Thursday, January 28, 2010


A friend of mine suggested this manga to me a while ago. He'd lent me his Azumanga Daioh volumes (more on that later), and I absolutely loved them. So when I heard that the manga-ka Kiyohiko Azuma had another series, this one in manga format rather than newspaper strip format, I of course calmly finished the series I was reading, waited a few months, and then finally read it.

Before I did that however, I bought him the first volume for Christmas, skimmed through it, laughed, and still took my merry time getting around to reading it. What can I say? I procrastinate.

The story centers around the antics Yotsuba Kowai, as well as her father, and their neighbors the Ayase's. Yotsuba is an energetic, naive little girl. She always needs to be doing something, and, as little children are wont to do, she often causes trouble for those around her - mostly for Fuuka, the middle child of the three Ayase girls, her older and younger sisters are Asagi and Ena. This manga isn't about the trouble she causes though. Instead, it's about seeing the world through the eyes of a child, while at the same time observing the child's sense of wonder at the bright new world she is experiencing.

I could go into character profiles and all that, but really I don't think this is the place for that. Instead, I'll focus on what makes this manga so great (admittedly, character interaction is a huge part of that). More than once are the two younger Ayase girls outsmarted by the hyper active Yotsuba, which only makes it all the funnier when Asagi is the only one who ever manages to foil her.

The humor is this manga's selling point. No joke. (Yes, I did intend that pun). I could not believe how often I was cracking up while reading this manga. There's no overarching storyline, no real interpersonal drama, just an over dose of sugary cuteness. Yes, this manga is a very, very cute manga. And I'm not afraid to say that. I read it for it's humor, but also because of how cute it is. When I read this manga I am reminded that while there is a lot of horrible stuff happening in the world, there's also the little things happening that bring joy. Like a young child using a string and cup telephone (geez how long has it been since I've used one of those?). Imagine the look of confusion and wonder as she hears your voice in the cup, even though you're standing on the other end of the room.

That's what this manga is like. If you're tired of reading manga, and watching movies that are filled with violence and tragedy, and just want to sit back, laugh and remember that the world is still alright, even if it's just in the small things, then this is the manga for you.

Now I know this has been kind of short, but really, I'm falling into the trap that some reviewers fall into; being more eloquent when we're mad. Then again, perhaps being concise is what I need to focus on. I tend to get long winded. Well, I'm still figuring this out. What I really need to learn is that I should write these a few days in advance, and get in the habit of editing them before I post them.

Oh well, live and learn. Yes I realize this has become more of a personal, introspective post for me, but I'm doing some thinking, and this is helping. I'll come back and edit this, so that it reads like a much better review. In fact, there's a lot of reviews that I just might go back and tweak a little.

Well, that's Yotsuba&! An great read for anyone that loves comedy. And thinks that young girls about to cry is funny.
Pictured Above: Hilarity

If you liked this review, please buy the volumes from here:
Yotsuba&!, Vol. 1
Yotsuba&!, Vol. 2
Yotsuba&!, Vol. 3
Yotsuba&!, Vol. 4
Yotsuba&!, Vol. 5
Yotsuba&!, Vol. 6
Yotsuba&!, Vol. 7


Derek Bown said...

I'm a horrible person for finding that funny!!

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