Azumanga Daioh

Azumanga Daioh

Story: Kiyohiko Azuma
Kiyohiko Azuma
Genre: Slice Of Life / Comedy
Volume Count: 4
Vintage: 2000

Version reviewed: English Translated
Date of Review: 25 Feb 2008

Grade: A+

Cross the familiar American daily comic format with the Japanese school comedy, and the result is one of the easiest to read and most enjoyable manga out there.

Plot Summary
Follow the daily lives of six girls during their three years at high school.

The Review
It can be difficult to review something so fundamentally simple, since there really isn’t that much you can say about a comic that is so minimalist. Azumanga Daioh‘s success lies in its simple delivery.

The format of Azumanga Daioh is very friendly to Western readers; it is told in a four-panel format, much like daily American comics. Also similar is that each four panel strip is a self-contained joke. There is no overall story per se, though many of the strips are sequential in nature, where a short storyline may take up to a dozen four panel strips to be told. The jokes come fast and furious, and rely both on wit and visual gags. The art style is very clean and simple, which allows the storyline (such as there is) and characters to shine.

Storywise, there isn’t really one; it’s just what happens to six girls and their teachers during their three year tenure at high school. In brief, the main characters are:

Chiyo Mihama, 10 year old girl genius.
Ayumu “Osaka” Kasuga, space cadet from Osaka with an accent to match.
Tomo Takino, attention-seeking pain in the neck.
Koyomi Mizuhara, self-conscious and studious childhood friend of Tomo.
Sakaki, nobody knows her first name… tall and imposing with a weakness for cute.
Kagura, nobody knows her first name either. Good at sports and competitive in nature.

Six girls, three years, one very entertaining manga. Being such a simple and enjoyable read, anyone that’s ever gone to high school is sure to find Azumanga Daioh a fun way to reminisce about the school life that they wish they had.

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