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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 3:04 pm 
"Manga," as you may or may not know, is Japanese comics. They are originally published in Japan in magazines (such as Shonen Jump (link leads to the English version of the Japanese magazine) or Ribbon) which are published weekly or bi-weekly, and will feature many different titles in a single issue at the rate of a single chapter per issue. They are also published in volumes of 10 chapters per book after the original publication in the magazines. There are many different genres to manga, ranging from action and adventure (Dragonball Z, Naruto), to romance (Love Hina, Ai Yori Aoshi) to historical dramas (Rurouni Kenshin), to comedy (Great Teacher Onizuka) to pornography (I don't know any titles, so don't ask), to horror (Pet Shop of Horrors, The Ring), to the downright bizzar (Iron Wok Jam, a title about cooking of all things). Many titles contain more than one, or even all of the above listed. As such, there is something for everybody. In fact, Manga is the number one source of entertainment for people in Japan. Men and women of all ages read manga.

As of late, the genre has had a major boom in popularity in North America. It used to be that there were only two or three companies that would translate and publish manga fr the English speaking audience (such as Viz and Dark Horse), and these books were 'Americanized" by flipping the images (since Japanese comics are read right to left rather than left to right), and translating all the sound effects (sometimes covering up more of the picture than the original SFX did). These books were expensive too, usually costing about $15 USD or more per volume. In 1997, a company called Tokyopop was started. They listened to the fans, and began publishing their comics in the original right-to-left format (so it could be read "as the author intended"), and left the SFX untranslated. They also reduced the price to below $10. It was then that manga's popularity started to grow in North America. Since then, most companies publish their manga in the original right-to-left format, and leave the SFX alone, and at the lower price. Viz even started publishing the Shonen Jump magazine in North America, and publishes the stories within in volume form at an even lower price (less than $8). Other companies have also come into the fold, including the major anime publishing company ADV, and the major publsishing company Del Rey (a subsidary of Random House Publications Inc.)

Of course, there were problems in the beginning. For instance, Tokyopop had poor editors. There are numerous occasions in the manga Love Hina where there are blank bubbles, or the bubbles need to be read left to right, or even grammatical errors. There are also still instances of Americanization in some of the titles. Initial D is about a tofu delivery guy who races in his car, but in the TP edition, he delivers pizza. They have been getting better though, and have even introduced a new idea to the translations: name honourifics (-chan, -san, -dono etc. Used extensively in Japanese culture.) Viz has even been known to list the names in the Japanese convention, family name first, followed by personal name (they do this in Rurouni Kenshin).

So my question to you is this: Is this boom all just the latest fad? Or will it become a part of the American and Canadian culture? Will it eventually become just as popular here as it is in Japan? And how do you feel the publishing compaies are handleing the translations? Should they be slightly Americanzed to make for ease in comprehension, or should they be published with the best possible translation (since Japanese cannot be exactly translated to English) with footnotes for any cultural ambiguities?


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 4:48 pm 
For my money, manga is going the way of comic books in the 60s, 70s, and even part of the 80s.

Right now, you can find almost anything in the manga market. You have your teen romance stories, your horror tales, your heroes, your action, your tragedy...

Pretty much along the lines of what we had in our own country way back in the day (Anybody else remember E.C. Comics?)

However, both recently in American and Japanese comics, there's been an explosion of new talent willing to try new things. Manga is easily going to become a staple in the world of comics.

...the only group I honestly wish would go away is Clamp. If you've read their books, you'd know why. :?


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 4:59 pm 
I would not mind if manga became the staple, I just hope that the style doens't take over, just the idea of using many different genres. Don't get me wrong, I like the style of anime and manga, but I've noticed that some American comics are starting to copy it (Marvel has a lineup of "manga" now, which is in B&W and published with the Japanese style). If the American companies can see that the readers like to read stories other than superhero stories, then it would be great.

As for CLAMP, I have not read any of their work, but I've seen the anime verison of both Chobits(which I liked) and X/1999(which I hated). Why do you want ot see this group die? They seem to be rather popular.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 5:02 pm 
You mean all the androgynes? *shudder*

I hope manga will last, because it's put a dent in our conventional American attitude of treating drawn and animated storytelling as kid stuff. Younger generations are realizing that comics and cartoons are just different ways of telling a story, with advantages over the other types, and they'll be more willing to work in those fields without bias. Consequently, the world of storytelling will become more diverse.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 5:15 pm 
Rakka wrote:
For my money, manga is going the way of comic books in the 60s, 70s, and even part of the 80s.

Right now, you can find almost anything in the manga market. You have your teen romance stories, your horror tales, your heroes, your action, your tragedy...

Pretty much along the lines of what we had in our own country way back in the day (Anybody else remember E.C. Comics?)

However, both recently in American and Japanese comics, there's been an explosion of new talent willing to try new things. Manga is easily going to become a staple in the world of comics.

...the only group I honestly wish would go away is Clamp. If you've read their books, you'd know why. :?


Clamp. The group responsable for Magic Knight Rayearth. I hated that book.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 5:30 pm 
Well, here's the deal. I liked Rayearth.

I even liked Chobits, somewhat.

But they have some serious issues with printing. Issue four of Clover came out...what, 1999? We're still waiting for number 5 here, people!

There's a few other reasons why I have personal issues with the company, but I have enjoyed some of the works.

And as for the 'Americans copying Japanese' detail...

Good.

The more people in American comics who try to copy other art styles, the better. We need less Rob Liefelds in the industry. And the more they learn, he more they can make their own style.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 5:41 pm 
Maybe I should pick it back up, but it just rubbed me wrong when I started reading it.

I have a friend who is obsessed with X/1999. Can't say I share his passion, but at least the males and females can be distinguished in that book.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 5:50 pm 
Rakka wrote:
And as for the 'Americans copying Japanese' detail...

Good.

The more people in American comics who try to copy other art styles, the better. We need less Rob Liefelds in the industry. And the more they learn, he more they can make their own style.

Ok, I see your point, but somehow I don't think it will work out that way. As it stands now, I get the feeling that the people who do copy the style are doing it because they think that's what the people want to see. I would rather they do whatever style they want, and just explore other genres.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 6:08 pm 
Maveric wrote:
Rakka wrote:
And as for the 'Americans copying Japanese' detail...

Good.

The more people in American comics who try to copy other art styles, the better. We need less Rob Liefelds in the industry. And the more they learn, he more they can make their own style.

Ok, I see your point, but somehow I don't think it will work out that way. As it stands now, I get the feeling that the people who do copy the style are doing it because they think that's what the people want to see. I would rather they do whatever style they want, and just explore other genres.


More than likely, you're right. But there will be those that get their own defining style.

Remember back when Image Comics first became huge? Everybody wanted to draw like Turner, Liefeld, or MacFarlane (the poor bastards).

Those copycats can't really get work anymore for the big companies. And they're still being weeded out. I expect that's going to happen here, too. We'll get a brief flood of copycat artists, and then in a year or two (which isn't that long, in comic book time) it'll all come back to status quo with a group of truly talented artists leading the way.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 6:43 pm 
Rakka wrote:
...the only group I honestly wish would go away is Clamp. If you've read their books, you'd know why. :?

Ah-hem. My favorite manga series, hands down, is Cardcaptor Sakura. Don't be dissin' the Clamp.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 6:48 pm 
DarthBaboon wrote:
Maybe I should pick it back up, but it just rubbed me wrong when I started reading it.

I have a friend who is obsessed with X/1999. Can't say I share his passion, but at least the males and females can be distinguished in that book.

I really liked Rayearth. I've never read X, but I saw the anime... and it was confusing.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 7:40 pm 
packy wrote:
Rakka wrote:
...the only group I honestly wish would go away is Clamp. If you've read their books, you'd know why. :?

Ah-hem. My favorite manga series, hands down, is Cardcaptor Sakura. Don't be dissin' the Clamp.


I'll be dissing Clamp all I want to. So there. :P


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 7:46 pm 
packy wrote:
Rakka wrote:
...the only group I honestly wish would go away is Clamp. If you've read their books, you'd know why. :?

Ah-hem. My favorite manga series, hands down, is Cardcaptor Sakura. Don't be dissin' the Clamp.

Did you go to that Del Rey site I linked? The sequel to CCS, Tsubasa is out.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 8:16 pm 
I like manga. I have...issues with American attempts at it.

Way too many American artists copy just the superficial details (Huge eyes and zillions of speed lines! Shiny shading!) and popular cliches (Giant robots! Girls in sailor suits! Geeky guys who hot alien/mythological/etc. women fall all over for no real reason!) without grasping much else. In the professional field, a lot of artists basically just grafted that stuff onto an Image-esque American style where it doesn't really fit (see: Joe Madueira) except in some highly idiosyncratic cases (see: Chris Bachalo). That's not to say that American and Japanese techniques are wholly incompatible, but that some thought needs to be put into making the two strains mesh comfortably rather than just drawing Wonder Woman with eyes bigger than her fists.

Of the folks who do a "pure" manga style, there's a definite and distrubing tendency towards sameness--what I call "How To Draw Manga syndrome" because they all end up looking just like the drawings in that popular series. This annoys me because manga is notable for a very wide range of styles: compare Rumiko Takahashi, Akira Toriyama, Masamune Shirow, Osamu Tezuka, and Katsuhiro Otomo. But most "American manga artists" seem to have the exact same influences. There are some notable exceptions: Fred Perry, Lea Hernandez, Josh Lesnick, and Adam Warren.

Many (including ones who do a "pure" manga style) have learned nothing from manga storytelling style, and write comics the same way as everything else on the American market--little progress has been made there.

Oh, and the use of Japanese honorifics in translated manga serves no purpose. It's just there to score points with purist fans.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 8:44 pm 
gwalla wrote:
Oh, and the use of Japanese honorifics in translated manga serves no purpose. It's just there to score points with purist fans.

I know, but sometimes the use of honourifics or calling a person by their personal name rather than their family name is important to the story.

WARNING! MAJOR LOVE HINA SPOILERS! READ AT OWN RISK!

For example: I read a scanlation of Love Hina before I bought the TP books. In the original (or at least as original as the translator made it), Keitaro always called Naru by her last name, Narusegawa. He did it because it is more formal to call her that, and since he was always shy around her, he never felt comfortable calling her Naru. In fact, there are two instances where he calls her Narusegawa when he really shouldn't, once while they were making out (she asks him to call her Naru when their alone after that), and on the very last page after they're married (she responds that Narusegawa isn't her family name anymore and he laughs). These scenes were changed in the TP release because he called her Naru right from the start.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 11:03 pm 
gwalla wrote:
Oh, and the use of Japanese honorifics in translated manga serves no purpose. It's just there to score points with purist fans.

I beg to differ. There are places where the honorifics are crucial to what's going on, and by leaving them out, you're losing a great deal of information.

The best example I can think of is an anime, not a manga, but the principle applies. (spoilage follows) In one scene, Captain Testarossa and Lt. Cmdr. Kalinin are captured by the enemy. For the entire series so far, Kalinin is deferential to the Captain to the extreme: she's always -sama. However, when the enemy comes in to interrogate them, and Tessa begins to speak, he cuts her off by calling her "Tessa-kun". It was so shocking, I held my breath as he explained that he was in command, not her, and that they should direct all questions to him.

Would an english translation without the honorifics have eventually gotten the point across? Probably. But without the honorifics, there wasn't the moment of shock when he first uses a different one.

So, no, honorifics aren't just there to "score points with purists." They're there to provide the extra information for the people who bother to learn what they mean.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2004 1:15 am 
In case nobody caught what Packy was talking about, that was from the anime Full Metal Panic! :D


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2004 1:23 am 
I love Full Metal Panic. :D

And there is one key difference. You're translating something from an entirely different culture. If you just fully adapt it over to another culture, you are going to miss a large chunk of what makes the characters who they are. Titles of honor, titles of friendship, titles of indifference...they add so much or take away so much from a story.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2004 7:50 am 
Maveric wrote:
In case nobody caught what Packy was talking about, that was from the anime Full Metal Panic! :D

I could have sworn I typed Full Metal Panic. My browser must hate me.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2004 11:35 pm 
Maveric wrote:
...to historical dramas (Rurouni Kenshin)...
I hate to pick nits, but Rurouni Kenshin is far from a historical drama. While it does mention several real personalities and events which occurred during the Meiji Restoration, the general focus of the series is your basic Ronin legend mixed with the usual "guard the dojo's secrets" storyline. The martial arts described are completely fantastic and the situations are mostly improbable. This isn't to say that RK is a bad series, just not a very realistic one.
For true historical dramas, watch "Grave of the Fireflies" or read any of the serious adaptions of "The Tale of Genji". There are also excellent non-historical dramatic manga like "Eagle" which explores the idea of a Japanese/American presidential candidate. In a pseudo-historical vein there is "Adolph" which chronicals the lives of three different men with the same first name from just prior to WWII all the way to its aftermath.
Note: One of the three is exactly who you think he is.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2004 6:20 pm 
I actually bought an american made manga style that doesn't actually follow any of the manga stereotypes. It's called Death: At Death's Door. It's a Sandman (which is not manga) spinoff. Has the kind of comical and serious at the same time feel to it that a lot of other manga has.

My favorite manga is, hands down, Akira


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2004 3:20 pm 
Rakka wrote:
I love Full Metal Panic. :D

And there is one key difference. You're translating something from an entirely different culture. If you just fully adapt it over to another culture, you are going to miss a large chunk of what makes the characters who they are. Titles of honor, titles of friendship, titles of indifference...they add so much or take away so much from a story.


I agree. Several manga's I've seen keep the honourifics but translate them inbetween panels, like how American Comics reference past issues. If manga's had a glossary, say, of key terms (for example, what baka or -niisan mean), that would make me buy more.

Are there any glossaries on the web?


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2004 4:18 pm 
Mcfarlane Salsa wrote:
Rakka wrote:
I love Full Metal Panic. :D

And there is one key difference. You're translating something from an entirely different culture. If you just fully adapt it over to another culture, you are going to miss a large chunk of what makes the characters who they are. Titles of honor, titles of friendship, titles of indifference...they add so much or take away so much from a story.


I agree. Several manga's I've seen keep the honourifics but translate them inbetween panels, like how American Comics reference past issues. If manga's had a glossary, say, of key terms (for example, what baka or -niisan mean), that would make me buy more.

Are there any glossaries on the web?


There are indeed.

"Baka" means "idiot" or "stupid". It's a prime example of a Japanese word that is left untranslated for no good goddamn reason. "Hai" means "yes", and is also left untranslated a lot of the time.

"-niisan" means "older brother" but is frequently used figuratively by younger children with older boys when there is no actual blood relationship. "-neesan" means "older sister" and is used the same way.


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