Azumanga Daioh - Vol. 1: Entrance

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I Laughed Till I Cried!!

May 11, 2004 (Updated Jan 7, 2005)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:You'll laugh till you cry

Cons:Osaka's voice (though no one else I've talked to seems to be annoyed by it)

The Bottom Line: This series is perfect for anime fans and non anime fans alike. Anyone who doesn't laugh at this doesn't have a sense of humor!


Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.

The Intro

It's hard to believe that two months ago, I had never even heard of Azumanga Daioh (which by the way, means "Great King Azumanga" with Azumanga being an amalgam of the writer's first name and manga) and now that I've seen it, it's even harder to believe that I had never even heard of this anime title much earlier!

Azumanga Daioh is currently the number 3 series in Japan and is quickly gaining popularity by leaps and bounds in the United States even though it was released only at the end of April of '04.

The Story

Based on the incredibly popular and innovative manga (Japanese comic book) of the same name, there is actually no central plot in this series. The manga is actually drawn in short four panel series (much like our American newspaper comics) and so the anime follows roughly the same format.

Each episode is broken up into several (anywhere from 5-7 per episode) character driven and loosely related pieces about a group of girls in high school and their daily lives. These are not girls with super powers, these are not girls with incredibly complicated lives that are filled with drama... these are normal girls each with their own personality and quirks which, when put together with their less than role model material English teacher, leads to incredibly hilarious results!

The Good and the Bad

I will be flat out blunt here and say that you're going to be hard pressed to find any real flaws with this series. It's not perfect by any stretch as there are a couple of things that could be improved but honestly, those things are not going to interrupt your enjoyment of this series at all.

Dub vs. Sub

For this review, I watched this review in both the original Japanese (sub titled) and then again in English (dubbed) and I found that both tracks are equally enjoyable. While I found that a few of the jokes that are made in the series (particularly in the third episode) work better when they are done in Japanese, the dubbed versions of those jokes will still make you laugh out loud. I actually had trouble watching this DVD simply because it wasn't long before I was laughing so hard that I had tears rolling down my sore cheeks.

For the dubbed version of this volume, we are treated to the talents of the usual ADV players but I think the biggest standouts of the cast would have to be Jessica Boone as the incredibly cute Chiyo-Chan. Chiyo-Chan is a 10 year old prodigy who is admitted into high school and Jessica Boone plays her so perfectly that you almost get a cavity by how sweet she is! I swear that Jessica Boone manages to set a new record in adorable with this character!

The second biggest stand out of the cast would easily be Luci Christain who plays the loud, irresponsible and often more immature than her students English teacher Yukari Tanazaki. This was a role that had to be played perfectly or else it would have ended up being a complete flop and Ms. Christain nailed it with flying colors!

Other cast members who struck me as standouts worth mentioning would be Monica Rial (Princess Nine) playing Nyamo and Christine Auten (Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040) playing Sakaki. Both roles contribute a great deal to the comedy of this series and are played wonderfully.

I think the only part of the dubbing that I didn't like was the idea to give the character of Osaka (played by Kira Vincent Davies) a southern Texas accent. While I can understand why she was given the accent (even in the subtitles you can tell that she speaks with an accent), they could have chosen one that was a bit less annoying. I actually didn't like the character of Osaka to begin with and the voice only made it that much worse.

Music

The music in this series is hands down wonderful! The opening theme is a very upbeat song that actually kind of reminds me of a circus theme in a weird way with the way that it is phrased and sung.

The closing theme is actually just as excellent. "Raspberry Heaven" is much more mellow but it has such a powerful theme to it's lyrics and the sound is very pleasing. Of course, I think that it only helps that the animation that is used along with the songs fit absolutely flawlessly. I couldn't have asked for better!

Extras

Not many extras to really speak of which is a real shame since they were doing so well there for awhile. You get mostly just the usual here with clean opening and closing animations, some production sketches and trailers for other ADV releases.

One note about the trailers though... if you get a chance, check out the absolutely hilarious trailer for Puni Puni Poemy.

Overall

ADV scored a gold mine by getting this title licensed! This is something that had me laughing until I nearly fell out of bed and I would have no problem showing this to anyone else weather they were anime fans or not.

Related Websites

http://www.advfilms.com/titles/azumanga/announcements/index.php

Related Reviews

Azumanga Daioh: Vol. 2 - Festivals
Azumanga Daioh: Vol. 3 - Rivals!
Azumanga Daioh: Vol. 4 - Friends!
Azumanga Daioh Vol. 5: Seniors!
Azumanga Daioh Vol. 6: Graduation!

Special thanks go out to Psychovant for adding this into the Epinions database for me! Though I'd like to know who's bright idea it was to add Volume 2 before it's even been released and yet completely ignore Volume 1 which was already released.

©L.B. Bryant 2004


Recommend this product? Yes


Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Better than Watching TV
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older


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