Oct 31, 2013

Halloween Oneshot 2: "Hoshi wa Akatsuki no Kage" (The Stars are the Dawn's Shadow) by Nari Kusakawa

Happy Halloween everybody! If you're going out trick-or-treating or taking your kids out trick-or-treating, please stay safe. Take a flashlight and stay on the sidewalks.

Here's our Halloween oneshot! It's the final part of Nari Kusakawa's Vampire Trilogy! This has been a lovely journey through time.  I hope some other mangaka do some related stories like this and "The Lovely Vampire Weddings" trilogy.

This story is about Aurelia, the vampire who bit Ashleigh and Kiriko.  It's kinda sad to see how she was compared to how she is in "Tasogare Renren".  It kinda makes me wonder about Kiriko's future.

Anyhow, onto the release!

Oct 30, 2013

Halloween Oneshot 1: "Kaeribana no Kanojo" ("The Return of the Flower Girl") by Meca Tanaka

It's already Halloween for some parts of the world, so let's get on with the Halloween cuteness. This is a short oneshot that came out in Shiro Lala 2012. Get out a hankey, because I bet this little oneshot is gonna cause some tears.

Oct 29, 2013

"Magnolia" is ending November -- Let's Look at it Readership on Crimson Flower/Omari's Sister

According to the Aria website, "Magnolia" is ending in the next issue. I still haven't received the current issue, so that means for us, we have two chapters left.  I don't want to speculate on whether this is a planned ending or not, but I will say, I thought that there were at least 2 or 3 volumes more of story left... or so in my imagination.  Be that as it may, I have been noticing over the past year a rapid drop off in "Magnolia" readership on this blog.  So speaking only for this blog, let's look at some numbers.

First of all, I normalized the data because I don't want to give actual numbers. In this case, throwing out the first chapter (first chapters always have abnormally high readership), I chose to compare readership of each chapter to the chapter that was read the most, Chapter 12. The number for chapter 12 is a bit of an estimate because a chapter of Lily was released in the same post, so I subtracted the average readership of Lily to get that number. But... to give you some perspective on its popular at its height, "Magnolia" readership was about half that "Ouran", our most read series. 

Digging deeper, the series highest plateau was during chapters 8 - 17. Chapter 12 is the Ayato/Sui incestuous shower scene >_>...  Other events during this period include: Nagi struggles with sexy-Ayato fantasies, Sui teaches Ayato archery, some lovely red-hot Ayato and Hugo quality time, Lily introduces Arthur to everyone,  the introduction of the Black Twins, and the beginning of the tea party. The next peak is chapter 20 -- OMG! Alexandra is a DUDE! And... the last gasp at chapter 29 -- Sui, why you leaving hickies on Ayato? Dat's gross! Dat's your brother! It looks like the big slide happened during the chapters that continuously retread the letter from Ayato's mother. Honestly, while translating that, I felt like I was doing half of the previous each chapter. Those chapters were TEDIOUS, and I understand why readers would give up.

Anyhow... that's a peek into the "Magnolia" stats for Crimson Flower/Omari's Sister.  Sadly the same thing is happening to "Pochamani", but at more compressed time scale. But it appears for now to be going strong in Japan, so I don't expect it to end any time soon. If you would like to see stuff like this in the future, let me know. I was a little hesitant to post this because I was worried I'd number-nerd out... Haha! I was tempted to do more analysis... but I think this enough for this forum.

Anyhow, go out there and support "Magnolia" and Naked Ape through purchasing the books and Drama CDs.  Links to purchase are available on the "Magnolia" project page (LINK).  And let's keep our fingers crossed, and hope that "Magnolia" gets an ending it deserves in the last two chapters.

(Thanks, EvilNemesis)

Oct 23, 2013

Planning for 2014 -- Thanks for your Input

Thanks to everyone who gave us feedback through the survey and especially to those who took the time to write thoughtful comments.  We understand that the readers of this blog want more josei, while not neglecting shoujo. We understand that you come to this blog to read something different than the typical middle school and high school shoujos.  And we got the message loud and clear that you like oneshots and short series.

First of all, we still have some typical shoujos in the pipeline.  We will complete these projects and then move on. These projects include:

  • "Ore to Atashi no Kareshisama" (7 more chapters to complete)
  • "Megane no Incubus-kun" (3-chapter short series)
  • "Aoi Tsumeato" (oneshot)
  • "Funjunbatsu" (oneshot)
After chapter 11 of "Pochamani" we will be putting the series on hiatus. This series started as a oneshot that was expanded to 3 chapters, that was expanded to a volume, and then to a never-ending shoujo. I keep up with series, so I know what happens. After chapter 11, the story starts to jump the shark -- including some biker dude and another heavy girl who wants to become Tsumugi's disciple. I think from our perspective, we don't want to take on never-ending series unless they are interesting and appeared to be planned.  I would like to take a wait-and-see period to see where the series is going and to see whether the series is truly going to be never-ending (This is a danger when taking on series from Hana to Yume). We will make a clear announcement if we decided to drop the series.

We are still working on other series that have ended in Japan.  We are currently doing periodic mass releases of "Rex Fabula".  After we finish that, we will move onto to finishing "Ore to Atashi no Kareshisama" and "Yuurei Apaato Kanrinin". The next batch of "Rex Fabula" will come out next month, and we'll release a chapter of OtoA and YAK each too. Thanks to everyone helping us with Rex. This series has tough redraws so it's been slow.  The same applies to OtoA, so we apologize for our pace.  YAK...>_>  (subconsciously I don't want that series to end... it's not particularly difficult to release.) We will also clear out all the oneshots and short series that are in some state of completion regardless of theme.  Haha! We've got a lot of them!

Okay... onto new stuff. Three new series will be debuting very soon. One is a series I've been waiting for to release in tankoubon form for nearly a year.  It's by an mangaka that's near and dear to my heart (and you readers too), so look out for it soon.  The next series smacked in the face hard with gloriousness.  We're nearly done with the first chapter, so look out for it next week. And the lastly the sequel to "Kanojo ni Naru Hi". We are continuing one with the other new series we've introduced.  The series from Haruca and Itan are on a very slow release schedule in Japan (once every 2 - 6 months).  We have no influence over that...so...oh well. But this give us a lot flexibility in our schedule to take on many projects from these publications.  Also! We are working on a variety of short-series (1 volume) and oneshots.  I, Kuroneko003, am personally now working 50% on series and 50% on short-series and oneshots. Typesetters willing, a flood of oneshots is coming soon as we complete a bunch of already translated works.  Please check the release schedule to see what we're up to! I'm looking forward to launching the new series.  Most of what we've got going on now series-wise will fill out 2014. We will take up new short series as we finish short series.

Current and Upcoming Themes!
  • November - mid-December: Supernatural, Horror, and Pyschological
  • December - February:  Fairytales

Please feel free to give us some more feedback on what you would like to see in 2014.  Please no specific series though. We aren't taking specific requests, but do give us some theme ideas. Also, Pochamani fans, please be gentle with me.

We need typesetters and redraw artists, so if you want more faster releases, please volunteer to help us. Contact me using the contact link at the top in the right side column if you are interested.

Planning for 2014 -- Your Feedback is Wanted

NOTE:  WE AREN'T DROPPING ANY SERIES. WE ARE DILIGENTLY WORKING ON UNFINISHED SERIES. THEY WILL GET DONE.
 
2013 is winding down, so it's time to start planning for 2014! This year we started making an effort to only take on short series and more oneshots. This summer we started exploring josei. We will continue the transition to short series and more oneshots in 2014.

As a translator, I've found working on long-form oneshots to be very fulfilling. The stories are focused, deep, and have a definite arc, and an end. Not many long-form oneshots are published, so pickings are slim.  Also, they tend to take a long time to scanlate. Nevertheless, I would like to do more of them, so I'm keeping an eye out for them.

To help me refine the direction of next year, I'm want to gather suggestions from the readers of this blog. And I don't mean to suggest specific works, because I don't want to narrow things down that much. What would you like to see more of? What would you like to see less of? What have you really liked from 2013? What didn't you like?  What aren't other scanlation groups doing? What are other scanlation groups doing too much of?  Would you like more non-scanlation content -- reviews, general discussions, news... ? Or you comment about whatever you like manga-wise.  Anyhow, I want to keep things fresh and I don't want us to be like any other shoujo or josei scanlation group.  So please suggest any themes, subgenres, mangaka, or whatever you're interested in. Also, there's a handy dandy poll at the top of the right column.

Oct 20, 2013

"Magnolia" Chapter 36

Here's "Magnolia" Chapter 36.  I thought this was going to be an arc about the King and Ayato, but I guess it isn't.  Rather, it's just follows Ayato and his buddies through the aftermath of the masquerade party. To my surprise, Hollier is a hardcore shipper.  I was laughing heartily at the panels where she appears.  Hollier is a good girl. I wish the best for her. Alexandra owns my heart. I really like him. Go with your heart, you beautiful man!  Ah Hugo... Hee! Finally, the drawing of him I've been waiting for and it's cute! Hee! There's hope that the story won't go down the expected path, so I 'm very happy and looking forward to the next chapter.  Hee!

On to the release!

Oct 18, 2013

Long-Form Oneshot: "Tasogare Renren" ("Longing for Dusk") by Nari Kusakawa

This oneshot originally appeared as the feature oneshot in Aka Lala last year.  We've been sitting on it for a while and finally got up the courage to take it on a couple of weeks ago.  It helped that the oneshot was released in the "Boku no Hitsugi de Bansan wo" ("Shall we have Dinner in my Coffin") short story compilation.  Having the tankoubon version saved us a lot of time cleaning.

On a side note, included in the short story compilation are "Boku no Hitsugi de Bansan wo" and "Shinobigoto", both of which we have already translated. Please check them out! The remaining oneshot in the compilation is the pre-sequel to "Tasogare Renren", which we will release next week!

If you would like to purchase your own copy of "Boku no Hitsugi de Bansan wo", here are some links: Amazon JP / YesAsia ($6.99 at YesAsia! Shipping is $3.99 or remember, there's free shipping with purchases over $25!)

Moving on!  This is a lovely oneshot! It got high praise from the proofreaders, so I hope you will enjoy it too.

And now on to the release!

Oct 17, 2013

What I Just Finished Reading: "Tropic of the Sea" by Satoshi Kon

Title: Tropic of the Sea
Artist/Author: Satoshi Kon
Publisher: Vertical
ISBN:  9781939130068

Purchase:  Amazon / Barnes & Noble

First Impressions:  Oh, the cover is pretty!  The story is pretty meh. There's nothing particularly good or bad about the story or the artwork. This manga is thoroughly mediocre.

Artwork -- B:  It's functional. Many pages are intricately detailed, but nothing ever caught my eye, so I didn't pause very long to see what was going on the panels.  It's very draftmen-like -- it's not pretty, nor is it ugly;  it's just there. The only illustration that stands out to me is the cover.

Presentation -- A-: The cover is gorgeous and promises a lot more than what's inside. The translation reads smoothly and the wording seems true to the lackluster characters. Not having access to the Japanese now, I don't know whether the blandness was intended or whether there's more color to the characters in the original Japanese.  The afterword being in English reading order was a little jarring. I was very confused at first (you have to flip the book backward).  There are some nice extra illustrations at the end.

The Story -- C:  The story is like "Goonies" without the fun and wonder.  It's a coming of age adventure and the last hurrah for some young adults before their small town gets mowed down and turned into a tourist resort destination.  The townspeople are good and believe in their local mythology. The developers are bad and only after money. And, of course, the main character's father is the one who sold the town out. YAWN.  Sooo as a fun exercise, if I write the words "Teenagers" "Mermaid Egg Legend" and "Land Developers", what complete story flashes across your mind? That half-second mental construction is the story.  That's it. There's nothing to anticipate. Boo...

Overall -- C: This manga is thoroughly average. Nothing out of the ordinary happens in the story. The artwork is draftmen-like. It's very mechanical in construction and so consequently there is no "heart" or passion in this story or the artwork. It just lies there like unflavored gelatin. For me, this is worse than being bad, because at least it's interesting to see how bad something bad can get. I recommend buying this if you wanna buy it for the "Satoshi Kon" name.  Otherwise skip it, because what you imagined in half of a second was probably a lot more interesting than this manga.

Oct 15, 2013

"Magical Change" Chapter 2

Continuing on with Lord Phantom's pursuit of Hiromi, we have "Magical Change" Chapter 2! Honestly, I don't know where this manga is going, but Lord Phantom seems like a nice enough guy. I am suspicious of Garnet Red now considering what's going on with Hiromi's little brother.

Onto the release!

Oct 14, 2013

"Pochamani" Chapter 9

And now we begin the Valentine's Day arc!  The thing I didn't want to happen happens, but it's handled with typical Tsumugi kindness.  The chapter ends with a question we thought was already answered, but... let's just say in the next two chapters, the full answer to the question is something I didn't expect, and I imagine a few of us will have a spirited conversation in the comments sections after chapter 11. Anyhow, this is a very interesting arc and I hope we all find some truth after reading it.

We still need a dedicated typesetter for this series.  Until then, I'll be taking over again, which will slow releases down a little in general.

And now onto the release!

Oct 12, 2013

NYCC Manga License Announcements

Lots of good manga license announcements were made at Comic-Con in New York over the past two days.  For a full listing of the announcements please go of Anime News Network:

Vertical: Announcement 1/ Announcement 2
Kodansha USA: Announcement 1/ Announcement 2/ Announcement 3
Viz
Yen Press

This blog posting will only cover licensing announcements that matter to Crimson Flower Readers.

Vertical:
  • "Attack on Titan: Before the Fall" Light Novels
  • "Clothes Named Fat" by Moyoco Anno
Kodansha USA:
  • "Attack on Titan: Before the Fall" Manga
  • "Attack on Titan: No Regrets" (the Levi Spinoff)
  • "Attack on Titan: Junior High
 Viz:
  • "Black Rose Alice" by Mizushiro Setona
Yen Press:
  • "He is my Only Vampire" (Junketsu + Kareshi) by Aya Shouoto
  • "Demon from a Foreign Land" (Iki no Ki) by Yuki Kaori
We got a lot of great licenses, 3 of which were former Omari's Sister projects! Please buy the English releases and support manga licensing in the US.  I have a feeling that new batch of licenses will boost the industry and we'll see a lot more manga in 2015. A bright manga-filled future is ahead!

Note: All licensed materials have been removed from the blog and the servers. The blog posts are still there to read the comments, but the links are not active.

Oct 11, 2013

Manga Review: Voice Over! Seiyu Academy

Title: Voice Over! Seiyu Academy
Artist/Author: Maki Minami
Publisher: Viz (Shoujo Beat)
ISBN:  9781421559704

Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble (Also Available Digitally)

Initial Impressions:
I approached this skeptically because I'm tired of reading "I wanna become an idol" manga. I only picked it up because Holanio and Sora from Tumblr seemed to be really excited about it.  The first chapter was lackluster, but I kept reading. The second chapter -- yeah, yeah, senpai notice me... But by the 4 chapter I was hooked once the manager character showed, and I became curious about what his plans for Hime are.  So... I guess I'll get the second volume, but only if it's on sale.

Artwork -- B: It's typical Maki Minami.  Lots of screentones and all the females look like 5-year olds. I don't particularly like the female character designs because they look like elementary school kids, but I can read the expressions and distinguish the characters from one another.

Presentation -- A: The redrawing and typesetting are superb. Also the translation reads easily and they dropped the honorifics (san, chan, kun, sensei, sama, etc...) I wish there were color pages, but that's a nitpick.

Story -- B-: It took 3 chapters for me to get into the story. It starts as a typical "I wanna become an idol" story (she's not a good voice actress in the roles she wants, senpai doesn't notice her, she's grouped together with handful of eccentric losers,... etc.) The end game is obvious, and I kinda wish she'd say "screw it" and embrace her natural talent rather than chasing after something she isn't. In this respect, the story is tedious. The characters are forgettable. I had to look up Hime and I can't tell you any other characters' name.  That's just how generic this is. What's got me interested in this series is how the industry rep plans to use Hime.  Will the story get creative in this respect?

Overall -- B: This is a generic idol shoujo cotton candy. If you like idol-shoujo, go for it.  If you like Maki Minami, go for it. If you're new to shoujo and like the little you've read so far, this is a must read.  If you've read a ton of shoujo and have grown tire of idol-shoujo, you can skip this title and miss nothing. I'm gonna get the second volume to see if the story detours from the generic idol story, though.

The Attack on Titan Levi Spinoff is now Licensed by Kodansha USA -- W00t! WE ARE DROPPING!

YES!!!!!  We are dropping the series immediately and I will be retiring the prologue NOW.  THIS IS A GREAT DAY!!!!

Oct 10, 2013

Long-Form Oneshot: "Jinrou Chronicle" Part 2 (and Batch File)

Title: Jinrou Chronicle
Artist/Author: Lay Mutsuki
Publisher: Kadokwawa Shoten
Publication: Asuka
ISBN:  978494128113

Purchase: Amazon JP/ YesAsia ($8.99 and Free Shipping with $25 purchase)
----------------------------
I made this into a combined project page since Blogger only allows 20 pages. Isn't the cover pretty?

If you enjoyed this oneshot, I encourage you to buy the book. It's only $8.99, and if you buy $25 worth of stuff from Yes Asia, the shipping is free! It's a wonderful opportunity to purchase books from some of the series you've read on this blog and directly show your appreciation to the original artists. You can search both Yes Asia and Amazon JP with the ISBN. Please contact me (crimsonflowerscans@gmail.com) if you need help with either website.

Here's the final part of this long-form oneshot. A big thanks to Peonine and Jade for helping me with the translation, Ichigo Stars for some very nice redraws, and the proofreaders for slogging through 152 pages of my typos.

I really enjoyed this oneshot. I'm glad it was given the chance to be told in 150+ pages, which allowed for deep character development and rich storytelling.  I really love Chihiro and Naoyuki.  They are wonderful brothers and their bond is beautiful. There were many panels from this oneshot showing beautiful brotherly love. I really liked how they weren't afraid to comfort each other through this awful ordeal.  Their father... he's a character I want to punch -- HARD. But I'm glad he stayed true to his character even though the end of the story. A wolf is a wolf is wolf...

And now onto the release!

Oct 8, 2013

What I Read Last Week: "Dictatorial Grimoire" Volume 1

Title: Dictatorial Gimoire -- Cinderella
Mangaka: Ayumi Kanou
ISBN:  978-1-937867-93-5
Purchase:  Amazon/ Barnes & Noble

Initial Impressions --
Oh, I remember this from Comic Gene. I was looking into making this an OS project, until I started to translate it and got bored within the first 10 pages. Maybe in English, since I don't have to fight the Japanese, it'll be better.  The artwork is soooo very pretty!  "Cinderfella" is kinda cool. What's with the bondage gear?!

Artwork -- A: It's gorgeous, well laid out, detailed, and the action is easy to follow. I was very much attracted by the artwork when I was looking at the series in Comic Gene.  Unfortunately, in the two or three years since this came out, many artists have taken on this style, so there's nothing distinct about it to me now. It's typical shounen for girls artwork. Still, it's very nice.

Presentation -- B-:  I like the larger-sized paperback books. There's a lot crammed in each page, so the larger size prevents the text from being too small to read. Most of the sound effects are left in Japanese, but they are all subtitled. I would have liked it more if they had stuck to one style -- either subtitle all the sound effects or redo all of the sound effects in English.  A mix is fine for scanlation, but for something I'm going to buy, I expect consistency. Also, there is no table of contents or chapter number labels. However, there's a nice color pages and some nice extras at the end of the volume.

Story -- D:  It's a typical magical teen collecting demons in objects, and then using those collected demons to defeat and capture more demons. In case the main character Otogi (Fairytale -- Haha!), he is capturing fairytale demons and sealing them into a book. I'm tired of this story mechanic, so it fell flat for me. Otogi himself is hot-headed and that's all. He's a very one-dimensional character. Cinderella, who happens to be a bishounen, is a neat freak M.  Again a very one-dimensional character.  The demons in this story are all murderous genderbent fairytale princesses. That's the schtick. That's all... yay? (Do I smell fujoshi bait?)  Sooooo a whole lot of pretty pictures of pretty guys, bondage gear, and no story.  I managed to slog through 80% of the first volume before boredom made me put it down.  I can't tell you which chapter, because like I wrote earlier, there are no chapter labels.

Overall -- C:  I am not the demographic for this series. I think if you like looking at pretty pictures of bishies in bondage gear and you don't care about the story, then is is the manga for you. It's all style and no substance.  Perhaps for a person who's into otome games or just into bishes, this could be a fun series.  For me, no matter how pretty it is, it still needs a story.  Mind you though, the artwork is very appealing.

Oct 3, 2013

"Nanatsu no Kururi" Chapter 2

Updated 10/3/2013:  Page 10 stitch completed. For those archiving the series, you should re-download.

Here is the second chapter of "Nanatsu no Kururi".  It's a short, but sweet chapter showcasing more of Sumire's incredible kindness. I love how he doesn't judge the subject of this story.  In a way it seems almost like a Biblical New Testament parable. If only people in real life were this lovely.

And now onto the release!

Oct 2, 2013

Oneshot: "Jinrou Chronicle" Part 1

Continuing on with our Fall releases, here is the first part of "Jinrou Chronicle", a 2-part long form oneshot.  The second part will be released next week.

I've been working on this oneshot as pet project for several months. It's a lovely story about brothers, family, and monstrous wolves. Hahaha! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Onto the release!

Oct 1, 2013

Retired -- New Series: "Shingeki to Kyojin -- The Birth of Levi" Chapter 0 (Prologue)

As promised, we will be translating the "Attack on Titan" Levi spinoff.  What better way than this to kick off our special fall releases!  This is a short prologue to the series.  The actual series will begin at the end of November.  This project will be our top priority, and we will do our best to release the chapters within a week of Aria arriving in the mail.  I typically get Aria the day of or the day after release in Japan.

A big thank to Ichigo Stars for helping me with the redraws (and repaints). It's pretty amazing that we were able to get this out with full redraws in less than 24-hours after receiving the raws.  Thanks to everyone who worked on this for recognizing the urgency and jumping on the project right away.

It's pretty much guaranteed that this will get licensed at some point (hopefully sooner than later).  We will translate the series until that occasion arrives.  After that, I encourage you to purchase licensed copies so we can support the author and the artists.

Non-English Partners for this Series:

Spanish -- La Noche de los Caidos
French -- Shiro to Kuro
Vietnamese -- SxS
Italian -- Quegna Traduction Team

And now onto the release!