<-Three of the most important figures in understanding the depth present in this seemingly shallow series.
I notice a lot of people like discussing how deep certain anime are, and I think that this site should join in. Hence, I will do a deep analysis on the deep repercussions and hidden meanings in the anime “Azumange Daioh.”
Indeed, this show inspires it’s viewers to question the very nature of reality in itself, as shown by the incredibly subtle subtext placed within the series. Unfortunately, the deeper meanings about existentialism seem to just fly right over the average viewers head. For example, the first part of the series’ existentialism revolves around one of the main characters, Chiyo
Chiyo: Now then, to understand some of the theories presented in this paper, we must first understand that Chiyo does not actually exist in the realm. No, to understand the deeper secrets of Azumanga Daioh, we must realize that Chiyo is just a figment of everybody’s imaginations, demonstrating what the ideal person would be like. This is shown by Chiyo’s relative lack of flaws whatsoever. Strangely, only Osaka and Sakaki come close to realizing the fact that Chiyo does not in fact exist, and is just an idealization of people’s beliefs.
Chiyo’s status as a figment of our imagination becomes quite obvious when we think about her. I mean, when we really give her character some thought. Why would anybody put an elementary grade school kid in a high school class? Furthermore, why would that person be at the top of the class? But the most baffling part is that Chiyo manages to get along well with the other students. Most high schoolers would be annoyed by the mere presence of an elementary age kid, and yet the ones in this series have no problem with it. Factor in that Chiyo seems to rarely commit any impure act, and always acts with the best intentions, it becomes quite obvious that she is a mere figment of our imaginations, providing us with an idealized person we could never stack up to.
Osaka: Osaka is clearly the wisest person in the entire group. So wise, in fact that the normal people are not capable of realizing her wisdom, hence regarding it as foolishness. The most important feat of Osaka’s wisdom is seeing through the veil of Chiyo’s existence, and realizing that she is not an actual physical being. Unfortunately, the only part of Chiyo’s ideological nature that Osaka can grasp is that her pigtails cannot possibly be ground in reality. Sadly, by viewing this part of Chiyo’s nature, the rest of her idealogy is hidden from Osaka, due to her brain not being able to comprehend it. However, God (Chiyo’s dad) acknowledges Osaka’s wisdom, and makes a few appearances to her.
Realizing the nature of these characters adds a whole new layer of depth to the manga, taking it from a light hearted high school show to an analysis on the nature of reality, how one goes about finding god, and what must be done to find him. Furthermore, realizing this forces us to question the very nature of reality, and to realize that everything around us may very well not be real, shown by the fact that Osaka is one of the very few people capable of comprehending the nature of reality
I think the second part to recognizing the hidden depth in Azumanga Diaoh is to look at the Freudian elements contained in the cast. For example, the main teachers could be said to represent the three parts of the human psyche, as follows
Mr. Kimura: Mr. Kimura has an interesting mix of traits. On one hand, he seems to have the traits of the Id, due to his compulsions towards high school girls, and the amount of perverseness he emanates. Yet on the other hand, he frequently prays for world peace, has a wife and daughter, and donates lots of money to charities, as would be expected of the superego. Due to Mr. Kimura managing to maintain a balance between his traits that showcase the desires of the ID and the superego, we can conclude that Mr. Kimura is the school’s ego
Minamo Kurosawa: Further referred to as “Nyamo.” Nyamo always makes an attempt to prove herself to be a better teacher, despite Yukari attempting to get her to do the wrong thing. Furthermore, she almost never does anything on impulse, and always tries to convince her students to do her best, and maintains the highest moral standards. This would make Nyamo the teaching staff’s superego.
Yukari Tanizaki: Yukari, in contrast to Nyamo, will always choose the quickest course of action. This is shown in such actions as stealing her own student’s bike, and the first course of action when dealing with Osaka: violence. On another note, Yukari has almost no value for formal rules, and has no issue with students referring to her by the first name, which many other teachers would find insane. Clearly, Yukari’s impulsiveness and in the moment attitude make her the teacher’s ID.
These three combine in order to create the psyche of the school. While Nyamo and Yukari both represent the extremes of human nature, Kimura manages to find a balance between the two. Furthermore, they all attempt to cause the body (the school) to act more in line with the desires of their part of the psyche. Nyamo attempts to convince the school to act more orderly and idealistically, while Yukari’s impulses provide a bad example that will lead kids to follow their ID. Meanwhile, Kimura’s balance provides an example that allows the students to achieve a perfect balance.
As we can tell, Azumanga Daioh is actually a very deep tale of existentialism and the trials of the human psyche, and it’s attempts to alter the actions of the body. Furthermore, our attempts at grasping reality are proven futile, due to us not being capable of understanding the true nature of existence. Alas, most of the depth contained in Azumanga Diaoh is lost on the average viewer, who seems to just believe this to be an average high school comedy.
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