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The Mike Toole Show - Mr. Smith Goes to Osaka


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DiGiKerot



Joined: 03 Apr 2011
Posts: 20
PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 5:07 pm Reply with quote
I'm pretty sure that coming up with Star of the Giants related conspiracy theories is simply Jonathan Clements hobby - I was at an event a couple of years back at which he posited that NTV bought Madhouse mostly because they wanted their own studio to remake it.

Which, obviously, has yet to pan out. Actually, now that I think about it, he introduced a screening of Redline by comparing it to Star of the Giants as well...
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Charred Knight



Joined: 29 Sep 2008
Posts: 3085
PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 5:28 pm Reply with quote
Generally I do prefer my manga to be unflipped but I also prefer a more looser style that makes the scenes read better. I sure as hell don't want a manga were half the stuff is left untranslated because "there is no english equivalent to nakama or inu inu no mi"

The first one should be translated as comrade and the second is simply the Japanese word for Dog Dog Fruit.
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Maidenoftheredhand



Joined: 21 Jun 2007
Posts: 2633
PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 6:05 pm Reply with quote
I admit in my ignorance I was not familiar with Toren Smith until after he died. Being a fan of Gunbuster, I am familiar with the character named after him so I think that is really cool.

However I guess I agree and disagree with some his points. I was never a big fan of Tokyo Pop, mostly because with the exception of Fruits Basket most of what they licensed was junk and they licensed a lot of that junk.

I mean I think we can all agree that unflipped manga is a good thing. I don't think anyone is being too unreasonable to want that.

As for translations I am not sure since I have not read very many of Tokyo Pop's or any of Toren Smiths to compare in the quality.. As far as other translations go it really depends. I think the best translation is somewhere in between being as accurate as possible and trying to get as close to the feeling of the original as possible (and I guess finding that balance is more of an art than a science.)

Yeah the manga boom is over but I think there are a lot of reasons for that. Sure during the boom a lot of crap did come out but at least a lot of great and award winning & unique series came out as well. Not that there isn't any good series anymore but today a series I was sure would get licensed in the past isn't a guarantee anymore.

So with all the bad translations and bad manga I have to say I miss those days.
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walw6pK4Alo



Joined: 12 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 6:12 pm Reply with quote
You know, I think you can still have all of the professional typesetting, translating, and cleaning while leaving it unflopped. One doesn't have to mean the other. "Oh, but what about having to read it in the right to left order?! Doesn't that feel awkward, don't you want it flopped?!" No, neither does flipping in the opposite direction. And it's even less important if you read stuff digitally, one single page at a time. It seems the only reason to argue for flopping is tradition, because he was used to it. Some of us don't read any American comics beyond the short web postings, so unflopped manga has never felt weird.
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fuuma_monou



Joined: 26 Dec 2005
Posts: 1822
Location: Quezon City, Philippines
PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 6:23 pm Reply with quote
Maidenoftheredhand wrote:
I was never a big fan of Tokyo Pop, mostly because with the exception of Fruits Basket most of what they licensed was junk and they licensed a lot of that junk.


Was an early supporter of MixxZine, but after they screwed over a friend of mine I refused to buy anything from Mixx/TP, except for OEL and used copies.

Used to buy translated manga in single-issue comics form, so I'm a longtime fan of Viz and Studio Proteus. Gunsmith Cats was one title where flipping the artwork takes you out of the story. Also used to have the Eros Comix edition of Hiroyuki Utatane's Countdown: Sex Bombs, where the only credited staffer was, IIRC, Tomoko Saitou. Not even a fake name for the translator like you usually see in hentai anime.
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Lord Geo



Joined: 18 Sep 2005
Posts: 2569
Location: North Brunswick, New Jersey
PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 6:26 pm Reply with quote
I think Toren Smith both had great points but also was very old-school & frigid in his way of thinking that kind of pushed against his points. Yes, I do agree that a great translation, even if it isn't a word-for-word translation, is the most important thing to want and that it should front & center. But, really, sometimes a more loose translation kind of works against itself. For example, when TokyoPop first started releasing B't X, they went with a more loose translation style that gave Teppei more one-liners & cheesy jokes... Which honestly got somewhat annoying when they happened. Luckily, TokyoPop transitioned into a more literal translation as their releases went on, though some looseness was still maintained, and the manga translation benefited from that.

On the other hand, I think he got a little too hooked on the idea of "false authenticity", i.e. not flipping manga & leaving sound effects untranslated.

Honestly, is having manga be unflipped really that bad? The reason why manga was originally flipped is so that it can be more of a marketable product to non-manga fans, which back in the 80s & 90s was just about everyone & today it's done for select titles. Essentially, it was to give the titles more of a mainstream appeal, and what I got from Jonathan Clements' article on Smith was that he didn't want to be a part of the mainstream... Yet he was against releasing manga the way it was originally intended to be read, right-to-left. It just comes off as an odd dichotomy, in my opinion.

As for the translation of sound effects, it's something that doesn't really bother me too much. If they're untranslated then fine, and if they're translated then whatever. But, honestly, when the sound effects become an essential part of the artwork then I prefer they be untranslated. For example, I wonder what Toren Smith thought of Viz's release of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, a manga which had untranslated effects (by a company that normally translates them) partially because they were, essentially, a part of the artwork itself; to change the effects would change the style of the manga itself to an extent. I wonder what his feelings were on exceptions like that.

Still, there's no way to downplay the importance Toren Smith had on the manga industry, nor should anyone try to downplay it. He seemed to have a good marker on what to do, he focused more on quality over quantity, and even he left the market on a high note, I'd say. Hell, the man got immortalized in anime... Twice in the same title (both his voice & an homage character), at that!! I do wish he had appeared on ANNCast, because it certainly would have been a fun ride to listen to.
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Northlander



Joined: 10 Feb 2009
Posts: 903
PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 6:35 pm Reply with quote
Having many manga both flopped and not, it's actually surprisingly easy to get used to either. The only time this confuses me is if I reread Inuyasha, which goes from flipped to not in the middle of its run. (And then, it's only temporary.)

Even now, reading through my Appleseed or Ghost in the Shell manga, I can't begin to imagine how much work it must have been to redraw all the onomatopoeia with English words. I'm kind of a pragmatic at heart -- that is, if unflipped and with Japanese sound-words intact is the only way I can get a manga I really want to read in English is the only way I can get it, then I say go for it. (It's my manga equivalent of the "sub only" release of anime.) But that doesn't mean I won't appreciate when someone goes the extra mile like this.

Toren Smith; I loved your work, man. For what it's worth, take that with you into the afterlife, along with the feelings of everyone else who shares my sentiment about it.
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Melanchthon



Joined: 02 Oct 2010
Posts: 550
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 7:38 pm Reply with quote
When it comes to translation, I favour a looser style. It's a form of Platonic philosophy. When a character says something, they are really taking an Idea, and formatting it to fit their language and grammar. The best translations, I think, first return to the Idea of what is written, then take that Idea and format it to fit another language. It is quite possible that in this process tense might change or a question might become a statement, but as long as the character isn't changed by these actions, it is successful.

In terms of flopping manga, it is well known that flopping is an Abomination unto Nuggan and anyone that performs such an offense should be hung up by their figgin. But seriously, it's one of those 'They do things differently then we do, so we must change it to match ourselves because we can't comprehend that cultures can be different' things that I really hate, along with the whole name-reversing thing. It's insulting and, quite frankly, reeks of colonialism.

As for sound effects, I'm quite fine with leaving them untranslated, because honestly, they have no real purpose other than window dressing anyway.
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nargun



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 926
PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 7:45 pm Reply with quote
The bonus of unflipped is a lower fixed cost. The downside of unflipped is lost sales: some fraction of the potentially-manga-buying-market will not buy unflipped[1].

... if your sales potential is low, then the fixed costs dominate, and unflipped makes sense. If your sales potential is high, then your marginal elements dominate, and flipped is better.

... or, unflipped is only more economical if the manga would sell poorly anyway. Or, unflipped is only profitable if you intend to be putting out a firehose of low-selling titles to make up for low individual profitability.
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Tempest
I Run this place.
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Joined: 29 Dec 2001
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 7:49 pm Reply with quote
nargun wrote:
The bonus of unflipped is a lower fixed cost. The downside of unflipped is lost sales: some fraction of the potentially-manga-buying-market will not buy unflipped[1].


This isn't really a "bonus." Although marketing and PR disguised the whole unflipped thing as "something for the purists," the main reason it was done was to cut costs.

Don't get me wrong, for those of us who prefer our manga that way, it was a win / win situation, and I'm glad and thankful it was done.
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Emerje



Joined: 10 Aug 2002
Posts: 7364
Location: Maine
PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 7:59 pm Reply with quote
Good article, but I'm still trying to wrap my head around the 1986 Baycon book having a widescreen flat panel TV on the cover. Somebody saw the future.

Emerje
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walw6pK4Alo



Joined: 12 Mar 2008
Posts: 9322
PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 8:06 pm Reply with quote
Emerje wrote:
Good article, but I'm still trying to wrap my head around the 1986 Baycon book having a widescreen flat panel TV on the cover. Somebody saw the future.


You sure it's not a blackboard?
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Mikeski



Joined: 24 Sep 2009
Posts: 608
Location: Minneapolis, MN
PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 8:35 pm Reply with quote
walw6pK4Alo wrote:
Emerje wrote:
Good article, but I'm still trying to wrap my head around the 1986 Baycon book having a widescreen flat panel TV on the cover. Somebody saw the future.

You sure it's not a blackboard?

With the woodgrain frame, it's either a blackboard, or a 16:9 TV designed with early-80s Atari aesthetics in mind.

(I still have an Atari VCS like that hooked up to my current system. My school, it is old.)
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AkiraKaneda



Joined: 01 Jul 2002
Posts: 61
PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 9:37 pm Reply with quote
It's a TV. The joke on the cover is the problem with the TV's extension cord.

Meanwhile, thanks, Mike. You had me at the Baycon '86 book, which became my go-to guide as to what to see for nearly 10 years. Thanks for the memories and the tribute to Toren, without whom most of us wouldn't be able to comment on whether or not we agreed with his methodology.
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Battle Cossack



Joined: 14 Oct 2009
Posts: 87
Location: Bay Area, CA
PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2013 2:00 am Reply with quote
Sorry to hear of Smith's passing. I guess now's as good a time as any to try my hand at Outlanders or Two Faces of Tomorrow.

My opinion is all over the place when it comes to the issues of localizing manga. I guess what I want more than anything is to remain immersed in the experience. By that measure, I tend prefer flipped comics, since I inevitably read right-to-left panels backwards, until a reversed sign or clock takes me out of the experience. I also prefer the original sound effects, especially when they're really integrated into the way an entire page is framed.

Personally, I can handle a literal translation or a rewrite so long as the dialogue and overarching narrative is tight. I don't really think there's a "one size fits all" rule for translation; in particular, I think how well the material suits the team working with it.

I think it's funny Tokyopop is remembered for their literal translations; the I've only read their endearingly inaccurate Sailor Moon comics and Initial D, where you've got a lot of lines made tedious by imitating the "street talk" from the Fast and the Furious.
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