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Azumanga Daioh #3: Rivals! PDF Print E-mail
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R2 DVD Reviews
Thursday, 31 March 2005 12:21
Vol 3 (Cover Art)For some reason, it's taken me a while to work up the urge to watch this - probably because it's my second time through Azumanga Daioh, and there's a combination of having DVDs on the shelf for shows I haven't seen already, and a deathly fear that it won't be as much fun the second time around.  Fortunately, that fear hasn't become reality - at least not yet.  While sticking to its tried-and-tested formula, this batch of AzuDai has its own fair share of classic moments...

10 - We're Second Year Students!
It's the end of the semester, and the gang are all set to become second-year students - but somehow Osaka doesn't seem overly excited at the prospect.  While most of the girls end up with Yukari-sensei as their homeroom teacher again, Kagura gets a change of class and joins her rival, Sakaki - but is less than impressed when Sakaki doesn't seem to remember her.  Not that that stops her from trying to compete...  Meanwhile, Chiyo-chan's upset when the new first-year students call her cute - shouldn't they be more respectful to their senior? - while Sakaki goes nuts when Yukari-sensei brings a stray kitten to class...

Chiyo-chan in shock.  Again....but not as shocked as poor Kaorin

11 - Kagura and Sakaki
Kagura runs into some trouble when she tries to help a lost tourist, much to Yukari-sensei's delight - although Yukari comes off second-best when she tries to go one up.  When everyone else seems to have better English skills than her, though, she sees it as something of a competition - particularly where Sakaki's concerned, and so the Sakaki -vs- Kagura one-sided rivalry takes on a new dimension.  Later, Sakaki's temper reaches its limits when Kagura draws grafitti on her book of cat pictures, and a run-in with the Black Cat from Hell doesn't improve her mood any...

Sakaki & Kagure, friendly rivalsSakaki's wildest dream - or is it nightmare?

12 - Chiyo-chan's Day
It's a Chiyo-chan special - just what does the child genius get up to in a typical day?  Running into some friends from elementary school makes her remember what she's missed by skipping a few years to be in high school, but Sakaki's on hand to help cheer her up - at least until a cat passes by.  Sakaki just can't resist stopping to pet them...  Later, class isn't as straightforward as you'd expect it to be when you have Yukari-sensei and Kimura-sensei for teachers, while beating the queues at lunchbreak is no fun when you're half the size of eveyone else in the queue...

Even the world's cutest genius looks rough in the morningsYay for Nyamo!

13 - Exams
Exams are coming up, and Tomo's in trouble - she hasn't been bothering in class and has just been copying Chiyo's and Yomi's homework.  Chiyo and Yomi try to persuade her to put some effort in, but it's tough going, and eventually Yomi's temper snaps and the insults start flying.  Trying to score one over on Yomi, Tomo and the other class 'knuckleheads' - Osaka & Kagura - vow to show Yomi that they can pass the exams on their own.  Wouldn't be a problem, except the three Knuckleheads have the combined attention span of a goldfish...

Tomo tries to persuade Yomi to hand over her homeworkYay for Knuckleheads!

14 - The Ocean, Summer Kimonos, and a Party!
Summer holidays, and Chiyo-chan's invited the gang to her summerhouse again - although Chiyo's not quite sure how Yukari-sensei & Nyamo found out about the trip & invited themselves.  Before the trip, there's shopping to be done, and Chiyo-chan finds out that shopping with Osaka & Kagura can be a trying experience.  Not quite as horrifying as Yukari-sensei's driving, but at least Chiyo planned in advance for that.  Later, an ever-so-drunk Nyamo explains the facts of life to the girls...

Did someone mention 'Yukari-mobile'?Nyamo explains the birds & bees to a rapt audience

Those classic moments in full:  Yukari-sensei coming unstuck with a German tourist.  Sakaki stumbling across a huge flock (?) of cats - and getting eaten by them all.  The formation of the Knuckleheads.  Nyamo's facts of life.  I could probably go on, but there's just too many scenes in this show that you have to love.

Best episode of the bunch is probably 14 (the beach episode) - while it's an anime staple, this one works really well as it refers back to "last year's" beach trip & a lot of the humour plays on what happened then (Chiyo-chan's reaction to mention of Yukari's driving is priceless), along with a few other classic pieces (including the aforementioned "facts of life" speech).

The only thing better that good comedy is good comedy that still makes you laugh when you re-watch it - and, so far at least, Azumanga Daioh has that trick down to a fine art.  Go get.

Rating - *****

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