on November 1, 2005
My 9th-grade daughter is a manga fanatic. One day, she came home after school, thrust this book into my hands, and said, "Mom, here's your assignment. Read this. You'll love it!"
It took about a week before I made the time to read it. But once I started reading Yotsuba, I couldn't put it down! I pushed my work aside and read it all the way through. The book is funny, warm, and lighthearted, and I felt great when I was done reading. The main character, a green-haired little girl named Yotsuba, completely lives in her own world. She's like a miniature, young Lucy from the old, black & white "I Love Lucy" shows. Innocent and fun-loving, she climbs up tree trunks and telephone poles pretending she's a cicada, rings doorbells just to see who'll come out, and climbs into a department store display bed and falls asleep while her dad's shopping for curtains. She's cute, spunky, and completely unpredictable.
The other characters grow on you quickly, too. There's family friend Jumbo, who claims his ancestors were giraffes (he's VERY tall). And the three neighbor girls, one of whom goes out of her way to help Yotsuba stay out of trouble (but somehow ends up in predicaments herself along the way). The cast of characters is fairly small, which I like, and each person has a unique, well-defined personality. All are quirky, but all work together to keep an eye on Yotsuba. At the same time, her effervescence brings a ray of light into their lives.
After I read the book, I gave it to my 7th-grade son, telling him he had to read it. He read the first few pages and was hooked. He also finished the book in a day. Now the three of us -- my daughter, my son, and I -- quote lines from the book to each other, like our own secret code!
If you're looking for light manga with a heart, this is it. Enjoy!
-- Graciela Sholander, [...]
I enjoyed all four volumes of Azuma Kiyohiko's manga comedy, Azumanga Daioh. Her new series, Yotsubato or (Yotsuba &), is just as funny and crazy. It focuses on Yotsuba, an elementary school age girl with four pigtails who seems to be in her own world. But she's cute, as seen when she's waving at people through the door of the moving van, as she and her father, Koiwai, are on their way to their new home.
On how she's drawn, she's almost like Chiyo-chan, the student prodigy from Azumanga Daioh who has two less pigtails than Yotsuba. However, I doubt that Chiyo would climb up a telephone pole and make funny "zree zree" sounds. When Fuka Ayase, her next door, freaks out and asks what she is doing, Yotsuba says, "I'm a cicada." Fuka kind of resembles Azumanga's Kagura, minus the competitiveness and the tomboy qualities.
She is clueless about air conditioners, and when she hears about the connection between them and global warming, gets the conclusion that her father's a bad guy because he's destroying the world. And the doorbell to her is that thing that makes people come out.
The funniest segment involves her and Ena, Fuka's younger sister, going cicada catching with Jumbo, the very tall guy who helped Yotsuba and her father move, and when Yotsuba lets the cicadas loose in Fuka's house, clueless to the catastrophe, she merely goes "WOW" with her smile, then points to one and says, "There he is. I caught that one."
There is a gag about Jumbo's height. Ena, Fuka, their eldest sibling, the blonde Asagi, and their mother, all react to him, saying, "You're huge!" His best comeback is when he says, "my ancestors were giraffes." But of the three siblings, Fuka, the high schooler, seems to have her stuff together, even coming to Yotsuba's father to have him sign neighborhood association (chonaikai) bulletins
Another involves Yotsuba's antics at a "compartment store," I mean department store, where she gets into all sorts of mischief, such as leaning over the escalator even though the sign beside her says not to do that sort of thing, riding tricycles in the store, jumping inside filing cabinets, and finally sleeping in a bed.
We also learn that Yotsuba was an orphan that her "father" initially looked after but eventually adopted. But her father tells Fuka, "She can find happiness in anything. Nothing in the world can get her down." This is told when it's raining buckets during a thunderstorm and Yotsuba is out there splashing to her heart's content. When it stops, she happily says, "It's sunny." Having a kid like Yotsuba may be all sorts of trouble, but in the end, it would be a lot of fun and happiness.
In Japanese, yotsuba means "four leaf", as in clover. Yotsuba herself has four pigtails, plus her hair is green per the manga cover, so that fits. And I can't wait for the rest of the series to come out. If this ever gets animated, I will definitely spring for it. And hopefully, Kaneda Tomoko, who did Chiyo-chan's voice in Azumanga Daioh, will play Yotsuba.
on August 13, 2005
Is she insane or is she an alien? Whatever Yotsuba is, she is a ball of hyper-active energy that can't be stopped or reasoned with. She reminds me of my two nephews.
The story started with her, and her father, moving into town. Right off the bat she makes friends, is attacked by a swing, because the enemy of air conditioning and confuses the heck out of everybody.
Great new series from the creator of Azumanga Daioh. A must! I already have the second volume.
on June 29, 2005
Tell me why this genre has not been taken by any other manga artist other than Kiyohiko Azuma? This is a severely underused genre in manga, being that in this era it's all fantasy, sci-fi, or weird dramas. Don't start telling me that those overdramatic shoujo mangas are "real."
But for now, Azuma has a strong monopoly on the realkomedy approach, but his work shows real quality and enjoyability. Like Azumanga Daioh, his previous serialized title, Yotsuba&! is for the most part non-linear. The story mainly follows a young girl with a sunny disposition who cannot be saddened by anything at all. What the reader gets is a very re-readable book with great comedy revolving around silly characters.
This manga can be read and enjoyed by anyone. No drama, no action, just light comedy that can make anyone's day better.
on September 21, 2005
This manga is constantly funny. It follows the adventure of a little girl in her new neighborhood. As in Azuma Kiyohiko's other work Azumanga Daioh, this manga is consistently sweet. It shows only the best aspects of being alive. I can't wait for this manga to be turned into anime. You know it is coming.
For those of you who may not have exposure to Azumanga Daioh, the closest comics I can think of is Calvin and Hobbes. While the subject matters in both works have only passing similarities, both work are of exceptional quality. Both works show you the best parts of life and make you glad that you have spent some time with those interesting and lovable little kids.
on July 20, 2005
For all the mega-geeks like me who already know about the sheer awesomeness of Yotsuba, and just want to know what ADV have changed in the name of 'Localization', here's the deal: "Pantsman" is now "Boxerman". That's it. Oh, and one joke has been translated which will make it hard for them in about the fourth volume, but no matter.
ADV have done a good job on this release overall, although I don't know why Fuuka is now Fuka (with only one U).
There is only a single page of translation notes this volume though, but that covers most of it, except when Fuka is describing how her name is written in Kanji, which doesn't fit in context otherwise.
Still, quite worth your cash. You cannot deny Yotsuba!
on January 1, 2006
I picked up this book after plowing through 12 volumes of Fruits Basket in 3 months and 9 volumes of DNAngel within 2 months. All that plot left my head spinning! Thankfully, Yotsuba&! (which is, BTW, pronounced yoh-tsoo-bah-toh), had a light plot and was a hilarious and charming read.
Basically, Yotsuba is a charming, happy little girl who is full of energy. Her antics often include her neighbors, Asagi, Fuka and Ena.
The book is divided into seven chapters, each Yotsuba& something:
*Moving: This is where we first meet Yotsuba,Mr. Koiwai (her dad), Jumbo, and her neighbors
*Manners: This is where she learns about the doorbell
*Global Warming: Read this to enjoy!!
*TV: Fuka offers to give them a TV
*Shopping: Yotsuba goes to a department store. Oh, no!
*Cicadas: Yotsuba goes cicada hunting with Jumbo and Ena
*Rain: Yotsuba splashes to her hearts content.
The artwork is beautifully done. Although there are none of those starry, detailed eyes, the artwork just fits this story. And I'm not saying Azuma-san can't draw (there's a beautiful panoramic view of the city in one chapter), it's just that the story is so simple and charming, that the simplistic artwork fits it perfectly.
EXTRA FEATURES: 4/5
Ok, here's a rundown of the extra stuff:
~ a nice color picture of the sky at the end
~ Translator's Notes, which are very informative
~ a short preview for Yotsuba&! vol. 2
I was just a bit disappointed that they didn't give a bit more summary with the preview.
You can read this book many times, and never get tired of Yotsuba's antics and jokes.
READ or BUY/FINAL:
I definitely think you should buy this book. Almost everyone who likes to laugh out loud will love it. Can't wait 'till the anime!
on July 6, 2014
This is the one Yotsuba caughted!
Great series for anyone that wants nothing more in a manga than casual, clean, drama-free humor. It has a few pointers for anyone who has intent to begin speaking Japanese or wants to understand the lifestyle over there.
on April 26, 2011
This is a beautiful series. I was sad when Azumanga Daioh, the author's other series, came to an end. I had fallen in love with the characters, and knew I would miss Kiyohiko Azuma's charming storytelling. If I had known that Yotsuba was coming, I wouldn't have worried. Yotsuba&! gives you a whole new cast of wonderful, funny characters for you to fall in love with, led by the hilarious, almost otherworldly Yotsuba. This is slice-of-life storytelling at its delightful best, and Azuma's sense of humor just shines in his creations. I laughed out loud while reading this book, and others in the series.
Yotsuba is a strange young girl. Her role in the story is that of the "Other." Through her eyes, we can see all the ordinary things in our world in a new light. Air conditioners, Cicada, Rain storms...things you wouldn't think twice about suddenly become strange and wonderful.
I absolutely loved this book, and every book in this series that I have read after. It's heartwarming and very funny. Also, for those of us who are interested in Japanese culture, Yotsuba provides a fresh pair of eyes to learn about ordinary day-to-day life in Japan. You will learn more about Japanese life and culture here than you will reading other manga, which has a Japanese audience and assumes a certain knowledge of the culture. Yotsuba is an outsider, and needs even basic things explained to her, so you can learn along with her.
I wholeheartedly recommend Yotsuba&!. It is pure, innocent fun that absolutely anyone can enjoy!
on June 27, 2013
If you want a fun, carefree story about a young child... written in a way that is just absolutely adorable, this is for you.
It's for the light-hearted only though, anyone looking for something dark and edgy... this absolutely isn't it.