Azumanga Daioh Vol. #1 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Art Rating: C+
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: ADV Manga
  • MSRP: 9.95
  • Pages: 165
  • ISBN: 1-4139-0000-3
  • Size: A5
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Azumanga Daioh Vol. #1

By Eduardo M. Chavez     September 20, 2003
Release Date: September 03, 2003


Azumanga Daioh Vol.#1
© ADV Manga


Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Azuma Kiyohiko
Translated by:Kay Bertrand
Adapted by:

What They Say
N/A

The Review
Packaging:
ADV's presentation is very good. The highlights include the large but original A5 size aspect. Colored pages were great to see and something that I really hope ADV can continue in their future releases. They also kept most of the original cover art, with only the spine art being completely changed. Logo Check!! (2003 Megs) the logo here is nicely done. ADV did add a little "the manga" to the logo but it doesn't mess the look up too bad.
Once again the printing (especially on the toned areas) is a little overdone causing some shades to blend too much. Yeah the color on the cover is over-saturated with red and the color pages inside are not sharp enough, but if they figure out a way to reproduce the art that is under the dust jackets (same for ) then they could come close to perfection.

Artwork:
Personally I do not really care for the art. The designs are very simple. There is very little depth to the characters or the world they are in. Backgrounds are rarely there and because of the format the layout is non-existent. Perspective is pretty interesting but can be a little too agressive at times (one can only take so many close-ups of Tomo-chan.)

Orientation/SFX:
The orientation is right to left, as usual.
And I like that they are not translating SFX by describing them instead of using otomatopias as often as they used to. It was a little weird but I am glad they have gotten over some of their early bugs.
They also tend to mix up the use of subs and the occasional overlay for their SFX translations. Its works out pretty good actually, so you will almost always have the original SFX intact (except for the 3 or 4 times where there is little room in a panel to have both).

Text:
Azuma-sensei picks a great selection of high school personalities. Slow gal, girl-super genki gal, shy but misunderstood gal, child genius, straight gal, the rival, the loli-con teacher, the level headed teacher with a past, and the just whacked teacher make up a cast that really works well together because of how different they all are. With this in mind one can really see the strange sense of humanity here. It was all so real it could only be humorous.
While at times the continuity may be a little off this was a very fast read and the yon-koma (four panel comic strip) format could make for a smooth flow that can be picked up and put down at almost any time. This may be a little bit of a turn-off for some people. I know of people that do not like comic strips but love comics so this might take a little getting used to but the writing situations are so funny I can see people getting over it quickly.
I wont go over the accent issues since you can read about them all over the forums.

Content (Watch out spoilers ahead)
Even though my high school days ended 8 years ago I can still remember some of those memories quite vividly. The bad food, the dorky teachers, the wierd classmates were all a part of the everyday thing that was school.
Azumanga Daioh takes us to high school and gives us sniplets in 4 panel comics of those days. I dont know about you but life was this dorky when i was in high school in Osaka. But we didnt have New York accents that's for sure.
Azumanga Daioh pretty much follows the life of a few high schoolers and their teachers. We get to see bits and pieces of their personalities, their struggles, their bad traits and the secrets that they have. This series shares the sides of people that you know about but never make public. Its something that possibly has more significance in Japan than the US for that very reason.
Its just how open this series is that makes it so funny and unique. The characters are pretty extreme even the "normal" ones. But since we get to see them in every situation - bad, good, over the top, or background cast - you almost feel as if you really get to know these characters and you can almost imagine who you know that is like these gals.
Azuma-sensei picks a great selection of personalites. Transfer student, slow gal, girl-idolizing girl, super genki gal, shy but misunderstood gal, child genius, straight gal, the rival, the loli-con teacher, the level headed teacher with a past, the just whacked teacher make up a cast that really works well together because of how different they all are. With this in mind one can really see the strange sense of humanity here. It was all so real it could only be humorous.
While at times the the continuity may be a little off this was a very fast read and the comic strip format could make for a smooth flow that can be picked up and put down at almost any time. This may be a little bit of a turn-off for some people. I know of people that do not like comic strips but love comics so this might take a little getting used to but the writing situations are so funny I can see people getting over it quickly.

Azumanga Daioh is possibly the best introduction to the world of 4-koma manga (four panel manga. Heartbroken Angels from VIZ being another example). The jokes are fast but subtle and the characters while strange are ones that people will most likely run into at some points of their lives. This first volume also is really fortunate to not be very culture dense. So readers can pick this up get to know the characters without having to worry about cultural issues that could come up in a japanese slice of life comedy.
Once again the production values from ADV are pretty high. I have to say that this one is levels above the FMP! release as issues with asides and SFX are not as much of a factor here (obviously four panel manga doesnt really rely on those manga techniques but they did a better job any way)

Personally I would recommend this to people familiar with manga. I have to say it will take a little getting used to for those just getting into the medium. Still this series does have a bit of continuity so its not too random.

Fun, funky and nicely presented by ADV....
recommended.

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