28 December 2013

Your Attention Please

Because I'm frustrated with the constant requests I get for Umibe no Onnanoko, I'm making this post. STOP ASKING ME TO TRANSLATE UMIBE, GO ASK SOMEONE ELSE. It's not because I hate it or anything, I just plain don't want to translate it because there are a ton of other manga I would rather translate. I've made my stance on this issue clear on my about/faq page now so hopefully people will stop asking. If there are any other translators out there, PLEASE DO ME A FAVOUR AND TRANSLATE THE LAST VOLUME OF UMIBE NO ONNANOKO.
And while we're on the subject of Asano Inio works, I want to talk about the last volume of Punpun. As most of you know, there are scanlations of the last volume already available. For the few who've willingly/luckily avoided all the spoilers, I think making a live-typesetting thread as I've done for some of the past volumes will be counter-productive to your efforts since there's bound to be spoilers posted all over in it. So my question to you, do you still want me to do a live-typesetting thread? Vote on the poll at the top right bar on this page. I don't really care either way. That's all for now.

21 December 2013

Historie c83

It's that time of the month every 2 months. Sorry for the rather low quality scans but they're just magazine scans so bear with them.

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17 December 2013

Pacification of Hanzhong

Chapter 232 and v36 is done! It's kind of odd that Pang De didn't go to Shu as soon as he heard his former master Ma Chao had turned over to Liu Bei. I suppose the two weren't really all that tight in real life. A shame, but it definitely does lead to some pretty memorable battles a few volumes from now.

Also, in unrelated news, I got tired of dropbox's terribly small filespace and it constantly suspending my files for a few days every time it got a little bit of traffic, so I decided to switch over to mega. I'm not gonna upload a certain viking manga because I don't want it to die like what happened to my mediafire hoxbox (RIP) so hopefully this can last a good amount of time. Click this for the link. I haven't put up biomega, Joe, and a few other series yet but most things I've done are on there.

And as usual, if you just want Sangokushi, I have my mediafire.com/sangokushi

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3 December 2013

Sneewittchen (last updated Dec. 30)

So I've talked about Morohoshi Daijirou in my Some Thoughts #6 post and I mentioned being quite impressed with his take on the Little Mermaid fairy tale. That's why when I saw he had a 1-volume collection of his take on Grimm's Fairy Tales, I knew I had to translate it. The un-neutered original version of Grimm's Fairy Tales, as you probably know, include very bizarre and grotesque stories, which makes it a perfect fit with Morohoshi's style. The highlight of the volume is definitely his spin on Snow White and Rapunzel, but there're other interesting chapters. Some are relatively straight adaptations while others have a sci-fi, horror, mystery, or even a comedy-twist.

One more thing to mention, since I'm releasing this chapter by chapter, I thought it would be nice to include the author's commentary section immediately after each chapter instead of saving them for the end of the volume. This section includes a short summary of the original fairy tale as well as the author's thoughts, so I encourage you to not gloss them over like most people do with these kinds of stuff.
Die wunderlische Gasterei. Translated either as "The Strange Feast" or  "The Strange Inn" in English, while titled as "The Strange Invitation" in Japanese. A very strange story only found in the first edition of Grimm's Fairy Tales and Morohoshi does a wonderful job in making the story even more bizarre.
Although Morohoshi "says" he didn't tamper too much with the original story, it seems to me his subtle changes to "The Fisherman and his Wife" had quite a drastic effect on the whole. You can hardly call this a story about greed anymore.
"If only I had a child as white as snow, as red as blood, and as black as the wood in this frame." That sounds like one hell of a creepy-looking kid. Glad to see Morohoshi picked up on it and subverted the story in a way that fits so well.
Oh dem Germans and their weird stories about sausages.
From the commentary at the end, it seems Morohoshi isn't too proud of this one. Still, I personally really enjoyed it, and I have to say it's tied as my favourite of this collection along with Snow White. I should go look for his other mentioned manga and the alternate version of Rapunzel eventually.
Oh man, do I ever love Morohoshi's take on this bizarre fairy tale. Hilarious stuff.
This chapter was the most entertaining to translate so far. Quite humorous.
It's rather odd that I never actually knew the original story of Puss in Boots before reading this manga.

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2 December 2013

Men und Panzer (last updated Dec. 29)

So this is a short 1-volume project that a guy asked me to do and I said yes because it's quite different from the stuff I usually translate. It's an action manga about a German panzer company on the Eastern Front in WWII after the German offensive has crumbled and the Soviets are about to start pushing them back. This isn't a story about character drama, politics, morals, or the tragedies of war. This is a dry, straight-to-the-point tank action story with nice art by Kobayashi Motofumi, the mangaka who drew Cat Shit One (aka Apocalypse Meow). If you like looking at tanks fighting other tanks, this is for you. If you need your weapons of destruction to be driven by little boys or girls, that's what anime is for.

I'll be releasing this chapter by chapter. There'll be 16 chapters for the main story, one chapter for tank data and misc info, and one extra-story at the end.
Panzer vor!
>tfw you hit an enemy tank 4 times while he kills you in one hit in WoT
What a badass. Appropriating panthers without giving one single fuck.
No matter the side nor the causes wars are fought for, the experiences of individual soldiers are so grimly fascinating.

I have no idea if "Porosech" is the correct romanization. My Russian skills are sadly non-existant.

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1 December 2013

Busy December

As promised, it's December so it's time to get started on Sangokushi again! December's a good month for me, and I'm going to try to translate at least one chapter per day for various projects. So look forward to the month even if you don't read Sangokushi!

Also, Punpun won't be out until January (since the volume only goes on sale from Dec. 27) so please stop asking.
Absent from the manga is Xun You's opposition to Cao Cao's desire for the title "King of Wei," his subsequent falling-out and death.
How many times has Xu Chu saved Cao Cao's by now?
This is why you shouldn't be so quick to order your general's heads to be cut off, Cao Cao. Didn't you learn anything from that earlier time with Cao Hong?
Motherfucking Jia Xu, coming up with strategies left and right as usual.
In case you don't remember, Yang Song is the guy who also was bribed by Liu Bei in order to turn Ma Chao to his side.

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20 November 2013

Ekrano (Oneshot)

So this is a short Kitou Mohiro oneshot called Ekrano (published in May 2012) that someone requested me to translate long ago and my lazy ass finally got around to translating. At first, I thought it was some odd spin-off of Bokurano purely because of the title similarity, but as the author's note reveals on the final page, the title comes from the Soviet Ekranoplanes, which are extremely low-altitude planes that almost skims the water in flight. In any case, the oneshot is nothing spectacular, but I have to say I did like the mech designs and the setting. Seems like a waste to use on such a short oneshot. It'd be nice if he could do at least a 1-volume story using it. Oh well.

Ekrano:   Sendspace;   Dropbox

13 November 2013

Historie c82

Can't wait for the tankoban version of the Acropolis.
Sorry for taking so long with this chapter, but I didn't really feel the need to rush to translate it right away since Historie is a bimonthly series now. But like the page above says, the next chapter will be in December. Also, for those curious about Iwaaki's comments in this chapter, he basically says he's been working on a story he's had cooking for like 10 years now. While working on Historie, he's used his spare time to work out the details of it, and he has a book full of notes concerning the plot and how it should be told. He's then be redoing that entire notebook so it's actually legible for other people so he can (presumably) have some other artist help him with it. In any case, the point is that once he does begin working on this series, it won't interfere with Historie's pace at all since his share of the work will be all done.

Also, for those wondering about Joe, I'm actually translating volume 14 already. It's just that my typesetter Arles is busy with his Kendo international tournaments at the moment so he won't be back home until late November. I hope you guys can understand and wish him luck.

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18 October 2013

Some Thoughts About Good Manga 9

Time for another Some Thoughts post. I recently had the chance to read two works by the French comic artist Bastien Vivès, and I feel like commenting on them while they're still fresh in my mind.
First one up is A Taste of Chrorine (Le Goût du chlore). This is one incredibly chill book that won the best new artist award in the Angoulême International Bande Desinée Festival. By chill, I mean it captures the ambience of a swimming pool perfectly. The showers before the pool, getting water in your eyes, the feeling of breathlessness as you struggle to reach the other side of the lane, and even the unpleasant sights of people you rather hadn’t seen in their swimsuits… Yup. It’s all here. But what really allows the smell of chlorine to come out from the pages are the perspectives. 
click to enlarge
The pictures above are some panels which I particularly liked for their use of perspective. Usually, the view is kept low just above the water-level to make you feel as if you’re there in the pool, right beside the protagonist. Others are from a first-person view, like in the very middle picture above, where the protagonist practising his backstrokes are simply shown by an overhead arm and a roof. All in all, there’s a very good mix of shots from first and third person, from above, below, and at the water-level to immerse the readers figuratively in the pool.
west vs east
One thing about the art that immediately sticks out to me as a person who usually reads manga is the depiction of motion. Manga tend to heavily use speed lines, after-images, motion-waves, impact/shock bubbles, and extreme perspective to make you feel like you’re moving along with the characters to convey a real sense of kinetic energy. Western comics traditionally tend not to rely on such techniques, preferring to show motion from the sidelines. Although A Taste of Chlorine doesn't really need to show motion all that well since it relies more on the ambience to pull in its readers, I have to admit the rather static art did take me out a little bit. Even so, there are some bits where I thought it was done reasonably well without resorting to generic speed lines. For instance, in the pic below, a simple warping of the background gives the illusion that the character is lunging backwards to spring into a backstroke. Or at least, it does to my eyes.
As for the plot [minor spoilers ahead], it’s a minimalistic tale about a boy swimming to ease his back problems, who becomes more interested in swimming as he develops interest in a girl who frequents the same pool. I actually came in expecting a romance story and was pleasantly surprised to find out that wasn't the case. While there definitely is an element of romance, it’s really only there to add to the mood and serve as a vehicle to move the story along. The real “story” is a coming-of-age tale about a weak-willed boy getting his first taste of desire, ambition, a real sense of drive to accomplish something, whatever it is. It’s done in a very clever and subtle way in which the theme is only vaguely hinted once around the middle of the story, which the author then tries to make the reader temporarily forget through the romance sub-plot, all in order to surprise you just as much as the protagonist in the epiphany that occurs in the memorable final panel. If you read through the story too fast, you’ll likely miss it, making you go “Huh? That’s it?” So slow down and pace yourself while reading this. All in all, a good comic. It even made me want to go swimming (actual swimming, not just riding water slides), which is quite the feat since I hate/suck at swimming. I think even an 8 year-old can out-swim me. 
The only real complaint I have is that you have to shell out $15~20 for what's basically a short oneshot. I don't like to comment on pricing since that's got nothing to do with a work’s quality, but you have to admit that it can still affect your final opinion (video game reviewers, please take note). The book itself is about 130 pages but most are dialogue-less atmosphere pages and I'm certain a skilled mangaka could have easily achieved just as much in half the length if he had to work under a more constrained page limit. Of course, the main reason why the book costs this much isn't due to the page length but because of the cost of printing in colour. Thank god the manga industry publishes almost always in B&W, which allows good lengthy stories at a much cheaper price. Admittedly, a black and white version of A Taste of Chlorine would certainly lesson the great ambience afforded by turquoise and blue shades, but… I don’t know, I think it’d still be fine. I mean, look at Urushibara’s art in Waters.
The next Vivès work, Polina, is in black & white and substantially longer. Well… Technically, it’s only about 70 pages longer but there’s a lot more dialogue so it feels a lot longer. In any case, the story is about Polina's life from childhood to adulthood, and her difficulties in becoming a professional dancer. Speaking more generally, however, the story is essentially about what it takes to become a successful artist. For this, Vivès paints a very ascetic portrayal, in which "satisfaction" is a non-existent concept to the artist. He must constantly strive for greater heights and complacency in either his skill or position is to signify his downfall. Love seems to be an unnecessary distraction, if not almost detrimental to this end, since an artist must never rely too much on others and should learn to stand on his own. This is reinforced by the role of Polina's teachers who prove the old adage that you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink. In the first three-quarters of the story, Polina is still too young, too inexperienced to understand the advice given by her elders and would rather dismiss it as incomprehensible. But as her outlook in life matures, the truth behind these once-nonsensical maxims are revealed and she finally understands why an artist practices his craft. Bojinski, Polina's influential teacher (the man in the cover pic above), is given a fair amount of screen-time but I don't think it's too appropriate to liken this comic to a mentor-student story like The Karate Kid, which heavily emphasizes the bond between the master and the student. Polina's narrative is one-sidedly focused on the student and the relationship is too subdued and solemn for a comparison like that to work. Instead, Bojinski's memorable scenes at the beginning and the end serves to provide a light framework in which you can evaluate Polina's journey as an artist.
As for the art, it's done in quick impressionist-style sketches and it works quite well for the most part. I particularly liked the character design for Bojinski, whose eyes and mouth are hidden by his glasses and beard to effectively hide his facial expressions, transforming him into an enigmatic and intimidating authority-figure. Kind of an Ikari Gendou, if you will. The best part about his design is at the story's end, where these obscured features are illuminated for the first time, breaking the illusion of an aloof teacher that Polina had formed in her mind since her childhood. My only gripe with the art is Polina's nose. I don't know why but Vivès decided to give only Polina a thick black shade on her nasal bridge, which annoyed me because it kept reminding me of the infamous "tumblr nose," if you know what I'm referring to. It's not as if Polina's nose is uniquely hooked upwards or anything. The side profile shots of her gives a very average outline for a nose. So why the shade? To distinguish her from the rest? She already stands out well enough though. I don't know, it's... a mystery.

In any case, both stories are solid and I wholly recommend them. Although A Taste of Chlorine is the only one that's available in English at the moment, Polina too will be translated by next year so keep it in mind if you're looking for something interesting to read.

17 October 2013

Tomorrow's Joe v13 (last updated Dec. 3)

Finally, a return to Joe!
Alright, we got our editor back!

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14 October 2013

Gyanki-Hen Complete

And part 2 of Gambling Emperor Zero is finally complete at 10 volumes. I know this part was rather lacking in the crazy life-or-death gambles that we were so fond of back in part 1, but I hope you found it entertaining nontheless. Here's hoping that part 3, whenever it comes, will be more full of insane, over-the-top action.

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25 September 2013

Gyanki-Hen Volume 10 (Oct 11)

At last, chapter 79 means volume 9 is done, meaning just 1 more volume left in Gyanki-Hen! I know the Kijurou arc has been going on a little too long and would've benefited from being about 2 volumes shorter, but I hope you're still enjoying it nonetheless. Don't you worry, the final volume in Zero Part 2 will definitely bring this arc to a close and a likely return to the original plot-line, with a cameo by a certain someone.
To my raw-provider, if you're reading this, can you scan the cover page for me as well?
Fukumoto really loves dem wordplay.

Fixed version of c86 updated.

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9 September 2013

Battle for Chengdu

Volume 35 is finally done and so is the conquest of Shu. Though Wei, Wu, and Shu are nominally still a part of Han, you can pretty much think of this as the start of the Three Kingdoms. For the volume release, I fixed the error with pages 174 and 175 of chapter 224, and I finally bothered to update and reorganize the cast of characters list. I took out most of the really minor characters and tried to make it more compact, with only 10 people per page. I know 99% of you don't really look at it, but for that 1% who originally requested I make some character chart, I hope you're finding it somewhat useful.

Also, volume 35 makes a pretty good stopping point, so I urge people who've still yet to try Sangokushi to not worry about the series length or update speed and give the first couple volumes a read. You can find all volumes here: mediafire.com/sangokushi

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4 September 2013

Gyanki-Hen Volume 9 (Sept 24)

Volume 8's now done with chapter 70! Volume 9 will follow shortly and I'll make the updates in this post. In other news, I hear FKMTcrazy is looking to get some help (translators, editor/cleaners, typesetters, etc.) So if you enjoy reading Fukumoto manga and can help out, you should head over to their site and leave a comment.
And here we go with volume 9!
I hope the explanation in the chapter makes sense to those unfamiliar with Japanese. I tried to explain it without going too tl note heavy and using a lot of Japanese terms.
It's possible to figure out what Zero realized after reading this chapter if you've been paying close attention.

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24 August 2013

Historie Status Update

First off, let's all be glad that Historie had a new chapter this month! Woohoo! Apparently, as the author's note states, Iwaaki's workplace had a leak and "a lot" got wet and had to be salvaged. Also, in the aftermath of the affair, he also seems to have strained his body and had to allow his body to recuperate. For this reason, I assume, the last page of this Historie chapter now says it is on a bi-monthly schedule, meaning a chapter every other month. I don't know if this is temporary but I very much hope so, or we'll never see this manga end. Also, Historie v8 just went on sale in Japan, so I'll eventually try to put out better scanlations using the tankoban raws when I can find it like I did with v7.

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20 August 2013

Sangokushi v35 (last updated Sept 7)

GET HYPE. ZHANG FEI VS. MA CHAO. The duel of all duels, coming this volume! Also, it can be rather humorous to come across such romanticized depictions like the pic below in RotK after getting acquainted with the academic literature written about the Three Kingdoms period.
To quote the historian Rafe de Crespigny, "Shu-Han was founded as a warlord enterprise in a provincial state, and it never became anything more." For those of you who're curious and don't mind spoilers to the story, this article (where the quote is from) offers a nice concise history on this period: https://digitalcollections.anu.edu.au/html/1885/42048/3KWJin.html
Such a beautiful poem, no doubt more beautiful in the original tale due to the conciseness of written-Chinese. There're many poems included in Luo Guanzhong's Romance of the Three Kingdoms but excluded in the manga. It's nice to see this one was kept in and I hope my translation hasn't butchered it.
Ahh, the feigned-retreat. Probably the most successful battle tactic in history.
I think Ma Chao is in his mid-30s while Zhang Fei's either in his mid-40s or pushing 50s at this point.
Sorry for the break but I'll get this volume wrapped up before doing the next Zero volume. Also, I've messed up the chapter title order in the table of contents page. I'll have it fixed for the volume-release.

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