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Why Seven Seas Altered Its Light Novels


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El Hermano



Joined: 24 Feb 2019
Posts: 449
Location: Texas
PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2021 12:31 am Reply with quote
Cloudywind wrote:
Finding out that English YA fiction authors were contracted to do the editing on these novels really set alarm bells ringing considering the kind of insane self-cannibalizing toxicity, obsession with call-out culture, enthusiasm for ideological purity-based teardowns and harassment (often maliciously using things out of context or with poor comprehension), and just plain nastiness that permeates the entire English YA fiction scene

...

tl;dr This is not really a community you want anywhere near the driving seat of LNs with "sensitive" content in them such as Roll Over And Die or Mushoku Tensei.


The same thing happened with comics. A lot of people who've had zero experience with the medium were given free license to do whatever they wanted with the IPs to not much success. Obviously the YA boom of yesteryear got a lot of companies to take notice and want to capitalize on it by being the next Harry Potter, Hunger Games, or Twilight. I'm a bit surprised to hear it happened in the light novel scene, though. I suppose it makes some degree of sense to try to market light novels to the same audience as YA readers, but given the huge difference in culture and content between them, I can see why it just doesn't work and would upset the core audience of light novel readers that things were being altered in favor of the mainstream demographic. It harkens back to the old broadcast days when companies would market anime towards general kid audiences rather than actual anime fans. A bit surprised it's still happening in 2021.


Last edited by El Hermano on Thu Apr 29, 2021 8:55 pm; edited 1 time in total
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AnnieW#924524



Joined: 29 Apr 2021
Posts: 1
PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2021 6:12 am Reply with quote
guess ill have to take more care when buying translated LNs from now on, tho i have to say its hard for me to complain about censoring pedophilia that isnt even really relevant to the plot (at least the example used for mushoku tensei) but past that, fudge censoring
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Ashabel



Joined: 16 Feb 2010
Posts: 330
PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2021 9:58 am Reply with quote
Cloudywind wrote:
Even as pointed out earlier in this very thread, one of Seven Seas's editors for COTE was herself embroiled in a YA controversy (I pass no judgment on whether she deserved it as I do not know all the details of the case.)


First of all, a correction: Jessica Cluess isn't one of Seven Seas' editors on Classroom of the Elite. As far as I can tell, she's been responsible for editing the series from start to finish.

As for the controversy surrounding her, it actually has nothing to do with the YA scene. What happened is that she spotted an African-American teacher on Twitter who commented that classic literature studies in modern American education tend to ignore African-American authors and could use a tad more diversity in what they teach, took it to mean that the authors themselves were racist and then proceeded to heap all sorts of verbal abuse on said teacher over the course of several hours without actually making a counter-argument. It was a clear-cut case where her behavior was horrid even if it didn't smell of racism from five miles away, and nobody was surprised when her agent dropped her that very same day.

So no, I'm not actually critical of them hiring her because she's a YA author; I'm critical of them hiring her because she's a pretty awful person, has bad reading comprehension and is remarkably full of herself. Being racist is merely a topping on top of the pretty massive cake of traits that would be detrimental to anyone's skills as an editor.
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Cloudywind



Joined: 14 Jan 2018
Posts: 41
PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2021 11:38 am Reply with quote
Ashabel wrote:

a correction

The clarifications are deeply appreciated.
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SilverTalon01



Joined: 02 Apr 2012
Posts: 2244
PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2021 6:34 pm Reply with quote
Florete wrote:
Seven Seas is still people, people make mistakes, and if you're not willing to forgive people's mistakes and move on, you're going to have a rough time in life.


No, Seven Seas is a brand and a company, and it is very much possible to do irreparable damage to your brand. People work for Seven Seas, and people do make mistakes. The problem with your argument is that nobody (at least above that post, still catching up on the thread) has said to hold it against the people and never support any product they have a hand in. In fact, very little blame is being placed on individuals. The blame is primarily on the company and resulting damage to the brand is not the same as not forgiving people.
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LastPage 3



Joined: 13 Jun 2010
Posts: 71
PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2021 11:31 pm Reply with quote
El Hermano wrote:
I'm a bit surprised to hear it happened in the light novel scene, though. I suppose it makes some degree of sense to try to market light novels to the same audience as YA readers, but given the huge difference in culture and content between them, I can see why it just doesn't work and would upset the core audience of light novel readers that things were being altered in favor of the mainstream demographic. It harkens back to the old broadcast days when companies would market anime towards general kid audiences rather than actual anime fans. A bit surprised it's still happening in 2021.


Amazon has a huge influence on how light novels are marketed. LN publishers aren't only interested in hardcore light novel fans, who remain a niche even as the anime/manga crowd continue to grow. They really want to appeal to impulse buyers who might buy something because it was recommended to them by Amazon's algorithm.
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TarsTarkas



Joined: 20 Dec 2007
Posts: 5064
Location: Virginia, United States
PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 2021 3:28 pm Reply with quote
LastPage 3 wrote:

Amazon has a huge influence on how light novels are marketed. LN publishers aren't only interested in hardcore light novel fans, who remain a niche even as the anime/manga crowd continue to grow. They really want to appeal to impulse buyers who might buy something because it was recommended to them by Amazon's algorithm.


You are probably right. But if they have to censor or edit for content their novels and manga to meet the demands of their intended demographic, then they are licensing the wrong material.
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Dark Absol



Joined: 09 Dec 2009
Posts: 796
PostPosted: Sat May 01, 2021 2:01 pm Reply with quote
Throw me a bone here.

I was thinking of getting Arifureta (original) light novels soon. Is there any change from original to english (like omitted, censored, the likes)? Same goes for Konosuba, How NOT to Summon a Demon Lord, 'I've Been Killing Slimes for 300 years and Maxed out Level', and Kuma, Kuma, Kuma, Bear LNs.

I'm currently reading 'In Another World With My Smartphone' Vol.11 (bought 'em up to Vol.15) and I absolutely love it.

I have up to 3 volumes of 'Haruhi Suzumiya', Spice & Wolf, and Index series, but lost interest quickly (primarily because they aren't to my taste).
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Blanchimont



Joined: 25 Feb 2012
Posts: 2564
Location: Finland
PostPosted: Sat May 01, 2021 2:25 pm Reply with quote
@Dark Absol

Arifureta, How NOT to Summon a Demon Lord and Another World With My Smartphone are J-novel properties, so even if Sevens Seas may handle their physical editions they're not going to have content edits outside what's normal for translation purposes.
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Florete



Joined: 21 Jan 2018
Posts: 204
PostPosted: Sat May 01, 2021 3:35 pm Reply with quote
SilverTalon01 wrote:
Florete wrote:
Seven Seas is still people, people make mistakes, and if you're not willing to forgive people's mistakes and move on, you're going to have a rough time in life.


No, Seven Seas is a brand and a company, and it is very much possible to do irreparable damage to your brand. People work for Seven Seas, and people do make mistakes. The problem with your argument is that nobody (at least above that post, still catching up on the thread) has said to hold it against the people and never support any product they have a hand in. In fact, very little blame is being placed on individuals. The blame is primarily on the company and resulting damage to the brand is not the same as not forgiving people.

Yeah, I don't think so. It always comes down to someone's decision, and at least one individual has been singled out in this topic.

The fact that Seven Seas acknowledges the issue at all and claims it won't happen again should be enough for people to at least wait and see what comes of it instead of just tossing them to the curb. Plenty of companies will just brush something like this aside, or acknowledge it but attempt to justify it. Seven Seas could probably get away with either of those options just fine considering the total number of people who have actually gotten involved in this controversy is relatively low, and while might not be the case for people posting here, a lot of the whiners elsewhere are people who obviously don't buy in the first place.

EDIT: To clarify that last statement, naturally the people who brought the issue to light are buyers, but the people who heard of it from there are not necessarily.
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ranran-001



Joined: 25 Oct 2018
Posts: 378
PostPosted: Sat May 01, 2021 8:22 pm Reply with quote
I'd imagine this like if I was reading Silence of the Lambs, and Hannibal while referred to as a serial killer in the edited text, comes to that crucial scene where he escapes his confinement does not do the things to the guards that he does in the movie. I'd feel like the publishers are insulting their readers.
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VainNihilist



Joined: 05 Nov 2011
Posts: 1
PostPosted: Sat May 01, 2021 8:36 pm Reply with quote
Hopefully not straying too far into the usual debates around translation localisation:

I get annoyed by the localisation (pretty much Americanisation) of numbers and units.
e.g. meters -> feet, °C -> °F, 1st/2nd/3rd year -> freshman/sophomore/senior.

Coming from a STEM background and not being American, number conversions always felt unnecessary in translations. It's one of those things that also stick out when comparing LN/manga vs anime for the same story.

Since it's fairly prevalent, one starts to assume that any of those units that do appear have been converted, even if they were actually in the original to give a particular effect (e.g. convey cultural differences).
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Fluwm



Joined: 28 Jul 2009
Posts: 474
PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2021 10:50 am Reply with quote
I've only personally compared some of the FMP releases, but with that series, at least, I found J-Novel Club's translation to be pretty faithful/accurate to the original, and overall their output tends to be very readable and much less prone to errors compared to other LN publishers.

VainNihilist wrote:
Hopefully not straying too far into the usual debates around translation localisation:

I get annoyed by the localisation (pretty much Americanisation) of numbers and units.
e.g. meters -> feet, °C -> °F, 1st/2nd/3rd year -> freshman/sophomore/senior.

Coming from a STEM background and not being American, number conversions always felt unnecessary in translations. It's one of those things that also stick out when comparing LN/manga vs anime for the same story.

Since it's fairly prevalent, one starts to assume that any of those units that do appear have been converted, even if they were actually in the original to give a particular effect (e.g. convey cultural differences).


This is definitely an issue. Units of measurement are one thing, as there's no real worry about connotative meaning there, but with words like "sophomore" being used for school year... that invests the text with additional, Americanized meanings. I am not a fan.

It's also worth noting that these localization choices are predicated on an incorrect assumption of universality. Not every American is necessarily going to be familiar with these kinds of terms. The whole freshman/sophomore/junior/senior thing is very much a cultural relic at this point--most school districts are so overburdened that they haven't housed grades 9-12 in the same building since the early 90s.

And not that it's much of an issue, owing to the CRIMINAL lack of licensed sports manga, but American high school athletics terminology is even less universal. Adachi Mitsuru's work has seldom been localized, but when it is, we simple, clear terms like "first-string" and "second string" replaced with American terms like "junior varsity" which I'm sure means something to someone, but may as well be an alien language to myself.
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Sailor Sedna



Joined: 08 Jan 2015
Posts: 1018
PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2021 12:11 pm Reply with quote
With the exception of Tenchi Muyo I never bought any light novels from Seven Seas (were there any alterations there?), mostly just the manga, but, I totally agree; I thought this whole stupid "refining" stuff was a thing of the past...and I say, if they were so uncomfortable with Kodomo no Jikan's themes that they chose not to license it, why not just not license any light novel/manga that has stuff they would try to censor and let another company do it?

Now I'm wondering if I should skip buying the rest of the Saintia Sho and Harukana Receive manga...or it not, then after I finish buying those series i might drop them entirely, I'm not on the same page as they are and might instead focus on Viz for manga (Beastars) and Yen Press for light novels (Magical Girl Raising Project) for the time being.


Last edited by Sailor Sedna on Mon May 03, 2021 11:48 am; edited 1 time in total
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Catseyetiger



Joined: 20 Oct 2009
Posts: 748
PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2021 1:48 pm Reply with quote
I hope the Japanese authors sue Seven Seas out of business. Altering whole chapters of material is a insult to the author and should have some criminal recourse for the creator of the work! Buyers who were not warned with a label on the material need a class action suite as well for refunds or corrected replacements. It’s odd that these companies can violate agreements and laws at will these days. I still collect some Seven Seas properties and now know it’s a poorly run and mismanagement in translations will have me checking before buying in the future. Who wants altered works completely different from the originals because the company thought it best?
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