**Azumanga Daioh review**
Sometimes less is more.
This is one of those times.
The style of Azumanga Daioh is deceptively simple. The character designs seem somewhat basic, the music is very light and subdued, and minor details such as ...plot... seem to be easily disregarded. Azumanga Daioh epitomizes the so-called Slice of Life genre of anime.
The strongest aspect of Azumanga Daioh are the characters themselves, so I will introduce the major ones here.
Beyond knowing who the characters are, there's just not much need for explanation here. The series jumps forward in time from episode to episode, spotlighting various aspects of high school life, from Sports Festivals, to Cultural Fairs, to summer vacation trips, and to studying for college entrance exams. Since it is originally based on a four-panel comic series, it's easy to see why there is little in the way of plot and continuity in the series. There are running gags, certainly, but not much else is there other than the girls' steady progression through high school and towards graduation.
Visually, as mentioned above, the character designs are very simplistic and not particularly detailed. Backgrounds and surroundings are not as detailed either, and yet there is a certain elegance to all this simplicity that really is appealing to me. As a result, the images provided are adequate to conveying meanings to viewers, yet at the same time they do not distract from the interaction and dialogue of the characters.
Speaking of the seiyuu now, there are many extremely talented voice actors who have lent their talents to the show. Notably, Yuu Asakawa portrays Sakaki, Houko Kuwashima performs the voice of Kagura, Yukari-sensei is voiced by Akiko Hiramatsu, Rie Tanaka lends her talents to Yomi, and Aya Hisakawa gives voice to Nyamo-sensei. More than any of those talented seiyuu, however, special recognition needs to be given to Tomoko Kaneda who provides the voice of the super-cute and adorable Chiyo Mihama. She manages to perfectly capture the naive innocence and pure outlook of a ten year old girl, and actually sounds like she herself is ten.
The music is very playful and at most times lighthearted and easygoing. Wind instruments seem prevalent in the background music, at times even including the use of recorders. The music may on occasion sound strange, but it just fits so perfectly that it's difficult to think of it being any other way. The opening and ending themes, Soramimi Cake and Raspberry Heaven, are vibrant and cheerful songs, easily setting the tone for the series.
Overall, this is an excellent comedy show that I've found easy to watch over and over again. There is nothing particularly groundbreaking to the series, but it remains eminently enjoyable. It is a show that is appropriate for most anyone, as there is very little objectionable material. Right now it is among my three favorite shows, and I don't see it moving out of that position anytime soon.
Composite grade A+ (4.00)