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Favorite Episode
My favorite episode in Azu Daioh is the 21st one, when the class went on a field trip to Okinawa. The group went to Iriomote Island. Sakaki was particularly excited because she wanted to see the Iriomote mountain cats, which are an endanged species.

When they got to the island, Kagura suggested that Sakaki stick out her hand into the woods and see if a cat comes out to bite her, since the cats back home like to bite her hand too much. By this time, Sakaki had settled to letting cats bite her and she would pet them while their massive teeth are still clamped down on her fingers XP That was the only way she could pet them at all. Aw, she simply wanted to pet them because they're so cute *sniff* Anyway, that's what Sakaki did, and sure enough, an Iriomote mountain kitten stuck his head out from the bushes and padded towards her. He seemed really friendly and was even trying to climb up Sakaki's leg. So Sakaki tried to pet him, and he let her. Awww. Even better, he let Sakaki hold him. Sakaki was so thrilled and held onto him as they continued to tour Iriomote Island. Alas, she had to leave him when they got off the island. The kitty's mama came to fetch him when Sakaki and everybody were about to leave. Awww.

Ah, but this isn't where the story ends. Tragically, the mama cat got struck by a car and died, and the kitty left Iriomote Island in search of Sakaki (hey, this is an anime, so it's possible) because he had faith that she could take care of him. And they found each other and lived happily ever after. Awwww.

Azumanga Daioh
Synopsis | Review

Aaah! *stretches* After a long leave of absence, I'm back! Well, if this is your first time to check out my site, chances are, you won't even notice :P I've been around, puttering about the site. But mostly, I've been working on my layout, Toybox, and the GaiaOnline section.

It's been a while since I watched a complete anime series. I've been more into manga lately. One day, I decided to start reading Azumanga Daioh. I've heard so much about it, but back then I wasn't interested because I was really into sappy, romantic shoujo series.

I suppose Azumanga Daioh is also a shoujo series, but it has absolutely no romantic element. It's in the slice-of-life genre, like To Heart. This, however, did not prevent it from being a wonderful series. The manga is one of those four-panel comic-style series, and it was created by Kiyohiko Azuma. It doesn't have a gripping, to-be-continued storyline. Rather, it's one of those things you would like to read at a relaxed pace. It can be pretty random sometimes, but it's also laugh-out-loud funny.

In that regard, the anime is similar to the manga. It has 26 episodes. Well, at least, as far as I'm concerned. Each episode is broken down into several 5-minute segments, like a comic strip. If you count each 5-minute segment as one episode, then it has 130 episodes. I wish it has 130 full episodes. I would've liked to watch more of this. Both the Azumanga Daioh anime and manga are licensed.

Synopsis
Azumanga Daioh chronicles the lives of six high school girls and two teachers. Teachers? Yeah, teachers. That's what makes Azu Daioh so special. Tanizaki Yukari is the girls' delinquent homeroom teacher. She also teaches English. The fact that she's so knowledgeable in English and terrible at everything else is just hilarious to me. Her best friend is Kurosawa Minamo, who is in charge of another class and teaches gym. Minamo, or Nyamo, as Yukari calls her, is much more sensible about things. Well, of course, unless she gets drunk XD

Azumanga Daioh starts with the girls' first year of high school, when Chiyo initially joined the class. Chiyo's only 10 years old, but she's a genius and therefore skipped a lot of grades >.< She subsequently became the class representative, which is pretty funny since she's not tall enough to be seen from behind the table.

The vice class representative is Tomo, a very manic girl who is trying to out-do everyone at everything. She rarely wins, of course, because she would do unattainable things like trying to get a test score that's higher than Chiyo's XD She also does crazy and unexpected things. Like when they went to Chiyo's beach house and Chiyo took out this key, saying "This is the only key we have. If we lose it, we won't be able to get in." Tomo instantly grabbed the key and tossed it into the woods XD She defended herself by saying, "Don't you always want to do that?"

Koyomi, or Kyomi for short, is Tomo's best friend. Kyomi actually doesn't have any choice in the matter, since they've been classmates since they were in elementary. She's more serious than Tomo. I would say she's probably the most uptight person in the group, even. She's really concerned about her weight and is a big fan of this one radio station that she would always write letters to XD Reminds me of Pretear.

Sakaki is the cool, quiet girl of the bunch. She's also incredibly tall, with long, beautiful hair, and big boobs. When I saw her, I initially thought that Azu Daioh has lots of fanservice. Not true. There's nary a single panty shot in the series, thank goodness. It's just that some of the girls do have conspicuous boobs. I'm okay with that, as long as it doesn't cross the fanservice line :P Anyway, everybody idolizes Sakaki because she's beautiful and a great athlete. One of her fans is a classmate named Kaorin. I'm not really very fond of Kaorin, as she slobbers too much. Anyway, where was I? Oh yes. Sakaki's also very mysterious, as she doesn't talk much. The truth is that she's really into cute things, and she loves cats with passion. Unfortunately, the cats in the neighborhood like to bite her and appear to hate her. Aw.

Ayumu came a few episodes after Chiyo. She's from Osaka, and henceforth became known in the series as Osaka. She's probably the most random of the bunch, more random than Tomo, and would have these weird questions that come out of the blue. She also has weird facts and is the master of weird trivia. Lastly, Osaka has these weird dreams (she falls asleep. A lot. And zones out a lot also) about Chiyo's pigtails detaching from her head and falling off XP

Kagura joined the bunch in their second year. She was initially in Nyamo's class, but Yukari was able to get her after the first year. That's because Kagura is a champion athlete (she can't beat Sakaki, though :P) and Yukari always makes bets with Nyamo about whose class will win the athletics festival. Kagura's a little more serious than Tomo, but she can be pretty random as well XD

Azumanga Daioh chronicles the lives of these characters from the start of high school up until graduation, including taking college exams. It's particularly striking to see them go through their first year athetics festival, culture festival, and summer vacation, and then through the second year athletics festival...you get the picture. Of course, in-between, there's a lot of class antics and hilarity. By the time I got to the last episode, I felt like waving to them and saying "Good-bye! Good luck in college!" XD

Review
It should be clear by now that I like this series a lot. I never liked a non-romance series so much before. It's just so nice and laid-back. It kind of reminds me of To Heart. It's sort of like Kodocha too, due to its randomness. But of course, it doesn't have the drama of Kodocha. I suppose this just shows that it's possible to make a great series without any of the romance angst and sex. I can't even imagine any of the Azu Daioh characters getting all mushy (no, that's okay, you don't need to send me doujins and fanfics to get me to change my mind *shudders*).

The video quality is nice and simple, and the songs match the series' frenetic pace. The opening song is actually pretty random. I've watched it several times, and I still don't get what it's trying to get across >.< Yup, matches the series very well.

My favorite character in the series has got to be Sakaki. It's just so cute how she's really into cats and would keep trying to pet them. And everybody thinks she's so cool and sophisticated >.< I guess I just like how she's so down-to-earth and simple, and she doesn't try too hard to be cool.

For the most part, I suppose the main character in the series is Chiyo. There's a fair number of episodes that focus on her. Chiyo's cute too, but I must say that I like Sakaki more :P Yukari is also on my favorite characters list ^^

Anyway, if you're sick and tired of all the angsty series and you're not into action and robots, I recommend Azu Daioh. You'll have a smile on your face when you finish it :)

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