In the case of Azumanga Daioh, my memories of the show are more related to the experience of watching it rather than to the show itself. Now, this isn’t all that uncommon for me, and it isn’t automatically a bad thing, but what is a bad thing is that I remember Azumanga Daioh for its abysmal sound quality. It might just have been the version I was watching(I can’t remember what it was anymore), but it just sounded really bad. Compared to the sound, the 4:3 aspect ratio and the yellow subtitles were nothing. Chiyo in particular sounded like the combination of a woodchipper and an air horn.
Audio issues aside, writing about the show is bring back some interesting memories. Back when I watched it, I was still relatively new to anime, so I didn’t know of its significance. In retrospect, and now that my memories of Azumanga have been diluted in the sea of my other anime memories, it really does feel more like a modern anime than one from the early ’00s. The lack of plot, the randomness, the fanservice, it all reminds me of shows from around the turn of the decade. The later seasons of Minami-ke are actually a great comparison.
Despite the comparison to Minami-ke, though, I’m not judging Azumanga for being like that. In fact, I usually enjoy shows like that. Which is why I enjoyed Azumanga when I first watched it. It was a charming show in its own right, and I think the fact that the jokes have lived on for over a decade indicates that many people still remember it fondly. I’m not completely sure, but Azumanga may have been the first show I watched that caused me to pick a “best girl”(It’s Sakaki, by the way). That has to count for something, right?