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Manga / Azumanga Daioh

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Top row, left to right: Sakaki, Kagura. Bottom row: Yomi, Osaka, Chiyo, Tomo.

(Chiyo holds up her midterm exam, revealing a grade of 100)
Yomi: Wow, a hundred! I'm no match, not with my measly ninety-two points! Damn it, I really thought that I had had you this time. Well...
Chiyo: Ahaha! I think it just went really well for me this time around! Uh... *noticing Kagura, Osaka, and Tomo angrily standing behind her* Mmm—uh—uh-uh-oh.
Osaka: Forty-two points!
Kagura: Thirty points!
Tomo: Thirty-one points!
All: By our three scores combined, we have a hundred and three! Ahahahaha! The Knuckleheads win! We ain't Knuckleheads no more!
Yomi: Whatever...
— "Tactics without Guard"

A comedy manga series and the anime based on it, Azumanga Daioh is the rather disjointed and occasionally surreal story of six high school girls and several of their teachers. Being episodic to the point of resembling sketch comedy, and largely lacking serious conflict or drama, the show has little in the way of conventional storylines, preferring to set up and deliver the animation equivalent of several comic strips per episode. This is because the show is a remarkably faithful translation of the popular monthly yonkoma.

The manga was first published in 1999 in MediaWorks' Dengeki Daioh magazine, and an anime adaptation produced by JC Staff, aired on TV Tokyo from April to September of 2002.

The title combines the author's name (Kiyohiko Azuma) with the word "manga" and the name of its original publisher (Dengeki Daioh magazine) — it can be read as the Japanese equivalent of an portmanteau for "Azuma's Comic Strip For Daioh Magazine" (Dengeki Daioh being a magazine aimed mainly at younger teenage boys, the general theme of the strip was to poke gentle fun at the audience's female classmates — "Man, teenage girls are weird...").


Azumanga Daioh has been described as "Peanuts on LSD" or Seinfeld in high school. Heavily character-driven, its humor, especially in its manga incarnation, often relies on subtle changes in facial expression, running jokes, references to Japanese culture, and jarring shifts into absurdism.

It's also notable for demonstrating that a manga and anime about high school girls can be popular and profitable by focusing on their personalities instead of their bodies. As such, it is widely considered the Trope Codifier for the Schoolgirl Series and many of the character tropes related to it, starting a trend which continued in series such as Lucky Star, Hidamari Sketch, K-On!, A Channel, Nichijou and Hitohira.

It also has spawned a lot of fangames covering various genres, among them is Azumanga Fighter, a doujin Fighting Game.


This show provides examples of:

  • Actor Allusion:
    • Kurosawa apparently has a troubled past with a love letter that Yukari threatens to blackmail her with if she reveals any of Yukari's schooltime shenanigans. Kurosawa's voice actress, Aya Hisakawa, also played Sailor Mercury/Ami Mizuno, who gets a special in the anime and manga dedicated to a romantic notion of hers. In it, she's shown to have a strong aversion to love letters, culminating in an allergic reaction to some that are used to attack her in the climax.
    • Kaorin's German voice actress, Kathrin Neusser, played Mayu from Elfen Lied, a character who looks very similar to Kaorin.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Because of the differences between the yonkoma format and TV anime format, several jokes are expanded upon in the anime. Most notable are the "Get motivated!" scene, which becomes an Overly Long Gag, and the scene of Osaka waking up Yukari with a knife, which adds Chiyo freaking out at seeing Osaka with a knife. There's also several scenes made exclusively​ for the anime, and Episode 19 is completely original with nothing from the manga in it.
  • Adapted Out: A fair amount of content and jokes from the manga don't make it into the anime, such as everything involving the McDonald's Expy that Chiyo, Osaka and Tomo briefly work at (though a close up shot of the cup Kagura drank from in the 19th episode reveals that it came from that same restaurant), any of the scenes where it's raining, or the dream Tomo had involving Chiyo and a button. Since some events happen earlier in the anime, Kagura's involvement in certain scenes is also removed entirely due to her not joining the main cast's class yet, most notably her absence from the anime's version of the Hiccups chapter.
  • Airplane Arms: Subverted; Osaka tries this during a relay race, but it only slows her down. Then again, Osaka isn't a very good runner to start with; she even loses to Chiyo. Although in this case, the idea isn't that it will make her run faster; she reckons the other racers won't be able to get past because her arms are in the way.
  • All Animals Are Domesticated: Averted, which makes Sakaki's plight much more realistic. As mentioned on the page, she's trying to pet feral cats. Played straight with Maya, as he's a wild cub yet acts like a pet kitten. Justified in-universe: The cats she's petting may or may not be feral, but they all find her to be large and imposing. These traits, however, are what Maya saw in his own mother, hence his affectionate behavior towards Sakaki.
  • All Just a Dream:
    • At least part of the movie was Osaka's dream.
    • Any time things start getting surreal, it winds up being someone's dream—usually Osaka's or Sakaki's.
  • Amusing Injuries: Chiyo and Osaka are on the receiving end of some very comically powerful blows that leave no lasting injuries, usually with Yukari or Tomo being the ones to hit them.
  • Animals Hate Her: Sakaki. All she wants is a cat — or at least to get near a cat. Episode 9 shows just how far the universe goes in thwarting her: the entire episode comprises incidents where Sakaki tries to get close to a cat or a cat replica, and is denied — someone else gets the last copy of a cat book, a robotic cat breaks down before she can pet it, etc. That's not even getting into Kamineko, whose sole purpose in life, it looks like, is to bite Sakaki and remind her that her favorite animals hate her. Still, she does end up winning two cat plushies from a crane game. It isn't until very late in the series that this trope begins to relax in her favor.
  • Armor-Piercing Question:
    Chiyo: Sakaki, did you steal my height? You stole it didn't you? You stole it didn't you?
  • Art Evolution:
    • It took a while for Azuma to perfect the designs of the main characters, and by the time he does his entire style has shifted into a more consistent, rounded appearance. Osaka is perhaps the worst offender during this process, as she doesn't even look like herself until Volume 2 or so. The re-release of the manga in Japan has seen Volume 1 substantially redrawn, so that the artwork is much more uniform — albeit reminiscent of something else...
    • The new Extra Lessons chapters serialized for the 10th anniversary of the manga have backgrounds detailed enough to be worthy of Yotsuba&!
  • Beach Episode: There are three episodes/chapters throughout​ the series where the girls and the teachers go to Chiyo's Summer Home during Summer break. These segments are also where Yukari's terrible driving is revealed.
  • Beat Panel: Used much in the manga. The beat pauses in the anime are punctuated by various car sirens.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Osaka's pretty laid-back and easy-going...but do not split your chopsticks improperly, or you'll get the full brunt of her anger, as Tomo found out.
    • Don't tell Chiyo's "dad" that his face resembles that of former prime minister Yoshiro Mori or Bill Clinton. Especially don't tell him that he isn't a real cat. Even if he says so himself.
    • Yukari has several of these, but probably her biggest one is her Sitcom Arch-Nemesis, Nyamo. Also, don't say that you like ice cream more than Matzusaka Beef, or that you had all the snow crab you could eat.
  • Berserker Tears: When Yomi manages to eat curry noodles without splattering it all over herself, Tomo is pushed over the top and goes on a rampage in the lunchroom with tears in her eyes until she accidentally hits Yukari. Yukari's subsequent reaction must be seen to be believed.
  • Big, Friendly Dog: Mr. Tadakichi, a "man of character". Though he's far less hyper then most examples of this trope, being friendly in a more relaxed way. He's also one of the only animals that let's Sakaki pet him.
  • Big Red Button: Tomo has a dream where she pushes one to kill Chiyo, after the latter already told her exactly what it would do. She could have, y'know, NOT pushed it, but this is Tomo we're talking about.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • Only counts if you're watching the Japanese dub, but look at the scene from the first episode in which Osaka's hiccups render her recorder-playing unlistenable. It's implied that the phrase Yukari was partway through writing means "What are you doing" in English.
    • Another for the English speakers: The reason Tomo's repeating the food names over and over again in the Okinawa arc is because They sound like aspects of the human anatomy. Even more so for high-schoolers, who no doubt know someone like that.
  • Bi the Way: Kaorin is either bisexual, standing in a Transparent Closet or Single-Target Sexuality for Sakaki. She "wouldn't mind" if Sakaki were a man.
  • Bittersweet Ending: With graduation comes the time for all the characters to go their separate ways. Even though they might still stay in contact, the sudden finality accompanying entrance to the "real world" is a tearjerker. It's even more so for the readers/viewers.
  • Black Comedy Burst: Chiyo tells the other girls that she plans to study abroad in America. Kagura and Osaka immediately agree that she'll get killed.
  • Blah Blah Blah: Yukari speaks to a foreigner in English (or in the English dub, French), which the viewer isn't supposed to understand anyway—so what the two are actually saying is literally "blah, blah, blah" over and over).
  • Bland-Name Product: In the manga, Chiyo, Osaka and Tomo end up working a part time job at "Magnetron Burger", an Expy of McDonald's, for a short amount of time. The anime removes these scenes but still keeps a reference to the restaurant via a close up shot of a cup Kagura was drinking from in the anime-original 19th episode.
  • Blank Face of Shame: When Kagura asks Nyamo (a P.E. teacher) to explain some bit of math during a study session, she reluctantly admits to not understanding it. Yukari thoroughly humiliates her by showing off to the students with a speech in Gratuitous English, despite Nyamo's desperate protests that Yukari speaking English is not that impressive considering she's an English teacher.note  Afterward, Nyamo is huddled in a corner, both faceless and colorless.
  • Bleached Underpants: While the actual characters and setting are quite different, several of the character designs (most notably Yukari's) were near-identical lifts from some hentai manga Azuma had done previously.
  • Boke and Tsukkomi Routine:
    • Tomo and Yomi. In the first episode, when Tomo learns they've got a new transfer student from Osaka, she asks Yomi to be the Tsukkomi to her Boke, despite her protests. Tomo reacts to Yomi's completely unenthusiastic "nandeyanen?" with a take where she leaps across the room, clearly demonstrating her hyperactive nature.
    • Yukari tries to perform this in class with Osaka. After asking Osaka who should play the Boke and who should play the Tsukkomi, she hits Osaka over the head for saying she (Yukari) should be the Boke.
  • Boobs of Steel: Tomo seems to believe in this to some degree. She starts several jokes pertaining to Sakaki's, Kagura's, and Yomi's figures in relation their ability at sports.
  • Book Dumb: Tomo, Kagura, and Osaka all tend to score quite poorly on most tests.
  • Breakout Character: Osaka got considerably less focus than the other main characters in the first volume of the manga (partially due to coming in later than the others). Compare now where she's pretty much the face of the series.
  • Brick Joke:
    • After Osaka mentions she can't eat spicy foods in episode 2, Yomi tricks her into eating a croquette flavoured with cayenne pepper. During Yukari's rant about rewards for winning the sports festival in episode 15, Osaka mentions that a cayenne pepper is a type of chili pepper to Kagura. Kagura obviously doesn't get it.
    • In the third beach episode, Osaka says she's jealous of Sakaki's large breasts. Tomo responds, saying she's been growing too. Osaka reminds Tomo that she was put in the same chest size group as her and Chiyo by Yomi in episode 4, much to Tomo's dismay.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Tomo, of all people, shows signs of this. After Yomi says Tomo could never get into their somewhat competitive high school, Tomo studies just to piss her off.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Kimura and Yukari are portrayed as competent teachers, but do things in school that would make headline news due to the former lusting after his female students and the latter being very immature and prone to hitting her students for annoying her.
  • Buxom Is Better:
    • Osaka makes a comment about Sakaki's, Kagura's, and Yomi's chest sizes:
      Osaka: (to Sakaki and Kagura) You two are American. (to Yomi) You're Hawaiian. (to Tomo) And you're Japanese.
    • Tomo even uses Sakaki's larger chest as an excuse to get a head start against her in a race!
  • Call-Back: Early into the series, Sakaki watches (and cries about) a movie about a cat that made a very long journey to meet its owner. Fun fact: The distance from Tokyo to Iriomote Island in Okinawa is about 1,200 miles over the Ocean.
  • Christmas Episode: The 17th episode is one of these, complete with a conversation between the cast about how Santa goes around the world so fast.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Tomo fails to do some small favor for Yomi, who comments that she was stupid for having asked at all. Cue mockery of Yomi's "stupidity."
  • Conspicuous Consumption: Yukari on any and all kinds of expensive foods, to the point where she'll aggressively attack anyone fortunate enough to have experienced them before her.
  • Continuity Nod: After finding out what she missed out on when she declined the other girls' offer to go with them on summer vacation, not knowing Sakaki would be going, Kaori made sure to go with them the next year.
  • Corner of Woe: Nyamo, during the third beach episode, when she can't help the girls with their studying and even Yukari appears more competent than her.
  • Creepy Cockroach: The infamous cockroach scene where Tomo smashes one with her workbook.
  • Cuteness Overload: Pretty much everyone experienced this when they saw how cute Chiyo looked in that penguin costume.
  • A Day in the Limelight: The six main girls all get one except for Tomo, while Nyamo and Yukari share one. Sakaki gets several, one of which is shared with Kagura.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • Kaorin, despite attempts to avoid this trope. In the early chapters of the manga she has roughly the same prominence as Sakaki or Yomi, but from around the time Osaka is introduced Kaorin starts to fade into the background. The demotion is solidified by the time of the first summer trip, which she doesn't join. In the anime she isn't demoted as quickly (or as far), but she's also more obviously a supporting character from the start.
    • Sakaki takes the stage for most of the series, but ends up with maybe two or three lines tops once her plotline gets wrapped up in the last couple of episodes (as is befitting for her personality).
    • Chihiro, Kaorin's best friend. She starts out as a recurring character who frequently hangs out with Kaorin and Yomi, even sharing the latter's Only Sane Man tendencies in contrast to Tomo and seeming like she'll be a main character in the first episode/first couple chapters. But as the series goes on she appears less often, and by the time the third year starts up, she becomes a non-speaking background character who doesn't even get a single line of dialogue in the final episode, while in the manga she straight up vanishes and is never seen again except for a very brief cameo during the final sports festival.
    • Kimura ends up becoming more of a minor character when the third year starts, due to the main cast moving out of his classroom. He only makes a handful of appearances for the rest of the series, and during the graduation in the manga he only makes a quick cameo. He's also the only major character absent from the 10th Anniversary Bonus Strips. The anime slightly changes this by giving him a couple more extra scenes, including one last moment of him harassing Kaorin in the final episode.
    • Goto, one of the male teachers, was already a minor character in the manga who had some scenes where he interacted with and scolded Yukari. The anime removes his scenes and only gives him a brief cameo when Kimura eats lunch at the staff room after being tricked into thinking it was lunch time.
  • Diet Episode: Yomi is seemingly always on a diet. Her Day in the Limelight episodes often feature her trying several unsuccessful diets.
  • Door Stopper: There is an Omnibus of the entire manga series. It is nearly 700 pages long.
  • Double-Meaning Title: It can be read as "Azuma's Comic Strip For Daioh Magazine" and "Azumanga the Great King". The latter doesn't have anything to do with the show, but the girls discuss it during the post episode 1 trailer.
  • Doujinshi: There are quite a few Azumanga doujin games around, including a snowball game, a beach volleyball game and even a fighting game.
  • Dramatic Wind: When Sakaki bids farewell to the Yamamaya she befriended in Okinawa.
  • Dream Episode: The episode focusing on Hatsuyume was a vignette of all the dreams the characters had on New Years, which includes Osaka dreaming about Chiyo flying using her pigtails, and Sakaki dreaming about meeting Chiyo's father, who is a cat, among others.
  • Dream Sue: Tomo's dream involves her beating Chiyo in a test and Sakaki in a race, and being hailed as the town hero.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Yukari is the queen of this trope. We never see her driving in action, but her car is smashed up and the reactions of the other characters indicate that she speeds around with no regards for traffic laws.
  • Dual Wielding: Yukari attacks Tomo with two lunch trays after the latter accidentally hits her in the face while trying to attack Yomi.
  • End-of-Series Awareness: The penultimate episode's Post-Episode Trailer has the girls concerned that they'll die when the show ends, to which Yukari assures them that they'll "live on in the hearts of viewers".
  • Ephebophile:
    • Kimura states that he became a teacher because he likes high school girls. In fact, Osaka asks him in the manga whether Chiyo really counts as a High School girl, since she's so much more a Grade Schooler. He insists: "High School is High School".
    • Later on in the manga, a scene comes up featuring Nyamo and Yukari dressed as high school students to participate in a costume race. In one of his most hilarious moments, Mr. Kimura comes out of nowhere—dressed as a high school student himself—to give 'Yukari-senpai' a love letter. Perhaps he just has a fetish for seifuku uniforms.
  • Epic Fail: During one summer trip, Yukari spins out hard in the yard while trying to get out...and it turns out she accidentally put the car in reverse gear.
  • Eskimos Aren't Real: It is revealed in the Christmas Episode that Tomo was under the impression that reindeer were completely fictional, and treats anyone who mentions them as though they had admitted to believing in Santa Claus.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Sakaki - All the girls in her school think she's "so cool!" Just ask Kaorin.
  • Evil Laugh: Tomo, mostly, given her nature, but Yukari can pull off a mean one. See the beginning of the trip to Okinawa arc or mocking the opposing team during the sports festival, for example.
  • Evolution Powerup: Osaka was under the impression that a matsutake mushroom is the more evolved form of a shiitake mushroom.
  • Face of a Thug: Sakaki only looks like a Aloof Dark-Haired Girl.
  • Fanservice:
    • Relatively minor, but it's there; Yukari even lampshades this in one episode. Aside from the beach episodes, there's Yomi stripping to her track uniform before the opening credits are even over. Also, some of the "bumper" pages between manga chapters (one of Sakaki in particular) border on pin-ups.
    • Yomi stripping naked at the end of the second athletics episode should count. There's also the picture of Tomo on the beach in the dream episode.
    • Sakaki's yellow bikini in particular stands out due to there being quite a bit of official artwork with her wearing it.
  • Fear of Thunder: Sakaki and Chiyo express fear of thunder in the manga. Osaka is scared of it too, but likes it at the same time.
  • Festival Episode: Two of them, specifically for the Culture Festivals in the first two years. Though unlike​ the other major school events, it only received two episodes instead of three, as the one for the third year is never shown.
  • Fist Pump: Tomo and Yukari are prone to this. Some boys do this when they express pride and Kimura being so honest about his feelings.
  • Flight, Strength, Heart: Parodied in one of Tomo's Imagine Spots where she gives herself Chiyo's intelligence and Sakaki's athletic ability, and Osaka offers her forgetfulness. The theoretical super-Tomo shows up late and without her textbook, but does a triple flip into her seat and gives a perfect translation.
  • Flung Clothing: Yomi does this in the opening credits to strip down to her track uniform, and again after the second athletics festival, where she strips completely nude to check her weight - and then takes her glasses off to see if that changes the result.
  • Foreshadowing: It probably wasn't intentional on her part, but in the first summer vacation arc while the girls are talking about TV show murder cases, Osaka starts describing a situation in which it happens to them, with the murderer ultimately turning out to be Osaka herself. Two summer vacations later, Osaka walks into Yukari's bedroom, holding a knife...
    • The movie that Sakaki and Chiyo {The latter only in the manga} watch at the movie theater, which is about a cat traveling far in order to reunite with it's owner, is very similar to what happens near the end of the series when Mayaa travels across Japan to find Sakaki after his mother is killed by a car.
  • Formally Named Pet: Tadakichi-san (Mr. Tadakichi).
  • For the Funnyz: Tomo has bouts of this. Her most memorable case is throwing the keys to the summer cabin into the forest—right after Chiyo mentions they'd be unable to get in without the keys—for absolutely no reason whatsoever except that it was funny.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: In one episode, pausing long enough to read the blackboard behind Yukari reveals that she's decided to teach her class a lesson in introductory physics... in English.
  • Gainaxing: Happens when Sakaki runs, and occasionally Kagura as well.
  • Gentle Giant: Sakaki gets mistaken for a Delinquent in part due to her big height, but she's actually incredibly sweet and ends up becoming a sister figure to Chiyo.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • Kagura once asks Sakaki if her hand smells like fish, suspecting it to be the reason Kamineko attacks her so often.
    • When Yomi misses out on the theme park due a cold, Tomo apparently tells everyone it was because she sleeps naked. In the dub, Chiyo tells Yomi over the phone, "You should know better than to get carried away like that and fall asleep naked! Bad girl!" It really sounds like little Chiyo is making a masturbation joke.
  • Goldfish Scooping Game: The turtle variant. Osaka is more concerned about what use she would have for turtles, rather than actually playing the game.
  • Goofy Print Underwear: Sakaki is shown wearing panties with a kitty on them in the first episode.
  • Go-to-Sleep Ending:
    • Episode 12 ends with Chiyo Chan going to bed. Which is fitting because the whole episode involves her going about her school day; beginning with her waking up.
    • When all the girls arrive at Chiyo Chan's house after Mayaa reunites with Sakaki in episode 24, she and Chiyo agree to sleep over for the night at the end.
  • Graduate from the Story: The narrative ends with the high school graduations of the core group of students.
  • Gratuitous English
    Yukari: (in the pool) "Oh my god! Unbelievable!"
    • "Hallo every-nyan! How-ah you? Fain sank you."
    • "Oh My Gah!"
    • "Ah, I wish I were a BIRD!"
    • "AI'MU SORRIII!!!"
    • "Mai waifu!"
    • Yukari has an entire monologue full of this in Episode 22, which comes with an incredibly heavy accent.
      Yukari: It's said that most Japanese have unique character of shame. Alike their character, and are proud of it very much. Generally, most of Japanese who say that in English, I think their nature of shame prevent them from improving our skill of speaking English. But we stop trying to speak English, are willing to make reading mistake. When we say...
  • In Tomo's dream, she and Yukari have a conversation in Gratuitous English, complete with Japanese subtitles.
  • Lampshaded in the first episode, where she cheers on a student in Gratuitous English, prompting the appearance of a caption pointing to Yukari and reading "Supposedly an English teacher".
  • Kagura: You are a Fool
  • "I... like... you."
    • "YOU?!"
  • Growing Up Sucks: Handled in a gentle manner. It's basically, "growing up can be sad, but that doesn't mean you won't ever be happy again."
  • Had the Silly Thing in Reverse: In episode 22, the third Beach Episode, Yukari starts the car careening all over the yard before returning to its initial position, at which point she notices she was in reverse.
  • Hair Wings: Osaka fantasizes that Chiyo-chan can use her pigtails like this. It occurs in her dreams as well.
  • Hammerspace: Yukari pulls a swim ring out of nowhere when she hears of a vacation trip.
  • Hatsuyume: Episode 8 is devoted to the New Years dreams of Osaka, Sakaki, Tomo, and Kaorin.
  • Head Pet: Osaka has a Nekokoneko doll on her head one time in the manga. Sakaki puts one on her head during the second culture festival.
  • Height Angst: Chiyo and Sakaki cover both ends: the first is a Grade Skipper so she's a lot shorter than the rest of the cast (even for her age), the second is a Huge Schoolgirl with the usual too-tall complex.
  • Heroic BSoD:
  • Hero of Another Story: Literally with the cameo of Kokoro Kosaka in the first school festival episode. She is the main character of Wallaby, a short-lived manga authored by Azuma. She is the girl looking at the stuffed animals when Osaka tells her that they are buildings and places in Osaka. Wallaby himself appears in her pocket, but only in the manga version.
  • Hero Stole My Bike: Yukari steals a bike belonging to one of her students in the premiere, while said student is trying to fix hers.
  • The Idiot from Osaka: You'd expect this of Osaka, but she actually subverts the "loud, fast-talking, money-grubbing Osakan" stereotype. Also, she only went to Junior High in Osaka proper.
  • Image Song: Everyone gets two, however, they sometimes share with another. For instance, Yukari and Nyamo share two, with Mr. Kimura being in the latter, Osaka is in three, Tomo is in four and Chiyo is in five!!!
  • Imagine Spot: Happens frequently, usually the result of Sakaki or Osaka imagining something weird in the middle of a conversation.
  • Incoming Ham: Chiyo-father (voiced by Norio Wakamoto) introduces his funniest moment when he suddenly floats through a window and greets the baffled Osaka with a heart- and hamful HARRO EVERYNYAN.
  • Inherently Funny Words:
    • The Japanese/Okinawan for Sata Andagi is actually "Saataa Andaagii" - Osaka overstresses the long vowels.
    • Say "osenmikocha" around Osaka and she'll burst into laughter.
  • In My Language, That Sounds Like...: Tomo takes great pleasure in pointing out how many Okinawan dishes sound like crude anatomical references in Japanese.
  • Innocent Prodigy: Chiyo, acing test after test while failing to understand sexual stuff any teenage girl would know by heart already.
  • In-Series Nickname: Yukari-guruma for Yukari's beat-up Toyota, Kaorin for Kaori, Yomi for Koyomi, Nyamo for Minamo and, of course, Osaka for Osaka... I mean, Ayumu.
  • Intentional Engrish for Funny: One of the few examples in a non-English work. A well-meaning Kagura attempts to offer aid to an English-speaking tourist; this rapidly devolves into her screaming "HELP ME!" at the poor man.
  • Inverted Portrait: In the Title Sequence, it happens with Yukari upside-down and Nyamo right-side up. Then Yukari glares at Nyamo, and their positions are switched.
  • Japanese Delinquents: Sakaki's unintentionally intimidating attitude (and frequent hand injuries) cause the girls to mistake her for one of these.
  • Jerkass: Kamineko, the black cat that Sakaki keeps encountering. Unlike other cats, who are intimidated by her appearance and either bite her or run away from her because of this, it's made pretty clear that he actually enjoys biting her and goes out of his way to hurt her for his amusement. It's implied that he does this to other people as well, since​ he not only led a gang of cats to try attacking both Sakaki and Chiyo, but at one point he was going to bite Tomo as well and only backed off when he smelled Mayaa's scent on her {due to her getting scratched by Mayaa earlier}.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Kimura-sensei is into high-school girls, and possibly Chiyo-chan, and tends to stalk Kaorin more than is healthy...but he also frequently donates large sums of money to charity, cleans up litter when he finds it, has a loving wife and family, seems to be a genuinely good teacher, and (to the shock of the girls who witnessed) once prayed for peace on Earth as part of a prayer ritual. Could possibly be a deconstruction.
  • Just Shoot Him: When Yukari suddenly decides she'd rather teach PE instead of English, the class end up playing dodgeball. When Chiyo is the last person on her team, Tomo starts throwing the ball to just barely miss the clearly terrified Chiyo, prompting Yomi to say, "Just hit her, already."
  • Keep It Foreign: In the English dub of the anime, Yukari becomes a "language teacher." It's the same for the first issue of the translated manga. The second issue got a new localization team and switched to her being an English teacher, though some other English-language gags are inexplicably changed to French and German. The Yen Press omnibus also keeps her as an English teacher.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: Sakaki loves all animals, but her affinity for cats easily surpasses the rest (even if the love is one-sided)...that is, until the Yamaneko cub she meets in Okinawa starts retributing it.
  • Kindly Vet:
    • Dr. Ishihara, the vet that Sakaki and Chio take Maya to.
    • Sakaki herself is also on the path to becoming one since she got accepted to a veterinary college.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Tomo threw a temper tantrum at Yomi and chased her through the cafeteria trying to hit her with a lunch tray. Instead she hit Yukari, who then had a much more justifiable reason to whale on her with two trays. It's also a double example since earlier in the same episode Yukari and Tomo had both been yelling at and hitting Yomi due to jealousy over the fun she had in Hokkaido.
  • Late for School: Happens with Yukari every once in a while, which is noticeable here because she's the teacher.
  • The Load:
    • Chiyo and Osaka in any athletic competition (apart from cheerleading competitions, where Chiyo's cuteness gives her the advantage). Chiyo because she's about three-foot-nothing and fifty pounds soaking wet, and Osaka because she's, you know...Osaka.
    • The "Bonkura-zu" (Blockheads)—Tomo, Kagura, and Osaka—in anything related to academics.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Sakaki was shown to win the races she was involved in nearly effortlessly. Then, during the final Sports Festival, a jerk from another class started mocking Chiyo-chan. Cue Sakaki giving him a Death Glare, and retying her hair for speed. And then, when she starts running for real...
  • Lost in Translation: In Okinawa, a running gag involves Tomo finding a random food product and repeating the name to Yomi repeatedly while waving the box in her face. The joke, which tends to go untranslated, is that these products' names are extremely close to Japanese naughty words. (Chinsukou -> Chinko (Dick), Ukon Tea-> Unko (Poop))
  • Loveable Sex Maniac: Kimura. Yes, he's creepy and pines after high-schoolers, but he has moments of questionable sanity, he's good for a laugh, he recycles cans and donates large sums of money to charity.
  • Love Bubbles: Kaorin, whenever she thinks of Sakaki. And when she finally gets to dance with her.
  • Loves Me Not: Kaorin pulling the petals off a flower to determine whether she would be in the same class as Sakaki for second year (but the more conventional question is definitely in the subtext). The first flower yields a negative and she starts having a major panic attack, but before she can pull the last petal, Yukari gives her another flower that she can start over with. The same thing happens, except it's Mr. Kimura who offers the flower (to the horror of both Kaorin and Yukari). A pile of stems and petals later, Kaorin decided to just go ahead and look at the roster. To her relief, she is in the same class.
  • Luminescent Blush: The girls' reaction to the Relax-o-vision scene below in the manga; by the fourth panel, their entire faces are bright red.
  • Mega Neko:
    • The large floating orange cat that may or may not be Chiyo-chan's father.
    • A neighborhood cat named Maru is mentioned in one scene, and though we never see him, he is apparently quite large.
  • Morning Routine: During a Chiyo-chan centric episode/chapter we see her daily morning routine before she heads out for school. The series also goes out of it's way to avoid showing her parents in both versions.
  • Ms. Fanservice: With several beach episodes and so many possible candidates, this one's a given, but a special mention goes to Sakaki wearing a super-skimpy and revealing yellow bikini in the first beach trip.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Everything.
    • Osaka, Kagura, and Tomo combining their test scores for the sole purpose of beating Chiyo. You'd think they were trying to form Voltron or something.
    • After Tomo apologizes for her late arrival to class, she leaps high into the air and pulls off a graceful somersault, her friends looking up in amazement as she lands perfectly in her seat, answering Yukari's question with ease, and declaring her forgetting her textbook. This was an Imagine Spot, however.
    • The act of breaking chopsticks is made to look awesome a number of times.
    • Yukari's sea-parting Engrish monologue, raised practically to A God Am I levels.
    • Yomi's reaction to the buffet in the Okinawan hotel. Limiter override!
    • During the snowball fight in episode eighteen, Kagura throws a snowball at a petrified Chiyo, only to be caught, juggled, and thrown back at Kagura by Sakaki, moving at ridiculous speeds in a manner that would not have looked out of place in an action series.
  • Mutual Envy: Chiyo-chan wishes she was tall and cool like Sakaki, whereas Sakaki wishes she were small and cute like Chiyo-chan.
  • My Life Flashed Before My Eyes: Osaka wants to see her life flash before her, as well as a panda. For a more usual example, this seemed to have happened to Chiyo when she rode in Yukari's car. So much so that when someone brings it up, she seems to relive the life flashback she saw, screaming out for an old man unfortunate enough to be caught in the Yukari-mobile's path among other things as well.
  • Narrator All Along: Osaka's story about the girls being murdered on summer break.
  • No Antagonist: Well, no true antagonist, though it does have a pretty damn evil cat instead.
  • No Hugging, No Kissing: Five post-pubescent high school girls, and no romance for any of them. Osaka lampshades this in both the manga ("No one's got a boyfriend to bring along?") and the anime ("But neither of you have boyfriends to show off your summer styles to.").
  • "No. Just... No" Reaction: Sakaki's reaction when Osaka suggests renaming a stuffed cat Sakaki's already given a name, life story, and family tree.
  • Oh, Crap!: Chiyo's are pretty epic. Examples include that time Yukari said the class trip was cancelled and when Chiyo found out Iriomote cats can eat animals as large as her dog, Tadakichi.
  • One-Gender School: The school the characters attend used to be girls-only back when Yukari and Minamo were students.
  • One Last Field Trip: Done at the end of the series, when the girls have graduated. They decide to take one last trip to the Magical Land amusement park for old times' sake, before going their separate ways, making it a Bittersweet Ending.
  • Pet Baby Wild Animal: Mayaa, the pet lion cub.
  • Pet the Dog: Parodied when the girls find out Kimura has a kind wife, a cute daughter, voluntarily cleans litter off the streets, and regularly donates to charity...but it doesn't stop them from thinking he's creepy.
  • Puppeteer Parasite: Osaka thinks Chiyo-chan's pigtails are controlling her. To be fair, this was in a dream, and Osaka is... Osaka.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Tomo tries to smack Yomi in the face with a dinner tray, complete with a slow motion jumping attack, but misses, and whacks Yukari in the face. Cue scary music and a slow motion reveal of Yukari's glowing red eyes, then cutting to her whapping the hell out of Tomo with two trays.
  • Relax-o-Vision: During one stay at the beach, Nyamo has to dispose of all the alcohol Yukari and Tomo brought along, getting completely drunk during the evening. Tomo uses the opportunity to ask her about sex, which gets her into starting a lengthy lecture. As her explainations are replaced by soft music, the audience is shown the fascinated faces of the girls and a number of calming pictures that'd make for some interesting metaphors. Happens again the next morning when Chiyo approaches her for one more question.
  • Rock–Paper–Scissors: Played by the five main girls at the start of the first beach episode to determine who has to ride with Yukari. Chiyo laments being terrible at it. Later, during the second athletics festival, Tomo, Yomi, Chiyo and Osaka all throw to determine who gets to ride on top during kibasen. Osaka throws late, and still loses.
  • Sarashi: In the third and final sports festival; Tomo, Kagura, and Sakaki are all dressed as male Japanese delinquents for the cheering competition, much to Kaorin's pleasure.
  • Satellite Character: Chihiro to Kaorin, and to Tomo and Yomi early in the manga. Most if not all of her screentime is just her being Kaorin's friend, while in the manga she also started out as a third wheel to Tomo and Yomi's dynamic who was then quickly phased out.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: Kagura showing her boobs to Osaka when the latter asks about how far her tanlines reach.
  • Shoo the Dog: Sakaki must do this to Mayaa before leaving Okinawa. He comes back to drive off Kamineko from the streets.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In the first episode, Yukari ATATATATATATATAs her bike, cause it's already broken...
    • Tomo idolizes Fujiko of Lupin III, which is why she lets her hair grow during the second year. (We even see a scene of Tomo acting as Fujiko while she explains.) Of course, she forgets to consider changing the hair style as well, so she decides to go for looking like Ayumi Hamasaki instead.
    • Chiyo-chichi's infamous "I wish I were a bird!" comes from a commercial for the Nova chain of English-teaching schools.
    • The way Yukari downs a glass of liquor (plus the accompanying Beergasm) is more than reminiscent of Misato Katsuragi's famed shtick.
    • Kimura's (rejected) sketch for Chiyo's cheerleading costume in episode 15 is basically the same as Pretty Sammy's, also a shout-out to Azumanga author Kiyohiko Azuma's Pretty Sammy parody doujinshi work.
    • In the costume couple race in the second year's Sports Festival, guess what Chihiro disguises as (partnered with a No Face to boot).
    • The way Chiyo's dad says "I am a cat" ("Wagahai wa neko de aru") is probably a reference to the book of the same name, as this is otherwise uncommon grammar. Then again, he might just like overblown grammar.
    • Osaka wears an Ultraman mask in the manga.
    • While perhaps not intentional, Osaka's attempt to get the nickname of the Iriomote cat, "yamapikaryaa", correct toward the end of the manga results in some interesting dialogue: "Pika... Pika...nya? Pikaaa... Pika!? Piii?"
  • Sick Episode: Yomi, who is most excited about going to Magical Land, falls ill on the day of the trip. Chiyo suggests the girls should cancel the trip and visit her, but of course, Tomo convinces Chiyo that they should go regardless. Then she catches another cold at the end of the episode from being in a snowball fight.
  • Side Bet: Nyamo and Yukari stake 10,000 yen on the atheletics festival every year and shenanigans inevitably result, from Nyamo immediately taking the money back as payment for an old debt in the first year, to Yukari arranging for Kagura to transfer into her class in the second year, to Yukari tackling Nyamo while running in the relay for their classes in the third year.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Possibly Kaorin towards Sakaki. Her explanation is a little convoluted.
  • Sitting on the Roof: Twice, some of the group sit on the roof of the school. One time, Tomo, Osaka and Chiyo all fall asleep. Minamo is NOT happy.
  • Sixth Ranger: Kagura doesn't join the main cast until the start of the 2nd year.
  • Slapstick Knows No Gender: A significant amount of humor comes from the girls (mainly Osaka and Chiyo) getting injured.
  • Snowball Fight: The end of the 18th episode has one between all of the main characters.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Sakaki gets the most focus out of the main cast, with several episodes primarily focused on her and her failed attemps at petting cats.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: Tomo and Kagura both independently suggest doing a haunted cafe for the culture fest, prompting Osaka to remark, "You two are on the same wavelength."
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial:
    • When the second year starts, Yukari tells her class that she notices a lot of students who were in her homeroom last year, but denies that it's because she doesn't want the trouble of having to remember a bunch of new names.
      Yukari: Oh, and don't change the seating either.
    • In the manga, when Osaka asked if Kaorin is gay:
      Kaorin: The correct term is lesbian! Uh, not that I'm a lesbian...
  • Symbolic Blood: After Yukari lets loose a bizarre scream when she spots the knife in Osaka's hand, the show cuts to a HUGE amount of tomato sauce being splattered on food by Tomo, spraying some on Kagura in the process.
  • The Talk: While on holiday, a completely demolished Nyamo ends up giving said talk to the girls. Given their reactions the next day, it would seem she went above and beyond the call of duty.
  • Terrible Artist: Sakaki, Chiyo and Osaka are all poor at drawing. This is lampshaded a few times.
  • Theme Tune Cameo:
    • Yomi "singing" the theme from the short movie in the series proper.
    • Tomo's ringtone is one of her image songs, Sakaki sings her theme in the karaoke session and is also played on the radio in Yomi's room, and Osaka sings one of her songs in karaoke as well.
  • Thousand-Yard Stare: Chiyo-chan gets this whenever the Yukarimobile is mentioned, since she barely survived riding with Yukari-sensei at the wheel.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone:
    • For Kaorin, the dance after the first sports festival, which is immediately yanked away. Also, the 3-legged race in the second sports festival, and to an extent, Kaorin discovering that Sakaki was dressed up as a male Japanese delinquent in the third sports festival.
    • Kaorin finally got to go with the group to Chiyo's summer home after missing out the previous two years.
  • Thunder Shock:
    • Sakaki, when overwhelmed by the cuteness of a photo of kittens.
    • Kimura, when declaring his love for the ever-so-skimpy girls' gym shorts.
  • Title Drop: In the first episode of the anime, the logo appears, but then is cut off as it is hit by a baseball and flung out of frame. The same episode has a cutscene with Mr. Kimura walking with the logo on the back of his head. In episode 24, Chiyo is tackled by her dog Mr. Tadakichi, and then the logo and title are shown/heard for no clear reason.
  • Token Yuri Girls: Kaorin has an immediately obvious crush on Sakaki that seems one-sided; however, considering Sakaki's addiction to cute things, it's possible that it would be reciprocated (or at least not minded) if she wasn't entirely oblivious. According to the newest manga, Kaorin is either in denial or in denial and in the closet. As if we didn't get the hints.
  • Truth in Television: Yukari's suggestion to burn all of the unsold animals after the first cultural festival makes sense as a lot of the cultural festivals at schools in Japan end with a big bonfire fueled by decorations and flammable trash from the festival itself.
  • Two-Teacher School: Four Teacher School, technically, with Kimura. No one wants to remember that one teacher who only appeared in one scene in Week/Episode 1 and made Chiyo freak out. There's also a music teacher and gym teacher seen very briefly, and in the manga there's an older teacher named Goto who's known Yukari ever since she was a student at the school and tends to still scold her. In the anime he only gets a cameo appearance.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Kimura is pretty damn creepy, but he still managed to find himself an extremely cute wife.
  • Uncanny Family Resemblance: While we never get to see for ourselves, it's said that Tomo looks and acts exactly like her father. Yomi is not pleased. Also, Kaorin and her mom look exactly alike.
  • Vengeful Vending Machine: Tomo tries to get a coffee drink from a vending machine, only for it to pour the drink but fail to dispense the cup. She's suitably outraged when the next person to step up gets two cups.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: When Yukari throws up after getting really drunk in one episode, the Eye Catch hides the act, although we still hear her retching.
  • Work Info Title: Named after the author and the magazine it was published in.
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: Discussed with the misspelling of じ (ji, hemorrhoids) as ぢ(same reading, derived from chi rather than shi.). By Osaka, naturally.
  • Youkai: Tomo and Yomi imagine Chiyo as a nurikabe in the second culture festival episode. Osaka imagines herself as a karakasa, trying (and failing) to deliver drinks.
  • You Say Tomato: Chiyo-chichi pronounces it "to-mah-to".


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