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Azumanga Daioh #1: Entrance! PDF Print E-mail
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R4 DVD Reviews
Tuesday, 17 August 2004 00:00
Azumanga Daioh - Volume 1Azumanga Daioh took the fansub crowd by storm when it first appeared, nearly two years ago now. After all the hype, can it garner the same praise now that it's on DVD?

1 - Miss Yukari
Child High School Student - It's the first day of the new term, and one of the students is a bit more strange than the rest - little Chiyo Miyama, child prodigy, is joining Class 3 after skipping 5 years. But before the new student can be introduced, homeroon teacher Yukari-sensei has to manage to get to call herself...
She's a Prodigy - Only just in class, and Chiyo-chan's already giving make-up lessons to the other students. And she can cook. Is the new girl Little Miss Perfect?! Only if you don't mention tongue-twisters...
Scary Maybe? - Sakaki's the class quiet person - athletic & unapproachable. But there's one girl in the class who thinks Sakaki's wonderful - Kaorin, who worships her & longs for the opportunity to get close to her idol. But maybe Sakaki-san isn't as unapproachable as she's made out to be?
Wildcat Tomo-chan! - Introducing genki girl Tomo-chan, always out to prove she's the best at everything - but all she ever seems to manage is second place...
The Osakan Girl - Another new transfer student, this time Osakan girl Ayumu (henceforth known simply as 'Osaka'). Much to Yukari-sensei's disappointment, she doesn't seem to act much like a typical Osakan...

2 - Osaka's Day
Osaka Today as Well - Poor Osaka's trying to get to grips with the differences between life in Osaka and life in her new town. Perhaps she might catch on quicker if she spent less time standing around thinking about it?
PE - Volleyball - Osaka was never all that good at sports in her last school - but here, there's Chiyo-chan. Surely she should be able to beat the little kid? Er, no. But there's other sports to try...
Hiccups - After a run-in with Yomi's super-spicy croquette, Osaka develops a bad case of hiccups (Chiyo-chan did try to warn her...). So begin the determined efforts of the other girls to find a cure for their afflicted classmate...
The Brain... - Two hours later, and poor Osaka's still suffering from the hiccups, despite the girls' best efforts - they've tried all the water tricks & scare tactics they can think of, and no luck. Maybe the brain is sick..?
Brand New - Osaka's letting her brain get the better of her again - the girl should really learn to think less, especially about Chiyo-chan's detachable pigtails...

3 - Nyamo
Nyamo - Meet Kurosawa-sensei, aka Nyamo, school PE teacher. She's had a healthy friendship - and rivalry - with Yukari-sensei since they were at college. Seems Chiyo-chan's special-order swimsuit was arrived, so a visit to Nyamp is required to pick it up, but first there's the terror of Yukari's desk to overcome...
Factional Rivalry - Nyamo seems to have the lead on Yukari when it comes to popularity with the students, and it's getting on Yukari's nerves. Losing to Nyamo in a basketball contest doesn't help her temper, either...
Yukari's Here - Fed up with the construction work going on around her own place, Yurkari gate-crashes Nyamo's pad for the day, hoping for a chance to catch up on lost sleep. No such luck...
Not My Fault - Having given up on the 'lazing around the flat' option, Yukari & Nyamo head out, with Yukari planning to sponge off her friend for the day. A run-in with an American tourist threatens to spoil the fun, though. Meanwhile, Tomo & Yomi run into Osaka downtown, and with Osaka's mnd running overtime again, Osaka'style philosophical musing soon follow...
Forever and Ever - The day draws to a close, and Yukari & Nyamo are on the sake. Yukari's having problems handling her chopsticks, giving Nyamo another opportunity to score one over her friend.

4 - Pool, Pool, Pool
A Fun Profession - Kimura-sensei, school Classics teacher, is quite the school pervert - as you expect from someone who, when asked why he became a teacher, honestly admits it was because he likes schoolgirls... It's just his time of year, too - summer's approaching, which means swim season...
Pool, Pool, Pool - ...and he's not about to tear himself away from poolside, even if he is meant to be teaching other classes - so he's hugely disappointing when Nyamo evicts him from the pool after his letching gets a bit too much. No eyeing up wet, stretching schoolgirls for him...
Ribbon - Back to swim class, and it seems Chiyo-chan can't quite swim yet, so lessons are in order. All's going well until Yukari decides to join the class, and challenges Nyamo to a race...
Just the Two of Them - The students have been kicked out of the pool so that their teachers can have their race. It's not long before Yukari falls behind & resorts to unfair tactics. Plan B: a relay race between their classes instead...
A Good Person? - Some of the girls see Kimura-sensei on their way home from school, and he's acting strangely - like he's searching for them. After keeping an eye on him for a while, it seems he may have a good side after all - but does it outweigh his lecherous nature? Not a chance...

5 - Summer Break
Summer Break - Summer break is about to start, and since Yukari's not getting away anywhere, she going to make sure her students don't have any fun, either - assignments all round. Yukari seems determined to sleep her way through the holidays, but Nyamo's not about to let her have life so easy...
Welcome to Chiyo's Room - Osaka, Tomo and Yomi decide to visit Chiyo-chan for the day - they've never been to her house before, so when they get there they're amazed at the size of the place. Seems Chiyo-chan's folks aren't short of money...
Invitation - Chiyo-chan's invited the girls to her summer home (as if one mansion isn't enough!), so it's off to the country. Assuming the Yukari-mobile gets them there in one piece - there's a worrying number of dents on the side...
Someone with Experience, Speak - After a day on the beach, it's back to the summer house for that other Japanese tradition, horror stories - until Tomo interrupts and decides ecchi stories (based on the experiences of Yukari & Nyamo) would be a better idea. Seems the teachers are lacking in stories, though - at least, any they'd like to tell...
Done For - Back home (apparently in one piece), and back to school - although poor Chiyo-chan seems to be scarred for life by her experiences in the Yukari-mobile...

Must find a better way to do the synopsis for this series ^^; Azumanga Daioh is probably best described as a 'slice of life' show, since it follows the daily lives of a group of typical (anime stereotype) schoolgirls & their teachers - except that really doesn't do it justice. The characters here manage to seem fairly normal on their own, yet put them all together and the stories somehow manage to take on a comedic life all of their own. Compared to the girls themselves, the teachers are a dysfunctional bunch, and most of the comedy flows from their antics.

Personally, I think it's great - it's just the thing to put on when I'm needing a laugh - but for some people, the slice-of-life aspect is a bit of a put-off. Probably the same people who found To Heart interminably slow rather thank interesting, I guess (not an insult to those people, just an indication of different tastes).

Although I realise it's not to everyone's taste, I class this as 'must see'. At the very least, give it a rental - it'll be well worth your time.


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