Essay · Review

Manga Spotlight Week: Yotsuba&!

Manga Spotlight Week Intro

Manga Spotlight Week: Kakegurui | MSW: Wizard’s Soul ~Holy War of Love~ | MSW: Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure | MSW: Devil’s Line |MSW: Komi-san wa, Komyushou desu | MSW: Mousou Telepathy |MSW: Koi wa Ameagari no You ni 

  • Alternative Titles: Yotsubato!
  • MAL: Yotsuba&!
  • Tropes: genki girl, naïve child asking lots of questions, slice of life status quo

It’s a great beginner manga … and it’s easy to pick up.

Maybe you do or maybe you don’t, but remember the easy-going days of 2006 and the Azumanga Daioh dub? It was the ultimate slice-of-life comedy with a side of surrealism.

Well, I guess the mangaka Kiyohiko Azuma didn’t like the anime because his currently running manga Yotsuba&! will, reportedly, never get an adaptation by his choice.

I appreciate that. I don’t watch a lot of anime, but I find the non-action ones regularly lose something in the move. Keijo!!!!!!!! looked great in motion, but One Piece loses its detailed art. Comedy is also troublesome in anime versus manga. Timing is lost due to subs and cultural differences are abundant.

The most well-known Yotsuba&! chapter thanks to the meme potential

Yotsuba&! isn’t a 4-koma like Azumanga Daioh, but is still a light-hearted, wholesome comedy. It follows five year old Yotsuba, her family, and her friends in everyday Japanese life. She does innocent activities like watching fireworks, visiting the store, and trying pizza for the first time. Each chapter is a new vignette, with only a handful having continuing parts.

There will be times when cultural differences confuses a joke for western audiences, it’s still an enjoyable read. Like r/eyebleach, but in manga form.

I usually don’t laugh at books, comics, or graphic novels. Maybe I read to fast – who knows. I’ve laughed at Yotsuba&! though. The mangaka has perfected the ‘blank stare’ look that Yotsuba exhibits almost every chapter. The adults of the series are also funny – either by humouring Yotsuba or trying to reason with her.

There’s no plot. It’s a true-to-form slice of life series. Nothing extraordinary happens, except maybe when Grandma visits and the most recent chapters take place in Tokyo.

It’s a great ‘beginner’ manga, since there’s nothing to follow chapter-to-chapter and it’s easy to pick up randomly.

  • Best for those who like: cute things, kids being goofy, kids react videos, wholesome humour, parents/adults being joke, teenagers getting roosted by kids, lighthearted wackiness
  • Worst for those who dislike: slow pace stories, slice of life (no plot or goals), more atmosphere than action, a child as MC, unsolved mysteries, the same set-up and punchline repeated ad nauseam.

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