6 April 2014

Tomorrow's Joe v18

Just 2 more volumes to go! A lot of you won't be so thrilled about the coming fight with Harimau because his fighting style seems a little out of line within the realm of realism established so far in the manga, but just enjoy it for what it is and the whole purpose of the arc. If all goes well, v19 will be out next week.

Tomorrow's Joe v18:   Mega;   Sendspace
My Mega link for almost everything I've done, including previous Joe volumes: Click here

26 March 2014

Tomorrow's Joe v17

Sorry it took so long to get v17 out. The delay's all my fault, really. I got sidetracked for about a week with other things, but in any case, only 3 more volumes to go! An April finish should be likely.

Hope you enjoyed the volume. There's a lot of fun character interactions in v17, rather than the usual training and fighting.

Tomorrow's Joe v17:   Mega;   Sendspace
My Mega link for almost everything I've done, including previous Joe volumes: Click here

9 March 2014

Tomorrow's Joe v16

Tomorrow's Joe v16 is out, bringing the fight with Kim to a thrilling conclusion and setting things up for the next arc. You may notice that Rivera and Jose are called "Libera" and "Hose" in the manga on page 232. But considering the manga has stuff like gimnasium for gymnasium, I'm just gonna ignore it and go with my gut instinct. Though concerning the name Pinang Sarawak, I've got no clue and I'm just reaching blindly. Next volume won't be out for at least 2 weeks, most likely.

Tomorrow's Joe v16:   Mega;   Sendspace

24 February 2014

Tomorrow's Joe v15

Volume 15 is now out! Hope you'll enjoy the volume, as did I. Kajiwara and Chiba did well in making Kim Yong-bi, a throwaway character in essence, into an intimidating foe that doesn't feel so "throwaway." Definitely the most significant opponent outside of the 3 major guys (Rikiishi, Rivera, Mendoza). On an interesting trivia-note, the Korean edition changed Kim into a Thai boxer by the name of King Cobra (seriously now?) due to localization decisions.

If things go well, v16 will come out next week.

Tomorrow's Joe v15:   Sendspace;   Mega

11 February 2014

Tomorrow's Joe v14

Ta-da! Volume 14 is done, thanks to the 3 people who volunteered to typeset. I don't really need anymore now since I can't really translate fast enough to continually give scripts to 4 typesetters. It's gonna be full steam-ahead until the end from here on. Expect a volume roughly every 2-3 weeks. We're aiming to finish before summer is upon us.

Tomorrow's Joe v14:   Mega;   Sendspace
To get just the fixed corrupted pages:   Sendspace
All previous volumes can be downloaded here at my mega: Click for link

1 February 2014

Tomorrow's Joe v13 (Finally)

Well would you look at that: http://hoxtranslations.blogspot.com/2013/02/joes-slump.html

That means in the span of one whole year, I managed to get out 2 FREAKING VOLUMES of Joe. Clearly, this is unacceptable, and it can't continue if I'm to finish Joe this year. So I am hereby calling a temporary hiatus on everything I translate that's not called Tomorrow's Joe until it's finished. I think I'd ideally need at least 2 or 3 more typesetters (each with a fair amount of free time) to get the remaining 7 volumes done by the end of the year. So if you have some typesetting experience and want to help out, please do email me. In the meantime, I'll just busy myself translating all the way to v20, and once all the scripts are done, it shouldn't be hard to quickly pump out releases. Joe WILL be finished this year, no matter what happens. Happyscans and I are not backing out from that promise.

Tomorrow's Joe v13:   Mega;   Sendspace (missing p129 fixed)

28 January 2014

Good-bye Punpun

Here it is, folks. Say good night and good-bye to Punpun, which draws to an end after 13 volumes. I believe there are some slight dialogue differences and minor changes including one double-page spread in the tankoban release compared to the magazine version, so even if you've read the raws already, it might be interesting to take a look at the release. Now, incoming OPINIONS, so if you couldn't care less about that, I'll give you the dl links here:   Mega;   Sendspace  (another reminder that I do have a mega now where you can download almost everything I've worked on)

Goodnight Punpun is a project I've spent almost 4 and a half years on, and scanlating it has definitely been a memorable experience. To be frank, I don't think I was ready to tackle it when I did. I was still quite new to translating, and I had never debinded nor scanned manga myself before. The lack of experience clearly shows in v2-5 through the poor scans, typesetting, awkward phrasing, and even some name mix-ups such as Yagura/Yaguchi (I will release re-done scanlations of v2-5 once I finish up Joe this year). Still, it wasn't such a big deal back then since the fanbase was too small to care. There was a time when I could post a new Punpun chapter on /a/ and get 0 replies. Since then, it's grown to be the most popular manga I've translated, which is evident from the number of times people have asked me when the next release is, no matter how many times I try to make it clear on my blog about release dates. Though I've always gotten each volume done within about 2 weeks of getting the raws, it clearly wasn't quick enough for many people, and I've even received some hate for "laziness" in not blitzing out releases from the magazine raws. Far from being exasperated by these responses, I've come to realize that Asano Inio's done something quite special with Punpun to attract such a devoted readership.

So what is it about Punpun that's engrossed so many people? It's not without its flaws, after all. I mean, there was quite a radical shift in tone from v3, almost as if Asano changed his mind about the kind of story he wanted to tell. There was some aimless meandering, especially with regards to the cult side-plot, which left me wondering what was even the point. Also, Asano still tends to overdo it with the black boxes with white text that jarringly interrupts the narrative. And the main character isn't even properly drawn! He's just a doodle! ...But these ordinarily detracting aspects seem to work in favour of Goodnight Punpun. The radical shift in tone from dark comedy to just dark tragedy merely accompanied the narrative shift to the adult Yuuichi, and by the time it switches back, Punpun's childhood is over, and he's forced to face life's harsh realities. Meanwhile, Punpun being drawn basically as a doodle paradoxically allows for more creative expressiveness, as exemplified by his pyramid-head or devil-head forms. Their lack of facial features also functions like a blank slate to give room for the reader to project his own imagination on Punpun's emotional state. Even the black box dialogues actually work for Punpun, deprived of actual dialogue bubbles, who has his otherworldly form complemented by these black boxes which further serves to place a distance between him and those around him.

But minor complaints aside, I think the manga's both greatest strength and weakness is the central character Punpun. From what I've seen, people seem to largely fall into two camps. One side, as exemplified by Saibara Rieko and her humorous comments in v4 of Jinsei Garyoku Taiketsu, sees Punpun as the overly-dramatic, woe-is-me youngster-douchebag who's too much of a coward to take real control of his life. The other side is those who can actually empathize with Punpun, usually through similarity of personality and/or experiences, and can understand why Punpun often makes things so hard on himself. If you're in the former camp, I doubt you could have stuck around long enough to finish this manga. But if you've got a little Punpun and God inside you, as I certainly do, this is a story that's likely to stick with you for a long time.

The last thing I want to touch on is the ending. I can imagine the general reception to it being... lukewarm? Maybe even depressing? Personally, I think it's uplifting. As happy as an ending a story of this kind can get. Both Punpun and Yuuichi are social misfits. For them, the act of living is like an outsider passively staring in at the world through a window. Even when they form relationships, there's always a window, a barrier that prevents them from feeling like they're an active participant of that very relationship instead of a passive receiver. Their self-consciousness only makes them feel more out of place, and to be "normal" couldn't be any more unnatural. But what really is "normal" anyways? I think that's a key question this manga brings up, which is asked to readers at both the beginning and the end of the story. Many of the characters are seemingly normal but they're only putting up a facade, while other characters are usually normal, and yet they exhibit very abnormal behaviours under stress. It's a question that almost all the central characters wonder, from Seki to Sachi to even Harumi, despite his lack of page-time. Punpun and Yuuichi, in particular, both sink further and further into depression when agonizing over how abnormal and consequently worthless they are, which leads them to embrace their deviancy momentarily. But to fail, be rejected, hurt, angry, or upset are all just a normal part of the human experience and not necessarily something unique that they've been unfairly burdened with. By the story's end, both of them have learned not to fuss over what "normal" is and merely take things one step at a time, which brings them relief and hope as defined in their own way. I feel that what Asano's trying to tell any introverts or those suffering from depression who may be reading his story is to not let your self-consciousness agonize over how far you've deviated from normalcy, and to just take things one small step at a time. You may not achieve the idealized happiness that society imposes, nor even the lofty dreams you've once imagined for yourself, but it will lead to a better future than the present prison.

Of course, these are merely my interpretations and I can only speak for myself. So instead of the usual thank-you comments, I would quite appreciate hearing what you thought about the series as a whole or about its ending.

P.S. Thank you Entropy-Scans and Mangascreener for originally starting this project, as well as the generous anonymous who provided me with scans from v6-13. Lastly, a thank you to gar expert, for dumping the first few chapters so many years ago on /a/ and introducing me to Punpun.

Goodnight Punpun v13:   Mega;   Sendspace