Yotsuba&! (2003)


Volume 1

Yotsuba&! - Volume 1 (2003)

Author/Artist: Kiyohiko Azuma
Publisher: Dengeki Comics

A man and his energetic, imaginative daughter move to the city and befriend their next-door neighbors.

I really love this series. Kiyohiko Azuma's comic sense and capacity for touching slice of life stories is polished to a mirror shine here. While Azumanga Daioh was more of a gag-based 4-koma series, this is based on chapter-long episodes in which nothing more dramatic than everyday antics occur, but it's a sort of pure, simple fun that's hard to come by. It's a celebration of childhood and while there are some jokes for the grownups, it's pretty clean and suited for general audiences. While there's not that much going on in terms of story, there is a continuity and frequent call-backs to prior chapters. It's a character-driven series and there are some great characters to be had. This volume establishes Yotsuba, Koiwai, Jumbo, and the Ayase family. I could spend entire blog posts on each character individually, but suffice to say, they're all compelling, amusingly quirky sorts. Yotsuba herself is probably the best depiction of a child I've ever seen in fiction. If you've ever been close to kids her age, it's amazingly accurate.

Azuma's style has the interesting juxtaposition of simple but appealing character design set again very detailed and precise backgrounds. The draftsmanlike quality of the backgrounds really stand out to me. Also, the comedic reaction shot that worked so well in Azumanga Daioh provide almost as many laughs as the comedic situations themselves.

This first entry is a promising start to an amazing series. If you want to read cover to cover smiling all the way, this is where you want to go. I can't recommend it enough.

Treasure It