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Let's Read Yotsuba&!!!
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Let's Read Yotsuba&!!!:

Let’s Read Yotsuba&!

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to Let’s Read Yotsuba Ampersand Exclimation Point! Everyone’s favorite Troper, the egregiously gregarious Dire Sloth here! My last Livebloggening didn’t garner that much attention, but I’m here to try again, this time with GUSTO! Yeah! *makes dramatic manly poses*

Um…where was I? Oh yes, Yotsuba&. I’d like to note right away that I’ll be doing the manga, though if I somehow come upon episodes of the anime I’ll be doing those too, though that’s not likely. And let me just say this is really my kind of manga. It’s a comedy series starring the titular Yotsuba, a sweet five-year-old girl who just moved to a new town with her adoptive father, Koiwai. Yotsuba is optimistic, endlessly cheerful, and dumber than a sack of bricks, so you can see why I emphasize with her so much. It’s by Kiyohiko Azuma, he of Azumanga Daioh, and his signature style shines through, with clean, gorgeous scenery and beautifully crafted covers and splash pages. One thing I’ve noticed about the esteemed Mr. Azuma’s work is how he draws very simplified, cartoonish heads and very realistic bodies with detailed clothing. Though there’s nothing wrong with either of these approaches by themselves, they do tend to look…odd when put together. But whatever, it just adds to the charm, sez I.

Anyways, here’s how this is gonna work. I’ll do this in a by-chapter format, starting with a recap and leading in to a page-by-page commentary, so you’ll want your own copy on hand. Or have a really good photographic memory or something. This looks kind of odd, but I still can’t decide if I should go solely with the chapter recap route or with a more MST-style commentary system, so for the time being I’ll try both.

Chapter One: Yotsuba & Moving!

You may have been wondering about the series’s odd name. Every chapter is named Yotsuba & X, where X is the topic that our intrepid yet naive young heroine learns about in that chapter, i.e. Yotsuba & Hopscotch, Yotsuba & Reading, Yotsuba & Drugrunning etc.

The chapter opens with a few pages of establishing shots of our heroine gazing delightedly at a picturesque neighborhood from a moving van being driven by what I at first thought was her mother. We move to the interior of the van and find out that it is actually her father, though the ambiguity as to the stringy-haired, baggy-clothed man’s gender might have remained for some time if Yotsuba hadn’t helpfully identified him. There are a few pages of them driving down the road and talking about the new neighborhood before they arrive at their new home and greet Jumbo, a friend of Yotsuba’s Dad (who hasn’t been given a name yet) who I swear to god looks exactly like my high school English teacher. The two get to moving their stuff in and Yotsuba helps out in her tiny, adorable way before being distracted by a butterfly. Or a moth. It’s hard to tell. She wanders off, and Jumbo and Dad assume the five-year-old girl will eventually find her way back in a stunning display of parental concern worth of Gendo Ikari.

Suddenly, from out of nowhere, a masked gunman appears and starts spraying bullets everywhe…Oh wait that’s just a schoolgirl come to introduce herself to her new neighbors. Her name is Fuka, though she introduces herself as Ayase which I guess is her family name. Or maybe her codename? There is a bit of idle chatter slash exposition, then Yotsuba’s Dad (who dosen’t provide his name to the nice young woman who just gave him hers, for some reason) asks Fuka to keep an eye out for his bizarre lime-haired rugrat.

Cut to a little girl who looks to be a bit older than our protagonist(We don’t know it yet, but she’s Fuka’s younger sister, Ena) walking by a park and seeing Yotsuba playing with a swing. And by playing I mean hurting herself with. She runs up to the older girl and is all like “YOTSUBA NOT UNDERSTAND SWING WHAT DOES IT DO” so the older girl shows her. Yotsuba’s father’s faith in his daughter’s ability to take care of herself is quickly thrown into question, as the jubilant jackanapes quickly abuses her newfound swinging prowess to vault herself into low orbit. Unhurt but dazed, she runs off in a huff and Ena heads towards home, finding her sister en-route. Fuka recognizes Yotsuba merely from her sister’s description of “weird little girl” and runs off towards the clover-crowned cretin’s last known trajectory. She finds Yotsuba clinging to the side of a telephone pole pretending to be a cicada, seriously, and begins leading her back to her new house. Deep inside our heroine’s adorable little skull, her woefully underdeveloped self-preservation instinct chooses now of all times to remind her of her father’s stranger danger lessons, and the Escort Mission quickly becomes a Chase Scene.

Through some bizarre act of God (or maybe not so much, seeing as how they’re next-door neighbors) Fuka, Ena, their older sister Asagi, Yotsuba, and Yotsuba’s Dad wind up in the same place at the same time. Introductions are made, during which we finally learn Koiwai’s name, and Yotsuba finally figures out what “moving” means. The first chapter winds up with all the principle characters introduced, and I get a great idea for a new avatar.

Wow, making recaps interesting is hard. Let’s look a little closer, shall we?

p.3 We can already see some of Azuma’s clean artwork and imaginative blocking here. Love it.

p.4 Who’s that in the passenger seat? It’s baby Pac-Man! (‘<

p. 6 Ahh, she’s so cute it makes my prefrontal cortex hurt!

p.7 Nothing could establish a character’s naiveté better than having her mistake primary schooling for something positive.

p.8 I hate it when kids do that. Never know how to respond. Also, this is the first appearance of creepy hollow-eyed Yotsuba. I’m convinced she’s actually an alien and the circle eyes are her trying to use her underdeveloped mind-control powers.

p.9 The first appearance of Jumbo! I first read his name as Jimbo, and became convinced they’d soon introduce a character named Billy-Bob.

p.11 OH DEAR LORD HE’S TRYING TO SNAP HER NECK!

p.12 Isn’t she industrious? Wait…

p.13…since when is liking pudding considered having an unusual eating habit? :S

p.15 Here’s that simplified head/detailed body thing I was talking about.

p.17 YOU KNOW THE NEIGHBORHOOD’S GARBAGE COLLECTION SCHEDULE WOW THAT IS SO IMPRESSIVE! No wonder he’s still single.

p.18 “My daughter disappeared mysteriously awhile ago, keep an eye out for her, k? Oh, and if she’s been run over by a car or fallen off a high ledge or bitten a power line or something, do me a favor and haul her remains to the nearest funeral home, alright?”

p.21 Azuma seems to like drawing cute little girls get hit in the head. See: any part of Azumanga Daioh with Chyo-chan and P.E.

p.23 Mind-control eyes much more effective this time around.

p.25 Of course! She’s trying to gain enough momentum to break the Earth’s gravitational pull and head back to her home planet! It all makes sense now!

p.27 Love the panel on the top of this page. Also, isn’t Ena’s backpack cool?

p.29, Last panel, Yotsuba seems to have that effect on a lot of people…

p.31 Oh dear, I’m beginning to regret the whole biting power line comment.

p.33 One of the few times I’ve genuinely lol’d came from this page.

p.34 “You have mind control powers toooo?”

p.35 “Yeah! I…Wait, what’s that on the horizon? Oh no, a giant monster is destroying Tokyo Tower! AGAIN!”

p.37 Funny thing is this is exactly how I end up excusing myself from parties and whatnot most of the time.

p.39 And Jumbo tries to kill our protagonist once again.

p.41 I usually end up diving between someone’s legs while excusing myself from parties and whatnot too.

p.42 Careful, you’ll damage her backpack!

p.44 ASAGI WINS. FLAWLESS VICTORY.

p.45 “I wrap my fist in my hair before I punch someone for extra impact!” Also, “Hey Yotsuba, glad to see you’re not dead. Now get back to moving those books in!”

p.48 This page would be adorable and amusing if not for my mind-control eyes hypothesis.

p.49 I love the energy Yotsuba shows in this page. In fact, I love the energy she shows the whole rest of the book.

p.50 That middle panel there gives me an idea…

p.51 YO yourself. And that’s the end of Chapter One. Sorry it took me so long. I’ll try and be a bit more prompt in my subsequent updates. In the meantime, tell me what you think so far!
Not actually back.
TV Tropes #1 Anime Fan
I love it, and I love Yotsuba. This manga is the best, and since Azuma personally has stated somewhere that he doesn't want it turned into an anime, it will never be ruined by shoddy animation, filler, or voice actors that don't sound like we expected them to. I will be watching this thread closely.
Feedback Of Heteronormative Gender Stereotypes in Anime
Aw, that's too bad that he doesn't want it turned into an anime. That has the potential to rival Chi's Sweet Home in terms of sheer cute.waii

You're doing great, keep it up!

Did Azuma specifically say he doesn't want it turned into an anime somewhere? The one thing I read him saying on the subject was that they'd probably never make an anime out of it 'cos the concept worked better as manga, not that he'd refuse any offers to do so.

But maybe he said things like that in other places. I don't know.

Also, hooray I've been anticipating this livebloggening! Shiny job so far!

Edit: Oh, yeah, one thing I forgot to add - "Koiwai" isn't her dad's given name, it's their family name. As far as I've read (and according to That Other Wiki) her dad's name has yet to be revealed.

edited 24th Jul '09 12:44:16 AM by Lull The Conqueror

the dice are loaded, the deck is stacked, the game itself will hold you back
 5 Fawriel, Fri, 24th Jul '09 4:46:36 AM from the bottom of my heart Relationship Status: If it's you, it's okay
dead but happy
Did I read correctly? Were you, in fact, claiming that Yotsuba, Yotsuba Koiwai, future scientist, artist and visionary who brings about the revolution in the year 2045, is unintelligent? Cease your preposterous defamations at once, vile fiend!
in spite of it all
Chapter Two: Yotsuba & Manners!

IN THIS EPISODE: Our heroine’s first morning in her new house, and after a bit of a rough start she’s settled in nicely. So comfortable is she in her new surroundings that after accidentally locking herself in the bathroom she decides to take a walk in her pajamas and slippers. She meets up with Fuka and has a very awkward conversation with the neighbors which she is blissfully unaware of. Fuka resumes her roll as the emerald-lock’d enigma’s shepherd, guiding her back home to find Koiwai (I’m gonna keep calling him that because “Mr. Koiwai” doesn’t fit his personality and “Yotsuba’s Dad” is too long) has gone out to buy a new lock, apparently uncaring as to his daughter’s disappearance. Though I imagine Yotsuba has disappeared enough times that it’s not much of a shock anymore. Guy should get one of those intravenous GPS trackers for her or something.

Yotsuba uses her alien mind control eyes to convince Fuka to watch the house with her, and the two start doodling with crayons and have a deep conversation over the merits of neoclassical impressionism. And also cartography. Yotsuba falls asleep, Fuka goes to the bathroom, the inevitable happens, followed by the even more inevitable consequence of Fuka getting stuck in the bathroom window just as Koiwai gets back. Fuka’s evil evil sisters show up just long enough to laugh at her plight, but Koiwai perseveres and finally succeeds in extracting her from his window, teaching the audience an important lesson in inter-personal communication afterwards.

p. 54 POWER ON. So Yotsuba has two modes: wide-eyed and energetic, and unconscious.

p. 55 Easter morning? :S

p. 56 Oh. Lol. Also, “BLGRH” is the best onomatopoeia-ic sound effect ever.

p. 58 Tiny little circle eyes…wobbly super-deformed hands…Gaah I can’t take it it’s too cute! XD XD XD You could power a city on the kawaii alone! Also, has Koiwai finally learned a parenting lesion after his daughter’s numerous near-manglement experiences yesterday?

p. 59 for some reason the way Yotsuba’s mouth is drawn in that last panel makes me think of Calvin & Hobbes.

p. 60 I’d make Wide-Eyed Yotsuba Announcing a Bathroom Break into an avatar if I hadn’t already made this one.

p. 62 …Scratch that parenting lesson thing I mentioned earlier.

p. 64 She’s railgrinding! Cool!

p. 66 Yet another panel I’d like to make into an avatar! Probably too big though.

p. 69 Oh dear, I’m not gonna like this, am I?

p. 71 “I totally don’t understand! =D” is gonna be my new catchphrase.

p. 72 Five year old girl discovers Ring n’ Run. There were no survivors. News at eleven.

p. 74 The thing I love about Yotsuba is how the fact that her walking around in slippers and pajamas can go completely unnoticed for awhile because of all the other more obvious weirdness.

p. 76 Wait, so he’s been trying to fix the door the whole time rather than looking for Yotsuba? o_O I take back the whole “becoming a better parent” thing. Again.

p. 78 Wow, didn’t even need the mind-control eyes that time. She’s gettin’ good.

p. 79 And that sums up the entirety of my high school art classes.

p. 82 “My god, it’s just like in my dream…” That’s funny no matter which character you imagine saying it.

p. 85 She looks kinda like a worm hanging out of an apple XD

p. 87 The position of the shadows there made me think there’s been a timeskip and it’s now sundown. Also, ain’t Koiwai a smooth gent?

p. 88 She gets a lot better when she’s drawing herself =/

Huh, the end already? Guess the first chapter was longer than the rest. I think I shall do another.

Chapter Three: Yotsuba & Global Warming!

IN THIS EPISODE: The Terrifying Beast that is Yotsuba Awakens and shows her father the horrible, awful, worthless scribble Fuka made during her impromptu volunteer babysitting job. Her father, no doubt already sick of his daughter’s antics and wanting a few more minutes to himself suggests she go next door to thank her. Yotsuba, finally dressed, goes over and plays with the doorbell for awhile before being rudely introduced to the concept of an intercom. Asagi comes to the gate and invites our heroine inside. Once inside, the viridian vagabond is vexed by the wintry veneer in the villa she is visiting, and, on the verge of a violent vociferation, voices her vexation to Asagi, who verifies the verve and vitality of the venue’s air conditioning unit, which voids Yotsuba’s sense of verisimilitude. That was nineteen Vs if you count the w as two, and I don’t know why you wouldn’t. Um…Anyways, it turns out that Yotsuba doesn’t know what an air conditioner is, so Asagi gives her the lowdown and delicious chilled treats and the horribleness of Fuka’s drawing and therefore her self-worth are discussed. Asagi then sends Yotsuba to Ena’s room for some contrived reason, where our heroine is introduced to the concept of GLOBAL WARMING. Yotsuba, being Yotsuba, immediately concludes that because global warming is bad, anyone who owns an air conditioner must be bad. With that kind of flawless reasoning skills she’ll have a fine career ahead of her as a spokesperson of the Christian Right. Or perhaps as an evolutionary psychologist.

Anyways Yotsuba runs back to her house to verify whether or not her father is a Bad Man, having apparently missed all the earlier evidence, only to find that LE GASP! There is an air conditioner in her new house! Frightened and confused, Yotsuba turns to the only people she can trust; her perpetually perplexed neighbors. Asagi analyzes the situation and comes up with some line about how while air conditioners result in a greater strain on the power grid, the cool air they produce exactly counteracts the rising levels of greenhouse gasses. Yotsuba angrily points out how unscientific this is, and Asagi is shunned by her family for the rest of the chapter. Except that’s not what happens. So we end the chapter with a moral: lying is a great way to get things done. Come to think of it, wasn’t that last chapter’s message too?

p. 90 Man I wish I had that much energy when I wake up.

p. 92 Hey, I just noticed she’s dressed now. Also, some great composition in that last panel there.

p. 94 XD Yotsuba now seems to have reverse mind-control eyes.

p. 96 “Interesting” is a…nice way to put it.

p. 98 Asagi has gone into tour guide/car salesman mode here. Also, Yotsuba seems to be trying to mind-meld with the A/C.

p. 100 I think that drawing is pretty good :<

p. 101 Mind control eyes again. That girl is a psychic hazard.

p. 103 That first panel sounds like the start of a PSA.

p. 104 “Well there was that time I fell off the roof of our old house and he decided to take a nap before bringing me to the hospital BUT OTHER THAN THAT HE’S A GOOD GUY!”

p. 105 I kinda hate air conditioners too <_<

p. 106 That last panel is absolutely priceless XD

p. 108 Poor girl doesn’t know where to turn anymore ;_; Also, if we go back to my “Yotsuba as psychic alien” theory, that second panel there kinda looks like she’s actually shocking him with electricity from her pigtail antennae things, right?

p. 109 “What? Uh… I…I’m sorry Yotsuba, but…but I’m going to have to call the Planeteers here to kill your dad now.”

p. 112 With that kind of spin skill, Asagi ought to look into a career as a political pundit.

p. 113 This just in: Yotsuba has lots of energy. In related news, the sky is still blue.

edited 26th Jul '09 10:11:32 PM by DireSloth

Not actually back.
When I first read these chapter titles, I thought chapter 3 would make everyone do a double take. And like any kid her age, Yotsuba doesn't understand the apparent evil that is GW and could barely care less.

edited 27th Jul '09 8:10:49 AM by Pika Hikari KT

CHAPTER FOUR: YOTSUBA AND TELEVISION!

IN THIS EPISODE: We open with a splash page of Yotsuba and Koiwai staring slack-jawed at an off-panel television. Strangely, no one actually does any television-watching in this chapter. The first real page starts in the Ayase household, where the daughter’s lackluster mother has just received a letter from the neighborhood association addressed to “Yotsuba’s Place.” Interesting that she’d refer to it as that, rather than by the name of the adult who legally owns the place. But I guess he doesn’t really have a name, like the Pyro doesn’t really have a gender. Anyways, Fuka predictably is chosen to go deliver the letter to the proper recipient, and we learn that Asagi ate all the ice cream last night, which will actually be important later on. Meanwhile, back at the Yotsuba household, Koiwai is busy measuring the floor for a little remodeling. He enlists Yotsuba’s help to hold the other end of the tape measure, you’d think he’d know better by now. Anyways, the inevitable happens, then the doorbell rings and the lady of the house goes to greet Fuka. Koiwai is mildly embarrassed to be caught wearing his new Perspective-Less Boxer Shorts©. Fuka and Koiwai go over the letter which, surprisingly, is not a request that Yotsuba stop running around stuffing everyone’s mail slots with dandelions, but is rather some sort of form. Then, Yotsuba does a Bad Thing and gets scolded. What is this Bad Thing, you ask? Well, you’ll just have to buy the manga and find out…

The paperwork apparently filled out, Koiwai casually mentions that they’re looking for a new TV, and Fuka actually offers to give them her old one. Ice cream is discussed, then everyone prepares to go haul the television over when Jumbo arrives on another one of his murderous, bloody rampages. Fuka is startled by Jumbo’s height, apparently not making the connection from his name alone. There is a brief but thrilling action sequence, Yotsuba learns of Jumbo’s weird ephebophiliac tendencies, and the lot finally head over next door. Mrs Ayase has a similar reaction to Jumbo, and Yotsuba uses her mind-control powers to secure ice-cream. Now, here’s where things get weird. It has already been established that the Ayase household’s ice cream was all devoured by Asagi. Yet Yotsuba’s demand for ice cream is met. Thus, I can only conclude one thing: Yotsuba isn’t just an alien psychic, she’s an alien Reality Warper. Amazing.

The team successfully secures the television, Asagi is, once again, startled by Jumbo’s height, and Jumbo manages to obtain the enmity of two members of the Ayase household in a few seconds. The group meets Ena on the way out, who is not surprised by Jumbo’s height at all, Jumbo is totally a jerk to her, and the episode ends on a final lol but no TV watching.

118 Introducing: FUKA’S MUM! Who reminds me of Helga’s Mum from Hey Arnold. Not a good sign.

119 Frankly, I’m surprised it took this long for the neighborhood association to get in touch with Yotsuba. They should have been waiting for the moving van. Also, yeah I hate Asagi too. Fuck that guy.

121 Ok, you KNOW she meant to do that.

122 Don’t send her, Jumbo’ll just try and kill her again!

123 “Is ‘Jumbo’ a meme I don’t know of?”

125 Don’t laugh, that can HURT

127 OMFG ICE CREAM! Yotsuba’s enthusiasm is in danger of setting the page on fire here. Hopefully the new television won’t ruin her life. Also, at the last panel there, I thought it was Yotsuba going “DING DONG!”

129 Another mention of this mysterious Yanda character. We have a trope for that, right? The Ghost? My cinema teacher would call him a “non-diagetic character.” Also, why does Fuka have mind-control eyes? O_o

131 Ok, I take it back, I kinda like Jumbo. He’s just weird enough to be interesting.

132 No last name given? Maybe it’s like the Mario Bros, his name is Jumbo Jumbo.

133 She’s channeling Chyo-chan here?

135 Oh dear, the poor woman doesn’t know what she’s getting into…

136 Mind control eyes at work…

138 Yet more Scenes from Dire Sloth’s Life. It’s like this book is speaking to me, man.

139 She’s throwing salt in their eyes! What’s that they say about a woman scorned?

140 Ooh, so it’s officially become a running joke! And yet there are no more reoccurring characters, so it can’t work anymore…
Not actually back.
CHAPTER FOUR: YOTSUBA AND SHOPPING!

So Fuka shows up at the Yotsuba household to give them the remote they forgot last chapter. Koiwai shows once again why he is single, and Yotsuba tells her the two are going to go shopping at a compartment department store (Yotsuba and Koiwai, not Fuka, though I could imagine them talking her into going for them). The two head off, Koiwai screams like a little girl, they pass a shrine and a ramen stand before finally reaching the store. Yotsuba plays around on the elevator and suffers yet another head injury, plays with more stuff, then abandons the curtain-shopping Koiwai to play with all the merchandise in the store, no doubt while the manager has a heart attack. Ultimatly Koiwai tells her to stop bike riding, touching stuff, running, thinking, and breathing, then scares her with some sort of weird Japanese scarecrow before being told off by one of the salespeople, who are probably glad to finally have an adult target to blame. Koiwai finishes shopping, drags Yotsuba out of the bed display she’s nestled into, and they go off for ramen in a scene that made me really hungry. Seriously, if you ever get the chance to try authentic Japanese noodles, in just about any form, TRY IT. It’s awesome. There is an uphill race, an interrupted prayer, and a really nice view, then the episode ends with a downhill race with a wager of ice cream that Yotsuba predictably wins. You do not get between the girl and her ice cream.

144 Ah, the most vital piece of equipment. How could they have possibly forgotten the remote?

145 Yotsuba’s enthusiasm is infectious as always. I hate it when people do that, telling someone to hurry up and then delaying them. Also, this chapter is where Yotsuba’s poor sense of direction starts becoming a running joke.

146 The top panel is perfect. Love it so much <3 though Yotsuba’s head seems to be about twenty percent larger than her father’s. Probably because she’s an alien. And it seems Koiwai also isn’t too sure where he’s going.

147 And Yotsuba punishes the dog for scaring her old man using telepathic blasts! And points out the presence of stairs, for some reason. I wonder how long it took her dad to discourage that behavior. I’m imagining a younger Yotsuba pointing out every thing that goes by. “Stairs! Pavement! More pavement! Lamppost! More pavement! More pavement! Mailbox! More pavement!” Eech, I can’t think about mailboxes too much after the Deathstyle thread.

148 Ah, but what an impressive set of stairs they are! Yotsuba seems fixated on festivals, I bet the last episode is about her finally getting to attend one.

150 At first I thought Yotsuba was entranced by the purses, which would have been slightly out of character. But low and behold, it’s actually the escalator. I suppose it’s the escalator that’s making that “vrmm” sound effect, but It’s funnier if you imagine Yotsuba pantomiming it.

151 Welcome back to head injury theatre! No wonder her psychic powers don’t work right, she keeps smashing her skull…

152 XD So cute. And so light! That drawer looks like it’s plastic, yet it’s not even bending…

153 “I’ll go look over there!” Yes of course, because you’ve proven so well that you’re capable of taking care of yourself in this store.

154 Yotsuba VS Koiwai’s ass: YOTSUBA WINS. FLAWLESS VICTORY.

155 Koiwai is such a spoilsport. Last panel: *gasp* what could this be?!

156 *gasp* oh no, she’s found the cheap toys and novelties rack! And a…dart target? Seriously, what is that thing?

157 Ah, it’s a telepathy blocker. That’s why she’s so scared of it.

159 “Cute and funny? Must be my daughter…” Also, why for is Mariners shirt???

160 XD. Ah, and the ramen shop becomes Chekov’sGun!

161 “Yotsuba your singing is disturbing the serpentine man sitting next to me.” Eggs in ramen, by the way, are really good. You pour the raw egg in and it gets partially cooked if the soup is hot enough. Mmmm….

163 Yotsuba is NEVER TIRED! Except when she finds a bed.

164 Well yeah he beat you, his legs are longer than your whole body. And he’s channeling Ashley Williams. “How do you like me now?!”

166 I love this page. Look at all the detail on those buildings…

168 There’s the bad sense of direction thing again.

169 You never get between Yotsuba and her ice cream! It is a sure way to loose!

170 Aww, isn’t she nice? ‘Course, we know from the opening that they both got ice cream. Or rather, Koiwai got ice cream and Yotsuba got a lightbulb.

CHAPTER SIX: YOTSUBA AND CICADAS!

Our story starts with Yotsuba, Ena, and Mrs. The Sisters munching on watermelon, Yotsuba having procured a huge slice, no doubt with her mind control eyes. Somehow the topic of cicadas comes up, and Yotsuba gets bughunting into her bruised head, dragging Ena along for the ride. After committing violent assault against some literature, she manages to enlist Jumbo, who claims to be an expert in the subject, into her escapades. There is a long sequence that can be summed up as “Jumbo nearly kills Yotsuba with his car AGAIN, ” and the cicada hunters arrive at a woodland shrine that’s just buzzing with the little monsters. There is some net-waving and horseplay, then Jumbo schools the two girls in proper bughunting technique. Ena soon captures her first insectoid, then several more, and Yotsuba becomes determined to upstage her new rival. Sadly, the poor girl is having no luck, so Jumbo agrees to give her a height advantage. She nearly pokes his eye out for his trouble. After much fumbling Yotsuba manages to capture a right huge cicada, and the group head back to the Ayase household, letting Yotsuba carry the cage. Yotsuba refers to Fuko as “Mom, ” letting the question of Yotsuba’s parentage come into play for the first time. Jumbo reveals that Yotsuba is an orphan in a surprisingly melancholy moment. Anyways, remember when I said Yotsuba was holding the cicada cage? Guess what happens. Mrs. Ayase comes in just in time to hear her house’s new surround-sound cicada droning system, Asagi shows up, Jumbo turns into a snitch, and chemical warfare is considered. Presumably the cicadas are rounded up and returned to the wild, as we cut to Yotsuba eating dinner with her father than night and boasting of her victories against the exoskeletal menace. It’s very cute.

172 There’s a motto I can get behind!

176 Never before have I seen a face so adorable yet so disturbing.

178 I’m having trouble seeing Jumbo in a little car like that… Also, Yotsuba VS Books: YOTSUBA WINS! FATALITY!

179 Yotsuba has a fine future as a manager ahead of her. Also, where did Ena go? Did she tactfully slip away?

180 Well if she was, Yotsuba has roped her back in it seems. This isn’t going to turn into a snipe hunting exercise, is it?

181 Wow, you mean there’s some aspect to riding in the back of an open truck that might be considered dangerous? I never would have guessed!

183 Yet another grievous head injury. Poor girl ;_;

184 “You’re not following protocol, Ena! Seriously, you need to get your act together or we’ll never place in the international cicada hunting competition! This is Serious Business, damnit!”

186 “No, I won’t! See my above statement!”

189 What are those nets made of, anyways? Clear plastic? I guess I can’t blame Azuma for not wanting to draw all the individual strands of a net. And why would she want to hold one? Bugs are gross :< Anyways, Yotsuba’s honor has been tarnished! It’s on now! It’s on like Donkey Kong!

192 GURREN LAGANN! And she uses her mind control eyes to stun the cicada! But ends up stunning Jumbo too…

194 Who’s the master now, huh Ena?

195 Fuka is mom now?

196 That’s…actually kind of depressing. ):

197 Well, that’s what’s gunna happen if you let Yotsuba hold the cage <_< Also, it’s nice to see Mrs Ayase showing the proper response to horrible ugly insects. Why am I having a “Silence of the Lambs” flashback?

201 Yes! Do it! Kill them all!

203 You’re not being very supportive, Koiwai. Now she’s going to ask if she can study under Jumbo to become the new Cicada Master. Then we’ll genre-shift into a shonen series. Also, I was kind of hoping they’d end up frying and eating the cicadas…

CHAPTER SEVEN: YOTSUBA AND RAIN!

We begin with a scruffy Koiwai typing something official-looking while Yotsuba looks out the window. Fuka comes by and the gathering storm clouds are discussed. Fuka notices the laundry hanging to dry and Yotsuba states her intention of retrieving them. This sets off Fuka’s danger alarm, so she offers to help to prevent Yotsuba from accidentally hanging herself. “How did I end up doing someone else’s laundry, ” Fuka ruminates. Probably because she’s more than a bit of a doormat, ya think? The transliteration of trainspotting is discussed, and Yotsuba reveals that her father regulates the most boring part of laundry, the folding, to her. Koiwai comes in, everyone marvels at his amazing Perspectiveless Plaid Boxers, and there is a startling transformation. Much sillyness later, Koiwai thanks Fuka for her assistance. Fuka asks about how Koiwai came to be the orphaned Yotsuba’s guardian, but he dodges around the question. Suddenly, the rain starts! Yotsuba goes out to dance in the rain adorably, the others wax poetic, and Volume One of Yotsuba& comes to a close.

206 Look, she was drawing cicadas! <3

208 Fuka has discovered the best way to deal with Yotsuba already. She woulda set the whole neighborhood on fire if she’d tried it herself.

210 I’ve been wondering that myself. A translator? For what? Also, I love how dynamic Fuka looks in that first panel.

212 Trainspotting? Like, the movie? I don’t like where this is going…

213 I saw this joke coming several pages ago, but it’s still funny.

214 Um, yeah…I do that too sometimes… <_<

215 XD What kind of idiotic game is that? From the looks of it, the best game ever!

217 “So, you mean she’s actually an alien?” C’mon, you all know that’s what she was gonna say!

224 Aww c’mon, if that didn’t make you smile I don’t know what will.

So that does it for Volume One. Sorry for the delay. Anyone still reading this? Not sure if I should move on to Volume Two or not now…
Not actually back.
TV Tropes #1 Anime Fan
Yotsuba is...

Invincible.waii
Feedback Of Heteronormative Gender Stereotypes in Anime
 11 Starbound 2, Fri, 14th Aug '09 6:41:08 AM from Imaizumi Ward, Kyoen Relationship Status: Hoping Senpai notices me
Murasaki Shizuka
I say keep going! Because I just found this and any excuse for someone to read Yotsuba&! is a good excuse in my opinion.
Eyes open wide / Feel your heart and its glowing / I'm welcome home, sweet home...
Do eeeet.
"You fail to grasp the basic principles of mad science. Common sense would be cheating." - Narbonic
 13 Nyperold, Thu, 10th Dec '09 3:56:50 AM from a certain point of view
(points) "Crab Nebula."
Oh yeah, keep going! When you can, that is. I hope I get my physical copy of vol. 2 soon. It'll be the Yen Press version, though.

Re: Chapter 2:

Well, Ena gets confused, but doesn't laugh...

Chapter 4:

Mrs. Ayase says that all her ice cream was eaten by Asagi. Apparently, they try to save these things for themselves in a vain attempt not to have it be eaten. As we see here and elsewhere, sometimes it happens anyway.

Yanma Yanda does appear from time to time. YMMV on what to think of him.

The salt thing is explained in the translator's notes.

Chapter 5:

"Escalator and elevator... elevator and escalator? Ah git mixed up sometahms..."

No, not the last chapter. Much earlier.

It's, as you said, a scarecrow, though it has a Japanese name which escapes me at the moment.

What can I say? They like baseball over there. Remember when Tomo was picking on Chiyo's favorite team?

I bet she's still thinking of her home in terms of where she was living.

Chapter 6:

Yeah, there's a reason why riding there is illegal in some places. (What that reason is depends on who you ask...)

Wait 'til you meet Miura. :D

No, she's calling Mrs. Ayase "Mom". I can't tell from translation whether she's using to term for one's own mother, or the one for somebody else's mother. Apparently, they're different things. Of course, she's the closest thing Yotsuba has to a mother right now...

edited 10th Dec '09 3:58:59 AM by Nyperold

 14 Nyperold, Tue, 22nd Dec '09 10:56:51 AM from a certain point of view
(points) "Crab Nebula."
Oh yeah! I just rechecked it, and what Koiwai says he is is a honyakuka, which, of course, is a translator. What Yotsuba tells Fuuka that he is is a konnyakuka, a maker of konnyaku.

When I was reading my paper copy, I knew she was going to mess the word up, but I was figuring they would have her say "transformer".

 15 Nyperold, Sat, 2nd Jan '10 6:09:01 PM from a certain point of view
(points) "Crab Nebula."
Well, as I mentioned, I'm quite possibly getting vol. 2 this month. If it's not continued by someone else, I just might. wink

 16 Nyperold, Wed, 13th Jan '10 5:52:17 PM from a certain point of view
(points) "Crab Nebula."
And I have it. But I'm going to update my Ichigo Mashimaro and My Sims Agents ones first, and then, unless DS says otherwise, I'll give it a go.

 17 Nyperold, Sun, 17th Jan '10 12:45:42 PM from a certain point of view
(points) "Crab Nebula."
Okay, given that Dire Sloth hasn't updated this in a while, I'm going to try to keep this going. (Anytime he wants it back, though, hey, he's welcome to it.)

Back when I ordered volumes 1-5, Barnes & Noble sent me 1 and 3-5, and they kept not having 2. So the versions I have of those volumes of Yotsuba&! are the ADV manga version, translated by Javier Lopez. Then ADV Manga dropped the translation of the series, and Yen Press picked it up. So I got 6. Then I recently ordered 2 & 7, and got them.

A few differences:
  • The covers are glossier
  • The pages are whiter
  • The fonts are different
  • When somebody or something it given a name, they seem pretty faithful in their representation of it (Fuuka, Danbo), although they still use Western name order
  • They represent the honorifics more often (neechan, etc.)
  • Onomatopoeia are represented in both romaji and an English approximation, either in the panel itself or in the space around the panel, rather than just an English approximation or none at all

VOLUME 2

On the front cover, Yotsuba walks with Fuuka. She holds up her net as she carries a pail. A bug container is slung round her shoulder, and a water pistol is tucked into her shorts. She's wearing her white shirt with the salmon sleeves and neckline. Fuuka is walking her yellow bicycle with a bag in its basket. She's wearing a yellow t-shirt, and blue jean skirt, white socks, and salmon and white sneakers.

On the inside cover, Yotsuba catches Ena with the net, reminiscent of Chapter 6.

Page 1 has the manga title and volume number. There's also a small crayon box. Below, of course, is the mangaka's name.

Page 2 is the table of contents. Below is Yotsuba, drawing on a sheet of paper on the table and kneeling on a cushion. The crayon box is nearby, as is a sketchbook with a stylized chick and flower.

Our story begins with Yotsuba trying to draw someone. She makes the legs way too long (and uneven). They and the man's hair go off the sheet of paper and onto the table. She complains that her Jumbo is small while the real one is huge. She takes her attempts outside, into the street. Somebody goes by, carrying a sketchboard. On the chapter 8 page, we see that this person is whizzing by on heelys. This distracts Yotsuba, who rubs her hand on the ground to see if it's slippery.

The mystery person opens a door and is greeted by Fuuka, who refers to her as "Miura-chan". (Cute kid, though to me, not as cute as Ena.) Fuuka calls up to Ena, and while she's waiting, we find out that Miura and Ena are going to do nature sketches for summer vacation homework. Fuuka has a positive opinion of her own drawing abilities. Miura notices her shirt, which has Chiyo's father (or at least the weird cat-thing that claimed to be so in Sakaki's dream) on it. Fuuka thinks it's cute, but Miura thinks she doesn't have good fashion sense. Then Miura arrives, and they leave, leaving Fuuka disheartened.

Ena and Miura talk about the place they're going, and happen upon Yotsuba's life-size chalk drawing of Jumbo, which they interpret as being the former location of a murder victim's body. Yotsuba says it's Jumbo, which confuses Ena, because she knows him, and Miura, because she doesn't.

Yotsuba finds out that they're going to draw, and is invited along. After she gets her stuff and lets her father know, they're off. Ena introduces Miura, who gives both her given and family names. Yotsuba gives both of her names as well... in both orders, prompting Miura to ask which it is. Yotsuba responds with just her given name.

Yotsuba tries to tell what she had for dinner, but keeps getting distracted by Miura's movements. She pushes Miura against her will, and observes that she slides, causing her to question what Miura is. Miura shows Yotsuba the wheels on her shoes' heels. Yotsuba likes the idea.

Once at the park, Yotsuba looks at the water and misidentifies it as the ocean. Miura freaks her out by grabbing her head and yelling about her misidentification, adding that it's a pond.

They pick a spot in the shade of a tree. They sit in a row and set to drawing. Yotsuba claims she's good. She even sights the subject with her thumb. Miura notices that Ena's drawing is good, but she has to ask Yotsuba what hers is. "The bird!" she says, pointing to a duck. She asks Ena how it is, and Ena tells her it's very good. Yotsuba says that Ena's isn't bad, either. Miura looks at Yotsuba's, unsure. She says that Yotsuba's is pretty bad, shocking the other two. Yotsuba doesn't understand. Miura shoves her tarsals farther into her oral cavity by saying that it sucks. Yotsuba brings up all the people who say her drawings are "real good", but Miura posits that they lied. After this sinks in, she falls into a gloomy state (shonbori). Ena tries to salvage things by saying it's very good. Yotsuba asks if Miura is lying. Miura, not wishing to be thought a liar, affirms her earlier assessment. Ena, voice quavering, says that it's good, very good, and tries to reconcile the two statements about Yotsuba's work by saying that Miura is bad at drawing, so she doesn't know. This shocks both Miura and Ena herself, and they both fall into zuun (...doom?).

Their despair is broken when Miura notices a man in the parking lot. A nearby woman's head comes up to his elbow, and a man's nose comes up to the end of his sleeve. She wonders if he's a person, then realizes, and asks if he's Jumbo. Yotsuba calls him over. Ena wonders how she knew him, causing Miura to think of something. She jumps up and tells Yotsuba that it's because of her drawing, which was so good that she recognized him. Ena also stands up, agreeing. Yotsuba isn't sure.

Jumbo arrives, asking what they're doing. Miura doesn't say anything about his height while he's there, but seems suitably startled by the fact that she doesn't even come up to his waist. Yotsuba tells him that they're "drawring", and Ena asking what he's up to; he's making work deliveries. Yotsuba shows him her drawing, and asks if its good. Both Ena and Miura are hoping they'll say it's really good.

He...

...

DOES.

Ena says it's like she said, and Miura claims to attribute her earlier opinion to not looking at it closely enough. Yotsuba is finally almost convinced, and asks Jumbo to affirm it one more time. When he does, she cheers, the other girls cheer, and he cheers confusedly.

Meanwhile, Asagi encounters the giant chalk outline, and doesn't know what to make of it...

On this chapter divider, Ena is drawing while Miura laughs at Yotsuba trying out her heelys.

Next time: ...depends! But possibly chapter 9!

 18 Nyperold, Fri, 22nd Jan '10 1:41:26 PM from a certain point of view
(points) "Crab Nebula."
Chapter 9: Yotsuba & Vengeance

On the chapter page, Yotsuba stands on a brick walk, flowers in one hand and a gun in the other. She's wearing a suit and hat, sort of the stereotypical '20s gangster look.

Yotsuba calls out to a young woman, warning her to look out. The woman turns her head, and a man shoots her. Yotsuba screams... then we see she's watching TV with Koiwai and Jumbo. Yotsuba points at the TV incredulously, but Koiwai tells her to sit down and watch. She does. He drinks some Asahi. "I know what you did, " a character says. "Please wait!" pleads the other. "I was only—" "Save your excuses for hell!" the first one interrupts. Yotsuba stands up and runs off.

She returns, and points a squirt gun at her father. Feigning fear, he says not to shoot. "Save your excuses for hell, " she tells him, and shoots him in the face. He yells, and falls down, "dead". "KOIWAAAIIIIIIIII!!" Jumbo yells, and turns to Yotsuba. "How dare you!" he roars. "You oughta treasure your life, " Yotsuba replies, and shoots him, too. Jumbo yells, and falls down... on Koiwai.

Yotsuba spins, and kneels beside them. "Daddy!! Jumbo!! NOOOO!!" she says. "Who did this to youuuu!!?" Jumbo asks if she's someone else now. Yotsuba swears revenge. She sticks her gun into the front of her shorts and says she'll be back. Not Quite Dead Jumbo tells her to promise to come back alive. She promises that, even if she dies, she'll come back alive.

A doorbell is rung. Who comes to answer but Mrs. Ayase. Yotsuba points her gun and demands to be let in, and is let in. She goes inside, and, being done with Mrs. Ayase, shoots her. Ayase plays along, saying she's been murdered. Yotsuba asks where Ena is, but Mrs. Ayase asks if she (Mrs. Ayase) isn't supposed to be dead. Yotsuba says she's half alive. Mrs. Ayase says that Ena is in her room, and is shot in the face again. "Now you're full dead, " Yotsuba informs her.

Up in Ena's room, Ena is playing with her teddy. Awwww. She talks about picking a different color, such as red. Yotsuba kicks her door open, gets on her hands and knees, and does a somersault. She gets up and points her gun. "Don't move!" she tells Ena, adding, in English, "Non-stop!" "I know what you did, Ena, " she continues. "You deserve to die." She shoots Ena a few times. Ena asks what she's doing, but Yotsuba asks is she's still alive, and shoots her again. "I DIIIIED!!" Ena says, in a different font. Yotsuba stands over her, and headshots the teddy bear. "I don't kill women and children, " she claims, even though, as Ena points out, clutching her teddy, she just "did".

"Next comes Fuuka." She's asleep, the Q-teen summer fashion guide open beside her. (She's wearing a "16 years old" shirt. Remember that when this blog gets to Volume 6, Chapter 35, because it involves a very similar shirt.) Yotsuba stands over her, points the gun at her nose, and shoots, giving Fuuka a rather rude awakening! Yotsuba laughs and giggles, because water came out her nose. Fuuka hits her on the head with a pillow, "WHY YOU LITTLE..." she says in an angry font. Yotsuba starts firing like mad until she sees that Fuuka is really angry, and "excape"s as the pillow is hurled after her. Close call.

Now "the only one left... is Asagi." She's lying on the couch, talking on a mobile phone. Yotsuba puts the gun to the back of her head. "Huh?" she says, turning her head. "Keep it zipped, " Yotsuba warns. The person on the other end of the line asks what's wrong, to which Asagi replies that she has a gun to her head. "Keep it zipped!" Yotsuba reiterates. It's the other person's turn to say "Huh?" Asagi relates that she's being told not to talk. Despite Yotsuba's "DO AS I SAY!!", the two continue their conversation, so Yotsuba says, "WHY, YOOOU!!" and pulls the trigger.

Nothing.

She tries a couple more times. No water comes out. "How unprofessional, " Asagi remarks. "Always check your ammo supply."

Yotsuba goes into the kitchen to get Mrs. Ayase to reload it. She does, and gives it back. Yotsuba goes back into the living room as Asagi finishes up her call. She raises her gun... and Asagi knocks it out of her hand and picks it up. Yotsuba is stunned at this turn of events.

"Bye-bye, little assassin, " Asagi says, and shoots her in the forehead. Yotsuba screams and flops on her back. Asagi squirts her a few times, and empties it onto her belly for good measure. Now Yotsuba's "dead"... for a few seconds, until Mrs. Ayase comes in, offering slicéd watermelon. Of course, Yotsuba can't stay dead for that!

Later that evening, Yotsuba returns home. Jumbo asks how her vengeance went. "I died!" Yotsuba reports, with a big smile. Jumbo gives her the lesson that vengeance never solves anything.

On the chapter divider, Yotsuba is trying to shake her daddy. He seems not to have recovered from being fallen on by Jumbo yet...

Next time: one of us will do Chapter 10!

edited 22nd Jan '10 10:49:15 PM by Nyperold

Uncle George
^That is one of my favourite manga stories ever. Yotsuba is just so great in it, especially the complete contradtictions in her behaviour. Kids are just like that.
This love so bold goes undeclared/a joy unseen, a world unknown/a love that dare not speak its name/hidden treasure, precious stone
 20 Nyperold, Thu, 28th Jan '10 7:15:36 PM from a certain point of view
(points) "Crab Nebula."
'Chapter 10: Yotsuba & Cake

Awwww! The chapter page features Ena in an adorable cake-seller's outfit. I guess that's what it is. She's holding a handled box with "Mercredi" on it. To her right is a "New Special Menu", "New" being written in English. Maybe also Japanese. Apricot tart: 400 yen. Peach yogurt mousse: 380 yen. Rare cheese fromage: 350 yen. (Knowing that "fromage" is French for "cheese" and that the foodstuff is therefore a "rare cheese cheese": priceless.) There are also flowers in a basket being held by one of those wrought iron stands.

Yotsuba and Ena are playing with teddy bears. Yotsuba's (meaning the one she's holding, not one that's actually hers) bear welcomes Ena's (in both senses) bear. Ena's introduces herself as "Anne" and asks the name of Yotsuba's. Yotsuba has trouble pronouncing it, and comes up with "Juralumin". Ena goes ahead and uses it, but remarks that it's really "Julietta". "It's not much, " Juralumin "says", "but please take yourself a home." (I think koiwai.biz has "Please make home at yourself.")

"Hello!" is called. It's Miura (in a Lakers shirt, #34, to be precise), asking if Ena is home. "My, my, " says Yotsuba, approaching her, "if it isn't dear Miura-chan!" She holds her arm out, showing her to the living room. "Please, won't you come in? I shannot be long, " she says. "What's wrong with you?" asks Miura. "Miura is come to visit, " announces Yotsuba. She places a cushion on the floor and tells her, "You may take this chair here." "Chair?" wonders Miura. Yotsuba leaves the room, Miura watching her. Miura wonders what's up with her. Ena explains that she's playing hostess to her.

Yotsuba returns with a glass of liquid, setting it down with a tan ("thump"), spilling it a bit, as Miura notes. Yotsuba calls it tea, though it's water, as Miura remarks that it looks a lot like, thanking her anyway. Yotsuba asks if Miura has decided on her order. Miura thinks for a little bit, and decides on cake. Yotsuba leaves again, even though Miura says she was joking.

In the kitchen, Mrs. Ayase is looking at a catalog when Yotsuba enters. Yotsuba opens the refrigerator and starts looking through it. Mrs. Ayase asks what she's looking for. "Cake, " Yotsuba replies. "I got an order for it." Mrs. Ayase laughs and says they don't have any around. Yotsuba notices meat, but Mrs. Ayase tells her not to take it. Yotsuba heads back to the other room, leaving Mrs. Ayase thinking about cake.

Yotsuba reports the lack, Miura is shocked that she went rummaging in their fridge. Mrs. Ayase pokes her head in and asks them to go buy some cake. Miura is worried that it's just because of her, but Mrs. Ayase says, "I want some." Yotsuba confirms with Mrs. Ayase that they're really going to get cake. She asks if it's a "speshal" day, but Ena says it's a normal day. She pyons around, asking what's going on. Mrs. Ayase tells Ena she wants strawberry. Ena asks how many they need, if they'll need enough for big sister Asagi as well, but Mrs. Ayase says she and Fuuka are out with friends and probably won't be back for a while, so all they need is four.

They head off, Yotsuba singing along the way. "Caaake! Caaake! It's like a dreeeeam!" "That great?" Miura remarks. "¡¡Olé!!" (Inverted exclamation marks mine.) Ena is shocked.

Miura recalls that there are two cake places, and asks where they should go. Ena asks which one she thinks would be better. Miura figures Asagi would know. Ena decides to go to the closer one. Yotsuba is distracted by a taiyaki shop. (Taiyaki is a filled pastry shaped like sea bream, supposedly a lucky fish.) The clerk asks if she'd like to buy some, and Yotsuba asks what it is. The man is surprised that she hasn't had any, and says it's "realllly" good. Yotsuba figures it'd have to be "epxensive", but he says it's only 100 yen. Yotsuba is just about considering it when Miura and Ena call her, which reminds her that she out for cake, which is what she declares. Off she goes with another "¡Olé!"

They end up going to Mercredi, and are welcomed. Mmmmmm, those pictures look so good! Yotsuba sees the variety and asks which one is cake. Ena says they're all cakes. Yotsuba is surprised that such different things could all be cake. Ena says she can pick out whichever one she wants. Yotsuba accidentally casts Feather Fall in her excitement. Miura tells the clerk that they'll be having four total, one of which will be the strawberry one. Yotsuba asks the clerk if she made them. She didn't. (She's cute!) Yotsuba asks if it was a "sheff". (Why the alternative spelling? It's said the same... wait, is it "shefu" in the original?) The clerk confirms it, which impresses Yotsuba. Miura selects a chocolate cake. Yotsuba notices that it's black, and says Miura is grown-up for being so small. She then asks Ena which one she's getting.

IN. TENSE. She considers her selection. Then she SEES what she wants, and POINTS AT IIIIIIT!!! The clerk asks if it's the pumpkin mont blanc ("a dessert of meringue, chestnut purée, and whipped cream often made to resemble a snow-capped mountain") that she wants, and Ena confirms it. Yotsuba says it's gross and resembles mud, which shocks Ena. Yotsuba uses Mrs. Ayase's choice as a guide, and selects one, too.

Yotsuba hums on the way home. She asks if Ena wants her to hold the cakes, but she declines the assistance. At the Ayase home, they have it set at the coffee table, where they're all knelt around it. "Itadakimasu!" (Okay, okay, this has it localized to "Okay, let's eat!", "Yes, let's!" and "LET'S EAT!!", but I assume they said that in the original.) Yotsuba chomps down on a bite, and sways side-to-side in the deliciousness. She jumps up and wants to call the "sheff" because it's so yummy. Mrs. Ayase agrees that it is, but tells them not to tell Asagi.

Guess who Ena sees through the windows in the doors.

If you guessed "Asagi", you're right! She sneaks up behind her mother with her fingers to her lips. Mrs. Ayase guesses she's got to save the strawberry for last, but she guesses wrong; with a "Yer strawberry's miiiine!!", Asagi yoinks it and eats it! The girls are shocked; Mrs. Ayase is stunned. Asagi notices Yotsuba's strawberry, and swipes it...

...but then she sees Yotsuba's face. She looks at the strawberry... and swooshes it around making airplane noises before returning it to the cake, saying she's just kidding.

Mrs. Ayase looks closely at her cake... and jumps up, yelling, which scares Asagi. Mrs. Ayase tells her it wasn't funny, how hideous it was, and that she must be demon spawn, but Asagi says she's her spawn. (The kids set to munching their cakes and attempting to ignore it.)

Next time: I'll do chapter 11 if he doesn't!

edited 1st Feb '10 9:01:15 AM by Nyperold

 21 Nyperold, Mon, 1st Feb '10 1:48:09 PM from a certain point of view
(points) "Crab Nebula."
Chapter 11: No Sweat

Over where I was reading it, this is called "Yotsuba & Donmai". Yotsuba is on a motorized bicycle (a scary thought!) and wearing a helmet with the goggles up. Her shirt has a "1" on it.

Our story begins with Yotsuba lying across her futon, near the pillow. She awakens, rolls to the end, and stands up with a hearty "OHAYO!" Only, her daddy's not in the room to say it to. She checks the TV room. No daddy. She heads up the stairs (on all fours) to the work room, but stops when she sees her daddy dancing at the top. The moves seem to consist of hopping from one foot to the other while punching the air with the fist on the same side at the foot that's on the ground at the time. "WHAT'S GOIN' ON!? IT'S THE DADDY DANCE!!" She joins him, mirroring his movements. The reason he's dancing is because he just finished a big work project. He takes her in his arms and dashes down the stairs for breakfast.

Yotsuba says the miso soup is good enough for a Nobel Prize. Koiwai says it's well said (or "Yeah right!" over at the online thingy). Yotsuba bump her drink, knocking it over. Yotsuba overreacts a bit, but Koiwai breaks out the chapter title. Yotsuba doesn't understand it, but seems to pick up that it's something positive. Koiwai explains it, they say it to each other, and then Koiwai hands her a rag and tells her to clean it up.

After their good meal, Koiwai tells Yotsuba that he hasn't slept much recently, and got no sleep yesterday. "So Daddy's about to pass out." He lies on his futon and tells Yotsuba, "The rest is... in your... hands..." which sounds like he's dying or something, but consider an alternate rendering: "Do whatever you want." Yotsuba says she'll let Daddy hinerba... hiberaber... hibanate... ...hi... SLEEP!! (And if we're going with the idea of those being Mind-Control Eyes, here's a good shot for it.) He drowsily asks her to be quiet.

Yotsuba goes to her Yotsubox (Yo-tsu-ba-ko) and, getting the idea to make it look cool, empties it. (There's the squirt gun and the bug cage, both from other chapters.) She starts drawing "Juralumin" when she hears the gatebell. Thinking it might be Jumbo, she opens the door to find... a man from the newspaper. Yotsuba asks who he is. He asks about her parents being home, and she cheerfully replies that there's a daddy here, but no mommy. He asks if she can get him; the answer is "NO." He responds with an "EEH!?", but she "shhh!"s him, and goes back inside.

She examines her finished Juralumin picture, and is considering her options for more drawings (a cicada or a cake?) when the phone rings. She answers, but it's a wrong number. Yotsuba breaks out the chapter title, confusing the caller, but she explains it, and hangs up. She checks on Daddy, who's still sleeping, and covers him with a blanket.

Then she gets an idea. She brings her box up, and draws his picture on it. She decides to add a beard and mustache to the picture. Then she has a really great idea: give Daddy a mustache and beard! She does so, then gives him a black nose and rings around his eyes. She shakes with laughter, still not waking him up.

Then she realizes that she might get yelled at. She tries rubbing the marker off with a cloth, but it doesn't work. She goes to the Ayases.

Once there, she (apparently) asks Fuuka how to get rid of magic marker. She asks what Yotsuba drew on, and Yotsuba answers. Visible Silence, broken with the explanation that he was sleeping.

Fuuka thinks she remembers a household hint she saw on TV. Use mayonnaise, and wipe it off! She dashes off, just in time for Ena to notice. She asks Fuuka about it, and Fuuka explains why she was there, and gives her solution from what she remembered. Ena, however, remembers that the solution was butter. Beat Panel.

Yotsuba, meanwhile, is taking Fuuka's erroneous advice. It's not very effective. After some thought, she yells the chapter title, and she lies down with daddy. Aww.

The last page is a sketch of Yotsuba and her daddy carrying bags, Koiwai still with the marker on his face.

Next time: I'll probably do chapter 12!

 22 Nyperold, Sun, 7th Feb '10 9:36:32 PM from a certain point of view
(points) "Crab Nebula."
Chapter 12: The Pool

If you're prone to nosebleeds (at least of the anime type), skip this page. In fact, skip this chapter. Why? Because the chapter page prominently features Asagi in a bikini, and Fuuka also wears one once they change at the pool.

I guess Koiwai met the newspaper man, because he subscribed. He shows Jumbo and Yotsuba what he got out of it: tickets to Water World. As Yotsuba is punching Jumbo's palms, she says, "OHHH! THAT PLACE!?" Jumbo asks her if she knows it; she doesn't, so he tells her she shouldn't say thinks just for the sake of it. Also, he explains it. It's sort of like a cross between a pool and a theme park. "Yep... yep, " Yotsuba says, though she clearly doesn't understand. Jumbo asks if they want to go, and how many tickets they got. Turns out they have four, so one more can go with them. Koiwai considers Yanda. We heard him mentioned in the first chapter, but we're not meeting him yet; Jumbo has another person in mind. He asks Yotsuba if she's good friends with the girls next door; Yotsuba answers in the affirmative. He asks if he knows the tall one with the long hair. You mean the one who "saved" her from Fuuka? The one who introduced her to air conditioning? The one who turned her assassination plot around on her, and played airplane with her strawberry? That girl? "That's Asagi!" He asks in a very positive-leading manner if she'd want to go to the pool with "big sister Asagi" ("Asagi-onee-chan"), to which she responds that she does. So he tells her to go ask Asagi, and she dashes off to do so. Koiwai tells him to ask her himself instead of using Yotsuba. Jumbo protests that he's too shy. (And seeing Asagi in a bikini would help this?) Later, Yotsuba returns with great news: "She said she'll come!" He is excited about the news.

The next day, guess who's waiting outside the Koiwai home.

Asagi? Noooo...

It's Fuuka and Ena! (Wouldn't they need another ticket? I guess they'd be able to pick one up there.) Fuuka is wearing a shirt with a frog on it, and the word "pyonkichi" below the frog. (A reference to Dokonjou Gaeru?) Both of them have always wanted to go. Koiwai asks where Asagi is, and Fuuka tells him she's been on vacation in Okinawa. So her sisters are subbing in. I have a feeling that it normally wouldn't matter to Koiwai, but he knows Jumbo was really wanting Asagi, and won't react all that well to his expectations being shattered.

Speaking of Jumbo, here he is now! Pretty formal shirt and pants, necktie, and a good-sized bouquet. Fuuka is amused by this, especially considering the intended destination. She "accepts" the flowers, but he tells her to shut up and get lost. (Scary.) He turns to Yotsuba, and asks if she heard him say "Asagi-san". (I heard him say "Asagi-onee-chan", but that's splitting hairs. Loooong hairs. :) ) Fuuka gets the point of what he wanted, but believes he might change his mind about her after seeing her in a swimsuit. He blows off her statement, but tells everyone to get into the car.

They arrive in a parking lot. Fuuka talks about the wave pool, and how she can't wait to— wait a minute. They're at the city pool! Jumbo figures this is more than enough for kids. Yotsuba is still excited, even though it's not Water World. Ena is satisfied with it; she points out that she heard they renovated it.

Having changed into her stripéd one-piece, Yotsuba runs out, prompting a leg to call after her. (I guess she changed with Fuuka and Ena, and that was Fuuka? Or maybe not.) She looks out over the pool. There's a waterslide across the way. The men note that it looks nice. Fuuka agrees. (And here's Fuuka in a bikini! And Ena in a cute perspectiveless floral one-piece.) Koiwai and Jumbo look at Fuuka. She asks if her sexiness has his tongue. He answers in the affirmative, saying that she surprised him. He gives her a big smack on the back, saying "NOT BAD! NOT BAD AT ALL, FUUKA-CHAN!!" He asks Koiwai for his opinion. "Very impressive, " he says. Jumbo seems to agree: "Impressive! That's the word. Impressive, indeed." She kinda gets that she's being made fun of, and tells the "dirty old men" to stop saying that. Jumbo points out that a lot of guys like a little more "meats around the hips that way, " prompting her to kick him into the pool. He struggles in the water, and climbs out, saying she scares him. (Yotsuba hands him a towel.) Fuuka asks if he's unable to swim. She asks Koiwai if it could be that he sinks like a stone. (On that online site, she instead calls him a kanaduchi, or "(iron) hammer".) Koiwai doesn't think there's anything wrong with that, so she pushes him in, too, and laughs at him when he comes out. Yotsuba, thinking it's a game, pushes Fuuka in. They find that she can't swim, either, and she apologizes.

Yotsuba wants in the pool, so Jumbo picks her up and flings her, horrifying Fuuka, who calls him an idiot... only to find that Yotsuba swims like an adorable li'l fish. Ena is surprised at how well Yotsuba swims. Ena considers herself pretty good, be able to swim almost 25 meters. (A little more than 27 yards, or a tiny bit more than 82 feet. Surprisingly, even the Yen Press version doesn't give the conversion.) Koiwai asks Fuuka and Jumbo if they don't have any pride, being grown adults. Jumbo agrees, but Fuuka denies being an adult. (Japan considers the age of majority to be 20, although there is currently debate to lower it to 18.) Yotsuba wants him to do it again, but the lifeguard tells him not to; it's dangerous.

Yotsuba is awed by the tall chair. She tells the lifeguard to come down, and she does. Then Yotsuba climbs up, sits in the chair, and looks out over the pool. The lifeguard asks her to come down because "that's where I'm supposed to sit." Yotsuba elects to take a leap into the water from there, and swim off.

Ena takes the waterslide. So does Yotsuba, looking ferociously cute. She comes to the end while Ena is still nearby.

Koiwai floats in a swim ring... and is tipped over by Yotsuba. Fuuka sees her coming for her, and tries to get away, but can't. Jumbo, bearing ice cream, hears Yotsuba's laughter.

Over ice cream, Fuuka remarks about Yotsuba's swimming ability, and Yotsuba returns the favor, eheh. Fuuka asks how she can swim that well.

Yotsuba announces her swimming class, and Ena applauds. She restates the situation: Koiwai, Jumbo, and Fuuka can't swim, even though they're adults. She tells them to do what she says. After no response, she smacks the water and says she can't hear them. They respond to that. She tells them to start with the "pike". They don't understand. She says you have to think like a fish.

Her class turns out to be a failure.

Once out of the water, Fuuka wonders why she can't even float. Yotsuba believes that your buoyancy is inversely proportionate to your weight. The two adults seem to imply a causal relationship between the two factors, but Fuuka denies it. They tell her to give up, as she's one of them: the 50-kg-and-up club can't float. (Roughly 110 pounds.) She pushes them into the pool. As Yotsuba notes, they don't float. Kind of a creepy ending, there...

The sketch this time is of Yotsuba in shirt, shorts, and flip-flops again, in front of the lockers. Only her skin is hatched; nothing else is shaded.

Next time: Chapter 13!

edited 7th Feb '10 9:43:33 PM by Nyperold

 23 Nyperold, Sun, 14th Feb '10 7:48:02 PM from a certain point of view
(points) "Crab Nebula."
Chapter 13: Yotsuba & the Frog

(The picture is of Fuuka in jeans and a light-colored shirt with a heart shape between... you know. On the heart is the katakana for "ra-bu-pa-wa".)

The beginning of the chapter sees a Yotsuba with a stick and a net, trying to catch soumething in the gutter. A pair of legs come up behind her. Their owner asks what she's trying to catch. The legs' owner is Miura, wearing jeans, a Dodgers shirt, and a cap. She greets Yotsuba, who identifies her, and says she saw a real big one. Miura wonders if it was a crayfish she saw, or what. No, her quarry is a frog. (For this panel, by the way, Miura's shirt says "Dogers".) This startles Miura, who tells her she shouldn't go catching things like that. (Yeah, she should catch a crayfish, and name it Seymour.) Yotsuba, however, is distracted by a dragonfly, and chases it.

But then, she sees something, and tries to hide behind Miura, who is confused by Yotsuba's behavior. Yotsuba claims that "he's looking at me." Miura looks over... and sees a bird-scarer. You know, one of those things that looks like a bullseye. Kind of. (It could well be the exact same one that scared her in chapter 5, but this is not provable.) Miura confirms that it is indeed the bird scarer that she's afraid of, and seemingly has an idea.

At some point, Yotsuba goes back to what she was doing. Miura says she's going home, but that they can go to Ena's afterward. Miura again instructs her not to catch any frogs, and leaves. Yotsuba doesn't take her advice. She spots it, and crawls on the road...

Later, at the Ayase home, Yotsuba lets loose and enthusiastic "GOOOOD AAAFTER... ...NOOOON!!" The one to greet her is Fuuka, wearing a t-shirt with the kanji "fuu" (wind) on it. Yotsuba asks if Ena is there; she's upstairs. We see that Yotsuba is carrying a bag, and Fuuka is curious about the contents. Yotsuba offers to let Fuuka see, but it's moving around, and Fuuka declines... though she still doesn't know what it is. Yotsuba goes upstairs.

In Ena's room, Ena asks what she brought. Yotsuba reaches in, and extracts... a large frog.

Now, if you haven't read anything about Ena, you might be tempted to think she's going to be afraid or disgusted, right?

Guess again.

She thinks it's really cute.

Her reaction makes Fuuka think maybe it was a kitten, so she pokes her head in to see... and promptly has the expected reaction. Miura hears it and doesn't know what happened. She ignores it, and opens her bag.

Inside, Koiwai is reading, when he hears the bell. He opens the door to find... a kid in sneakers, jeans, a Dodgers shirt... and something painted up similar to a bird-scarer. (There's no lighter ring around the inner black ring, however, as there was on the one Yotsuba saw.) The kid asks if Yotsuba is there, and Koiwai confusedly tells her that Yotsuba is at the Ayases'. The kid says she'll look for her there, and apologizes for troubling him. (Remember, even if you're in a disguise intended to terrify someone, be polite to the people you interact with along the way!) She leaves, a still-confused Koiwai wondering who it was.

In Ena's room, the frog is in an empty aquarium. Ena figures they'll put it in the field later. Yotsuba wants to make it hop around first.

There's a knock at the door, which Ena responds to. A creepy voice (not, unfortunately, typed in the Creepy font) asks if Yotsuba is in there. Yotsuba opens the door.

Guess whoooo...

Yotsuba starts screaming. Ena is confused. Miura comes in, and says "Yoootsuuubaaaa!!" Yotsuba runs around, running into things. "I have come for youuuu, " says Miura, approaching her. Yotsuba, on her hands and knees, starts growling. She gets into a fighting stance, and kicks Miura in the knee! It hurts Miura a bit, and she says, "You're going to get it nowwwwwww!" This makes Yotsuba cry. Ena tells Miura to stop it, but she claims not to be Miura, but "Hanako the eyeball", who came from the field over there.

Ena remembers something important about Miura. She brings out the large frog. Now it's Miura's turn to scream as Ena holds it up to her. Miura is now on the floor, with Ena placing the frog on the flor in her direction. She makes the frog hop toward Miura, who now has her arms around Yotsuba... but because Miura is still disguised as Hanako the eyeball, Yotsuba is still scared by her, so both are screaming. Yotsuba selects the closest object to hit "Hanako" over the head with... and it happens to be Julietta the teddy bear. Ena tells Yotsuba to stop, because she's hurting Julietta... but it's too late; Julietta's arm rips, making Ena scream, as well.

And the frog is still coming, and the girls are still screaming...

Meanwhile in Okinawa...

The sky...

...palm trees in silhouette...

...the sea...

...the beach...

Asagi and Torako, both in bikinis, relax on lounge chairs partly in the shade of an umbrella. Asagi makes an observation...

"It's so quiet."

The end-of-the-chapter sketch is that of a teary Ena sewing Julietta's arm back on. Awwww.

Next time: Chapter 14!

 24 Nyperold, Thu, 25th Feb '10 6:00:22 PM from a certain point of view
(points) "Crab Nebula."
Chapter 14: Asagi's Souvenirs

(Shiisaa yaibin! Yotsuba pets a shiisaa.)

There's a bicycle with a basket on it. In the basket are some bags of stuff. The rider is Fuuka. She stops to talk to someone in the neighborhood. Fuuka is in charge of errands during summer vacation. The woman says that's quite grown-up of her, unlike her lazy kids. Fuuka departs.

At the Ayase home, Asagi gives a box to Ena, who thanks her and starts opening it mildly excitedly. Mrs. Ayase wonders where hers is. Ena finds that her own present is a stuffed creature. She calls it cute, and asks to be reminded what it is. Mrs. Ayase knows; it's a shisa. Shisa are creatures who supposedly ward off evil. Ena gives a "gaooo" (written as "ROWRR!" here). (She's sah cute! ^_^ )

The next gift is a shirt, for Fuuka. It says "Go~ya~" (bitter melon) on it. The others are unsure, but Asagi reminds her of her habit of wearing "weird, dumb" t-shirts around the house. Ena still isn't convinced. Just then, Fuuka calls that she's home. And: "So hot! A/C! Cold tea!" As she's getting tea, either Ena or Mrs. Ayase calls in to tell her about the souvenirs.

She looks at her shirt. She kind of likes it! Mostly the "limited" aspect. Asagi says she's real glad Fuuka is happy with it.

Mrs. Ayase's present is a bag of... SAATAA ANDAGI! They look like donut holes. In fact, they're often compared to donuts. Ena doesn't know what they are. One bag is purple yam-flavored.

The next gift is Okinawan music CDs, for the girls' dad... only...

(Cue the poignant music. Choose your own; this is a manga and doesn't have it.)

Asagi calls herself silly for forgetting... that dad... is already gone...

She looks out the window...

(Now turn the page and make a record scratch noise.)

Fuuka points out that dad is still alive, and she knows it; he's just at work. Ena notes Asagi's habit of "killing him off", i.e., pretending he's dead. Mrs. Ayase decides to open them up so they can have them. Fuuka decides to make coffee.

Iced coffee, looks like. Fuuka remarks that the saataa andagi tastes like Okinawa. Mrs. Ayase asks what that means, and guesses that Fuuka doesn't know herself. Asagi asks Ena if she recorded a show. Ena confirms that she did, having set it on the schedule. Both Fuuka and Mrs. Ayase think it's incredible that you can schedule recordings now, but Ena contends that it's easy. One of them used to know how back when they used a VCR, but this one uses a hard disk, which Fuuka finds too complicated. Ena still says they're simple.

Fuuka wants to see Ena's shisa. (Meanwhile, Asagi has wiped out her savings.) She thinks it looks like Jumbo. Ena hasn't named it yet. Fuuka comes up with "Caesar". "Et tu, Ena?" Ena would rather have an Okinawa-ish name. (Asagi thinks the saataa andagi she had in the store were better.) Fuuka considers names like Amuro, Gushiken, and Shimabukuro. Ena decides she'll think of something herself. She figures she'll think of something from Okinawa and name it using that. She asks Asagi what's in Okinawa. Asagi says "Nothing, really." Fuuka tells Ena that that "thing" they have is "nothing". ... I don't think I get it. Whatever it really says took Ena a bit to get. Fuuka's a little too "Geddit? Geddit?" about her little joke, and Asagi chops her on the head. Fuuka thought it was clever, but it ticked Asagi off. Fuuka flops at the reception of it.

Then she notices the CDs, and asks if they can play them. Asagi doesn't mind, since it's their dad's. As she goes to do so, Asagi considers microwaving the saataa andagi, and Mrs. Ayase goes to try it. Fuuka remarks that the music is "Okinawa-ish". (Asagi seems to be having a nice conversation with Ena. :) ) Fuuka plops on the couch to listen. Ena asks what the instrument is; it's a sanshin. Asagi looks at the liner notes. Fuuka has an idea, accompanied by a bell, that of the microwave, going off. She leaves as Mrs. Ayase sets out the freshly heated treats.

Fuuka gets something from her room. Asagi relates that she touched a dolphin. Ena seems impressed. She starts to go on to tell about the hotel program, but is interrupted by Fuuka on a ukelele. She thought it might go well with the Okinawan music, but...

ASAGI: That's really annoying.

ENA: You're terrible.

MRS. AYASE: Knock it off.

Fuuka asks if she's being booed off stage. The ukelele is set aside, and she lies face down on the couch. "Music is supposed to be about the enjoyment of sound, " she says. (Or is it Fuuka saying that? It could well have be Asagi, saying her playing wasn't enjoyable.) Someone says something about trying the saataa andagi warmed up, as they're really yummy.

Mrs. Ayase remembers that they're going to grandma's house (hers, or theirs?) for Obon, so they're told to make sure their schedules are open. It's apparently in 3 days. Fuuka wishes her family had come from Okinawa. She tries to pull a pillow, but is unbalanced, and falls off.

Ena is reminded of Yotsuba. (First mention of her this chapter!) She lived at her grandma's house before, and before that, she lived on an island. Mrs. Ayase remarks that she has the energy to be from a tropical island such as Okinawa. Asagi asks if she said which island, but all she said was that it was to the left. Mrs. Ayase takes a little while and thinks maybe she was talking about Hawaii. Asagi and Fuuka wonder why that would be, but Fuuka notes that Hawaii's to the right.

Ena asks Asagi if she got souvenirs for Yotsuba, pointing out that she'll probably be over again. Asagi didn't, however, she figures a few saataa andagi would be appreciated. Ena thinks that's taking the easy way out, but the others are sure she'll love them.

On the last page of the chapter, Yotsuba's voice belts out a "GOOOOOD AAAFTERNOOOON!!" Ena remarks that it was as she said. On the penultimate panel, she stands in front of the row of shoes. Finally, they invite her the rest of the way.

On the copyright page, the information is rotated clockwise and put at the top. At the bottom, the Ayase's shoes are lined up nicely, although two are facing the mat and two are facing away. Next page, Yotsuba's shoes are near them, but not lined up and kind of haphazard.

On the back cover, Yotsuba, Mr. Koiwai, and Jumbo strike fighting poses.

One more thing. Whereas the blurb on the back of the ADV Manga covers is written from an external perspective, the back covers of the Yen Press volumes are written as though it's Yotsuba talking. For this one, she sums up part of chapter 8.

Next time: Volume 3, Chapter 15!

edited 17th May '10 8:45:12 PM by Nyperold

 25 Nyperold, Tue, 18th May '10 4:15:46 PM from a certain point of view
(points) "Crab Nebula."
The front cover of volume 3 features Yotsuba going through this narrow, cluttered area for some reason, and Ena and Miura following behind. (If someone can identify the sort of place this is, go ahead and say. Is it an alley...?) Ena is carrying a couple of bags. It seems, and I may be misinterpreting, that Yotsuba has seen something and is approaching it. I'm not sure if Ena knows what it is and is trying to stop her, or is curious, too, and is willing to get a closer look. Miura seems more like she's wondering why they're taking this weird detour.

The first page, the volume page, is a reminder of last chapter. Yotsuba is eating saataa andagi, generating plus signs, and looking at Asagi with Annie eyes. Asagi is smiling at her. There are a couple of saataa andagi left on the plate. Asagi's ... beverage ... hang on... iced coffee ... is almost gone, but Yotsuba's is still pretty full. (Giving Yotsuba a caffeinated beverage? Is that a good idea?)

The table of contents just features Yotsuba standing there with closed eyes and open mouth... and a bulge in her pocket. (Saataa andagi, folks.)

Chapter 15: Yotsuba & Souvenirs

(The chapter page has Yotsuba sitting holding... hang on again... gotta consult Lucky Star... holding an uchiwa fan and eating watermelon. She's finished one wedge and has two more on the plate.)

Koiwai is putting clothes into a top-loading washing machine. He notices that one pair of Yotsuba's shorts has a bulge in the pocket. He reaches in and pulls out the aforementioned foodstuff, but doesn't seem to know what it is. He calls to Yotsuba, who is watching something with a giraffe. He asks her to identify it. She had forgotten about it. She starts of with the "sa", but then goes through "fa... ha... sa... hanma... ha..." before giving up and saying that she was trying to watch TV. Koiwai tells her not to try to fool him. Yotsuba relates that Asagi gave it to her as a souvenir. She said thank you "a whole bunch". Koiwai wonders about that "a whole bunch" bit. Anyway, the reason she kept it was to give to him. He's dubious about eating an unknown foodstuff that he only discovered because he decided to do laundry. Yotsuba asks him if he doesn't want it, can she eat it? Beat Panel. Close-up. She's starting to drool at the idea. Koiwai gives his permission, and she chomps down. Koiwai is concerned that it tastes strange, but it's "super good". He advises putting things like that into, say, a bag instead of her pocket. Yotsuba asks if that's his "penchant". Koiwai comments on her knowing strange words. Well, he is a trainspotter translator.

Yotsuba figures she should reciprocate and give Asagi a souvenir. Koiwai tells her she has to go somewhere to get a souvenir from. She decides to go to the park. (Ojisai/Ajisai?) She enters, accompanied by an eighth note. She looks around. She tries to lift one of those tires that they nearly half-bury. Presumably, this is a failure. She goes to a grassy area for something easier to remove from the ground. She also tries to use a stick to retrieve a ball caught in a branch. That done, she swings and plays in the sand pit (at the bottom of the slide?) with a little unnamed girl. (I think some fans of the series call her "Dotty", or maybe "Dottie", because her irises seem as dark as her pupils, and you can't tell where the outer edges of her scleras are.)

The sky. The trees. A house.

Yotsuba runs to see Asagi. As she arrives, she finds somebody parked there. It's a young woman. She takes out a cigarette puts it between her lips, lights it, and blows smoke. Then she notices Yotsuba looking at her. Yotsuba greets her, and the woman returns it. Yotsuba asks if she's here to see someone. Indeed, as Yotsuba guesses, she's here to see Asagi, as is Yotsuba herself. Yotsuba notices that the woman is smoking. (A cigarette, I mean. Though some might find her "smoking" in that other sense, as well.) Yotsuba relates that her father said it's bad to smoke, and that he used to smoke a long time ago. Yotsuba figures this means that he used to be bad, and wonders if that makes the woman bad. She asks her why she's smoking. She considers for a bit before responding that it's because she wants to. Yotsuba is impressed with this, and considers the woman "cool". She blows smoke in Yotsuba's face, which makes her cough and ask what she's doing. (Hopefully, it puts her off the idea of smoking in the future.)

Asagi comes out (of the gate, I mean) and apologizes for keeping her waiting. The woman is okay with having had to wait. She points out the "little shrimp" there. The "shrimp" greets Asagi, who returns it, indirectly identifying her to the woman. (Man, I'll be glad for next chapter, when I can finally stop withholding her name.) Yotsuba reaches into her bag, and says that since Asagi gave her a souvenir the day before, she'll give her one, now. She offers it, but her Speech Bubble preserves the mystery a little while longer... so that the next page can show us a very happy Yotsuba extending a four-leaf clover, as if to the viewer. Asagi is, or at least acts, impressed. She decides to give a souvenir to the woman, and offers her... "a dirty ball." Guess she succeeded on that count! She asks if she's/they're (the English isn't clear; is the Japanese more clear on that point?) going somewhere, which they are. They leave, and as the car pulls away, Yotsuba tells her to bring her... a souvenir!

In the car, the woman asks what that was about. Asagi says that was Yotsuba, her neighbor, and asks, "Isn't she cute?" The woman calls Yotsuba weird. Asagi gazes at the four-leaf clover. She hasn't seen one for a long time...

Next time: chapter 16!

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