cover image AZU MANGA DAIOH: The Manga Volume 1

AZU MANGA DAIOH: The Manga Volume 1

Azuma Kiyohiko, . . ADV Manga, $9.99 (160pp) ISBN 978-1-4139-0000-2

It's tough to tell the difference between teacher and students in Azuma's comedy. Teacher Yukari Tanizaki is oblivious, immature, emotional and one of the people shaping young minds. Her students face difficulties in school that most never imagined. For example, as one pupil starts to ask a question, Miss Yukari cuts him off, stating she won't talk about her bra size. Another group of students are ready for their lessons, but instead of learning about social studies or science, they learn how Miss Yukari spent her weekend. Maybe that's not so bad, considering Miss Yukari's not the brightest bulb in the bunch and has her students correcting her on many technical points. Her students aren't sure how to react, but their bewilderment is half the charm of this manga. Like the 1980s TV series Head of the Class , Azu has an eclectic mix of pupils ranging from child geniuses to sports enthusiasts to tough girls; each possessing much more than meets the eye. The precocious child genius may be great at academic subjects, but she still draws like a little girl and has the emotions of a kid. The unemotional tough teen melts for tiny animals and longs to have a pet of her own, even if all of the creatures she comes in contact with seem to hate her. The art is simple and minimalistic, but adequately conveys the thought and emotion behind each strip. Azuma's cast has depth, dimension and character, and their story heartily entertains. (Sept. 2003 )