The fourth volume of Azumanga Daioh continues the comic adventures
of young Chiyo-Chan and her schoolmates. The series has settled down
into a pattern, but it's still one of the funniest anime series to be released
this year. This volume is the best yet.
The volume starts out with another sports day, where all of the classes
in the school compete against each other in a series of sporting events.
These episodes are always funny, and this one is no exception. The
three legged race and Chiyo-Chan's ball rolling contest were the highlights
The school culture festival comes around next and Class 3 has to decide
what type of booth to have. Last year's haunted house was good, but
they want something even better. Someone suggests a café,
and then the idea of putting on a haunted café comes up. Osaka
suggests decorating the café with dead dogs and cats to give the
booth a real spooky air. They settle on a "stuffed animal café"
and dress Chiyo up as an unbearably cute penguin.
The rest of the volume covers Christmas, a trip to the amusement park,
and even a trip to a Karaoke club. All with hilarious results.
This series continues to impress me with it's charming stories and great
comic moments. The timing of the comedy in this show is just perfect.
They are willing to pause the action give a joke time to come off.
They don't rush the humor and it works well. I found myself laughing
through every episode, and some of the shows had me rolling on the floor.
I had to pause the DVD after Osaka's horror story so I wouldn't miss anything
while I was laughing.
Though there isn't any deep meaning or even much continuity, this program
has really drawn me in. The characters are fun and believable (for
the most part) and the light stories are really enjoyable. If you
enjoyed the others in this series, make sure you grab a copy of this volume.
Oh yea, and I want a father hat!
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.
Being a recent production, the full frame video looked pretty good.
The lines were tight and sharp, and the colors clear. There was some 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.
There's no cloisonne lapel pin included with this DVD, but the disc
does have some good extras. 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, and now I know what balloon fishing is.
The DVD itself includes a clean opening and closing, a two-minute reel
of production sketches, and several trailers.
This show is consistently funny. The jokes and gags work really
well. It took me the first volume to get the show's sense of humor
and structure, but after that I was hooked. A great show. Highly