Yotsuba&! written by Kiyohiko Azuma, has been running off and on since 2003, while the main characters originally appeared in a webcomic called "Try Try Try" in 1998. ADV published a few of the graphic novels in a limited run from 2005-2007, but Yen Press is now the sole publisher of the series in the United States with the original set having been re-published with new translations since 2009. The series celebrated it's 13th anniversary with the publication of it's 13th volume in Japan this past winter, with the English edition due out on May 24th of this year.
I would like to personally thank my friend William for introducing me to Yotsuba Kowai! You can follow him on Twitter @williefleete and make sure you let him know @CodenameSailorE sent you.
Yotsuba&! follows the story of five year old Yotsuba Kowai, a little girl with green hair from an island "to the left" who is now living in Japan. Nothing is known about her blood family, but it is known she is in the care of her adopted father, Yousuke, who works as a translator, mostly from home. He used to be a world traveler, and found Yotsuba in a village on her own. Yotsuba is unschooled, which is similar to homeschooling, only without a structured curriculum.
At the start of the manga, they move to a quiet suburb, next door to the Ayase family, who help out with taking care of Yotsuba. The family consists of a caring mother, a mostly absent father, and three sisters whom Yotsuba spends a bulk of her time around.
Asagi is an attractive 20+ year old college student, who still lives at home. She often teases her sisters and can be a prankster, a trait she actually picked up from her mother, who has since mellowed out.
Fuuka is the quintessential middle child, but much more reliable and responsible than her older sister. Unfortunately, for being the most level-headed character, she also finds herself at the mercy of Yotsuba.
Ena is just entering her tween years, but is still very childlike and therefore the closest to Yotsuba. She and her best friend Miura have created Danbo, a cardboard "robot" who has taken on a life and fandom of his own.
Often, Yotsuba is also seen in the care of Jumbo, Yousuke's best friend who is a goofy, gentle giant, who has a crush on Asagi.
Much of the series is seen trough the eyes of Yotsuba, who tends to get into mischief quite often, and is prone to misunderstanding large words. Every other story has some slapstick humor to it, but never anything too violent, making this a perfect manga for kids just starting to get into the genre.
Yotsuba&! is funny, cute and informative, and is a must-have for any manga fan!
Codename Sailor Earth's secret identity is Koriander Bullard, (Formerly Ake) manga reader and underground cartoonist. The first manga titles she ever read were Sailor Moon and Urusei Yatsura. (Lum)