I have just used the last of my favorite custom-made strawberry jam shampoo, so I’m a little irritable. I was somewhat satisfied with making a quick comment about it in a members-only Yoneda Kou community, but after nearly passing out while feverishly mulling it over in the shower, I don’t think I’ll be able to sleep until I get it off my chest.
This frustration was inspired by a post regarding the Kindle release of Yoneda Kou’s Kanjou Spectrum. Members of the community who were able to purchase the title commented on the quality of the work, most expressing their disappointment. Sadly, this kind of reaction is nothing new. I’m sure we’ve all had similar conversations with ourselves and others. So what I want to know is: Would it be better to congratulate Yoneda Kou (or any mangaka) on her English language release, but tell her that her publisher really isn’t doing her any favors by releasing shoddy work OR write a letter to Libre (or any publisher) telling them that the product is totally unacceptable and that they can’t expect to gain repeat customers when, save the no-profit and illegal aspects, the unofficial translations are ten times better? Or do we do both? Or do we do nothing? These days it isn’t as if we are without some manner of direct access them, so would it be worth it?
I am torn. shredded, even. Do I contribute to the many sales that YK will benefit from and simultaneously (and silently) say, “no matter how sucky the work, I’ll buy it anyway”? Or do I offer a heartfelt apology to YK (one of my top 2 yaoi mangaka) and say that I refuse to support this poor excuse for a product and will continue to do so until it (and others) are given the type of attention any regular print media title would/should get?
Of course I’m aware that the more a mangaka’s work sells the more the publisher will want to release other works by them, but must the quality of the initial offerings so blatantly reflect their ranking on the publisher’s profitability scale? Am I, a member of the English-reading audience, so unimportant that you can’t put forth the effort to release a quality product for me to enjoy?
Kanjou Spectrum is published by Libre Publishing Co., Ltd. Libre–who currently has titles being localized by SuBLime Manga, the joint venture/yaoi imprint of VIZ Media, LLC and Animate, Ltd, the parent company of… Libre–has no excuse. So far I’ve purchased Natsume Isaku’s Devil’s Honey and Kusama Sakae’s The Bed of My Dear King from SuBLime and can honestly report that I was very pleased with the quality of the work–translation, graphics editing, and lettering–very pleased. So why did Libre release Kanjou Spectrum outside of their established partnership? I don’t know. It baffles me. Here you have a perfectly good vehicle for getting your publications (in good form) to the English-reading fans and you… you what? You decide, “Enh? Don’t wanna.”?
Another question. How can they, the publishers of the source material with professionals within reach, do worse than free (first-class job, by the way)? How can they justify releasing sub-standard merchandise? Have some pride, would you? No need to prolong the war, but such things could be used as an opportunity to “show them how it’s done.” Someone explain it to me.
In other news… I bought it. Yup. Right in the middle of this rant–I bought Kanjou Spectrum. Not because I came to a decision, but because I wanted to know just how incensed I should be. And? Well, I think my current level is appropriate; you can certainly judge this book by its cover.
Somethings are just not worth it to replace with English text. Huge sound effects that are stretched out over toned areas and line art are beasts, but the hand-written, secondary conversations and remarks should be completely replaced by the licensed language. It’s not hard… trust me. Also,there is something to be said for consistency–you can’t play “pick a font, any font” when lettering. If you need a new typeface to convey a change in tone or attitude, you have to choose one that is as distinct as the emotion your attempting to get across. It’s not hard… trust me. And another thing…who the blankety-blank-blank-blank is Elme?
If it wasn’t for the sound of the water hitting the bottom of the shower becoming strangely distant and my breathing becoming more and more labored, I might have come to a decision regarding my choice to support or refuse. But alas, this is the price I pay for getting lost in my head so easily.
I recently bought a manga, whose story I didn’t particularly care for, as a means of showing my support for the mangaka and localization initiative–the localization was great, though. I didn’t have to mull over that purchase one bit. I’m kind of upset that I bought it since I still haven’t figured out what my stance is, but I wonder if I can apply the same passion and purpose to Kanjou Spectrum or other titles that may disappoint me in the same manner. Can I? Can you? How many more do we have to buy before we are recognized as an audience to be taken seriously? How good or bad will we allow the product to get before we stop or start complaining? Where should we draw the line?