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Azumanga Daioh Volume 6
Chiyo-Chan and her friends finish up their last year of high school and get ready to move on to college as Azumanga Daioh wraps up with this sixth volume. Before they go their separate ways though, they still have a few hurdles to overcome.
The volume starts off with a Iriomote wild cat, seen in the last volume, tracking Sakaki down to her great surprise and delight. The tall athlete's parents won't let her have a cat, but she decides that she'll live on her own in college just so she can have a cat. In the mean time, Maya as the cat is called, takes up residence with Chiyo-chan.
Last minute cramming takes up the next episode, as college entrance exams roll around. Chiyo-Chan doesn't have to take them since she's studying abroad, but the other members of her class do. They try to study together, with predictable results. Everyone is sure that Sakaki will get into a good school, but where will Osaka go?
Finally the class graduates in the last episode. It's a fun yet sad time for the six friends as they know that they'll soon drift apart, but still want to keep in touch.
This was a little more serious than the other volumes, though there were some very funny scenes. Ms. Yukari's last words to Chiyo-Chan were priceless, as was Sakaki's last meeting with her nemesis, the cat Kamineko.
This is a really charming show, and one that I thoroughly enjoyed. In this last volume, they were able to make the ending bitter-sweet without having it bring down the mood, and also wrapping up the series in a realistic fashion. The graduation scene made me recall my own graduation from high school, and all of the things I was feeling at that time. A very touching show.
This is really a show that has passed under a lot of people's radar, but is really funny and very entertaining. A program that shouldn't be missed.
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 a cloisonne lapel pin included with this DVD, a nice pin of Maya. I really like this extra that they've been including with some of the volumes. Wearing one of these is a nice way of letting other fans know that you enjoy the show without looking like a fool.
The clear DVD 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.
The DVD itself includes a clean opening and closing, a two-minute reel of production sketches, and several trailers. There is also a six minute long "mini-movie" that looks like it was used to sell the series in the first place. It contains a lot of the jokes there were in the series itself, but the animation was of a higher quality. It was a pretty cute extra.
This is one of the most consistently funny show's I've seen this year. Both charming and cute, there are laugh out loud scenes in every episode. A wonderful show worth picking up. Highly recommended.