Yotsuba&! Volume 13 Manga Review (Grandma visit goodness.)

Yotsuba&! Volume 13 Review

Yotsuba&! volume 13After what seemed like forever, we finally get Yotsuba&! volume 13 released to us in English. As I’ve stated, this is the one manga I look forward to most, simply to escape from a world of stupidity all around me to one of innocence.

Getting things started, Yotsuba visits the Ayase household with her sleeping bag and souvenirs. It is cute seeing Yotsuba giving things like a stick, a pinecone, or a stone as a souvenir from her camping trip. I laughed out loud when Yotsuba is demonstrating her sleeping bag to Asagi, only to fall asleep in the thing. I miss getting good sleep like that.

For the second story, Fuuka takes Yotsuba to the nearby park to play. This story had me smiling and chuckling a lot. For starters, Yotsuba gets to see how bread is made on TV, and finds it magical. Well, yes it is magical. Then when Fuuka agrees to take Yotsuba to the park, I laughed when Yotsuba couldn’t understand why Fuuka wanted to change out of her school uniform. After all, what are washing machines made for?

When Yotsuba started playing in the sandbox, her digging down to find the “black sand” reminded me of my own experience with this phenomenon. I recall all of us kids being surprised to find black sand underneath after digging pretty deeply. One kid said, “This must be the entrance to hell. That’s why the sand turned black.” 😆 Man, sometimes don’t you just miss the simple life of being a kid?

The 3rd story sets up Yotsuba’s grandma coming to visit, then has Yotsuba wake up in the middle of the night. Naturally she has to find her dad in what has suddenly become a house filled with ghosts. Funny how a house that is awesome when bathed in light can suddenly become the stomping grounds for monsters and the like when the lights go out. 😉

The fourth story goes for four chapters and covers Yotsuba’s grandma’s visit. I am really glad that Azuma-sensei decided to bring her in as a character. She’s been mentioned a few times in the past, so it is good to actually see her. She’s not what I expected though. Her manner of dress makes her seem like a hobo or something. Very strange.

Yotsuba’s gift from Grandma of a color pencil set and a pencil sharpener really made me smile. I was a bit older than Yotsuba when I got my color pencil set as a gift, though I didn’t get a cool pencil sharpener. Mine was one of those tiny, “twist the pencil yourself” sharpeners. 😛

Grandma’s method for getting Yotsuba to help with housecleaning really cracked me up. I laughed out loud when Yotsuba declared that it was impossible for cleaning to be fun after being told it was. Yotsuba is smart enough to know when an adult is trying to trick her. And yet Grandma managed to convince Yotsuba. It is too bad that I’ll never be convinced that cleaning is fun, no matter how seriously I take it.

I find it amusing that Grandma uses a smart phone whereas her son refuses to do so. Well, my parents had a smart phone long before I did. I never saw the point back then, but now that I have one, I can’t imagine being without one.

Grandma’s arc ends with her returning home. Yotsuba’s negative reaction to Grandma’s departure and her subsequent attempt to hide Grandma’s luggage made me smile. I hope we see more of Grandma in the future. Grandpa too.

One thing the Grandma arc did was provide a given name for Koiwai — Yousuke. I wonder why Azuma-sensei took so long to give him a proper name?

For the final story, we are treated to a day in the life of Yotsuba from morning to night. It might seem weird to have such a chapter, since the entire manga is a slice of life. However, we see the impact Grandma’s visit has had on Yotsuba. She sweeps the area in front of the house in the morning. She does the dishes. I hope we see these moments in future chapters.

On the Yen Press side of things, it is business as usual. There are no extras as the manga is literally cover to cover. The Japanese honorifics are retained as usual and there are the occasional margin notes.

I do note that this volume does not reflect the double chapter 88 that came out when the manga was initially published in magazine form. Subsequent chapters have not corrected this in the magazine, leading me to wonder if Yen Press decided to renumber the chapters on their own.

In the end, Yotsuba&! volume 13 is another wondrous, joyous adventure into a world of innocence.

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11 Responses to “Yotsuba&! Volume 13 Manga Review (Grandma visit goodness.)”

  1. WMC says:

    I agree. This stuff is terrific. I like the disconnect between grandma’s personal habits of cleanliness and her son’s Yousuke’s habits of the usual, male indifference to housework. I’m with him. I hope she doesn’t make us sterilize the floor all the time.

    Long live Yotsuba and Yousuke.

  2. Orsino Vilen says:

    Hey AstroNerdBoy,

    Nice post today. I’ve been a reader for a while, but this is my first comment. Nice to meet ya!

    I really loved volume 13 of Yotsuba. The grandma is quickly becoming one of the best characters for me, lol. I hope she becomes part of the main cast from now on. The comedic synergy with the rest of the crew so far is amazing. I’ve laughed a lot this volume.

    I’m a huge fan of slice of life manga, and lately I can just feel Yotsubato! rising through the ranks of my favorite SOLs… I didn’t know the life of a child could be so interesting. Do you (or anyone that wants to discuss this) feel like it can stack up to the likes of Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou, or Aria?

    Thanks for the post!

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      Nice post today. I’ve been a reader for a while, but this is my first comment. Nice to meet ya!

      Thanks for writing. ^_^

      I’m a huge fan of slice of life manga, and lately I can just feel Yotsubato! rising through the ranks of my favorite SOLs… I didn’t know the life of a child could be so interesting.

      It is my favorite slice of life series. For me, there is a lot of remembering the innocence of being a child. Of course there is also the element of seeing things from the eyes of an adult. As such, Yotsuba hits from two sides, which really makes it incredible for me.

      Do you (or anyone that wants to discuss this) feel like it can stack up to the likes of Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou, or Aria?

      I’m aware of those titles, but I’ve not read them. 🙁

      • Orsino Vilen says:

        You should definitely check them out, man. Aria and YKK really show what the SOL genre is capable of and push it to the limit. If you enjoy Yotsubato you’ll love these.

        If you do read them, let me know what you thought. I would love to discuss them.

  3. WMC says:

    After my nth read of 13, I see what’s making me uncomfortable about this volume. It’s the backgrounds, including the cover. Suddenly that terrific photo/digital/manual work on the prior backgrounds has become just the usual robotic-way-too-linear garbage. A year between publication should be plenty of time to do the best. But Noooo. Too bad. VERY disappointing.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      I didn’t notice anything, but I would need to look back. I don’t know why the manga went on hiatus for a while there. Maybe something happened with Azuma-sensei. I don’t know. 🙁

      • WMC says:

        I have conjectures, like editors dragging feet while they switch to all robot graphics, which suck big time. Because of the inherent lack of randomness computer robot graphics don’t work, whch is obvious to any observer used to real life patterns. For example, absurdly perfect alignment of edges for assorted objects, perfectly homogeneous colors on draped cloth and ridiculously inaccurate perspective reek of robot. Any comic art pretending to be great MUST have excellent backgrounds.

        I don’t doubt that the human-computer compo can produce good backgrounds; witness all the volumes of “Yotsuba” after volume 1. Moreover, I hope Azuma-sensei puts his foot down for a return to excellence.

        • AstroNerdBoy says:

          I was thinking that Azuma-sensei may have been ill or injured. I know that when Fruits Basket mangaka TAKAYA Natsuki-sensei injured her drawing hand, when she returned, her artwork suffered as a result as she simplified things to make it easier on herself. Understandable, but the characters became generic and ugly as a result, at least in my opinion.

          • WMC says:

            I had discounted that conjecture because I know artists never get sick. Of course, probably wrong. I hope he’s OK if that’s the case. Compare the backgrounds from volumes 9, 10, 11 and 12 with those from volume 13 to see what I mean. Just comparing the covers will expose the difference. The new stuff isn’t terrible, just not great as before.

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