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People Sure Like to Romanticise Fan Translations

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People sure like to romanticise piracy. This was something that occurred to me after I published an article a few days ago called Explaining the English Light Novel Boom with Bookwalker Global, which didn’t mention piracy at all and yet sparked controversy on the subject anyway. As many of the comments argued, fan translations have played a part in popularizing light novels in English translation. Why didn’t I mention their existence?

In truth, I didn’t set out to snub fan translation in that piece. It was simply the case that the people I spoke to at Bookwalker Global did not mention it. The article was not intended as a comprehensive overview of the light novel industry; it was meant to showcase Bookwalker Global’s perspective on the subject. I thought that their views would be interesting because a) They’ve recently jumped onto the English light novel bandwagon with a clear rationale for doing so, and b) They are deeply connected to the Japanese light novel market.

Fan translations were clearly not relevant with Bookwalker Global’s choice of exclusive titles. Neither The Combat Baker nor The Ryuo’s Work is Never Done! had English fan translations when these releases were being decided, nor was there much hype for them on English-language social media. However, people still wanted me to talk about fan translation anyway. I suspect that they wanted me to romanticise their place in history.

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Everything You Need to Know about Qualidea Code

1468033439_2_4_4bdcd55acfeee6cd3d711c6dfc8e79f8The Qualidea Code anime started airing today! …leaving audiences around the world very confused. Thus, I have prepared a handy FAQ to explain what the heck is going on and how this series was conceived.

[NOTE: This guide uses Japanese order for names: family name first, given name last.]

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“Project Qualidea” Special Roundtable Discussion with Sagara Sou, Tachibana Koushi and Watari Wataru

(Note: This is a translation of the interview featured on the Dash x Bunko website.)

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A peaceful hour in front of the round table. Who knows what will happen after this…?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Qualidea of Scum and a Gold Coin (Kuzu to Kinka no Qualidea, or Kuzukin for short) has created quite a stir after getting a second printing straight after its publication in January. Now that Tachibana Koushi has announced his involvement, this ambitious “shared world” project involving multiple light novel labels will now begin in earnest! Our newcomer Tachibana Koushi-sensei joins in to explain the full details behind his involvement in this mysterious project! Don’t miss this chaotic public roundtable discussion filled with explosive statements (?!)

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The Henneko LN Has Been Licensed! + Personal Life Update

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I should’ve announced this ages ago, but… the Hentai Ouji to Warawanai Neko light novel has been licensed by Digital Manga Publishing. It was never formally announced on their website as far as I can see, but you can see it on the upcoming titles list under the title of The Hentai Prince and the Stony Cat. No release date has been given yet. Hopefully, it’ll actually get published, and when it does, I’ll give you the heads up.

Of course, for those of you following the English translation on Nano Desu, this means the project has been formally ceased. If you haven’t, you’d better go read the translation while you still can. I worked on volume 1. The PDF/ePub versions are being taken down later today, but if you ask nicely, I might email you a copy on the strict condition you don’t go around distributing it.

At any rate, I’m honoured that a novel I worked on is getting an English release. I’m also grateful to Nurin and Shingetsu (the translators of volume 2) for their hard work, along with the rest of the Nano Desu staff. Henneko was the first light novel I ever translated and I’m still pretty proud of my work. Of course, since it was a first-time translation project, it’s plagued with minor accuracy errors, so I’m looking forward to the official release to settle the score.

I hope you choose to support the series, especially if you enjoyed reading the fan translation!

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Watari Wataru and Sagara Sou are Collaborating on a New Light Novel Series: “Qualidea of Scum and A Gold Coin”

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Yes, I’ll be translating it. Details about the new series below the cut!

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2014: Year in Retrospect

Nisekoi-01-3It’s that time of the year, guys! Time to look back on all the Japanese cartoons and declare how shit they all were!

I’m joking, of course. While I haven’t actually watched enough anime this year to string together a top 10 anime list, I did enjoy the stuff I got around to watching. I also feel that this was a productive year for me as an anime fan and for the aniblogsphere in general.

Time for the highlights!

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re: Your Taste is Bad and So Are You

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I’ve been thinking about Bobduh’s essay lately. Despite the trollbait title, it actually does provide a nuanced argument about how people consume media – at least as far as one’s personal politics goes. For those who haven’t read it, the basic argument is as follows: a little self-scrutiny goes a long way. Thinking hard about why you like certain things is ultimately a more fruitful avenue of discussion than hiding behind self-defence measures, like claiming “IT’S JUST FICTION” or assuming everything you like is “SODEEP”.

What struck me as most interesting is this idea that all media propagates messages, whether consciously or not, along with Bobduh’s claim that a message unexamined is a message believed. The latter is not entirely true in the strictest sense – not paying attention to the racist overtones in, say, H.P. Lovecraft’s works doesn’t automatically mean you’re a racist. If someone posed the question to you whether you condoned racism or not, I like to think you’d say no if you consider yourself as a decent person. But in not engaging with active criticism, you’re passively endorsing values you don’t agree with, or at least letting them go unchallenged.

I think this is particularly important in anime fandom, especially considering the realities of Japanese nationalism and soft power. In this post, I’m going to build on Bobduh’s argument that you should be engaging in serious critique rather than using your media solely to validate yourself, and I’m going to apply that to the broader political context behind anime’s production and consumption. I think it becomes easier to seriously examine your own personal politics when you zoom out and explore the macro-politics. (Because these are big, complex issues, don’t take my post as anything more than an oversimplification. The idea is just to get you thinking about how the personal and the political interact.)

Basically, your taste is bad and so are you and so is Japan and so is the rest of the world.

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What’s It Like To Translate A Light Novel?

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In case you haven’t been keeping up with my Twitter feed, I’ve been spending the last couple of months translating the Hentai Ouji to Warawanai Neko light novel. The first volume is finally complete – you can read it here.

I know that not all of my readers are necessarily interested in my translation or in light novels in general, but I thought it would be interesting to highlight some of the challenges in translation. This shit is important, guys! If you’re not a Japanese speaker, chances are translation has a huge impact on your anime experience. But unless you’re a translator yourself, you’re probably not likely to think very deeply about the transformations a work of media undergoes when it gets translated.

So here’s a post about translating, right from the horse’s mouth.

(No pics in this post! It’s also a bit theoretical, but it should all be understandable.)

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I Am Now Translating Hentai Ouji For Nano Desu (+ What Am I Even Doing Translating a Light Novel?)

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Click any of the banners in this post to open the translation in a new window!

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Hentai Ouji to Warawanai Neko – Volume 1 Chapter 1

HenNeko-002-003The translation project begins!

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