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An animated series based off of the four panel managa of the same name, Azumanga Daioh is a whimsical, hilarious and very cute look at the lives of an ecclectic group of high school girls and their teachers at a Tokyo high school. As the series progresses, small bits of their lives are shown, slowly painting a bigger picture as the cast shares the ups and downs of high school life, revolving around a close-knit friendship and a lot of silliness. Written by
loveable, oddball characters at a Japanese high school
This animation is based on a Japanese comic strip, kind of like Charles Schulz's "Peanuts" in North America. Like the "Peanuts" cartoon each episode is built on short segments taken from the comic strip. It has been shown at a few Toronto anime clubs and I also have seen it on DVD. It was jarring watching the show at first because the episodes are really just a series of short gags and then suddenly we see the next episode preview. We have some anime stereotypes like the loudmouth Tomo, the dimwitted Osaka and the pushy Yukari but some characters seemed fresh like Chiyo a bright ten-year old girl who was advanced all the way to high school. Since Japanese high school covers 15 to 17 year-olds Chiyo is much shorter and physically underdeveloped compared the rest of the class. This leads to recurring gags like when Chiyo acts like an elementary school student or when she can't keep up with the rest in phys ed class. If you search the Internet you should find a few translated comic strips so you can see if this series is right for you but I give it a "thumbs-up".
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