Yoshitoshi ABe creates Yotsuba’s evil twin

by dm00, not quite so cranky


Ryushika ponders the nature of personal identity and our place in the universe


I’ve been reading Yoshitoshi Abe’s Ryushika Ryushika, in which he creates a character who is half Yotsuba, and half Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes



...before going inside to yell at her brother to come see the sky that only she sees


Like Yotsuba, Ryushika is encountering the world for the first time. Like Calvin, she sometimes has an odd way of seeing things. In the chapter that concludes with the images here, she’s noticed that the world looks different when viewed from one eye or the other (parallax) — and wonders which world is the real one, and if the world looks this different to each of her eyes, it must look very different indeed through the eyes of other people. Another chapter sees her vowing vengeance on the world for a missing takoyaki, and suspects each of the people (plus a dog) she met on the way home of having snatched it (it was stuck to the lid of the box, as it happens).


Book cover


Her view of Santa Claus is…. different (“Does he carry a big sack in order to stuff children into it?” she asks her brother).

The series is all in color, with ABe’s characteristic character designs (Ryushika is, perhaps, the farthest from ABe’s standard designs). The stories are Yotsuba&! simple, with a bit more of a bite — Ryushika is a bit of a brat in a way that Yotsuba is not, her siblings spend a good deal of time puzzled or annoyed by her.

The chapters are short. Ryushika talks only in hiragana (and her siblings’ kanji are pretty simple). A good deal of the stories are told visually, as we follow Ryushika around the house and yard (though she’s old enough to go down the street to by a box of takoyaki).

I’ve only found this in paper. ABe has been experimenting with digital distribution, but he hasn’t chosen to do this one that way. ABe is also fond of releasing most of his stuff in doujinshi form, this one is actually published by a real publisher, and can be found in real bookshops (I found my copy in a Kinokuniya).

6 Responses to “Yoshitoshi ABe creates Yotsuba’s evil twin”

  1. 1 Zeroblade October 13, 2010 at 5:47 am

    Hm, I wonder why ABe doesn’t wanna go through more professional distro channels? It’ll certainly make things easier for others to get his stuff.

    • 2 dm00 October 13, 2010 at 11:15 am

      I think self-publishing gives him more control — and lets him do things like experiment with electronic distribution. The almost certain knowledge that he’ll sell out everything he prints at Comiket twice a year (plus maybe some distribution agreements with those shops that sell doujinshi) lets him concentrate on the needs of his art, not so much on his publisher’s schedule.

      The Ryushika Ryushika book appears to be a collection. I don’t know what form they were published originally.

      Plus, he does publish some things every year or two through normal channels.

  2. 4 Wraith October 23, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    Ryushika Ryushika was originally a doujinshi. What you’ve said about control is exactly correct. He does a lot of professional projects like CD and book covers, but doing doujinshi means he can do exactly what he wants to with his art. I remember him answering a question like that when he came to AnimeFest.

    Too bad Despera is being delayed, but I’m glad they’re planning an English release. Now that you link to it, I do wonder what happened to their plans to bring Gaisokyu out in the US. There isn’t much in it that needs translation.

  3. 5 dm00 October 24, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    Thanks for the reminder — now that I’ve finished Ryushika Ryushika I should read Gaisokyu.

  4. 6 JoseoftheWired December 25, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    I love it. A good find!

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