8.1
267 votes
Azumanga Daioh

Azumanga Daioh

TV Tokyo 2002

あずまんが大王, Azumanga Daioh, follows the daily high school lives of six female students and two teachers with unusual personalities, from the first day of high school to graduation. Tomo Takino is the energetic loose cannon; Koyomi "Yomi" Mizuhara is the short-tempered, intelligent one; Chiyo Mihama is the 10-year-old genius; Ayumu "Osaka" Kasuga is the slow and not too bright one; Sakaki is the shy cat-loving one, prone to cat bites; and Kagura is the resident jock. The teachers include the wacky, childish, English teacher Yukari Tanizaki, and Minamo "Nyamo" Kurosawa, the sane gym teacher who gets drunk easily. The anime is based on the original manga by Kiyohiko Azuma, and has five parts to each episode, each with its own title (similar to five mini-episodes put together for one big episode). There are 130 sections in all, neatly fitting into 26 episodes.

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The 10 Best Episodes of Azumanga Daioh

Azumanga Daioh - S1E26

#1 - Graduation Ceremony

8.62

Season 1 - Episode 26

126 - First Graduation The last day of school begins, Sakaki faces Kamineko, and Osaka vs. hay fever. 127 - A Thousand Emotions At the graduation ceremony, Chiyo gets a surprise, then gets overwhelmed. 128 - Sorrow Why is Miss Yukari crying? 129 - Our Old School The girls say "goodbye" to high school. 130 - Everyone For Yomi, this is the moment of truth. Will she be accepted like the others, or will she be left out yet again?

The episode was rated from 13 votes.

Azumanga Daioh - S1E24

#2 - Yamamayaa

8.47

Season 1 - Episode 24

116 - Career Path When Sakaki reads that a Yamamaya (or Iriomote wild cat) was killed by a car, she has a horrible feeling. 117 - Showdown Sakaki decides that she wants to go away to veterinary school. Plus, Sakaki and Chiyo face a group of angry cats, when they are saved by an old friend of Sakaki's. 118 - Let's Hurry Apparently weakened after his battle with Kamineko, Sakaki and Chiyo rush the Yamamayaa to the vet. 119 - Popularity The girls visit Chiyo's house to see Mayaa (Sakaki's Iriomote cat), when Tomo finally gets what's coming to her. 120 - Together with Mayaa Sakaki stays at Chiyo's house overnight to be with Mayaa. Meanwhile, on their way home, the other girls encounter a mean looking grey cat.

The episode was rated from 15 votes.

Azumanga Daioh - S1E16

#3 - Culture Fest, Second Year

8.31

Season 1 - Episode 16

76 - Combination It's time for the Culture Fest again. But, with last year's theme being such a big hit, how are the girls going to top it? 77 - Epiphany The girls finally decide on a theme. Plus, Chiyo feels the pressure! 78 - Cute The Culture Fest begins. Plus, Chiyo suits up! 79 - Ordering Nyamo drops in for some coffee. Kimura drops in for something else entirely. 80 - Advertising Reach Chiyo and Osaka take a break to enjoy the Culture Fest.

The episode was rated from 16 votes.

Azumanga Daioh - S1E12

#4 - Chiyo-chan's Day

8.24

Season 1 - Episode 12

56 - Chiyo-chan's Day A day in the life of a child prodigy begins. 57 - High School Friends We meet Chiyo's friends from elementary school. Also, we get Chiyo's perspective on her teachers and classmates. 58 - Lunch The girls go up to the school roof to have lunch. 59 - Afternoon Chiyo's day continues as she fights for her life in P.E. class. 60 - Jump Rope Chiyo gets to show off her rope jumping skills to her friends.

The episode was rated from 17 votes.

Azumanga Daioh - S1E6

#5 - Sports Fest

8.20

Season 1 - Episode 6

26, "Equation for Victory" The upcoming school Sports Fest has everyone excited, especially Yukari. 27, "Sakaki of Class 3, Kagura of Class 5" The Sports Fest begins. However, Chiyo doubts whether or not she will able to help her classmates win. 28, "Runaway Victory" The games continue as the girls participate in the 400 meter race, the scavenger hunt, and the tug-of-war. 29, "Yay!" The final decisive event of the day: the class relay race! Also, Chiyo gets her moment to shine. 30, "Dancing the Grand Finale" The Sports Fest ends with a traditional dance, where Kaorin's greatest fanasy and her worst nightmare both come true!

The episode was rated from 20 votes.

#6 - Last Sports Fest in High School
8.14
Season 1 - Episode 23

111 - Chewed The Sports Fest returns! ...But why is Osaka so excited? 112 - Cheerleader Her and Tomo's rough-housing leads to a crisis for Kagura. 113 - I Didn't Think Osaka is pumped up and ready, but there is one possibility she hadn't considered... 114 - We'll Run Together Kaorin gets to see Sakaki in a way she's never seen her before. Plus, the relay race begins. 115 - United It all comes down to this... In the relay race, the girls are going to have to work together if they're going to win.

The episode was rated from 14 votes.
#7 - Onwards, Entrance Exams!
8.13
Season 1 - Episode 25

121 - Career Path Discussion The Entrance Exams are fast approaching, but Tomo still has time to ask riddles. Plus, Osaka-sensei!?! 122 - Prayers for Acceptance The girls head to a holy shrine to pray for success on their exams. 123 - Fight! The time for exams is nigh... 124 - Study Group The girls discuss how quickly three years of high school went by. 125 - Tomo and Osaka's Fateful Day Kagura gets accepted, but is there any hope for her fellow Knuckleheads, Tomo and Osaka?

The episode was rated from 15 votes.
#8 - The Ocean, Summer Kimonos, and a Party!
8.12
Season 1 - Episode 14

66 - Shopping Chiyo invites the girls back to her family's beach house. Also, Chiyo, Osaka, and Tomo go shopping. 67 - Meeting Up The girls gather at Chiyo's house before heading to the beach. 68 - The Ocean! Chiyo only has one key to get into the beach house. If something happened to it, it would be a disaster... 69 - Capture Operation The girls attend a local summer festival for some summer evening fun. 70 - The Adult World As the night wears on and the sake flows, Nyamo gives the girls a life lesson... sort of.

The episode was rated from 17 votes.
#9 - Pool, Pool, Pool!
8.00
Season 1 - Episode 4

16, "A Fun Profession" We meet Kimura-sensei, the girls' creepy Classical Lit. teacher. 17, "Pool, Pool, Pool" As the girls gather at the school pool for gym class, we get to see more of their physical limitations, as well as a few personality quirks. 18, "Ribbon" Nyamo is trying to teach swimming technique to her class at the pool, when Yukari (naturally) rudely interrupts. 19, "Just the Two of Them" At Yukari's insistence, she and Nyamo face off in a pool relay race. 20, "A Good Person?" The aftermath of the class relay race. Also, the girls spot Kimura in the park after school and start wondering what kind of person he really is.

The episode was rated from 26 votes.
#10 - Chiyo-chan's Birthday
8.00
Season 1 - Episode 9

41 - If I Can't Pet One... When Kaorin shows off pictures of her cats at school, Sakaki gets an idea. 42 - 11 Years Old Chiyo announces that she will soon be turning eleven. 43 - Mr. Kitty Cat With Chiyo's birthday coming up, Sakaki searches for the perfect gift. 44 - Premise The girls gather at Chiyo's house for a birthday party. 45 - Why? After the party, the girls go for a walk together.

The episode was rated from 18 votes.

Last updated: jul 06, 2021

Comments

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First and firemost, I must say that the series changed drastically my perceptions of humour in fiction. Before watching it, I always thought that the comedic effect of one joke was sort of independent from the context, so a line could be funny without the need of setting it in some place or some character, and that only served to add some more quality to what in itself was hilarious. I couldn't do that with "Azumanga" for two reasons. The first one is that most of the series lacks enough sharpness, as it tries a more innocent style of comedy, devoid of satire. The second one is the lack of originality of many jokes, which basically feel like remakes of already beaten interactions in many other works; however, they stood out as improved versions in most of the cases. So with this series I started to notice some other details. Who said the phrase, which tone they used, the fastness of their talk, in which exact moment it was pronounced, the silences between phrases and interventions of characters, the spatial position of them, etc. I had never seen anything that was so aware of and promoted so much these context characteristics that in other shows only served to increase the enjoyment of an already effective joke. However in "Azumanga Daioh" these kinds of details were simply vital, as they also describe the characters perfectly. To put an example, Tomo always reacts fastly to the other interlocutor, her discourse is fast and rushed, very loud (yelling) and the pacing of the conversation gets also incredibly quick and hysterical; on the other hand, everytime that Osaka takes part in the conversation, the pacing slows down and the atmosphere gets more relaxing, there are lots of silences between phrases or even words, and she talks in a much smoother way... We could say that the comedy in this show is purely character-based. The same lines pronounced by other characters wouldn't have even a little percent of their effectiveness. And this drives me to the second point of my comment. Like most of you may have guessed, I am going to talk about the characters. Because just saying that they are a cast of likeable personalities is not enough. This is one of the very few shows in which every single character is almost equally likeable to me. Actually, they are not so original and respond to already beaten stereotypes; there is the shy girl (Sakaki), the loud and hyper one (Tomo), the rude but well-intentioned (Kagura), the more mature and irascible (Yomi), the weird and calmed one (Osaka) and the cute innocent little girl (Chiyo)... but these are just the premises. The characters end up getting a development and acquiring new traits during the series, sometimes in a very subtle way, through the jokes or a reaction at a given moment. The series doesn't just stay in the level of "this girl is shy", but shows you how does she see the world, in which way she reacts before specific situations and why. Following with the example of Sakaki, we can see that her, apart from being just "shy", usually has slow reactions, always immersed in her thoughts; for that reason we notice that a lot of people consider her a rather inaccessible person and tend to ignore her, which in the end could explain her insecurity at socializing with the rest. Another characteristic of the series, in fact, is that it holds an amazingly powerful ability to suggest; that is, we can deduce things about the past of a character in connection with the current moment. We can imagine that Sakaki has always had that problem to socialize, and for that reason the reinforcement of her newly acquired friends is so important in her life. And finally, we see that the character evolves, but not in a very obvious way, just standing up and making a decision for the whole group, in a scene that doesn't prepare specially for that. This whole comment is just given by one single character, and I haven't even taken in account what in the end is her most noticeable characteristic in the show: the love for cute things and her conflict with cats. In regards to this, I think saying that the series is just a chain of hilarious character situations is, again, an error because its qualities are sold too short. That is, leaving aside its humorous qualities, "Azumanga" is, above all, a tale about friendship filled with nostalgia. We could describe it as an idealization, the filter that the passing of time offers and ends up choosing those memories that tend to be more positive of every stage of our lives, forgetting the bad moments and reinforcing the little instants of happiness. The show has been criticized sometimes for not having conflicts -which is not true, although they are mostly easily solved- and, for that reason, being excessively positive; however I think that it transmits very well the feelings that are with anybody who tries to remember other stages of their life with their current perspective. And why do these girls transmit their friendship so well? I think it's because of their marginal character. During the whole series we see them as individuals isolated from the rest, in fact, for the other students they are weird, unapproachable, absurd, stupid, to sum it up, their friendship works like an alternative world, they tolerate and support each other. None of the girls splits from the group when she is in love with a boy or something like that, they remain always together and in some way they manage to survive through an experience that otherwise would probably have ruined their life for years. But, apart from this, say, positive simplification of friendship, the series talks about other things, that are many times not given enough attention, maybe because they are commented half in serious, half kidding. In that sense, we have references to their sexual arouse (ridiculed by Kaorin's sudden lesbian rants and Tomo's obsession with the weight of her boobs), the school competitiveness, the exams, the doubts about the future, etc. Whoever thinks that this series can't take anything seriously enough should watch episode 19 (which is the only original one, not appearing in the manga), and tell me how many light comedies speak so clearly about things like labour stagnation or the influence of family and cultural values (the slight sexism of Japanese society, Nyamo trying to find a man before she has past her prime, because otherwise she will never feel fulfilled in life) in the objectives and decisions that one sets in their life. I don't say it is specially critical of the situation, but this, say, awareness, is at the very least surprising, and very uncommon in similarly-themed shows. I could keep talking about everything contained in this series, which is, in my opinion, a lot more than what the first sight might make it look, but I think I have to stop at some point. For me, "Azumanga Daioh" has trascended, not only as my favourite anime series, but as a work with which I feel a strange and unshakeable complicity. Not just because I understand every character, and I laugh with them, get moved by them, but because, in some way, I feel here reflected many of the feelings and emotions that I, myself, passed through in its day.

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(from my old collection of anime reviews circa 2003) Slice-of-life high school comedy. The hilarious tales of several odd and quirky girls in high-school, as well as their equally odd teachers. Quirky, off-the-wall humour. Ignores the boys in the school.

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