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Nyperold2012-12-26 15:16:35

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Episode 16: Culture Fest, 2nd Year

In the middle of a white background, the yellow-cat thing is standing with the right side of his back to us, bending and unbending his knees as he repeatedly waves his arms upward from his sides. Two red word balloons that say "Azumanga Daioh" in yellow Japanese letters and "THE ANIMATION" in white English text come in and go out, one from each side. When both are there at once and go away, the cat turns to us, and flies toward us, giving us a close-up of his smiling mouth.

In Yukari's class, Chiyo tells everyone that the culture fest will be coming up soon.


She prompts the class for ideas, but just gets the same ones as last year. She looks over at Yukari, but she's fine with whatever, citing the "respecting the students' independence thingy."

The cat descends in front of the building.

After school, Chiyo mounts the comment box again. Yomi notices it's back to that. Chiyo reiterates the only ideas they've gotten. Tomo is ready with another 5 yen, but Yomi nixes putting it in. Instead, Tomo has the idea of a haunted house café. Part of this involves sneaking up behind people when they're having tea and scaring them. It's a café where you can't have tea in peace. A breakthrough idea! Yomi, however, is reminded of grade school lunchtime. Osaka thinks it might be a good idea. Tomo seems excited that Osaka agrees, because that's always a good sign. Osaka turns and says, "Surprise!" She then turns back to Yomi and describes the scenario: you're drinking coffee, but then you find a cockroach inside. (Hopefully, she means a toy, but it's Osaka, so who knows.) "Whoa! Hey lady, what's goin' on here?" she says, as if playing the customer. Yomi doesn't think that's what a haunted house is about. Chiyo suggests dressing the waitresses like monsters. Tomo says it fits the theme, but that Chiyo wouldn't scare anyone. Chiyo asks if it's no good if people don't get scared; Tomo says it isn't. Osaka wants Chiyo to be Nurikabe, a plaster wall monster. Chiyo asks why, but Osaka just says "Do it!" Yomi and Tomo think it might be cute. Osaka imagines a plaster wall with Chiyo's face, arms (carrying coffee), and lower legs sticking out where you would expect, and pigtails sticking off the corners despite the wall being somewhat wider than her. She's bringing someone milk tea, but falls on her face, the tray and cup flying out of her way. She then struggles to get up. (You know, if you stomp on her back while she's like that, she'll explode into coins.) Yomi asks about other monsters, and thinks of the umbrella one. Osaka imagines herself carrying tea while balancing on one foot as that monster, and the tea spills when she takes a tentative hop forward. She finds this to be a structural flaw with the café. She instead comes up with a "surefire homerun": instead of a café that's like a haunted house, she's thought of a haunted house that's like a café. Tomo and Chiyo are unsure. Yomi would like to do something that'll set them apart from other classes. Tomo wants to do something the other classes couldn't hope to imitate: something they have that nobody else does. Yomi repeats the last part, and considers that Chiyo might be it. Tomo thinks, then runs off and back. Yomi asks if she thought of something. "The Chiyo-chan Show!" They'll all become Chiyo. Chiyo seems scared of what they'll do. Tomo holds her hair to make pigtails, and... "Hi! My name is Chiyo! I'm a little genius! I always make hundreds, and I'm really rich, too!" (The subtitle says "I get hundreds," which is more accurate: the manga has a strip that wasn't adapted for the anime in which she got a 92 on a P.E. test, while Tomo got a 100. Of course, in more academic subjects, like English...) Yomi notices that Chiyo is getting angry. How Chiyo expresses this is by removing her holders and turning around with a frown. Tomo tries the "My name is Chiyo!" schtick again, but Chiyo says she is "not like that, no way!" Tomo repeats it.

The yellow cat thing peeks from behind a tree

"A culture fest project?" asks Kagura. Sakaki is behind her, and Osaka and Tomo are in front of her. Osaka has always wanted to do a café. Kagura points out that a lot of classes want to do one, and Osaka says there are a lot of them doing haunted houses and cafés which is why they've gotta come up with a really good plan. Kagura then comes up with the idea of a haunted café. Osaka turns to Tomo and says, "Ooh, the same wavelength!" Kagura wonders what it's the same as.


Kagura remembers the "fanciful cute" thing they did last year. Chiyo recalls that it was well received. Kagura thinks it might be a good idea to combine that with something. Chiyo agrees. Osaka suggests a cute haunted house. Kagura dismisses the idea. Yomi thinks of a stuffed animal café. Chiyo figures they could improve on what they learned from last year to come up with something good. Osaka thinks she's got a come-from-behind homerun. "Not again," says Yomi. Osaka thinks they could lump all of it together and have a café of scary monsters made of cute animals. Yomi doesn't know what she's talking about anymore. Chiyo doesn't think it's a come-from-behind homerun. Osaka explains it, even though Yomi didn't ask: there'll be lots of cats and dogs inside the café... all dead. The others don't seem to be down with that idea.

The classroom chalkboard informs us that there's one more day until the Culture Fest. Chiyo is rushing around fretfully, Chihiro and Kaorin are laying a cloth on a a table, and Osaka is holding a box while standing near some other boxes. She thinks it'll be good to keep the boxes all together. On the other hand, they might use it right away, so she wonders if it might be better a foot away on the floor. She then considers that it might be forgotten if it's separate from the others... but then again, that other spot being more convenient might make it more of an advantage to put it there. Yomi comes over and asks about the useless activity.

A mass of white figures is switching between two frames of animation. Chiyo attempts to coordinate the work, but it quickly gets overwhelming. She thinks they're not going to make it, and wants someone to turn back the clock before it's too late. Osaka carries a chair to a spot under the clock, and stands on it, reaching up. She reports that she can't quite reach it. (Good thing Sakaki didn't take that instruction seriously, as I'm pretty sure she'd be able to, and then they'd have an incorrect idea of what time it is.) Chiyo asks her to do some work.

A close-up of a Neco Coneco. Sakaki is making a drawing. Tomo asks what she's doing. She's designing. Chiyo runs by with a box. Tomo borrows the Neco Coneco. Chiyo looks in a box for something, but it's not the right one, so she runs off. Sakaki takes a small doll of the yellow cat thing (it's about the size of one of her hands) and sets it on the desk. It falls onto its back. Kaorin notices, and Chihiro asks what the matter is. Chiyo runs through, concerned that they might not make it in time. Kaorin whooshes over to Sakaki, leaving Chihiro to fall over with the table. She asks Sakaki if there's anything she can help her with. Sakaki acknowledges her existence questioningly. Kaorin notices that she's drawing a design, and asks what it is. "A hat." ("Boshi.") Tomo calls Sakaki over. Sakaki excuses herself and leaves. She lays the drawing down, and we can see that the drawing is half of the face part of the yellow cat-thing, but it's not been colored. Kaorin "Oh wow"s. Chihiro goes to Kaorin to ask what she's doing. Kaorin says she was talking with Sakaki. Chihiro then notices the drawing. Her bubble has the picture of the hat colored... the same color as the winter uniform's skirt, I guess. She asks what it is. Kaorin waves her hand in front of her face, then mimics Sakaki's voice: "It's a hat." ("Boshi.")

Chiyo is outside, still thinking they're going to run out of time.

Tomo is playing with the Neco Coneco doll and the Biting Cat doll.

NC: I cannot let you take the Earth, you villain! BC: Hiiiiiss! Hiss hiss hiss hiss whoosh!

The Biting Cat flies.

NC: Whoa! You have the power to fly? Then I shall fly too! BC: All right! Let the battle begin!

The two cat dolls fly around attacking each other until Sakaki signals Tomo to stop... while she brings a background. It's a house with trees and flowers nearby, mountains in the background, and sun and clouds in the sky. Tomo asks if she drew it, possibly because it looks more like a child's drawing. Not extremely young, just... probably not a teenager.Tomo thinks it's too peaceful for the ultimate battle to save the Earth, but guesses it should help set the mood a little better. Tomo gets back to playing around until Chiyo pleads with them to work. Tomo sets the cats down facing each other and walks away from the play. Chiyo is really concerned that they won't make it at this rate. Tomo asks about Kagura, and is told that she's helping with the swim team's preparations. Sakaki walks away from the drawing and cats. Tomo doesn't know what she should be doing, but Chiyo has a task for her. Sakaki returns with the cat-thing doll, and sets it between the other cats with the ends of its noodly arms resting on their heads. We zoom in a bit, and its yellow starts shimmering...


The façade of the school bursts out in signs. The top signs are "Come!" and "Welcome!" in Japanese. The top floor has "Tea & Flower" and "Ghosts" in Japanese, "Game" in English, and "Art Exhibit" in Japanese. The next floor down has a picture of a ghost, a picture of... three people dancing?, "Café" in Japanese, and a picture of a pink cat. Next down, the head of a mummy, "Pressure Points" in Japanese, "Live" in English, and "Wild Bird Club" in Japanese. The bottom floor has a picture of rain, a picture of sun, a picture of a sun, a kitty mouth, and an eye, and a light blue cat head. They made it just in time. An archway is raised: "Culture Fest In Progress". Yukari pops into the classroom to ask if they're ready, as they just opened the doors. Osaka is just barely ready. Yukari sees her hat and thinks it's cute, and asks what it is. Osaka says it's a "father hat", their uniform. Yukari asks about the term. Osaka explains that it's something Sakaki started calling it. Yukari asks why, but Osaka says only Sakaki would know.

Speaking of whom, she's suddenly standing beside Yukari, facing her. Yukari is startled. She then looks up. Tomo runs between them, saying, "Practice bring out coffee quickly!" Yukari asks Sakaki what she has on her head. Sakaki says, "Neco Coneco." "Practice bringing out iced coffee—" After running between them, Kagura trips, breaking the cup. Sakaki says it again: "Neco Coneco." Yukari knows what it is, but... Osaka helpfully explains that it's because they don't have enough hats, so people who don't have hats are wearing Neco Conecos instead. Yukari sees, and uncertainly thinks that's fine, but...

She doesn't finish her sentence in our hearing, because we cut back to the front before going back in. Yukari asks where Chiyo is. Yomi says that she left to change into a special costume. Yukari asks about the "special" part. That's Kaorin and Chihiro's cue to slide in beyond Yomi, bent at the waists and pointing at their faces.

Ka: Yes, for I, Kaorin... Chi: And I, Chihiro...

They raise the arms that are closest to each other, and put them together.

Ka & Chi: ...combined our abilities together and specially made the Special Costume!

That felt like it was an homage, possibly to something specific.

Yukari again questions the word.

Chiyo is back. She struggles with the door before opening it, revealing that the special costume is — brush your teeth and take your insulin, folks — a penguin costume! She asks Yukari what she thinks, but Yukari's brain appears to have locked up. Chiyo approaches her, which turns out to be a mistake, as she's so cute Yukari could just... push her onto her back, apparently. Chiyo, struggling, asks why she did that. Seems Yukari just felt like it. Tomo suddenly says Chiyo's so cute, and won't be fooled by her "evil cuteness". Apparently, this gives Chiyo a reason to stop struggling and just get up, and walk off saying something about Tomo always saying mean things.

Against a background of heart shapes, the floating yellow cat-thing rides on a heart.

"Refreshing Class 3" is all signed over. One sign says of the Stuffed Animal Café: "It ain't scary!" I smell Kansai dialect... Anyway, it's time to let the customers in. Chiyo is ready to go... but is nervous about the possibility that the customers won't enjoy it. She then tells herself that that attitude won't do, and not to give in to the pressure, but to enjoy the culture fest to the fullest. She thinks exercise might be a good idea. Flippers right, 3, 4, flippers left, 3, 4, flippers up, 3, 4, THUD. She struggles to get back up as Yomi, Yukari, Tomo, Kaorin, Kagura, and Sakaki comment on the cuteness. Applause ensues as she gets up on her own. Osaka is transporting a tree to what she thinks is a better location when Tomo calls to her. She asks if Osaka saw "it". Osaka doesn't know what. Tomo means the penguin exercises. Osaka didn't see anything. Tomo calls her an idiot, and she wonders why.

This chapter divider is Yomi with her glasses being taken, and Tomo wearing them, spirals in eyes.


The entrance to a Haunted House.

A drink ordering place.

The entrance to an independent film screening.

A painting of an eyelashed eye in a circle in the sky above some trees and grass.

Four colored cubes attached to each other with metal, and shaking.

Some kind of ghostly painting... I guess?

A robot?

A balloon denotes the place to do balloon fishing.

Kurosawa is walking through the hall when Osaka encounters her and offers tea. Kurosawa figures this means they're doing a café. Osaka says it's "so cute, you'll be like, 'How could this be?'" Kurosawa jokes that she'll have to be careful, since they put it together. Osaka assures her that she doesn't need to worry, as there are no dead cats or anything. Well, that's reassuring.

Inside, there's a Handmade Stuffed Animal stand, with a sign telling those who want one to let them know.

Osaka leads Kurosawa to a free table. When she sits down, Osaka points out that it's a window seat. (Really, Osaka? What gave it away? The big classroom windows visible to anyone with working eyes?) Kurosawa will have a coffee. Osaka runs back as she calls out the order. As Kurosawa waits, she looks at the menu. Each item is 50 yen: Coffee, labeled with a Neco Coneco; Café Au Lait, labeled with the biting cat; and Milk Tea, labeled with the waving yellow cat-thing. Kurosawa comments on the attention to detail. Yomi has Chiyo deliver the coffee. Kurosawa is at first confused about what she sees, then locks up at the sight of Chiyo approaching, her eyes turning into concentric circles. Chiyo delivers the coffee, and the cream. Her only mishap is hitting her head on the table when she bows, jolting Kurosawa out of her overload. She asks Chiyo if she's okay. She... is? Kurosawa calls it brilliant. Yukari steps up, looking smug. She brags about it, saying there's not much that could compete with that cuteness. Kurosawa agrees, but asks why she's all proud of it. It's because Yukari's her homeroom teacher, of course. She bets Kurosawa would've liked to have a kid like Chiyo in her class, does a spin, and walks off. Kurosawa feels sorry for Yukari's class.

Kimura enters the room and is welcomed. He looks around, then goes to a seat as if he's being pulled by an unseen force. He looks at the menu. A male student greets him, but Kimura screams briefly. The student asks what he can get him, but Kimura stares at the menu, then at the ceiling. But then, Kagura walks by, and Kimura likes high school girls and things, so he tells her he'd like to order. She asks what she can get him. He wants one of those hats, so she allows him to borrow it. Which a degree of whooping, he pulls it down so its eyes are over his. (Kagura is still wearing one, so it's not hers.) He is now ready... to go out the door and advertise the stuffed animal café really creepily. Kagura rushes out, picks him up by the jacket, and tells him they don't need help attracting customers.

And now for a bit of irrelevant information about Kagura: She's 156 cm tall, which has nothing to do with the Culture Fest. And Sakaki? 174 cm. This was information found in the manga. Tomo and Chiyo's heights are found on pages 185 and 186 of the Omnibus, Chiyo and Osaka's heights are on pages 215 and 216, and Kagura and Sakaki's are on 247 and 248. Kimura gets in one last bit of advertising before the logo slams in his face.

A couple of simplified people leave, saying it was cute. Yomi thanks them for stopping by.

Advertising Reach

Tomo notices that Kaorin is wearing a cat (not Neco Coneco) instead of a Father Hat. She says she was wearing the other kind before, but... Kagura interrupts her, thinking that's the one she let Kimura borrow, and realizes that it hasn't come back. (My guess would be that she wanted to "match" Sakaki.) Tomo wants to go retrieve it, but Yomi restrains her from going, as she's been wandering the school all this time, and doesn't need to go anywhere. Yomi calls to Chiyo, who's moving a box, and says that since the number of customers is lessening, they might be able to start taking breaks in shifts. Chiyo agrees. Tomo volunteers to take the first shift, but Yomi whacks her in the mouth and puts Chiyo and Osaka in the first break shift. Chiyo asks if she's sure it's okay. Osaka is certainly willing to "go and pig out on lots of snacks. Chihiro has an idea: she sticks an advertisement for the café on the penguin costume's belly. Chiyo considers that a good idea. As teh others watch, she and Osaka go enjoy the culture fest. Tomo wants the next slot, but Yomi puts her on hold. Sakaki walks up beside Kaorin, unwittingly delighting her.

Chiyo discovers takoyaki (fried octopus balls, i.e., fried balls of octopus meat) at 100 yen a plate. Osaka says that it's something you've always got to get when you're at a culture fest, so they do. (If I were to go to one, I'd have to subvert that expectation.) They are thanked for waiting, and go sit to eat them. Osaka has one. Chiyo thinks they look delicious, so she sticks a stick in one and tries to eat, but... she can't reach her mouth with it, as she says while Osaka has another. Osaka decides to feed her... using her own stick...? I'm not a hygiene expert, but I think I would've used the stick she has in her flipper and kept my possible germs to myself. Anyway, the deliciousness incites her to move her legs up and down. Osaka remarks that it sounds like it's good, and is glad for her. Chiyo says it is. People start stopping to watch.

Chiyo finds taiyaki pastries for 50 yen each, available with red bean paste, white bean paste, or cream. Osaka says the some thing about taiyaki as about takoyaki, so they get one each. (And if you think my reason for avoiding takoyaki is kooky, well...) "Itadakimas(u)!" they say in the original, or "Let's get started!" in the English dub. While Chiyo struggles to bring it to her mouth, Osaka talks about starting eating it from the head or the tail, and asks Chiyo how she likes to eat it. (At least there is a definite head or tail. I'm looking at you, choco-cornets...) Chiyo looks to her for help, so Osaka takes hold of it, and has her say "Ah!" before asking which end she would like to start with. Chiyo asks for the head first, so that's what Osaka does. Now they've gathered a large crowd of watchers.

On the way back, Chiyo and Osaka agree that the culture fest is one thing they like high school for. Osaka figures she can be happy the rest of the year, just because of it.

When they get back, and announce their return, a harried Yomi asks what kind of advertising they did. Kagura says it was way too effective, and Tomo laments the lack of time for breaks. Sakaki runs through.

As someone notices "the penguin", we see a Neco Coneco. The infinity symbol slides in at the corner of its ear, which is a reference to page 299 of the Omnibus.

The flying color-changing cat-thing flies through the air, backdropped by the sunset, his number constantly changing. One of the numbers that it probably is before it shows more than three digits is 51461367522. If the numbers are his heights in centimeters, then he ranges between 200,000 and 1 million km tall.

A boy says they sold a lot. A girl says she's so tired. A boy calls it a huge hit. Chiyo pulls off the penguin head; the body is already off. Tomo calls to her, saying they're doing a toast with the leftover jusu, so she joins them. Sakaki notices that the penguin costume is slumped over against the wall, and tries to straighten it, but it slumps back again. She adds her head-cat, and steps back to take a look, then nods. The weight slumps it down even further.

Next time: Episode 17!

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