Yotsuba&! Manga Volume 1 Review

Yotsuba&! Manga Volume 1 Review


Yotsuba&! Manga Volume 1 ReviewBeing a fan of Azumanga Daioh, I was aware of Azuma-sensei’s other work Yotsuba&! and had it recommended to me. However, since ADV refused to adapt the manga to AstroNerdBoy’s standards, I refused to support their product. Then ADV lost the license and Yen Press picked it up. When I heard some old school anime/manga fans complain that Yen Press re-translated everything from scratch and brought the adaptation to the modern era (where Japanese honorifics aren’t something to be feared, Japanese names don’t need to be translated, and some Japanese cultural jokes can be kept more literal with explanations), I did the only thing I could do — I bought all six volumes of the manga on the spot.

Whenever new manga arrives, I always thumb through real quick just to get a feel of what to expect. That volume (or volumes) are then set aside until I can get to them. With volume 1 of Yotsuba&!, the casual thumb-through ended up being a read-through. Why? Because this manga is pure gold and Yotsuba as a character is as well.

The amazing thing that Azuma-sensei has captured is the sense of wonder and innocence of a child. When Yotsuba and her father take a walk to do some shopping, I couldn’t help but smile at Yotsuba’s pointing at things and identifying them — part of the childhood learning process. He captures the simple pleasures of a child such as when Yotsuba hops into a storage drawer or when Jumbo takes her and Ena out to catch cicadas or when she plays in the rain.

Further, Azuma-sensei captures all those moments from childhood that transcend Japanese culture. I think of Yotsuba’s first encounter with a swing and upon swinging very high, she lets go and of course flies out to land in a sand pit. I laughed because I remember the first time I flew out of a swing (though I did it on purpose) and it was a scary experience as you soar through the air before the ground reaches out to grab you. *lol*

Most of the laughs in the manga are dependent on the audience remembering similar events in their own childhood. What parent doesn’t educate their child on the dangers of going with a stranger? So Yotsuba’s first encounter with high school-aged neighbor Ayase (who was looking for Yotsuba at Yotsuba’s father’s request) has her trying to flee a bad stranger who’s trying to do who knows what to Yotsuba. *lol*

There’s also a laugh from the parental side as well when Koiwai-san sees Yotsuba is afraid of a balloon used to keep birds away, so he amuses himself to keep her screaming some until an employee in the store they are in chastises him. *lol*

The chapter where Yotsuba learns about air conditioning initially had me thinking I was going to puke if Azuma-sensei started preaching about global warming. However, it ended up being a cute and funny chapter.

For some reason, Ena’s character design reminds me of Skuld from Ah! My Goddess. That’s not a complaint or anything, just an observation.

The only serious aspect that came out in the manga is Yotsuba being an orphan that Koiwai-san adopted.

In the end, this manga rules on all kinds of levels. It is such a good, sweet, wholesome manga with plenty of laughs based on the audience’s memories of childhood. I can’t wait to read more.

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

10 Responses to “Yotsuba&! Manga Volume 1 Review”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I read 5 of the 6 that ADV released (6 is incredibly hard to find), and read the new release recently. Though a few things were improved, ADV’s was already close to the original and Yen Press’ version does about the same, but somehow falls short. It didn’t feel as right, with some lines seeming a bit out of place compared to the original and ADV’s version.

    I would cite some lines, but I read the new version at the local Borders two weeks back and don’t remember thoroughly enough to be sure what I quote is correct. Maybe the rest get better, but Vol.1 did not impress.

  2. AstroNerdBoy says:

    I’m betting that’s due to the way you are used to it being published. I’ve seen similar discussions over adaptations before. However, as some translators I’ve talked to have said, you could give a room full of good translators a page of text to translate and none of them would produce the same result in English. All would be technically correct from a translation perspective but there would be variances in terms used and thus the feeling of the translated text.

    For me, not having read the ADV version, I like the Yen Press adaptation.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Hard to believe that Azuma does hentai manga when you read Yotsuba.

  4. AstroNerdBoy says:

    Yeah, I’ve heard that Azuma-sensei does hentai. I’ve never seen it and I know he does it under a different name. I don’t know if he’s done H-doujinshi of Yotsuba! or Azumanga Daioh (I hope not).

  5. AstroNerdBoy says:

    2ch is pretty wide open and anonymous. The reason I started hosting the spoiler images at all (vs. posting a direct link to them) is that the images often disappeared pretty quickly, usually due to limited image storage space. So the turnover rate for images can be quite high, depending on where they are uploaded.

    I don’t think spoiler images are too much of a problem though. Kodansha could choose to take a hardline if they wanted, but I would bet they wouldn’t.

  6. Doesn’t that last comment belong in the thread for the (still in absentia) Negima 266 spoilers?

    Anywho, I might check out Yotsuba& next time I’m at Borders. I’ve recently finished a couple of manga, so I have room for something new.

  7. AstroNerdBoy says:

    Oops. Well, that’s lack of sleep for ya. *_*

  8. Anonymous says:

    Azuma did hentai, I think he stopped when he got into the majors. Some artists do start out like that, showing work at Comiket, then are noticed by the scouts companies have go through.

    Also notable, “Try Try Try” (the original version of Yotsuba) I have never found, but I have found a doujinshi of the same name and it’s hard to tell if it’s his actual work (likely the actual precursor version) or a good imitator (fan doujin of a one-shot, very rare). Only the second half is hentai, the first half is similar to Yotsuba’s first chapter in many ways.

  9. AstroNerdBoy says:

    Nothing sells like hentai. *lol*

    BTW anon, when you say you found a doujinshi, does this mean you bought one, saw one in a shop or online store, or just came across a scan of it?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Saw it online translated. Never seen a raw version. Not much info was with it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Powered by WordPress