Yotsuba&!, Vol. 6 Paperback – Sep 15 2009
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About the Author
Kiyohiko Azuma is the bestselling creator of AZUMANGA DAIOH and the critically acclaimed YOTSUBA&! which won the Excellence Prize in the manga category at the Japan Media Arts Festival in 2006. The series was also nominated for an Eisner Award in the U.S. in 2008 and has been a regular New York Times bestseller.
Top Customer Reviews
Volume 6 follows the format of the volumes with episodic chapters covering things that Yotsuba encounters, including bicycles and milk (!). It's very very funny, and after two years I was really glad to see the return of this series.
Something that did disappoint me was Yen Press' decision to include honourifics (-san, etc) instead of following ADV's decision to translate them. I don't really like it when translators include this stuff, but some other people might be overjoyed to see it.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Fans who read the first five volumes from ADV will notice some changes in the translation. Honorifics such as "onee-chan" are used, but translation notes are given. A little more jarring is the way Yotsuba refers to herself in the third person. This is probably more faithful to the Japanese version, but speaking in the third person is more common in Japan (though it has the same cute, innocent tone). It may seem a little strange to American audiences. I'm used to seeing manga characters talk this way, but it still affected the way I looked at Yotsuba. It took away from her sharp intelligence a bit. It's hard to ignore, even though I'm aware that it's just something lost in translation.
But it's a small complaint, not really that noticeable. The new translation is pretty true to the old one, even with some small differences. Yen+ has released their own translation of the previous five volumes along with this one, and I recommend that new fans read those instead of the ADV versions. This should make any translation problems less noticeable.
Overall, another cute, hilarious volume of "Yotsuba&!". It was definitely worth the wait.
Then I bought it.
Third person. THIRD PERSON. Ugh! It really takes away from the image I had of Yotsuba: A whip-smart young lady with an undeniably precious innocence. Her calling herself Yotsuba is degrading, and it seems contrived. Yotsuba does not need assistance in being cute! ADV's translations were often spotty but this is one tradition I wish Yen had kept. And if, perchance, they read these reviews, please consider changing it for future volumes.
Jarring fonts. Yotsuba often speaks in a different font from everyone else. There's a rule for any sort of design, and that's use as few fonts as possible. Once you start throwing fonts in willy-nilly, things just get messy. While different fonts are used in the original versions of many manga (and look to Viz's translated Honey and Clover for a great example of English fonts being used like the original), Yotsubato! neither has nor needs this. It's not that sort of comic. Using different fonts for effect is fine, but one character should not have their own special font independent of everything else. Anyway, tangent.
The copy on the back of the book gets on my nerves, too.
But! Before you pounce on me saying I hate it, I don't. I love Yotsuba, her world, and the sense of innocence she brings back to my jaded adult life. When Yotsuba is waiting for her father to get the eclairs for snack time, I felt suspense. When she took her job very seriously and put signs on everything, my heart lightened. On her milk delivery, my heart went out to her father, yet also smiled at Yotsuba's sweet and straightforward nature. I don't know how Kiyohiko Azuma can do it.
In short, this volume has its flaws, but none of them are from the pen of the creator. Everyone should read this manga, for in Yotsuba's world, every day is the greatest day. Try to take that to heart.
Compared to the volumes released under ADV Manga, Yen Press seems to release a higher quality publication on better quality paper with a more faithful translation, as some of the puns are explained in their Japanese context (as opposed to ADV Manga, which would try to 'Americanize' it and write themselves into a corner when that same pun comes back at a later volume under a different context). Although the simple cover art had me worried at first, once I started reading the volume, I found the story to be as engaging as before.
Overall, it's good to see this series continued, as it would have been a shame to see it relegated to publication limbo. For those who are not familiar with the series, it's probably best to start from the beginning, though due to the slice of life nature of this series, it doesn't hurt to try this volume first. You just won't get as much of the humor out of it, as opposed to having read everything before.
I can't wait for the next volume to be published.
One is that she has a bicycle now. For a little child like Yotsuba, this is a life-changing event, and she goes out riding her small, brand new bicycle to the places where she has never been before. Naturally, her "adventure" becomes a little bit bigger, especially when she intends to deliver delicious milk to Fuka, who is at her school.
The other significant change is that summer is officially over. It is September and school is in session. (In Japan a new school year begins in April, so Yotsuba will not go to school until the next year, as Daddy says.) You may have noticed time is slowly moving on in the comic's world, and little girl Yotsuba's world is getting wider, as the recurrent motifs of riverbanks and power lines suggest.
A few words about English translations of Yen Press edition. As the previous reviewer says, Yotsuba in Yen Press books sometimes refers to herself as "Yotsuba," not "I" or "me." So she is often heard to say (in volume 5, for example), "Yotsuba likes cicadas" (Yen Press), instead of "I like cicadas" (ADV). Which is better is strictly a matter of taste, but as to her apparently peculiar use of third-person name as first-person pronoun - faithful to the original Japanese version - it is nothing unusual among the Japanese kids at her age.
Still, translation is a tricky business and I regret that some of the jokes seem to have been lost. One example will suffice. On page 38, Yotsuba says "Led by a great man, off I went!" Actually, she is singing a Japanese children's song "Akai-kutsu" ("Red Shoes"). The famous song is about a little girl led by "a foreigner" ("ijin") - not "a great man" ("ijin") - a sly joke that even some Japanese readers fail to catch.
But these "lost in translation" parts are not many, so enjoy the comic and its stories, which captures what it is like living a life in Japan with a four-pigtailed girl with a gift for finding fun and joy in everything she sees.