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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Azumanga Daioh - Rivals (Vol. 3)
Azumanga Daioh - Rivals (Vol. 3)
ADV Films // Unrated // July 20, 2004
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted August 5, 2004 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
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P R I N T
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The Show:

Chiyo-chan finishes her first year in high school and starts her second in this third volume of Azumanga Daioh.  More hilarity ensues now that the young student becomes a senior.

As the volume opens, the first year is ending, and the students are wondering if they will all be together in the next year.   Chiyo is sure that they will be, but Osaka isn't so confident.  As luck would have it, all the main characters are in the same class, being taught by Ms. Yukari once more.

In addition to the main first year students, the athletic Kagura joins Ms. Yukari's second year class.  She is constantly trying to best Sakaki in some competition, but even though Sakaki isn't that interesting in winning, she always does.  Watching Kagura get more and more frantic as she continues to lose is quite amusing.

One episode that was very good had Chiyo narrating what her day was like from rising till bed time.  It was both funny and charming.

The episode were exams were coming up and some of the students were panicking was priceless.  The worst students joined together to study, and their efforts were hilarious.  A great episode.

The more you watch of this series, the funnier it gets. Some of the running gags are hilarious.  After 10 or so episodes, Sakaki's attempts to pet a cat, any cat, are outrageously funny.  I laughed out loud when she went to "the road were cats gather."  The regular jokes seem stronger in this volume too.  The reason Ms. Yukari was late to school was classic.  This is turning into a series that I really look forward to.  Each volume tops the previous one.

The DVD:


This DVD contains a generous five episodes of Azumanga Daioh in a clear Amaray case with a reversible cover.

Audio:

Like the previous volumes, this DVD offers the choice of the original Japanese language track in stereo or a 5.1 English dub. The 5.1 English track was more enveloping than the Japanese track, but I preferred the original language track.  The female voices in the dub were all high pitched and squeaky. Osaka's voice was done with a fake southern accent that sounded really dumb. I greatly preferred the Japanese track that was clean and clear with no hiss or audio distortion.

Video:

Being a recent production, the full frame video looked pretty good. The lines were tight and sharp, and the colors clear. There was some minor aliasing, with the diagonal lines having a stair step effect, but this is common with animated shows. The colors were a little muted, but I think that this was the creator's intent. A fine looking disc with only minimal defects.

Extras:

In addition to the extras on the DVD itself, ADV has included a cloisonne lapel pin.  The pin depicts two cats, a smaller one sitting on the larger one's head, a "Neco Conneco" a constant theme in this volume.  I really like bonus items like this.  The pin is very cool.

The clear case comes with a reversible cover, and there is a 12-page booklet enclosed. The booklet had comments on each episode by various people who worked on the show. It also contained explanations of the various cultural references in the series that western audiences may not understand. This was especially helpful in explaining some of the more obscure jokes.  It's educational too.  I didn't know that you have to bring you own toilet paper when using public toilets in Japan.  That knowledge could come in handy some day!
 
The DVD itself includes a clean opening and closing, and a two-minute reel of production sketches.

The trailers on this disc are for Wedding Peach, Gravion, Birth, Nurse Witch Komugi, Grrl Power, and Panyo Panyo Di Gi Charat.

Final Thoughts:

This series keeps on improving the longer it goes on.  This volume was my favorite so far.  All of the shows were funny, and the running gags just added to the fun.  The fact that this DVD has five episodes and a free pin is icing on the cake.  Highly Recommended.

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