Azumanga Daioh: No Method; Just Madness

[A review/ ramble about Azumanga Daioh! (anime)]

There was no real story here, but that’s okay because there were times where Azumanga Daioh made me literally clutch my sides and roll on the floor, laughing. If all slice of life shows were like this, perhaps I would have been more inclined to give the genre a go.

The “story” follows the life of six girls who are friends/ schoolmates through their high school years. They do a lot of stupid things, or get involved in a lot of stupid situations and the comedy of the show pretty much revolves around their stupidity. I didn’t think idiocy could be this funny until I watched the show. Or maybe I just have a strange sense of humour.

Azumanga Daioh never tried too hard, and perhaps that was why it worked. The setting was ordinary and any plot we had was straightforward. It simply felt like everyday elements had been combined with some very strange people to create some side-splitting situations. It was refreshing in that sense, not having so many details or hidden meanings thrown at me. After all the plot-heavy stories that I got into, this one was a good break.

The characters in the show were all quite unrealistic and sort of loose in the head. My favourite nut is Osaka. I became particularly fond of her spastic head vibrations and her silent mastery of senselessness; it’s not easy to achieve. Then there were the teachers. I enjoyed their childish competitiveness, their exasperating decision-making skills and even their questionable morals. The weirdest of the lot is Kimura, the constantly gaping full-time pervert who posed as a teacher. Once I saw him, I couldn’t help but think that he has an uncanny resemblance to Inui (from Prince of Tennis) and then I couldn’t get that thought out of my head. It made everything he did seem a lot more awkward or comical.

I know that some people feel that the show is really not that funny. A few people I know have rolled their eyes at it. That’s okay, because not everyone shares the same sense of humour and what we find funny may change over time. In fact, I distinctly recall that I didn’t find the first few episodes of this show hilarious – funny, yes, but nothing that made me laugh out loud. Once a few episodes had passed however, I started to find it funnier and I enjoyed the brand of humour that it presented. It took me a while to understand the characters, their quirks and feel comfortable enough to find them funny. It might never happen to some viewers and that’s alright.

Anyway, my point is that this is a good series. There’s nothing I dislike about it and I will probably watch it again someday. After watching Azumanga Daioh, I have come to understand that when there’s no story, humour is the way to go.

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