Yuri Anime: Azumanga Daioh

February 2nd, 2004

Things I’m Not Going to Write About
Part 5

This week, we’ll continue the series of short opinion pieces on popular and well-known series with yuri content. Why not, eh? Next week, we’ll pick up with some older, obscure works.

Azumanga Daioh:
This isn’t a “yuri” series, per se. One of the secondary characters, Kaorin, is, however, clearly a babydyke in training. Her crush/obsession with the magnificently kakkoii Sakaki is *definitely* yuri.

The manga makes it plain that Kaorin worships and, at least in a vaguish sense, desires Sakaki. The anime loses any of the “vague” about it and makes it really, really obvious. (There’s the seven jets flying overhead with rainbow colored smoke and wedding bells ringing as they dance, or perhaps it was Kaorin’s New Year dream in which she was rescued from a girl gang by Sakaki on a white horse, awakened *just* as they are about to kiss…) The relationship is played for laughs since its completely one-sided, but the whole series is played for laughs, so that’s not a negative thing. This is a loopy, silly series that makes me laugh so hard I snort. And it has yuri. That makes it good in my opinion.

The manga is alreadyavailable in English from ADV Manga and ADV Films has the anime slated for a Spring 2004 release. The downside to this is that the English translation of the manga is pretty lame. For once, the translators kept the yuri intact, but the translation tries so hard to adapt the manga for an American audience, that almost all of the jokes fall flat. It was very disappointing, especially as the manga is really quite funny, at least in Japanese. Unfortunately, ADV decided that we wouldn’t “get” it, if they left Yukari-sensei as an incompetent English teacher, so they changed it to Spanish, thus rendering all of the gaijin and English-language related jokes completely meaningless. As a result, I hold low expectations for the dub adaptation of the anime, but they can’t really screw with the Japanese version, so just watch that.

On an entirely wacky note (as befits this series) my *biggest* complaint about Azumanga Daioh is the lack of decent yuri doujinshi. There are many, many doujinshi of this series – a side effect of the minimalist art, which allows many people to recreate the style easily – but they seem to fall into two categories: 1) sexless parody and gag and ; 2) appalling hentai. Most of the AD doujinshi I saw at Comiket were in the former category, which was fine. But the few hentai doujinshi I saw were just…yeah. I mean, Sakaki and the *cat*??? Chiyo-chan and anyone? Hello? What about Sakaki and Kagura or Kaorin and Sakaki? Sheesh, I would have even accepted Tomo and Yomi…and I’m really stretching there, I think. LOL But bleah…the cat. I swear to god, every series I ever like, the doujinshi pairings are always the most appalling…sigh. There is exactly *one* KaguraxSakaki doujinshi and everytime I see it on Yahoo Japan, it’s starting at $20. I’m just too cheap to spend that on something I can’t see first.

But this is all irrelevant, isn’t it? The series itself is hysterical and I encourage you all to purchase it (not download ripped files…go and get a job, become a productive member of society, pay taxes and support your evil habits honestly) and join us on the Yuricon Mailing List to chat about how funny it is.

Ratings for the Japanese version only: Yuri – 6, Art – 5 (it’s intentionally minimalist) Story – 9, Music – 7, Characters – 8, Overall – 8

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