(Note: This is a little awkward. See, I didn't actually start this liveblog, just continued it when Dire Sloth hadn't continued it in quite a while. So instead of starting with chapter or even volume 1, this is going to start with volume 2. If he wants to post his livebloggination of the first volume, that's his prerogative. This, up to and including chapter 20, is a repost of the forum version.)
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 is 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
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 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.
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.