Based on a comic by Kiyohiko Azuma, Azumanga Daioh is the anime equivalent of a '50s girls' novel. Ten-year-old prodigy Chiyo and transfer student Osaka join the crowd at a Tokyo high school, adding to the comic misadventu... more »res. Their hard-drinking, potty-mouthed English teacher Yukari resents the popularity of the saner gym teacher Nyamo, even though they?re old friends and former classmates. Azumanga lacks any sort of sustained storyline or character development; it's just a series of incidents and encounters involving the kids and the two teachers. The only recurring male character is the leering Mr. Kimura, who teaches because he likes to ogle the students. Adolescent girls may enjoy sharing the featherweight daily problems of Tomo, Yomi, Sakaki, Kaorin, Chihiro, Chiyo, and Osaka, but Azumanga Daioh isn't really about anything. (Rated 13 and older: profanity, alcohol use, minor risqué humor) --Charles Solomon« less
Will someone please stop C. Solomon from reviewing anime?
Benjamin E. Sones | Rochester, NY USA | 11/05/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I mean, come on. He dislikes EVERYTHING. Should he really be reviewing these types of DVDs when he obviously doesn't care for the entire genre? This is one of the best US anime releases of the year, don't let Solomon's featherweight review dissuade you. What it's about (contrary to Solomon's claim that it's about nothing) is the characters--and their remarkable chemistry makes even mundane experiences entertaining. A smart and funny comedy, with characters that you will grow genuinely fond of by the time the final credits roll."
A cute and delicious slice of Fancy Hearing Cake
Daniel J. Hamlow | Narita, Japan | 12/24/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Based on the best-selling manga by Kiyohiko Azuma, the anime version of Azumanga Daioh takes the zany adventures of a group of high school girls and three of their teachers. However, the first disc does not contain all the adventures of the first manga, and there are some linking and extra scenes that don't occur in the manga. Indeed, the cute opening song about Fancy Hearing Cake, longing to hold that special someone so tight, and to hear that voice saying "I love you," opens the cheery confection of this anime.
The first five episodes are on the first disc, which introduces all the characters. There is the unconventional, zany, but often selfish and shallow Yukari Tanizaki, the home-room teacher for our heroines. In contrast, her fellow alumnus Minamo Kurosawa, the PE teacher, is popular and likeable due to her considerateness to students. She hates the nickname Yukari's given her, Nyamo, and is often on the receiving end of Yukari's antics, but Yukari does get her comeuppance, especially in a swimming relay match that's a highlight of the swimming pool episode. And then there's the classical lit teacher Mr. Kimura, who openly confesses that he became a teacher to look at the high school girls!
The students: there is the bespectacled and mature brunette Yomi, her friend, the fun-loving and energetic "wild cat girl" Tomo, who's cute and always at home taking center stage, although she's all noise and no talent. The tall, quiet, contemplative daydreamer Sakaki, Kaorin, the girl who's got a mad crush on Sakaki, the short-haired Chihiro, and the two transfer students who set things rolling.
The adorably cute, pigtailed, and bubbly redhead Chiyo Mihama, is only ten but because of her intense intelligence, has skipped five years to enter first year high school. She is also responsible, startling the students by making her own lunch, polite, and very friendly, but she's not strong in PE, as she needs a kickboard in swimming. She's rich, but generous enough to invite her friends to her seaside summer house during vacation.
The other, my personal favourite, is the cute petite, wide-eyed, soft-spoken Ayumu Kasuga. Though hailing from Osaka, she's quiet, shy, and not at all rowdy as most students expected her to be, speaking with a soft Osakan accent. Before long, Tomo gives her the nickname Osaka, much to Ayumu's chagrin, which stays with her for the duration of the series. In the episode Osaka's Half Day, we get a bigger picture of her, of how she's a bit slow and quite a space cadet, and how she gets the hiccups, with her friends trying zany and sometimes painful ways to cure them, such as drinking juice with the ears and nose plugged, being struck in solar plexus, having pressure on the eyeballs, etc. She also has the penchant of trivia, or saying things coming out of left field. But her bizarre theories about Chiyo-chan's detachable pigtails just take the cake!
Some of the happenings have taken place in the second or third manga. Osaka's hiccups took place in the second book, by which time the jock Kagura has joined them. As she has not yet been with the group in the anime, it is Tomo who strikes Osaka in the back and solar plexus, and not Kagura. And Osaka's trivia-relating episode takes place in the third manga. But Kagura appears during the swimming relay competition in Episode 4, and has a few lines in the last episode.
Of the students, the very introverted and cat-loving Sakaki has the same personality as me. She loves cats, but whenever she tries to pet them, they bite her, leaving her with bandaged hands. Even though she comes off as being standoffish, she's a repressed romantic. Initially a bit scary to Chiyo, when the latter reads the career preference questionnaire Sakaki's given her, with choices of vet, florist, and stuffed toy owner, she decides that maybe Sakaki's really a nice person after all. In later episodes, she turns out to be perhaps the gentlest of all.
One might consider this shoujo anime, for girls, but it's fun for anyone. Guys will like it for the short skirts and cute girls. Naturally, I read the manga first, and the anime enhances the book versions without compromising much of the stories. As the first series of anime I got into, Azumanga Daioh contains fun, silliness, and characters I feel have become newly found friends to me.
This limited edition box also has cloisonné pins of Chiyo-chan and the Kamineko, the cat that bites Sakaki. The DVD extras contains art studies of Chiyo-chan and Chihiro."
A pioneering anime
Avery Morrow | USA | 03/07/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Gigantic robots... strange-colored hair... magical girls... none of the above are to be found in Azuma Kiyohiko's /Azumanga Daioh/. Unlike any other anime before it, it has no fantastic story to tell-- no shape-changing, nor bounty hunting, nor hidden metaphorical meaning. It is, quite simply, genius in that it lasts 26 enjoyable and wonderful episodes based only on its characters and how they encounter everyday situations at a Japanese high school. A full ten minutes on this DVD are devoted to nothing more ordinary than a case of the hiccups, and yet, you will most likely keep watching. This anime pioneers a whole new genre, which anime has never seen the likes of before but is well known in the world of fiction; a novel (as opposed to sci-fi). When you remember that fantasy stories preceded the novel in Western literature, this appears to be quite a turning point for anime.The characters stand out instantly for their quirks. There is Chiyo, the child genius who is hard not to adore; Osaka, the Southern girl whose mind wanders, and yet you will never want to call her stupid; Tomo, who really *is* stupid; and Sakaki, who's great at doing adult things but wishes for something less mature. Interestingly, Yomi, who many would leap on in a more typical anime (i.e., Akametsu) as the "cute" character with glasses, emerges as the most bland, and you only feel sympathy for her because Tomo is quick to tease her. It seems to me as if Kiyohiko is trying to prove some sort of point here.The animation style divulges from the norm as much as the story. Rather than following the "shoujo" or "shounen" schools of art popular in the 1990s, Kiyohiko draws on iconified, comic strip-like manga art. He is careful to keep his characters' faces and hands less detailed than their outfits, which produces a very cute style remniscent of /Love Hina/ on a good day.At the end of four episodes, no epic story will have been told, and no adventure will have been started by the characters, but you will feel as if you have gone to school with them for a few months. Hang on tight-- as the series progresses, the feeling will strengthen."
Simply the Best - Sakaki Roxx !
miniszlan | Budapest, Hungary | 04/13/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sometimes life itself can tell the greatest stories - And so does Azumanga Daioh. From the first episode on I fell in love with the series, showing the every day lives of 6 school girls (and their teachers), Chiyo chan, Osaka, Sakaki, Tomo, Yomi and Kagura. Azumanga is the best example that an anime doesn't need to have an overcomplicated plot or mega-action... Daily situations,funny reactions and mimics and especially the girls's unique charachteristics give the anime a huge amount of spice, fun and humour. There is Chiyo chan, a 10 year old genious girl who cares for her friends by inviting them to her (summer)house, but due to her age and small stature she sometimes suffers from that handicap ( for example in P.E.). It is indeed difficult for her to be among others who are 6 years older than her, but apart from that she is really cute and everyone likes her.Osaka, the clumsy and sometimes slow girl is one of my favourites. Azumanga Daioh shows also that funny dialogues can be very dominant in the series - Osaka's quotes are just stunning.Tomo - Who always hypervantilates on almost everything, she wants to be in the center, by yelling, jumping, shouting and making rude jokes, sometimes really hurting ones.Her closest friend seems to be Yumi, a calmer person who always tries to loose some weight, but she is ashamed and doesn't tell anybody. She is the one who yells at Tomo to stop being stupid. Yomi and Tomo have a love-hatred relationship.Kagura is also quick tempered but not as intensively as Tomo. She spends her free time by jogging or swimming and sees a sports rival in Sakaki.And last but not least there is my ultimate favourite character : Sakaki. The tall,shy and quiet girl, who is very good at sports loves animals (cats especially) and always gets "weak" when she sees one. This combination of a calm personlity and endless passion has captured my heart and I was also always touched when there was a scene with Sakaki becoming "weak" when she saw a cat.There are also the teachers, Yukari sensei and Nyamo, and don't forget Kimura sensei, the pervert teacher who has a (clumsy) wife, but apart from that he loves watching girls in swim suits and tries to impress the poor Kaorin, aaahh don't miss Kaorin!Music and animation are great. Watch out for the piccolo and the octave flutes which are to find in almost every music track in the series. I have all soundtracks, I just love them. The tracks are inspiring, they carry the cuteness and the feelings just perfectly.To put it in a nutshell: I highly recommend Azumanga Daioh. You'll make a very cute and wonderful experience you'll probably never forget. One of the best animes I have ever seen."
The "Seinfeld" of anime... sort of
Stephan Massih | Berkeley, California USA | 02/20/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Having only seen as far as the 1st DVD in the series, I can confidently say that this stays VERY true to the manga. Anyone who's not familiar with either the manga or the anime doesn't need to know much about this series. It's about 6 high school girls who... y'know... hang out. Of course it's more than that (but not much more). I asked a friend of mine if the series had a plot at all. His only response was. "...well... they graduate...." That puts it best. This is a good series for boys or girls. It's very funny, and I highly reccomend it."