Manga Review - Yotsuba&! Vol. 1
Yotsuba&! tells the story of Koiwai Yotsuba, an incredibly inquisitive and excitable five year old girl. She and her father, only known as Daddy or Mr Koiwai, move to a new neighbourhood with the assistance of Daddies "Jumbo" friend Takashi Takeda. Created by Azumanga Daioh! scribe Kiyohiko Azuma it is a slice of life piece which centres around Yotsuba and the wonderment she finds in everyday life.
Kiyohiko-san made me a fan of this series within the first few panels. This book is truly charming. I found myself literally laughing out loud at Yotsuba's amazement for just about everything! Just like with Azumanga Daioh, it's the characters that make this book so appealing. Yotsuba's curiosity, energy and happiness is infectious and the relationship that she shares with her father is nothing short of heart warming. Daddy's friend "Jumbo" is all heart and obviously adores little Yotsuba and the girls next door are a delightful play on the young, middle and older sister archetype.
Amazingly the art in this book is fantastic as well. Kiyohiko-san is skilled at conveying expression through his characters which in turn helps to make the characters more believable even though they're involved in such far out situations. This is further cemented through the use of highly detailed backgrounds. Anyone who has ever been to Japan will spend a little extra time admiring the minutiae of such things as street signs, barriers along the sidewalk and it even helps to evoke the sounds of cicadas in the summer.
Released in English by Yen Press it is rated All Ages. This rating is entirely apt as absolutely anyone could enjoy this book. From little kids to female audiences and especially this 28 year old comic book nerd.
A special thanks to Deb Aoki for recommending this book. It has really become an instant favourite.