Azumanga Daioh

My understanding is that Azumanga Daioh is the ur-"cute girls doing cute things" anime, and I 100% get why it spawned an entire subgenre unto itself. There is no substantial drama or stakes, just, well, high schoolers being very dorky high schoolers.

The word "dorky" is important, I think. At this point in my life I reflexively cringe from almost anything set in a high school unless its very deliberately and self-referentially insane (c.f. Riverdale); the storytelling, whether it veers into YA writing or into melodrama, tends not to be very good.

What I think made this show so fun and so believable is that these are a bunch of massive dorks just hanging out. They veer into archetype every now and then, but they all feel like legitimate friends and legitimate people in their own right (besides perhaps Osaka, whose utter weirdness is so entertaining it comes off as earned.) That combination of realistic sweetness and the show's utterly perfect sense of comedic timing is potent!

I can absolutely understand this show as the perfect comfort food, and as something that would set me down a long quest to find a similar vibe. I'm still not the biggest slice-of-life person — there's nothing wrong with it, it's just not what I want out of the medium. Also Kimura's inclusion alone brings this down — feel like there should be a Machete version of this show that has him excised outright.

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