LoveHKFilm.com reader Petra asked this question a couple of months ago after the first installment of Kozo & Yotsuba in Italy - which, by the way, has yet to see a second installment because I got too busy with work and lots of review writing. And when those things finally dried up, we had this monstrosity descend upon Hong Kong:
Some random individual gawks at
Tony “Tiger Face” Leung from Red Cliff
Petra’s question was, “Who is Yotsuba?”
While not an Asian film-related question, it happens to be a very appropriate one, because I featured numerous pictures of Yotsuba in that earlier blog entry. Doing so was wrong of me, because I incorrectly assumed that anyone who dropped by this blog either A) knows who Yotsuba is, or B) won’t care one way or another. As this is Damn You, Kozo! and not something anyone would confuse with a quality blog, I figured I would be safe without the explanation.
Well, I was wrong. And even though a simple search can lead you to Yotsuba’s Wikipedia page, I thought I’d explain it here.
Yotsuba is the name of a mischievous little girl created by Kiyohiko Azuma, the manga creator and all-around genius who also created a fun little gag manga called Azumanga Daioh. Yotsuba stars in the manga Yotsubato!, which basically translates as “Yotsuba &!”, with the ampersand connecting his main character to any number of things, including firecrackers, presents, global warming, flowers, and other things that may pop up in everyday life.
What makes Yotsuba interesting and fun is simply her interaction with everyday things, and the surprising honesty, impetuousness, and rampant misunderstanding that a child may display when dealing with things like school projects, ice cream, strangers, the supermarket, next-door neighbors, and trips to the beach. Yotsuba also has a bizarre green hairdo that represents a four-leaf clover. In Japanese, “Yotusba” means four-leaf clover. There’s your language lesson for the day.
Yotsuba and Cats
The manga’s motto is “Enjoy Everything”, which explains it far better than I ever could. Both Yotsuba and the stars of Azumanga Daioh have made appearances on LoveHKFilm.com before, namely as featured images on the old Life with Kozo pages. I dumped them there because I enjoy both immensely; both share the same whimsical and frequently unexpected sense of humor, and both are free of fan service, violence, or any of the extreme subjects sometimes associated with Japanese manga and animation.
Please remember, not everyone who likes Japanese animation is a pervert. I include myself in that category, though I have been referred to as a pervert on the Internet before. Fitting enough, it was a comment made on some Ekin Cheng forum somewhere.
The gun is sold separately:
“This is for all those Ekin fans! Die, Kozo!”
Anyway, Petra also asked where she can get her own Yotsuba action figure. A Yotsuba Revoltech Action Figure can be purchased from YesAsia.com or any number of online retailers, though there’s not that much Yotsuba schwag currently available. There is, however, a very nice calendar that combines photography with color illustrations of Yotsuba, placing Kiyohiko’s fictional mischief maker into a real-life context that perfectly summarizes her adventures and appeal.
Unfortunately, it’s sold out
Yotsuba isn’t about wacky hijinks or over-the-top strangeness; it’s a simple manga that’s fun, familiar and even comforting, and there’s lots to enjoy in the character’s minor adventures. I said as much to Petra in my earlier email, and soon she got her own Yotsuba action figure, and even picked up a few issues of the manga.
She sent me a picture, too:
This picture proves that this blog can make a small difference. At the very least, it’s probably done more than the actual LoveHKFilm website has recently. The next goal of Damn You, Kozo: persuading everyone that Hong Kong film is not dead. The first person I’ll try to convince is myself.
Anyway, I hope everyone who reads this becomes a fan of Yotsuba, too.
“See you next time!”