Azumanga Daioh Vol. #2 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B

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Info:

  • Art Rating: B-
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: ADV Manga
  • MSRP: 9.95
  • Pages: 165
  • ISBN: 1-4139-0023-2
  • Size: A5
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Azumanga Daioh Vol. #2

By Eduardo M. Chavez     November 23, 2003
Release Date: November 05, 2003


Azumanga Daioh Vol.#2
© 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.
Now if they figure out a way to reproduce the art that is under the dust jackets (same for FMP!) then they could come close to perfection.

Artwork:
My feelings for the art are actually getting worse. This manga actually has a sense of time so characters have grown taller and styles have changed a little bit. So characters that were already simple got some simple adjustments to their designs. Tomo's hair is notably longer (and pointy), Sakaki appears taller when with other characters (and her rack is also larger; this is a running joke in this volume) and for a while I got Kagura (now a regular character) confused with the old designs for Tomo.
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.
I have to say I really enjoyed the work done in the non 4-panel chapters. They had a good mix of perspective, layout technique and story telling.

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 onomatopoeia 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 won?t go over the accent issues since you can read about them in the forums.

Contents (Watch out potential spoilers ahead)
Continuing with the school theme, this volume picks up around the start of the year. New Year's and the end of the school year are early themes.
A really memorable series of strips revolved around the first dreams of the New Year. They were dreams from 3 of the characters each interacting with Chiyo. You get to see how Chiyo can bring out the worst out of these characters (Tomo, Ayumu and Sakaki) and its rather hilarious. Easily some of the funniest stuff I have read in this series.
Another good skit revolves around Kimura-sensei's wife. WHAT??!!?? He's married!?!? Yup and the man is lucky. For goddess' sake, he even has a child!!
With the start of the new school year comes a new regular character. You might remember Kagura from vol. 1's sports festival scenes. Her character is fleshed out in this volume and she is a combination of a couple of characters. Very athletic, not at all smart (even Ayumu scores better on tests), and very competitive; she could be the most annoying character in no time (but topping Tomo is tough).
Azumanga being very episodic and slice of life there really isn't much of a plot even though there is some continuity and time flow. Even with that types of format the pacing is very upbeat and I get the feeling that there might be a final objective (graduation maybe.)


Azumanga Daioh is one of those series that people should not pass up on. There is no violence, fan service, or much action; instead you get a lot of jokes, sight gags and a little bit of Japanese culture.
The personalities presented by Azuma are those that almost anyone can relate to. They are the some of the average freaks that we live with and socialize with everyday (whether you are in school or not.)

For those looking for a good comedy pick this up. Yeah there are some production issues and some of the jokes have been re-done but if you can look past that you will still get a solid comedy with some of the more refreshing characters you have ever read.

For those looking for something with a little more continuity, action, mecha, adventure, fan service or cooking pass on this. This is just a plain school day comedy made of mostly comic strips. Most of the action happens when local cats bite Sakaki's hand (and even that ends up being anti-climatic. funny but anti-climatic).

I love this series. It?s a very simple basic comedy. Nothing fancy. Characters go about their daily routines being obnoxious, cute, competitive or studious. Most of them could be similar to people you know (Kimura-sensei is too weird to be real), so its really easy to relate to and pretty entertaining. Yeah I would have loved some things to be translated a little better especially words that could have been explained with a note here and there but I have to be in the camp that cannot find a way to translate a dialect so I am not too hard on ADV for that.

Fun, funky and a nice presentation by ADV....
recommended (despite some flaws).

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