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Ghost in the Shell Bilingual Editions - The superior English versions?

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Joined: 20 Nov 2010
Posts: 354
PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 11:24 pm Reply with quote
So the new editions of the Ghost in the Shell manga that came out in these past few months were, yet again, censored.

I stumbled into Kodansha's Japanese bilingual editions again recently, which are very much in English, and it appears they may be superior to what is available here, but I'm wondering if anyone here is familiar with these.

There are versions of the original GITS and Man Machine Interface, which are still easy to get at fairly reasonable prices. The first apparently dates back to 2002, the second to 2011. I'd forgotten about these, but the version of the first this offers was sometimes called the definitive English one available a number of years back, since it's uncensored.

I'm aware of the following differences, regarding the first:

-Being a bilingual edition, the speech bubbles are English while the margins are filled with Japanese dialogue.
-Allegedly this is Frederik L. Schodt's original translation? Some claim this version is better without any additional editing. I'm not sure if that information is outdated, since it has been re-released multiple times since then.
-Uncensored, as mentioned before.
-Unflipped with original sound effects. Newer American editions have been unflipped and the latest has the original sound effects, so this isn't as amazing anymore.

I am not sure if there are any particular major downsides to this version, aside from uglier typesetting.

Now, the GITS2 Man Machine Interface bilingual edition, I can't find many opinions on. It seems to be much the same as the previous one presentation wise (although the font veers dangerously close to Comic Sans territory). The major thing is, I can't find anything indicating whether or not this version is uncensored, which would be the big draw, since as I recall this one had even more cut out of it than the original.
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Joined: 14 Jul 2004
Posts: 4126
PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 9:30 am Reply with quote
There are a number of Kodansha Bilingual books, unfortunately, they had a very short-lived life, thanks to Kodansha's badly-worded contract with Tokyopop.

All of the Bilingual versions are exact copies of the Japanese versions, except that the word bubbles are in English, with the Japanese in the sidebars. They were done as a English-learning aid for Japanese students.

However, the contract with Tokyopop gave Tokyopop the rights to "English-language" versions of the books. Which meant that Kodansha, despite being the overall license holder, was violating the contract by making the books, and they ceased production.

So yes, all of the Bilingual books are uncensored, presented just as their Japanese counterparts, just with the language translated. But there aren't many of them, and they're fairly hard to find.
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Village ElderVillage Elder

Joined: 25 Aug 2010
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 4:02 pm Reply with quote

That would not have effected Ghost in the Shell. It was a Dark Horse license before Tokyo Pop even existed (as were all of Shirow's works). The license stayed with Dark Horse until it reverted to Kodansha.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2017 5:20 pm Reply with quote
Well, it looks like it's time to answer my own question.

I ended up getting copies of both very quickly thanks to Including shipping, price was as good as or better than anyone else, for brand new copies with their insanely fast global DHL. I ordered these on Wednesday and got them TODAY. Anyone else I'd pay the same and probably not see them for two weeks. Crazy.

I can report:

1) As already known, GiTS 1 is indeed uncensored.

2) Unfortunately, GiTS 2 is based on the censored version.

So there you have it. A real shame, but the first one is worth getting for sure. I may try to borrow a copy of the recent American GiTS2 version to see if there's any other reasons to get it over that, but aside from matching the first volume (they do look pretty good) I'm not sure there is.

I am still curious about the translation/editing differences with GiTS 1, though, if anyone has any insight there.
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Land Stander

Joined: 06 Oct 2015
Posts: 64
PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2017 4:16 am Reply with quote
I have GITS1 bilingual and the new US hardcover(s). I haven't had the chance to compare yet but I had hoped the new hardcovers were uncensored and definitive. I'm sorry to find out that they were not.

I wanted to respond to the comment about the Kodansha bilingual manga, in general. Most of them are rather easy to find, and let me include "cheap" in my definition of "easy to find". The harder thing is knowing what you are looking for, and ordering from Amazon JP.

There are btw a great number of bilingual comics published by publishers other than Kodansha. Hard to find when you don't know the exact book you are looking for, as the search terms are not consistent, but generally cheap when you do.

Prices vary over time, so, sit on one you like if too expensive, and wait for it to drop.
Devilman has always seemed rather pricey in some volumes, others much better.

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