Modern Visual Culture

Recommended Works

Contributor Reviews
95%Shawn Hirman
100%Steven McPherson

Azumanga Daioh


Mangaka: Kiyohiko Azuma あずまきよひこ
Born: 27th of May, 1968 Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan
Original Publisher: Shogakukan
English Language Publisher:
Published: February 1999 to May 2002
Status: Finished
Number of Volumes: 4
Serialized: Monthly Comic Dengeki Daioh 月刊コミック電撃大王
Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life
Demographic: shonen

Charming four-panel yonkoma comedy about a group of six high school girls and their teachers. Heavily character-driven, each main character has a defining quirk; Chiyo-chan, a 10 year old prodigy; Osaka, with her head in the clouds; Sakaki, an extremely shy girl with unfortunate luck regarding cats; Tomo, who is very impulsive; Kagura, the intensely competitive athlete; and Yomi, the level-headed one.

Having little in the way of conventional story-lines, Azumanga Daioh instead builds up a series of gags almost exclusively utilizing the four-panel format. Kiyohiko Azuma is a master of yonkoma comedy; even the title of the manga itself is a pun on the artist’s name and the magazine where it was serialized.

An archetypal example of "cute girls doing cute things", the series' moe elements are endearing rather than creepy. Azumanga Daioh's light tone and general absence of drama was refreshing and novel in 1999, and helped spark the moe trend, for good or ill.
Background & Impact
Azumanga Daioh was adapted into a popular 26-episode anime series in 2002.

The series has generated a lot of positive attention among western otaku and was one of the first yonkoma manga to be widely published outside of Japan.