27 December 2015

Some Thoughts on Books I read in 2015 - Part 3

With 2015 coming to a close, it's time to wrap up my thoughts on the books I read this year. As one poster requested, I've made a goodreads account that has most of the books I've read in the past 2-3 years. I'm not gonna go back any further than that to add all the comic books and fiction I've read, as I'm planning on using it as a non-fiction shelf that I can refer to when my memory gets hazy. I don't really intend on writing out reviews there (though I will rate them), as I prefer making these Some Thoughts which gives me more room to post longer, sometimes meandering, posts on whatever came to my mind while reading.

P.S. Sorry to the folks who'd rather see me talk about manga than history. My next Some Thoughts post will be for Sangokushi, and I'll try to talk about it more of as a manga than for its historical aspects.

24 December 2015

Merry KFC Day

Happy KFC day, everyone. Here's the new chapter of My-little-prince-can't-be-this-schizophrenic. I like the dual-panel Iwaaki uses to split Alexander's face to convey this point. If only he could release on a monthly basis...
Manga list: Click here
Also, a few days ago, a couple guys and I made a new 50 manga-list on /a/ for fun. As the title reads, its purpose is to highlight some attention to stuff that have gotten scanlated over the past few years and were never included in the much older charts. Excuse some of the more memetic taglines if you're not into that, but I wanted to make it stand out a little more than blandly listing genres. I haven't read all of them myself, so I can't personally vouch for their quality, but at the very least, they should be worth reading. I know shoujo and josei are extremely underrepresented on this list, so if you've read any good shoujo/josei manga that have only just started getting scanlations in the last couple years, please feel free to throw them out in this thread.

Historie c93:   Sendspace
Manga list: Click here

28 November 2015

Some Thoughts on Books I read in 2015 - Part 2

Political maps are deceiving. As a kid, when you look at political maps showing the neat little borders of powerful states in the past, you inevitably wonder why they couldn't expand in a certain direction, or how in the world they were defeated by another state so much smaller than them or sometimes by those who didn't even possess states! One of the reasons I like reading military history is that it helps me fill in these whys. But the military is just one, albeit important, aspect which influenced a state's fortunes. Strong governments and armies ultimately have to have some sort of economic backing, and I'm embarrassed to admit how late it was until I truly understood this. As a teen who was more interested in science than business or economics, I'd be satisfied by simple comments such as "trade flourished" or "economy was prosperous" in pop. history books. I never questioned the details of trade, how exactly governments collected revenue, or financed policies. I think the turning point was when I read a few books about the decline of the Spanish empire. Although there were cultural and demographic factors which also contributed to the empire's decline, Spain's poor economic policies which failed to improve its fiscal soundness and develop its economy unlike England or the Netherlands was what left the strongest impression on me. So now I'm slowly but steadily trying to get into economic history (hence the choice of books in this post) and it's fantastic because I'm starting to see a whole new way of viewing the past. If you're like me and ignored the interplay of economics and political history, I highly encourage you to do so as well.

23 November 2015

Sangokushi v56 (complete)

v56 is finally done. Looks like it's gonna be a Feb 2016 finish for Sangokushi since there's still 4 volumes left. Enjoy!

Sangokushi c400:   Sendspace
Sangokushi v56:   Mega;   Mediafire
All Previous Sangokushi volumes:   Mega;   Mediafire

11 November 2015

Sangokushi v55 (complete)

Volume 55 is now complete! If you think the Northern campaigns have been entertaining so far, you haven't seen anything yet. Get ready to see even crazier baits and traps in the coming volumes.

Sangokushi c391:   Sendspace
Sangokushi v55:   Mega;   Mediafire
All Previous Sangokushi volumes:   Mega;   Mediafire

2 November 2015

Sangokushi v54 (complete)

This sly motherfucker
Vol. 54 is now complete! That last chapter was a thing of beauty with Sima Yi putting on an oscar-worthy performance of hiding how much he wants that seal of command, even going so far as to make Cao Zhen worry about the Wu army even though he just told the Wei emperor that that was just a bluff, all in order to make it impossible for Cao Zhen to not hand over the seal. It is interesting to note that this whole part in the original novel is pretty terse on the description so it's quite easy to miss reading between the lines about where Sima Yi's intentions really lie. In Yokoyama's version, however, this is emphasized via the depiction of Sima Yi's smile in the picture above, an extended conversation between Cao Zhen and Sima Yi, and last but not least, the narration on p.201 explicitly saying Sima Yi wanted the seal all along. Of course, one could always make the argument that Sima Yi is genuinely concerned for Cao Zhen but I don't really buy that.

Sangokushi c382:   Sendspace
Sangokushi v54:   Mega;   Mediafire
All Previous Sangokushi volumes:   Mega;   Mediafire

26 October 2015

Historie c92

Finally a new chapter of Historie! These bi-monthly waits are killing me... I'm curious to see where Iwaaki is going with this "stranded cavalryman."

In other news, Iwaaki's side comments in this chapter mentions that he's now starting that new manga project he's been planning for some time now. You can read the news yourself here at this link. Iwaaki is looking forward to how the project will turn out under an artist who's been working with different genre of stories, as will I.

Historie c92: Sendspace

23 October 2015

Some Thoughts on Books I read in 2015 - Part 1

Around the same time last year, I decided to talk about real books for once. I initially wrote it as a change of pace from usual manga topics, but I realized it was a nice way to refresh my memory of books I enjoyed. So I'll do the same for books I've read this year. I was planning to do all of the books in one post, but I just realized I've already wrote almost 4000 words just to talk about 3 books, so I'll stop for now and write another post in November and December. Once again, these are all non-fiction as I get my dosage of fiction from anime, manga, and movies. For book lovers without a good local library, this site is your friend.

*P.S. I've also been thinking of starting a separate history blog, so as to keep these kinds of posts separate from this site, which was intended to be mainly for manga content. If any of you are up for this, or would rather have me keep all of my Some Thoughts posts on this site, let me know.

7 October 2015

Sangokushi v53 (complete)

And v53 is now complete. One minor change I'd like to point out is that in the novel, Cao Zhen is willing to give Jiang Wei the benefit of the doubt out of simple eagerness and confidence. In Yoshikawa Eiji's version, and consequently this manga, it's Jiang Wei's famous filial piety that convinces Cao Zhen to give him the benefit of his doubt. If I had to pick, I certainly like this change better as it makes Cao Zhen seem a little less incompetent (historically, he was quite capable and can claim much credit in the first two Northern campaigns). However, this change is only possible because it omits a brief but very clear mention in the original novel that Kongming specifically moved Jiang Wei's mother to Hanzhong during the general withdrawal in the first Northern campaign in the aftermath of the defeat at Jieting.
from v52
As you can see here, both the manga and novel mentions that Kongming evacuated the people of Tianshui, Nanan, and Anding to Hanzhong. So although Yoshikawa eliminated the reference to the relocation of Jiang Wei's mother to set up a more convincing reason as to Cao Zhen's behaviour at the end of v53, the careful reader might then wonder why Kongming was careless enough to leave Jiang Wei's mother behind in soon-to-be Wei territory, even though he relocated many of the other civilians. So B+ for the effort, Yoshikawa Eiji, but not quite good enough, I'd say.

P.S. I'm aware that I'm probably the only English-speaking person who cares about this incredibly minor change between the two versions.

Sangokushi c372:   Sendspace
Sangokushi c373:   Sendspace
Sangokushi v53:   Mega;   Mediafire
All Previous Sangokushi volumes:   Mega;   Mediafire

27 September 2015

Sangokushi v52 (complete)

And with chapter 365, the first Northern campaign draws to a disappointing close for Kongming. Although this campaign serves as a build-up for the more protracted showdown between Kongming and Sima Yi later on, you should keep in mind that in history, the only thing Sima Yi actually did was put down Meng Da's revolt. So Cao Zhen, despite getting an unflattering treatment in the novel, can claim most of the credit along with Zhang He for the successful Wei defense.

Sangokushi c365:   Sendspace
Sangokushi v52:   Mega;   Mediafire (added missing page 2)
All Previous Sangokushi volumes:   Mega;   Mediafire

24 September 2015

New Year's Eve [oneshot]

A guy emailed me with the raws of a Asano Inio oneshot that was part of the menthol cigarette anthology a couple days ago. Since it was short, I thought I'd do it now before getting started on the next Sangokushi volume. Nothing extraordinary, but a cute little story that manages to use cigarettes in its story without seeming like blatant advertising or subliminal SMOKE NOW messaging. Oh, how Kate would disapprove...
New Year's Eve:   Mega;   Sendspace

15 September 2015

Sangokushi v51 (complete)

Chapters 355 and 356 are out, bringing v51 to a close. For the batch volume release, I made the last update to the cast of characters pages I ever will. Looking back, it's definitely been a sloppy over the years, but maybe at least 2 or 3 people found it helpful. 

Sangokushi v51:   Mega;   Mediafire
Sangokushi c355:   Sendspace
Sangokushi c356:   Sendspace

For all previous Sangokushi volumes:   Mega;   Mediafire

30 August 2015

Sangokushi v50 (ongoing)

Finally, volume 50 is complete, meaning I'm 83.3% done! Just 10 more volumes to go. Unfortunately, I don't think I'll be able to finish before the end of the year, but I'm more than confident I can wrap up Sangokushi in early 2016 (March at the latest). For those who don't like the series, thanks for patiently waiting (I'll do lots of short new manga next year), and for those who do like the series, the last leg of the journey will be no short of entertaining battles.

Sangokushi c349:   Sendspace
Sangokushi c350:   Sendspace
Sangokushi v50:   Mega;   Mediafire
All previous Sangokushi volumes:   Mega;   Mediafire

24 August 2015

Historie c91

Here's this month's release. Enjoy!

Historie c91:   Sendspace
All previous volumes using the tankoban scans can also be found on my mega folder.

31 July 2015

Some Theories About Good Manga 14

Yes, I have 90s bias. Not that I'd willingly return to the days of dial-up internet if I had a time machine, but since the universe intertwined my childhood to this decade, home sweet home it is. It's a decade that the anime and manga industry can definitely look back fondly on, despite the burst of the Japanese economic bubble, as it gave birth to multiple series so popular as to become icons of their respective mediums and even Japan itself. For most Westerners, series like Dragon Ball, Sailor Moon, or Pokemon immediately come to mind. But for me, there's another series I look more fondly back on than any of these. A manga I fell in love with at the exact same age as its titular protagonist.

24 July 2015

Historie v09

No new chapter this month, but here's the tankoban scanlations of volume 9. Minor translation and grammatical errors were fixed for this release, but most notable is obviously the touched up art by Iwaaki. Below is an example for comparison. Enjoy the release!

Historie v09:   Mega
All previous volumes using the tankoban scans can also be found on my mega folder.

1 July 2015

Sangokushi v49 (complete)

Volume 49 is finally complete! The last chapter was short, but there was one particular section that was a real bitch to translate...
This damn list of appointing duties for the Northern campaign. The first problem is that I'm pretty sure the online version of C.H. Brewitt-Taylor translation of RotTK got the appointments wrong. For instance, Liao Hua is listed as one of the Central Army generals and Deng Zhi as a Right Army general. But in this manga, Liao Hua is listed as the Left Army general and Deng Zhi as a Central Army general. So to see who was right and who was wrong, I had to google for an online text of the novel in its original Chinese at Chinese Text Project. Although I can't "read" Chinese, I do know Chinese characters, and it's pretty clear the Brewitt-Taylor version is wrong (副將飛衛將軍廖化; 中監軍揚武將軍鄧芝). The second problem is that the titles of these generals are all left out in the Brewitt-Taylor translation, perhaps presumably to make it easier for English readers. As a result, I was left scratching my head at whether or not there was any conventional translation used by academics for terms like 飛衛將軍, 安遠將, or 揚武將軍. After googling, most seem to lack a commonly accepted translation, so I just went with whatever sounded best to me.

Also, I know shit like "General who Quells the North" sounds extremely long-winded and awkward for a title, but it sounds a lot more succinct and prestigious in the original Chinese.

That's it for now. I'm going to take a break before the Northern campaign starts and see if I can get the Historie volume out by this month's end like I mentioned before.

Sangokushi c342:   Sendspace
Sangokushi v49:   Mediafire;   Mega
All previous Sangokushi volumes:   Mega;   Mediafire

24 June 2015

Historie Resumes!

Finally, Historie's back! Iwaaki says in the side-comments that he's been busy fixing the art up for the tankoban release of v9 which came out earlier this month. He also mentions he enjoyed the parasyte movies. As for v9 release, I think I'll get to it sometime this summer. Maybe late July or early August?

Historie c90:   Sendspace (missing page added)

15 June 2015

Sangokushi v48 (complete)

Volume 48 is now done! If you can't stomach more of Meng Huo's brilliance, don't worry, there's only one last showdown left (in v49). And then it's... NORTHERN CAMPAIGN TIME!


Sangokushi v48:   Mega;   Mediafire
Sangokushi c333:   Sendspace
Sangokushi c334:   Sendspace
All previous Sangokushi volumes:   Mega;   Mediafire

3 June 2015

Sangokushi v47 (complete)

Time to resume the Southern campaigns.


Sangokushi v47:   Mega;   Mediafire   
Sangokushi c326:   Sendspace
All Previous Volumes:   Mega;   Mediafire

7 May 2015

Sangokushi v46 (complete)

Time to resume after a short break. The Southern campaigns is now kicking into full gear. It's a little odd how long this whole story-line is (5 chapters in novel, 4 and a half volumes in this manga), considering the Nanman tribes are barely mentioned, much less play a role, before and after this arc. In comparison, the hugely important Red Cliffs story-line is 7 chapters long in the novel and 3 volumes long in the manga (counting from Zhuge Liang's arrival to Wu until Guan Yu letting Cao Cao escape). As such, it might feel like a "filler arc," in the loose sense of that word, but it's still an entertaining campaign nonetheless as the exotic southern locale brings surprises unlike any in the story so far. I hope you have fun reading it.

*VOLUME 46 NOW COMPLETE. I'm also going to take a short break and start v47 in June.

Sangokushi v46:   Mediafire;   Mega
Sangokushi c318:   Sendspace

19 April 2015

Sangokushi v45 (complete)

Time for v45, "Liu Bei's Death." Although the volume's title certainly leaves little room for surprises, it'll be a fun read and Zhuge Liang's famous Southern campaigns will finally begin at the end!
Finally, the campaign begins! Also, I realized I accidentally typed Nanman as Naiman in pg 92, probably because I was thinking of the Naiman turks from the Chinggis Khan manga I recently translated. For those curious, Nan () means South, and Man () means barbarian, so Nanman literally means Southern barbarian. Incidentally, the same term was used by the Japanese ("Nanban" in Japanese pronunciation) to describe the Western Europeans, because they sailed up from Indonesia and the Philippines to reach Japan.


Sangokushi v45:   Mediafire;   Mega
Sangokushi c311:   Sendspace

4 April 2015

Sangokushi v44

Going to be non-stop war for quite some volumes from hereon. Although Red Cliffs overshadows the other conflicts of the book in popular media, the wars triggered by Guan Yu's death is another exciting part of the story where the stakes run high. It's a shame the 2010 tv series pretty much skips both the Wei-Wu war and Zhuge Liang's southern campaigns.

Sangokushi v44:   Mediafire;   Mega
Sangokushi c304:   Sendspace

18 March 2015

Sangokushi v43

Onwards with volume 43. More deaths to come, sadly. The early 40s in this series are definitely quite heart-breaking for fans.


Sangokushi c296-297:   Sendspace
Sangokushi v43:   Mega;   Mediafire;   Sendspace
For all previous Sangokushi volumes:   Mega;   Mediafire

6 March 2015

Sangokushi v42 (complete!)

Back from my longer-than-intended break and ready to really focus on Sangokushi for the rest of the year, to the detriment of my plans for other projects. Expect pretty much a chapter every day unless they're really long as in 50 pages or more, in which case, every other day.


Sangokushi c287:   Sendspace
Sangokushi v42:   Mega;   Mediafire;   Sendspace
For all previous Sangokushi volumes:   Mega;   Mediafire

29 January 2015

Battle of Chaeronea (3)

This chapter actually came out in last month's issue of Afternoon, but I didn't realize that until like last week. Sorry, folks.

Also, CA is fucking incompetent for not having an orderly withdrawal button even after 15 years since the original Shogun Total war.

Historie c89:   Sendspace

6 January 2015

Some Thoughts on the Man and the Manga: Chinggis Khan

Happyscans and I finally bring you the last volume of Chinggis Khan, covering the brilliant, final two decades of his life. I meant to get this done by the end of December like I promised before, but what's life without a few bumps along the road? Now I know far more eloquent and well-learned people than me have already given their opinions on this controversial figure. Still, as a fan of history, there's no way I could pass up the opportunity to give my 2 cents on him, no matter how naive or poorly informed my ideas may be.

*Also, I'll be taking the rest of this month off to watch AGDQ2015 to be a more productive member to society.

Chinggis Khan v5:   Mega;   Sendspace
Chinggis Khan v1-5:   Mega
Hox's Mega Folder