[Manga Monday] Yotsuba&! Vol. 14 ★★★★★

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Yotsuba&! Vol. 14
Series: Yotsuba&! #14
Author: Kiyohiko Azuma
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 224
Words: 8K



Synopsis:

Chapter List:

Yotsuba & Work

Yotsuba & Yoga

Yotsuba & Princess

Yotsuba & The Day Before

Yotsuba & Harajuku

Yotsuba & Yoyogi Park

Yotsuba & Lunch

From Wikipedia

After helping Koiwai move a new table upstairs, Jumbo presents Yotsuba with a set of beads; an intense necklace-making session ensues for the trio. Miss Stake invites Fuuka and Yotsuba to join her for a free trial session of yoga; as the older girls struggle, Yotsuba exhibits astonishing flexibility. Yotsuba reads the story of Cinderella; inspired, she ties ribbons to her hair and is infuriated when Koiwai fails to see her fancy long hair. Going next door, Asagi immediately recognizes her as a princess and makes a fancy dress for Yotsuba using plastic trash bags; after she returns home for her bead necklace, Koiwai makes up for his earlier faux pas by asking the self-proclaimed Princess Zapunzel for a dance. The day before their trip to Tokyo, Yotsuba asks her neighbors and friends for places to go; Mother Ayase suggests Ginza, Asagi suggests Shibuya and Shinjuku, Ena suggests Tokyo Tower, and Fuuka suggests Harajuku specifically to eat crepes, which she calls stylish. Torako suggests Daikanyama but then gloomily asserts there are no fun places for kids in Tokyo. To prepare for their trip, Koiwai buys a smartphone and Yotsuba accompanies him to buy a sushi dinner at the market. Jumbo and Yanda visit later that evening to help Koiwai with his new phone and ask Yotsuba where she would like to visit when they arrive in Tokyo. At the train station, Yotsuba helps Koiwai buy a ticket and they board a train to Ikebukuro Station, where they transfer to the JR East Yamanote Line. The pair stop in Harajuku for cotton candy and crepes, and then Koiwai gets a text message from his sister Koharuko suggesting they all meet in Yoyogi Park. At the park, Yotsuba spies on three women dressed as aliens, who she successfully convinces to not destroy the earth. Koharuko reminds Yotsuba they traveled to Tokyo to pick up Koiwai’s new car, a Mini convertible, and takes them to a buffet at a luxury hotel restaurant for lunch. After a filling meal, Yotsuba and Koiwai set off for the highway in their new car.

My Thoughts:

When I read this a year and a half ago, I went into it with the expectations of it being funny. With this re-read of the whole series, I think that “cute” is much more fitting than any humorous description.

The backstory of the following scene is that Yotsuba and her dad have gone to Tokyo to pick up a car from Yotsuba’s aunt and they meet in a park. Yotsuba sees some women dressed up as aliens and stares at them from behind a tree. One of the girls decides it would be fun to chase Yotsuba and she runs back to her dad and aunt, where her aunt tells her that she needs to ask the aliens to not destroy the earth.

There is another volume after this one, but it won’t be coming to american audiences until September of this year. That’s according to Yen Press, the publishers of the english version:

https://yenpress.com/9781975336097/yotsuba-and-vol-15/

Rating: 5 out of 5.

[Manga Monday] Yotsuba&! Vol. 13 ★★★★★

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Yotsuba&! Vol. 13
Series: Yotsuba&! #13
Author: Kiyohiko Azuma
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 224
Words: 8K



Synopsis:

Chapter List:

Yotsuba & Sticks & Stuff

Yotsuba & Sandbox

Yotsuba & Night

Yotsuba & Souvenirs

Yotsuba & Cleaning

Yotsuba & Grandma

Yotsuba & The Black Ghost

Yotsuba & All Day Long

From Wikipedia

Yotsuba heads over to the Ayase house early in the morning, where she shows off her souvenirs and demonstrates the sleeping bag for Asagi. Because her dad says he is too busy, Yotsuba bullies Fuuka into taking her to the park, where they meet her friend Mii and play in the sandbox, making taiyaki and pudding with sand molds. After her dad puts her to bed, Yotsuba wakes up and explores the dark house before finding her father working. The next morning, Ena helps Yotsuba decorate the house for her grandmother’s visit before Yotsuba and her father meet her grandmother at the train station, who Yotsuba attempts to greet with a headbutt. Once they are home, Yotsuba receives souvenirs from her grandma. In the morning, Yotsuba helps her grandmother clean the street in front of the house and later, they clean the house once her grandmother believes Yotsuba is taking cleaning seriously. Yotsuba and her grandmother practice origami with Ena and run errands together before her grandmother has to leave, which Yotsuba attempts to prevent by hiding her luggage. The next day, Yotsuba is sweeping the street in front of the house when Yanda arrives and helps himself to the grilled onigiri Yotsuba had made with her grandmother; at bedtime, Koiwai transforms into Sleepyman to put Yotsuba to sleep.

My Thoughts:

As I’ve written before (I think), I tend to read these on Saturdays. Twice a month I attend a men’s group from church Saturday mornings and it can get pretty weighty and serious. We’ve been working our way through Titus for the last 6 months and have just gotten halfway through chapter 2. We’re serious about our responsibilities as Christian men and while it is always a good and encouraging time, it can be solemn. This past Saturday was such a time.

So it was an extra delight to read this volume. Yotsuba’s grandmother comes to visit and it is everything you’d expect from a 5year old for their grandma. Delightful, fun, heartwarming and fluffy.

I’ve chosen this particular scene because I love seeing Yotsuba experiencing new things. And I completely understand that “shivery but wanting more” feeling myself. It’s not just restricted to 5year olds, hahahahaa.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

[Manga Monday] Yotsuba&! Vol. 12 ★★★★★

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Yotsuba&! Vol. 12
Series: Yotsuba&! #12
Author: Kiyohiko Azuma
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 208
Words: 8K



Synopsis:

Chapter List:

Yotsuba & Torako

Yotsuba & Blue

Yotsuba & Helmet

Yotsuba & Halloween

Yotsuba & Camping (part 1)

Yotsuba & Camping (part 2)

From Wikipedia

A short opening sequence shows Yotsuba drawing Danbo in chalk on the street before noticing migrating geese flying overhead. She welcomes Torako to the Ayase household where she shows off her photographs and learns to tie a bow. After arriving to the flower shop too late to help Jumbo paint a desk, Yotsuba finds a can of blue paint in the shoe rack at home and paints a kitchen table while her dad is working, staining her hands and leaving drips and blue footprints throughout the house. She futilely tries to clean up the mess and is confronted by her dad, who laughs instead of scolding her. Before Mr. Koiwai shows her how to use paint thinner, they go to the grocery to purchase ingredients for mapo tofu and a helmet from the bike shop. On Halloween, Fuuka and Miss Stake dress Yotsuba as a pumpkin, explaining how to ask for candy before also dressing in costume to go trick-or-treating together. Early the next morning, Miura’s mom and Ena’s parents see them off for a camping trip organized by Jumbo and Koiwai. Yotsuba is unpleasantly surprised to learn that Yanda has invited himself along, but ends up laughing at his jokes on the journey. At the campsite, the girls help pitch the tent, rest in a hammock, and cook curry for lunch. For dinner, they grill the meat given as a present by the parents and Yotsuba wakes early the next day, surprised by the sunrise simultaneous with the moonset.

My Thoughts:

You know, I’m starting to recognize why I didn’t do many individual manga reviews back when I was tearing through them. It doesn’t help that there’s not a “plot” per se to this series either. This was another wonderfully cute and fluffy set of vignettes that I thoroughly enjoyed and wish I had the words to show that.

This picture is when Yotsuba and gang are going camping and they are driving. Yotsuba and Ena (the neighbor girl) begin playing the Fancy Lady Game, where they talk like how they imagine fancy ladies talk. While I found the panel with Yotsuba talking about “country bumpkins” to be absolutely hilarious, what I enjoyed was just how the manga-ka captured in just a few panels an aspect of childhood, that ability to be imaginative and create a game out of almost anything. Yes, it is idealized but it is also completely true to life. I really like experiencing that for just a few minutes again.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

[Manga Monday] Yotsuba&! Vol. 11 ★★★★★

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Yotsuba&! Vol. 11
Series: Yotsuba&! #11
Author: Kiyohiko Azuma
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 208
Words: 8K



Synopsis:

Chapter List:

Yotsuba & Udon

Yotsuba & Pizza

Yotsuba & Soap Bubbles

Yotsuba & Harvest of Chestnuts

Yotsuba & Cameras

Yotsuba & Friends

Yotsuba & ….

From Wikipedia

Yotsuba goes to an udon shop without her father’s knowledge, and is allowed to watch udon being made. After getting a pizza menu in the mail, the Koiwais order a couple, though one turns out to be too much for Yotsuba to hold. After an announcement of an upcoming camping trip, Yanda arrives with various bubble-blowing devices, which they play inside, then outside, with. Yotsuba, Fuuka, and Miss Stake (Fuuka’s classmate from chapter 45) go to a shrine to pick chestnuts, and Yotsuba learns about burr covers and bug infestations. Koiwai gives Yotsuba her own camera, which she uses to go around taking pictures of people. Yotsuba meets Miura at her apartment building, and they go to Ena’s. On the way, a dog grabs her teddy bear and shakes it, making it smell like dog, so they wash it and dry it at the Ayases’. As a result, the bear’s ability to speak is broken, so Asagi offers to repair it overnight. Yotsuba spends much of the intervening time sulking about Juralumin’s absence until Yanda finally gets a reaction out of her. She goes to the Ayases’, where she finds Juralumin repaired.

My Thoughts:

I wish I had thought to include that little wiki blurb in my earlier reviews. It’s an awfully nice little thing to have to see what happened in which volume. You’d think after doing this for flipping 21 years I’d have a good handle on writing reviews.

I’m including a picture from the Pizza chapter. Pizza has always been part of my life and even now it is probably my favorite food (possibly tied with chicken potpie or Mr Mac’s specialty mac&cheese). So seeing someone see it for the first time just makes me grin. It also makes me realize just how much behavior that kids have to learn. In the next panel, not included, Yotsuba’s dad has to show her how to eat it with her hands, as she can’t figure out how she’s supposed to eat it with chopsticks, hahaha. Kids are likes sponges and soak up stuff without them realizing or even us realizing what we’re teaching them. Good food for thought.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Yotsuba&! Vol. 10 ★★★★★

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Yotsuba&! Vol. 10
Series: Yotsuba&! #10
Author: Kiyohiko Azuma
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 224
Words: 8K



Synopsis:

Chapter List:

Yotsuba & Playtime

Yotsuba & Pancakes

Yotsuba & Jumbo

Yotsuba & the Electronics Store

Yotsuba & Home Appliances

Yotsuba & Lies

Yotsuba & the Re-encounter

My Thoughts:

5 stars. Bravo. Fun, fun, fun. I’m tired. So you get a picture and that’s that.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

[Manga Monday] Yotsuba&! Vol. 9 ★★★★★

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Yotsuba&! Vol. 9
Series: Yotsuba&! #9
Author: Kiyohiko Azuma
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 208
Words: 8K



Synopsis:

Chapter List:

Yotsuba & Schedules

Yotsuba & Juralumin

Yotsuba & Coffee

Yotsuba & Barbecue

Yotsuba & Visitors

Yotsuba & Hot Air Balloons

Yotsuba & The Sky

My Thoughts:

Delightful and whimsical aptly sum this volume up. Yotsuba’s dad buys a coffee maker and there is a running gag of Yotsuba trying to get a cup of coffee over to the neighbors house and spilling it each time before making it.

This picture is from the chapter Juralumin, where Yotsuba’s dad is going to buy her a teddy bear, which in other panels she misprounces as beddy tear. I chose this one because Mrs B absolutely loves funny faces in manga. It’s one of the reasons she started reading Skipbeat! and is why we continue to buy the books as they come out, to support the manga-ka. Sparkly eyes are a particular killer 🙂

Rating: 5 out of 5.

[Manga Monday] Yotsuba&! Vol. 8 ★★★★★


This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Yotsuba&! Vol. 8
Series: Yotsuba&! #8
Author: Kiyohiko Azuma
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 208
Words: 8K



Synopsis:

Chapter List:

Yotsuba & Opposites

Yotsuba & the Restaurant

Yotsuba & the Cultural Festival

Yotsuba & the Typhoon

Yotsuba & Watching the House

Yotsuba & the Festival

Yotsuba & Acorns

My Thoughts:

I read this sunday. I was feeling tired, stressed out and sick (probably from stressing out) and reading this was like taking a huge horse tranquilizer. By the end of the volume I was totally chill. I had been debating about whether I wanted to read this feeling the way I was but am I glad I did.

The picture I included this time was from the Festival Chapter. Yotsuba is helping pull a shrine and they take a break so she and her dad and some others are looking at the other portable shrines when Yotsuba sees the sumo wrestler. I remember laughing my head off the first time I saw this page and man, it hasn’t stopped being funny to me. The manga-ka has totally caught that innocent yet bold spirit of being a 5 year old.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

[Manga Monday] Yotsuba&! Vol. 7 ★★★★★


This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Yotsuba&! Vol. 7
Series: Yotsuba&! #7
Author: Kiyohiko Azuma
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 208
Words: 8K



Synopsis:

Chapter List:

Yotsuba & Telephones

Yotsuba & Respect for the Aged Day

Yotsuba & Fever

Yotsuba & Patissier

Yotsuba & Errands

Yotsuba & Taking Off

Yotsuba & The Ranch

My Thoughts:

Some of these chapters are longer than others. In Telephones, for example, Yotsuba spends the whole day playing string&cup telephone with the neighbors. It ends with a picture of Fuka (the 16/17 year old daughter) talking to Yotsuba’s dad through a window and her older college age sister walking in on her. The facial expressions are priceless and the manga-ka makes it crystal clear, without writing a word, that Asagi (the older sister) thinks shenanigans are going on. It’s just too funny.

Then you have chapters like Respect for the Aged Day where Yotsuba talks with her grandma on the phone for about 1 page.

The overarching theme for this book was visiting a farm. Yotsuba loves milk so much so her dad decides to take her to a farm. Jumbo is their transportation and Yotsuba’s Nemesis, Yando, invites himself along.

I’d like to talk about Yando for a minute. He doesn’t seem to get along with anybody so I’ve wondered how he’s stayed friends with Yotsuba’s dad. He and Jumbo definitely don’t get along and while Yotsuba’s dad is pretty laid back about him, Yando seems to try to push his buttons whenever he can. Maybe he’s just “one of those” friends? Whatever the case may be, and despite me not liking him, he does provide the necessary “edge” to this series.

The picture I’ve included this time was from the chapter where Fuka and her friend are practicing making cakes. They’re not happy with how it looks, so they let Yotsuba decorate it so they can tell their family it wasn’t them that decorated it. Yotsuba goes all out, hence her decision to include the last egg 😀

Rating: 5 out of 5.

[Manga Monday] Yotsuba&! Vol. 6 ★★★★★


This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Librarything & Bookhype by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Yotsuba&! Vol. 6
Series: Yotsuba&! #6
Author: Kiyohiko Azuma
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 208
Words: 8K



Synopsis:

Chapter List:

Yotsuba & Recycling

Yotsuba & The Bicycle

Yotsuba & Pottering Around

Yotsuba & Friday

Yotsuba & Milk

Yotsuba & Delivering

Yotsuba & The Bookshelf

My Thoughts:

My reading of Yotsuba has taken on a ritualistic aspect in my life. While these posts go up for Manga Monday, I read them the Saturday before. I wake up, peruse wordpress and deal with the various notifications and new posts. Then I start up Calibre, grab a Pina Colada Bang and sit down on the couch. I open my “Manga” review template in OpenOffice and begin reading.

I fill out each chapter heading in the template as I come to them in the manga and decide which picture I want to include. All the while I’m sipping on cold Bang and reading the antics of Yotsuba. It is soothing, relaxing and something I look forward too. Because I don’t do these every Monday the ritual doesn’t become over used and I can’t accidentally unleash Unspeakable Cosmic Horrors on an unsuspecting world. Of course, maybe a Yotsuba inspired Cosmic Horror wouldn’t be so bad?

Anyway, this volume centers around Yotsuba getting her first bicycle and her adventures. Some good, some bad. Yanda, the Arch Enemy, makes another appearance and Yotsuba enjoys eating her hamburger in his face while he has to make do with instant ramen.

One of the strengths of this manga are the supporting characters. I put this picture of her dad to show what kind of home life Yotsuba is growing up in. He’s super laid back and just is himself. At the same time he’s a very careful father. He’s one of the safety bungees that Yotsuba can bounce off of without ever knowing how close to danger she ever came. It is what you want in a parent.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

[Manga Monday] Yotsuba&! Vol. 5 ★★★★★


This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Librarything & Bookhype by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Yotsuba&! Vol. 5
Series: Yotsuba&! #5
Author: Kiyohiko Azuma
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 210
Words: 8K



Synopsis:

Chapter List:

Yotsuba & Cardbo

Yotsuba & Helping

Yotsuba & Yanda

Yotsuba & Stars

Yotsuba & Rain

Yotsuba & Sunny Skies

Yotsuba & the Beach

My Thoughts:

Another great volume. Yotsuba meets her nemesis, Yanda for the first time. While he’s supposed to be a working man, he reacts to Yotsuba at her level. A grown man acting like a 5 year old is amusing for a chapter. Azuma, the manga-ka, realizes when enough is enough and doesn’t try to push it more than that one chapter though. Smart man.

The first chapter deals with Ena and Eimura (neighbor girls) doing a class project where they are creating a robot creature out of cardboard. Yotsuba barges in on them and thinks that Eimura is a real robot. I’ve included the picture that made me laugh the hardest in the volume.

The rest of the chapters were light hearted and fuzzily warm. Perfect to read on a day when it is snowing outside. I have to admit, I am (almost) surprised at just how well this series is standing up to a re-read. Sometimes something is cute because it is new. This is genuinely cute and continues to be so.

Rating: 5 out of 5.