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A sort of interview

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Nov. 29th, 2005 | 03:21 am

UPDATED 11-29-2005
This interview has been updated to respond to comments made by Christopher Butcher on his blog and by various fans at Anime News Network.

NEW: The AnimeOnDVD Community weighs in. I note with amusement some of the respondents (eg, JeffDM) clearly didn't read this post (or maybe just refused to understand it).


(While I rarely give interviews, I answered a few questions for someone recently because their request got eaten by my anti-spam software and I felt sorry for them. However, they seem to have disappeared off the face of the Earth, so here it is since I made the effort.)



1--you say in the article [in The Comics Journal] you're tired of manga. Does this mean you
plan to get out of comics altogether, or have you moved on to
something else in either American comics or Japanese translation or
marketing (etc.)?


I don't remember saying I was tired of manga. It's more like I'm tired of working myself into an early grave. I was already working seven days a week, 12 to 14 hours a day, and when the business started to change, it became obvious I'd either have to work harder (how?!?) or hire a staff. I decided it was a good time to back off and enjoy life a bit. I plan to do a few obscure but interesting manga through Fantagraphics, starting with Tori Miki's award-winning Anywhere But Here manga.

One misunderstanding that has spread across the net is that I refused to have anything to do with unflopped, straight to TPB manga. This is partly true in that I, personally, don't really like it and didn't want to work on them myself. However, the popularity of them was undeniable, and so I put together a complete plan for Dark Horse to move into that arena. I had it developed into a three-stage approach, starting with more populist manga and gradually expanding to include better but more challenging material. I selected 30 titles and submitted the whole plan back in 2002. Dark Horse chose not to move ahead on it, I don't know why. (I find it interesting that since then, about 80% of the titles I proposed have been licensed by other companies.)

The fact that I didn’t want to work on these books seems to baffle many fans. It’s not that hard to understand, really. The pressures--time and financial--of producing several 200 page, $9.99 cover price books every month pretty much preclude sustained quality. That some of the people working at Viz and Tokyopop have managed to do a good job on some titles under these conditions is a testimony to their dedication and superhuman effort. However, most of the $10 books are very roughly done, to the detriment of the story. That the otaku will blow a gasket over drawing a towel on one panel of a naked 12 year-old-girl (in Shadow Star) but don’t seem to care about the lumpy, semi-translated dialog done on entire series is inexplicable. The story’s the thing, and what hurts the story in a comic book more than bad dialog? But I’ve come to the conclusion that they like that sort of raw translation. In fact, they aren't even shy about saying so, as I discovered in my futile discussions with them on the online forums. It was one of the reasons I dropped my work on the DH books I was still doing after the sale--I lost interested in putting so much effort into the translations when it was simply going to be criticized and disliked. I mean…why bother? I spent nearly a week doing the rewrite for the issue of Shadow Star (NaruTaru) where Shiina first goes to the Banda Academy, trying to bring alive this new world of young girls, voicing the new characters, trying to make it all sound fluid and natural and real...and what did I get? Complaints from fans who had read scanslations of that chapter that I'd gone too far from the original. (I especially enjoyed their assumption that the amateur translator of the scanslations had got it “right,” and we, therefore, must be wrong.)

I'm sorry, but letting a lumpy, semi-translated script get published just so the neo-otaku can pretend they read Japanese is NOT satisfactory to me. As I've ranted about on seemingly endless occasions, a translation should bring the story alive to the reader in their native language in the same way the original worked for the Japanese readers. THAT is a proper translation, to provide the new reader with a seamless storytelling experience that provokes the same emotions and responses. The best translations should be invisible. But what the neo-otaku want now is a slightly prettified transliteration, hence the popularity of scanslations. Okay, if that's what they want, fine. “The customer is always right.” So enjoy, folks...but why expect me to get involved? It reminds me of the fans who boggled at the fact I would not jump into the full-blown production of the $10 books. They could not grasp that it's not "all about the money" for everyone. I don't want to be Wal-Mart, I never wanted to be. If I can't produce work that meets my standards, then I'd rather quit. "But you'd sell more books! You'd make more money!" Yeah, but would I enjoy my job punching out McManga? No. So what's the point? I happily passed the ball on unflopped $10 manga to DH in 2002. (How the ball was handled after that has nothing to do with me.) And when asking why we didn't (for example) cancel SMB and transfer the contents to unflopped $10 books, keep in mind that I ceased to have any real influence on Dark Horse editorial decisions after January 1st, 2004, when the legal transition took place.

2--you say in the interview that the bookstores won't market good
manga. Do you also mean that the best manga won't be translated, or
will it just be distributed in other ways?


I never said they won't market good manga. There's good manga on the shelves right now. I simply felt that due to the flood of material and the amazing cluelessness I had personally encountered in the bookstore buyers, a lot of rubbish was going to hit the shelves as well. And that has been proven to be true. Manga is like anything else...90% of it is crap. The scrabbling for licenses that is going on right now, and the necessity to fill the shelf space, has meant that a lot of books that would not have made the quality cut a few years ago are being published. As licensing fees have increased for the top titles, and as more and more companies have moved into the market the worse the situation has become. I don’t think we’ve hit bottom yet in terms of “desperation licensing.”

Some folks have criticized my choices, such as choosing to concentrate on a few solid titles rather than throwing 50 books at the wall to see what sticks. But I'd like to point out that books like Ghost in the Shell have been huge successes, even by the present terms. We've sold over 80,000 copies of it, at $24.95 a pop. That's better than pretty much anything else out there. So my decisions have not been completely without merit. And, in terms of awards per series released, we are way ahead of anyone else, with our Eisners, Harveys, Parent's Choice Awards, etcetera. Just counting what I have on the wall here in my office I see 17, and I know I don't have them all up. Tokyopop got their first Eisner nomination this year, I think. So while I'm not going to complain about good sales, there are other things more important to me.

--any future in downloading manga from the internet to avoid the
usual distribution routes?


A few years ago I would have said "no way." Once it's digitized, there are plenty of folks willing to copy it for free. But Apple's success in the music downloading business has been intriguing. So I'd say it's possible at this point. The big roadblock would be that I suspect few Japanese publishers would be willing to take the chance, although Kodansha has an entire division (MouRa) working to make it happen, and when I looked at their most recent efforts earlier this year, I was really impressed with what they’ve accomplished.

There was an article on Slashdot a while back about scanslations that I found amusing, in a sick sort of way. It made me even more happy I pulled out of the biz when I did. The rationalizations are hilarious--these guys act as if they found some Great New Shining Truth, when I was listening to scummy video pirates spout the same crap 15 years ago. I also loved their logic chains: "Naruto was scanslated before it was published THEREFORE it would never have been published if it hadn't been scanslated. Q.E.D." Or "More manga is being published than ever before THEREFORE the scanslations haven't hurt the industry, they've only helped it. Q.E.D." Some of the counter-arguments in the comments were excellent--before the unfortunate purveyors of this heretical data were stripped to the bone by the enraged "Information must be free!" army ants of Slashdot.

--why have you been bashing the fans?

Not all fans…but yeah, some fans annoy the hell out of me. Frankly, I dislike the hard core “neo-otaku,” with their arrogance and smugness, their lame justifications, and their self-centered "me me me" attitude. "I want manga for free (or cheap) so anything that gets me manga for free (or cheap) is good and you're a Tool of The Man if you don't agree!" Sorry, guys, it's not all about you. The peak of this sort of thing came during the Tenjho Tenge fiasco at DC. When faced with the statement that the artist had approved all the changes, an otaku on one of the forums said (I’m quoting from memory here but it should be pretty close): “F**k the artist, he’s not buying the comics. WE are, and you better make us happy or we’ll boycott you to death!” Charming, just charming. What I find funny is that I was openly laughed at by the fans when I suggested that they had met their match this time. (They were still high on their Negima success, not realizing how incredibly unusual it was for that sort of thing to work. I was impressed at how Dallas was able to turn Del Rey around on it.) You see, DC is owned by a “real” publisher: AOL Time Warner.

Now, here’s how it works in the real world: the hardcore fans will bitch, but most of them will buy it anyway, even if it isn't exactly what they want. Boycotts and the like essentially never work as long as the boycotted entity just keeps operating “business-as-usual.” Eventually, the protesters run out of steam, and that's that. It's the responding to the complaints that allows that part of the readership to continue as a pain in the ass. As long as you don't have an FCC-like entity fining the crap out of you for non-compliance to content restrictions, you just wait out the "storm". The key is to act like a book publisher and not a comics publisher. Book publishers are like fortresses, and their contact with readers is minimal, and for good reason. After all, no one is twisting your arm to buy what they publish. But if you start answering the demands of readers, you're screwed. You respond to conditions in the marketplace overall, not to the hue and cry of individuals in it. Therefore, if the aggregate market "tells" you that non-Westernized manga is selling, then you publish more manga non-Westernized. If, however, a strong selling book is getting fan bitches about changes you've made, you just ignore them and marshal on. But if Kurt Hassler of Waldenbooks tells you he ain't gonna order your book, that's a different matter.
And so where are we now? DC continues to successfully publish TenTen…complete with edits. Color me unsurprised. (Don't get me wrong--I think their decision to try and edit TenTen into a PG series is hilariously wrongheaded and doomed to failure. Why not just publish Air Gear instead?)

The hard-core otaku have been, to an extent, hoist by their own petard. The manga market has expanded explosively. This has meant that many new readers have entered the market, readers who aren’t otaku, just…readers. They aren’t fanatics, they don’t haunt the forums and message boards, and they are now the bulk of the market. To an extent, the hard-core fans have been marginalized by the mainstreaming of manga. I sometimes wonder if this hasn’t made them the very cranky bunch they’ve turned into. There was a time I enjoyed going to cons and interacting with manga fans, back when they were mostly mature individuals. I used to go to the San Diego Comic Con pretty much exclusively for the purpose of interacting with the fans, and often spent all day, every day in the DH booth to discuss manga with them. Then they got younger and whinier, and it wasn’t fun any more.

I didn’t say this, but there is, I think, more than a little truth to it:

“Deep down you know what's eating you. This is about the fact that some jock in homeroom is sporting a Cowboy Bebop t-shirt and talking to his friends about how awesome Gundam SEED is going to be. This is about the fact that the dowdy trollop in PE that's way out of your league is now seen around school reading copies of Love Hina. Your neat little social clique's chief piece of paraphernalia is no longer yours exclusively. Plucked from the realm of Chess Clubs and Science Fairs, manga is no longer the exclusive domain of geeks. You've been mainstreamed...and your favorite publishers are loving it at your expense. Your own personal prized possession has been co-opted and spread to the masses who now think it's cool...and we know that you and cool don't mix. See, Manga's grown up now…and she's left you for a dude with a BMW and an earring.”

Mean? Maybe. But I think the next generation of manga fans--the ones being created by this new wave--are going to be much more tolerant, likeable, and, bluntly, normal folks. And that is good for the long-term health of manga. I just think many of the otaku are a little shocked by the way it’s broken out of its niche…and left them behind. And to make this completely honest, it’s left me behind, too.

-- and how about the censorship issue?

Now that’s a real can of worms. I’m not going to waste time on the hairsplitting of “only the government can censor,” I know what the otaku mean. But here is where the root meaning of fan…"fanatic"…really comes into play. It’s all very well and good to sit in your room and bang out angry screeds on the net about how not one line of a manga should be edited, but that betrays a profound disconnect with reality. Sure, ideally that’s the case. Most of our manga is unedited. But pull the Naruto poster and tinfoil off your window and look outside. You’ll see two things--first, the real world. Second, this is America, not Japan. Back when we first planned to publish Ghost in the Shell 1, we were told by the distributors we’d lose in excess of 20,000 sales if we kept in the “hot multi-girl action.” DH/SP and Shirow decided a bigger readership was better, and made the cuts. Yes, the unedited version is out now. But you may have noticed the market has changed…yes?

Telling us what we should have done back 10 years ago as if then was now is one of the most irritating things fans do. If it was “so obvious” the fans would buy unflopped $10 shoujo manga ten years ago, why didn’t you take out a second mortgage on your house and get into the biz? You could have, you know. The barriers to entry are not high, especially with unflopped books (Tokyopop started out scanning data right out of the Japanese tankoubon), and the sales are a sure thing, right? Come on, fanboy, whip out that dick and lay it on the chopping block. Let’s see just how sure you are of what will sell. Look, both Viz and Mixx tried with cheaper books in the bookstores in the late nineties. They both tried unflopped manga. And both failed initially because it was not yet the time for those things. Until Kurt Hassler opened Waldenbooks to the format and put the entire weight of a national bookstore chain behind them the format could not and did not succeed. I had to fight tooth and nail to get Dark Horse to publish Oh My Goddess!...they were (rightfully, at the time) skeptical of the market for a romantic comedy manga. I had to agree to absorb any and all losses in order to get it cleared for publication, and even then I had to juggle the stories so we could tie in more closely with the video release. ("Choose your battles wisely," said Sun Tzu. Thankfully we were able to restore the series to completion later on.)

The demands of the neo-otaku for purity are both unreasonable and hypocritical. Unreasonable because while they may think “not publishing a series if you have to edit even ONE PANEL” is reasonable, it’s absurd. Artists and editors laugh with disbelief when I tell them about it in Japan. When they hand in the storyboards to the editors in Japan, it’s not uncommon for certain panels or scenes to be edited for content. This editing is highly time-specific and can depend on the political climate that month. For example, after the Misshitsu fiasco, a lot of magazines pulled in their horns and got a lot tamer. Magazine publications are often tamer with the understanding the tankoubon will be more graphic. It’s a dynamic process and the artist and editors in Japan understand that we in the US are just part of that process. When Eros published Oh! Great's smut work and removed the edits placed by the Japanese publishers on his original art, was that "just as bad" as DC adding edits to TenTen? Keep in mind that because of the shifting sands of what is allowable in Japanese publishing, the artists often draw in everything--then leave the censorship decisions up to the editors, who make those decisions on the fly just before shipping the pages to the printer based on a gut feeling about what they can get away with this week.
Which is the "real" version? Does the artist have a say in this…or only the fans?

The sheer selfishness of the hard-core otaku in invoking the “one panel rule” is awe inspiring. It may be all right for them, who have read the scanslations and might even own the original volumes, but what about the 90% of readers who aren’t obsessed? I think Shadow Star is a fantastic series. Going into it I knew we’d have to do some editing, because, again, America is not Japan. And in the grand scheme of the plot, how important is it that we see Shiina’s skinny underage body? Not at all, really, which is why the creator had no problem with the edits (but I forget: “Who gives a f**k what the artist thinks.”). I’m a creator myself--I’ve started with blank pages and written published comics and stories. Compromises are the norm, not the exception. Professionals know this and accept it, which is why creators in Japan are so amused by the “one panel” rule. The peak of this lunacy was when I read on AoDVD that many fans though it was reasonable to boycott a series if the cover art wasn’t the same as on the Japanese version.

I calculated once that SP had edited only 0.05% out of the over 70,000 pages we have published. That’s five one-hundredths of one percent. For this we should be crucified…? Again: unreasonable. When I was in Japan last, I spoke to the editor of NaruTaru. He said that while Kitoh was enjoying the unflopped version since he didn’t think his art was good enough to flop well, he really disliked the addition of translated FX to his pages (remember, if you leave the original FX and add new ones, you are altering the balance of the panel, sometimes significantly). I fully agree. “Editing” comes in many forms, it seems, and to the otaku, some are mysteriously worse than others. They think a single changed panel is unacceptable. I think entire volumes (and even series) of lame translations that read like a roll of toilet paper are unacceptable. Pick your poison. And hence I feel they are also being hypocritical.

Let me leave you with a quote I like that is applicable to this subject:
"The religious impulse--with all the excesses of zealotry and intolerance it can produce--remains powerful, but expresses itself in secular substitutes."
--Paul Johnson, The Perils of Risk Avoidance

4--who, in your opinion, are the best manga artists who have published
books in the last couple of years?


Actually, there's been very little recently that's caught my attention. I'm mostly been reading older titles, like Masamura Hiroshi's Atagol Stories, some of Uchida Shungiku's early work, that sort of thing. There's a lot of "sameness" to recent manga that I find tiresome. I did find myself unexpectedly sucked in by One Piece, however. A mangaka I know in Japan shoved the first two volumes into my hands and insisted I sit down and read them right then and there. I got totally hooked.

5--do you see good American graphic novels as on the upswing, or are
these books also being plagued and damned by the publishing industry
and/or distribution problems?


American comic TPBs have been doing better every year for some time now. Whether they will be helped or hurt by the manga boom remains to be seen. I expect that when the manga boom collapses the bookstore buyers will simply "kill 'em all and let the publishers sort 'em out."

6--in what ways do your political views transfer into your work in
comics--or do they? Your opinions about the business of manga sound
more libertarian than right wing, actually--is this accurate? Do your
views have an impact on the kinds of comics you will or won't work
with, read, etc.?


Business is business. Unquestionably there have been times when some of the work I've translated has made me grit my teeth. Some of Shirow's comments in Intron Depot 4 are...well, let's just say he and I disagree on certain things! But it's my job to bring across the creator's work as best I can and that's what I do. My thoughts and opinions are not important when if comes to translation, and I do my best to step into the shoes of the creator and speak for them as best I can. I try to keep politics and comics completely separate. But I could never have worked on a comic like Eagle. My hat is off to Carl Horn for his work on that.

I supposed I'm pretty libertarian, but without the utopian fantasies most libertarians live under. 20 years of running my own business have forced me to be more practical. And since I did very well where many, many others have fallen or simply struggled to survive, I guess my approach worked.

A manga that had truly absurd left wing politics is not one I’d want to work on. Same for reading. Life is short; why punish yourself? Reading manga is supposed to be enjoyable.

I hope you'll get a chance to respond to these. I have a lot of
respect for the work you've done.


Thanks for the kind words. But the reality is, it is all ancient history. Tokyopop alone now publishes more pages of manga in a month than SP did from inception to the present date (18 years). When the Great History of Manga in English is written 20 years from now, SP will be one sentence in the first paragraph of the first chapter. "In the early days of manga, some were published by such companies as First, Eclipse, Dark Horse/Studio Proteus and of course Viz. But the real story of manga begins with Tokyopop..."

In the meantime, I have my life back. I plan to do a lot of scuba diving, hunting, travelling in our motorhome, that kind of thing. Nothing like driving out to a remote Forest Service campground, setting up, and having a pipe and a mug of tea while admiring the scenery in peace and quiet! (Gad, that makes me sound old!) We hike, we fish. I hunt feral hogs. I read a LOT, especially books from the 16th and 17th centuries. I’m learning Latin. Tomoko and I also have a condo in the Cayman Islands that we often visit to relax and scuba dive. I have a rebreather and dive a lot around Monterey.

This might be a good place to add that another odd rumor among fandom is that I was bankrupted by my "foolish refusal to go unflopped." Far from it. 2001-2003 were spectacularly successful years for SP, and the deal I cut with Dark Horse is very satisfactory. I really don't have to work any more, to tell the truth. But I'll keep my hand in for a few books, just for fun. Expect to see a yearly release of “something interesting” from SP and Fantagraphics.

(NOTE: Questions are invited in the comments and will be answered as time permits.)

------
"It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages."
--Adam Smith, "The Wealth of Nations"

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Comments {42}

Jan Scott-Frazier

(no subject)

from: janscottfrazier
date: Nov. 29th, 2005 08:20 pm (UTC)
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The number of people in this industry (in the West) that I trust absolutely to give great advice and who know what they're talking about can be counted on the fingers of one hand and you're the index finger.
I'll never forget when I was working with Izumi Matsumoto and we talked about doing an English version of the novels. A fan had done a (lame) translation and was giving it away to various sites and zines and Matsumoto had me write a letter to him asking him to stop distribution. He fired back an angry letter that basically said, "Tough shit. When you put it out then I will stop my distrubution." This guy spat right in the face of the creator of something he obvioulsy loved because he wanted to be a superstud otaku. He was living in Japan at the time and we almost got Shueisha to call the immigration office but they wimped out at the last minute saying they didn't want any bad international press. I've seen similar things happen since then as well.
In the early days of anime in the West, when you did the Baycon book and I spent all of my Domino's Pizza deliverygirl money on $25 copies of Animage I can't imagine any of us saying that we had any chance of input in what was being made or how it was distributed. We were overjoyed that the stuff was made at all!

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Lea Hernandez-DivaLea

(no subject)

from: divalea
date: Nov. 29th, 2005 09:20 pm (UTC)
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I remember that guy. He wrote asking me for help in talking to Matsumoto and said, "Don't be small about this."

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Jan Scott-Frazier

(no subject)

from: janscottfrazier
date: Nov. 29th, 2005 11:14 pm (UTC)
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I remember seeing him at ComicCon a year later when you pointed him out to me. Wonder if his business survived...

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Lea Hernandez-DivaLea

(no subject)

from: divalea
date: Nov. 30th, 2005 04:25 am (UTC)
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It did, actually. Color me shocked.

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mrcaxton

(no subject)

from: mrcaxton
date: Dec. 1st, 2005 07:53 pm (UTC)
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Thanks for the support, Jan. You, too, have lived in the Japanese creative world and know what the reality is.
There was a German lady working for Kodansha's foreign rights division some years back who astonished me with the depth of her knowledge of manga. I considered her as knowledgeable about the field as any expert in Japan, certainly more than myself. However, when I praised her to the chief editor of Kodansha, he said "Yes, she knows a lot, but she's never created a comic. You understand manga in a way she never can." Add to that the knowledge gained by 18 years of digging ditches in the actual comics business, and perhaps some people will see why I get so exasperated when these 14 year old "Comic Book Guy" fanboys start telling me what I "shoulda done"

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I just don't care...

from: anonymous
date: Dec. 1st, 2005 07:23 am (UTC)
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...because I've never cared for manga. It's just not to my taste. There was no way I could finish this no doubt heart-felt discourse.

But I got this far: "As I've ranted about on seemingly endless occasions, a translation should bring the story alive to the reader in their native language in the same way the original worked for the Japanese readers. THAT is a proper translation, to provide the new reader with a seamless storytelling experience that provokes the same emotions and responses. The best translations should be invisible." And I had to say: right on! True translation is an art, in which you translate connotations, not just denotations.

My Great Books prof, a stuffy, very proper old guy, gave a perfect example of this, from the Lattimore translation of Lysistrata by Aristophanes. For those unfamiliar with the story: the women of two warring cities decide to force peace by withholding sex. At the climax (so to speak), a naked woman stands before the peace talks in order to remind the men what the stakes are. And one man makes a comment that would literally be translated as, "And what a cute pig she has." A literalist reader who didn't understand ancient Greek idiom would wonder where the pig came from, and what in the world it had to do with the story. So Lattimore translated the intent, not the literal meaning, using a modern idiom that meant exactly what "pig" meant to the ancient Greeks: "pussy". The literal translation confused the reader, but the more careful translation conveyed exactly what Aristophanes meant, including the slang style he used.

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mrcaxton

Re: I just don't care...

from: mrcaxton
date: Dec. 2nd, 2005 09:00 pm (UTC)
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There is, of course, another class of translation midway between the translations I prefer and transliteration. I would call this the "scholarly translation." This sort of translation can be closer to the original for two reasons. First, the readers knows they are reading a "classic" and expect it to be a bit of hard work. Second, the translators of this sort of thing are generally of a very high standard indeed--often among the best in the world--and have vast amounts of time in which to get it done.
Still, even in those cases there is room for a more "relaxed," entertainment-driven approach to translation. I'm a big fan of Ferry's translation of Gilgamesh, but it is unquestionably less "accurate" than Mitchell's.
But there is very little in manga deserving of the scholarly translation approach. And those books that are deserving will never sell enough copies to make it worth the expense for an ordinary manga publishing company to finance. We'll just have to wait until some tenured professor of Japanese in the future decides that instead of producing the umpteenth scholarly translation of The Tale of Genji, she's going to work on Tezuka's Phoenix series for ten years instead.
(And as a complete side note, I love Aristophanes. If you don't laugh when reading The Birds, you don't have a pulse.)

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scanning

from: anonymous
date: Dec. 1st, 2005 07:45 am (UTC)
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"Tokyopop started out scanning data right out of the Japanese tankoubon"...

...and still do to this day, even though they can afford better materials.

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mrcaxton

Re: scanning

from: mrcaxton
date: Dec. 1st, 2005 07:41 pm (UTC)
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They don't do it on all of their books. Scanning out of the tankoubon has two downsides: first is the loss of quality, and second is the trim. To fit scanned pages onto American-size paper you have to trim down the artwork beyond what the artist intended, sometimes substantially.
However, I've seen TP books that were clearly not scanned, so they are using digital data for at least some of their manga.

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Re: scanning

from: anonymous
date: Dec. 1st, 2005 10:29 pm (UTC)
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No more than 5%. They've just gotten very good at scanning. Sad but true.

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mrcaxton

Re: scanning

from: mrcaxton
date: Dec. 1st, 2005 10:39 pm (UTC)
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Hmm. Last time I flipped through their stuff at Kinokuniya I was guessing about 1 in 5 was from digital data. Seems like it's worse than that, which I'm sorry to hear. It might be because I was mostly looking at their top-selling books, which perhaps are considered "worth the effort."
But it raises the question--why aren't the usual suspects in fandom not complaining about all the art that's being "edited" by overtrimming?

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Re: scanning

from: anonymous
date: Dec. 2nd, 2005 02:56 am (UTC)
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The most detail-oriented folks sometimes point it out, but for 99% of readers,it's literally the at the periphery of their concerns.

The American manga trim size is actually very compatible with the NPB sized tankoubon-- you just end up with extra space in the gutter-side, which actually makes reading easier without compromising layout. With data, nothing is lost, with scans, very little is. B6s are another story-- the wider-format necessitates cropping or losing bleeds. Scanned B6s are the absolute worst.

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mrcaxton

Re: scanning

from: mrcaxton
date: Dec. 2nd, 2005 09:12 pm (UTC)
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Agreed.
The severity of the cropping depends on how careful the editors are setting the trims and if the printer does their job well.
Still, the point remains--over the course of the even the most well-scanned book you're probably losing several pages worth of art, in bits and bites (not to mention the loss of quality). The fans seem to find this acceptable, as long as they get their manga big/fast/cheap. To have an aneurysm over an edited panel or two while simultaneously ignoring poor translations, poor repro, poor paper, etc, etc, simply seems to me to be hypocritical.

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Re: scanning

from: anonymous
date: Dec. 3rd, 2005 11:04 am (UTC)
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Agreed!

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Ed

Re: scanning

from: naniwa
date: Dec. 3rd, 2005 10:15 pm (UTC)
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Couldn't have said this better myself.

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jmswallow

(no subject)

from: jmswallow
date: Dec. 4th, 2005 02:41 pm (UTC)
Link

Erudite as ever, Toren. I honestly feel that you're underselling your contribution to manga in the west, and speaking as a comics reader who was there from day one (as it were), your departure leaves the industry poorer. But then there's the scuba and the hog-hunting, so it balances out in a karmic sense...

Reply | Thread

mrcaxton

(no subject)

from: mrcaxton
date: Dec. 6th, 2005 03:17 am (UTC)
Link

Thanks, Jim. Boy, I remember you as a bright young fan back at that con we went to out at Heathrow many long moons ago...you've done so well!! I love to see that.
(Readers are encouraged to check out Jim's website for the latest on his burgeoning career...11 novels!! Two produced Star Trek: Voyager screenplays! Vast quantites of short stories and comics scripting! Damn!)

Reply | Parent | Thread

Mike Toole

(no subject)

from: animejump
date: Dec. 4th, 2005 09:18 pm (UTC)
Link

I remember your message from a couple of years ago, poking fun at Tokyopop for their flooding of the market with cheap, haphazardly-produced unflipped paperbacks. What I objected to back then was your repeated citing of Diamond sales figures-- it seemed to me that you kept using them to point out that manga clearly wasn't as popular as the fans (and Tokyopop) thought it was. But to me, those charts didn't matter anymore-- the real tale was being told by Bookscan, where manga sales were surging upward, and are still on an upward trend, at least if your book is called Fruits Basket or Ruroni Kenshin.

I think you're spot-on in the above message, though, and it was been HILARIOUS to watch fan reactions to CMX's complete indifference to complaints about TenTen, as ridiculous as those edits are. Dr. Slump has a few edits to tone down the rather scatalogical content, but IMO it doesn't affect the extremely high quality of Toriyama's comics. It sometimes bothers me that Tokyopop will churn out a book filled with spelling and printing errors and hardly anyone will complain, because hey, it's 100% AUTHENTIC, right?

Anyhow, I do have a question regarding this screed. You said:
Look, both Viz and Mixx tried with cheaper books in the bookstores in the late nineties. They both tried unflopped manga. And both failed initially...

When did this happen? I remember Viz experimenting with unflopped monthly pamphlets, but pamphlet-style comics are completely moribund if you ask me, a depressed and shrinking market. And I recall some early Mixx TPBs being inexpensive, but they were HORRIBLE quality-- brittle spines, smeared printing, and layout so off-register that you HAD to break the spine just to read the whole page. And they were STILL flipped!

It seems to me that fans were ready and waiting for manga, it just took Tokyopop to stumble upon the magic formula of unflopped, $10 books that didn't fall apart when you read them. From this fan's perspective, the "100% Authentic Manga" line was a smash hit right out of the gate, and a lot of those early titles, like GTO, Love Hina, and Chobits, still sell well today.

Reply | Thread

(no subject)

from: david_f_smith
date: Dec. 5th, 2005 02:59 pm (UTC)
Link

Don't get me wrong--I think their decision to try and edit TenTen into a PG series is hilariously wrongheaded and doomed to failure. Why not just publish Air Gear instead?

I chuckled when I saw this bit, because I've wondered the same thing dozens of times. Still can't find an answer. All the cheesecake, none of the rape/pain/blood/knitting needles/godawful boring flashback stories. Go figure.

DFS.

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GATSU

from: anonymous
date: Dec. 6th, 2005 08:23 am (UTC)
Link

I'll just repost what I said at ANN, but I'll test the format first. : Hey, Toren. How's life treating you? Anyway, I agree with most of what you have to say, with a few exceptions.

Quote:
What I find funny is that I was openly laughed at by the fans when I suggested that they had met their match this time. (They were still high on their Negima success, not realizing how incredibly unusual it was for that sort of thing to work. I was impressed at how Dallas was able to turn Del Rey around on it.)You see, DC is owned by a “real” publisher: AOL Time Warner.

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Re: GATSU

from: anonymous
date: Dec. 6th, 2005 08:24 am (UTC)
Link

[quote]What I find funny is that I was openly laughed at by the fans when I suggested that they had met their match this time. (They were still high on their Negima success, not realizing how incredibly unusual it was for that sort of thing to work. I was impressed at how Dallas was able to turn Del Rey around on it.)You see, DC is owned by a “real” publisher: AOL Time Warner.[/quote]

Actually, AOL's been downgraded over the last year, because it sent the company's stock plummeting. They became Time Warner again after that. (In fact, I just read a recent article where AOL was sued for charging customers with additional accounts they never wanted.) And DC hasn't exactly been kind to its homegrown artists like Alan Moore, which is probably not good for its bottom line. Other than Batman Begins, the company has been devalued with its movie adaptations like Catwoman and Constantine, which is probably why it tried to expand into the manga market in the first place. They're losing out to Marvel in the one area they used to excel: film. And at a cost of $250 million, the company's future is going to seriously be riding on Superman Returns. Del Rey, OTOH, has better synergy than TW, which is why it's so successful at publishing titles for different audiences.

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Re: GATSU

from: anonymous
date: Dec. 6th, 2005 08:30 am (UTC)
Link

Since it's not working, I'll just do it the traditional way. I'm not into LJ much...

"Now, here’s how it works in the real world: the hardcore fans will bad word, but most of them will buy it anyway, even if it isn't exactly what they want. Boycotts and the like essentially never work as long as the boycotted entity just keeps operating “business-as-usual.” Eventually, the protesters run out of steam, and that's that."

You have a point in the case of Star Wars. But Tenjho Tenge is one of those titles which doesn't really appeal to hardcore fans, because it's been stripped of its porn. If Battle Royale was gutted of its mature content, I doubt people would overlook its ad-libbed script if it had nothing else to offer. And people will just go to the anime to get their fix. In fact, DC has yet to make a dent in the manga market. Statistically, they only have a slightly higher presence in bookstores than Dr Master. But that's only because they have more money than DM. In other words, CMX is the X-Box of manga.

"And so where are we now? DC continues to successfully publish TenTen…complete with edits. (Don't get me wrong--I think their decision to try and edit TenTen into a PG series is hilariously wrongheaded and doomed to failure. Why not just publish Air Gear instead?)"

Actually, as people have pointed out on the AOD forums, CMX has resorted to trying to lure people into the series by keeping the racy covers intact. (It certainly doesn't help the company's reputation when they axed Jake Tarbox, since he's the only one there who's likely to understand what sells.) I'd say I"s is doing better than TenTen, and that partly has to do with the success of Video Girl Ai. And even if Negima was edited, it'd probably still do better than the edited TenTen, because of Love Hina. Why publish a risque low-profile manga series and dumb it down to sell it to an audience who wouldn't be interested in the first place? It's the equivalent of fitting a square peg into a round hole. So I'm guessing that DC has very low standards for "success", if they continue to be bullheaded about the will of the consumers, even if it diminishes their bottom line. Is CMX just a tax write-off? Or does DC actually want a Fruits Basket/Naruto on their hands?

"Your own personal prized possession has been co-opted and spread to the masses who now think it's cool...and we know that you and cool don't mix. See, Manga's grown up now…and she's left you for a dude with a BMW and an earring...I just think many of the otaku are a little shocked by the way it’s broken out of its niche…and left them behind. And to make this completely honest, it’s left me behind, too."


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Re: GATSU(My nick on ANN) Still haven't gotten LJ

from: anonymous
date: Dec. 6th, 2005 08:31 am (UTC)
Link

I actually don't mind the situation. It's pleasant no longer having to be ridiculed for enjoying anime and manga. Just a few months before Pokemon hit big, I remember my guidance counselor trashing it and anime in general. And while I'm not a big Pokemon fan, it feels great to know that the franchise and industry in general will make more money than his worthless job.
So what if the "popular" people are buying into it? I mean I used to have a negative attitude against South Park, because Trey and Matt were making money off the same kind of lowbrow humour I indulged in(i.e. cracked jokes) for free. But I was able to like them on their own terms, because they lampooned pop culture I could relate to, and they produced some great movies on the side.

The point is if you enjoy or dislike something, your feelings should be on your own terms, and not based on what other people think. Hell, I thought most shojo was fluffy and shallow(although it still is) until I discovered Mars and some of the Shojo Beat stuff. If you feel comfortable buying a series which doesn't fit your profile, then why should it matter what anyone else does? I mean if people made their decisions based on what other people felt, then Harry Potter and DMP's yaoi line would never succeed.

"Back when we first planned to publish Ghost in the Shell 1, we were told by the distributors we’d lose in excess of 20,000 sales if we kept in the “hot multi-girl action.” DH/SP and Shirow decided a bigger readership was better, and made the cuts. Yes, the unedited version is out now. But you may have noticed the market has changed…yes?"

I just find it ironic that they cut that scene out, but other companies felt the opposite about crap like Gen 13. Maybe DH was right in retrospect, but Crying Freeman and Sanctuary seemed to be doing alright for Viz around the same time. Pulp was obviously a different story, since bad marketing was what sent it tumbling, but considering how long it lasted in a more niche market, its run was pretty impressive.


"Look, both Viz and Mixx tried with cheaper books in the bookstores in the late nineties. They both tried unflopped manga. And both failed initially because it was not yet the time for those things."

I think it had more to do with not releasing the right titles. I mean, even though I hear they're good, a title like Eat Man or Parasyte doesn't exactly scream, "Buy Me".


"I had to fight tooth and nail to get Dark Horse to publish Oh My Goddess!...they were (rightfully, at the time) skeptical of the market for a romantic comedy manga. I had to agree to absorb any and all losses in order to get it cleared for publication,"


And don't think I don't appreciate that.

"I did find myself unexpectedly sucked in by One Piece, however."

How do you feel about 4Kids treatment of the anime? ^_-

"American comic TPBs have been doing better every year for some time now."

Perhaps, but individual issues are another story. Truth be told, though, I almost never see stores re-stock the American stuff anymore. For example, my comic store didn't have any new paperback copies of V for Vendetta, despite the movie adaptation in the works.

"The peak of this lunacy was when I read on AoDVD that many fans though it was reasonable to boycott a series if the cover art wasn’t the same as on the Japanese version."

Generally, it doesn't bother me with the cover changes, but in the case of TenTen, I don't really see the point. You're implying there's some *hawt hawt sex0rz* on the cover, when you hide the naughty bits on the logo, and then you cop out by showing even less in the book. No one wins that way.

Reply | Parent | Thread

mrcaxton

Re: GATSU(My nick on ANN) Still haven't gotten LJ

from: mrcaxton
date: Dec. 9th, 2005 08:32 pm (UTC)
Link

Thanks for the thoughtful comments, Gatsu. Let's see what I can do to address some of them....
Actually, AOL's been downgraded over the last year, because it sent the company's stock plummeting. They became Time Warner again after that. (In fact, I just read a recent article where AOL was sued for charging customers with additional accounts they never wanted.) And DC hasn't exactly been kind to its homegrown artists like Alan Moore, which is probably not good for its bottom line. Other than Batman Begins, the company has been devalued with its movie adaptations like Catwoman and Constantine, which is probably why it tried to expand into the manga market in the first place. They're losing out to Marvel in the one area they used to excel: film. And at a cost of $250 million, the company's future is going to seriously be riding on Superman Returns.

Yes, I know. But I wasn't addressing the failure or success of the company, I was simply pointing out how such megacorporations operate. Doesn't mean I agree with it!
Del Rey, OTOH, has better synergy than TW, which is why it's so successful at publishing titles for different audiences.

Even though it's part of Random House, it remains a niche publisher within the larger company, and the editing style of Judy-Lynn Del Rey has had a positive effect. It's not a normal sort of publisher...sort of like Baen Books, which reflects the personality of Jim Baen and is an unusual publisher indeed.
You have a point in the case of Star Wars. But Tenjho Tenge is one of those titles which doesn't really appeal to hardcore fans, because it's been stripped of its porn. If Battle Royale was gutted of its mature content, I doubt people would overlook its ad-libbed script if it had nothing else to offer. And people will just go to the anime to get their fix. In fact, DC has yet to make a dent in the manga market. Statistically, they only have a slightly higher presence in bookstores than Dr Master. But that's only because they have more money than DM. In other words, CMX is the X-Box of manga.

I dunno, maybe so. But my point was simply that the boycott wouldn't work in terms of making the leviathan change its course...and it didn't. I agree firing Tarbox was absurd, probably the worst thing they could have done.
I actually don't mind the situation. It's pleasant no longer having to be ridiculed for enjoying anime and manga. Just a few months before Pokemon hit big, I remember my guidance counselor trashing it and anime in general. And while I'm not a big Pokemon fan, it feels great to know that the franchise and industry in general will make more money than his worthless job.
So what if the "popular" people are buying into it? I mean I used to have a negative attitude against South Park, because Trey and Matt were making money off the same kind of lowbrow humour I indulged in(i.e. cracked jokes) for free. But I was able to like them on their own terms, because they lampooned pop culture I could relate to, and they produced some great movies on the side.

Hey, I agree. I don't see anything bad about the mainstreaming of anime and manga (other than the quality hit). But there's no denying some otaku are miffed.

Reply | Parent | Thread

mrcaxton

Re: GATSU(My nick on ANN) Still haven't gotten LJ

from: mrcaxton
date: Dec. 9th, 2005 08:34 pm (UTC)
Link

I just find it ironic that they cut that scene out, but other companies felt the opposite about crap like Gen 13. Maybe DH was right in retrospect, but Crying Freeman and Sanctuary seemed to be doing alright for Viz around the same time. Pulp was obviously a different story, since bad marketing was what sent it tumbling, but considering how long it lasted in a more niche market, its run was pretty impressive.

Hmm, I have to disagree here. That scene was hardcore sex with full nudity and digital penetration. And at that time, when Diamond said "Publish these pages and we'll have to put the book in our Adult Catalog," you paid attention, since they were 90% of your sales. Ghost in the Shell was an expensive series to produce and the sales hit we would have taken from being only in the Adult Catalog was not acceptable. Same with the bookstores. Our original plan was to release the collection with the pages intact, and now that the idea of shrinkwrapped manga is acceptable, we can do so. But at the time, the buyers told us flat out they would not carry it (one exception was Virgin, but unlike Waldenbooks, they carry hardcore porn on their shelves). Oddly enough, we believed them....
Keep in mind the volume had its tribulations in Japan as well. Technically, it should have had the "Seinen" mark on it but Kodansha was able to throw its weight around and leave it off. A gutsy move--had a recall been issued the cost would have been staggering. This is why Shirow was sympathetic to our situation and agreed to do the touch-up on the previous page.
I think it had more to do with not releasing the right titles. I mean, even though I hear they're good, a title like Eat Man or Parasyte doesn't exactly scream, "Buy Me".

Again, I disagree. In fact, I tried to get DH to pick up Kiseijyu (Parasyte) before Mixx did. It's an awesome series with great characters and writing. And let's not forget Sailor Moon was one of the failed Mixx titles! It just wasn't "time."
How do you feel about 4Kids treatment of the anime? ^_-

Haven't seen it. I watch anime straight off the Japanese channels. I take it they took a chainsaw to it...? :-(
Perhaps, but individual issues are another story. Truth be told, though, I almost never see stores re-stock the American stuff anymore. For example, my comic store didn't have any new paperback copies of V for Vendetta, despite the movie adaptation in the works.

I agree, the age of the "pamphlet" is coming to an end. In a way, it's a shame because it will be hard to keep a lot of good series going without the monthlies to amortize production costs. I'm profoundly disappointed to hear about V for Vendetta, which is a fabulous comic, one of the best ever...although I'm told the movie script stinks, so maybe that was the right decision. My experience has been that, counter-intuitive though it may be, a movie is generally bad for a comic. If it's good, it hardly impacts your sales at all. Whereas if it's bad, it can kill the comic.
Generally, it doesn't bother me with the cover changes, but in the case of TenTen, I don't really see the point. You're implying there's some *hawt hawt sex0rz* on the cover, when you hide the naughty bits on the logo, and then you cop out by showing even less in the book. No one wins that way.

Well, I think we can agree that TenTen is an unusual situation.
In general there is usually no reason to change cover art, but my point was that should a publisher decide to do so, for whatever reason, refusing to buy the series in protest was a classic "cutting off your nose to spite your face" scenario.

Thanks for taking the time to post your comments, I do appreciate it. (^_^)

Reply | Parent | Thread

A comment on edits

from: anonymous
date: Dec. 6th, 2005 11:00 pm (UTC)
Link

"They think a single changed panel is unacceptable. I think entire volumes (and even series) of lame translations that read like a roll of toilet paper are unacceptable. Pick your poison. And hence I feel they are also being hypocritical."

Can't we hate everything equally? The thing is, an art edit is so concrete. Some otaku slaps a scan from the tank up on his webpage next to a scan from the American edition, and we're off to the races. But translation? How do you know you've got a bad translation and not an excruciatingly faithful translation of awful Japanese dialogue? Translation is such a hazy art, and the average otaku has only enough Japanese to know there is by God no English equivalent to "-kun" so you'd better leave it in as Japanese! So I guess you probably shouldn't be too surprised that art edits attract such ire while crappy translations get a pass.

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mrcaxton

Re: A comment on edits

from: mrcaxton
date: Dec. 9th, 2005 07:30 pm (UTC)
Link

Yes, that's a good point. But part of the reason I posted this was to try and get fans thinking about things more clearly. I think changing a panel or two, when there are good reasons for it, is simply part of the editing process. But a bad translation damages an entire volume or series...as does scanned art, low-quality paper, etc. So I think it's unreasonable to explode over one and shrug over the other. Even when it's obvious the translation is lacking there doesn't seem to be a lot of reaction. Giffen's appalling work on Ikki Tousen didn't cause half the fuss of the "two missing pages" in Ghost in the Shell.
I don't know how to get fans to notice bad translations...it may be impossible (I read a review on AoDVD recently where the reviewer singled out the translation for great praise--the only problem being it was one of the worst translations I've ever come across). And as I said above, there seems to be a feeling that a "translate-y" sounding script must be better, or at least closer to the original.

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studioqt

(no subject)

from: studioqt
date: Dec. 9th, 2005 06:24 am (UTC)
Link

I just noticed this on the ANN forum:

"I mean no offense Toren, but I'd rather not argue with you in your own house. I prefer neutral ground."
--Lord Robin, ANN columnist.

Neutral?

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mrcaxton

(no subject)

from: mrcaxton
date: Dec. 9th, 2005 07:15 pm (UTC)
Link

That's hilarious. I'd rather not argue with someone that clueless at all, frankly. As the old saying goes, "Never argue with an idiot. He'll drag you down to his level, then beat you with experience."

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DoriA.N.

(no subject)

from: dori_san
date: Dec. 9th, 2005 08:40 am (UTC)
Link

Ohh lord, I am an manga editor...and I get so many stupid demands and suggestions....the latest one was this girl asking if in the future we could have the dust jacket background a light colour because the dark green (china green) was showing fingerprints...

Now...the original Japanese was black...(I did the cover with a dark green colour because colour balance and composition is one of my little obsessions) so...my cover was lighter then the original anyway...second, the dust jacket is laminated so you can friggin wipe it clean if indeed it shows finger marks(even thou I actually tried getting finger marks on my copies and it didn't work...)...hey...pardon my French but WTF was that all about?

I get so many people telling me how to do my job, I honestly feel like stepping away from my computer and giving them my chair, lets see them working 20 hours a day 7 days a week and at times even 52 hours to meet a deadline... and see how they feel when some *cough* comes up with one of them bright ideas. I don’t mind feedback.. its what keeps me going and getting better but some of the demands the fans make...I honestly wonder if they think about it or they just want to look “cool” by trying to find shitty stuff to complain about.


....ohh that felt good. *sigh*

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mrcaxton

(no subject)

from: mrcaxton
date: Dec. 9th, 2005 07:15 pm (UTC)
Link

Yes, I'll bet it did. (^_^)
One of the nice things about Japanese fans is that so many of the hard-core over there work on dojinshi, it helps bridge the gap between fan and pro. Actually producing a comic to deadline is a very educational experience....

Reply | Parent | Thread

One Piece

from: anonymous
date: Dec. 10th, 2005 08:54 am (UTC)
Link

Just thought I'd like to hear Toren's opinion on the name changes in the manga to reflect those in the 4Kids anime.

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mrcaxton

Re: One Piece

from: mrcaxton
date: Dec. 10th, 2005 09:35 pm (UTC)
Link

Sounds like the sort of business decision one would expect of a corporation like Shueisha.

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DoriA.N.

(no subject)

from: dori_san
date: Dec. 10th, 2005 12:16 pm (UTC)
Link

Good point, I bet if any of the neo-otaku's would do at least one page of paneled, inked, toned work they wouldn't say stuff like "fuck the artist". A lot of fans can't even start to imagine the amount of work that goes into making a comic, this is why they are fast to moan and bitch and slash about, in their ignorance they probably think they could do better.
Some people only know how to moan about things, even if theres nothing to moan about, they will moan because thats their hobby, some of us like to go fishing, collect stamp, beat their children...others like to moan about everything, including manga... I must say my skin it's slowly turning very very thick.

Reply | Parent | Thread

mrcaxton

(no subject)

from: mrcaxton
date: Dec. 10th, 2005 09:50 pm (UTC)
Link

On the Studio Proteus books, every translator, rewriter, and letterer/retouch artist has original creative experience, most of them in writing and/or drawing comics. This not only makes them better at their job, but contributes to their professionalism.

It has been suggested that many otaku attack us out of jealousy--they want our jobs. Probably a lot of truth to that, as well as them thinking they could do better. My light bulb joke:
Q: How many manga translators does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Ten. One to screw it in and nine who "could have done it better."

Of course the real question is: did they call it "Lightbulb-san"...? ;-)

No matter how thick your skin gets, if you love the material and have worked hard on it, unfair criticism cuts like a razor.

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DoriA.N.

(no subject)

from: dori_san
date: Dec. 12th, 2005 08:04 am (UTC)
Link

Hell, I'd give them my job if they can prove to me that they can indeed do better then me and actually pull the deadlines. I don't think people are actually aware of the time and efort that goes into producing high quality material, both on the translating and the editing side of things. I know that the day I will stop loving my job is the day I will quit because it is not something anyone could do without actually loving it.(I recentlly got a new laptop so I can still work if I ever go on a holiday...how sad is that?)
And i believe it would be Lightbulb-kun...;-)

P.S. It cuts and I am happy they invented chocolate, because otherwise I would had snapped long time ago...the books I edited are like my children so I guess it will always hurt when I see them getting bullied for no good reason.

Reply | Parent | Thread

studioqt

(no subject)

from: studioqt
date: Dec. 12th, 2005 08:49 pm (UTC)
Link

(I recentlly got a new laptop so I can still work if I ever go on a holiday...how sad is that?)

How about not having a vacation in about six or seven years? Or not having weekends for the past 3 years?

DON'T TAKE THE LAPTOP ON VACATION. If you must, don't tell anybody at work. ;-)

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DoriA.N.

(no subject)

from: dori_san
date: Dec. 13th, 2005 06:11 pm (UTC)
Link

I haven't seen my family in over 3 years, last time I seen them for 2 weeks...and I honestlly did not know what to do with myself during that time, but I sure as hell miss them now(especially my dog). I will take my laptop because I don't work because I have to...I just happen to be really addicted to my job. :'[

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Nerdgirl

(no subject)

from: digital_eraser
date: Jan. 10th, 2006 08:43 pm (UTC)
Link

A somewhat related question for you I've been wondering: have you had a chance to see the recent "Editor's Choice" version of Nausicaa?

I was just looking into it recently. I haven't yet had a chance to read Nausicaa, but have heard it recommended by so many people (plus enjoying Miyazaki's film work), I thought I'd check it out. But I was sad to see, when I paged through the current printings that the lettering by Orzechowski that I've read about being so fantastic has been replaced by some rather amatuer digital lettering. Amatuer-looking enough that I actually opted not to buy it (especially knowing there's this great Orzechowski-lettered Studio Proteus translation out there). All for the sake of returning the art to an un-flipped state.

I completely agree with your thoughts on flipping pages...as a casual reader, I prefer the story be easy enough to comprehend that I can actually be immersed in it, rather than be continually distracted by elements that make things more difficult to read. And there's *no* way anyone will ever convince me that flipping to a glossary in the back of the book in order to comprehend the untranslated SFX is a "cool feature." (Especially when there were SFX out there lettered by Orzechowski...it'd be tough to do much better than that I think).

Not to rant or anything. I just think it's a shame that the original Studio Proteus version is currently out-of-print, making it so I don't even have the ability to choose which way to read it.

Random side question: if I do happen to come across either of the Studio Proteus versions (the original 7-volume one, or the 4-volume "Perfect Collection"), would you recommend one over the other?

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Trish Ledoux

(no subject)

from: otaqueen
date: Feb. 5th, 2006 01:41 pm (UTC)
Link

Toren,

Very healing post, actually. Thank you...! Manga's left me and Toshi behind, too. But we still do what we can. I really enjoy working on "Negima!," for example, hellish-pain-in-the-ass though it can be. Love the "Lysistrata" reference by one of your correspondents; it helped me feel better about some fanboy ripping me for dialogue. The current theory, I take it, is that it is because I'm too Californian...which is funny, as I grew up in New England.

Trish

Reply | Thread

(no subject)

from: anonymous
date: Jan. 30th, 2007 12:42 am (UTC)
Link

Well, no matter where you come from or where you live now, Ms. Ledoux, you have to be told: NO MORE PLANTING WESTERN POP CULTURE REFERENCES (and similarly vapid BS) IN YOUR ADAPTATIONS. Your insistence on doing this has ruined many an anime and manga experience for me, and you will not be forgiven until you (A) apologize for that, and (B) go back and repair your damage.

Reply | Parent | Thread

(no subject)

from: samuelp
date: Feb. 25th, 2006 06:39 am (UTC)
Link

Interesting interview from one of those fans.

I ended up buying, learning japanese, and then translating (for myself) most of Narutaru after I saw the anime, and have been following it in SMB as it's come out. Only took me 3 years of Japanese in college, is all :).

Considering this, you'd probably think I'd be angry at the edits... well, I'd rather they not be there, but it's not a big deal. Although I still am curious about what happened with Bungo's name in vol. 5 (Kazuyuki?)... but I digress.

Are there any plans to continue to release the rest of Narutaru? Or, for that matter, to rerelease unflipped versions of the first 6 volumes?
And anyone interested in Kitoh's latest work, Bokurano? Yet another masterpiece from the most understimated mangaka in japan.

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