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Azumanga Daioh (Japanese: あずまんが大王 Azumanga Daiō, lit. “Great King Azumanga”) is a Japanese manga and anime series by Kiyohiko Azuma. The series, which chronicles the daily life of six high school students and two of their teachers, has since gathered a large fan base on both the Japanese and English-speaking web.
The title “Azumanga Daioh” is portmanteau of the author’s name, Kiyohiko Azuma, and the word “manga,” along with “Daioh” for the name of the magazine in which it was initially published, Dengeki Daioh. After Azumanga Daioh completed its shōnen magazine run in 2002, it was released as a series of four novels. The same year, production studio J.C. Staff launched an anime version of the series, originally airing in 5 -minute segments every weekday before being compiled into a 25 minute episode airing on the weekends. An English dub of the series was released in the US on September 9th, 2005. While the students attend an English class in the original series, the English dub depicts the students attending a Spanish class.
The Azumanga Daioh manga received a handful of awards, being named a jury recommended work and one of the top 25 manga at the Japan Media Arts Festival in 2002 and 2006, respectively. Also in 2002, four of the characters were named on the Japanese magazine Newtype’s list of 100 top anime heroines of the year. The English dub of the anime series was also well-received, earning three Dub of the Month three times on the Anime Dub Recognition Awards in 2004.
Azumanga Daioh’s success is quite notable in the history of anime. It helped set the stage for the success of other slice of life comedy anime that would follow after such as The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (shown below, left), K-On, and Lucky Star (shown below, right).
The series has been actively discussed and celebrated on fandom-driven communities such as Tumblr, 4chan, IMDb and MyAnimeList. Since 2003, many fans have also taken to making their own homepages about the series, a handful of which are chronicled on Animetion. The longest running of these, Wonderland, was established in January 2003 and hosts large image galleries, an episode guide and a collection of memorable quotes from the series. Anime News Network, TV Tropes and the Azumanga Daioh Wiki all offer in-depth information about the series. Additionally, there are more than 920 stories about the series on FanFiction.net and more than 13,000 pieces of related art work on deviantART as of March 2013. Dozens of fanmade videos can also be found on YouTube and Nico Nico Douga. On Facebook, an interest page for Azumanga Daioh  has gained nearly 40,000 likes as of March 2013.
The term Waifu was introduced to English-speaking audiences through an episode of the Azumanga Daioh anime in which the girls’ homeroom teacher Mr. Kimura drops a photograph of an unknown woman on the ground. When his students ask him who the woman is, he simply replies “mai waifu.” Throughout the 2000s, the term gained popularity on 4chan as a term of endearment to any fictional demale character. Users who were not anime fans also began using the term as flamebait, mocking the obsessive nature of the Otaku subculture.
Osaka Shoe Kick
Osaka Shoe Kick is a YTMND fad based around a scene from the sixth episode of the Azumanga Daioh anime. After the character Osaka, who is known for being dim-witted, kicks her shoe off as a good weather charm (shown below, left), it accidentally falls on a truck which drives off with it. In June 2005, the first YTMND site utilizing footage from this scene was created. By the next year, similar remixes began to appear on YouTube (shown below, right).
Soramimi Cake is the title of Azumanga Daioh’s theme song (shown below, left), performed by the Japanese pop duo Oranges & Lemons. Online, the song has been used in fan works and MAD parodies of the opening theme. In 2003, well-known 2channel user and flash video creator 512kb posted the first parody (shown below, right) utilizing Soramimi Cake on his personal website, utilizing the popular characters Giko and Monā. As of March 2013, there are more than 200 of these parody videos on Nico Nico Douga.
The Caipirinha Dance is a style of animated dance videos similar to Caramelldansen or the Paffendorf Dance where characters are drawn shaking their hips while wagging one of their fingers in the air set to a sped up version of the 2005 Brazilian dance song “Caipirinha” by Carinho. The earliest known instance of these videos (shown below, left) was uploaded to YouTube on March 22nd, 2007. Editions featuring other characters (example shown below, right) began appearing on Nico Nico Douga in February 2008 and YouTube later that year.