Tori koro (a Japanese translation of the phrase tri colour, namely the French national flag) follows the lives of Yae Nanasae, her widowed mother Sachie, and Makishi & Tatami, two girls who have moved in with them and who also attend the same high school as Yae.
What may surprise some people is the fact that, contrary to standard manga released in the west, Tori Koro is done in the “4-koma” style (4 panels, each read from top to bottom, which is standard for Japanese newspaper comic strips - fans of Azumanga Daioh might recognise and be used to this style). Although his format might not look it, Hai Ran (the author of this series) manages to convey more emotion and humour using just these four panels than most people of his trade would achieve in two or three pages.
And it’s the style of this series (which is published by Drmaster and currently into its second volume in the west) which may either entertain or put off prospective readers. Owing more than a passing influence from Azumanga Daioh, the series takes a somewhat…sideways approach to life – from emptying the contents of a rather dubious container, to mother Sachie’s surprising gaming talents to the girls becoming the reluctant owners of a stray pigeon in volume 2
And even the characters bare more than a passing resemblance – with the level-headed Makishi and energetic Tatami bearing a resemblance to a less frenetic Tomo and Yomi. Even Yae has her own Kaorin, in the, albeit, more forward character of Keiko.
So is this just a copy of Azumanga Daioh?
Well yes and no….
If anything Tori koro takes the concepts of Chiyo, Tomo and Yomi, and looks at them from a totally different, and indeed more realistic slant – with Tatami and Makishi sometimes swapping the roles of straight man – funny man, and even Yae and Sachie getting in on a few gags!
So in summery if you miss Azumanga Daioh, or maybe you want a change from panty jokes and double entendre, then this is definitely the series for you.