Or: On Late Discoveries
On the whole, the fellows at Yen Press are fairly decent chaps. They have recently completed their occidental publication of all Haruhi Suzumiya light novels written to date. Book Girl is silly but fun, and is set to similarly conclude it’s main story early in the new year. Nor can we forget their publication of Spice and Wolf, A Bride’s Story, Bunny Drop, Kobato, Olympos, Inu x Boku SS, Thermae Romae, or Yotsuba.
Aside those mentioned above lies a style of manga one would not immediately assume anyone in their right mind would publish on this side of the world. Yet they have, and I’m immensely happy they do.
'Someday, I'd like to paint a picture that looks as if the sky has been cut out.'
The humble 4-koma: a style of manga featuring four panels aligned vertically; otherwise known as yonkoma or four panel manga. Most examples are found acting as a complement to series, an extra bonus awaiting those who acquire the bound volumes. Look no further than Hayate the Combat Butler, Genshiken, or The World God Only Knows for plentiful examples. They are also found in Japanese newspapers and magazines, akin to our own political cartoons. They are short, sweet, and relatively ubiquitous.
Yet, some manga use the format for the series itself. Again copious examples may be found, some of which have anime adaptations. Hidamari Sketch, K-On, Lucky Star, and the recently adapted Kill Me Baby, are just a few examples. All are generally light series, never straying too far from a slice of life and mostly including comedic elements. Indeed, the style itself is effectively defined by light, airy comedies.
Yet, there are always exceptions to a rule, and it is these exceptions that I find affecting.