Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
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I can understand leaving the orientation right-to-left, but why keep lettering left-to-right?

Wouldn't it make more sense to letter top-to-bottom? You know, the way it's lettered in the original Japanese? Sure, it would be a bit harder to read, but no harder than reading left-to-right and switching gears every few deciseconds to remember that the action proceeds right-to-left.

  • That's not how it's lettered in the original Japanese. The original Japanese used Japanese signs like kanji and so on, not any western letters. So it still wouldn't be like the original; unlike the art, which when not flipped is exactly like the Japanese original. Also, not flipping the art insures details like on what side of the road cars drive isn't changed, but you can letter it horizontally without it changing stuff like that.
  • It would be a lot harder to read.
  • Aye. Some scanlations I've read do this in places. It's nearly impossible to read.
  • I don't find reading words one way and going the the other way that hard. And trust me, it would be very hard to read if the letters were switched (especially if you have minor dyslexia like I do).
  • Because the words are in English, and English sentences read left to right.
  • English 101, bub. You're reading something that's too hard to switch or too much effort so they just take the easy way out.
    • Besides, if they make it like the original japanese more, then the Fan Haters will start calling you weeaboo faggots.
      • "Start"? You mean they weren't already?
  • This troper can read upside-down competently, but gets a headache if attempting to read a lot of top-to-bottom text.
    • Same for this troper.
    • Yeah, I imagine that would be the same way for me. The ADV translation of Yotsuba&! does have vertical words sometimes, but it seems, just from looking at a few pages, that it only does it for single words and, like Azumanga Daioh, Visible Silence ellipses.
  • Because keeping the orientation right-to-left is just because it would be impossible to reprint the comics pages so they'd actually make sense. The solution they once used(flip the print) lead to an inversion on the orientation of the art. But as English, Portuguese and most other languages are lettered left to right, and what matter is that writing is readable, not the position of it, why the Hell letter the speech top-to-bottom anyway?
    • Also, to think of it, Japanese has ideograms, that most of times represent complete concepts or words at a time. It probably wouldn't fit, anyway.
  • Not all manga is printed right-to-left in translation. Some are flipped (e.g. Tekkonkinkreet, at least in the All-In-One edition), while others are cut-and-pasted (i.e the panels are re-arranged to read from left to right; e.g. Blade of the Immortal). Printing manga in the original orientation is a practice that originated as a cost-saving exercise -- it was one less thing Tokyopop had to do to the Japanese raws before getting their product in the stores. It caught on sufficiently that other publishers started doing it too, and now fans regard it as "more authentic" (and the Japanese artists are happier, because flipping manga makes imperfections in the art much easier to spot).
    • Though those imperfections might well be only easier to spot to the original artist. At least part of the reason that flipping an image horizontally is effective for spotting mistakes is that it tricks the mind into thinking it's seeing something new, so artists see their images for what they are. For a reader, the image is going to be new to them whether or not it's been flipped horizontally, so it's irrelevant.
      • Except in scenarios where the artist is trying to accurately depict a society that uses things that are designed as being left- or right-handed. Take Gunsmith Cats for example, set in Chicago. Everyone (except a few people) are left-handed rather than being right-handed (right-handed being more genetically abundant in real life), but more importantly every single American-only car we are seeing in that series is now, inexplicably, driving on the wrong side of the road with the driving wheel also on the wrong side of the car. Facepalm for the main artist, who is anal enough to bitch out his touch-up artists when they get the crosshatching on grips slightly wrong.
    • Roman script is variable width, but Japanese isn't, so Roman script has advance in horizontal writing.
  • This troper was very glad that his old Pokemon comics were always flipped so they read left-to-right, and now can't read manga without getting a headache since apparently that practice is being frowned upon. Grr...
  • It would probably throw people off way too much. Yes, they were originally in Japanese, but the two languages are different. Nothing wrong with it, just a fact of life.

Why is "hen" as a euphemism always translated as "strange" or "weird"?

It seems like "queer" would be the best fit...

  • That would make "hentai" a lot... well.
  • It's the meaning of the word. "hentai" literally means "strange attraction".
    • Yeah, but when, say, Saiyuki's Sha Gojyo goes on about how he doesn't like "weird people", it doesn't make much sense (like he's one to talk!). A word-by-word translation is not necessarily a good translation; sometimes, you've got to think more in terms of what people actually say.
  • Well...it is one of the definitions of "hen".
  • "Hen" is NOT the short form of "hentai", it is its own word. Like the others said, "hen" literally does mean "strange" or "weird", so asking why is like asking why "food" is translated as "food" in some other language. * face palm*
    • Except when it is used as a euphemism. Different language has different euphemism, so a literal translation is generally frowned upon.

Why are the pointers on Speech Bubbles allowed to point through characters who aren't saying the words?

  • It's a little confusing going from comics, where the first speech-capable being or object in the "line of sight" of the pointer is the speaker, to manga, where the speaker is in the line of sight, but there might be somebody else it has to go through first. I had to figure this out on my own when I first encountered it; thankfully, the lines weren't hard to match to the personalities of the speakers, but still, if they hadn't been...
    • I've seen quite a few British comics where the speech bubble pointer goes behind other things.
    • Why shouldn't them? Sound is tridimensional, the speech bubbles can be translocated in the depth axis... why not? Unless you're talking about the pointers ending before said character not saying the words. Then it is a bit confusing, yes. Some mangas solve that issue by using a different kind of pointer(going inside the bubble, instead of pointing outwards) to identify those cases.
      • Yeah, I was talking about when pointer terminates early, not when the pointer itself goes through another character. I was unclear. Actually, if they did have the pointer go through, I would understand it better.
    • I've also sometimes had trouble identifying the speaker from the bubbles for this reason, especially when it's far away, or when there aren't even any pointers (for example, in some of the single-panel pages in Bakuman when the main characters are riding their bikes or walking somewhere).

Why doesn't Tokyopop translate sound effects?

  • The simple and correct answer is that it's cheaper and faster not to: less for the translator to translate, less for the editor to edit, less for the proofers to proof. Most fans don't mind and they save both time and money so it's a win-win situation.
  • I can understand why a scanslation might leave the sound effects in Japanese, because scanslations are done by amateurs and translating them requires careful image editing. However, Tokyopop's translators translate manga for a living and one would expect them to have access to more advanced tools than Photoshop. Viz does translate the sound effects, and it works to great effect.
    • It messes up the surrounding art sometimes. I personally find it distracting when sound effects are translated; as long as there's a bit of kana there that I can't read but which indicates that there is a sound effect, I can fill in the actual sound in my mind. Wading through someone else's impression of what a giant boulder getting blasted by ki would sound like makes the cord from which I suspend my disbelief snap like Tamaki's fingers in a brainstorming session.
      • You're saying you can figure out what stuff sounds like without any help? That's a bit hard to believe; some of the sound effects are connected to stuff that doesn't really have a sound. A "smile" sound effect, for instance, or a "blade gleaming in the sunlight" sound effect, how do you figure out how those sound? And concerning that "Wading through someone else's impression of what a giant boulder getting blasted by ki would sound like" thing, well, Japanese sound effects work a bit differently from how English ones work. Take, for instance, the sound effect "mishi mishi" that was used in Excel Saga vol. 7 to show that the doctor was clapping his hands. Surely an English translator adding the words "clap clap" to the panel would work much better for the reader than letting the sound effect stand there and forcing the reader to figure out what it's supposed to sound like. You say that what the translators write is someone else's impression of what a giant boulder getting blasted by ki would sound like, but you have to remember that all sound effects are that. When Piccolo blasts a rock to smithereens, the Japanese sound effect is only Akira Toriyama's impression of what it sounds like, it's not the actual sound. Try reading the Japanese sound effects aloud in a clear voice. Say, for instance, "mori mori" aloud. That's the sound effect for somebody munching food. Say it aloud and see if anybody asks "what are you eating?" Of course they're not gonna say that, because what you just said doesn't sound like somebody munching at all. That's always the case with sound effects; they're not actual transcriptions of the sounds, they're just approximate descriptions. And in manga like Dragon Head, a translation has to be done because there are no visual clues to what you just heard. Unless there's a translated sound effect to tell you, you just won't know.
      • To me it's like this: if there's an explanation for what a sound effect means, it's okay (though I'd rather have a sound effect in English, a language I can actually understand), but if it's just the Japanese sound effects it's like someone doodles on my manga so I can't see as much of the art anymore. In that case no sound effects at all would have been better; I could have imagined the sound and not had to have someone doodle on my manga.
    • Excel Saga has a lengthy footnote section on sound effects in the back of each volume, if you're willing to flip back and check it each time.
      • I don't know if there are any manga that do this, but I imagine it'd possibly also work, depending on the amount of whitespace around panels, to either have the romaji and translations all at the bottom of the page, or beneath the appropriate panels.
        • In most of the manga this troper reads with untranslated sound effects, there is usually a small note in english that transliterates the sound effect in the space between or next to the effect, or sometimes a localization or a transliteration with an explanation in the margin for effects that don't make sense in other languages.

Why do so many anime and manga main characters have to end up with the Jerk with a Heart of Gold?

All right, look; my personal feelings regarding All Girls Want Bad Boys and Tsunderes aside (both can be done well and both can easily be ruined), why do these tropes have to be present in almost every single story? It'd be fine if I could find a good five romance-related series (in a sea of He Loves Me He Loves Me Not/Ow God The Pain What Did I Do Now My Crazy Goddess) where the Love Interest is at least tolerable. We're talkin' Itazura Kiss, Hot Gimmick (not that Ryoki's heart was golden by any stretch of the imagination), Fushigi Yuugi, Ayashi no Ceres (is it just me, or does Watase Yû do this a lot?), Love Hina, Sailor Moon, Trigun, Blue Seed, Ranma ½, Inuyasha, Gundam Wing, Toshokan Sensou, I could go on...

Is it just that it's an easy way to make a potential romance seem less like a foregone conclusion? And why do all the aversions I can think of have some kind of magic or sci-fi element to them (Tokyo Mew Mew, Ah! My Goddess, etc.)?

(Anyway, sorry if this is too close to Complaining About Shows You Don't Like; I really do want an answer, here).

  • Well, and this is just me, the reason there are so many Tsundere and Jerkass love interests is to make it easier to show character develpment.
  • Have you tried Maison Ikkoku, apparently widely considered the Great Manga Romance?
  • It's because 1. The old idea that all women love bad boys. 2. It's easier to be nice if you're a bad guy. If you're in the habit of beating all your classmates up for their lunch money and one day you don't beat up this one girl for her lunch cash even though you did everyone else, that's a sign that you're doing something that goes against your nature just because you like her. In short; if you're a good guy, treating the girl nice doesn't have to mean anything, but if you're a bad guy it means something whenever you're not acting like a jerk to the girl.

Why is it that a hentai which features consensual sex and detailed nudity nearly impossible to find yet, you can find a bunch of hentai with rape and Necrophilia in a second?

  • Yeah there are people with creepy fetishes, but you think there would at least be some sort of middle ground between something that teases you and something that makes you vomit.
  • Maybe people who like consensual sex just have it, while only perverts without partners need to read about it?
    • Ha, do you think people with partners don't look at porn? Perhaps some don't; I do know that many continue to enjoy porn, including people with more vanilla interests. It is true that the more kinky stuff is easier to portray in animation than with actors (except for those tentacled actors, but they're too high in demand), which might explain it to an extent. And let me assure you, plenty of "perverts" have partners. :-)
  • And aren't there still Japanese laws against too detailed nudity?
    • Uh, aren't the entire point of hentai is escapist fantasy, just like anything else? Besides, normal sex is so common it's...boring by escapist fantasy standards (which explains Naughty Tentacles and futanari...and copious amounts of cum). Then again, the profliferation of said fantasies in the first place may mean that there are a lot of repressed fantasies...coming to life (pardon the nasty pun).
  • I would guess that this has come to be what hentai is known for, so that people who find non-consensual sex or necrophilia erotic are drawn to hentai, and other people find it squicky and stick to other forms of porn. So now the hentai artists are playing to their audience, and less out there stuff might sell worse, because people who would like it stay away from the genre entirely.
  • There are laws against depicting detailed genitalia in Japan. But about consensual sex, this troper does not know what you are talking about. Consensual sex is about as prevalent as rape and such, at least (no, lolicon and shota consensual sex doesn't count as non consensual by default).
    • Said laws are not all that clear. For example, there's a regulation classifying all forms of obscenity as a crime, without giving any legal definition for obscenity. Many argue this goes against the constitution (which guarantees freedom of speech and forbids any formal censorship) and that it does not cover things like manga, anime and Internet media. Furthermore this law has almost never been applied in practice. Just to illustrate how ridiculous things get - all foreign porn is treated as contraband and confiscated. Meanwhile possession of what the rest of the world calls live action child pornography is still very much legal (production and distribution are not however), becase the age of consent in Japan is thirteen (it's higher for marriage mind you). The Japanese sure love their porn.
      • Hey, who doesn't?
  • The main issue is easily answered by pointing out a lot of japanese media sexualizes underage girls. It's pretty clear from the get go that intentionally sexualized media is going to be even more screwed up than that. Going from pedophilia to Nercrophilia/tentacle rape is a more logical evolution in terms of appealing to audiences.

Who writes the starting and ending captions for the chapters, as well as the side captions for the character covers? And why aren't they in the English releases?

  • To clarify, many manga chapters begin and end with a brief note that explains the situation, but generally doesn't go beyond what the viewer can see. Often, the chapters that have a character portrait on the cover have a caption to the side about the character's personality or status at the moment, such as this one for Naruto, in the chapter where Hinata intervenes to save Naruto and tells him she loves him. Oddly enough, these don't appear in the Englsh releases of manga and some scanlations, which makes me wonder whether they were inserted by the magazine as a way of briefly summarizing the situation, but were removed when the manga volumes and English Shonen Jump come with recaps at the beginning and a "Next Issue/Volume" at the end, or were done by the authors themselves and dropped for some reason.
  • It's generally the mangaka's editor who puts these phrases/captions in, though I'm not sure why the English editors/companies take them out.
  • These captions only appear in the actual magazine editions of the chapters, and are taken out when the chapters are collected in "tankoubon" or volumes. So whether they're there in an English translation - whether official or not - will depend on the source material. Official translations will be based on the tankoubons, since the English release will also be a "full-volume" release (at least in most cases. Not having read the English Shonen Jump, I don't know what the case is there). For scanlations, it will depend on what raws are available. The more popular series will probably use the magazine scans, although more obscure series will probably use the tankoubons, simply because they're generally easier to get hold of.

Why doesn't the English Shonen Jump explicitly say why series are canceled?

It's often mentioned that series are "graduating" to manga volumes, but there aren't any advantages there (the volumes come out once every few months, take some time to catch up to where they last were in the magazine, and require readers to pay for the manga). Granted, there are a few justifications for removing series from the magazine, as they may not be popular enough to keep, or the magazine may want to rotate some series to give new ones a chance to appear (I've read Shonen Jump since late 2007, and the only three series that have stayed in are Naruto, One Piece and Bleach), but putting it this way sounds slightly Orwellian in how they're trying to make it seem more appealing to fans of the removed series. Another somewhat bizarre case was when Ultimo was removed, as the magazine said the next chapter would be in the magazine with a teaser asking whether Yamato could survive Rune and Jealousy's double team (so they should have realized that the Attempted Rape was coming), then in the issue when Chapter 21 appeared, suddenly announced that Ultimo would no longer be in the magazine while indicating somewhat vaguely that things would get very dark.

What's the meaning of the dots in place of furigana?

This is a question to those who read manga in the original Japanese. I have noticed that sometimes instead of furigana to the left of the word or sentence there will be just black dots, like the ones that separate katakana words from each other (・). This is especially common in the Mirai Nikki manga, where those dots often appear even above all-kana words that didn't need furigana in the first place. Do these dots have some special meaning? I can see that they give some sort of emphasis to the words and sentences where they appear, but do they mean something more specific than that?