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Yomi Can't Believe Her Eyes
Source: TV
Layers: 1
Sketches: 1
Cel Number: C12 END
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Added 11/23/2018
Updated 11/24/2018
Episode 26 - Graduation Ceremony

Animation Director: Hideki Tachibana

Single Character: Koyomi "Yomi" Mizuhara

Sometimes, you will see a sketch or set of sketches, and wonder just exactly where it is from. Sure you know the series pretty well, but for some reason you can't recall where a particular sequence is.

Other times, you'll know exactly where it is, down to within just a few seconds. That's precisely what happened here.

SPOILER ALERT: This douga and the following article will detail the disposition of a key plot point for this particular character.

I had to put up a bit of a fight for this douga, but I ultimately won it. Sadly, the creases you see are likely the result of damage in transit. (More on that below in "Condition").


Condition


Well it would have been fine I think, except it got creased down the entire right hand side (apparently) during shipping. Other than that I guess there's nothing serious wrong with it, but I'm not the least bit happy about it.


Heads Up - Digital Douga Repaint To Follow


Since all I have is the douga, I decided that this one was definitely worth a repaint. Like my Voogie's Angel repaint, I traced it in Inkscape, and sampled colors from a production screen. The repaint is featured on the next page.


About the Animation


The Animation Director for this episode was Hideki Tachibana. Among a number of other positions, he worked as In-Betweener on 801 T.T.S. Airbats (OAV), and Storyboard [artist] for Bleach (TV).

I was able to track down a picture of the sequence mate C(11), which turns out to be made from a key frame. While my piece reads C12 END, the 12 is not circled. I'm not sure if it's based on a key frame or not.


How was it animated?


While the sequence appears to consist of about 6 douga looping twice, the high sequence number indicates something else happened at the animation level. Visually, this isn't even the last frame of the cut as far as the visible cycle on-screen, yet it is notated as "C12 END". I want to speak a bit more about the animation in the Final Thoughts section.


The Back Story in a Koopa Shell


Basically, the previous episode outlines the six girls' preparations for college, including entrance exams. Each girl has at least one main choice for a college or university which they wish to enter, as well as a couple of choices for backup.

Except for Chiyo, who wishes instead to study abroad in America. Therefore, only five of the six series leads take the typical Japanese entrance exams.

Now something important must be noted here. Tomo has slacked off all through the series, somehow managing to do exactly what needs to be done to get by in high school. Osaka; meanwhile, has had trouble getting it together. Along with Kagura, these two form the "BONKURAAZU" ("Knuckleheads") or the supposedly less intelligent half of the core cast.

The three smarter girls are Sakaki, Yomi, and Chiyo. I think I said once before that it was implied that Yomi was the smartest girl in the class before Chiyo came along. Yomi and Chiyo are both shown to be very serious about their studies, but Sakaki is left a bit more to inference in that regard.

On numerous occasions during the series, Yomi admonishes Tomo for her laccodaisical attitude, basically warning her that if she doesn't get serious, she might not get into college. Tomo reacts with a Pollyanna-like optimism, or perhaps it's just a jovial, free-wheeling type of apathy.

Five of the six girls take the entrance exams. Now, they don't all get accepted into every school for which they try, but by the last few minutes of Episode 25 all of them have gotten into at least one institution of higher learning.

All of them that is, except one. "Yomi applied to two schools and both of them were a bust." Chiyo moans concernedly. Ever the kind and compassionate best friend, Tomo wastes no time in finding clever ways to rub it in Yomi's face. Tomo makes half-hearted attempts to play to traditional Japanese indirectness while almost completely failing to contain her glee at this turn of events. Koyomi-kun has spent the entire series warning Tomo about slacking off, and guess who got into college first. I suspect Tomo is lording it over Yomi as revenge for all the flack Tomo was getting from her up until that point. Tomo's antics in this regard continue most of the way through Episode 26.

One thing that is not mentioned is that a serious student and quality academic like Yomi would likely choose schools more demanding and selective than many of the other girls in the first place, thus increasing her chances of rejection on a overall scale.

While we find out that she has her main choice left as a possibility, As Episode 25 reaches a conclusion it is clear that poor Yomi is overwhelmed by consternation. To make matter worse, it is implied during the series that she thinks Osaka and even Kagura might be a bit on the slow side, making her own apparent failure seem that much worse.

To top it all off, she desperately wanted to go to a new amusement park just opened in Episode 18, only to fall ill with a fever the day they were all to go. Tomo talks the other girls into going without her anyway. At the end of Episode 18, Chiyo and Yomi agree to go back at some point-keep this in mind for later.


The Sequence in Context


NOTE: I use Koyomi and Yomi interchangeably-the former looks cooler in print to me, the latter is quicker to type. The longer form is rarely used in the TV series. You will also see "Meganekko-chan" here and there. Literally it means "glasses-girl", but it can be taken as something of an insult, along the lines of "ol' four eyes". Insult is not what I'm going for though.

Episode 26 concerns mainly the graduation of our leading ladies from high school. This douga is from very near the end of the episode.

Finally, the day has arrived. The results of the Yomi's last outstanding exam will be posted on the boards outside. Each student has a code number that will be listed on the board if they pass, and missing if they fail.

Yomi approaches the boards with her Exam ID Card in hand, but stops to look it over. It would seem that this is her last shot at college, at least without a lot of extra trouble. Why do I have a sneaking suspicion that the intense derision that Japanese society as a whole seems to hold toward failure is strongly in play here?

Fun fact: The sweater Koyomi is wearing here is the same style as the one Sakaki-san wore to the Christmas karaoke party in Episode 17. This may itself be a subtle joke, but as always happens too much else is going on with this episode to get into it. It is not likely to be the exactly same one, as it fits Yomi just a bit too snug. Sakaki is after all a considerably larger girl.

"3-6-6-1? Samurai, huh? I don't really know if that is a good number or bad." Yomi is apparently concerned about having a number that could be bad luck.

Suddenly, familiar voices ring out behind her. When she recognizes them, she begins to growl angrily. If this was going to be a bad day for her, she knew now it would be even worse.

Turning around with glasses glaring, she sees all of her friends there. Tomo of course, is holding a Magical Land amusement park guide book very similar to one that Yomi herself perused in Episode 18. During the early sections of Episode 26, they all had discussed going to Magical Land right after the last exam announcement.

Yomi is still smarting from being left out in Episode 18, now it seems that she'll have that to deal with even as she may have to come to terms with not being able to go to college. The look on her face as-literally behind her back-they continue discussing the rides they want to try is priceless. "Let's go on this one like we did last time." I think that was Chiyo. Kind-hearted little Chiyo just had to go say the worst possible thing-and the poor little girl has no idea she even did it. There are times I wonder if Azuma-san really didn't like Yomi; of the older girls she seems to catch the widest variety of flack. She does occasionally make one think she brings at least part of it on herself.

More than a bit miffed, she trudges up to the group. Tomo is the first to offer salutations. "Oh, Yomi. You're here already?" Tomo seems to actually phrase it as to express surprise. She can't possibly be truly stupid-this just comes across as way too cleverly calculated.

"So you were all serious about going to 'Magical Land' right after the announcement?" Yomi is very clearly getting upset.

"It can't be helped." Kagura offers, perhaps a little bit unhappy at this challenge. "This is the only time that worked for all of us."

Tomo doesn't miss a beat. "It's alright, we've already thought of some comforting words to say, right?" She looks at Kagura, who nods in agreement. Not only is Tomo brilliant at finely but firmly tightening the emotional screws of her friends, somehow she makes herself entertaining and likable in the process.

Moving along, Osaka offers to put her power into Yomi's charm one last time. She had attempted to do so earlier in this episode.

Yomi walks passed her and hands it to Chiyo instead. "Chiyo-chan, gives this charm the power that got even Tomo to pass!" Chiyo grabs it and begins to strain-she sounds like cuteness squared here. While this is happening, Tomo has quietly left the group.

"Yomi!" Tomo calls, to which she turns around with a "Hmm?"-completely and utterly oblivious to what is about to happen. Tomo's tone is rather careful here, just a bit to the negative side of neutral-"I looked at the board, and your number wasn't up there!" Remember what I said about Japanese indirectness. Tomo is telling Yomi that she flunked out again, and would not get into any college at all.

Like the one Jenga player who gets a strange thrill from pulling out precisely that one piece that will cause the most severe calamity, Tomo has succeeded in finding and knocking that exact piece completely out of Yomi's psyche.

Like that ill-fated Jenga tower, Yomi goes into full-on emotional collapse. The poor girl screams "IT JUST CAN'T BE!!! SHE'S NOT THROUGH IMBUING IT WITH HER POWER!! YOU'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO LOOK YET!!" Underneath the rather silly caricature animation, she rants like a raving lunatic. While the animation is solid for the most part-occasionally spectacular-the voice acting is what makes this show. It might be rather surprising considering what she's dealing with here, but the vocals ending Episode 25 are actually more extreme than these in places.

Totally decimated and distraught, Yomi whimpers and whines as she staggers to the board-looking up at it, looking around on it. She pants a bit. She might as well look now-now that Tomo seems to have ruined it all for her. Yes, her glasses show a dull glare-that was a given. The camera pans in and rightward toward the board, at the last stage hard-zooming close enough to read the numbers clearly. Highlights emphasize the number 3661-her number-on the board. Meganekko-chan finally passed an entrance exam, on her very last shot at it. Interestingly, several students around her in the order seem to have flunked out.

"It's there??" Yomi stops cold. Actually seeing her number seems to jar her thought processes rather soundly. It is surprising how even a relatively simple looking show like Azumanga Daioh can be very carefully animated.

She manages a soft "Huh?" in surprise. Attempting to fathom what she is seeing, her shoulders drop and her face relaxes, distress giving way first to confusion. "It's there??" She doesn't get it at first. "It's there." she repeats. This is the second smartest girl in the core cast.

For some reason, the camera switches to a close-up of Yomi's skirt as she begins a sort of rhythmic stride back to where her friends are waiting. Often she will wear dark thigh-high stockings with her school uniform, but those stockings were not drawn here.

As it finally begins to sink in, her voice rises in tone very sharply-the first clear indication that she finally understands that she did indeed pass the exam after all. Perhaps her walking pattern also suggests it, but the rather-I'll be polite and call it simply "intentional"-the rather intentional placement of the camera during this close-up is too distracting for the visual side to readily pick that up.

She's practically squealing to herself "IT WAS THERE!!" The actual Japanese is just a single word, "Atta!", which in this case is the plain past form of the existential verb "aru". Literally it means "[something] was [there]". In context here, it translates to "It [my number] was there!" This is where the Japanese preference for indirectness comes into play once again. In English, we would probably say. "I PASSED!! I PASSED!!" and might use for emphasis "IT WAS THERE!!" or a related construct.

The camera moves out to a walk cycle sequence showing her upper body in a jaunting motion while Yomi works her way through the crowd. This is the sequence including this douga. In the first few frames, her head moves away from the camera-leftward from her perspective. She's looking for her friends already.

"IT WAS THERE!! IT WAS THERE!!" she repeats to herself. She actually saying "Atta!" each time. She's so charged up, even her breathing is affected. Yomi's emotions have swung so sharply, perhaps this is all she can even think about at the moment. Her voice also changed states very rapidly, as it does quite often in Azumanga Daioh.

I find it rather humorous that when she first peeks at the board Yomi is at the very back of the crowd, yet she has to walk back through almost all of it to find her friends.

This sequence is densely packed with extras-three layers of them scrolling by around her as she goes. Some even show up in front of her. The layers scroll at different speeds, presenting a sort of simplified "parallax effect".

When Yomi reaches the others, she can't contain herself. "IT WAS THERE!!" "IT WAS THERE!!" "IT WAS THERE!!", actually her voice is a little different when speaking out loud here. She seems to laugh a little bit on the last one. It is strange to hear the difference in the same small bit of speech when Yomi is talking to herself versus reporting to her friends. More on this further down.

Chiyo grabs her hands and squeaks an overjoyed "Yes! Congratulations!" Kagura and Sakaki each follow with their accolades in kind. Yomi's voice is still high as she tearfully replies with gratitude, even sniffling a bit.

"Yomi!" She turns her head, but her eyes are still closed, her face frozen in a smile. Tomo is standing off to camera right. The camera switches to a close up of her. Holding out her hand, Tomo issues a snippy, cheerful "Congratulations!" She seems to want a handshake.

While everyone else was paying attention to Chiyo and the charm, Tomo sneaked off to read the board for herself. Of course Tomo being the sort of girl she is, decides to have one last big hurrah at her best friend's expense before the series ends. This is just scratching the surface of the kind of garbage Tomo likes to pile on her comrades, particularly her supposed "best friend."

It is possible Tomo did not really go look at the board, but that is not how she is wired. Tomo wanted to see for herself first, and frankly I wouldn't have been surprised to see her play with Yomi's emotions even if the magic number wasn't up there. Yes, Tomo is that kind of friend.


The Intelligence Quotient - The Smarter of the Two


What gets me is about this entire sequence: Koyomi-chan (I wonder if I'm the first Azumanga Daioh fan to ever call her that.) is supposed to be at the highly intelligent end of the bell curve. She knows Tomo can be a hateful, mischevious jerk-especially to her. Heck, Yomi can even be one herself at times. Nevertheless, she bought Tomo's scam hook, line, and sinker. Tomo was counting on her being wound up enough not to think about it, and it worked better than even Tomo herself expected. I'm convinced that Tomo is far, far more intelligent than she generally acts-she just prefers to apply this intelligence to annoying and upsetting her friends. Perhaps Yomi can see this, and that is why her frustration with Tomo is regularly so intense.

When Yomi finally figures out that she was played by Tomo yet again, she reacts as longtime fans of the series would expect-smashing Tomo's chin with a strong uppercut, sending her flying. The grunt in Yomi's voice as she heaves her fist indicates a return to her default-low register. I love how she just *snap* becomes herself again like that.


A Pleasure to Watch, and Hear


The whole scene was fantastically executed, making for a very satisfying payoff to the surprise ending in Episode 25. The voicework compliments it all brilliantly. Speaking of voicework, who exactly is doing the talking for Yomi? Let's talk about it, shall we?


Yomi's Seiyuu - A Vocal Chameleon


Rie Tanaka began her career as a voice actor in the late 90's, but one of her biggest early success was as Chii (and Black Chii) in Chobits.

She would build on that success with characters such as Maria the Model Maid in Hayate No Gotoku (aka Hayate the Combat Butler), Lacus Clyne in the Gundam SEED "complex", and-oh boy this is a mouthful: Minna Dietlinde-Wilcke in Strike Witches.

I broke down and located a clip of Hayate no Gotoku, featuring Maria and Hayate. Maria sounds very different from Yomi, and yet not completely different. That said, if I hadn't known that both characters shared the same seiyuu, I wouldn't have recognized Tanaka-san here. I know that Japanese voice actors are supposed to know how to produce different voices, but I find Tanaka-san to be very impressive in her abililty to change her core sound from one character to the next.

Definitely not to be missed in this discussion is Tanaka-san's heinously ruthless and hateful Suigintou, the warped villain doll in Rozen Maiden. Below is a snippet of what fellow Betarian Sensei has to say about Tanaka-san's performance on his Rozen Maiden - OP1: Suigintou page.

'Rie Tanaka, the character’s seiyuu, got high marks for her thoroughly despicable performance and reprised the character in a number of original drama CDs, web radio performances, TV commercials, and even a “Suigintou Voice Alarm Clock” (that really is scary!)

One would think that such an alarm clock would make a good scarecrow, but one suspects it would tend to attract the pests rather than deter them.'


There were at least a couple of Azumanga Daioh themed alarm clocks made, each variant featuring a certain character and their voice. The only two I've seen for sale are Chiyo and Osaka. I can't imagine Yomi offering a wake up call loud enough to get one's attention without also causing emotional trauma.

I read somewhere that Suigintou is one of Tanaka-san's favorite characters, and that she has even cosplayed as Suigintou.

Azumanga Daioh: The Animation was released in 2002. Chobits is also from 2002. According to the Anime News Network Encylopedia, Chobits is only 6 days older. I would say they don't come much closer together than that, but sometimes they actually do.


Mercury Vapor Calendar?


Here is a rather interesting coincidence.

水銀灯 - Suigintou (mercury vapor lamp, sometimes rendered "Suigin Tou" in subtitles-which I suspect is incorrect.)
水原暦 - Mizuhara Koyomi (Japanese name order is surname first. Mizuhara = (roughly) "flood plain", Koyomi = "calendar")

Both of them are three kanji long, and both start with the same kanji. "Sui" is On (Chinese-based) reading, "mizu" is Kun (Japanese-based) reading. Another interesting coincidence, the Japanese word for "reading" just happens to sound out as "yomi."

Yomi has a rather broad cruel streak about her. When this maliciousness rears it's ugly head in a prank she played in Episode 2, she barely contains a chuckle over the fake apology she issues right to the victim's face, even as that poor girl had just exclaimed that the prank could've killed her.

With friends like these--as they say.

Anyway, the up-register shift in Yomi's voice that accompanies both the chuckle and the (at best) dubious apology total up to something disturbing-it's actually a bit sickening. The entire incident makes liking Yomi much, much more difficult than it would otherwise be. Smug, disdainful, and disgustingly pleased at hurting someone who had done nothing to provoke such an attack, this borderline-psychotic attitude is strongly suggestive of a character very much like Suigintou-years before she was animated and given her own voice.

Gradually the malevolence subsides, disappearing by the last few episodes. Perhaps the calamity Yomi faces in this episode and the one prior are meant to represent the nastiness coming back to haunt her.

I have not listened to very much of Suigintou, but what I have heard leads me to believe that only rarely will these two characters sound alike in tone, if at all.


Meganekko-chan - A Tour de Force


I wasn't the least bit surprised that Tanaka-san's Suigintou garnered numerous plaudits-as I am about to explain. As for Koyomi here, she doesn't seem to resonate as much with Tanaka-san's fanbase as some of her more dramatic characters. Which is a bit of a shame, as this vocal performance is much more intricately constructed than one would have expected for a comedic character.

Tanaka-san's range is astonishing, and she used a massive amount of it to give Yomi her voice. When I first started watching the show, I didn't even like Yomi's voice. It was deeper than most of the other girls, and not exactly pleasant most of the time. It seemed out of place among the high-register cuties. (Tanaka-san is more than capable of this kind of character, as well-Maria from Hayate no Gotoku is much more along these lines. At least from what little I've heard, anyway.)

As I analyzed the voicework of Azumanga Daioh, I began to understand that Yomi's voice is much more complex than it seems at first. Sometimes Tanaka-san will adjust her tone in subtle shifts if Yomi suddenly finds something humorous, or maybe she's trying to make herself feel better about something. Shock and incredulity do not always produce the same inflections from one situation to the next.

Often the latter emotional states sound different from Yomi's typical speaking patterns, though not so much that you'd fail to recognize her-except for maybe a couple of really odd cases.

Sometimes Tomo, Kagura and/or Osaka will push Yomi to the limit and beyond, in which case Tanaka-san will either select a low/mid-range shouting pattern (with an impressive bit of wattage loaded into it-she's pretty much roaring), or she'll go all-in and begin to scream way above the character's normal range. There are even rather extreme situations in which Yomi's register can fluctuate rapidly with the screaming.

It can be difficult as someone not fluent in Japanese to evaluate sudden changes in a character's voice, as the full context of spoken dialog doesn't translate very well to subtitles. At times, I found myself mystified by sudden radical changes in the character of Yomi's voice.

Yomi is supposed to be the series straight-man (Japanese "tsukkomi"), or the one who "sets us up the jokes". She is also portrayed as the sane, "normal" girl in the group. Her temper is very short however, and her patience extremely thin. When she gets angry, more often than not she becomes downright apoplectic. When the occasion calls for it, Tanaka-san unloads with a fury befitting a series arch-villian. The sort of ranting and raving that comes from a thoroughly enraged Yomi is so intense, sometimes it sounds less like high-quality acting and more like a real emotional release.

As to the sequence represented here-everything happens so quickly that Yomi's emotional state is less a Magical Land roller coaster and more like a pinball machine. While Yomi is presented visually as very excited, the vocals present a deeper contrast of thrill and shock, rapidly giving way to euphoria.

This is the only sequence in this series where Tanaka-san gets a chance use her voice to affect such a state. There's something strangely satisfying about seeing Yomi in such good spirits. The delivery here is almost infectious-making the viewer happy for Yomi too, even if mainly to spite the aggravating, obnoxious Tomo.

Tanaka-san seemed to have understood exactly what sort of series she was dealing with from the word "go". Azumanga Daioh is a wacky romp through the asinine and the bizarre. The volcanic anger and hair-trigger emotional winding is not only what her character needed, it fits the core drive of the series really well.

In short, Rie Tanaka threw everything but the microphone and headset at this character to make her work, and I would say her investment paid off handsomely for the viewer. On the surface, it may seem that Tanaka-san played Yomi a bit too melodramatic. However, when you understand how her execution of the role aligned with the show's overall tone and direction, it's easy to conclude that this performance is every bit as good as her serious characters.

Tanaka-san wasn't the only one to knock it out of the park, either. I may revisit Yomi's voice individually in the future; but for now, I want to briefly mention the group aspect of vocal performance and how it affected this scene.


A Collaborative Effort


Although excellent as she was on her own, I really felt like Tanaka-san shined her brightest working with her castmates. This could be said for every seiyuu, I'd expect. Japanese-style anime voice acting has all seiyuu for a scene in the recording studio at once, acting their lines out together. They can observe each other to some extent, and collaborate on carrying out their lines.

This style was absolutely perfect for Azumanga Daioh. Chiyo's reaction to the news is particularly telling here. Voiced by the spritely and bubbly Tomoko Kaneda, Chiyo's voice picks up the celebratory joy of her friend in such a beautifully timed fashion, it's almost like they mind-meld. Even if a viewer found the girl with the glasses to be almost exclusively annoying and hateful, it is next to impossible not to at least crack a smile when Chiyo-chan joins in. While the others are generally more subdued in offering their congratulations, they all sound just right for their personalities, with excellent timing, particularly Tomo. The timing of the dialogue in this series is simply spectacular. This can, in my opinion, be at least partially attributed to the group perfomance style of seiyuu vocal recording sessions, or "after recording" as it is called.

Azumanga Daioh is packed to the brim with exceptional voice talent. So much so that I'd like discuss the core cast both as a group, and as individuals if I can get suitable material.


Final Thoughts


I love this sequence, from the first time I saw it.

There were times I found the animation quality of Azumanga Daioh to be a bit lacking.

That wasn't the case here. Twelve unique douga, each one a full redraw of the visible parts of the character. This douga seemingly one that was added to get the motion just right. When watching closely, I can see her head bobbing just slightly side-to-side (which from our perspective is toward and away from the camera), Her head is moving like this in part because of her gate. It is such minute movement, it's very hard to see it frame-by-frame. In motion though it can be seen. The oh-so-careful movement of her bangs. The way her hair bounces off her back as she walks. She seems to be tilted a bit forward as she moves-maybe she's so jazzed up her top half is outrunning her bottom half. I rather think she's in a big hurry, plus she might be just a tad dizzy.

Fluid, butter-smooth, dare I say natural? Scratch that-her movement isn't perfectly smooth, it jerks a bit to simulate her weight shifting on her legs. Is her head in sync with this motion??

All those people around her as she moves, one of them appears in front of her even. One guy behind her is looking at her sort of funny. Maybe he likes what he sees? Maybe he thinks she's lost her marbles? Maybe I've lost mine, I don't know.

Even the back of the douga has something cool to offer-those blue and orange colors are meant to show through the front on a light table. Now that is something I'd like to see.

It's been a while since I've watched it all, but I can't think of a higher-quality animation of Koyomi in the entire series. At first glance, it looks like just a simple looping animation, but upon careful inspection, there are so many fine details changing from one unique frame to the next that all demand she be completely redrawn for every single douga. It's not strictly her look, though this is certainly one of her better ones. It's all the care that was put into it. Yes it is played twice in a loop, but if I produced an animation this nice I'd want to watch it loop a whole bunch of times. Heck, I've done it anyway.

Indeed, this is a darn fine piece of animation for any character in the series. This is near the end of the final episode-not quite two and a half minutes left. Either one of the senior animation directors liked Yomi to pieces, or they really wanted to get this scene right as the show wrapped up. It could easily have been both.

The only other element needed was for the quality of the voice acting to match, which it definitely did. I don't think anyone who has ever heard Tanaka-san act will be surprised by this at all.

Yomi might not be the sort of character one would expect the animators to lavish attention on. From what I can gather she is one of the least popular main characters in the series, though my impression of that matter is likely far from fully informed. On the other hand, likability in the typical sense really has little to do with it.

She has some very strange looks at times, and the creepy glare regularly given off by her rather large pair of glasses only exacerbates the problem. I would not call her unattractive by any means. As a matter of fact, I think she looks great here. A happy Koyomi is usually a pretty Koyomi, and she's ecstatic in this sequence. That goofy wide open grin is so childishly adorkable. These young ladies are just now adults, but for the vast majority of the series this one has tried to carry herself as the serious, mature one. It so so refreshing to see the girlish side slip out just a bit, and not the cruel/nasty "mean girl" mode either.

She's also rocking that nicely fitting sweater, and she has one of the most beautifully shaped head profiles I've ever seen on an anime character. However, I admit my anime experience is limited compared to many.

In any case, Yomi's often sour, somewhat snarky attitude and penchant for sudden cruel pranks are by far the biggest issues affecting her likability in general. Even Tomo-who is often mean and spiteful-at least has a generally upbeat, energetic personality. As for Yomi, it's rather a shame that a character who seems like she could be about as amicable as any other is often so unpleasant.

Then again, varied personalties among these girls do make the series more interesting. She'd be so boring if she weren't so unique. Besides, she isn't all cruel and spite-Yomi can be seen becoming fiercely protective of Chiyo when faced with perceived serious threats, almost like a big sister.

When Yomi speaks, she is everything you could want for a effective, thoroughly enjoyable comedic character. Sure she may not have the creepy dramatic chill of a Suigintou, or the cute charm of a Maria. All that said, it is clear to me that Tanaka-san poured all of her expertise and skill into this voice, along with so much tonal range. I'll summarize my take on her performance thusly-

There is a scene in the computer-animated short Azumanga Web Daioh, showing Yomi (from the back) screaming at Tomo in a 3D-rendered hallway. Yomi is the only character in the short to actually look 3D modeled on-screen. I tried to figure out if she really was in 3D, but it doesn't really matter-Rie Tanaka did a far better job of bringing her into the third dimension than a computer ever did, or ever will.

NOTE: Akiko Hiramatsu was the only production cast member who recorded for the web animation: as both Minamo-sensei (aka Nyamo-chan) and Yukari-sensei it would seem. It isn't even Tanaka-san doing the yelling in the scene just mentioned. Nonetheless my core point stands.

Careful animation, cool music, masterful vocal performances all around-this scene has it all. It's too bad the sketches making up the sequence seem to have been broken up over the years, but it seems likely I might never have had even a piece of it otherwise.

It would be cool to see the series released on Blu-Ray here someday. My only major gripe with the DVD set is the packaging. An older US release came on six discs, the newer one like I have is on only five. Each of the discs features a specific girl on the label, but now there are only five disc/labels for the six girls. Care to take a guess which girl was cut from being featured? It's a small gripe, but an annoying one.

My very first piece was an Azumanga Daioh layout correction featuring Osaka in the center, with Yomi and Kaorin flanking her to our left and right, respectively.

I always thought Koyomi looked gorgeous in that layout correction, but she was competing heavily with Osaka. In this douga, Ko-chan has the paper all to herself and she looks spectacular.

This sketch was just too cool not to have a repaint, and I'd say it was definitely worth the effort. Please see the next page for that.


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Curator: Pixel
Gallery Created: 11/30/2017
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