21 December 2014

Terrarium in Drawer (Complete)

Whew, finally done. Took a fuckton more time than I'd anticipated, but I suppose it was worth it. Kui Ryoko seems to be a relatively new mangaka, but man, does she ever know how to tell a story. Clean art, original ideas, and a great sense of timing for telling a story or a joke. Definitely one to keep an eye on. Which chapters were your favourite?

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Terrarium in Drawer:   Mega;   Sendspace
Hox's Mega Folder

19 December 2014

Many Thoughts on Actual Books

First things first, Hikidashi will be completed this weekend. All the lines outside bubbles made this deceptively easy work take a lot more of my time than I'd anticipated. Moving on...

With the year coming to a close, I've realized how little manga I've actually read this year. That's not to say I'm losing interest in this hobby, but putting all those hours in translating manga doesn't exactly make me want to go and read more manga with my remaining time. For the past few years, I've mostly spent that remaining time on vidya but this year, I've rediscovered my love for reading actual books. So while this is primarily a manga blog, I thought maybe writing down my thoughts on 10 interesting books I've read this year might encourage you to not neglect books without pictures *gasp* as I have for a short while. If you're poor and/or don't have a good library near you, this site is your friend. This is a bit of a long post, so congrats to those who can make it through all my drivel. If you guys find it interesting enough, I may do more in the future.

Also, I'm always open to book recommendations, though mostly of the non-fiction variety, so feel free to name some if you wish.  

29 November 2014

Chinggis Khan Volume 4

With the 4th volume, Temuchin becomes Chinggis Khan at last! Two things I want to note about this volume. One is the meaning of the title, "chinggis." Although this manga says it means, "supreme and strong," the matter is more complicated than that as scholars continue to debate it. To quote a section from Ratchnevsky's Genghis Khan: His Life and Legacy:
The word  has been variously interpreted as 'firm', 'strong', 'righteous', 'loyal', 'hard' or 'cruel', depending upon the meaning attributed to the word ching by different Mongol tribes. In general such attributions seek to stress the quality of a 'firm and strong khan' rather than exhibiting any desire to vie with the title of Gurkhan ('Universal Ruler') which had been bestowed on Jamuka. 
An alternative and probably sounder derivation, advanced quite independently by von Ramstedt and Pelliot, is from the Turkic tängiz, 'sea or ocean.' This interpretation is supported by the Mongolian equivalent dalai-yin khan on the seal of the Great Khan and the Turkic formal preamble tailai-nung han in Guyuk Kha'ans letter to Pope Innocent IV. In dalai lama, the Mongolian rendering of the Tibetan lamaistic title, rGyamts'o blama, meaning 'Ruler of the Seas' or 'Ruler of the World', dalai is used as a concept for 'universal' or 'all-embracing'; this is clearly exhibited by the juxtaposition of dalai and yeke ('great') in the Juyongguan Inscription. The title 'Oceanic Ruler' is very old. In Uighur legend Tengiz (Dengiz-khan) is the name of the youngest son of the Uighur Oguz-khan - and, despite Pelliot's phonetic objections, it may even be identified in the name of one of the sons of Attila the Hun. 
Although in Rashid ad-Din's day the Mongols had forgotten the original tradition and the title was simply equated with the Mongolian word ching ('firm' or 'strong'), Rashid uses the wider interpretation of the title when he compares it with the Persian shah-an-shah. Nasir ad-Din also gives Hulegu the title padsha-i jahan ('Universal Ruler'), a non-Islamic title which, as Minorsky comments, must be a rendering of dalai-khan. The Genghiside imperial family retained this tradition into the seventeeth century, when a son of Dayan-khan bore the title erdeni dalai khan.
 There are, of course, more fringe theories on its meaning, such as that it's derived from the Chinese tianzi (Son of Heaven), or a rendering of the Chinese imperial first-person pronoun zhèn (朕). There are also tales in later Mongolian chronicles that it's an onomatopoeic representation of a bird cry, but these are more folklore than actual history.
The second thing I want to mention is that while the Naimans were a Turkic group, distinct from the Mongols in central Mongolia and Tungusic peoples in Eastern Mongolia and Manchuria, they were still primarily pastoral nomads and it's highly unlikely that their style of combat differed all that much from all of the horse-riding warriors across the Eurasian steppe. Or to put it simply, they did NOT use war chariots. I don't know where Yokoyama got that idea, or maybe he wanted to add them because they looked cool, but to think that the very people whose entire society changed once horses were domesticated to a point as to accommodate human riders, would build an extremely expensive yet less effective tool of war that had been abandoned by even the sedentary civilizations for almost a thousand years prior to the 13th century is just absurd.

That's all for now. The last volume will come before the end of the year, and it should be a fun ride since it's all about the Mongols taking on the world. I'm also going to be busy trying to wrap up loose-ends on my other projects before the new year so please don't ask me about a certain other manga, which has only just begun a new arc and could be delayed a chapter or two.

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Chinggis Khan v4:   Mega;   Sendspace
Hox's Mega Folder

15 November 2014

Terrarium in Drawer (last updated Nov. 15)

Yes, yes, I know already have a ton of things to do and am starting to overextend myself, but I really wanted to take a breather from some of the more serious stuff I was doing with just a fun, goofy work, which is why I decided to pick this up. Terrarium in Drawer, a 1-volume collection of oneshots by Kui Ryoko, a relatively new mangaka. I only heard about it a week ago because it was nominated for the Manga Taishou award. Maybe doing this can draw in some more interest and get groups to pick up her other works

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Terrarium in Drawer c1-4:   Sendspace

14 November 2014

Sangokushi v41: Guan Yu's Oversight

Wasn't planning on doing another whole volume release, but things ended up turning out that way, though I'll probably release v42 chapter by chapter. There's two things I want to point out in this volume. In the rainstorm chapter, the soldier who stole the hat says he was trying to keep the family armour safe, whereas in the original novel, it was a state-issued armour. Although a seemingly minor change, you can theorize some interesting explanations for why it was made (by Yoshikawa?). Since Lu Meng's problem concerns one's duties to the state vs. one's duties to the self, if the armour was indeed issued by the state, then on some level, you can make the argument that the soldier had a duty to the state to keep his armour in good shape. Thus, Lu Meng's reasoning for deciding to execute the poor soldier is rather weakened... Or at least, that what I think. The other thing I want to mention is that in the original novel, the mass desertions don't begin until Guan Yu marches for Jingzhou, which will be covered in the next volume. This change is more obvious why, as when you read the novel, it's rather baffling why Guan Yu decided to press on the attack with his injured forces instead of waiting longer to at least hear back from Ma Liang and Yi Ji. In the Yokoyama/Yoshikawa version (again, I'm not sure who's responsible for the change), the problem of desertion makes it more understandable why Guan Yu would act so hastily.

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Sangokushi v41:   Mega;   Mediafire;   Sendspace
For all previous Sangokushi volumes:   Mega;   Mediafire

25 October 2014

Chinggis and Philip

Well, I (Happyscans is blameless) took a break last month, but here's this month's release of Chinggis Khan. Only 2 more volumes to go, so we'll probably finish it off by Christmas. If you've read Ratchnevsky's Genghis Khan, His Life and Legacy as I've recommended before, you'll find the sequence of events from Jamuka's election as Gurkhan to the campaigns against Tartars, Merkits, and Naimans in the Secret History of Mongols (which Yokoyama follows) pretty interesting. I get the feeling that a possible reason for the skewed order may be to make the anti-mongol/Kereit alliance look more like aggressors without a proper casus belli. In any case, I liked how Yokoyama gave more detail on Jamuka's actions and whereabouts. Makes it a lot easier to follow than the Secret History.
New Historie is also out, hurray! I've never heard of the shorter sarissa thing in any account for the Battle of Chaeronea, so if that's a thing that Iwaaki himself came up with, I'd have to say it's a pretty cool addition as I think the battle makes even more sense that way. Also, if you're interested at all in Greek hoplite warfare, A Storm of Spears by Christopher Matthew is a MUST. READ. It'll be interesting to see how military historians in the coming years will either adopt or argue against Matthews' exhaustive arguments. My bet is on the decline of literal othismos and overarm-supporters once the older generation of academics retire. V.D. Hanson can get rekt for all I care.

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Chinggis Khan v3:   Mega;   Sendspace
Historie c88:   Sendspace
Hox's Mega Folder

4 October 2014

Maneater/Tetsunagi Oni (half done)

I was planning to do more frequent and regular releases, but my life schedule is forcing me to do short bursts of releases instead. So here's chapter 6-11 of Maneater, which finishes up Maneater but only marks the half-way point of the re-released edition of Tetsunagi-Oni which includes both Maneater and Testunagi-Oni for a ~380 page volume as I mentioned before. Although I'm doing this oneshot collection more of as a showcase of Takahashi's art style since many of its stories, although amusing if you like black humour, aren't particularly impressive, there are a few chapters that I like the more I read them. In Maneater, even though I think the titular chapter "Maneater" will no doubt be most people's favourite, the above-pictured "Who's Being Hanged" is the real silent creeper for me due to its possible implications, whether intended by Takahashi or not.

In the second-half, Testunagi-Oni, I have a feeling either Takahashi himself or his usual readers responded most favourably to the titular chapter "Tetsunagi-Oni," hence the collection's title, but "My Father's Face" is by far more chilling for its social commentary. You'll see what I mean when I get to it.

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Maneater c6-11:   Sendspace
Maneater:   Sendspace