So last week I purchased an anime series entitled Azumanga Daioh the Animation with little information as to what it was about. My brother and I were watching AMV Hell 3(not work safe for language) which features a collection of various anime clips edited to music/vocal samplings and the most clips were from Azumanga Daioh. I recognized only because I had once seen a preview on one of my DVDs and the name was a bit silly and hard to forget. The clips, though done for laughs, interested me enough to purchase the series and I'm glad I did.
Azumanga Daioh the Animation is based on a shojo comedy manga about six Tokyo high school girls and their everyday lives. The series stars the 10 year old Chiyo-Chan, a prodigy whose very intelligent but still an adorable little girl. Yomi, whose almost the most normal of the group besides believing she needs to diet more to lose weight. Tomo-Chan whose annoyingly loud, energetic, and strives to be the center of attention. "Osaka", the nicknamed Osaka, Japan native whose spacey and easily amused at the littlest of things. Sakaki, a somewhat shy girl who looks more like a full grown woman. She has a fondness for cute things. Then there's Kagura, the resident jock.
Rounding out the cast are their homeroom teacher Mrs. Yukari who seems like a grown up version of Tomo-Chan. Mrs. Kurosawa, the PE teacher and most popular teacher in school. There's Mr. Kimura who has a fondness for high school girls. Don't worry, mostly PG material here. Also Kaorin who has a either a deep admiration or loving crush on Sakaki.
I have to be honest with you, I haven't been this much into an anime series in years. I've been buying less anime of late(right now, Ghost In the Shell: Stand Alone Complex is the only series I'm following) but this series is just so fun, smart, and cute. The comedy takes what you expect from anime comedies-the exaggerated expressions and figures, fantasy moments, etc. and puts them to great use throughout the series. Especially in regards of Osaka who comes off as the funniest of the characters for me. She has this artificial happy stare that just cracks me up time after time. In one episode she day dreams about Chiyo-Chans pigtails contemplating if their detachable. The stories range from things like them tyring to help Osaka rid herself of hiccups, collective dream sequences, hanging out at the beach, studying for exams, sports fests, and things of that nature.
One of things that anime(and manga for that matter) do so well is balancing outrageous comedy with great drama. Being able to really develop the characters. Take Sakaki, my earlier description only scratched the surface. This is a girl who is unaware of her own popularity. Sakaki is simply fascinated with cute animals, especially cats but the irony is she can't have one. that, and they either bite her or flee from here. She also has issues with her appearance and its not what you'd expect.
Azumanga Daioh is just a warm, fun series that adults and teenagers could really get into. It's very PG(sometimes leaning to PG-13) in content so kids could watch it but I doubt they'd get a lot of the humor. I strongly recommend this series to fans of anime who enjoy shojo, comedy, and drama.