I finished volume 30 of Yowamushi Pedal and to be honest, I was a bit tired of it in the end. It takes such long time for me to read in Japanese! So I blame that, not the manga.
Then I started reading something I found at Ayumi Books in Gotanda: 湯神くんには友達がいない/Yugami-kun does not have any friends. It looks like a new high school manga, this was volume 3. I like realism and the school setting, but this one – or shall I say the first 14 pages – wasn’t that exciting. So far just girls talking about the lonely Yugami-kun in some kind of Bechdel orgasm. I guess this is shoujo. (For the record: I find the Bechdel test, or rather how it’s used, the conclusions drawn from it, ridiculous. I might explain why in a later post.)
Anyway, almost the same day I stumbled upon the Yotsuba to series at Book Ruue in Kichijouji. This is the children’s manga that opened my eyes way back here. However, I didn’t really read it then. My Japanese was too bad (despite I had it in scanlation too), but most of all I find it very hard to read on a screen; you’re always distracted by something. So I bought the first volume, just as I promised the publisher in my earlier post: “Don’t worry, Yotsuba-to! publisher, I will probably buy the print versions eventually”, I wrote.
I started reading on the train, and I was immediately hooked. Yotsuba is the girl’s name and “to” means “and”, so each chapter is about Yotsuba and something else; moving, greetings, global warming, TV, etc. The girl is five years old. And I adore her like a little kitten! Me who usually find kids a nuisance, but I guess I can stand them in manga form. In some ways Yotsuba is like a younger Pippi; a characteristic haircut (though all manga characters have that actually) and quite wild, climbing out of windows and up electricity poles.
Both the art and the story are fantastic. They make me smile on the train! I especially like the frames where Yotsuba is reduced to a few strokes and circles. I love how the artist manages to convey the exact feeling through such a minimal expression.
Oh, and I forgot a very important thing: That I can read it pretty fast (already halfway through after maybe 5 reading sessions on the train) and understand 100 percent of it! Ok, maybe I miss a word here and there, so let’s say 95 percent. But still. What a feeling!
It’s so good!