Yotsuba&! 6

by Kiyohiko Azuma

Cover image

Series: Yotsuba&! #6
Translator: Amy Forsyth
Letterer: Terri Delgado
Publisher: Yen
Copyright: 2006, 2009
Printing: September 2009
ISBN: 0-316-07324-5
Format: Graphic novel
Pages: 196

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This is the last volume of Yotsuba&! (よつばと!) I was loaned. As with most of the others, one can easily read it out of order, although there are some characters who were introduced in previous volumes and show up here without as much introduction. For this volume, I read the Yen Press translation, as with volumes one through three, which is decidedly superior to the ADV translation.

This is, by and large, more of the same: another seven stories of the humorous adventures of a highly energetic and fearless five-year-old, often involving the three sisters who live next door. Yotsuba gets a bike, fails at self control, delivers milk, and helps build a bookcase, each episode mostly standing alone. It's funny, but in that sitcom sort of way with a five-year-old who turns everything into an adventure. The sense of delightful weirdness in the first couple of volumes does not return.

My favorite chapter here was "Delivering" (#40), not so much for the story (Yotsuba gets herself into trouble about as much as she ever does), but because Azuma is an excellent artist. His people are expressive and tell the story well, but I particularly like his rare landscapes and more detailed panels. That story features lots of Yotsuba riding her bike around the town, and Azuma makes excellent use of perspective to show how Yotsuba is momentarily dwarfed by bridges or by cars (of course, she carries on, dauntless). His line drawing is very clean and precise, and there's a surprising amount of subtle detail in the panels that aren't devoted to character reactions. "Pottering Around" (#37) is similarly good, also featuring some of Azuma's best character drawings and more of Tiger, who's my favorite of the supporting cast.

I think this is a minor improvement over the previous volume, in part because the translation is so much better (with translations of signs and better explanation of Japanese puns) and in part because there's more opportunities for Azuma to show off his art style. But it's hard to see much differentiation in the series after the first; it's primarily more of the same, and at this point one is either enjoying or not. Those who have liked the series up to this point will like this volume as well.

For my part, I probably won't seek out any more of it. I would have if it had stuck with the initial weirdness and sense that Yotsuba looked at the world from an odd angle and might not even be human, but Azuma went in a more prosaic direction. It still makes me smile, but not enough to win a spot in a contested reading list.

Followed, predictably, by Yotsuba&! 7, which thankfully stays with Yen Press who now has the US translation rights.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Reviewed: 2010-05-29

Last modified and spun 2014-12-21