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A Yonkoma (literally, "four-cell") Manga, better known as 4-Koma, is a short comic that consists of four panels arranged vertically from beginning to end. Like western Comic strips, they are often found in newspapers, magazines, graphic novels, and other places. 4-Koma can be single-shot gags, or tell a story across several strips. (Notice that it isn't shikoma.) Expect nothing short of a Rapid-Fire Comedy from 4-Koma mangas, since they fire at least 1 joke every 4 frames.
Many Yonkoma are gag versions of full-sized manga, or are based off video games, but some manga are entirely made of Yonkoma installments.
A countless number of manga have Yonkoma as Omake at the end of chapters, or at the end of the compiled volumes. Often, these are used to tell additional gags based on the chapter that immediately precedes it, and as such, provide some additional entertainment value to the volume. However, some particularly bad examples of manga have the omake Yonkoma (which may encompass less than ten pages) providing more entertainment value than the rest of the volume combined.
In Japan manga is usually published with a dust jacket. Many manga, especially gag Manga like Hayate the Combat Butler, use Yonkoma to illustrate the flaps.
When listing Yonkoma on Trope Pages, please use the following guidelines:
- If it is related to an anime in any way, put it under Anime/Manga
- If it is hosted online, put it under Webcomics
- If it is print newspaper, but not related to any anime or manga (example: Sazae-chan, which is Japanese, but not manga at all) put it under Newspaper Comics
- If it is none of the above, put it under Comics.
- Acchi Kocchi
- Azumanga Daioh, with the exception of a few "specials".
- Doujin Work
- GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class
- Hidamari Sketch
- Houkago Play
- Kill Me Baby
- Lucky Star
- Maken Ki - Starring Inaho and Friends
- Maoyuu Maou Yuusha
- Neko Ramen
- Petit Eva, with the exception of a Christmas special.
- S.S. Astro
- Suzumiya Haruhi-chan no Yuuutsu
- Shoulder a Coffin Kuro
- Axis Powers Hetalia, with the exception of a few storylines, most notable the World Conference.
- .hack//4koma, an inter-canon parody of the .hack series. Some of them were even adapted to CGI in .hack//G.U. Vol. 3: Redemption.
- B Gata H Kei
- Seitokai Yakuindomo
- Imouto wa Shishunki
- A Channel
- The first Pokémon manga was a 4koma, and there have been various released in recent years.
- Ice Cream Baby
- Golden Sun 4-Koma Gag Battle
- Many anime-styled Webcomics, such as Ghastlys Ghastly Comic, Angel Moxie and Springiette, are told in 4-Koma style.
- Afganisu-tan, a Moe Moe webcomic-turned-manga retelling of the history of Afghanistan from the 19th century onward. Yes, that means up to and including depicting 9/11 as a rich girl [Meriken] being attacked by a feral cat (Al-Nyaida) with Osama Bin Laden's beard and turban, then going apespit on Afghanis with Eye Beams.
- Friday 4 Koma, a webcomic.
- Tales of a Gay Asian is a bastardization of this art style
- Eyepatchtan is basically Lucky Star on crack. It does have a few traditional comics, but most of those are to be removed per Word of God.
- Mahoraba occasionally has a couple of pages of yonkoma when the cast are performing a mundane task.
- In the anime adaption, these are recreated as scrolling, somewhat crudely drawn panels with limited animation and silly music in the background.
- Parodied mercilessly in Sayonara, Zetsubou-sensei, with Itoshiki claiming the existence of a "hidden" fifth panel - darkness. Meanwhile, Yonkoma is the only form of comics Super OCD Chiri approves, and she demands Harumi draw her Doujinshi as a yokoma for her, after complaining that it has "No climax, no point, no meaning".
- Death Note had a number of (notably goofier than the actual manga) versions published in Akamaru Jump and later in the encyclopedic thirteenth volume.
- Frequently show up in the bonus pages of Fullmetal Alchemist volumes. Hiromu Arakawa has mentioned liking the bonus pages better than the actual manga.
- Aoi House 4-koma appeared in Newtype USA for awhile. They're reprinted in the backs of the graphic novels.
- The fourth volume of Yotsuba&! had a chapter entitled "Yotsuba to 4koma". It told a short story in 4koma, in contrast to the rest of the manga's page format, and was about even less than usual.
- The Hayate the Combat Butler manga sometimes has yonkoma at the beginnings and/or the ends of some chapters.
- The supplemental mangas for Lyrical Nanoha include several hundred pages of these among their omakes. Essentially, they flanderize the Hell out of the characters (Fate's affection for Nanoha is elevated to Stalker with a Crush levels, Hayate is a full-on cosplay pervert, etc.) and run with it. Hilarity Ensues.
- Gunnm/Battle Angel Alita has been including a few of these in the backs of the graphic novels for 'Last Order'. Usually, they're gags on an element in that story arc ("What if Zazie hadn't been backing Alita up against Toji" (she dies), "Where does Alita's Elbogen-Blatt go when not in use?" (her boobs), etc).
- Several volumes of the Harukanaru Toki no Naka de manga have the regular Super-Deformed Omake done in the Yonkoma format.
- The 100th chapter of Eyeshield 21 was "Yonkoma Half-Time Show", a series of sets of themed gag yonkoma.
- Genshiken usually has one or two Yonkoma under the topic "Moments Later" making additional jokes after each chapter.
- Most of the Gundam manga by Koichi Tokita include Yonkoma with lots of crossovers and jokes. Confusingly (and irritatingly), Tokyo Pop chose to completely retranslate the strips in the Gundam Wing spinoff G-Unit (AKA Last Outpost), mostly using jokes lifted wholesale from Arnold Schwarzenegger movies and used wildly out of context.
- In Lucky Star (itself based on a Yonkoma strip), Hiyori mentions that she sometimes draws Yonkoma. (Hiyori, incidentally, contains some Author Avatar elements.)
- The first chapter of Kimochi no Katachi, but not the following two chapters.
- In Zettai Karen Children, from the chapter 104 onwards, before the beginning of every chapter there are always two supplemental comical four-panel strips enclosed, often with useful additional information about characters, interesting back stories, or even introductions to later plot arcs in the main part of the manga.
- The 5th-last Negima chapter followed this format for three pages.
- Super Robot Wars has a huge number of 4-Koma that are made for each game, usually making fun of characters, noting similarities between series, or one character trying to imitate another, often with disastrous results, and other random gags.
- Ape Escape 2 has a number of Yonkoma that you can unlock and view.
- Castlevania has a whole bunch done for the newer games, mostly the DS games and onwards. The only ones officially translated thus far are for Order of Ecclesia and The Dracula X Chronicles. Apparently, Dracula goes grocery shopping and even keeps dirty magazines.
- The Metroid series also has a fairly large stash of yonkoma, featured in "Shonen Oh!" magazine with the release of Super Metroid. Among other hilarious mishaps, the Federation scientists attempt to use the metroid larva for a hat, a salad bowl and a garbage disposal (!), and Samus makes herself dizzy from swinging around grapple points, electrocutes herself at an energy station right after getting out of water, and throws her neck out trying to run and shoot at angles. Never officially released in North America, but available in fan translation.
- A complete volume collection of yonkoma exists for Breath of Fire III, as well as two separate yonkoma collections for Breath of Fire IV (the latter including a literal yonkoma anthology). This is especially remarkable as III has never had a formal Comic Book Adaptation and IV only had an anthology collection (which included both serious stories and longer-length Omake) until 2007 (fully seven years after the original video game was released).
- And yes, the official Comic Book Adaptation of Breath of Fire IV (recently completed by Mag Garden) also continues the tradition of Breath of Fire-related yonkoma in its "Behind The Cover Comics" (which are, logically enough, printed under the dust covers). Most are flat out parody Omake of events in the manga (which is considerably Bloodier and Gorier than in the game, hence much Mood Whiplash could occur) but the very final yonkoma printed as a "Behind The Cover Comic" featured Won-qu and A-tur--two shishi or foo-dogs--discussing what they would do now that there was no empire or emperor.
- Wario Ware: D.I.Y. features a comic maker that lets you create your own yonkoma.
- Golden Sun has the 4-Koma Gag Battle.
- The manual for Snowboard Kids 2 featured yonkoma that described the items, which Atlus thankfully translated in the English localization.
- In an omake from Megatokyo, Piro talks about why the comics had their then-rigidly-true four square panel layout. it was a compromise between Fred wanting to do a 4-koma, and
LargoRodney wanting to do a four-across American gag strip. Of course, both the format and Largo are long gone.
- This entry wouldn't be complete without the Gaijin 4-Koma (a.k.a. the "Reaction Guys" or the "IGN dudes"), a Memetic Mutation of two photographs of one group of IGN reporters reacting to different exhibits at a video game convention with... different amounts of excitement. The meme traditionally represents the IGN gaijin as staring impassively at one photograph or scene, and then shouting with excitement at either an interesting development from the first scene, or something else that's much more interesting.
- This was taken to epic extremes with the composite of all their reactions to each individual episode of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, including the time skip at the end of the last episode as well as a reaction to the epic last great battle, as well as the reactions to the E3 trailer for Super Smash Bros. Brawl, with their reactions being amplified to epic levels with the announcement of Snake.
- It was also parodied in the anime Bakemonogatari during episode 9 after Nadeko strips down to show her snakeskin marks. Koyomi and Suruga are amused.
- The reverse can happen too, when an exciting thing happened at first so they were excited... which is followed by a mistake by the game development, in which the gaijins started to look unamused.
- What do you get when you use the Souchaku Henshin action figures from Kamen Rider to make a quick-and-easy series of Yonkoma? The meaningfully-named Soucha-Koma, of course.
- The inevitable Reaction Guys tribute. (Warning: NSFW.)