Underrated Everything: The Yotsuba Series

~ Everything is Underrated until it’s Overrated~



What is it?

Yotsuba&! (also known as “Yotsubato”) is a manga series by Kiyohiko Azuma and published by ASCII Media Works. It has been published in a monthly magazine called Dengeki Daioh by ASCII since March 2003. It has 15 volumes. The characters from this series were first featured in a one-shot Azuma created called “Try!,Try!,Try!”. The title Yotsubato means “Yotsuba and,” which is always in the title of the chapters because most of them are where Yotsuba does something new or learns about something she never knew about before , hence why the chapters are always called “ Yotsuba and [something]. Also, the whole series can be summarized in its motto, that’s used in advertising and is visible on the chapter pages: “Today is always the most enjoyable day” or in the shortened version: “ Enjoy Everything”

What’s the story about?

The story is about a 5 year old girl named Yotsuba Koiwai . Yotsuba is an energetic, cheerful, curious, odd little girl. She’s also ignorant about everyday things a child her age should know about.(like air conditioning, doorbells, even swings!) So she always learns about and misunderstands everyday things in the series. The story starts with Yotsuba and her adoptive father, Koiwai, moved to a new town with the help of Takashi Takeda, (also known as “Jumbo”) Koiwai’s best friend. Yotsuba then meets the 3 sisters of her neighbors, the Ayase Family. Ena, Fuuka, and Asagi. After Ena meets Yotsuba at the playground trying to find out how a swing works, Fuuka trying to find Yotsuba and bring her back to her dad, and Asagi who helps Yotsuba to get away from Fuuka in the end. During her daily activities and misadventures, she usually interacts with other characters. Like, Yanda, Kowai’s friend, and Torako. (known as Tiger by Yotsuba. ), Asagi’s friend, and others. Also during her daily life and adventures, she goes to different places and experiences different things that are enjoyable for her. The stories that are in the series are mostly about her daily life, and her discovering and experiencing everyday things. Also, the series doesn’t really have a plot so it’s just different stories that are part of her everyday life. In Yotsuba’s perspective, a day is an adventure that is always enjoyable! 

Who’s in it?

There are only Some but not a lot of characters in this series, so I’ll just tell you the characters and a kinda brief explanation of them. Here are the characters: 

The Kowai Family + Their friends


 Yotsuba Koiwai: A green haired 5-year old that is energetic, odd, and quirky. She finds everything enjoyable.


Yosuke Koiwai: He is Yotsuba’s adoptive father. He’s laid back and kinda a slacker. He wears boxer shorts when he’s at home.


Yotsuba’s Grandma: As you can tell, she’s Yotsuba’s grandma. She is serious and is obsessed with things done right and cleanliness.


Koharuko Kowai: She’s Yosuke’s sister. She’s serious, calm, and cares about her family. But, she can also be fickle and she has a clumsy nature that hasn’t been shown yet.


Takashi Takeda: Is Kowai’s best friend. Is known as Jumbo by everyone due to him being really tall and giant. He’s a nice guy and he likes Asagi but is too nervous to tell her, so he uses Yotsuba. (That always backfires…)


Yasuda: The name he goes by is Yanda. He’s Jumbo’s and Kowai’s friend. He eats instant ramen at Kowai’s house all the time and Yotsuba hates him because he always teases her and just makes her mad.

The Ayase Family + Their  friends

Ena Ayase: The youngest of the Ayase sisters. She is sensible, kind , and a smart person for her age. She has a friend named Miura and she plays with yotsuba a lot.

Fuuka Ayase: The middle child of the Ayase sisters. She’s actually really responsible and smart compared to her other siblings even though she is shown as childish and mischievous. 


Asagi Ayase: The oldest of the Ayase sisters. She’s the most “good looking” out of all of them (said by yotsuba) and she’s good at handling yotsuba. Her mom said she was like yotsuba when she was younger. 


Mrs. Ayase: as you can see, she’s the mom of the Ayase family  . She always has yotsuba over at their house and she used to yotsuba calling her “Mom”. She is often irritated with Asagi because she has a similar personality to her husband.


Mr. Ayase: He’s the father of the Ayase family. He’s sentimental and very laid back. He’s barely shown in the manga, due to him being a salaryman. He represents Fuuka even though he says he represents Ena. He’s an old man compared to his Wife.


Miura Hayasaka: She’s the close friend and classmate of Ena. She’s a tomboy and is kinda mischievous. She’s aware of people’s feelings, but she can take advantage of them. (Like she did to jumbo.) She is sometimes called “Lamborghini Miura” by Jumbo. 


Torako:  She’s Asagi’s close friend. Yotsuba calls her “Tiger”.  She’s chill, she can’t deal with children that much, and she smokes. Yotsuba thinks she’s cool.


Hiwatari: She’s Fuuka’s friend and everyone calls her Miss Stake . She made a mistake once in her class introduction so everyone called her Miss Stake . I don’t actually think she’s a mistake though…


Other characters

Real/ Human character

Shaggy Beard: Shaggy Beard is the owner of Sakata Bicycles, the bike shop where Yotsuba got her 1st bike. Yotsuba calls him “Shaggy Beard” because he has a shaggy beard. He’s a calm and self confident person. 


Not-real/ animate characters

Juralumin: Juralumin is Yotsuba’s teddy bear. It is Yotsuba’s 1st stuffed animal so that made Yotsuba really happy. When playing dolls with Ena, she would always call Julietta, Ena’s teddy bear, Juralumin, so that just ended up being the name for it. Juralumin rode in a wagon ,fell off a hot air balloon, and got bitten by a dog once. She has a lot of adventures with Yotsuba. 


Cardbo: Cardbo (also known as “ Danbo” ) is a box robot Miura and Ena made for a school project. The two of them fooled Yotsuba to think Cardbo is a real robot. Yotsuba admires Cardbo very much. Cardbo is also popular on the internet too. There’s a spin off show based on the character called Nyanbo! That ran from September 26, 2016 to March 28, 2017.  

Underrated scale: Popular, but unnoticed.

I say it’s popular but unnoticed because it has lots of readers, people enjoy this series, and people also use this manga series to help them learn how to read Japanese too! But, lots of people don’t really know about it. (Especially in the western part of the world.) And since most people get interested in manga from anime, you can’t really get into it since it doesn’t have an anime. So in conclusion, it’s actually popular, but it’s unnoticed in some parts of the world.

My opinion 

I Think it’s a good underrated manga series for people that like SoL (Slice of Life), realistic fiction, and nice,comfy stories about things that happen in everyday life. I like how it talks about Yotsuba’s Everyday life and the things she discovers and learns about. It’s also funny and has good, but dry humor. The characters are kind and fun to read about. I recommend it!