oyceter: man*ga [mahng' guh] n. Japanese comics. synonym: CRACK (manga is crack)
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I really needed cheering up, so I went through a reread of Yotsuba&! 1-4, along with basically staying up all night catching up, aided by [livejournal.com profile] lnhammer's extremely excellent chapter-by-chapter write ups. He notices a ton of details that I didn't, from the way the Koiwais' living room gradually changes to the drawings on the side of the Yotsubox.

As he notes, Yotsuba's characterization gradually changes, and by volume five, you no longer wonder if she's human or possibly alien, and she's a fairly normal (she's still Yotsuba, after all!) five-year-old girl who runs out of energy, has tantrums, loves cake, and figures out the world the way five-year-olds do. As such, there aren't moments quite as hilarious as Yotsuba clinging to a telephone pole pretending to be a cicada, but the humor flows more organically from the action.

These volumes cover Yotsuba's obsession with milk, acorns, cake, puddles, and bikes, and oh, it makes me smile just thinking back on them.

I'm not sure you can actually spoil the series, given that everything lies in the execution, but here's a cut anyway:

Spoilers

OMG! [livejournal.com profile] lnhammer! I got to the raincoat and the band-aids and they are SO CUTE! SO CUTE! I also love Dad's comment about Yotsuba: "I've never seen anyone so bad at using an umbrella before."

I'm not sure I can cover anything that wasn't in the write-ups linked above, so I'll just babble.

I'm sad the Ayases are back in school, although it means more Yotsuba & Dad episodes, which I love. I love the farm to pieces, particularly Dad and Jumbo backing Yotsuba up against the evil and mean Yanda. I think my favorite scene is when Yotsuba tells everyone to clap for the cow. And awwww, poor sick Yotsuba who doesn't get to go to the farm!

It's nice to see more of Ena and Asagi along with Fuka, and I like getting to see more of Mrs. Ayase as well.

Favorite moments (besides Yotsuba + raincoat and Yotsuba + band-aids):
- Festival! Happi!
- The fireworks were just lovely, especially Yotsuba's assorted interpretive dances.
- Bike!
- Yotsuba actually learning to apologize and 'fess up! Although she tries as hard as she can not to, since she is five, and I love the way her face gradually falls whenever Dad catches her in a lie.
- Yotsuba at a convenience store!
- Yotsuba and the typhoon! Yotsuba and Dad drenched in rain, and that awesome moment when Dad looks out the window to see Yotsuba trying to get the wind to lift her and her umbrella away. (I used to try that all the time as a kid. The umbrella, sadly, always turned inside-out before the wind did any lifting.)
- Yotsuba's teddy bear!

And just stuff like Yotsuba hunting for acorns, and the very obvious distinctions as to what makes one acorn better than another. It reminds me of the weird games I would play as a kid, from grinding down rocks to make "rice" to soaking flowers in water to make perfume (sticky and brown).
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