourite slice of life anime to date (Unless my marathon of Clannad proves me wrong!) Story and Character As with most slice of life anime, don't waltz in thinking there will be a very deep plot. If you like that silly orange ninja and power level nonsense then don't expect 'action' and 'cool special effects' you won't be getting that here. *Azumanga Daioh* chronicles the everyday life in an unnamed Japanese High School of six girls and two of their teachers: Chiyo, a young and gifted genius at the mere age of ten, Kasuga 'Osaka' Ayumu a transfer student with an interesting perspective of the world, Yomi who is constantly worried about her weight and eating habits along with her hyperactive friend Tomo Takino who is as dull as a stuffed Nekokoneko which Sakaki would be dying of cuteness from whilst Kagura attempts to challenge her to pointless contests. The story for Azumanga, whilst not being too deep is still a wonder to experience. The series takes us through three school years with the girls and most episodes connect with one another (Unlike Lucky Star... The show where nothing happens). Sound and Animation The soundtrack for Azumanga Daioh was composed by Masaki Kurihara, and need I say more? Seriously go look up the soundtrack yourself! It speaks for itself, trust me. Animation wise, the series is nicely animated, there is never a moment where the animation looks cheap. But it's not the best animation out there, but I can't see any problems with it myself. Conclusion In the end, Azumanga Daioh is a great place to start if you want to see how a good slice of life anime can be done, whilst there are others out there which are fantastic to me too... Azumanga Daioh will always have a special place in my heart. Watch it for yourself and make your own verdict, you won't regret it! Oh one last thing... SATA ANDAGI!

*Spoiler free and all that jazz. Not much to spoil here anyway.* ***“In the beginning, there was Azumanga Daioh…”*** Today I am going to take you back to Genesis, to the anime that I believe deserves credit for the Slice of Life and “Cute Girls Doing Cute Things” genres that I am so fond of. Today, I bring you a review of the anime that is responsible for my introduction to anime, a series I have watched and enjoyed countless times. This is my review of Azumanga Daioh. Azumanga Daioh, or *Great King Azumanga*, was adapted from a manga which ran in the magazine Dengeki Daioh from 1999 to 2002. Written in yonkoma (4 panel, 4-koma) style, it was and continues to be praised for its eccentric humor and interesting characters. In 2002, J.C. Staff adapted Azumanga Daioh into a TV anime, choosing to do so in what would now be considered an unusual way. It was broadcast in five minute segments every weekday, and then rebroadcast that weekend in a combined 25 minute “episode.” 26 weeks later, Azumanga Daioh had been completed, the result being a full 2-cour anime series. With the trivia and history out of the way, let me get a little more personal, hopefully without making you feel too much like you are reading some kid’s blog. I came across Azumanga Daioh in late 2006 or early 2007, long after it had aired, but equally long before I had become the “anime connoisseur” I pretend to be now. Youtube was in its infancy, and still a novel concept at this point, but it was on this new video sharing site I came across a video clip which looked to have been recorded by a microwave and downscaled to 120p before being uploaded for my viewing pleasure. This clip was of Osaka’s introduction to the class, one of many scenes of Azumanga Daioh uploaded to Youtube around this time (seriously, look at all of the videos of AD from this time period). I was set aback by this strange art style, as I had no idea about anime save for those I watched as a child such as Pokemon, but somehow smitten by the crazy antics of the characters. I sought our more clips, and then a streaming site, and before long, I had marathoned what was my first “real” anime. **BONUS SECTION: Impact and Relation to Anime Today** All that rambling had a point. Azumanga Daioh was something that I loved before I became an anime fan, and it is something that I still love equally as much. Generally, the more you are exposed to any hobby, pastime, media, games, etc. the more you come to realize that your old favorites were really not that special, and in fact sometimes bad. I would wager that even now you are thinking about some “gateway” anime that you loved so dearly, but now cringe even thinking about. Azumanga Daioh holds up after more than a decade, and that’s something to be proud of. Azumanga Daioh is also responsible (in my opinion) for something which rocked the anime industry as hard as Haruhi, Evangelion, or Madoka. It invented its own genre. It invented Slice of Slife (and Cute Girls Doing Cute Things). I cannot trace the pure distilled essence of CGDCT/SOL back any farther than this; sure, maybe an anime had a few elements of the genre, but it was never anywhere close to a focus. Azumanga Daioh made it 100% of the content, and proved that a show about nothing could be great. It is why we have K-ON!, Nonon Biyori, Yuyushiki, and most every other anime like this, from terrible to amazing and everything in between. Changing the very medium of which you are a part is a brilliant achievement. Without further ado, I will break Azumanga Daioh down and start analyzing the aspects of the anime itself, rather than its history and the effect it had. **Story** - **8/10** Azumanga Daioh follows the daily lives of a number of eccentric high school girls, from the young genius Chiyo to the nitro-methane fueled Tomo. Because it is based on a 4-koma manga, not only is every episode stand alone, but each is actually broken up into a number of separate skits. This is not unique now, of course; however, it was a pretty unique way of doing things at the time. Much of the comedy included in anime at this time was spur-of-the-moment slapstick, if there was any at all. Azumanga Daioh’s skits which generally ended with a punchline or some similar definitive ending was not often, if ever, seen during this time period. The setting is your average highschool in your average town… Sounds pretty boring, huh? This is why I never talk about the story in CGDCT/SOL series. Instead, I substitute the analysis of the plotline and setting for the <em>feel </em>or *atmosphere*. I do this mainly because a CGDCT/SOL is almost always completely character driven, episodic (or 4-koma based), and generally includes an element of humor. It is up to these factors to keep you hooked, as there is a distinct lack of princesses to rescue and criminal syndicates to defeat. Since the characters are gifted with their own section, let me take this opportunity to talk to you a bit about the atmosphere and humor here. Azumanga Daioh exists in a realm of almost total chaos, a bit like a watered-down Nichijou. This is a realm where ponytails can be used to fly, cats are rocketships, and fighter jets fly over leaving rainbow contrails when things get a little gay. Being 4-koma based, Azumanga Daioh relies on short skits which generally are based on *Manzai*, a form of Japanese stand up. While you’ve probably never heard that fancy word before, you’ve probably seen it; manzai involves two actors, a tsukkomi (straight man) and a boke (funny man). The funny man will do or say something absurd, and then the straight man, representing the audience’s perspective, will shut them down and bring things back to reality. Azumanga Daioh completely nails this concept, with a cast which is cleanly split between the rolls; a near-psychotic teacher and her friend and fellow teacher that tries to keep her in line, the unpredictable and a bit stupid Tomo and the super serious Yomi. If you are a bit confused by what I mean, an example pair that most people would recognize would be Konata and Kagami from Lucky Star. While this type of comedy can be seen throughout all genres of anime, Azumanga Daioh was again a pioneer in using it frequently and perfecting the delivery outside of manga, in which the style is and has been common for quite some time. The number of jokes makes this more of a comedy than the typical CGDCT/SOL, since nearly the entire length of the episode is used setting up and executing jokes. Humor is always on point, and you will probably laugh out loud more than a few times per episode. Just watching the opening should be enough for you to know what you’ve gotten into. **Animation - 9/10** If one didn't know that Azumanga Daioh aired over a decade ago, there would be little to clue you in aside from the 4x3 aspect ratio. Character designs and animation are on par with and sometimes better than today, and is amazingly consistent throughout. Backgrounds are well drawn and detailed, especially for the time. Character designs are a bit “moe,” but not overly so. Again drawing a comparison to Nichijou, the facial expressions are something which stands out, with reactions being incredibly comical. The series does a great job mirroring the style of the manga (and manga in general), mostly because of the facial response. Again, a picture is worth a thousand words, so here are some screencaps. **Sound - 8/10** The voice casts for both the Japanese and English dubs are very good, though the Japanese is still a bit better in my opinion. The opening and ending songs are both very catchy, and sold quite well, actually working their way quite high on Japanese charts. The background music is well orchestrated and appropriate for the on-screen occurrences, and is usually upbeat and bubbly. **Characters - 9/10** Azumanga Daioh is completely driven by its amazing cast of characters and their interactions. I already explained the general premise of their interaction, going about their daily lives in order to set up comical situations, and also how that comedy is delivered. With that out of the way, here’s our cast: Chiyo is a child prodigy, skipping five grades to the first year of high school. She is incredibly smart, but still acts her age, allowing the anime to explore some of the situations which would result from having a ~10 year old girl in high school. She also has two pony tails which are sometimes imagined to be wings, parasites controlling her brain, or the actual Chiyo (whereas her body is just a form of transportation). She has some strange relation to the cat which is the mascot of the series. Osaka made a huge impression on me early in my anime watching career, and I still see her as one of the best characters in a comedy. While a few aspects of her character related humor rely on Japanese stereotypes of Osaka (which you may or may not know), one can still enjoy her incredibly… slow demeanor. Everything just takes a little longer for her to process, which leads her to often get left behind in conversation and activities. She also has a very unique perspective, which alienates her from her slightly more normal friends. An interesting note is that she is given a deep Southern accent in the English dub, which I found pretty comical. What Tomo lacks in brain power she makes up for in sheer energy. Constantly trying to stimulate herself, she is extremely impulsive, leading her to do a lot of really stupid things such as throwing Chiyo’s house keys into the forest to see what would happen. When motivated, she can perform well, but like Osaka, this is not a very easy thing to accomplish. She is one of the main “*boke*s” to Yomi’s “*tsukkomi*.” Yomi has little role other than delivering the punchline to Tomo’s jokes, making her the only disappointing member in the main cast, and really the series in general. Sakaki is the misunderstood “cool girl” in the school, constantly in demand by sports teams for her ability and the other students for her figure and personality. In reality, she is just very shy and fond of cute things, which makes her seem distant. Sadly, the small animals she likes seldom return the favor, and a running gag is her being bitten by cats. She is also a bit embarrassed by her love of all things adorable, and hides it from the others as best she can. These main characters are supported by a very strong main cast, including their teachers (among which is the very memorable Kimura), and several other students such as Kagura, the school jock, and the hyper-lesbian Kaori. While the cast is slightly larger than the average CGDCT/SOL, each character (perhaps with the exception of Yomi) is given all the “development” and time they need for their on-screen antics. I’m sure everyone who watches will soon grow to love at least one or two of them. **Enjoyment – 10+/10 (And thank you, Azumanga Daioh…)** “Azumanga Daioh is, in itself, little more than an above average CGDCT/SOL and comedy.” That’s what I would say if it aired last season, but it aired in 2001, and as a result of its overwhelming success, many more of my favorite anime were made possible. Creating its own genre, I must give it credit for paving the way for so many more of my favorites. It has also shown the quality of being appealing to non-anime fans, evidenced by its rapid spread across the internet (namely YouTube and 4chan) several years ago, as well as being enjoyable to myself and many others before we had “matured” into the anime hobby. Furthermore, its humor, animation, and characters hold up even today, even after hundreds of anime like it have aired. For this, it deserves the score indicating that it is the pinnacle of the genre, a perfect 10.

Ultimate slice of life-anime. I never saw a better one of this genre and I fell in love with every character of this show. Simply adorable! If you want to watch the god of "slice of live", you're welcome...

The essential slice of life show, that always will be great to spend a fun time, the characters by the end of the series will became absolute favorites to anyone that will give them a chance and Tomo, Osaka , Sasaki, Chiyo and all of them are worth it!.

**This anime is a prime example of why you should not give your high school girls stimulants or narcotics. Please, take better care of your children. Still a pretty cool show, though.**

I never really intended to strap myself onto a flying yellow cat(?) and jump into Azumanga Daioh's animated adaptation initially. The animation looked pretty dated, the characters and situations seemed slow and uninteresting, and the English dub sounded atrocious to my ears. I decided it was a better idea to forget it and watch something more attention-grabbing, like Kiniro Mosaic. Then I found the manga. I don't know if I just wasn't interested when I first tried the anime, but I picked up the manga quickly and became incredibly involved in the situations of the characters and the quirky humor of the series. I finished the manga completely satisfied with what I had just read, and thought to myself, 'How does the anime fare?' The story, if you can call it that, is largely the same as the manga. It follows a group of high school girls as they go through the motions of their daily lives and get into some childish hijinks in the process. As a pioneer of the 'cute girls doing cute things' subgenre of slice-of-life anime, the story is standard and straightforward. It follows the girls (and their teachers) through all three years of high school, ending shortly after their graduation. Having just recently finished Sakurasou, which kind of ended on a similar note, I was getting a bit of deja vu. However, what's important is that the execution of both shows are different and fitting of each particular show. The show's conclusion is satisfying, but it leaves me wondering what the future holds for these wonderful characters. Each of the characters have their own special quirks that makes them characters, from Chiyo's unusual intelligence to Tomo's drastic behavior to Sakaki's love for cats. Since this is a slice-of-life show, challenges to characters are subtle and realistic, and this reflects on their development throughout the show. The characters themselves do not change dramatically at all, but by the end of the show, you get the sense that something within them has changed since their first year. They feel like real people, and I'm pretty sure that's what the original mangaka was going for. The animation is incredibly simple by today's standards, but it fits the style of the show and stays true to the manga. In this day and age, these kinds of shows feature bright and varied colors, overblown and absurd hijinks, and spots where the animators simply go nuts. You can't find much of that here. There are people who don't quite have the attention span to take in the show's slow pacing either, so it might be better to read the manga first before taking on the show. Likewise, the music is a tad subdued compared to modern moeblob shows, but there are plenty of themes woven throughout the show that help with the laid-back atmosphere. It's not one of my favorite anime soundtracks, but it works in the context of the show. People like to call Azumanga Daioh a classic, and I can definitely see why. It's a textbook template of every moeblob show that's come out since, but within those classic tropes lies an entertaining, unique and well-developed look into the mundane, quirky lives of seven schoolgirls and three teachers. If you like slice-of-life shows and have the patience to overlook the slow pacing, you cannot go wrong with Azumanga Daioh.

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