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Azumanga Daioh: The Animation - Class Album: The Complete Azumanga Daioh
Like Seinfield or the juvenile novels of the '50s, the popular shojo (girl's) series Azumanga Daioh (2002) isn't really about anything. Based on the manga by Kiyohiko Azuma, the broadcast series follows a mismatched group of seven girls through their three years at an ordinary Tokyo high school. Chiyo is a cute prodigy who skipped five grades; Sakaki seems oblivious to everything except stray cats, which always bite her. Kaorin appears to be fixated on Sakaki; although she worries about her weight, Yomi is the most normal member of the cast. Osaka acts spaced-out,Tomo declares she's a "loose cannon," and Kagura is an outstanding athlete: this trio proclaims themselves "The Knuckleheads" when they face major exams. Hard-drinking, potty-mouthed English teacher Yukari resents the popularity of saner coach Nyamo, even though they're friends and former classmates; Kimura, who teaches because he likes to ogle teenage girls, is the only major male character.
Azumanga Daioh presents no sustained story arc or character development: each episode is a collection of more or less random incidents involving the girls and the three faculty members. The stories focus on everyday activities: classes, exams, festivals, field trips, athletic events. The characters don't pilot mecha or battle demons or lose their clothes or face major emotional crises. The normalcy of the girls' lives is the main source of the series' appeal. (Rated 13 and older: cartoon violence, minor profanity, alcohol use, minor risqué humor) --Charles Solomon
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Top Customer Reviews
The strange and surreal look, tone and rhythm of the animation might take some viewers time to get used to, but stick it out and the show will prove enormously enduring. There are a lot of Japanese jokes and puns that could not translate well but that's just a minor drawback with this series. Overall, it is one of the best anime series I've had to pleasure to watch.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Be it Chiyo wishing that people would stop treating her like a kid, or Tomo acting every bit a fool and enjoying every minute of it, or Sakaki being uncomfortable with her towering stature, or Yomi's constant concerns about her weight, or even Osaka's frequent non-sequiters, this is a series about growing up with your friends.
And the characters are all truely likeable, as well. Even those who can be seen as annoying at times can't really be faulted for their personality quirks.
The series is fun and heartfelt.
This is a set of 5 disks. The first 4 are basically the original individual disk releases with all the extras ripped out. The start up screen is no longer animated but shows a still picture of Sakaki with the cat hanging onto her finger.
The 5th disk concerns me. It contains all the episodes on the original disks 5 and 6. It contains a total of 7 episodes. I worry that they may have increase the compression of the video to fit the episodes in.
You know, considering that they have to change the masters of disks 1 to 4 to rip out the extras, they might as well have redistributed the episodes more evenly to the 5 disks. I mean they have to make new masters anyway right? Damn, I hate sloppy work!
I like the packaging. A thinpak is essentially a box set containing the disks in thin plastic DVD cases instead of the standard thicker ones. It actually saves you shelf space. What you sacrifice are the paper inserts. Considering that I almost never read the inserts anyway, it is no big loss for me.
The only reason I gave the DVD set a 4 star rating is because the fan sub had so much extra (explaining japanese jokes and culture that otherwise didn't make sense). Everything else was top shelf and I didn't see any bad subs.
As for the story...
The movie takes place in a junior high school in Japan. Following a group of young japanese school girls you get to see their perspective of the world around them, and the way it is told the youths seem more mature than any of the adults. The characters are very developed and and engrossingly likable. You will find yourself laughing at physical humor and nonsense, tearing up when something is sad, and alot of the times just smiling stupidly to yourself at some youthful innocence. It is a story about growing up and friendship that anyone can enjoy.
If you breath air you should buy this set. Anime fan or not. And I have also found that this anime may change some peoples minds about what anime is.
A FANTASTIC anime that developed from a 4 cell comic strip.
A must have.
For a series that's so plotless, there's a surprising amount of character development here. Even without the added drama of a complex love triangle that you typically find in most high school-related anime, the characters mature a lot and their friendships grow throughout the series while they still retain their little quirks that made them such a unique cast. Azumanga Daioh suprisingly doesn't cut many corners with the animation like you would normally expect from a comedy like this, but just about everything is animated with rich detail (expect for maybe things like the crowds at school in unimportant scenes) and all the characters have a unique design about them despite not having all the exaggerated features of most anime characters, like bizarre haircolors and styles. The music is always bouncy and catchy, filled with lots of energy. The opening theme song is as random as the show itself and the ending theme is sweet, cute, and relaxing.
Azumanga Daioh is just an overall enjoyable comical show that you just can't help but to love. If there was one thing I could complain about this release is the boxset's lack of extras. While I'm glad ADV re-released this series in a cheaper boxset making it more affordable for me to buy, I really miss not having any extras here. Normally, I don't care much about bonus features on DVDs, especially for anime, but with Azumanga Daioh, I feel like they were important to keep. The main reason being that two of the extras that were only included on the single volume DVDs were two animated shorts: Azumanga Daioh-The Very Short Movie and Azumanga Web Daioh. Being a plotless anime, these shorts aren't neccessary to watch to be able to understand and enjoy the series as a whole, but they're essential in completing any Azumanga Daioh fan's collection.
Despite the lack of extras, this boxset was still worth it for the chance to finally be able to see this hilarious anime for such a low price. I just hope that ADV will include extras in their future thinpack sets. Azumanga Daioh is definetly one of the zaniest, most hilarious anime series I've ever seen. It never fails to put a smile on your face and it's so unique because it's just so different from most of your average anime. However, I can't really recommend this series to everyone. The show relies a lot on humor you could only understand if you have a general knowledge of Japanese culture. The series also features a lot of slapstick comedy and not everyone enjoys that kind of humor, but if you are the kind of person who does like it and if you at least have a basic knowledge of Japanese culture, Azumanga Daioh is definetly a series that you'll love. If you're looking for a drop-dead hilarious comedy anime that's different from the norm, don't hesistate on checking this series out.