So tomorrow is the official release date of the new version of the Sailor Moon manga in English, and the first time Sailor V has been translated in any official capacity. Because I'm a late-pre-orderer, I'm getting mine tomorrow, rather than having gotten it already, the way some lucky cats (*koff*Brad*koff*) have.
What I've read of Brad's tweets (he's moonkittynet
if you didn't know) so far makes me nervous. You could say I'm "living nervously," which is apparently going to become the next big Sailor Moon in-joke, and I've been abusing it so throughly today without even having read the first volume of the re-translated Sailor Moon manga where is appears, I should be probably be fined (or, you know, rewarded by Luna, since "living nervously" is apparently a good thing in her eyes).
Anyway, Kodansha has done what I personally consider to be a good job with translating their own titles in the past, but everyone has their own standards of what makes for a good transation. I watched a YouTube video recommended by Brad in his tweets, by a guy nicknamed OtaKing, who did a five-part "documentary" which was more or less a rant about how fansubbers have become cliquey, elitist, and generally lazy while bringing more awesome anime to English-speaking audiences. Like many of his other commenters, I generally agree with OtaKing's (and Brad's) perspective on translating, which surprised me a bit, since I got into learning Japanese because of my love for anime and manga, and I do understand the difficulty in translating things like Japanese's honorifics, or the politeness levels in speech. Rather than translate something that is "English" but sounds bizarre, out of place, or stilted, I think it's perfectly sensible to contextualize and make the speech fit the language. The examples OtaKing gives are sometimes extreme, and I disagree that some of the phrases he said "don't sound like English" actually do, but I guess it depends on the kinds of speech you're used to reading and hearing, which in turn has a lot to do with your education. And that's a whole other can of worms.
As for Sailor Moon, my attitude right now, before having received anything and only glanced at the few screenshots Brad posted on Twitter, is "anything's better than Mixx, right?" I'm still going to keep my original Japanese manga (or the 12-volume re-release and what little I have of the "true" original set...mine really has no value considering the stupid stuff that's been done to it over the years), but I plan on buying the complete English release.
Brad did say that Miss Dream's translations were better, and I'll frankly have to judge for myself. Not because I think Miss Dream's scanlations are bad in anyway, but that it feels awkward to have them up when Sailor Moon is finally, finally re-licensed for manga, and not just by some cute little startup that has no sense of money management (Tokyopop!) but by the American branch of the original publisher, a powerhouse of manga in Japan! I don't want even the best-intentioned of translators to screw things up for us Moonies. We all want to see a great Sailor Moon published, and here's hoping Kodansha responds to feedback when given, but we have had nearly two decades to set our standards so high. I just hope they realize that, if Miss Dream continues to translate the manga despite the licensing. After all, Alex Glover kept his translations at Kurozuki.com live until the re-release announcement, because Mixx/Tokyopop's translations just stunk that badly, long before TP went under (dare I say "got flushed?" Haha!).
Here's what I'm hoping for:
* The original names, not translated meanings like "Bunny" or dub-isms (or any other anime-isms) like Amy and Raye, no matter how close they "might" sound to the original.
* Accurate, consistent translating of everything, from minor character names to locations and attacks.
* Not a metric fuckton of translator's notes, sidebars, glossaries, or other things that aren't in the original Japanese re-release of the manga. I can understand the usual honorific chart that Kodansha puts in all of their manga lately, but Brad and OtaKing are right: the translation should read naturally in English, and honorifics interrupt that flow. You usually CAN translate them, or else adapt the speech to fit the context. Still, it is hard to explain that the way Michiru and Haruka (whom we won't meet for some volumes yet) speak to one another is very indicative of their close relationship, versus the kind of relationship Usagi and the girls have with one another, or even the relationship Usagi and Mamoru have. So...I'm actually in the middle.
* A normal, readable comic font, nothing fancy or crazy. Sure, it might be the speech of a dark villain, but if it's not readable, what the hell is the point?
* No flipping or cutting of pages. No editing of lines (drawn lines, that is) to make things "appropriate." Know your audience Kodansha: while there might be a handful of Tweens reading Sailor Moon for the first time, the vast majority of readers will be those of us that were there from (more or less) the beginning. As such, we're old enough to handle the suggestion of breasts. *shock!*
That's not too much to ask, right? What are your expectations? If you've got your hands on the manga already or will by the time you read this, what do you think?