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Azumanga Daioh
Written by Mike Bucknall

This manga is written by Kiyohiko Azuma, who is also known for Yotsuba&! manga, and is a refreshing piece of fun in the world of manga. Written in strip form rather like Peanuts, it follows the high school life of six girls and their two rather eccentric teachers from Freshman to Senior.

The girls are:
  • Chiyo Mihama - A child prodigy, who at 10 years old is the youngest of the six girls. She comes from a rich family and is sometimes the source of jealousy from others at the school. Referred to as Chiyo-chan, she is a bright, bubbly character, but because of her age is naEe about the life of the older girls. Pictured with red hair, in pigtails that seem to worry Osaka, she is obviously the shortest of the group, much to her disgust at times.

  • Tomo Takino - A hyperactive girls who wants to be the best at everything, but fails, dismally. Not that it gets her down, as she is ever optimistic about life. Has a tendency to think before she does anything, loud, annoying and YomisEbest friend. A general tomboy.

  • Kiyomi Mizuhara - Known as Yomi among the group, she wears glasses and has long brown hair. Studious and intelligent, she bears the years of being Tomos best friend with dignity. She is the voice of reason within the group, but has her own insecurities, mainly about her weight.

  • Sasaki - She is not given a surname in either the manga or the anime. Is often referred to as Sasaki-san she is the tallest of the six, with very long black hair, and the quietest. She is naturally intelligent and athletic and is self conscious about her body, which makes her reserved. Her reticence is often mistaken for being cool by others and is seen as distant. In reality she is very much a girly girl and loves all things cute, especially cats. Unfortunately this love is not returned by cats, which bite her. This does not put her off though.

  • Ayumu Kasugu - The only time her name is said is when she is introduced to the class. She is a transfer student from Osaka and is soon given the nickname Osaka by Tomo. From that point on she is called Osaka by everyone. A girl prone to day dreaming, and flights of fancy, she is not particularly bright or athletic, but tries her best. She has a love of word games and is exceptionally good at riddles, much to the amazement of the other girls.

  • Kagura - Almost like Tomo is some respects, except she is good at athletics and is on the swim team. Enters the group in the second years when Yukari poaches her from Nyamos class as a ringer for the schools sports festival. She sees Sakai as a rival on the sports field, but is good natured and not as impulsive as Tomo. Like Sakai she is never given a surname.

The teachers are:

  • Yakari Tanizaki - The schools English teacher and the homeroom teacher of the girls. She is an eccentric teacher to say the least and has a rivalry with her fellow teacher Nyamo, whom she attended the same school with when they were students. Moody and impulsive and forever broke, she can be very frightening when she is in a bad mood and just as frightening when she is in a good mood. Very informal with the class, who sometimes refer to her as Yukari-chan.

  • Minamo Kurosawa - The ying to Yukaris yang. She is called Nyamo by Yukari, an old nickname from when they were at school together. She doesn't like it being used, but that doesn't stop Yukari. She is the schools gym teacher and is put down by Yukari on occasion as being just a dumb gym teacher. She is balanced and probably the sanest, although she does lose her cool on occasion.

  • Other characters appear on a regular basis such as Mr. Kimura, a teacher who leaches over the girls and is quite open about it; Kaorin, a fellow student who idolises Sasaki and thinks she is in love with her; Takdakichi-san, Chiyo-chans dog and as big as her.

The series was originally published in Dengeki Daioh between 1999 and 2002, it was taken up by ADV and translated into English in four volumes. It was also made into a 26 episode anime in 2002, also available in English. There is also a short movie that was produced to promote the up coming series in theatres. It is only six minutes long and is usually included as an extra on the DVDs.

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