Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Manga Review: Yotsuba&! Volume 8

Ever heard of Yotsuba&!before? If you haven't then it's time to come out from that rock you've been living under. This hilarious manga series has been around since 2003 and is the brainchild of Kiyuhiko Azuma (the creator of Azumanga Daioh). The series is going strong in Japan and is up to the ninth installment, though no animation has been announced (sadly it seems Azuma doesn't want one). However, here in the States we have plenty to cheer about because the eighth installment is on the horizon thanks to Yen Press.

In case you truly don't know Yotsuba&!, all you really need to know is that it focuses on the adventures of five year old Yotsuba as she experiences the wonders of life in a way that only someone of her age could do. She views everything as a naïveté and spends most of her time with her adopted father, Koiwai. Even by little kid standards she's considered strange and often views things that are a part of every day life as though they are biggest, coolest thing in the world. Needless to say there's a lot of charm in this manga and Yotsuba truly is an entertaining character to watch and read about.

In the eighth volume of the manga Yotsuba has returned from the ranch with thoughts of cow-milking and ranching running through her head. She shares some of her souvenirs with the neighbors and in return she gets a gift as well. Thus Yotsuba determines that the day is opposite day and continues to pester Koiwai with statements such as "I'm Full!", when she means she's hungry, and "Yucky!", when she means it's good. This continues as the two go out for lunch and wind up bumping into some friends.

The next leg of their journey takes them into town during a festival as Yotsuba meets a panda and shakes his hand, experiences a haunted house for the first time, and eats some traditional cake. Of course she wanted strawberries and they didn't have a strawberry cake, so the people running the stall have to think of something else for her on the fly. After the festival a typhoon comes to town and Yotsuba is utterly fascinated by it. She drags her dad out into it and they wind up going to their neighbors house for some snacks. As the volume continues there's more festival fun and Jumbo and Yasuda head over to their house while Koiwai is away.

As always Yotsuba&!'s art style is absolutely gorgeous. Azuma has a style all his own and frankly it's one that I can't get enough of. I loved his work in Azumanga Daioh, but with this series it seems like he's really come into his own. Every panel is overloaded with detail and the characters all stand out through their expressions, especially Yotsuba. The translation for this volume is great as well and all around it will keep fans, and newcomers, of the series happy.

If you've been following Yotsuba's adventures then you'll be picking this installment up without hesitation. It's entertaining, charming, and laugh-out-loud funny from the first page to the last. There's a little bit of magic in this book and it's a shame that no animation has been planned yet. With only one more volume to go, it may be a long wait for fans of the book who want to see what happens next. Still, this series is highly recommended and this volume exemplifies why. Check it out.

Maki Rating:

Review material provided by Yen Press. Yotsuba&! Volume 8 is rated All Ages with some light examples of Language and Violence. Please support Anime Maki and buy from Amazon

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