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Yotsuba&! Vol. 2 by Kiyohiko Azuma (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

September 5, 2005 by  



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“Yotsuba&!” is one of the favorite manga series that I am reading right now and because of its’ quirkiness, its humor… it’s one of my favorite manga series that I have read in 2005 thus far! Kiyohiko Azuma’s “Youtsuba&!” Vol. 2 is highly recommended!

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Image courtesy of © 2005 Published by A.D. Vision, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

MANGA TITLE: Yotsuba&! Vol. 2

STORY AND ART BY: Kiyohiko Azuma (東清彦)

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Media Works Inc.

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: ADV Manga

RATED: T for Teen

RELEASE DATE: September 15, 2005

Ohhhhh! Yotsuba’s back! Today, Yotsuba was drawing Jumbo, okay? That’s Daddy’s REALLY, REALLY BIG friend. He’s real nice and I guess a big baby. But he’s too big to draw in Yotsuba’s sketchbook! So Yotsuba drew Jumbo on the street in front of our house! Cool, huh? But Ena’s friend Miura, who has wheels on her feet, said Yotsuba was bad at drawing…she’s wrong, right? RIGHT!?

Yotsuba meets Ena’s friend, a young and blunt artist named Miura. But does he like her?

What happens when Yotsuba and friends go out to purchase some cake and when they all go to the water slide park?

Find out in the adventures of Yotsuba in vol. 2 of “Yotsuba&!”

What is “Yotsuba&!” Vol. 2 all about?

When it comes to manga, I have discovered that anything created by mangaka Kiyohiko Azuma, I will more than likely purchase. For the slice-of-life manga series, “Azumanga Daioh” was a lot of fun as each character was wild, crazy, airheaded or just vibrant.

While “Azumanga Daioh”was presented as a series of vertical four-panel comic strips (yonkoma), I always hoped to read a manga series by Azuma that was chapter-based. And so, when I heard that a comedy manga series titled “Yotsuba&!” was being created and will be published by MediaWorks in Japan in 2003, I was wishing it would be released in the U.S. And thankfully, here we are with the first volume of “Yotsuba&!” courtesy of ADV Manga.

The series has received critical acclaim and is a big seller in Japan. And while “Azumanga Daioh” was made to an anime series, Azuma has said that he has no intention of wanting “Yotsuba&!” being made into an anime series.

“Yotsuba&!” is a manga series that is unusual but so much fun! It revolves around a five-year-old girl named Yotsuba Koiwai, who lives with her adoptive father Mr. Koiwai.

Both have moved to a new town and for Yotsuba, she is very naive to a lot of things she sees around in the city. We are introduced to Mr. Koiwai’s good friend (who is 6 ft., 11 inches) named Takashi “Jumbo” Takeda, who helps them with the move.

Yotsuba eventually meets her new neighbors (who find her weird), the Ayase family which consists of 20-year-old sister Asagi Ayase (a.k.a. “the pretty one”), 16-year old Fuka Ayase (a.k.a. “the one who is not pretty”), 10-year-old Ena Ayase (a.k.a. “the small one”) and their mother Mrs. Ayase (which Yotsuba had started calling her “Mommy”).

The following chapters of “Yotsuba&!” vol. 2 are summarized without spoilers:

  • Chapter 1 – Drawing – Yotsuba meets Ena Ayase’s artist friend name Miura.
  • Chapter 2 – Revenge – Yotsuba plays a game of revenge with her squirt gun on the Ayase family.
  • Chapter 3 – Cake – What happens when Mrs. Ayase has Ena, Yotsuba and Miura purchase some cake?
  • Chapter 4 – No Bother  – Yotsuba’s father wants to sleep without being disturbed but what happens when Yotsuba wants to start drawing her father’s face?
  • Chapter 5 – Pools – Mr. Koiwai, Jumbo takes Yotsuba, Fuka and Ena to the water park.
  • Chapter 6 – The Frog – What happens when Yotsuba brings Ena a frog?
  • Chapter 7 – Souvenirs – Asagi comes back from her trip to Okinawa and brings home souvenirs for the family.

I absolutely love the work of Kiyohiko Azuma and reading “Yotsuba&!”, for those who read his previous work “Azumanga Daioh” and remember the character of Osaka, from her naivety to her being an airhead, with Yotsuba, she’s a young girl, almost like a little child who is curious about their surroundings and wants to experience it. She’s full of life but because she is so unfamiliar with so many things that are normal to most people, some people look at her as very weird.

By this volume, Yotsuba and the Ayase family have gotten together so well.  So, well to take in Yotsuba’s weirdness that when she comes in with her squirt gun, no one really gets upset when she comes inside and starts squirting people.  Another fun chapter is “No Bother” when Yotsuba tries to draw her father but then adds a beard, but what happens when she comes up with an idea to draw the beard on her sleeping father with a dry erase marker?

And there are many other fun stories in this second volume but we also are introduced to Miura, Ena’s friend who thinks Yotsuba is quite weird. But he likes to tease her by scaring her and also make fun of her, but yet with Yotsuba’s naiveness, it’s interesting how she surprises him with her perspective on life.

But the series is a slice of life manga series with each chapter about the daily lives of the character and the things that Yotsuba discovers and is fascinated by.  It’s a quirky anime series but a storyline that is so addictive and enjoyable that you can’t help but want more!

Unlike “Azumanga Daioh”, Azuma’s artwork is much more detailed. In “Azumanga Daioh”, rarely do you see backgrounds but in this case, he puts details in the vehicles, the building structures and areas where Yotsuba and others interact with.

But what he does bring over from “Azumanga Daioh” is the character facial expressions, may it normal to something so unusual and crazy, but you can’t help but laugh.

“Yotsuba&!” is one of my favorite manga series that I am reading right now and because of its’ quirkiness, its humor… it’s one of my favorite manga series that I have read in 2005 thus far!

Kiyohiko Azuma’s “Youtsuba&!” Vol. 2 is highly recommended!

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