|Short and Gentle Comedy||1 out of 1 user found this review helpful.|
There's no dastardly villains, wacky aliens, demonic beasts, fierce ninjas, stoic samurai, or anything else in this series. There is no magical transforming girls, no martial art battles, nor complex soap opera storylines or anything of that ilk.
Azumanga Daioh simply works because it’s normal. It’s about the lives of a group of ordinary high school girls with some of their teachers thrown in at times. Basically the series consists of a bunch of short and gentle comedy sketches—usually around 4 panels long which is all collected together, sort of like a collected version of the your favorite comic strips from the newspaper like Garfield but that's what makes it work.
Basically, the entire series revolves around the high school days of a small clique of five girls who are inseparable friends. Surprisingly, they are all very different but they still like each other and hang out together. There’s little drama and little plot development, although the characters all have their own separate arcs or adventures which the readers get to see. Their supporting cast is a bit limited with some animals, imaginary creatures, and a pair of their favorite teachers often filling in. By the way, one of them; Yukari is easily the most irresponsible and eccentric teachers I have ever seen and all I can say is that high school would have been a lot more … interesting if I had such an oddball teacher on staff. The other one is the more responsible, rational, and normal of the duo who struggles to reign in Yukari’s wilder behavior and stunts and often fails. Apparently, they’ve been friends since high school and unfortunately, Yukari has quite a bit of embarrassing blackmail material on her so she isn’t that much of a check on Yukari’s outrageousness.
Unfortunately, I think that the younger audience (say pre-High School age) won’t like this series as they might have a hard time relating to it or would find it a trifle bit boring with it’s lack of high action and melodrama. Also, some jokes may be too Japanese or related to Japanese culture for some Americans to understand or get, so that also sometimes hurts this series.
The art is pretty cartoonish and there are odd facial expressions and other sight gags aplenty in this series. But it’s definitely high quality cartoon art and it totally fits into the style of Azumanga Daioh. The backgrounds and sets vary in quality, sometimes being nonexistent to simplistic to the wonderfully complex.
The series is a delight to read, it's easy to pick up from any spot, and overall it's very down to earth and funny.
RATING: 4 and 1/2 STARS!!!!