Azumanga Daioh GN 1 to 2
Age - Teen (13+)
By Kiyohiko Azuma
Translators - Kay Bertrand, Amy Forsyth, Javiar Lopez and Al Rodriguez
Publishing Editor - Susan Itin
Graphic Novel 1
You are cordially invited to spend abit of quality time (about 3 years) with the class of Room 103 slash 203 slash 303 and one Miss Yukari (English Teacher).
From the start as you open the pages, and the book's four panel comic strip format which you might be more familiar with from the newspaper (the funnies page) you enter a world that is both engaging, humorous, and thought provoking.
As you enter the "world" of Miss Yukari you'll meet her class of irregulars (I.e. the cast of the series) and get to know them better, one at a time...
Chiyo Mihama - The 10-year old child prodigy who has come to High School ‘cause she's smart enough to be there. She's the daughter of a rich family yet she doesn't let that go to her head. Quite a likable personality.
Sakaki - The strange contradiction that is Sakaki. The class athlete and seemingly a tomboy, she is in fact quite the opposite and has a particular love for cats (even if cats don't love her back).
Kaorin - She who may in fact be madly in love with Sakaki.
Tomo - The wildchild of the class, the chaos in order and the overall comic relief... next to one other... childhood friends with classmate Yomi.
Yomi - The most levelheaded and normal of the gang. Childhood friends with classmate Tomo and sort of an odd couple partner with her (being the straight arrow to Tomo's wild irregular personality).
Miss Kurosawa (Nyamo) - Yukari's so called "rival" but mostly her own "odd couple" friend slash counterpart which again plays on their interactions and occasional rivalries for humor (effectively too I might add).
The Biting Cat - ...well, we DO see this cat quite often...
We meet everyone, learn abit about them, then things get shaken up as a new student arrives.
The girl from Osaka, Ayumu Kasuga, soon to be known as "Osaka".
Mind you at first she seems pretty stable... then all bets are off as Osaka becomes the girl we all know and... well... know.
Enjoy academics, PE class (including the usage of volleyballs as dangerous weapons), computer class, lunch, the discovery of a lost kitten, tests and then go right into Summer.
One difference between the Anime version and Manga version of Summer...
Oh, wait, before I go into that I'll note the MAJOR difference between the Anime and Manga.
Other series they usually translate the manga into anime format in a uniform manner (Graphic Novel 1 is the first 2 or 3 episodes, Graphic Novel 2 is the next set and so forth).
This series, however, jumps willy nilly all over the place to form the 3 years in the Anime series.
That's why, for instance, DVD Volume 1 alone has scenes from this Graphic Novel, Graphic Novel 2, Graphic Novel 3 and probably Graphic Novel 4! Same for each following DVD no doubt!
It's different, and it works, that's all that matters.
One thing you won't find in the Anime, however, is Chiyo-chan/Osaka's time working at the local Magnetron Hamburger (misspelled Humburger in the translation) which didn't make the cut, it seems, on the Anime episode representing the first summer break.
Then it's the Primary Class Election between Chiyo-chan and Tomo.
Then we have the first Sports Festival which announces the arrival of Kagura (from Miss Kurosawa's class), and the first Cultural Festival which features the cute stuffed animal exhibit, and wraps with Christmas.
There's more, of course, but I don't want to tell you everything -- where's the fun in that?
Graphic Novel 2
A brand new year is upon the students of the class of 103.
Yomi's going on a die-- I mean a weight reduction program.
(Never ever use the word "diet", it's no good.)
The first dreams of the new year featuring "Flyin' Chiyo" and the first appearance of the alien cat who Sakaki believes may be Chiyo‘s father.
The big marathon and the few of the cast who were "Left Behind" at the back of the pack.
Chiyo-chan turns 11.
Year 1 becomes Year 2 and Kagura joins the cast.
A case of potentially fatal Osakan hiccups, a day in the life of Chiyo-chan, and Summer Break Take 2.
That and lots more, but if I told you everything that'd spoil all the fun.
Azumanga Daioh Breakdown the 1st & 2nd (of 4)
Whattya mean what's hot? It's a solid piece of work here and well deserving of all the praise it's been getting in both Anime/Manga circles.
Touted by Susan Itin (ADVManga) as being the Anime/Manga "Seinfeld", it is the Essential of a new generation. Wherein classics like Oh My Goddess!, Urusei Yatsura, Ranma 1/2, Tenchi Muyo and so forth are the Essentials of their time, this is the Essential experience of a new generation of Otaku.
Yet it can also be enjoyed by old fans as it is a solidly done piece of work that is perfect in both writing and artwork, and enjoyable from beginning to end.
It's short (only 4 Graphic Novels and 26 Episodes) but worth every moment.
Other than the fact it's short? Nothing. It's one good series and I can't rave enough about it.
Okay. There is one thing. Once you've seen a series like this other series set in schools seem to pale.
Top on my list is another ADV title, the extremely long titled All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku TV.
It's set in school, and Nuku Nuku's classmates get more airtime, but in comparison to a slice of life piece of genius like Azumanga Daioh this series is just flat.
It has it's appeal but it's characters are far too relentless in their character stereotypes. Relentless to the point of becoming a tad annoying. There's no depth to the characters like in Azumanga Daioh, and the characters don't have appealing personalities like in Azumanga Daioh.
The characters in Azumanga Daioh are lovable, deep, thought provoking, and enjoyable.
Maybe it was a blessing to other series that Azumanga Daioh was so short. It's a hard act to follow.
Moments to Remember
...now that's a LONG long long long list... got a few hours to listen to it all?
It's all memorable. From beginning to end. Period.
What to Ignore?
Nothing. Don't ignore it! It's good! Pick it up and read it!
An essential of a new generation, it is one of those rare titles that come out of nowhere and just grabs onto your attention like nobody's business and holds on tight. A true "Essential" that'll earn a place in both your Manga and Anime collections no questions asked.
A truly precious series to be treasured and enjoyed.
So go forth and seek "Grains of truth" and buy both Azumanga Daioh GN 1 to 4 (ADVManga) and Azumanga Daioh DVD Volume 1 & 2 (if it's not out now it's coming soon)!
Animal Crossing: City Folk“
This is a most addictive game that never ends, as you are certain to find something to do in the village each and every day...
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