A manga junkie's recommendations on titles Company B can't or won't license.
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Crime Victims = Buddah
2006.09.25. (Mon) | Edit |
I've been re-reading all of the Detective Conan manga since I've been watching Case Closed on the Funimation Channel.

And in response to that, my sister's been watching a lot of Furuhata.

So she had an episode of Furuhata on when I got home... and I thought it's funny how Japanese police refer to the murder victim as "hotoke-san."

Literally, it means Buddah.
Although it just means the "dead guy."

Not that wikipedia is the best source for these kinds of things, but they say about police use of the term "hotoke-san":
A euphemistic expression of referring to the dead. Comes from Buddhist believe that the dead become Buddah. In police terms, a slightly roudy expression of the dead. A slang similar to gaisha = higaisha (victim).

Then there are the two words for corpse, shitai (死体) and itai (遺体).

I have a vague idea that shitai is more emotionally distant or blunt way of saying corpse. And you're supposed to use itai when referring to the person lying in the coffin at the funeral.

So I looked at definition comparison on goo.ne.jp, and it seems like shitai can be used for human or animal corpse. While itai is only for human corpse.

And I always thought shigai (死骸) was the term used for animal corpse.

Where is a Japanese linguistics professor when you need one?
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2006/09/25 23:14 | Translation Explanation | Comment (1) | Trackback (0) | Top▲
Furuhata Ninzaburo TV Series
2006.09.15. (Fri) | Edit |
My mother is a big fan of actor Masakazu Tamura, so we grew up watching many of his drama series. So naturally we watched Furuhata Ninzaburo TV series on rental video.

Furuhata Ninzaburo isn't based off a manga series, so it really doesn't fit in this blog. But my sister was watching one of the DVDs (she has the first 2 seasons & the special on DVD... and recycling bottles to buy the 3rd season DVD box which costs $300), so it made me want to mention it a bit here.

Well, it's mostly because I get in the mode of "I wish I had the opportunity to work on this project" when I see good shows. That must be my producer itch.

When you're a translator or a localization producer/editor, you start translating manga, anime, video games, TV series... you name it... in your head. It's like a puzzle trying to come up with the best way to express the passion you feel hearing/reading it in the original language.

The script of Furuhata is really smart & it's one of those shows where if I had all the money in the world, I'd localize it just to work on it.

Oh, I didn't even talk about the show.

It's a murder mystery series. Each episode has a different murder case, so it's a lot like Detective Conan. Which I've been watching on the Funimation Channel. I want to write to them that I want to see more Conan, but I'm debating if I want to use my real name. I mean, I work with them a bit at Company B.

Furuhata is the name of the detective on the show. Furuhata starts each episode with a monologue about random things, that kind of tie into the case. He's also joked in one of the monologues that all great Japanese detectives (fictional, of course) have a fancy last name & an ordinary first name. Like Kogoro Akechi. Or Kosuke Kindaichi. I haven't read any of those novels, but I know about them from Detective Conan. The power of manga!
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2006/09/15 22:22 | Media About Manga | Comment (0) | Trackback (0) | Top▲
Chokotto Hime vol 1
2006.09.12. (Tue) | Edit |
At Company B, we get lots of different magazines for licensing purposes & we also order lots of random new manga to check them out.

So here's one that was ordered for licensing purposes, but Company B won't be picking up.

Chokotto Hime vol 1

Chokotto Hime is a 4-panel manga about a cat & her owner. The title sounded moe or cute-adventure (still moe), so I think that's why it was ordered.

Well I was right about the moe thing.
The cat is a cat, but half the time she's depicted as a human-shaped girl. I think Taruto was like that.

Nabe-kun (nii-chan to Hime) finds a cat, looks for someone to adopt it, but decides to adopt it himself. He's never had a pet before, so he learns to take care of a cat & slowly becomes what all cat owners are... oya-baka, meaning stupid parent.

It's the syndrome where you think that your cat is the cutest cat ever.

Anyway, having a stupid but oh-so-cute cat myself, I'm a sucker for cat manga like this. Yeah, it's moe, but there's nothing morally disturbing (even if Hime is depicted as a human & calls her owner "nii-chan"), and the art is cute.

It's too bad that the cover art isn't that cute. It'll draw the moe loving ota's, but cat loving women like me wouldn't pick it up by looking at the cover. There are cuter color images within the manga too (they're not printed in color, but was originally in color), altho it's more loli-tic.

Chokotto Hime
Author: Ayami Kazama
Volumes: 1 (on-going)
Publisher: Square Enix

Likelihood of Company B to license: -4
Not much market for 4-panel manga in the US yet. Although it would be something cute to serialize on a website, and release it a la the web-comic method. Something Company B is considering for some of Parent Company B's titles, but it's not something easily do-able with other publishers.
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2006/09/12 21:11 | Honobono Manga | Comment (0) | Trackback (0) | Top▲
Koi no Tamago vol 2
2006.09.11. (Mon) | Edit |
A new shipment of manga arrived today at Company B.

I had ordered the second volume of Koi no Tamago (恋のたまご), because I bought the first volume in Japan when I went there in March for Tokyo Animation Fair. I didn't know about the series, but picked it up because it's by Satoru Makimura, the manga artist of Imagine & Oishii Kankei (おいしい関係).

There's a rule of thumb for Japanese manga retailers. Female readers follow manga artists, so it's always a good idea to display popular or famous series by the author to promote the new one. Not that male readers don't follow manga artists, but they tend to choose by the series in the same magazine.

Of course the latter doesn't work for the US, since there aren't enough magazines for people to choose from. Let alone be able to publish the same genre in the same magazine.

Printing magazines are costly, so it's the US manga industry's homework to figure out a way to introduce new manga to the readers.

Koi no Tamago vol 2

Anyway, back to Koi no Tamago. It's a story about a 30-year old OL named Mako who has settled in the comfort of her easy and modestly-paid job & her co-worker boyfriend. But one day she ends up without a boyfriend (she finds out that he was seeing another girl at the same time) and a job (she rejects a transfer to a branch in the countryside). She meets a construction worker named Mat-chan, follows him to a cafe & decides to work at the cafe as a part-time staff.

So in Koi no Tamago vol 2, Mako doesn't feel like she's dating Mat-chan & realizes that she doesn't know much about him either. After Tomo-chan points out that Mako doesn't want to get hurt, her relationship with Mat-chan improves.

Mako is helping an artist named Bun-chan set up for her doll gallery at the cafe, when an energetic young woman named Sakura walks into the cafe. Sakura is a student photographer who went to Germany to study. Mako finds out from the cafe manager that Mat-chan and Sakura used to date before she went to Germany.

Mako gets jealous over how Mat-chan and Sakura interact, and Mat-chan asks her if she can't trust him. But Mako overhears Sakura telling Mat-chan that she still likes him.

While Mako has Sakura on her mind, the cafe manager falls ill. He asks Mako to take over the cafe while he recovers for 2 months. Mako reluctantly agrees to take over.

Like Imagine, Satoru Makimura's recent manga have themes about women finding themselves through work & love. They realize they're unhappy living their lives in the "flow of things." At work, they quietly get their job done without creating friction between bosses or co-workers. With relationships, they've accepted getting married (if he only proposes!) to the nice co-worker they've been dating for a few years.

In a way, it's a fantasy we all have about leaving the boring work or romance & finding something new and exciting to do.

This isn't shoujo manga, so it's more like josei manga? Although you don't hear the term josei manga too often, so it doesn't stick to me.

Koi no Tamago
Author: Satoru Makimura
Volumes: 1-4 (complete)
Publisher: Shueisha

Likelihood of Company B to license: 0
At least nothing like this yet. When the teenage girls reading Fruits Basket turn 30 (in 12-15 years), then the time would be right to release josei manga. I wonder if I'd still be in this business in 15 years from now?
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2006/09/11 23:03 | Young Woman Manga | Comment (1) | Trackback (0) | Top▲
Zig Zag Don vol 1
2006.09.06. (Wed) | Edit |
One thing I like about subscribing to manga magazines is that you find authors you wouldn't have known about otherwise.

So while reading Cookie for Nana, I discovered Takumi Ishida's manga.

I think when I started reading Nana, Takumi Ishida was still writing Yogoreteru Hima wa Nai (汚れてる暇はない). But that series ended & she started a new series called Zig Zag Don (ジグザグ丼).

Zig Zag Don vol 1

Zig Zag Don is about a high school student named Ichina who hates her mother Yoko. Ichina was raised by her single mother Yoko who runs a bar & doesn't know who Ichina's father is. So Ichina always wanted to have a real romance, get married & have children.

In the start of the story, Ichina gets dumped by her boyfriend. She later learns that her boyfriend got together with her close friend Sekiya's girlfriend. Ichina & Sekiya end up sleeping together, but Sekiya looks like he regrets going beyond being friends.

Meanwhile, Yoko brings in a high school student (who goes to Ichina's school) named Nukui to live with them. Nukui seems nice, but there are bad rumors about him around school.

Nukui also happens to know about Ichina's real father. Yoko finally tells her story about how she met Koichi to Ichina.

Hm. I shouldn't really spoil the story, so no more story details from here.

Hopefully like Sunadokei, I can write volume synopsis here. I haven't even started on Sunadokei either... I think I'll write a synopsis of Zig Zag Don vol 1 here anyway.

Zig Zag Don
Author: Takumi Ishida
Volumes: 1 - 6 (complete)
Publisher: Shueisha

Likelihood of Company B to license: -2
Little too dark & not very mainstream. But it's a good manga with a solid storytelling. Maybe if we're lucky, Company V will bring it out to the US. But probably not. Times like this, I'm glad I can read Japanese.

[READ MORE...]
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2006/09/06 23:25 | Shoujo Manga | Comment (4) | Trackback (0) | Top▲
Himawari ~ Ken'ichi Legend vol 2
2006.09.04. (Mon) | Edit |
I picked up Himawari ~ Ken'ichi Legend vol 2 (ひまわりっ~健一レジェンド) because it's by manga author Akiko Higashimura, who has a manga series called Kisekae Yuka-chan in Cookie.

I pre-order new manga when we get new order sheets from Tohan, one of the two main book distributors in Japan. So I didn't realize it until I got the actual manga, but Himawari ~ Ken'ichi Legend is actually published by Kodansha, while Kisekae Yuka-chan is a Shueisha title. It's pretty rare for manga authors to get published by different companies, although it's becoming more common now-a-days.

Anyway, Himawari ~ Kenichi Legend (I'll call it Himawari for short) is a gag manga based on the manga author's real life story.

I don't know when Akiko Higashimura started this series (I only picked up vol 2... and need to order vol 1), but I'm assuming it was after she wrote about her OL life and about her father Ken'ichi in the aftertalk sections in the back of Kisekae Yuka-chan manga.

Akiko Higashimura's story of becoming a manga author is very common. She was an OL working in a regular company, while continuing to submit manga to publishers in hopes of becoming a manga artist. Many manga artists continue to hold a regular job while writing manga, especially if they write for small publishers. Only a select few debut during high school & make it big early in their careers.

Then there's Akiko Higashimura's stories about her crazy father. The father who pours curry directly on top of the rice, even though the rice is only on 2/3 of the plate (the curry is s'posed to be poured on the 1/3 of the plate + 1/2 of the rice). The father who loves tropical fruite soooo much that he brings in a durian on the tour bus even though the tour guide warned them about bringing durian into buses & hotels.

So, Himawari is about an OL named Akiko who is very good at drawing illustrations for her company bulletins. She drew manga as a kid, but hadn't pursued it. Her father Ken'ichi works at the same company. He is a tropical fruit freak & is on a different wave length than others.

I re-read the manga to figure out a way to explain the humor of Himawari. And it's really difficult.

Akiko Higashimura likes to make her characters role-play using old drama, movie, or manga references (she does it in Kisekae Yuka-chan too). Like if other OLs see Akiko the OL talking to the gardener, they start role-playing as bully high-school girls who are talking behind their classmate's romance. Aaaah, so hard to explain!

And father Ken'ichi's silly antics are really funny in the back of Kisekae Yuka-chan. But in Himawari, you get a much bigger dose of father Ken'ichi. And while most are funny, you start to develop a feeling of frustration at this middle-aged man who has no sense of sensitivity to others & not realizing it. So he's a type of character where you enjoy his dumb-ness, but at the same time you want to beat the crap out of him.

Himawari ~ Ken'ichi Legend
Author: Akiko Higashimura
Volumes: currently up to 2
Publisher: Kodansha

Likelihood of Company B to license: -2
Not that I would recommend Company TP or Company DR to pick this manga up. It's funny, though. Almost like Atashi 'nchi (あたしンち), where if you have parents who are horribly embarrassing and can relate to the author's experience.
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2006/09/04 22:04 | Gag Manga | Comment (0) | Trackback (0) | Top▲
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