Tuesday, May 17, 2011

About Ken Akamatsu's J-Comi

As some of you may have heard, Ken Akamatsu, author of Love Hina and Mahou Sensei Negima, decided to open a site dedicated to offering out-of-print manga online, for free, and, most of all, legally. While the beta version only had Love Hina, the site has been growing, offering us various short manga that are obscure at least to the Western public (and, judging by the fact that nobody's printing them anymore, they could be obscure in Japan as well). While it's arguably done to combat the evils of scanlation (of which we are, of course, guilty), the manga-viewing system also allows you to add comments and, most importantly, actual line transcriptions. And I don't mean that people would hijack the Japanese transcriptions, nonono. You are allowed to pick your language and transcribe in said language. In other words, this is scanlating without having to bother about editing the images or, most of all, cease and desist orders.

As such, I've decided to try my hand at one of the more recent manga in there, called Nekketsu Banchou Onigawara Tsubaki. Or Hot-Blooded Banchou Onigawara Tsubaki.

Released in 2004, with a nearly empty page on mangaupdates, with no Wikipedia entry in Japanese, let alone English, this manga has only two volumes and is about... I have no idea, to be honest. I'm diving in and reading it as I translate it. I'll probably offer chapter-by-chapter updates, but the link will be the same every time (well, until I go to the second volume).

Reading instructions:

1. Go to http://www.j-comi.jp/book/detail/3611/
2. The three options next to the cover are "Read in large size", "Read in normal format", "Read one page at a time". The first two mimic an actual manga, showing the two pages one next to the other. The last one is the format adopted by most scanlations. I do my edits in large size, which I recommend.
3. Whichever you pick, do note that manga is read from right to left, and that includes the direction in which you change pages.
4. To toggle line translation, click the green-backgrounded balloon in the bottom corner of each page.
5. Pick English on the bottom option that's faced towards the balloon (which is left on the left page, right on the right page).
6. The English lines will not be placed on the dialogue bubbles. You will have to associate said lines with the correct reading order. I'll probably use certain editing cues for you to understand which is which, when it gets confusing (like italics for thinking or bold for titles)

I've currently done no more than a few pages, but you're free to give it a look. If you have any advice to offer, please comment below.

I would be grateful if someone would spread the word about the new translation option on the site. I'll offer further instructions to whoever is interested.

P.S.: Yes, Souten Kouro goes on, but both me and the editor have been busy lately. What I'm doing with Onigawara is nothing more than a hobby that goes easy on my exhausted brain.

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