28 April 2008

Review:: Yotsuba&! (manga)

Spring is here! Know what you need? A little bit o' love from the most adorable little girl in contemporary manga: Yotsuba (yotsu: four, ba: leaf). She is the main character in the Kiyohiko Azuma masterpiece Yotsuba&!-- which should be pronounced as Yotsuba to (as in, Yotsuba toh).

Now if you're familiar with Azumanga Daioh, then you know what I mean when I explain Yotsuba as a cross between Chiyo-chan, Osaka, and Tomo-chan. Basically, get ready for some irresistible shenanigans from Yotsuba herself as the constant main attraction. She's a little strange and she might be a foreigner. She's sometimes blunt, sometimes quite slow, but completely adorable. You may see her ecstatic or angry or confused, but that girl is never depressed, never emo.

The storyline consists of different vignettes, allowing the reader to really get to know the characters and sometimes be surprised by them. (For example, you might just be in awe of Jumbo's profession.) Sometimes the adults are quite child-like, and the kids are more mature. Classic Azuma here. Thankfully, Yotsuba is not the only one entertains. They characters are all in it together, whether they want to or not. From tackling global warming to cicadas to teru teru bouzu, Yotsuba&! is such a joyful and gorgeous chaos.

9 of 9!
It would be easy to ensure that the characters stay funny by keeping them static. They rarely fall into the same old gag, and if they do, it's because it was darn hilarious in the first place. There are very few characters here who are normal. They are all quirky and special in their own way.
Some people might find that the vignette format gets a bit repetitive after a while. I had to take breaks but that was because I wanted to spread out the joy.
Anyone and everyone with a sense of humor. For all ages, really. Awesome!
Like it? Try this!::
Azumanga Daioh, of course. There's nothing quite like that Azuma magic.
Further Notes::
I know what you're thinking. Maybe you just don't do cute. Maybe you're not won over by the flower cupid, as shown in the pic above. You know, I cannot speak highly enough of this series. I read the first five volumes and it just didn't get old. It brings a warm glow to my face anytime I talk about it. Ha ha. And you know how some things are billed as "laugh-out-loud funny" but they really aren't? This one is. It totally, totally is.

Share it with all you love.

Yotsuba&!, Volume 1. By Kiyohiko Azuma. ADV Manga, 2005. 232 pages. $9.99.