Based upon the manga by Kiyohiko Azuma
Directed by Takashi Wada
- Five episodes
- Collector pin
- Clean opening and closing animation
- Production sketches
- Reversible cover
Dindrane’s Anime Warnings:
- Cute bunny stamps
- Sakaki vs. the grey cat
- Lecherous old man
- Chiyo’s STILL smarter than you
Released by: ADV
Anamorphic: N/A; episodes appear in their original 1.33:1 format.
My Advice: Get it immediately.
[ad#longpost]This fifth volume returns us to the world of Kiyohiko Azuma and the girls who have become our friends. This time, the annual class shuffle has left Kaorin out, and what’s worse, she’s now in scary Mr. Kimura’s homeroom! What will she do without Sakaki to protect her? Meanwhile, Yukari’s class is planning a trip to Okinawa that ends up bringing Sakaki her most cherished friend–a cat who is not afraid of her! Next, the girls tackle their university exams while studying at Chiyo’s family’s beach house, but with Yukari along to “help,” how much will they actually learn? Finally, the school sports festival does more than pit Kagura against the oblivious Sakaki–it has Nyamo versus Yukari. We also start to hear a bit about the girls’ plans after high school, such as Chiyo leaving to study in America and Osaka’s thoughts about becoming a teacher herself.
The features on this release are on par with the previous releases in the series. We get another splendid, adorable cloisonnÃ© pin that will thrill the heart of any otaku. We also get another nicely produced booklet that contains the valuable translator’s notes, comments from the Japanese staff, and some art of Kagura and Yukari. Even if you only listen to the show in Japanese and read the subtitles, the translator’s notes are a goldmine of interesting information and cultural insight. They really do their homework. We also get the usual clean opening and closing, as well as another batch of keen production sketches and a reversible cover with cool art on both sides.
As with the previous releases in the series, the production values, both visual and auditory, are excellent, with very little aliasing or blurring, and nothing to compromise the digital quality. The colors are saturated and bright, with fine details and a style that befits the subject matter perfectly. Even the adorable Iriomote cats fit into the overall look of the show. While the extras on this release are quite nice, and the show is worth the cover price by itself, a sample of the manga itself would have been nice, especially as the show is winding down with only one more volume to go, and viewers might not be ready to let go yet. There are no problems in either language track, so enjoy the well-done acting in either Japanese or English. As a special side note, the menus of each of the volumes have been cute and funny; give them some attention when they load.
In short, if you like slice-of-life anime, then you’ll love Azumanga Daioh. In a world filled with shows bursting with post-postmodern angst, gratuitous sexual violence, and just plain bad writing, this is one show that shines above the rest without being sickly sweet, stupid, or boring. It just goes to show that high school comedies and family-friendly entertainment don’t have to be dull Afterschool Specials. There’s a character here for all of us: gentle Sakaki, tomboy Kagura, nerdy Yomi, or naÃ¯ve Chiyo. Even if you don’t think you’re an anime fan, pick this one up today, and you’ll be glad you did.