Azumanga-Daioh (2002)


Volume 4

Azumanga-Daioh - Volume 4 (2002)

Author/Artist: Kiyohiko Azuma
Publisher: Dengeki Comics

It's Year 3, which means entrance exams for college, but it's not all study. There's a big field trip to Okinawa and after that, the real work begins to prepare for the future.

This volume is particularly poignant, primarily because the girls are graduating and going their separate ways. There are also some feels to be had from the field trip and its aftermath. Because this isn't an event-driven story, you don't really realize how far you've gone with these characters until it's time to say goodbye. I can only imagine what it was like for readers during the initial serial run who were growing up and going through high school at the same time as Chiyo and company. Though you don't want to let go, you walk away feeling satisfied and if that's not a sign of skillful writing, I don't know what is.

Besides the usual 4-koma format, we have a few color pages in the beginning and a special chapter with less restrictive paneling that allows for some more dynamism than the common gag strips.

This volume is a satisfying conclusion for a fine example of slice of life and light comedy. It's easy reading and bound to buoy your spirits when you're done. Definitely pick this one up.

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