Wishful linking

I should just start a category dedicated to piggybacking on Danielle Leigh’s posts over at Comics Should Be Good. In her latest, she delivers a wish list to manga publishers. Here are some of my additions:

I wish for more translation and cultural notes! Some publishers are consistently generous with these (Dark Horse, Del Rey, Go! Comi, etc.), and some are flat-out stingy. I’ve noticed that Viz has been adding these to some of their recent Shojo Beat releases, which is terrific, but I would love for this to become standard practice so I can start complaining that they aren’t extensive enough instead of nonexistent.

I wish for more money to be thrown away on commercially iffy projects! I know this is impractical, but, hey, it’s a wish list. And while I don’t want to see more series abandoned before they’re completed, I would love it if publishers delivered more commercially counter-intuitive offerings every now and then. Okay, so I might be the only person who buys a manga about, say, retirees who decide to spend their golden years traveling, or stories about Japan’s agricultural bureaucracy or new mothers navigating playground culture, but I might not be, and you’d make me very happy.

I wish books I really like would come out either faster or slower! There seems to be no happy medium here. Either I feel like I’m waiting forever for a new volume of Mushishi or Hikaru No Go or that I can’t possibly keep up with some series or another. Please be more sensitive to my utterly unpredictable whims.

8 Responses to Wishful linking

  1. […] At Comics Should Be Good, Danielle Leigh celebrates her birthday with a wish list of not-so-unreasonable demands, mostly that publishers publish their books and do it on time. Over at Precocious Curmudgeon, David Welsh adds a few wishes of his own. […]

  2. danielle leigh says:

    Please be more sensitive to my utterly unpredictable whims.

    *laughs* this is the exact tone I was trying get across in my column and you did it so much better here.

    Also I couldn’t agree with your wishes (particularly number 2, sigh!)

  3. John Jakala says:

    Yes, yes, and yes! After comparing the difference in translations between two versions of Slam Dunk, I’ve become much more attune to how things are translated in manga. And now that I’m reading more Del Rey manga, I really appreciate the wonderful endnotes they put together. I’d love to see Viz do this for books like Bleach.

    As for Danielle’s original list, #2 reminds me of how I used to gripe about the regular delays for Dark Horse’s books, particularly Oh My Goddess! (I’ve since given up caring, mainly because I’m so behind on my reading and I always seem to be finding new series to catch up on.) #4 is something that obviously concerns me, but even there I think I’ve become more or less resigned to the idea that there are manga series I love that will expire prematurely due to low sales. And for #6, YES!!!

  4. Huff says:

    Most of the time slow-release schedules seem to mean low sales, but you’ll be happy to learn that Del Rey is planning to release three more volumes of Mushishi (up to 6) before years end, which probably means its doing pretty well. I actually didn’t mind the slow schedule since I’ve had the (superior) anime to watch, but now that that’s over I’m looking forward to reading some new material.

    “I wish for more money to be thrown away on commercially iffy projects!”

    Can’t agree with you more. At this point I don’t think it would even be throwing money away. The fact that Tekkon Kinkreet, a manga that flopped commercially in its three previous formats, has done well shows that there is an audience for this kind of material. Hopefully the excellent Solanin will sell just as well so Viz has the motivation to release more of Shogakukan’s many top-notch seinen titles.

  5. jun says:

    It seems I’ve picked a good time to start reading Mushishi. I’ve been successfully worn down by the influx of good reviews, and I need a little more creepy in my manga repertoire, anyhow. 🙂

  6. Chloe says:

    Big yes to the wish for more cultural notes; they complement the translation. When someone says “I’m sitting under the kotatsu,” how are you going to translate that without a sidenote? “I’m sitting under the table-with-blanket-attached-underneath?”

  7. JennyN says:

    I’ve said it before, both here and in other forums, but WORD on your wish for more translation and cultural notes, especially for titles aimed at mature readers. The French (who apparently publish and consume the greatest amount of manga outside Asia itself) have got it down pat, and I’m convinced that it’s an important factor in how well certain titles are accepted. Dark Horse, for example, had to stop publishing Hiroshi Hirata’s SATSUMA GISHIDEN after vol.3, because it wasn’t selling. Not only did Editions Delcourt put out the whole thing, followed by other titles, but Hirata has become a revered master to French manga readers, extensively interviewed during his recent visit there. I’d guess that’s connected not only to favourable reviews but to the additional material which gave French first-time readers a way into this very dense and powerful story: notes explaining cultural and historical references, essays by French critics and by Hirata himself, a short biography of the artist, etc. SONS OF THE EARTH by Jinpachi Mori and Hideaki Hataji (yes, agricultural bureaucracy!) includes translations of short articles in the original about real-life young farmers in Japan. Motoka Murakami’s JIN – intended for adults, about a doctor who mysteriously travels back in time to Edo-era Japan – comes complete with foot- and end-notes explaining all the medical and historical references. Heck, even Kaori Yuki’s FAIRY CUBE and LUDWIG REVOLUTION are supplemented with material on Celtic mythology and the Brothers Grimm.

    Well, maybe English-language publishers will wise up eventually…

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