As yet another seemingly short summer has passed, schools and universities all across Canada are calling students back to crammed classrooms. What better opportunity to talk about a manga revolving around that very subject? School, tests, social life – it’s all there in Azumanga Daioh.
There are five main female students in this manga: Sakaki who is a quiet, strong and awkward girl who loves cute things, Tomo Takino who’s loud and full of herself, Yomi Mizuhara who loves food, Osaka Kasuga the transfer student and Chiyo Mihama, the ten year old brainiac who skipped straight into high school. Yukari Tanizaki is the lazy, moody and unfit homeroom teacher for these students. Minamo Kurosawa, the kindhearted physical education teacher is one of Yukari’s closest friends at that school but tends to get on her case when she’s slacking off.
So how is the story you may ask? Or in this case, where is the story? There are no major complications or deep backstory to hook you in to this manga. The whole set up is everyday life. While other manga may be about a chosen one or revenge, this book is more about preparing for the upcoming English test, getting summer jobs, socializing or even wondering if Chiyo’s hair is actually wings she uses to fly around.
I have to say, while reading this manga I found myself snickering every now and again. The situations and scenarios that it presents can be very humorous and enjoyable. Unfortunately some of the jokes are lost in translation, but not so many that it really gets in the way. The enjoyment I had with this book, the art style, charm, likable characters and comedy makes it no surprise that this manga received an anime adaptation in April of 2002. The nature of the show also paved way for other big name slice of life anime such as Lucky Star and Nichijou. If you ever get the chance, I recommend that you give the manga or even the anime a shot. It gets my seal of approval.