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5.0 out of 5 stars Azumanga Daioh complete series review, 31 July 2007
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This review is from: Azumanga Daioh Volume 1: v. 1 (Azumanga Daioh (ADV Manga)) (Paperback)
Azumanga Daioh was one of the first series released by the manga division of ADV - and did they do well.

This series doesn't seem that exciting at first. There are no giant robots. No super-heros. No saving the world. No love triangles. No monsters. No aliens. No fights in outer-space. This series is just pure comedy.

The layout of Azumanga Daioh is also different compared to other manga series. It is mostly in "yonkoma" format, which consists of 4-panel vertical comic strips which each involve a gag of some sort.

So without a huge epic plot to hold it together, how has Azumanga become so popular? It's just about a group of high-school girls, going about their everyday lives. They do their school work together, participate in school sports days and events, enjoy summer holidays together... and that's just about it.

However, each character in Azumanga is different, such as the cute 10-year-old prodigy Chiyo, the athletic and tall Sakaki, and the rather slow Osakan... Osaka. As you follow their lives, it'll be easy to pick your favourite (my personal favourite being Osaka, who I believe is one of the best anime/manga characters of all time!). Even though nothing extraordinary happens, this series is just packed full of funny moments and jokes, and you'll end up smiling and eventually laughing out loud as each character has their own quirks. It is hard to describe the humour - just see for yourself.

ADV has presented this series very well. The books are slightly bigger than the regular size from Tokyopop and Viz Media. Each book comes with a few colour pages at the beginning, and there are translation notes included in the back of volumes 3 and 4. It's a shame they didn't have these translation notes in the first two volumes, but perhaps they were not required. A good idea though if you're considering this as a Christmas present: There is an omnibus edition of Azumanga Daioh being published in Novemeber 2007 which compiles all four volumes of the series into one big book. It might be a bit awkward to read such a big book, but something some people might want to consider.

As I said before, this series is just pure comedy. Although I recommend that you read the volumes in order, it is easy to just pick up a book, flip to a random page and find yourself laughing. If you find yourself wanting more, then I would also recommend the anime series (also available from ADV) which is a loyal adaptation of the manga. This series is only 4 volumes long, and is, I think, an essential part of anybody's manga collection. A worthwhile purchase you won't regret!
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