What will this quartet lead to?

After manga publisher Del Rey faded away, fans were clamoring for anyone to license rescue many of their titles. Alas, no one ever spoke out in favor of Yozakura Quartet, the urban fantasy manga whose manga-ka also illustrated the Durarara!! novels. Fortunately, Kodansha USA recently pledged that they will be releasing the series in its on-going entirety — there is hope yet for the series.

At least, on the “real world” level there is hope for the series; within the story itself there is a bit of worry — this is not the strongest first volume. The afterword mentions that the chapters, all episodic so far, were slightly rearranged for the bound volumes to keep the tone more consistent, and a friend of the manga-ka mentions that things only really get going in volume two. I hope things do get going since, as someone who has even seen the recent anime remake, there’s not a lot to hook you into the story so far.

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The story opens with our four teenage leads, Hime, Akina, Kotoha, and Ao who all live in the town of Sakurashin; in fact, Hime is mayor of the town! There are far stranger things in town than a high schooler as a mayor, however. A large chunk of the characters have some variety or other of supernatural powers — some of whom even appear to be partially or completely inhuman — and the four teens seem responsible for cleaning up a lot of the supernatural messes in the town. So far all of the incidents seem fairly random and unconnected, but there seems to be a mysterious man with cat ears who stands in high places and takes an especially keen interest in the events.

So far it’s hard to tell if the manga will have the same magic that the anime did. One thing I can say for sure is that the anime certainly looked better at this point. It’s clear that Suzuhito Yasuda is not very familiar or comfortable at drawing backgrounds; the composition is fairly straightforward, the comic lacks a lot of screen tone or even shading to give a sense of lighting, and honestly even the characters often seem stiff and awkward. There are moments when everything seems to come together visually however, so let’s hope that the story also comes together soon, too.

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