7 September 2017

Some Explanations on Soil

And Soil v11 is done at last, making this another formerly dead scanlation project successfully revived and finished! It's weird realizing that it's been 12 fucking years since I first read Kotonoha's initial release back in 2005. Time sure flies by, though I'm sure for many fans of Soil, the waiting inbetween releases was a much more painful experience. Please do thank my editor Kennit for his job on the series. It's not exactly a secret that I'm no stickler for releasing scans with super high resolution, amazing cleaning, and professional typesetting. I usually just work as a one-man team, and since my main focus is on translation, I don't care about the "technical" side to scanlation. So it was a great stroke of luck that Kennit offered to help on Soil, leading to really good-looking releases. Unfortunately, this'll be his last project with me so if there's any skilled editor who wants to help me out with Planet of Sutakola PLEASE do contact me.

In any case, as I promised before, I'll give a basic explanation for the mysteries in Soil. I might be repeating obvious information for many readers, but I'm explaining it for those who found it hard to keep track of plot points, especially due to the sporadic releases. Lots of spoilers ahead, so read the entire series first.

Download:
Soil v11 c89:   Mega
Soil v11:   Mega
All previous Soil volumes:   Mega

3 September 2017

Some Thoughts About Modernity

I'll have what he's having.
If academics love anything, it's to squabble over definition of terms, whether it's because it's too general, teleological, materialist, theoretical, anthropocentric, or just plain "problematic." Even something like the term "species" which the average person learns in middle school how to define turns out to be hella difficult to define. And among these wars of definition, modernity stands out as one of the most nebulous terms. As each discipline has its own internal debate on whatever the hell it really means, trying to find a consensus definition a little more precise than "something not ancient" (and let's define ancient as something not modern!) seems futile. I personally don't care too much about these debates; rather than being real issues, they seem more like problems we inadvertently created for ourselves because our brains desire specific ways of subjective categorization which the universe just laughs at and refuses to play along. That being said, I couldn't help but think about one way to look at modernity when I recently read Seeing Like a State. So in this post, which isn't meant to be a review of the book in any way, I'll touch upon the book's idea of high modernism as I ponder about modernity in general.

26 August 2017

Historie Chapter 100

New Historie chapter. For some reason, it seems Iwaaki made Leonnatus' father Anteas hail from Orestis, even though the historical records say he was a royal noble of the Lynkestis kingdom that was annexed by Macedonia as can be seen in the above picture. If he wanted another famous historical figure, he could have instead chose Seleucus, since the records say his father was from Orestis. Who knows, maybe the change will have some significance later on.

Download:
Historie c100:   Mega

19 August 2017

Wombs v4 (complete)

Well, it certainly took a long time, but volume 4 is finally done! Hard to believe there's only one more volume left. It'll be a little while before I return to do the 5th and final volume though. I'm planning to spend the remainder of August and September doing volume 2 of Futago no Teikoku and volume 3 of Shiji. But after that, I'll finish up Wombs and translate some short projects that are long-overdue. As for Soil and Planet of Sutakola, please do be patient as that depends on how much free time I can steal from my editor's busy life.

Download:
Wombs v4:   Mega
Previous Volumes: Mega

5 August 2017

Past and Present - 08/2017 (last updated Aug. 5)

Ughh, July was a real pain for me but it's finally over, meaning more free time at last! Hopefully I can finally do that post on Seeing Like a State like I wanted to 2 months ago but first, some current events stuff.

Translation of Wombs will be resuming btw, for those of you wondering what the fuck was going on.

1 July 2017

Pausanias of Orestes - Historie c99

Looks like the assassination arc is finally happening. I would be hype, but I wonder how long it'll last considering Iwaaki's release-pace?

Download:
Historie c99:   Mega

7 June 2017

Past and Present - 06/2017 (last updated June 15)

Been super busy the past two weeks, and as luck would have it, that also coincided with a whole bunch of shit going down in the world. So my June's edition of Past and Present is mainly me trying to catch up on all the big stuff. I'll post history papers next week. History papers now added.

P.S. Thanks to the guy who recommended me James Scott's Seeing Like a State. I wanna write some sort of loosely-related essay, but give me some time.

1 May 2017

Past and Present - 05/2017

I felt like I haven't read enough papers as of late, so I'll start the May edition of Past and Present by posting a whole slew of papers. Hopefully, at least one or two of these will be of interest to people.

28 April 2017

Shiji v2: Revenge-Seekers (complete)

Some closing comments on this volume which dealt with two famous revenge-stories in the Spring and Autumn period. Goujian's story is worth remembering for playing a huge role in Chiang Kai-Shek's Nationalist (Kuomintang) party's rhetoric/propaganda. The humiliation that Goujian endured to eventually enact his revenge deeply resonated among Chinese in light of Japan's aggressive foreign policy during the early 20th century and the Woxin Changdan (臥薪嚐膽) idiom was frequently used as a nationalist slogan. Chiang Kai-Shek, born in Zhejiang which was the same place that Yue was situated, similarly saw the connections between Goujian and himself. He ordered the compilation of Goujian's biography in two versions (one in literary, the other as colloquial) and his personal diaries note how he used Goujian's story to convince himself not to respond to Japanese provocations even in the face of harsh vocal opposition. After defeat in the Civil War to the communists, Chiang and the Nationalists still holding out in Taiwan once again evoked Goujian's story to nurture hope. For more detailed information, I recommend reading History and Popular Memory: The Power of Story in Moments of Crisis.
Meanwhile in Japan, Woxin Changdan (pronounced as Gashin Shoutan in Japanese) was famously evoked regarding the Triple Intervention to settle the First Sino-Japanese War. Japan saw the foreign diplomatic intervention as an under-handed Russian scheme which robbed Japan of greater gains from the war. As Japan was in no shape to confront a Russia backed by France and Germany at the time, it endured the humiliating conditions only to later have its revenge in the Russo-Japanese War.

Now regarding Wu Zixu, the Shiji chapter on his life is notable for concluding with a commentary from Sima Qian:
The poison of resentment in man is extreme indeed! A king cannot provoke it in a minister, much less in a peer! If previously Wu Zixu had been made to follow Wu She in death, how would he differ from an ant? But he rejected a small principle to wipe away a great shame, and his name is passed on to later generations. Now, whether hard-pressed on the Yangtze River or begging food along the road, how could his mind, even for a moment, forget Ying? Therefore, he silently endured and obtained merit and fame. If not a man of virtue, how could he have reached to this?
If you recall the very first chapter of this manga which covered Sima Qian's life, you'll remember that Sima Qian also chose to endure shame by being castrated in order to complete his father's dream of writing the Shiji. It's clear that Sima Qian saw himself in the story of Wu Zixu, but as historian Stephen W. Durrant notes in The Cloudy Mirror, their methods of revenge are different in style. Wu Zixu violated ethical norms by whipping a corpse while Sima Qian simply slaved away in the imperial archives and wrote a book. So if Sima Qian concludes that Wu Zixu "silently endured and obtained merit," then it's more likely a case of Sima Qian becoming carried away by his own biases and describing his own situation instead of Wu Zixu's life.

Hope you enjoyed the short history lesson. I'll do volume 3 in late summer/early fall.

Download:
Shiji v02:   Mega
Shiji v02 c01:   Mega
Shiji v02 c02:   Mega
Shiji v02 c04:   Mega
Previous volumes: Mega

26 April 2017

Historie c98

Finally, a new fucking chapter! Unfortunately a short, fluff chapter, apparently due to Iwaaki's work on the recently released tankoban release of volume 10.
On a tangential note, I noticed that Iwaaki's new series, Reiri (he only wrote the story for this), is already at the 3rd volume. Anyone read this yet? Planning on giving it a read this month.

Download:
Historie c98:   Mega

1 April 2017

Soil v10 (complete)

It's not an April Fool's joke. Volume 10 is now finally done!

Download:
Soil v10:   Mega
Previous Soil volumes:   Mega
Soil v10 c73:   Mega
Soil v10 c74:   Mega
Soil v10 c75:   Mega
Soil v10 c76:   Mega
Soil v10 c77:   Mega
Soil v10 c78:   Mega
Soil v10 c79:   Mega
Soil v10 c80:   Mega

Past and Present - 04/2017 (last updated Apr. 20)

Been pretty tired and busy lately, which explains why I didn't update much during March. I'll try to do better this month. Also for Soil fans, don't worry, more releases will be coming soon. My editor for that was also tied up last month. And I'll get started on 2nd volume of Shiji this month too.

16 March 2017

Patapata Rosine!! (NSFW)

In case this blog was getting a little too serious/pretentious with all my posts on history and politics, here's one for the common rabble. This is part 3 of Studio Tar's Berserk doujin series which was released back in Comiket 90 (Aug. 2016). I would've done it a lot sooner if anyone bothered to point it out to me, but no one did, and so I only found out about it last week when I was, umm... Researching things for purely academic purposes. *Ahem.* The image quality is rather poor, since I was working with fairly low-res raws, but I hope you enjoy it nonetheless. There'll be more serious manga releases coming later on.

P.S. I still think part 1 was the best.

Download:
Patapata Rosine!!:   Mega
You can get part 1 and part 2 here too.

1 March 2017

15 February 2017

War of Ideas - Japanese Naval Strategy in WW2

Having been a kid who played with toy guns and obsessed over FPS games back in the day, I always found war interesting. But there are, of course, many people who dislike military history and I think the video above is a good example of why. Just like people who hate history think it's an endless list of dates and names with no significance to their lives today, people who hate military history think it's just a bunch of battle dates/names and narratives of how side A killed more than side B. But military history is so much more than that. Consider this: The French Revolution wasn't important because of how many smelly peasants got pissed off and went on a rampage across Europe. The French Revolution still excites many today because it highlights the guiding power of ideas in our world. Ideas like a person's relationship to his state, the equality of man, sacral kingship, or the very purpose of society and its laws.

The power of ideas should have broad appeal to any human even moderately curious about the world. After all, we live in a time when ideas like liberalism, Islamism, globalism, and transgenderism are whirling about in a chaotic flux. I bring this up because war, like any human endeavour, is ultimately framed by ideas as well. So if you think military history is a boring list of battles, pedantic analysis about the merits of gun calibres, or inane arguments like if a samurai could beat a knight, then this is gonna be an ongoing series of posts about how ideas, such as what "war" is, influences the course and conduct of wars.

The first post to start this series is on WW2 Japanese naval strategy, or lack thereof, which might be stale stuff for WW2 buffs, but hopefully of interest to people who only ever learned WW2 in terms of  the holocaust, women being used on the home front, and final results of who won and who lost.

7 February 2017

Wombs v3 (complete)

Wombs v3 is now complete. Only 2 volumes left but I won't be getting to those right away. I'll probably return to Wombs v4 in late April or early May? If anyone has v5 raws, let me know because I still haven't seen it.

Download:
Wombs v3:   Mega
Wombs c23:   Mega

1 February 2017

Past and Present - 02/2017

Oh man, what a start to the year. It's fun to live in such interesting times. This'll be the Feb. edition of my Past and Present series.

15 January 2017

Past and Present - 01/2017

In case you couldn't tell with my non-fiction blogging which was only 1 post long in 2014, 3 posts in 2015, and 6 posts in 2016, I'm having a lot of fun doing these posts. So I've made a resolution for 2017 to regularly talk about real-world stuff in the past and present. You can expect more of the same kind of posts as I did for the books I read in 2015 & 2016. I'll also make short posts in which I share some links to papers or news articles I thought were fun, along with brief comments so people can decide whether or not to take a closer look. The news articles will mostly be political and by political, I mean stuff like the Korean Rasputin scandal or Erdogan's purges, not endless ranting about SJWs/alt-right crap. I claim absolutely NO ACADEMIC CREDENTIALS and there's plenty of smarter people doing this sort of stuff. I'm just doing this as a way to nudge me into trying to stay informed.

If you just come here for the releases and find these posts to be a clutter, you can click on the Manga Releases post categories that I've linked on the blog's top right corner.

This is January's post. I'll be updating it weekly until the end of the month.

8 January 2017

Shiji, Records of the Grand Historian (v1 complete)

So like I promised last year when I finished Sangokushi, I'm returning to Yokoyama Mitsuteru with his 15-volume adaptation of Shiji (I haven't forgotten about the other promises, they've just been... delayed). In case you haven't noticed from my history-related posts and my 60 volume-translation of Sangokushi, I'm a pretty big fan of Chinese history. And when it comes to Chinese history, there's arguably no other work more important as Sima Qian's Shiji (Records of the Grand Historian), which pretty much set how history should be told for not just Chinese, but through China's influence, for Koreans, Japanese, and Vietnamese as well. As the New Dictionary of History of Ideas writes:
The most important early figure in Chinese historical thought and writing, however, was the Han dynasty figure Sima Qian (145–86 B.C.E.). After the unification of various “Warring States” into a single empire by the violent but short-lived Qin (whose first emperor ordered an infamous book-burning and mass execution of scholars, virtually eliminating records of the conquered kingdoms), the succeeding Han emperors (206 B.C.E.–220 C.E.) created the stable conditions under which historiography could mature. Sima Qian, often known as the Grand Historian, did far more than write in his Shiji (Historical Records) a comprehensive account of Chinese history. He also evinced a clear sense of the historian’s purpose: to record major and minor occurrences accurately in order to counsel the present and to bestow fame on the good and infamy on evildoers. Perhaps most important, his model for the compilation of facts about the past with its clearly worked out format, a combination of year-by-year annals and individual biographical treatments, influenced the next two millennia of Chinese historical writing. No Western historian, not even Herodotus or Thucydides, can claim that kind of influence, nor does Western historical writing display the continuity of a systematic and eventually institutionalized approach to the past that is exemplified by China. Sima Qian created various categories for the representation of the past that would be developed and augmented by subsequent writers. By the time he finished the Shiji that his father had begun, it was nearly four times the size of Thucydides’ Peloponnesian War. The Shiji would come to be regarded as the first in a long series of twenty-four “Standard Histories” (zhengshi), the official history of a dynasty written under its successor dynasty. (The Shiji itself, since it covered both the Han and their predecessors, is an exception to the rule that Standard Histories cover only one dynasty and are written after its fall).
I'll probably do a longer Some Thoughts post on Sima Qian and Shiji once I finish this project but the main reason why I'm translating this is because there's a lack of easily accessible "fun" narrative history for early Chinese periods. Yokoyama's Shiji manga is full of interesting stories about famous assassins, ministers, kings, and generals, so I hope this'll get some people interested in Chinese history, just as Sangokushi can help people get into the RotTK fandom.

Release pace will probably be 1 volume every 2-3 months since I plan to juggle it with other projects.

Download:
Shiji v01:   Download
Shiji v1 c01:   Download
Shiji v1 c02:   Download
Shiji v1 c03:   Download
Shiji v1 c04:   Download