This Week In Manga 11/28-12/4/09

Yu* Must Go

The January 2010 issue of Shonen Jump USA marks another change in the magazine.  Yu Yu Hakusho, one of the first 5 titles to debut with the magazine ends in this issue.  This makes it the only other title from the debut line up to complete it’s full run.  Sandland, a single volume title by Akira Toriyama was the other.  Yu-Gi-Oh GX “graduates” from SJ this month as well, going graphic novel only now.  So much for “there’ll always be a Yu-Gi-Oh title in Shonen Jump.”  And of course, the long awaited One Piece jump starts in this issue. I haven’t cared for some of the changes to SJ in the past, but a natural end like Yu Yu Hakusho is the way it should be.

What’s Lost in Translation

Matt Thorn, a cultural anthropologist (yeah!), associate professor and translator of manga, posts some advice to up and coming translators.  He has some good things to say, especially about finding the voice of a title.  He suggests some books to help with cultivating this, and stirs up a bit of a controversy in the comments.  Pay special attention to the comments from fellow translator William Flanagan.  One of the things Matt mentions in this debate is that reviewers don’t comment on the quality of the translation.  As a reviewer I have to say, I don’t know what I could say about a translation.  I don’t read Japanese.  I don’t know what the original voice of a series was and can’t say if it’s like the original or not.  I can comment on the prose, but I can’t say if the translator got the “voice” right or not.  It’s not something that’s easy to spot, unless it’s really obvious (Rave Master) or you have something to compare.  For example, I liked Tokyopop’s translation of tactics more than ADV’s.  I don’t know which is more accurate, but I know I liked the flow of TP’s better, and as a reader, that’s what really matters.

Manhwa vs Manga

This story from the Global Post is mostly a promotional piece for manhwa, or Korean comics, but it does have some interesting information in it, mostly about the modern history of manhwa.  I think the writer is going just a little to far with his claim that manhwa will replace Japanese manga, but there’s no denying that manhwa is getting more exposure.  Yen Press is leading this growth in the US,  with a wide variety of titles.  Unfortunately, many of them don’t get a fair shake from the fans.  Just like manga, there are good titles and not so good titles.  But no book should be dismissed out of hand just because of it’s country of origin, as both manhwa and OEL gets here in the states.  Try reading a volume or two, you might be surprised.  Don’t know where to start?  Go to Manga Bookshelf for the weekly Manhwa Monday roundup of reviews and links.

Opening A Can of Worms

On Wednesday, Tokyopop had their latest webinar with Stu Levy, president of Tokyopop.  During the discussion, an idea was floated of having fan translators (scanlators) do translations for low selling books that would then be presumably sold on a POD basis.  This caused a flurry of activity when it was reported on Twitter, with most to the people there being dead against it.  Stu got on any tried to explain a little further.

debaoki RT @stulevy “Everyone I hope you don’t mind if I get in here, but let’s *please* not take our discussion out of context.”

debaoki RT @stulevy “I have the utmost respect for translators (remember, I’m bilingual and have translated many times as well).”

debaoki RT @stulevy “We spec. asked what everyone thought for titles that DO NOT SELL enough to continue publishing – is it worth considering?”

debaoki RT stulevy “If everyone’s answer is “no” then so be it. No problem – just soliciting opinions in an open forum.”

Of course, the big question about this is, how is using fan translators going to help?  The implication here is that the fans won’t be paid as much, though word through the grapevine is that translators are already poorly paid.  How much worse can it get, and how is it going to make volumes sell better?  Is this a reputation thing, where if  people know the translations are done by a certain person/group,  more people will buy the book?  I mean, it’s fine to float the idea, but how about adding some of the thinking behind it?  It’s going to turn into the “dub vs sub” debate for manga.  And most people are fine with reading fan translations for free, but they aren’t going to want to pay for them.  They can already get them for free now.  Why would they change now?  POD the slow sellers, put them online and charge by the chapter.  That way the fans get what they want, and Tokyopop can still get something for their investment instead of just walking away and leaving fans in the lurch.

More YA Manga from Yen Press

And Yen Press does it again.  They’ve announced a new adapatation of another popular YA novel series.  Gossip Girls, which has several books and a TV series, will now have an graphic novel series.  This new series will veer slightly from previous announced/published adaptations.  It will be a side story instead of a direct adaptation of the series.  This strategy has worked well for Tokyopop with their Warriors and Vampire Kisses adaptations, so I suspect Yen Plus may see a spike in sales/subs when this starts.

NYT Best Selling Manga List

The actual list for last week’s TWiM didn’t become availabe until after I posted, but there wasn’t too much movement from the week before.  Fullmetal Alchemist vol 21 debuted at #2, pushing Naruto vol 46 back to #3.  Maximum Ride vol 2 moved up to #4, and Tsubasa and D-Grayman fell off completely.  The ratio was 7/2/1 with Viz in the lead followed by Yen Press, and Del Rey winding up at the end.

This week’s list banishes Del Rey from the list completely, making way from a new company and a new #1.  Warriors: Ravenpaw’s Path vol 1 puts Tokyopop back on the list.  The last few week’s #1, Vampire Knight vol 8 falls to #2, with Naruto vol 46 retaking it’s #3 spot.  Fullmetal Alchemist vol 21 falls back to #4, which pushes Maximum Ride vol 2 back to #5.  Viz then holds the next 4 spots with Ouran High School Host Club vol 13, Vampire Rosario vol 10, Deathnote: L Change the World, and Black Bird vol 2 respectively.  Yen Press holds a second spot with Soul Eater vol 1 holding on to #10.  This is a good example of the power of adaptations.  Every time a Warriors manga has come out, it was taken the #1 spot it’s first week, pushing the vampire angst and ninja mayhem out of the way.  Power to the Tweens!  It’s on my daughter’s Christmas list.  The ratio remains the same at 7/2/1 with the only change being Tokyopop for Del Rey.

Manga For Your Ears

Anime Today


Sesho’s Anime and Manga Reviews

Spiraken Manga Reviews

This Week at Manga Village

What I’ve Been Reading

  • Children of the Sea ch 13-16
  • Afterschool Charisma ch 3-6
  • Shonen Jump January 2010
  • Eagle: The Making of an Asian-American President vol 5

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