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Yozakura Quartet by Suzuhito Yasuda

I want you to imagine your town.  People go shopping, go to school, go to work.  You have a mayor and a police force that look after your town.  Your mayor is a superheroine, and the people protecting everyone are a mindreader; a girl who can bring anything into existence by talking about it; and, a regular dude.  There may be monster attacks and evil spirits, but it's nothing they can't handle.  Sounds just like home, right?

Welcome to the world of the Yozakura Quartet.  Where Hime, the mayor, and her friends run and protect their home out of a little shack and fight about who pays the food bills.  The quartet is like a regular group of friends.  They have wildly different personalities, tease each other nonstop, and are bound by loyalty.  The way everyone interacts and plays off of each other is the star of this manga and is what makes it fun to read.  It's like watching old friends.

Yozakura Quartet started out reminding me of Fruits Basket, but ended up more like Mu Shi Shi.  It was funny and filled with quirky personalities.  But each chapter is its own small story rather than the volume having a continuous plot.  The chapters range from funny to serious and the jump can be quite strange.  But this format allows you to get a better feel for each character.  The artwork is one of the manga's strongest features.  And it is equally good in fight scenes and when everyone is around a table eating. Yozakura Quartet is not crazy like FLCL, but it's got its own weird sense of style that's refreshingly different from mangas like Naruto and Bleach.

-Lauren

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