Reviews: Azumanga Daioh

High School Memories

Azumanga Daioh is one of those rare anime out there that are genuinely spectacular in the absence of a central plot. Focussing on the lives of six high school girls, the story is told in a format reminiscent of scrolling through an old yearbook; each episode is centred on a particular event that was memorable. Told from the eyes of each of the characters, we soon find ourselves relating to each of them, and following their journeys through high school while recalling our own days in high school. While it isn't anything innovative or inspiring, it is perhaps the most well-done parody about high school life. It features strong juxtaposition; the character combination within the series allow them to bounce off each other, providing for some interesting laughs. The character in each of the girls is extremely well brought out. The superb observation, and ability to capture expression, makes the anime incredibly fun to watch in addition to meeting the story requirements. The action, and very rich comedy, are also wonderfully represented. There is just so much meaning, and charm, in even the most minor of expressions: when taken to the extremes, (which sometimes boarder on surrealness) it makes for a good laugh. As an anime, I recommend it to someone seeking humour to any degree, and does not mind the occurrence of random events. On another note, I recommend the English dub over the original Japanese dubs: the voices and audio are better in the English variant.

Sweet dreams are made of these

Azumanga Daioh is basically the manga equivalent (and possibly anime equivalent too, yet to watch it) of a big, huggy blanket. Following a group of teenage girls and their eccentric teachers over their time in high school, it's a series that draws you in and then doesn't let go until it's over. And even then, you will probably pick it up again. Perhaps this is best illustrated in year three, where the series basically turns into an even bigger Crowning Moment Of Heartwarming. Then, of course, it's over. All the same, though, it's well worth seeing the adventures of the girls as they grow up. You belong, indeed.