Yotsuba 4 vs. Yotsuba 4

September 11, 2009 at 12:28 am 23 comments

That would be a very small comparison between the ADV edition of volume 4 and the one that Yen Press just put out.  I’m going by what feels right and funnier to me here.  I have no idea how accurate either company is with the translation (I know a lot of this can be tricky or involves judgement calls) this is just personal preference.  YMMV.
yotsuba yen0002

Yen wins cover-wise with me because the title stands out a little less than ADV and lacks an advertising blurb.


yotsuba yen0003

Sadly, I can't stand the cover blurb that Yen wrote. Yes, it's an all ages title, but does the blurb need to be directed to 4 year olds?

yotsuba adv0003

ADV's blurb makes me want to open the book.


yotsuba yen0004

This one is from Yen.

Er… I forgot to scan the ADV panel for this one (and my scanner is now put away) but the dialogue is:
Jumbo:  Wow, look what you’ve got here.
Yotsuba:  Bad mitten!  Ena lent it to me!
Yotsuba:  I’m practicing!
Jumbo:  Well, well.

ADV wins this one for me.  Yen seems to mix more of Yotsuba speaking normally (well, for her) and saying things like “borrowed it to me.”   I think Yotsuba is charming and childlike enough without resorting to mixing up words like that.  Yes, I know it’s natural for a small child, but I’m reading a comic here.  I also get annoyed when manga characters refer to themselves by name.  Not even Yotsuba can make that one better with me…


The next panel is from the end of the volume.  Yotsuba has decided to be a summer fairy, which is why she’s dressed like that.  The previous panel has her father asking where she got the ice cream from.

yotsuba adv0004



yotsuba yen0007

Yen ftw! I just think the dialogue fits with the reactions more. Also, this panel made me laugh.


This next bit is from a series of four panel strips in the middle of the book.  Yotsuba finds a soccer ball in the park, and Ena explained the no hands rule.

yotsuba yen0001

Gosh, this is blurry. I was trying to avoid spine damage. :) I think this one is funnier, though. Again, it made me snork in the cafeteria at lunch. Risking possible public embarrassment is always the sign of a funny panel.

yotsuba adv0001



A break from the competition!  I love this section.  Five panels, four reactions from Yotsuba.  She's such a fun character.  Dialogue aside, the art is always enough to keep me entertained.  Kiyohiko Azuma does great reactions.

A break from the competition! I love this section. Five panels, four reactions from Yotsuba. She's such a fun character. Dialogue aside, the art is always enough to keep me entertained. Kiyohiko Azuma does great reactions.

(When I first wrote this caption, I used the word “great” three times.  sigh.)
Next up!  Summer is almost over and Jumbo plans a fishing trip for the girls.  I love that he doesn’t usually hold back when teasing them, and can get quite competitive and childish with them.  He’s so tall and potentially oppressive that it’s fun to see him acting like an idiot.
He especially likes to tease Miura.
 yotsuba adv0005a
yotsuba adv0005b
These two panels are from ADV.  (Captions refuse to take on this picture.  Perhaps they are scared of Miura….)
yotsuba yen0005a
yotsuba yen0005

This one is from Yen. I don't really have a preference for either bit of dialogue, but here you can see one thing Yen is doing that ADV didn't. The cultural notes are placed within the panels to illuminate readers.


Hmm.  Do I have a clear winner?  No, not really.  Pros and cons to both, I guess.  I’m just happy to have Yotsuba&! published again.  I also appreciate the clean, white paper I get with the new volumes and I love the black and white drawing of Yotsuba in the back cover.  I think it would look charming in a frame on my wall, if it didn’t involve destroying the volume.  :)

I’m going to save #6 until I have the time to appreciate it properly.  I think it deserves it after I waited so long.  :)

All told, I think Yen Press has more than earned the extra love and money I’ve been trying to send their way since I heard they licensed Yotsuba&!.


Entry filed under: manga.

A new Yotsuba day is a good day Kimi Ni Tokoke 2

23 Comments Add your own

  • 1. badzphoto  |  September 11, 2009 at 12:59 am

    Your title makes me smile ^^ Thanks for the comparisons.
    Despite the differences, I’m with you, very glad that Yen Press picked up Yotsuba and she continues to charm readers ^^

  • 2. Quick Friday update « MangaBlog  |  September 11, 2009 at 6:38 am

    […] to compare Yen Press’s editions of Yotsuba&! to those put out by ADV, but Cathy beat me to it at it can’t all be about manga. I didn’t realize that Yen had done new translations, […]

  • 3. pajcat  |  September 11, 2009 at 7:29 am

    Ha, either way Yotsuba is a winner!

    I was just putting the books on my shelf when I realized that I own the Japanese versions of 4-6 as well. I picked them up the first time I visited Japan. I suppose I could have put them up for contrast.

    Ah, Yen Press… when I went in to the store yesterday to get these I found a new manga by Hyouta Fujiyama – one of my new favorite yaoi manga-ka – that they put out. And it was “only” $15.99 which is cheaper than Blu with their crappy crappy paper….

  • 4. Laurence  |  September 11, 2009 at 3:42 pm

    hummm. i actually like ADV’s ones better for the most part. except when they get Miura and Fuuka mixed up [more than once, no less, by different characters]. the Yen press translations may or may not be more accurate, but they feel more… awkward. i can handle Yotsuba using her name rather than a pronoun all right. but ‘borrowed it to me’ and other such things drive me Nuts. [bit of a grammar nazi, me…] detracts from the enjoyment.

    I’m really glad to have the series back, and Yenpress does do a good job, possibly even a technically better job in a lot of ways… but i like the ADV volumes better. [unfortunately, apart from your examples here, i only have volume 5 to compare with from Yen at the moment… i’m Still trying to decide if i should replace the earlier ones with the yen press versions and give my old copies to the library or not. so they match, if nothing else :D. budget issues play a part there too though.]

    • 5. pajcat  |  September 11, 2009 at 4:14 pm

      I think it’s really going to end up being a personal preference for people. I can see me eventually owning both versions – I don’t think I’d ever get rid of my ADV ones, though.

      The one thing I’ve decided I really can’t stand after reading the back of #6 are the infantile blurbs. If I wasn’t already a fan and just picking them up for the first time? I wouldn’t touch them. That makes me a little sad for potential future readers that might get turned off.

  • 6. Simon Jones  |  September 11, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    Nice comparisons.

    I can’t say whether ADV or Yen Press’ translation is more accurate, but I get the feeling Yen’s translation is more literal. For example, characters referring to themselves in the third person is common in Japanese, especially for young/childish characters like Yotsuba. The Yen Press translation also seems more repetitive; again, a trait of Japanese (or rather, a result of the translation process). On the other hand, from your scans alone, I prefer the way the text is laid out in the ADV version, which seems to match the Japanese layout better. That may be the reason behind the snappier wording.

    • 7. pajcat  |  September 11, 2009 at 6:23 pm

      I got that impression, too. There would be no reason for the quirks in the Yen version, otherwise.

      I’m still kind of on the fence as to whether I like one more than the other. I’m definitely used to the way that ADV did it, so I’ll need some adjustment time. :)

      I had that problem when I switched from Tokyopop’s Fruits Basket to the ones from Singapore. Had to get used to everyone speaking with different speech patterns all of a sudden.

  • 8. Ralen  |  September 11, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    The “Borrowed it to me” is faithful to the original dialogue.
    She says えなにかりたんだ (borrowed it to Ena) when it would be more normal to say えなからかりたんだ (borrowed it from Ena).

    • 9. Laurence  |  September 11, 2009 at 7:02 pm

      i dunno exactly how faithful it is when the English construction would be ‘Ena lent it to me’. lent is the … reciprocal? of borrowed. it’s literally just the same word in the opposite direction. ‘I borrowed it from Ena’ does say exactly the same thing, mind you.

      I’m not exactly sure it’s more faithful to break the grammar than not to unless Yotsuba’s breaking the Japanese grammar at the time, given that the meanings are the same…

      then again, i could just be unreasonably picky about these things. it Always annoys me to hear people say “give it me” when they mean “give it to me” … or sometimes ‘give it her’ rather than ‘give it to her’. and in those cases the entire Meaning changes and…

      i really have no idea what the point was any more beyond that breaking grammar because it matches the word order in a different language doesn’t Exactly make it faithful.

      [i read a blog post on this issue by… oh, now i’ve forgotten their names. twins. did the translation for fruits basket, i think? not really something i keep up with. taking that sort of faithfulness seriously … .. umm… resulted in utterly unreadable nonsense :D]

      • 10. Simon Jones  |  September 12, 2009 at 4:00 am

        >i dunno exactly how faithful it is when the English construction would be ‘Ena lent it to me’. lent is the … reciprocal? of borrowed. it’s literally just the same word in the opposite direction. ‘I borrowed it from Ena’ does say exactly the same thing, mind you.

        I think the point Ralen was trying to make is that the poor grammar in Yen’s version is *intentional*, not whether the meaning conveyed to the reader is identical. ADV’s translation chose straightforwardness over nuance. (A perfectly valid choice, in the inexact science of translation…)

      • 11. Laurence  |  September 12, 2009 at 4:03 am

        ahh, well, that was the exception i left open as a logical reason :)

        and apparently it won’t let me reply to a reply to a reply :D

        not really taking t his too seriously all in all, it’s just one of my… hobbies… to prod at this sort of thing :)

  • 12. THE BEAT » Blog Archive » Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 9/14/09  |  September 14, 2009 at 8:57 am

    […] § PajCat compares the ADV and Yen versions of Yotsuba&! […]

  • 13. michael  |  September 14, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    I LOVE Yotsuba?! :D

  • 14. Zeke  |  September 15, 2009 at 2:45 am

    In that badminton chapter, how does Yen translate Yotsuba’s verdict on where the birdie went? She says it went through the net; ADV goes with “past” instead of “through”, which I found clunky (though it’s probably more literal).

    And how does Yen do the text of the Yotsuba Times? Again, while I liked ADV’s translations for the most part, I found “Fuuka knows heartbreak” really clunky.

    • 15. pajcat  |  September 15, 2009 at 7:04 am

      She says: “It went “fwooo” right past the string.”

      The Yotsuba Times (which stays untranslated in the panel, but has a footnote) translates into “Fuuka has heartbreak.”

      Hope that helps!

      • 16. Zeke  |  September 17, 2009 at 4:00 pm

        Thanks, but are you sure you were looking at the Yen and not the ADV for that first one? “It went ‘fwooo’ right past the string” is exactly what she says in my ADV copy.

        • 17. pajcat  |  September 17, 2009 at 6:20 pm

          Yeah, I thought that was weird, too.

          Technically, it’s:

          Yotsuba: It went fwooo, right past the string.
          Father: What?!

          Yotsuba: It went “fwooo!” right past the string.
          Father: What!?

  • 18. Demio  |  September 16, 2009 at 10:40 pm

    I like it how Yen Press made Yotsuba’s speach in Larger Text and with some “double exclamation marks”, that really made her more childishly funny. Though I do prefer an English “Ding-dong” instead of a Japense “Ding-dong.” On another note; Do “Ding-dong(s)” matter?

    1 point for ADV, “Over 9000” points for Yen Press

  • 19. Laurence  |  September 17, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    ya know, when it’s possible to do so without wrecking things, i really do prefer they translate little sound effects like that. the Japanese characters my brain just tunes out as clutter, and having to hunt for notes for sound effects doesn’t really achieve the same effect.

    especially in the case of those ‘ding dong’s. they were in speech bubbles! understandable when you get the huge sound effects integrated into the art.. but… speech bubbles!

    strikes me as a bit silly to do it that way.

    but no, ding dong’s don’t really matter

  • 20. veyn  |  November 25, 2009 at 9:16 am

    I just got this volume after reading 1-3 of ADV’s translations.
    I didn’t like the font they used for most the “yelling” and I think Yen was trying too hard to make it more “japanese”. I relaly hated how they used the original japanese sound effects with double captions (one romanized japanese sound effect, and an english one).

    Only hardcore “I wanna be japanese” fans would like that.

  • 21. Panczak  |  December 21, 2009 at 5:57 pm

    I liked how ADV kept the Japanese characters in for the sound affects. it wasnt clutter to me at all, the way the affects were laid out on the page is just as much part of the artwork as the drawings themselves. Its not just some text saying WOOSH in times new roman across someones waist.

    also, it inspired me to look up and learn the characters all by myself, and that was fun as hell. I do think double captions would be annoying though.

    I dont know, I really liked the way ADV did it a few years ago, and to think that the characters are going to be just a little different from now on is weird.

    its like taking Lord of the rings and switching directors halfway though the movies.

  • […] bringing out the new ones; Yen’s new translations, which are more literal than ADVs, have caused some discussion, but that just keeps people talking. They also brought out an omnibus edition of […]

  • 23. Kumacanada  |  July 25, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    To tell you the truth I like Adv’s better. But maybe that is because I started reading it when Yotsuba&! volume 1 ( Adv version) happened to have been in my Middle Schools library. The words poped up at me and drew me in. ( It was very unique) as in for yen presses, well its a lot more blander ( the cover that is) and Yotsuba has gotten a little annoying. I mean she says her name all the freakin time! Not that I hate Yen Press ( I actually love them they did some of my favorite manga) but I have to say the ADV version will always be my favorite.


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