I picked up the first volume of Yozakura Quartet recently on a complete whim, intrigued mostly by its cool cover art and perfect minimalist presentation. It’s also a product of Del Rey (aka. I love Del Rey), so I thought it couldn’t be that bad. YQ is certainly a mixed bag and shows all the flaws of a first time mangaka’s work, but on the other hand it holds a certain charm for me that makes it irresistible.
The plot is quirky enough, featuring four teenagers fighting demons in an urban setting. Ok, that’s nothing new, but the characters themselves are pretty cool. Hime Yarizakura is the headstrong leader of the bunch, and by some bizarre circumstances she’s also the mayor of the town they all live in, so at least she has a reason to be bossy. Ao is a demon, complete with cat ears and moe appeal, who can read other’s thoughts. Kotoha Isone is a kotodama user, meaning she can summon anything with words, but she’s also a military otaku, so what she’s usually summoning are artillery cannons. And rounding the group off is normal guy Akina Hiizumi with no special powers what so ever.
The stories featured in this volume show the group fighting some demons and solving people’s problems. For people looking for deep plot or a reason for everything none is given. It’s probably a testament to reading so much manga that I can just accept these characters’s abilities and move on. The charm for YQ undeniably comes from its crisp artwork, very precise with no sloppiness here. The mangaka Suzuhito Yasuda started as an illustrator and it certainly shows. The style of the artwork appeals to me a lot, and it’s probably that little charm that made me enjoyed this rather normal volume so much. Yozakura Quartet is hardly a series for everyone but I think it’s artwork and charm will probably appeal to a select group who know how not to take their manga seriously and enjoy the presentation.