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Azumanga Daioh was hugely popular in Japan and therefore generated more merchandise than you can shake a stick at!!  As well as a huge range of figures and the usual art books and stuffed toys, there are also soundtracks, computer games, clothing and some more bizarre items such as slippers!
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Capsule Toys:
  It doesn't seem like any series can get release nowadays without an accompanying range or four of collectible figures.  Available from vending machines in Japan, these figures usually prove hugely popular and there were several ranges for Azumanga Daioh - including chibi style mini-figures and keyrings. 
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Plushes:
  Any anime series that includes cute characters is destined to have a range of stuffed toys, or 'plushes', based on it, and Azumanga Daioh is no exception.  A huge range of chibi style toys are available in Japan - including the one shown to the right - and it is likely that ADV Toys will eventually bring them to the US too.
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Watch:  Amongst the myriad figures and plushes available for an anime series it is always nice to see some good practical stuff sneak out.  Watches like this Azumanga Daioh one are common prizes for Japanese 'UFO Catcher' arcade machines (those ones where you use a joystick to control a claw in an often futile attempt to grab prizes), which goes to show that not all arcade prizes are crap...
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Yukari Tanizaki



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Computer Games:  There are several Azumanga Daioh computer games available in Japan over a variety of systems.  We were lucky enough to play an Azumanga version of the classic arcade puzzler Bust-A-Move (aka. Puzzle Bobble) when we visited an arcade in Japan, but there are console puzzle games and some strange fan made PC games available too!  Amongst the PC games there's a beach volleyball game and an 'Osaka Simulator' called Kasuga Ayumu's Mail Order Life, in which you select items and watch a little chibi version of Osaka interact with them in a 3D environment. The pic to the right is the cover of the PlayStation game, which was an Azumanga Daioh version of Mah-jongg...
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Obligatory Odd Merchandise!

Azumanga Daioh Slippers:
  Yep, you read that right.  Just like you can get character slippers in the UK based on the likes of Homer Simpson and Zippy, in Japan you can get Azumanga Daioh slippers!  There are several styles available, including ones based on the characters Ayumu 'Osaka' Kasuga and Chiyo Mihama!  Originally these slippers were prizes from 'UFO Catcher' arcade machines (those joystick controlled claw machines), but they can mainly be found in second hand shops in Japan now.  Webmaster Tom swears by the pair of Osaka slippers he bought in K-Books, despite the fact they only just fit him!
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Availability & Prices:

Soundtracks:  The Azumanga Daioh soundtrack has been released in the US by ADV Music, and is easily available on the internet.  US CDs are far cheaper than Japanese imports, and you should be able to pick up the soundtrack for around a tenner from online retailers such as Amazon and Anime On Line.

Artbooks:  There are a selection of Azumanga Daioh Artbooks and guidebooks available, but all relate specifically to the anime series rather than the manga.  The main artbooks are Azumanga Daioh Visual Guide Vols 1 & 2 but there is also an artbook containing solely line art available.  These books will set you back around 15-20 each and are available from online retailers such as Otaku UK.

Computer Games:  An advantage for those looking for Azumanga Daioh computer games is that the series is relatively recent, and therefore games will be far easier to get hold of than those on older consoles.  Another advantage is that most Azumanga Daioh games are puzzle games, and you therefore won't need a degree in Japanese linguistics to play them, although there is still likely to be some guesswork involved!  Import game sites are pretty common now and you should be able to get hold of games for the PlayStation and GameBoy Advance without too much trouble, as always auction sites* can be a good place to look for cheaper prices.

Figures & Statues:  Currently only available in Japan, and even there they are becoming increasingly difficult to find, as Webmaster Rich found out to his horror when we went there.  Prices vary depending on the rarity/desirability of the figure, and also on the range in question, but generally most small 'capsule toy' figures will set you back around 2-4 each from some specialist retailers.  Action figures are less common and more expensive, as are statues, and your best bet to pick up these kinds of figures are auction sites* and dedicated toy import sites and shops.

Plushes: These are quite common in Japan and they do crop up from time to time in specialist shops.  Prices vary between retailers but strictly speaking they should cost between 6 and 20, depending on the character.  You may find some online retailers stock them and they will most probably crop up on Auction sites* too.

*Auction sites can be rife with unscrupulous individuals who will knowingly sell you pirated goods.  Although the risk is mainly with DVD and CD purchasing, there is a notable amount of pirated toys and apparel cropping up too.  To minimise the risk of being ripped off make sure you check Digital Anime's excellent Piracy FAQ.
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