cover image Yotsuba&! Volume 2

Yotsuba&! Volume 2

Azuma Kiyohiko, . . ADV Manga, $9.99 (190pp) ISBN 978-1-4139-0318-8

Yotsuba is an overactive school-age girl of possibly alien origins who's been adopted by a single dad, Koiwai. While this setup has been the launching point for countless adventure manga, Azuma produces something far more rare and charming: an all-ages story about the real world. Yotsuba is incredibly energetic and insatiably curious about the world. Throw in her ignorance about some of the most basic aspects of life and her own off-kilter take on everything, and you have a gentle comedy that goes from slapstick to sly, character-based humor. The supporting cast includes the three sisters who live next door, pretty Asagi, responsible Fuka and patient Ena. There's also Jumbo, Koiwai's towering male friend. Together, this little cast acts out simple but engaging slice-of-life stories. In one, Ena's friend Miura tells Yotsuba that her drawings aren't very good, leading to a crisis over lying and hurt feelings. In a more slapstick tale, Yotsuba draws on her sleeping father's face with marker and then attempts to remove the marks with mayonnaise, making for some sidesplitting visuals. Nothing much happens in Yotsuba&! , but Azuma's bold, sure art handles Yotsuba's emotional range perfectly and creates a sweet world of friendship and discovery. (Sept.)