Roostophe's Review - Azumanga Daioh
Azumanga Daioh is about 6 female schoolfriends and their time through the 3 years of Japanese High School, as well as the teachers who teach them.
The characters were a varied bunch. For starters, the students:
There was Chiyo-chan, a prodigy settling in with students 5 years her senior. Osaka, a transfer student from, well, Osaka, who seems to be a clear example of somebody with Attention Deficit Disorder. Sakaki, whose long hair and tall stature, which makes her 'cool' to her fellow students, belie her love for cute things and the painful longing of owning a pet cat. Kagura, an athletic girl who has the intelligence of an athlete. Yomi, a myopic girl with a typical female obsession over her weight. And Tomo, who is simply a hyperactive idiot.
And the teachers were also a characteristic set. Yukari is the unpredictable sort of person, Nyamo is your typical likeable P.E. teacher. And Kimura was teacher who the girls saw as 'creepy'. (There was a Kimura-esque teacher at my school as well.)
I hadn't tried a pure 'slice of life' anime before this one, but I had seen 'slice of life' shows such as Seinfeld and Friends etc. So I had some idea of what to expect.
Yet, when I watched episode 1, I was left thinking "Okay, this show is uncomfortably strange.", as well as a rather large dislike for the opening and ending songs.
But as I continued watching the series, I started to like it more and more. And the dislike for the songs vanished, with the songs ending up on my iTunes playlist.
One of the strengths of Azumanga Daioh is the characters. Whether or not the characters are likeable is a factor on if I like a series or not (The only exception to this rule being 'Peep Show'.). And Azumanga Daioh definitely falls into the "Likeable characters" category.
I couldn't help but like every character. Even the rather repulsive Kimura, the only male character with a supporting part, I liked. Perhaps this was because we both have a liking for school girls. (Honest. I'd prefer to be with a younger lass, and at my age, they'll be students at this time...)
Out of the students, my favourite characters were undoubtedly Sakaki and Kagura. Sakaki's longing for a pet equals my current woe for another pet dog, plus it is probably difficult to find anybody who doesn't like Sakaki.
And I also thought Kagura was a brilliant character. She was brought in properly at the beginning of the second year, but I wished she was brought in at the first year. Kagura's emotions at certain points echoed the sort of emotion I might have in that certain scenario. (Such as when she accidentally knocks down the gazebo in one episode.) Although, I'm lucky not to have Kagura's intelligence.
My only qualm with the series was that the jokes were a mixed bag. Half the time, I would be laughing quite hard. The other half, I'd be sitting there with a face of stone with the joke having fallen flat on its face. But the jokes that succeeded, succeeded well.
Finally, this needs to be said:
In one episode, Kagura calls the others "Members of the 'Go Home' Club" due to them always going home after school finished, whereas Kagura was in the Sports Club and often practised after school.
At this, I was reminded of my own school years, as I was also a member of the "Go Home Club". (My excuse for this was that I lived 5 miles from school.)
This, and Sakaki's natural athletic ability, despite not being interested in sport, made me realise that I had wasted my own athletic ability. I was good at football, and I wasted that skill!
Azumanga Daioh made me rue part of my school days, in that I ought to have been much more of a sociable person while at school, and I should have joined the school's football team. (I'm not counting the after-school Drama practises I did, as they were for GCSE's. They weren't an extra-curricular activity.)
Despite some of the flat jokes, and the regretful retrospective I had, Azumanga Daioh was a brilliant and very funny series that I enjoyed from start to finish. It's a great series that anybody should look at, if they haven't already.
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