Separation / Yukari's Birthday / Spread your wings Chiyo / Child President / Please Let Me Be Strong (Japanese: 「別離」 「ゆかりちゃんの誕生日」 「はばたけちよ」 「こども大統領」 「強く生きてください」) is the twentieth episode of Azumanga Daioh.
The girls are finally seniors, though having class on the third floor of the school is disadvantageous. Yukari encourages the class to study for the upcoming entrance exams for college the following year. Nyamo receives a handbag from her class as a birthday present, upsetting Yukari since her class forgot about her birthday, which falls during spring break. Yukari is given a handbag from her class the next day to make up for her past birthday. Intending to show off her handbag to Nyamo, Yukari is suddenly interceded by Kimura. Tomo plans to become a police officer. Chiyo wants to apply to an American college, but Osaka scares her with the image of getting kidnapped or murdered. Sakaki tranquilizes them with the vision that Chiyo-Father would come to aid Chiyo. Later after school, Tomo says that Chiyo might as well become the president of the United States, making Osaka fantasize about how Chiyo would have her own country populated by many little lookalikes of her. Yomi decides to buy pork buns since they do not have sugar in them. Chiyo introduces Tomo and Yomi to Miruchi and Yuka-chan, who now sport their own uniforms. Kaorin becomes class president in Kimura’s class, much to her chagrin. She contemplates of her memories with Sakaki. After running into Kimura's wife, who has come to bring his lunch, Kaorin resolves to find his good points, one of which is gardening.
Osaka changes shoes when she gets to school. In Japan, you do not wear your shoes inside school. Instead, you have a set of indoor shoes, which you leave at the school's entrance where every school has shelves.
In some Japanese schools, the first year students are on the first floor, the second year students on the second floor and third year students on the third floor. This is the case here, which Osaka mourns.
When she notices Tomo has cut off her hair, Chiyo goes to ask Yomi something. This is because in Japan, girls often cut their hair when they suffer heartbreak, and Chiyo just wanted to check if this was the case.
Tomo explains she grew her hair out to look like Fujiko Mine from the anime and manga series Lupin III. When she realizes it is impossible for her to look like Fujiko, she instead "settles" for the 'Ayu look'. Ayu is the nickname of Ayumi Hamasaki, a famous Japanese singer and actress who is often thought to be cute.
In the flashback where Nyamo's class gives her a birthday present, Yukari angrily likens her to the teacher in a youth drama.
Tomo says she wants to join the ICPO, Interpol. ICPO stands for International Criminal Police Organization. This is the organization that Zenigata, the police figure in Lupin III, works for. Kagura thought it only existed in movies. Unlike Lupin III and other media portrayals, ICPO does not hire international agents and is merely a contact point between national police forces.
Osaka wonders what policemen have written in their police pocketbooks. Police in Japan flash their official pocketbooks instead of badges. The front of the pocketbook is black with the gold sun symbol of the police and lettering indentifying the departemnt. The pocketbook generally has a pen holder, some note paper, and space for business cards. One of Osaka's theories is that the policemen have print club stickers in them. These are the stickers you can get from print club machines, which can be seen in arcades and general gaming places. It is a bit like a photo booth where you take your picture against a neutral background, and the machine superimposes your picture on the background and frame of your choice. The machine will print a sheet of these stickers, which are usually the size of a small stamp.
Osaka asks Chiyo is she has plans to go to Tokyo University. This is a national university and considered to be the best in all of Japan, very hard to get into. However, Chiyo considers attending a university in America instead, because they are more used to accepting students who have skipped grades there. It is far less common to skip grades in Japan than it is in America.
When Chiyo says she wants to study overseas, Kagura compares her to other Japanese people who have become famous in America: Ichiro Suzuki, a Japanese baseball player who plays in America as an outfielder for the Seattle Mariners, and Kazuhiro Sasaki, a Major League Baseball right-handed relief pitcher for the same team.
Osaka suggests that if Chiyo would get kidnapped, she should "put her genius to good use" like in a TV drama.
Sakaki tells Chiyo that were she to be kidnapped, her father would come flying to the rescue. In both English and Japanese, it works out that "come flying" is a figurative way of saying that he will come really quickly, even though in Sakaki's mind he really is flying.
When Chiyo says her parents gave her permission to study overseas, Osaka refers to the saying "Let your darling children travel". In Japanese, this saying basically means that if you truly care for your children, you would allow them to travel and see the world for their own good, rather than sheltering them from it all. In Japanese, the word "kawaii" can mean both "dear" and "cute". In the saying, it should be taken to mean "dear", as in "a child your cherish", but Osaka turns it into a pun and uses it to mean "cute" when she says that Chiyo is "darling", and therefore, it's okay for her to travel.
If Yukari was scarred from previous experiences, like Osaka suspected.
If it really was Kimura's birthday when he sang "Happy birthday" to himself.
Sakaki tells a cat that she "got to see [it] again today", but it is unknown when the first time she saw it was.
The start of the girls' third high school year.
Having grown it out for a long time, Tomo cuts her hair short.
Kaorin transfers to Kimura's class, to her dismay.
Yukari gets insanely jealous of Nyamo because she receives birthday presents from her class, something Yukari never has experienced. Class 3 gives Yukari a late birthday gift, and she goes to the classroom next door to brag about it.
Tomo discusses the ICPO and policemen with her friends, since that is her career plan of choice.
Tomo and Osaka apparently think that if Chiyo goes to America, she will be kidnapped and killed. They invent scenarios concerning this which scares Chiyo and Sakaki. Sakaki fantasizes about how Chiyo-chichi would literally fly to rescue his daughter in such a situation, and Osaka imagines what it would be like if America became Chiyo-chan's country.
Tomo teases Chiyo about being childish because of her bun flavour preference (this scene inspired the meme Caipirinha Dance).
Chiyo introduces Tomo and Yomi to Miruchi and Yuka. When they say they wouldn't be able to be accepted by Chiyo's high school and that Chiyo's friends must be really smart, even Tomo agrees, to which Chiyo and Yomi quickly object.
Kaorin gets annoyed by the fact that Kimura calls nobody in the class by a nickname but her, and expresses her dissatisfaction. But Kimura misunderstands and says that in that case, she can call him "Kimurin". She was also chosen as class president because Kimura nominated her.
[Sighs] No good … Havin' to go to the third floor every day, I'm gonna lose heart!
What, are the spring fairies themselves bewailed by my graceful new charm?
— Tomo (on her haircut)
Aim for her look? But you're not anything like her to begin with!
— Kagura (to Tomo, on Fujiko Mine)
Well, except for my bust size, I came pretty damn close!
— Tomo (to Kagura)
I'm Yukari Tanizaki, Class 3 homeroom teacher. This year, all of you are now studying for entrance exams. I'm sure it'll be a rough, stressful time for you. [Tomo nods] But it's even rougher on people in the work force. Don't come looking for pity. And don't you dare act like you're some tragic victims of the modern education system!
You know, you're better off not having handbags anyway!
— Yukari (to Class 2)
What the hell is with you!? Do you think you've become the teacher in some youth drama!?
— Yukari (to Nyamo, when her class gave her a birthday present)
Whoa, that's crazy! Are you like a kid or something? … But does such a thing really exist? I always thought it was just a movie.
— Kagura (to Tomo, on Interpol)
For someone … who wants to be a part of it, you sure don't know much!
— Kagura (to Tomo)
Just what do they have written in their police pocketbook!? Does it have an address book or memo notebook attached to the back or something?