Azumanga Daioh: v. 2 - Kiyohiko Azuma
A pretty goddamned adorable comic strip that really gets across the innocence of its child characters along with a few surprising other things - such as a dream sequence involving one of the most surreal moments that has ever involved a cat as well as the world of their adult teachers.

Although 9/10 I was not laughing, the subject matter was often interesting and sweet enough to propel me through some of the not-so-funny content of the collection. There is also the issue that it is Japanese in origin and it simply seems to have been made for that specific demographic, especially when a few of the jokes simply don't exist in western culture and don't work, in many situations. One such thing is how a character who is an obvious pedophile torments the main characters by wanting to see their underage bodies - ha ha, 10+ reading material! Can someone please tell me that I am not on crazy pills and that this character is, indeed, disturbing to see in YA reading material?

There does exist a certain amount of universality in the main subject matter at work here - young, quirky women attending school without major cares in the world. It's escapism, and it can be very funny, from time to time.

The art is manga at its most minimalistic - it works at emphasizing the characters as opposed to the world they inhabit, and all of the characters look strikingly similar - for any regular manga reader, this is nothing if not par for the course. Everyone is rather willowy (where are the big girls in this school?) and with hair ranging from black to light brown - rather blah for my tastes, but in the constraints of a comic strip it's hard to complain about.

I was kept relatively entertained while reading this, but I kept stopping reading it at several chances, and I would often find myself rolling my eyes at the cutesy/bizarre humor. It can be an acquired taste at times, and when push comes to shove, I just don't think that I have the right taste buds to fully enjoy this work - but, then again, I think that very few people have the sort of taste for this piece, over the age of 15 and out of Japan.