Yotsuba&! (よつばと! Yotsuba to!) is the ongoing and current series by Kiyohiko Azuma. It is published in Japan by MediaWorks, now ASCII Media Works, in the monthly magazine Dengeki Daioh. In English, the manga was licensed for English distribution by ADV Manga, which released five volumes between 2005 and 2007. The manga follows the everyday adventures of a young girl named Yotsuba Koiwai as she learns about the world around her, guided by her father, the neighbors, and their friends. Some characters in the manga were previously featured in a manga called "Try! Try! Try!".
Volume six was supposed to have been released in February 2008 by ADV Media, but was delayed indefinitely in order to focus on the company's core business of anime. Yen Press announced at New York Comic Con 2009 that they acquired the North American license for the series, and would be reprinting the first five volumes along with volume six in September 2009, continuing with later volumes.
The manga is about Yotsuba Koiwai, a five-year-old adopted girl who is energetic, cheerful, curious, odd, and quirky — so odd and quirky that even her own father calls her strange. At the start of the series, Yotsuba and her adoptive father, Koiwai, relocate to a new city with the help of Koiwai's best friend, an impressively tall man nicknamed "Jumbo". Yotsuba makes a strong impression on the three daughters of the neighboring Ayase family – Asagi, Fuuka, and Ena, and many of her misadventures come from her interactions with them.
Most chapters take place on successive days, so that the series follows, almost literally, the characters' "daily lives". Each chapter of Yotsuba&! takes place on a specific, nearly sequential day of a common year starting on Wednesday. The tone can be summarized by the motto, used on chapter title pages and advertising, "Today is always the most enjoyable day" (いつでも今日が、いちばん楽しい日 Itsu de mo kyō ga, ichiban tanoshii hi), which has also sometimes been translated into "Enjoy everything".
See Yotsuba&! characters.
In 1998, Azuma published a manga and two webcomics called Try! Try! Try!, in which Yotsuba, her father (who is unnamed), Ena, Fuuka, and Asagi first appeared. Although some of these characters, including Yotsuba herself, are largely the same as in Yotsuba&!, Fuuka has a different character design, a more mischievous personality, and a different spelling of her given name.
Despite its popularity and the success of Azumanga Daioh, no plans have been announced for an anime adaptation of Yotsuba&!. In an entry posted on his website on 15 May 2005, Azuma said there were no plans for it to be animated; he reiterated this 5 December 2008, claiming that the stories and style of Yotsuba&! are not well-suited for animation.
MangaSee Yotsuba&! Manga Volumes.
In other languages
In addition, the series is licensed in France by Kurokawa, in Spain by Norma Editorial, in Germany by Tokyopop Germany, in Italy by Dynit, in Finland by Punainen jättiläinen, in Korea by Daiwon C.I., in Taiwan by Kadokawa Media, in Vietnam by TVM Comics, in Sweden by B Wahlströms and in Thailand by NED Comics.
Both monthly and daily Yotsuba&! calendars have been released every year since 2005, although a monthly calendar for 2009 was not released due to constraints on Azuma's schedule. The 2005 edition of the monthly calendar featured pictures of Yotsuba playing with animals such as lions, zebras, and kangaroos. The 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2010 editions feature photographs altered to include Yotsuba doing such things as playing with other children or reaching for a balloon. The photographs were by Miho Kakuta, with drawings by Kiyohiko Azuma. The daily calendars have a mix of original and manga artwork, with occasional captions, as well as other fun items – for example, the 2006 calendar had a game of shiritori (a kind of word game) ongoing through the year. The daily calendars run from April to March, following the Japanese school year instead of the calendar year.
Two Yotsuba&! music CDs have been released, both purely instrumental, called "image albums". The music is designed to elicit mental images of events described by the titles. Both albums are composed by Masaki Kurihara and performed by the Kuricorder Pops Orchestra, who also worked together on the Azumanga Daioh soundtrack.
- The first album, Yotsuba&♪, released in April 2005, follows Yotsuba throughout the course of a typical day.
- The second album, Yotsuba&♪ Music Suite (General Winter), released in November 2006, depicts the season of winter, including Christmas and New Year's celebrations. "General Winter" is a personification of harsh winters, similar to Jack Frost.
Yotsuba&! has also expanded into a picture book series, with one volume published to date, Yotsuba & Monochrome Animals, released on 16 December 2006 (ISBN 978-4-8402-3714-7). The book has pictures of Yotsuba playing with various black-and-white colored animals, such as pandas. The name of each animal is given in Japanese and English, along with the scientific classification of the species.
- The phrase Yotsuba to means "Yotsuba and," a fact reflected in the chapter titles, most of which take the form "Yotsuba and something."
- Yotsuba Studio, Kiyohiko Azuma's studio website
- azumakiyohiko.com, Kiyohiko Azuma's personal website
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