Seth’s review of Naoki Urasawa's 20th Century Boys, Volume 01: Friends (20th Century Boys, #1) > Likes and Comments

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message 1: by Dana (new)

Dana Salman Nice, solid review; exactly right.
I'd just like to ask, since it seems you've read the series in their hard-copy forms, and I'm thinking of buying the series myself (I read it all online):
1. Does Viz censor anything?
2. This is just a pet-peeve I have, but tell me the names are written in traditional Japanese order, with last name preceding the first name (Endou Kenji rather than Kenji Endou)?
3. Do they include honorifics? (Kanna-chan, Kenji-kun, Yoshitsune-san, Kami-sama etc.)
4. Are Japanese cultural references and puns explained in the footnotes or are they just replaced with recognizable American icons?

I'm sorry for asking, its just I've never bought a manga before and am unsure of what a publishing house intent on selling Japanese manga to an American audience would deem translatable.

message 2: by Seth (new)

Seth T. I'll have to check when I get home. Different publishers will localize differently within their brand or even differently from project to project.

I don't have a lot of personal stake in the honorific game. I understand their use and sometimes prefer them, but at other times, localiztaions that try to convey the sense of the honorifics without actually using them *might* be preferable. I'm thinking specifically the two different localizations of Yotsuba&! YenPress does a good job remaining faithful to the Japanese and retains the honorifics, but the earlier version by ADV streamlined the books for American readers with little familiarity with Japanese customs and the result is vastly more fluid and readable and (for this project at least) more enjoyable. This isn't the case for every project, but it works out very well sometimes.

As far as censorship goes, did you have a particular incident in mind? That'll help me find a test case for checking. I don't believe the book is censored, though I don't know that 20CB really had much to censor in the first place. At the least, Viz keeps the topless women in the Friendland spa.

Anyway, I'll try to take a look at my volumes soon and let you know.

message 3: by Dana (new)

Dana Salman Thanks for replying. Hmmm no, I don't have a particular incident in mind, you're right, there isn't a lot of that in 20CB. I just heard that Viz liked to censor over things (not exclusively topless women, but also blood and strong language: for instance, the first panel in your review was translated as 'Not a damn thing happened' in the online version I read, although that was probably just word-preference on the part of the translator). In any case, the censorship actually doesn't concern me as much as the other points I mentioned.

Oh, and 'Friendland' was written as Tomodachi-land in the version I read, since that was what was actually written on the signs and front entrances in the panels. Hehe, so there's one difference.

I wouldn't know whether 'Americanizing' the manga makes it more readable, but I really enjoyed the scanlations I've read, which showed that the translators are familiar with what long-time manga and anime fans would recognize and therefore would not need gilded over for them. I realize that publishers translate manga with the preconception that they might be picked up by newcomers into the manga and anime medium rather than just those who are already familiar with it, so I just wanted to see to what extent they go to make it as easy as possible for those newcomers.

One thing I did notice is that online-translated manga usually leave the sound effects as they are (written in Japanese). Although in most cases a reader can usually guess what the sounds are without occasional footnotes that read sfx: guitar music, sometimes it's crucial to the story to know immediately that, say, this sound effect is a gunshot, rather than immediately skipping over to the next panel without reading the footnote that tells you a gun has been fired. In fact sound effects are a vital element in comics, so it's good that it seems all sound effects are translated as well in the hard-copies.

message 4: by Devin Milliron (new)

Devin Milliron Thank you. This review is exactly how I felt, as well. Very informative and clear in explaining why the story is so touching and exciting and just plain good overall. It's very hard to explain to others why they should read this. Now I can just point them to your review.

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