Azumanga Daioh Now Azumanga&!


The recent remake of the fan-favorite 4-koma series Azumanga Daioh’s first volume has attracted much attention, due to the vastly redrawn artwork by the original mangaka Kiyohiko Azuma.

As his style has changed substantially from 1999’s Azumanga to today’s currently running Yotsuba&!, the differences in some panels is truly striking, influencing one fan to create a comprehensive side-by-side comparison of the new and old versions, as can be seen below…

To begin with, a recent entry on Azuma’s personal site provides some of the artist’s thoughts on redrawing his most popular work.

Here is an excerpt of the most relevant portions:

And so, I drew Azumanga for the first time in a long while.

I’m sure it might cause uncomfortable feelings for some fans, but it is the Azumanga of Today.

I struggled with exactly how much of my old style to bring back, but for the most part I went with my most current style.

Looking at it from my own perspective, trying to bring back some of my older style makes me feel like I’m purposefully making the art look worse, so it was a little painful for me to do.

Even with my style of 4-koma, looking back at it now makes me think about how simplistic it was.

As for the drawing method I used, I adopted the thought of making changes to the exterior surface, but still make it so that it would easily fit into the “core” of Azumanga.

Intrigued by the profound differences found in the new version, Sangencyaya collected these comparison images:






The new style does indeed resemble Azuma’s more recent art in Yotsubato:

Youtsubato Example Art


Here is another eye comparison, this time of Chiyo – it is worth mentioning that the early chapters of Azumanga were done in 1999, quite early in Azuma’s career, and Azumanga’s art did improve over its 3 year run:





The resemblance to Yotsubato’s style is particularly obvious here.


This is substantially harder to spot, but changes in the toning, or shading used was also noticed:





In the original, toning was used to color the inside of an open mouth, and to accentuate the character’s shadows, but the new version lacks it, creating a more minimalistic look.

Character Lines

The script is mostly unchanged, but there are some exceptions, some due to repositioning portions of the text elsewhere on the page, among other reasons…



“I think I might’ve just seen some really cute pantsu…”




Another change was to the personal pronouns for “I” used by the hapless male student whose bike was stolen by Yukari in Chapter 1 from the masucline “Ore” to the gender-neutral “Watashi”, since he has somehow turned into a girl in the past decade (He fell into a Jusenkyo spring perhaps?)



“Aaah! My Bicycle!!”



Aaah! My Bicycle!!

Joke Punchlines

This example that Sangencyaca selected is difficult to understand for someone who doesn’t remember the context (or never read the original), but it does give a good look at the bespectacled Koyomi’s different character styles.



“Everything’s OK!!

That kid will be fine being by himself!”

“That’s not what you said in the beginning!!”



“Alright then…

Just shut the window properly and go back home quickly.”


One of the most important (and noticeable) changes made clearly must be to the various oppai of the large schoolgirl cast.

This proved to be a rather confusing comparison for many, as many readers apparently mistook the old version for the new in our earlier post.

Old (Left) vs. New (Right)


The lack of toning lines, along with a change in Sakaki’s service mizugi from a less revealing, but more form-fitting one makes for a vastly different image, and it isn’t hard to see how some could easily mistake the two at a quick glance…

Fellow readers of moonrunes can find the fascinating full analysis of the changes at Sangencyaca here and here.

The new reprint of Volume 1 is also available.

    Post Comment »
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    Comment by disgaea20
    18:23 29/08/2009 # ! Neutral (+0.4)

    the old school Sakaki more better then the new one

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:51 18/05/2015 # ! Neutral (0)

    i like the new one more. the old one was really deformed and looked really badly drawn (especially the legs and breasts)

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:11 18/06/2009 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Azuma's art has improved a LOT over the past 10 years. The new stuff is definitely better.

    Comment by Gradation
    06:58 18/06/2009 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    The new art fits the genre better.

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:44 17/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Honestly, the old style looks like his ero doujins.

    The newer version is closer to anime "style".

    Nothing wrong with either.

    Comment by *shrug*
    06:30 17/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Aw, he changed a punchline that I really liked.

    Poor kitten.

    Comment by MusicalNote
    06:09 17/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I like the new version of Sakaki's swimsuit more. It looks more realistic in the breast area. I like oppai to a point, but the original looked less like breasts and more like balloons. I do prefer her face in the original art... It's an interesting trade off.

    Comment by bongo bongo
    06:12 17/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I like the new art. The faces were kind of deformed in the old one (plus I prefer smaller eyes). The new one may seem more minimalistic and "easier to dish out" but the anatomy and proportions are much better.

    Comment by liveevil
    06:51 17/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Well you can't blame the guy for rushing things since he's still got Yotsuba&'s next chapter to do and also other Azumanga volumes to remake.

    Comment by K
    09:50 17/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    hey, the guy linked you back, Artefact.

    Avatar of Quen
    Comment by Quen
    13:01 17/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I didn't notice - where?

    Avatar of tomoemami
    Comment by yaku
    09:19 17/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    A lot of people here seem to think "more complex" = better, and that's entirely up to your tastes, but the fact is most mangaka start very detailed because their lines aren't that clean and steady and use too many. Gradually they get firmer, cleaner lines and get rid of useless details and start focusing in the characters and the panels.

    A good example of this is the Rurouni Kenshin manga. I rather like how the style ended up than how it was in the first volumes, which can be considered more detailed at the beginning and more simple at the end.

    Maybe he said his art was simplistic before because he didn't acquire his own style then.

    Comment by Mike
    13:04 17/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    At the same time, lack of detail is still cheap and lazy.

    The new version of his character lack any sort of visual depth and just look too simplistic. It comes across as lazy, not better.

    Avatar of tomoemami
    Comment by yaku
    13:40 17/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    It's not cheap and lazy, considering the pace mangakas usually undertake in making pages. It depends on what you like. I rather like the new clean look, it looks more professional and original than the old 90s style he had before.

    As I said, complex =/= better.

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:22 17/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Old art is much more traditional manga/anime derivative. The new art has more originality and is more skillful, both in the linework and the expression of the characters. I can't blame people for preferring the old art, simply because of nostalgia; but the new art objectively achieves a better clarity of vision.

    They're both good for what they are. So it's good that we have both. :)

    Comment by MaidNiac
    03:34 17/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    This is almost like the art quality between Yoshiro Togashi's Hunter X Hunter and his classic Yuyu Hakusho..

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:23 17/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    well i like sakaki's old swimsuit drawing better. so much hotter.

    Comment by Supakitsune
    04:27 17/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Yeah... Azuma-san's really... simplified his art style over the years, hasn't he...?

    I think I prefer the older stuff.

    Avatar of knuclear200x
    Comment by knuclear200x
    11:36 17/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Nothing's hotter than a skin-tight spandex bikini.

    Avatar of knuclear200x
    Comment by knuclear200x
    11:37 17/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    even if it isn't revealing...

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:57 17/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I vastly prefer the new art.

    Comment by Blacksun88
    04:14 17/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    o i wish i had the chance to read azumanga in manga ^^. i enjoyed the anime version very much

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:11 17/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    New looks like XYNTA

    Avatar of survivorevil
    Comment by survivor_evil
    04:05 17/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    the first ones are weird but more detailed at the same time, the new ones look too simple

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:34 17/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I don't know, a hybrid of the two would be nice. One of my biggest gripes are the eyes, they took a serious downgrade from the new art.

    But to begin with, Azumanga was already incredibly successful, there is no point to this, let it die peacefully and keep pumping out quality Yotsuba.

    Comment by Claude
    11:48 17/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I like the old art better too.

    Though I appreciate simple artwork as well!

    Comment by kenjiharima
    02:35 19/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Sakaki's hot old version or new version. Gotta love the art!

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:01 19/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I like old and new art pretty much the same.
    Except that I like sakaki's old face than the new, her eyes are sharper.

    Avatar of Ipsod
    Comment by Ipsod
    19:47 18/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    After reading all these comments, I can't help but be reminded of the scene in Lucky Star with Hiyorin complaining that when an artist feels they've gotten better, some asshole comes by and says their earlier stuff is better.

    All of you are [insert offensive wording here].

    Comment by Onsokumaru
    09:38 18/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Is this the twilight zone? How is the new art better?! It's so plain and simplistic, almost retarded. Where are the reflections on the hair for example?
    Old art is gorgeous and sexy.

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:31 18/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    If you can't tell those lines are more confident and skillful, the anatomy is more accurate, and expressions via posture are better, then you're blind. Check out the "cute pantsu" comparison up top. There was another comparison article that showed the career survey interaction between Chiyo and Sakaki. The way Sakaki's hair drapes back over her shoulder is a lot more subtle and detailed and realistic.

    Do you really think those hair shines are all that skillful or impart that much detail? They're just a remnant from the guy copying generic manga styles.

    Simple art is the most difficult to pull off well. And simplicity is mostly just an aesthetic choice that doesn't impact the quality of the art. If you prefer one style or another, that's one thing - no one can argue taste. But there is more skill, confidence, consistency, originality, and subtlety in the new work. That can be ascertained objectively.

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:38 30/06/2009 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Agree with this totally.

    Also, even if the characters seem "simplified," the backgrounds and compositions are undeniable better. Especially in the "joke punchlines" comparison, the new one gives a better illusion of depth, and a more complex background by actually drawing in the classroom.

    Avatar of tomoemami
    Comment by yaku
    14:09 19/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)


    Comment by Saint Clair
    11:26 10/07/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    The old style is much better than the new one.

    Comment by Durea
    15:52 28/07/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    The old one is a lot better.
    There is more detail, which I like :D

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:47 29/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    old is better

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:56 18/05/2015 # ! Neutral (0)

    the new art fits the manga so much more and for me it looks better. (especially the anatomy and character positions and poses)

    Avatar of 21149315
    Comment by 21149315
    18:48 19/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Gained - Anatomy / Smoother rendering
    Lost - Detail / Character

    Chiyo looks too much like Yotsuba now.
    And as much as I adore Yotsuba, I think that both characters should look different.

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:15 27/08/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I think Ayumu's ''more feminine look'' in the old version makes her look prettier. might be just me though(I also like Chiyo-chan's old pigtails).

    Avatar of Blackowl
    Comment by Blackowl
    14:26 11/08/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    old oppal is bigger :D

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:28 14/08/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Both the old and new style have their respective merits. Regardless, a remake is absolutely unnecessary.

    Comment by Chris
    14:12 17/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I like the old version better, as if it hasn't been said enough. Especially since I've already read it... that's Azumanga's distinctive style.
    Why would he go and change the whole damn thing? Ah well.

    Although bikini Sakaki is superior imo.

    Comment by Mike
    12:59 17/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Lol and the conclusion is...

    The new are is crap.

    "Looking at it from my own perspective, trying to bring back some of my older style makes me feel like I’m purposefully making the art look worse, so it was a little painful for me to do.

    Even with my style of 4-koma, looking back at it now makes me think about how simplistic it was."

    Whatever drugs he is taking I want some.

    Comment by Anonymous
    20:01 17/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Working on a manga like Yotsuba& is all the crack you'll ever need.

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:21 17/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Old style is waaay better. More details, more shading, better hair, better eyes, better bikini, better oppai.

    Azuma-san got really lazy. I love his early works (Tenchi Muyo), but during and after creating Azumanga his art went downhill.

    Comment by Newprimus
    14:44 17/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Details, line-work, whatever. None of it matters cause the old style has so much more character and spirit than the new one, at least from the pictures shown above.

    Avatar of Tateha
    Comment by Tate
    15:46 17/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    i kinda like the old work better. despite some of it's flaws in art in some of the early chapters, it's interesting to see how he got better in drawing over time.

    just going back and updating it for today seems as if he was ashamed of his old work, like how star wars has been "upgraded" several times because George lucas felt like it.

    although main reason i prefer the older style probably because Sakaki has a better form...

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:40 18/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I'm kind of biased towards the old art, seeing how Azumanga was both my first manga and anime.

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:50 17/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I liked the old art better...

    Avatar of Chogiebear
    Comment by chogiebear
    23:42 16/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    The new one seems like the mangaka been lazy with his art. I mean look at the eyes, and Yomi's face became longer. Moe level down for the new one.

    Comment by Lord Fortengard
    23:42 16/06/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    It`s mostly a downgrade.

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