|Canonical?:||Semi (one-sided from Kaorin)|
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Sakaki is one of the main characters of the series, with Kaorin being a prominent secondary character. The two are in the same class for most of high school, and Kaorin has a huge crush on Sakaki. However, Kaorin is prone to massive anxiety when it comes to her crush, and Sakaki seems oblivious due to her lack of social interaction with others. The two have some close moments, but nothing ever comes of Kaorin's crush. This is likely due to the anime's lack of romance in general.
In one of the 10th anniversary supplemental volumes' storylines, Osaka outright asks Kaorin if she's gay. Kaorin claims she would like Sakaki even if Sakaki were male and that her feelings are just "a teenage thing". Though her body language and delivery suggest she doesn't mean either. 
- Sakaki is enlisted for the folk dance due to there not being enough boys, and Kaorin gets a chance to dance with her
- Running the three-legged race together for the second sports festival
- When the two ride in Yukari's car, Sakaki can be seen helping Kaorin out of the back seat asking if she's okay
- Kaorin gets jealous to the point of insanity when Tomo shows off a picture of herself sleeping on Sakaki
- Kaorin's New Year's dream is of Sakaki rescuing her from her classmates, who are inexplicably gang members
Sakaki/Kaorin was one of the most popular pairings in the fandom's heyday due to canon yuri being so rare and Kaorin's feelings being canon. Fandom more or less accepted Kaorin as a canon lesbian, even the ones who didn't ship her with Sakaki. Given the time period, she was also one of few anime lesbians who didn't meet a tragic end; the fact that she didn't get the girl wasn't even a point of contention due to the anime not focusing on romances.
Today, the pairing has fallen behind ships like Tomo/Yomi and Osaka/Kagura in popularity.
Its chief rival is Sakaki/Kagura, due to Kagura also having an obsession with Sakaki and that pair sharing some close moments in canon. Kagura is also a part of the core six girls, while Kaorin remains mostly secondary.
Some detractors of Sakai/Kaorin have claimed Kaorin is too passive to initiate anything, much less help Sakaki come out of her shell. Other fans think Kaorin is a flat character due to most of her scenes revolving around her crush on Sakaki. 
Common tropes in fan work
Sakaki/Kaorin fic is surprisingly heavy on the angst for being from such a lighthearted series. Kaorin's obsessive crush and anxieties are played for heavy drama, sometimes with tragic results. However, fluff is still pretty common, as are fics where Sakaki accepts Kaorin's feelings and they get together.
Fics where they meet again after high school and get together as adults are common as well.
- Sakaki and Kaorin Close-Up by Lookafar
- Sakaki x Kaorin by OrbitalWings
- After so many years, I still love this anime by 90% Fluff
- Kaorin loves Sakaki Compilation - Azumanga Daioh by Pig Head
- Kaorin X Sakaki - Truly Madly Deeply by AzuGirl89
- A Thousand Miles - Kaorin/Sakaki by Amy Smith
Archives & Fannish Links
- Sakaki/Kaorin tag on AO3
- Sakaki/Kaorin fics on ff.net
- Couple:SakaKaorin on the Azumanga Daioh Wiki
- Sakaki & Kaorin on the Azumanga Daioh Fanon Wiki