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Kiyohiko Azuma & Body Language

July 9th, 2012 by | Tags:

Kiyohiko Azuma kills me sometimes, especially his Yotsuba&! strip. Blogfriend Amy K called Yotsuba a manic pixie dream daughter once, which I think is a pretty fair assessment of the series. But as delightfully and unrealistically precocious as Yotsuba is, the comic wouldn’t work at all if not for Azuma’s cartooning chops. Two pages from volume 10:


The timing on that first page is so good. The transition from panel two (curiosity) to three (shock) to four (horror) is deadly, and then he throws the punchline at the top of the next page.

But what really gets me is Fuuka’s posture in page two, panel two. I’m used to a couple different signifiers for laughter in comics, like a lady bent over gripping her belly or a guy leaning back with the back of his hand pressed against his forehead and his mouth wide open. But this is something even better. It’s the perfect picture of what happens when something is so funny you lose control of your body and make stupid poses. That arm thing she’s doing, that uncontrollable spasm — I’ve seen that before, I’ve done that before.

Azuma’s amazing.

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6 comments to “Kiyohiko Azuma & Body Language”

  1. I really love Yotsubato. It isn’t often a comic makes me truly smile and remember what life was like with a child’s curiosity.

    Azuma’s expressions and figure work convey those feelings flawlessly.


  2. This series has been on my mind quite a bit since the 11th volume had been solicited.


  3. I love the fact he doesn’t go for over blown exaggeration like some manga artists when it comes to body language. A lesser artist would have had a pratt fall or art-shift. Not that there is anything strictly wrong with that kind of stuff, but when used poorly it is a lazy short hand.


  4. [...] David Brothers looks at a particularly good example of Kiyohiko Azuma’s use of body language in Yotsuba&!. [...]


  5. I like the part where he has eyeballs in one panel and then in the next doesn’t…


  6. I’m still thankful that Yen picked up the series, after not hearing word about it from ADV for a year or so.