Azumanga Daioh premiered April 8, 2002
3 min, 47 sec
Everyone has embarrassing phases. Most of them happen in high school, the time when it’s most acceptable to just go crazy and get all of that stupid shit out of your system.
Like plenty of teenagers growing up in the 2000s, my embarrassing phase was anime. I never dug deep into Japanese animation – I mostly stuck to the big names, like Naruto, Bleach, and a few other big timers at the time. I dug a lot deeper when I started reading manga alongside my anime consumption, and I think that that’s altogether more embarrassing than the anime.
One of the first titles to kick off this phase was Azumanga Daioh. And, for the record, I have zero shame about loving Azumanga Daioh. Azumanga Daioh is a work of genius, both in its manga and anime forms, and if you disagree, we’re in for a fight. Meet me in the parking lot, bitch.
I really do still harbor a great love of Azumanga Daioh. I haven’t read the manga in a long, long time, but it’s the only one I brought with me when I left for college, because it meant so much to me in high school. The series follows five (later, six) high school girls as they make their way through high school, arranged in a four-panel comic strip format, with storylines that usually extend through ten or fifteen strips at a time. Each one is designed like newspaper comic strips – there’s always some sort of punchline at the end. Even though it is designed as a lighthearted comedy manga, the series has plenty of heart-wrenching moments, particularly the set of graduation chapters that close out the series. The anime follows the manga almost exactly, fleshing out certain stories as needed.
“Raspberry Heaven” serves as the ending theme for the Azumanga Daioh ending. I have the track out of pure nostalgia, because it brings back the memories I had of first watching the series, way back in 2008.
Damn, that was a long time ago.
The copy of the song that I have is the full version, ripped from a YouTube video, because I was fourteen years old and had no intention of attempting to pay for an anime theme song. I’ve never bothered replacing it, either, because what’s the point? It sounds just fine, even with the fifteen seconds of silence at the end, and the muffled audio.
It’s all about the memories, anyway.