Region: 1 - North America
Volume: 1 of 6
Length: 125 minutes
English 5.1 Surround
Japanese 2.0 Stereo
In Miss Yukari's English class, every day is an adventure. First off, there's the teacher herself. A bit of an air-head, she may have graduated from high school, but she sure hasn't left.
And with the arrival of not one, but two transfer students - one ten-year-old prodigy and one space cadet - it's going to be an interesting year!
Azumanga Daioh is based on the four panel manga strip by Kiyohiko Azuma. The anime follows the everyday happenings of a group of school girls and a few of their teachers. This sums up the whole show pretty well, there are no giant robots, girls with guns, magical spells, ridiculous huge explosions and that's the beauty of the show, it's not really a stereotypical anime show, it's just something you can sit back relax and watch.
The characters although not totally original are special in their own right. You've got the token cutest of them all character - Chiyo-chan a 10 year old genius who has skipped 5 grades and still manages to academically out perform the rest of the class, while in contrast there is Ayumu Kasuga, nick named Osaka because she's from there. Osaka is a total airhead, often daydreams and takes pleasure in the simple things, like being able to break a pair of disposable chopsticks in half cleanly. We also have a running joke with Sakaki, the big tall, athletic tough girl, she's cool, everyone else thinks so, but secretly she's soft, sentimental and loves cats.
The mistake many people make with Azumanga Daioh is to think that it's like a normal show, but since it's based around a four panel manga format, it makes the anime into a sketch show, think of it along the lines of what The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show is to Peanuts and you'll get the idea.
Without doubt Azumanga Daioh is a comedy show, it's quaint and laid back with each sketch slowly paced, yet also enjoyable.
The animation is crisp, fluent, clean and clear. Music wise it's mainly background incidental music, although be warned, the opening and ending themes are incredibly catchy, irritating and saccharine all at the same time!
This show is packed with Japanese cultural references, which is why ADV wisely included a 12 page booklet explaining some of the references that could go over viewers heads.
For the dub ADV decided to draw parallels between Osaka and Texas, with accents and cultural similarities. This is actually a good parallel to draw, yet also very convenient since ADV's head office is in Texas, and that's where they dub all their titles!
Although it's premise doesn't sound that promising Azumanga Daioh is hilarious! It's justifiably a fan favourite, a wonderfully quaint light hearted series that's a real joy to watch. If you want something a bit different from so many other anime titles out there go out and get Azumanga! To sum it up, it's one of the best series released in a long while, it's that something a bit special. It's a shame more anime isn't like this.