Yotsuba&! Volume 6

Yotsuba&! volume 6

The beloved series by Kiyohiko Azuma returns from a new publisher (who thankfully has also brought the previous volumes back into print) with all its charm intact.

The stories in Yotsuba&! volume 6 fall into the category of “what it’s like to live with a young child” — they see the world differently. Everything’s new to them, yet they also start forming their own conclusions about the way things work. The result is creative comedy that rings adorably true. In this volume, Yotsuba discovers recycling, bicycling, office work (which consists of her labeling everything in the house), and playing milkman.

Yotsuba&! volume 6

Sound effects (of which there are many) aren’t translated here; instead, the English sound and meaning are both written into the panel next to the Japanese symbol. I found this cluttered the page and distracted my eye from following the characters. Add in the translation notes put in the gutters between panels, and sometimes, there was just too much to look at. Especially when they kept reprinting the same note every time a labeled object appears, which I found unnecessary. I was also distracted by how often Yotsuba’s speech is bolded — I know she’s supposed to be frequently excited, but I soon lost that awareness in annoyance at the technique.

But those are minor points. The artist’s sense of motion and movement is wonderful. Yotsuba feels right, in all her actions and expressions. I appreciate her dad’s patience with her, even though you can tell it can be a struggle (as when, for example, she’s doing gymnastics on top of him). It’s her lack of self-censorship that makes her such a joy to read. The neighbor girl egging her on helps with the comedy, too.

I don’t know that I would have handed her a power tool, as Dad does when they build a bookcase, but that I was concerned for her welfare indicates how much I was lost in her world.

Here’s another review by Brigid at MangaBlog. If you’re interested in differences between the two publisher versions, here’s a piece criticizing the translation decisions.

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