Dec 31, 2009

Amazon Experiment

As some of you may have noticed, I'm experimenting with Amazon.  In addition to selling my used manga, I have opened an "Associates" store to make it easy for you to purchase some of the manga series I translate, review, and recommend.  The idea here is to create a "win-win-win" situation in which you all, if you can, support the artists and publisher by purchasing the manga when it becomes available, I can get a little money from referring the sale to Amazon, and you all can have easier access to purchase the manga.  Yeah, yeah, yeah ... I can't keep doing this for free and I know the manga artists can keep providing us with wonderful stories to read for free ... so let's give this a try and see how it goes!

Here's a link to the store.  And a permanent link is located in the right side bar menu under the name "Omari's Sister Recommends."  I will be updating the store as the manga I translate and read come out.  Currently, "Ouran High School Host Club" Volume 1 - 13, "Wild Ones" (Arakure) Volumes 1 - 8, and "The Palette of 12 Secret Colors" Volumes 1 - 6 are listed there.  There is also a running list of my recent purchases.

Please leave comments.  Tell me if you like this idea or if you hate it.  Also, give me more suggestions on what I can do to improve on this idea.

Akagami no Shirayukihime Chp 15

Happy New Year to everyone out there!  I hope you are all having a wonderful day where ever in the world you are!

Here's "Akagami no Shirayukihime" Chp 15.  This is the first chapter in a two-part flashback.  I will start chapter 16 ASAP because it's looks like a powerful chapter.  There are a total of 17 chapters plus an omake out so I'll get those out of the way with to catch everybody up to real time.  After that, there will be a 2-month period between chapter releases coinciding with their release in Lala DX.  It's on the same release schedule as ZHD.  Yeah, it's a bummer, but none of us have any power over it.  Anyhow here's the link:

Link to "Akagami no Shirayukihime" Chp 15 (Update 1/2/2010: updates from Kuma-chan)

And here's a link to Sapphire Pyro's Chp 15 analysis and appreciation :).

Dec 30, 2009

Many Books Still Left!

Many thanks to those of you who have purchased books from me!  It's much appreciated :).  I can see my floor and I've recovered one whole shelf!  I still have many books left!  Please buy them.  Here's a sample of what's still available:

  • Special A (S. A.)
  • Monkey High (Saru Yama) Vol 3 - 6
  • Kekkaishi
  • Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle
  • Yurara
  • Kagetora
  • Fushigi Yuugi
  • Missile Happy 
  • and more ...
Here's a link to my Amazon store and as always, mention my blog and I'll refund the extra shipping you paid on orders of multiple items.  If you can wait 7 - 10, I can send your order via media mail and refund most of your shipping cost for orders containing multiple items (Example:  3 books via media mail actually cost ~$3 in postage for $2 for the packaging, so I will refund you ~$7!!!).

Dec 28, 2009

Passing on "I Can't Be a Bride"

I started translating Kiyo Fujiwara's latest manga series, "I Can't be a Bride."  Here's the synopsis from Betsuhana:

"Odagiri Madoka is a hard working career woman who is very bad at housework.  Consequently, she requests some assistance from a house cleaning service.  The service dispatches Hirose Yuuki, a high school student with cooking skills.  He also cleans perfectly ...!  However, on the other hand, he's arrogant...?

I didn't get very far in the translation before deciding that it was a boring "Kimi wa Petto" variation.  A handsome guy name "Kuga" is the other competing male.  He's nice and calm (or so it seems).  His face is drawn with a touch of evil.

I have read "Kimi wa Petto" several times and it's quite good, so I can't find it within myself to sully the memory with an imitator.  More than anything, though, the pages I read of this manga are so slowwwww, augh!  It's very unlike the fast pace of "Arakure."  It felt like a chore to get as far as I did.

I'm sorry to all those looking forward to this, but getting through this first chapter will make me hate Japanese.

Dec 26, 2009

Manga Review: Monkey High! (Saru Yama) by Shouko Akira

I finished the last volume of "Monkey High" a few weeks ago.  I wish I had written a review sooner, because I've forgotten most of the details.  Anyhow "Monkey High" by Shouko Akira follows the high school relationship between Haruna, the daughter of a fallen politician, and Macharu, the happy-go-lucky son of a vegetable store owner.  Haruna, in a word, is "priviledged" and suffers culture shock when, after her father's fall from grace, she has to go to a public school.  She compares the culture there to a "monkey mountain" in which the different factions contest each other to sit on top.  Within this society, she meets Macharu who seems to her, in actions and physical appearance, to resemble a baby monkey.  He is the polar opposite of the too-young-to-be-jaded Haruna, and, it turns out to be just what Haruna needs.  Mixed into the story is Macharu's "frienemy," Atsushi, who can't deal with the fact that Haruna picked Macharu over him. 

The story never has any highs and lows and seems to be as low-key as both of the main characters.  I did enjoy how Macharu subtly reminds Haruna that she's still a kid and I, also, enjoyed watching Macharu slowly progress to manhood.  Haruna, also, has a nice intelligent pluck about her.  She's practical and she deals with issues head on.  What I didn't enjoy was the character "Atsushi."  He's a real prick and I didn't think his attempts at interfering with the happy couple added anything to the story. (I was really hoping that Macharu would kick Atsushi's a$$ in a fist fight to put him into place -- but, alas, Macharu is a baby monkey and both he and Haruna handle the matter in a civilized fashion.)

A word of caution to younger readers and parents, Macharu and Haruna do "consummate" their relationship and it is illustrated.  I think the chapter is well done and is a great "teachable" moment.  However, if you, as a parent, don't think this is appropriate for your child, then you may want to consider another manga series for your child.  Here are some suggestions for younger readers:

"Beauty Pop"
"Sugar Sugar Rune"

Rating 3/5 -- It's is too low-key (almost to the point of being forgettable) to be really compelling and the Atsushi character really rubs me wrong.  However, Haruna and Macharu are likeable characters and observing their romance bloom is quite nice.

Ouran Chp 78 Previews

There's not much said and in comparison to the page they are listed on, these previews are the size of postage stamps.  But anyway, here you go:


Some Thoughts on the Lastest Developments in Ouran 77

Don't get me wrong, I like "Ouran High School Host Club" very much, but I think the dramatic turn it has taken lately is throwing a lot of people for a loop.  I, myself, feel a little duped because it started out a classic screw-ball comedy that I liked for story's and the character's irreverence.  Now, I feel like I'm being forced to ride an emotional roller coaster.

For me the change in Ouran occured when the twins got serious about Haruhi and then went about establishing separate identities for themselves.  Sure it was heartwarming, but, at the same time, it was very dramatic and not very funny.  For a while I tuned out from Ouran because it was missing too much humor.  Eventually, I came back once the twin drama had been resolved and I could read the whole story arc in one setting.  Then I really got back into it once Tamaki and Haruhi started to get a clue about how they felt about each other, only to have that story arc swatted down by Tamaki's issue with his grandmother and now in chapter 77, an additional issue with his father with some corporate intrigue tacked on.  This was supposed to be a screw ball romance about a happy-go-lucky rich buffoon and smart  =_=  poor girl in the setting of a ridiculous host club!  I feel like I'm reading two stories.  Mind you the two stories are great, but it's two stories, nonetheless.

I think the thing that is most frustrating to me with the latest chapter is the demands the author is making upon the readers.  My understanding is most readers of this manga genre are in their teens, yet the author expects these readers to understand a bunch of medical jargon and have working knowledge of corporate power structures.  Honestly, how many readers out there really understand how it is that Shizue can be ousted by Yuzuru?  Well, here's a short explainer (as far as I understand it from working at a company where one of the CEO/Presidents was famously ousted recently):

1.  The Executive Staff (President, CEO, COO, CFO...etc...) works for the company's Board of Directors
2.  A company's board of Directors works on behalf of the shareholders.  The Board of Directors are, in fact, elected by the shareholders in a democratic process.
3.  The President, CEO, CFO, and on-and-on can be fired if a majority of the Board of Directors agrees the person should  go.
4. A company's Board of Directors can be changed by the will of the shareholders.  The will of the shareholders can be changed forcefully if some entity buys up enough shares in the company to vote in their own board members (I suspect that something like this will happen as it did in the anime).
5. The Chairman of the Board (that is Yuzuru's title), leads the Board of Directors. He or she sets the Board's meeting agenda and acts as the Board's host.

Anyhow ... I would not expect that to be common knowledge amongst teen readers and some international readers who are not exposed to corporations.  The same thing goes with the how the drug research ties into the corporate stuff.  Besides keeping it from Shizue, there are other reasons drug companies are mum about what they are up to and it mainly has to do with "intellectual property."  But why should I even have to get into any of that to explain what's going on in Ouran?  And why should Yuzuru's resentment towards his mother, Shizue, be explained in a corporate coup?

Anyhow, I feel with the latest technical complications and a loss of focus on the romance between Haruhi and Tamaki, Ouran will lose most of it's target audience.  It all feels like pretentious flowery dressing to me that neglects the heart of matters -- how Tamaki's screwed up family is keeping him away from Haruhi.  Now, if this were aimed at adults, I would feel differently about matters, but seeing as how the main characters are kids, there really is nothing they can do about the corporate stuff except watch a bunch of adults thwop each other over the head via various corporate power plays.

What are your thoughts?

Dec 25, 2009

Ouran Chp 77 Translation

Merry Christmas!  I managed to eek it out by Christmas. You can thank my husband for this.  He shamed me into doing the translation.  So I accepted the challenge and the medical terms were not as bad as I thought they would be.  Also, the chapter isn't a dreary as I thought it would be.  In fact it's a great chapter and by the end of it, I felt like I was seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.

Link to Ouran 77 (Retired) (Version 1.0 -- 3 Cheers for Kumachan!!!  Hopefully, through her work, most of the errors have been cleaned up.  I'm kinda cheesed someone uploaded this to Mangafox without my permission before I had a chance to clean up the errors. Oh well...whatever...)

Update 01/16/2010: Version 1.2 -- It seems the spelling of Tamaki's French last name has been settled.  The file has been updated to reflect the latest agreed upon spelling.

Please DO NOT upload this to ANY manga aggregator websites.  However, feel free share the link to this blog entry.

And as always, support the author by purchasing the manga when it becomes available in your country.  "Ouran High School Host Club" volume 1 - 13 in English are available from Viz.  Link to purchase from Amazon.

Up next:  The pilot one shot for Kiyo Fujiwara's "I Can't be a Bride"


Dec 22, 2009

Akagami no Shirayukihime Chp 14 Translation

One of my proofreaders requested this one.  I guess the cliffhanger from chp 13 was unbearable :).  Anyhow, here it is:

Link to Akagami Shirayukihime Chp 14 
Update 12/27/2009:  Version 1 -- Edits from Sapphire Pyro have been added. Hopefully, the file is now the latest :)

Also, here's a link to some wonderful fan appreciation from Sapphire Pyro.  Sorata-sensei is so fortunate to have such a loving fan.  Link

I'm not formally taking on this series.  Rather, this was a special request.  However, if the request is made again, I don't mind translating this series when I have time.  It's quite a pleasant series.  It is currently at chp 18 and like ZHD, it is released once every two months.

As for Ouran 77 -- well, I did start looking at it more closely out of curiosity and because my husband gave me a kick in the pants and told me not to run away from the challenge.  It's not as bad as I thought it was ... As of now, though, I don't have time to do a scanlation before Christmas because  I've got lots of cooking and cleaning to do.  If I do release a scanlation, it will be shortly after Christmas.  It's not as gloomy and drama filled as I thought it would be and there are some funny moments.  More than anything, though, some major loose ends get tied up and Tamaki ends up with a new problem to deal with.

Anyhow, if you are curious, it sounds like Tamaki's mother has Lupus.  It's generally not fatal, but it's no fun :(.  Here's a link to some info.

Lupus Info  Link 

Happy Holidays!

Dec 18, 2009

New LIstings At Manga4Sale

  • Nodame Cantabile vol. 1 and 2 in English -- 3 - 14 SOLD!
  • Nodame Cantabile vol. 9 - 16 in Japanese
  • Monkey High! vol. 3 - 6  in English -- 1,2, 7 and 8 SOLD!
  • Tsukuyomi Moon Phase vol 1 - 12 in English (16+ buyers only, please)
  • Captive Hearts Vol. 5  SOLD!
  • Rosario + Vampire Vol. 1  SOLD!

Link to Omarissister's Amazon Store

    Dec 15, 2009

    Help me Clean my Room! Buy My Lightly Used Manga

    Help!  I'm drowning in manga!  Help me clean my manga room by purchasing my "lightly" used manga.

    Link to Omarissister's Amazon Store

    I've been using Amazon for 3-yrs to sell my used manga, books, and video games.  Take a look and see if there's anything you want.  If you buy multiple items, contact me and I'll refund difference in the shipping cost between what Amazon charges and what it actually costs.  For multiple items, that difference is significant.  I can ship manga and books internationally, but I can only sell the video games within the US.  Thanks for your help, in advance.

    Dec 14, 2009

    Hana to Yume 2010 Calendar Wallpaper

    I've turned the 2010 Calendar that came in the January 5th 2010 issue of Hana to Yuma magazine into lovely 1600x1200 pixel wallpaper for your laptop or PC desktop.

    The calendar itself self is actually a good sized wall calender, so if you want one for yourself, go spend the $4 - $6 to get a copy of the first issue of the 2010 Hana to Yume magazine at your local Japanese bookstore.  For those of you in the US that aren't near a Japanese bookstore, try Akadot.  They should have the magazine in stock in a week or two and it'll run you about $14 after shipping (I recommend USPS Priority Mail -- it'll get it to you in 2-business days for a nice price) and sales tax.

    Zettai Heiwa Daisakusen Chp 14 Translation

    Here's "Zettai Heiwa Daisakusen" chp 14.  I like this chapter a lot because it has a good mix of humor, romance, and action.  The ending, though, is ominous.  Anyhow, I think in this chapter, Johanne's brother, Joshua, forgot that Johanne is a "butcher" and believes in "enhanced interrogation techniques."  Haha...silly Joshua.  So much for "talking"...

    Link to ZHD Chp 14 (Update:  12/17/2009 Minor edits from Kuma-chan!  Kuma-chan lives!!!)

    The next chapter should be out in two months, around 2/10/2010.  Next up Ouran 77.  I decided not to do the one-shot because after translating the first few pages, I didn't like the story or the main character.

    Dec 10, 2009

    ZHD Chp 13 Update

    I made some small changes to page 14, 15, and 16 to clarify the situation that begins chp 14.  I did this just in case it wasn't clear as to WHY Johanne lost the duel (hint:  Pantsu desu!!!).

    Link to ZHD Chp 13 v1

    "A Small World" -- One Shot Translation

    Yay!  Another rich granny to hate!  Haha!!!  I sorta feel like this story is a nice companion to the events happening currently in Ouran.   Anyhow ... Mariko-chan suggested this one-shot.  Thank you sooo much!  It's a great story and I loved reading and translating it!  So here it is for Mariko and whoever else wants to read it:

    Link to "A Small World" 

    I'm still waiting for a response from my second proofreader.  If there are any changes from her, there will be a version 1.

    Also, if there are any other one-shots you think I should check out, let me know!  I really liked reading this one :).

    Dec 5, 2009

    "Ultimate Venus" Cancelled Again ...

    I got a cancellation notice today from Amazon for "Ultimate Venus" volume 6.  Sigh ... There are only 9 chapters out there on the Internet, meaning there's a 13 chapter gap to be filled ... ugh...In light of the cancellation, I will pick it up from where the publisher left off, unless somebody else does.  I will edit the content, though, to keep this a friendly website.  If I have time, I will go back an fill in the gaps, as I am sure the older volumes will go out of print as they are sold.

    Dec 4, 2009

    Yoroshiku Master -- Chp 9 Translation

    Here's "Yoroshiku Master" Chp 9.

    Link to Yoroshiku Master Chp 9

    This chapter has absolutely nothing to do with Christmas ... heheh.

    Nov 30, 2009

    Arakure Chp 56 (The Final Chapter) Translation

    At last!  Here's the final chapter of Arakure!

    Link to Arakure Chp 56

    I enjoyed this series a lot and I'm sad to see it end.  I will definitely miss these characters. I hope you all enjoyed it too :).  Fujiwara has a new series out running in Betsuhana (it may be more "adult" than Arakure) and there's also a one-shot.  I'll look into to both of these.

    Next up is Yoroshiku Master!

    Nov 25, 2009

    Manga Review: The Palette of 12 Secret Colors

    The "Palette of 12 Secret Colors" by Nari Kusakawa is a wonderful low key manga series.  It's the story of Cello, a color magician, or "Palette, who bumbles through the years as a Palette student on a warm tropical island.  Cello is lousy as a standard Palette, but excels when she uses her powers in her own way.  As per many Shoujo manga series, there's a romance with an older male member of the faculty, in this case, the school doctor, Dr. Guell.  For the most part, the romance is dealt with in a manner that doesn't sugar coat the difficulties and at one point questions whether the relationship is proper.  However, at the same time, these difficulties aren't shoved down the reader's throat and, in this sense this sense, the romance is pleasant and ties in nicely with the story as Cello matures as a person and a Palette student.

    There are some very cute and, at times, hilarious bird side-kicks.  The birds are the palette's companions and in a way serve as the "chorus."  They have their own role in the story, sometimes acting as obstacles the budding romance.  Ultimately, though, the birds love their companions and, in the end, cheer the couple on.

    This series runs 27 chapters, compiled into 6 volumes.  There are also some one shots to pad each volume.  I really like that story was tightly limited, though, the end felt a little rushed.  I highly recommend this story for its imagination, likable low-key characters, adorable bird side-kicks, and it's general tropically laid-back feel.  5/5

    Buy "The Palette of 12 Secret Colors" from Amazon

    Nov 24, 2009

    Ouran Chp 77 Previews

    Here are the previews from Lala 1/2010 for Ouran High School Host Club Chapter 77.  Lala 2/2010 will be released in Japan on 12/24/2009.

    Look forward to it!

    Lala Jan 2010 Issue Calendar


    One of the great things about getting Japanese manga magazine are the enclosed freebies.  In Lala 01/2010, the freebie was a beautiful set of 2010 calendar post cards.  I've turned them in 1920-pixel width wallpaper for your laptop or PC desktop.  

    If you want your own set of cards, but live outside of Japan, you can buy the Jan 2010 issue of Lala online at Amazon Japan, Sanseido Books (inside of the Mitsuwa Marketplace), and Akadot (it should be available there in 2 - 4-weeks).

    I don't why the Japanese publishers doesn't concurrently publish the magazines in English in paper or electronically.  They're leaving money on the table ...

      Arakure Chp 55 Translation

      It's the second to last chapter of Arakure.  At last it's revealed that Sachie is a Yakuza princess, and her best friend's mother can't handle it.  What's poor Sachie going to do?  This part of the story is pretty standard, dare I even say perfunctory -- well, let's just get it over with.  There's also some nice moments with Rakuto :)

      Link to Arakure Chp 55

      I probably won't be able to get to the last chapter of Arakure until after the long Thanksgiving holiday.  Sorry!  I promise, though, it will be worth the wait :).

      For those of you who want to buy the English translation of Arakure, it's published by Viz until the title "Wild Ones."

      Nov 22, 2009

      Ouran Chp 76 Translation

      Update (11/29/2009):  Prompted by a comment on Mangafox, I took another look at the original Japanese on pg 27.   I originally translated Tamaki's intent as him wanting to understand his grandmother.  However, after consulting a grammar reference, I see it's the other way around.  He wants to be acknowledged by his grandmother so she can understand his point of view.  Consequently, I have re-translated page 27 and updated the file to version 1.  Sorry for the error, but I'm grateful to have had it pointed out :).  It helps a lot to improves my skills.
      I'm sorry to report the thunderstorm romance was not meant to be.  But it's all right because this chapter shows just how wonderful Haruhi is.  Anyhow, this was a very difficult chapter to translate, and I'm sure I got a thing or two wrong, but I hope I captured the spirit of events.  Here's version 0.  If the proofreaders find any errors, there will be a version 1 tomorrow or Tuesday.

      Link to Ouran High School Host Club Chp 76 (Retired)(11/29/2009: version 1 -- I re-translated pg 27.   No edits from Pyro.
      Update -12/25/2009: Corrected the spelling of one of the dogs Bunshichi --> Punshichi

      Enjoy! I will finish up Arakure Chp 55 hopefully by the end of the day tomorrow or Tuesday.

      Nov 18, 2009

      Arakure Chp 54 Translation

      Here's Arakure Chp 54.  This marks the beginning of the end of the series and contains the moment we've all been waiting for.  In the next chapter, Sachie is forced to come clean about her "family" which causes some difficulties with her best friend's mother.  The last chapter, nicely wraps things up with Sachie's graduation.  I'm very pleased with the thoughtful way this manga series ends.

      Link to Arakure Chp 54

      I should get chapter 55 done before Ouran 76 is released.  I doubt, though, that I will be able to squeeze out the last chapter before Ouran.  I have to jam on Ouran so I can get it done before "I'm whisked away" for a long Thanksgiving weekend -- I have to cook and be social ...heheheh...

      Nov 16, 2009

      Yoroshiku Master -- Chp 8 Special Translation

      Here's the special chapter of "Yoroshiku Master" that was published between chapter 7 and 9.  For some reason there is no chapter 8 ???  Anyhow, it's a very short, but cute chapter.

      Link to Yoroshiku Master Chp 8 Special

      And with this I kick off my holiday season :).  Happy winter holidays to all of you around the world :)

      Upcoming Translations Through February

      First of all, I would like to thank everyone who participated in the survey and took the time to write very thoughtful suggestions to me.  It really helped.  Looking my "bandwidth," my interests, my library, and what you guys want, here's the plan for the next 3 - 4 months in no particular order:
      • "Arakure" Chp 54, 55, and 56 Done
      • "Yoroshiku Master" chp 9, 10, 11 & 12 (on hold) -- Completed by the Dragon Voice Scanlation Group!
      • "Hachimitsu no Hana" chp 13 - 15
      • "Small World"  Done
      • A surprise favor for Sapphire Pyro (my proof reader) -- Akagami Chp 14 Done
      • Ouran 77 Done
      • Ouran 78 
      • ZHD 14
      • Trial first chapters of new series:  
        • "I Can't be a Bride" (FAIL -- it's a "Kimi wa Petto" clone)
      • "Folktale Reindeer" (one shot) Dropped because of uber-weak female lead character
      After finishing these up and sharing some new series, I'll survey again to see what you all want. Hopefully, in this time some of the series that seem to be on hold by other scanlation groups will pick up, so I don't feel the need to do them.

      Nov 15, 2009

      New Manga Trial: Morie Satoshi's "Love Sick"

      Here's the first chapter of Morie Satoshi's "Love Sick."  This manga didn't hook me, but since I completely translated the chapter, I figured I should go ahead and scanlate it so you all can read it too and give some feedback.  Please, forgive me for any typos because I only did one quick proofread myself since this is just a trial.  I will not be scanlating this series because it's not very interesting to me.  However, if you are interested, perhaps having the first chapter already translated will help you petition another scanlation group.

      Link to Morie Satoshi's "Love Sick" Sick 1

      Anyhow, this reminds me of a twisted Ouran clone.

      Next up is the special chapter of "Yoroshiku Master" that seems to be in place of chapter 8.  I don't know why, but there appears to be no chapter 8 in that series.  After that, I will get back to Arakure and wrap up that series before continuing Yoroshiku Master and looking as some other manga series.

      Nov 12, 2009

      Arakure Chp 53 Translation

      Here's Arakure Chp 53.  And with this chapter we come to the end of the very short Kyoto arc.  In this chapter Sachie shows her resolve.  I like this chapter a lot because it shows when two people are in love, they will do whatever it takes to be together.  Love doesn't always have to be a sacrifice or painful.

      Link to Chp 53 (11/13/2009 version 2)

      I'm going to take a little break to take a look at some of the options for my next project.  I figured the best thing to do is to translate and post the first few pages of each series so you guys and I can get a feel for the series.  After that, only 3 more chapters of Arakure remain.  The next chapter has the "pay-off."  It's very romantic scene, which makes me wonder whether I should really take a break ...

      Oh! and for those of you interested in some of the points of interests in the Kyoto arc, here are some links with information and lots of photos of the real thing!

      Yasui Konpira Temple
      [The rock plastered with paper slips - © Ad Blankestijn]

      The Kamogawa (River)
      Courtesy of  Wikipaedia

      The Kyomizu Temple

      Courtesy of Wikipaedia

      Nov 11, 2009

      New Project Survey Finished

      The new project survey ended early this morning.  "Ultimate Venus" won by a large margin at the last minute.  However, two or three days ago I wrote I would not be taking on that project in this blog because parts of it are not appropriate for a general audience. 

      I received some excellent suggestions in the comments and as a result, I will be translating "Yoroshiku Master" for the holiday season.  As for after that, "Toshokan Sensou" and "Shitsuji-sama no Okiniiri" are the front runners.  However, given the excellent suggestions, I would like to take some time to research some of these other series before making a final decision.  The question is how to do it.  I did enjoy getting feedback and I found it very helpful.  I feel, though, before I choose a series I need get a sense of whether I like it.

      My plan is to start the new project in January, so in the meantime, if there are new or untranslated series you are interested in, let me know in the comments and will check the series out.  Here's a list of the magazine I get:

      Lala DX
      Bestuscomi Extra
      Hana to Yume
      Hana to Yume Extra

      Here are some of the series that are on my list to checkout:
      *Love Sick (Morie Satoshi) -- Done/meh...(still release chp 1 scanlation, ETA 11/16/2009)
      *Orange Chocolate
      *Hyakujuu Kingdom
      *Berry Berry - Banri Hidaka
      *Akatsuki no Yona - Mizuho Kusanagi

      Nov 10, 2009

      Arakure Volume 7 (Chp 34 - 38) -- Words Can't do Justice

      Words can't do Arakure volume 7 justice, so I'm not even going to try to write a summary in detail.  It really is a volume you should buy.

      Chapter 34

      Kazuya likes Miho and intends to confess to her, but Miho likes Rakuto.  Kazuya now hates Rakuto.  Meanwhile the teachers are pressuring Rakuto and Sachie to choose a career path. Back to Kazuya:  he decides to find Rakuto's weakness and expose it.  In passing, Rakuto congratulates Takaya (Sachie's class president and the son of the police detective) for winning the  election and becoming the next Student Body President.  Kazuya hears a rumor about Rakuto's past.  It is said that Rakuto was known as "Buddha Raku," the leader of a Kanto area street gang in junior high."  Instead of it being a bad thing, the girls think Rakuto's even cooler because of it.  The truth behind it is that Rakuto was in a street gang, he moved up quickly through the ranks to become the leader.  As the leader he told his members the gang life would lead them nowhere and told them to follow his example into the light and become good and responsible citizens. Consequently, he left the gang, thereby leaving a strong impression on the some of the gang members, one of them being Takaya.

      In the career center (or someplace akin to that), Sachie and Takaya are doing some research.  Sachie asks Takaya whether he's going to follow in his father's footsteps and become a cop.  Takaya says he went through a rebellious phase, but that neither that nor his father's legacy affect him.  He then throws the question back at Sachie, asking her whether she intends to take over her "family business."  Kazuya locks Sachie and Takaya in the career center, thinking that Rakuto's in there, so Rakuto can't go and recieve Miho's confession.  Rakuto meets up with Miho, but nothing happens because Rakuto recieves a text message from Sachie, telling him she's locked in the career center with Takaya.  Rakuto comes and grabs Sachie away.  Sachie tells him to let her go and that Takaya didn't lock them in.  Takaya notes Sachies stubborness and the fact that Rakuto caved in.  Takaya says Rakuto has changed and Rakuto replies that he and Sachie can't both be stubborn.  With great admiration, Takaya confesses to Rakuto and is met with swift rejection.

      As the chapter comes to a close, the teachers decide to do a home visit because Rakuto still hasn't filled in his career survey.

      Chapter 35

      The teachers decide Rakuto must go to a top university because he's too smart not to and they need a source of pride for the school.  Rakuto's teacher comes over to the Clan house for a home visit.  The Yakuza try their best to act like a normal responsible family.  The teacher thinks the household is too noisy and disorganized for Rakuto to concentrate on his studies.  However, the clan gets together to defend themselves and express their love for Rakuto.  The teacher relents.  After the teacher is gone, Sachie tells Rakuto that she's glad he wasn't taken away and she wants him to graduate safely and go to college.

      Chapter 36

      During her grocery shopping trip, Sachie wins a pair of tickets to a theme park.  Azuma and Rakuto both want to go with Sachie, so they take a compatibility test with Sachie to determine who will go.  Azuma gets 86% and Rakuto gets 3%.  Regardless of the test, Sachie buys an extra ticket so the three of them can go.  The guys vie to get paired with Sachie on the rides, however, Sachie chooses rides they can all go on together. During a break, Sachie goes to get drinks.  While alone together, Azuma makes a bargain with Rakuto.  Azuma wants to ride the Flower Gondola (there's a love superstition associated with the ride) and is willing to give up on the other rides for that one.  The two argue about the love compatibility scores and Sachie overhears.  She says she's going to double check, but when she returns she has checked Azuma and Rakuto's capatability, which happens to be 100%  While Sachie is doing this, Rakuto notices his name is spelled incorrectly on form displaying his compatibility with Sachie.  Sachie comes bounding back and Rakuto is completely frustrated.  He corners Sachie and asks her to consider why he and Azuma are in bad moods.  Clueless Sachie responds, "Because you both wanted to come here!" and then explains that she's been intentionally picking rides they can all do together.  Rakuto is saddened because he now thinks Sachie only sees him as a friend.  Sachie, further misinterpreting matters and sends Rakuto and Azuma onto the Flower Gondola together so they can improve their relationship.  There they complain that it is like they've been dating each other all day.  While they are on the ride, Sachie goes and gets another compatibility reading and this time it's for her and Rakuto.  It's 99%.  Sachie doesn't appear to be fully aware of why she's done this.

      Chapter 37 - 38

      This begins the awful and way too long Midori story arc.  Basically, Sachie interrupts Midori's act of bravery.  Midori challenges Sachie and the prize is Rakuto.  Midori also happens to be a Yakuza Princess.  Midori wins, so Rakuto has to be Midori's personal butler and Sachie has to be a chambermaid to replace Midori's caretaker, Kotarou, who is ill.  It ends with the elevator scene that is replayed in chp 39.

      ---- End Volume 7 ----

      Nov 9, 2009

      Arakure Volume 6 (Chp 30 - 33) Summaries

      Chapter 30 

      The chapter begins with Azuma complaining to himself about what Sachie told Rakuto ("I guess it's not so bad if it means you'll always be around") and thinks Sachie, in so many words, has confessed to Rakuto.  Meanwhile a pudgy guy name Tataki Yoichi and his son show up and ask the gang for money to help save their restaurant.  Apparently, in his younger years, the pudgy guy used to be a skinny and very skilled burglar.  He left the gang to buy a house and open a restaurant with his wife.  Anyhow, Tataki's wife died a few months earlier and since then, the food quality decreased, which in turn, led to a significant decrease in the number of customers patronizing his restaurant.

      In a little side conversation, the other yakuza bring up the fact the position of "caretaker" doesn't change unless the caretaker dies.  Azuma thinks to himself, as things are now, Sachie and Rakuto will eventually end up with each other.

      Later, Sachie and the gang head over to Tataki's restaurant.  It's a shabby looking restaurant with roaches skittering about and bad food.  Sachie and the gang clean up the restaurant and Sachie cooks a bunch of food.  Tataki's son thinks Sachie's cooking tastes like his mother's and Yoichi says he was attracted to his wife because her cooking tasted like Yukie's (Sachie mother).  Tataki's son, Sokichi begs Sachie to teach him and his father to cook.  Raizo cautions them that Sachie is a good home cook, but not necessarily a restaurant cook.  Later Rakuto hints to Sachie that she should turn down the offer at the restaurant and Sachie considers it.  The next day they go to the restaurant and find it completely wrecked and some thugs from another gang are there roughing up Tataki.  Sachie asks what's going on and the Yakuza tells her this is what happens to people who don't pay back loans.  Sachie gets a self-righteous burr up her butt and says she'll take on the debt and signs a contract to do so with a bloody hand print.  The debt is stupidly high, but Sachie is determined.  Sokichi is dazzled by Sachie and asks her to be his girlfriend.  Azuma jumps in and says Sachie is his girlfriend and tells Sokichi to back off.  Rakuto is, of course, pissed.  Furthermore, Azuma decides to help out and tells Rakuto that he (Azuma) will confess to Sachie if they save the restaurant.

      Chapter 31

      Back at home, Sachie explains she signed a contract in blood for the restaurant debt totaling 20-Million Yen (about $200,000US).  Apparently, blood is legally binding which puts the Asagi group in a pinch. Later that night, Azuma tries to cheer up Sachie while rubbing in his "pretend boyfriend" status, urking Rakuto further.  The next day, the whole gang goes to the restaurant to repair the damage and get things back in working order.  Rakuto completely dominates Sachie, justifying his actions because he's her "caretaker."  When they open up the restaurant, female customers pack in, lured by the young and handsome waiters Azuma and Rakuto.  After the busy night, Azuma decides to further irritate Rakuto and asks Rakuto whether he is helping because he wants to cheer him (Azuma) on with regards to confessing to Sachie.  Rakuto says he's doing it because he is Sachie's caretaker.  Azuma, tired of Rakuto's nonchalance, grabs Rakuto by the collar and asks him what he really wants to do.

      The next day at school, Sachie happily tells Rakuto that they did 1-million Yen in business in a day.  She says she's going to see this effort through to the end and invites Rakuto to go back to help at the restaurant after school.  Rakuto says, with a very fake smile, he has a student council meeting and, therefore, can't help out.  Later at the restaurant, Rakuto over hears the rival thugs talking about how they want the land and not the money and that is why they asked for the ridiculous sum of 20-million Yen.  Rakuto confronts the bad guy and the bad guy seems to want to make a deal after realizing Rakuto seemingly has no interest in seeing the debt paid.  Later, the bad guy comes back to the restaurant and says the debt is due the next day.  That's when the Asagi and Tataki realize they've been "loan sharked."  The group decides to head out to "take care" of matters.  Rakuto calls the rival group and tells them that the Asagi Clan is on their way.  Is Rakuto a traitor?

      Chapter 32

      After the phone call, Rakuto ponders Azuma's question.  Of course, Rakuto knows what he wants to do. The Asagi group arrives to find the rival group packing up to leave.  Someone within the Asagi group is a snitch!  Azuma recalls seeing Rakuto in a car with the members from the rival group, thereby, accusing him of being the traitor.  Sachie vigorously defends Rakuto, saying there's no way he would betray the family.  And then they go through the motions of "is Rakuto a traitor or not" until the police show up, saying they've got some interesting evidence with regards to the rival group's loan sharking activities.  All of this, of course, was provided by Rakuto.  Later they are celebrating and Rakuto leaves to get some air.  Azuma follows to taunt Rakuto about his (Azuma's) confession, asking Rakuto if he wants to know Sachie's response.  Rakuto says he doesn't care because he just wants Sachie to be happy.  Azuma then asks if Rakuto intends to let things be like this forever.  Rakuto responds, "Well, I am the caretaker."  

      Later Yoichi thanks the Asagi group for allowing him to leave the family so he could have an honest life.  This is a revelation to Rakuto!  Seeing that Rakuto has just understood the possibility of a future outside of "the family", Azuma says to Rakuto, "I'll tell you what Sachie said."  He leans in close, as if to whisper a secret, and then kisses Rakuto on the cheek.  

      The next day, Sachie is red and upset looking.  She tells Rakuto that Azuma confessed to her.  Azuma told her he can't eat raw foods and she feels bad because he's been eating all of her dishes regardless of whether they were raw or not.  Meanwhile, a pair of teachers are complaining to one another about how neither Sachie or Rakuto has filled out their career planning forms.  However, they still have time.

      Chapter 33

      This is a filler chapter with Jin and his cat Yuki.

      Jin picks up a stray cat and takes it to the Asagi clan house.  There, they are all celebrating Obon (something like "Day of the Dead" in Mexico).  They have decorated the house with little vegetables with toothpick legs so the veggies look like horses.  The dead are supposed to ride the "horses" to visit the living.  Sachie has made a cucumber horse for her deceased mother.  Jin asks Sachie if she wants to go with him to visit Yukie's grave.  On his way out the "Slick" (that's what I call him), the Yakuza with the pompadour, asks what the cat's name is and reminds Jin that pets are named after loved ones.  

      Flashback to when Jin was young and Yukie was still alive and living with the family:   Yukie is teasing Jin by asking him if he has someone he likes so she can name  his pet gerbil (maybe...though, it could be a ferret???).  He says he doesn't, so Yukie decides to name the gerbil "Yukie."  And then seriously she tells Jin, "until someone you love shows up, I'll be the one you love" (oh. way too cruel, Yukie!!!)

      At the grave yard, Jin sees a hallucination.  Yukie has come to "close up shop" and says she didn't expect to see him at her grave.  Meanwhile, Azuma is calling the stray cat "Sachi"  and teasing Rakuto about it too, saying that Rakuto is actually the one who wants to name the cat "Sachie."  Azuma pressures Rakuto to call the cat "Sachie", but Rakuto can't because he way too embarrassed.  To add to the fun, Sachie, pondering who she loves, mutters that she would name the cat "Ra--" and then stops herself mid name.  Azuma and Rakuto are stunned, but then promptly interrupted because the other Yazuka have lost the cat.  As they look for the cat, they call it by all sorts of names, presumably of people each one of them loves.  Back to Jin's hallucination ... he and Yukie are having a beer at a restaurant.  Meanwhile, back at home, Raizo notices that Yukie's spirit horse has fallen over with no wind around to push it.  Back to the hallucination ... Jin and Yukie shoot some pool, go bowling, and end up at night on a star lit hill.  Jin "pushes down" Yukie and says he's not a kid anymore.  Yukie, though, tells Jin that he is still that same kid who was too scared to reach out for anything.  Yukie asks Jin if he's going to visit his father's grave.  Apparently, Jin hates his Dad.  Regardless, Yukie tells Jin that the dead can't visit unless there is someone alive to welcome the dead person's spirit.  She then gets up to leave.  As she leaves, she encourages Jin to reach out to the people who are now in his life.  And then Jin's cell phone rings and it's Sachie informing him that the cat is missing.  Jin returns to find the cat hiding under the house.  He calls out "Yuki" to the cat and the cat comes to him.  And then a little later, Jin and the cat are off to go visit another grave, presumably his father's.

      -----End of Volume 6----

      For the Holiday Season -- "Yoroshiku Master" is a Go!

      It's the holiday season and what better way to spend it than with Christmas themed manga! "Yoroshiku Master" only has 5 chapters and a short special left (Chp 8 - 12 -- Volume 3?) so I will go ahead and complete the series starting this month through January. 

      After that, I will begin a new series.  "V.B. Rose" is temporarily out because it's lowest ranked on the survey and it looks like volume 7 is coming out the first week of January.  This leaves "Toshokan Sensou" and "Shitsuji-sama no Okiniiri"  From the survey it looks like either is acceptable.  I was thinking of doing both in an chapter by chapter alternate fashion.  I don't know if I can pull that off though ...

      Arakure Chp 52 Translation

      Here is Arakure chapter 52, the beginning of the short Kyoto field trip story arc.  Sachie and Rakuto test the waters of a long distance relationship.

      Please DO NOT upload this file to any manga aggregator websites.  I will upload the file when I'm ready, so be please be patient.

      Link to Arakure Chp 52

      4 more chapters to go ...

      Nov 3, 2009

      Help Me Choose my Next Project

      Update (11/08/2009):  With 2-days left, it looks like "Ultimate Venus" is pulling ahead. However, after taking a second look at the series, I think the content may not be appropriate for a general audience, so I've decided that I cannot go forward with scanlating this series on this blog.  This leaves me with a the selections that are tied for 2nd and some suggestions from other folks.  In light of this, I will do a second round of polling and apologize to those folks who voted for "Ultimate Venus."

      Update (11/05/2009):  It looks like there's a 3-way tie so far ... that's not very helpful.  I didn't expect any support for "Ultimate Venus."   I've taken a peek at Ultimate Venus up through Volume 8. Heheheh ... you won't be disappointed with that one ... but I was hoping something "sweeter" would emerge.  There are still 5 days to go, so hopefully a clear winning will reveal itself.

      "Arakure" is rapidly coming to end and I need to decide what my next project will be.  Please use the poll on the top right corner of this blog to express your opinion.  I have made it such that you can choose more than one manga.  If you have another suggestion not on the list, please write it as a comment to this blog entry.

      Nov 2, 2009

      Arakure Chp 51 Translation

      Here's Arakure Chapter 51.  This is a bittersweet chapter and Azuma fans should get out a couple of hankies.  I like manga like this in which the main character has two excellent choices for a mate.  It's always sad when the choice is finally made, but at the same time it's satisfying because we the reader know it's destiny.  I think this is the way life as humans.  Love is a train.  Whether the person knows or not, there are always more than one person in love with them and when that person settles on someone, the train of other folks is hurt.  And so it goes from person to person as unrequited love stays unrequited.  Sigh... Here's the link:

      Link to Arakure Chp 51

      And now there are 5 more chapters to go ... I'm so happy to have the stack of Hana to Yume's shrinking in my office as I re-shelve them in my "library" (which has run out of shelves and now is spilling onto the floor.  I should take donations for a bookcase.)

      Nov 1, 2009

      Anime I'm Currently Watching -- Fall 2009

      Here's what I'm watching currently:

      • Darker than Black Season 2
      • The Sacred Blacksmith
      • Nyan Koi
      • Kimi ni Todoke (ow, my rotten teeth ... I don't know if I can get through this one completely)
      • Umineko no Naku Koro ni
      • Inuyasha
      • Hanasakeru Seishonen
      • Yumeiro Patissiere (too adorable to resist!)
      • Guin Saga (1 more episode to go!) Done!  Great series!
      In Purgatory:
      • Tegami Bachi (Letter Bee)
      Gave up on:
      • A Certain Scientific Railgun -- all fan service, no storyline, and no relation to the original series
      • 11Eyes -- boring and the lead female character is too helpless
      • Fairytale -- ??? looks like a "One Piece" clone and I'm the wrong demographic. 
      • Armed Librarians -- hubby and I didn't get it :(.
      • Tegami Bachi (Letter Bees) -- huh?

      Oct 27, 2009

      Arakure Chp 50 Translation

      It's the chapter we've all been waiting for.  Oh, why can't Tamaki be this brave and honest?  Anyhow, this is simply a lovely chapter, so I hope you all enjoy it.

      Link to Arakure Chp 50

      The next chapter will cover the sad aftermath for Azuma.  I really do feel sorry for him because he's a good guy, and he did what was best for Sachie's happiness instead of his own.

      Anyhow, I'm gonna take a couple days off from translating to catch up on some housework and work on my other projects.  There are 6 chapters left in Arakure, so it getting close to the time for me to pick the next project.  My current front runner is "Toshokan Sensou" (Library War).  If you have some other ideas, let me know.  I, also, recently got hooked by "VB Rose."

      Oct 26, 2009

      Ouran Chp 75 Translation

      Hooray for Sapphire Pyro and Narmeen!  They did the proofreading while I was asleep last night, so the scanlation is ready :)!

      Link to Ouran Chp 75 (Retired)(version 2.1 11/25/2009 -- updated for continuity with chp 76 flashbacks)

      This chapter is very important, but at the same time, it's a bummer because it ends on such a low note.  However, I believe the situation is set for a hug or a kiss in the next chapter...heheheh...I'll write more about what clues I see in few days after enough people read the chapter.

      FYI:  Chp 76 will be out in Japanese around November 24th.

      Oct 23, 2009

      I have Ouran chp 75

      Update 10/25/2009:  The Ouran Chp 75 scanlation is almost done. It still needs proofreading, but I will put a rough draft out tomorrow (Monday 10/26) morning and post the final scanlation on Tuesday or Wednesday.

      I have Ouran Chp 75.  Somebody has already posted a low quality raw, so I will not show any spoilers.  I'll just say this chapter sucks because it is a real a downer.  I hope to be done with the scanlation by Wednesday.

      I will summarize the chapter on Twitter as I go.  My twitter feed is in the right side bar of this blog, so please don't follow me as I will most likely block you.

      Oh! And 2-pages of the 37 are the color title splash :(.

      Arakure Chp 49 Translation

      Here's Arakure Chp 49.  This chapter features some Rakuto fan service.  Chp 50 is coming up and it's the chapter we've all been waiting for.  It's when EVERYTHING comes out in the open.  I will start translating it today, but when Ouran 75 comes out, I will stop Arakure to focus attention on Ouran 75.  Anyhow:

      Link to Arakure Chp 49

      Oct 19, 2009

      Zettai Heiwa Daisakusen Chp 13 Scanlation

      Here's chp 13 of "Zettai Heiwa Daisakusen."

      After taking a second look at the Johanne's sister name, I decided that "Maria Magdalena" was a closer fit.  In chp 13 everyone refers to her by the nickname "Magdal."  I have gone back and changed this in chp 12 as well.

      Anyhow, Daniel makes a second appearance!  He's so precious :).

      Here is version 2 after some great proofreading and editing from Sapphire Pyro.
      Update 10/16/2010:   Corrected the translation of the conversation between Claspel and Joshua -- more cleaning up Anna's backstory.  (New eyes after a year of learning makes a big difference!)

      Link to ZHD Chp 13 (updated 10/16/2010)

      Link to ZHD Chp 12 (updated)

      Oct 12, 2009

      Anime Review: "Princess Lover!"

      "Princess Lover" is a typical harem anime series that, thankfully, only runs 12 episodes.  The story is about a high schooler, Teppei, who after his parents are killed, finds out that he's the heir to the fabulously wealthy and powerful Arima Group.  He goes to live with his grandfather and begins to attend an elite school for the children of the ultra wealthy and powerful.  Along the way, he saves a princess from some assassins, who, of course, he meets up with again at the new school.  Arima's harem consists of two princesses, a rich girl, and his "all purpose" personal maid.  The anime starts off with Arima trying to gain social acceptance into the new school and surprisingly ends in intrigue and action.  There are the usual ecchi gags, but also, in the version I we watched, the fan service was nicely hidden in shadows or strategically placed steam clouds (thankfully).  The last episode was over-the-top sappy with Arima giving a high-minded and overly optimistic speech about the goodness within every human being.  UGH!!! I did like that by the end of the series, we knew which girl he picked.  Overall, this was an okay series, but it not something that must be seen.


      Arakure Chp 48 Translation

      Here's the scanlation for Arakure Chp 48.  In this chapter Azuma continues to sacrifice himself ... poor boy ...

      Link to Arakure Chp 48 (11/10/2009 version 2 -- corrected temple name)

      If you are curious about the Yasui Konpira Temple, here a link for more information.

      There are now only 8 more chapters of Arakure to go!  Yep, the story is winding up soon!  In the next chapter Rakuto makes a big announcement (yep ... an agonizing cliff hanger).

      LalaDX 11 (ZHD chp 13) will be delivered to me on the Wednesday (I ended up ordering it, along with "Ultimate Venus" Vol 8, from Amazon Japan), so until then, I will be working on translating Arakure Chp 49 and completing the "Sugar Sugar Rune" wallpaper I started.

      Oct 6, 2009

      Arakure Chp 47 Translation

      Here's Arakure Chp 47.  At the expense of his own feelings, Azuma finally "mans-up" in order to push Sachie and Rakuto together.  Unfortunately, it's gonna take a few chapters for Sachie to sort out her feelings.  I think this chapter is okay, though, I don't understand why the mangaka acts as though Rakuto has never told Azuma how he feels about Sachie.  It came up when Azuma found the New Years card and Rakuto told Azuma that if he confessed to Sachie, then he "wouldn't be able to stop."  It also seemed weird that Azuma is shocked by the appearance of another New Years card ... and that Sachie doesn't seem to get that "Rakuto Igarashi" is the same "Rakuto Igarashi."   Well, I've decided to put that all aside and just enjoy the story.  Anyhow, here's the link:

      Link to Arakure Chp 47

      "Zettai Heiwa Diasakusen" Chp 13 should be coming out in Lala DX 11 on Friday or Saturday.  I don't think I'll be able to sneak in Arakure Chp 48 before that time.  I will start translating it tomorrow, though, and then break when ZHD is out.  Also, it's now just a little more than two-weeks until Ouran Chp 75.  It's been a long wait!  I hope the new chapter will be worth the agony we've all suffered.

      Oct 5, 2009

      Wild Ones (Arakure) Volume 8 is Out from Viz

      Arakure ("Wild Ones") volume 8 from Viz is out!  I received my copy from Amazon this morning.  In light of this, I am killing the links to my translation.  If you are a fan of Arakure, please support the artist by purchasing "Wild Ones" Volume 8.

      Chp 45 and beyond will still be accessible until they are too available from Viz.

      Purchase Wild Ones Volume 8 from Amazon

      Oct 3, 2009

      Arakure Chp 46 Translation's Arakure chapter 46.

      Link to Arakure Chp 46

      So ... I don't want to give away what happens, but there's significance in Japanese culture about what name you call a person by and it comes into play in this chapter.  People are called by their first name only by family and really close friends.  It is basically a sign of intimacy.   Therefore, when the person you like calls you by your first name, it's a big deal and escalates the relationship.  In the Viz version of the manga, Sachie calls Igarashi "Rakuto" from the start, whereas in the Japanese version she always calls him "Igarashi-san."  I don't know how Viz is going to resolve the error.  I'm surprised they went with "Rakuto" in the first place considering the cultural significance of it all.  I guess we'll see when Volume 9 comes out sometime next year.

      Sep 27, 2009

      Sustainable Sushi FAQ

      Here's a nice list of planet friendly sushi options:

      The Sushi FAQ

      Also, check out their wonderful sushi blog, "Sushi Otaku"

      Arakure Chp 45 Translation

      Here is "Arakure" Chp 45.  This concludes the story arc about Rakuto and his father.  I think this chapter, although good,  is unnecessarily long ... but I guess, the mangaka had to come up with 30-pages of something.  Anyhow, here's the link:

      Link to Arakure Chp 45

      The next chapter begins a new story arc.  Rakuto finally uses his "Anything" coupon and Azuma stumbles onto Rakuto's secret connection to Sachie ... look forward to it!

      Sep 22, 2009

      Ouran Chp 75 Previews

      Here's are the previews for Ouran High School Host Club, Chp 75 from Lala 11/2009. It looks like we'll be treated to a long chapter with 37-pages.  Chp 75 will release on 10/24/2009.

      Sep 21, 2009

      Ouran Chp 70 Omake (Bonus Story) Translation

      Here's a short Ouran High School Host Club side story that was published in Lala DX last May. 

      Link to Chp 70 Omake (Retired)

      Hopefully this will give you the little fix needed to make-up for the lack of an September Ouran chapter.  This bonus chapter is very cute and features Kanazuki, Hani, Haruhi, and the twins.

      Sep 20, 2009

      Ouran Side Stories

      I don't know about you guys, but 2-months is a while to wait for an Ouran fix, so I've decided to do the side story from the Lala DX 5/2009 next before moving onto Arakure chp 45.  This little story will give you some clue about Hani's love life.

      Sep 18, 2009

      Arakure Chp 44 Translation

      Here's "Arakure" Chp 44.  I have to apologize now for the poor translation.  The Head Chef speaks in thick colloquialisms and uses lots of contracted words, so I had to take a guess with the words I could figure out as to what he could be saying.  I searched the Internet for clues, but ultimately, I decided that I wouldn't find anything definitive in the amount of time I was willing to devote to the search.  Hopefully, I was able to reasonably infer his dialog.  It'll be interested to see the Viz translation for comparison.  Anyhow, there's a nice two page spread that I took a lot of care to paste together and repair such that it looks like one image.  I will using it in a wallpaper I'm planning (yep, I will be a taking a few days off from translating to make an "Arakure" wallpaper.  I'm planning another wallpaper like the one with Rakuto dancing, that is collaged with some 3-D/paper elements.  This chapter was too beautiful not to inspire wallpaper.).  Anyhow, here's the link:

      Link to Arakure Chp 44

      The next chapter is really emotional and the chapter after that, we get some more movement with Sachie and Rakuto as Rakuto finally uses his "Anything" coupon.  Heheheh ... Look forward to it!

      Sep 15, 2009

      Arakure Chp 43 Translation is chapter 43.  In this chapter we learn a little more about Rakuto's past and Sachie begins to show more of her feelings towards Igarashi.  It's an important chapter and from looking at the chapters ahead, I think this may be climax of the story.  Yep, we're coming to the end, but it's a drawn out ending over the next 14 chapters, so don't get sad it's ending yet.

      Link to Arakure 43

      As for what's next ... well, there are a couple of Ouran side stories from Lala DX that haven't been translated yet, so I'm thinking of doing those next and then returning to Arakure.  Let me know what you think.

      Sep 14, 2009

      I'm Looking for a QA/Proofreaders

      I need some help with QA/Proofreading. 

      • English Fluency with at least High School Graduate level English grammar and spelling (present a writing sample or point me to a sample on the Internet)
      • You must be an adult (18+) -- though, I'll have to take your word for it ...
      • No Japanese necessary, though, it would be nice
      • You must work fast and have a flexible schedule so as not to become a bottle neck
      I currently average about one release a week and I would like to keep that pace.  Also, there's no pay involved, so you'd be doing this out of the goodness of your heart.  If I could get 2 or 3 dependable people that would be great!  I imagine you would not spend anymore than 15 - 30-mins per release.

      If you are interested, leave me comment or send me some e-mail.

      Sep 7, 2009

      Arakure chp 42 Translation

      Update:  09/12/2009 -- Thanks to yourojousama who noticed page 21 was missing.   I have added page 21 to the original file.  It can be downloaded via the link below.

      Here's Arakure Chp 42.  We see some more progress between Sachie and Rakuto.  It seems that it's Sachie's turn to start figuring out how she feels.  This story arc goes for quite a few a chapters, so hang in there while I will do my best to get them out in a timely manner, since I, too, am eager to know how this will all turn out.  Haha!!  Rest assured volume 8 will be out in the US from Viz in early October.  At that time I will kill the links, and all of you who can, should go and support the author by purchasing the manga.

      Link to chp 42 v2 (09/12/2009)

      As usual, please do not upload this to any of the manga aggregator sites without my permission.  Also, if you detect any errors, please leave me a comment or a kind e-mail and I will address the error ASAP.

      Sep 1, 2009

      Online Japanese Dictionaries

      Are you finding that your paper dictionaries don't have half of the words you are looking for when you are translating manga? Well, here are some suggestions for you. In the course of struggling through translating, I have found some online resources that have been a great help to me. The most helpful I've found so far is a website called "Tangorin." It's by far the deepest online dictionary resource I've found so far. It even has many of the idiomatic words in its database. This dictionary contains several examples of word usage (20+), breakdowns of the kanji, a list of similar words, and the ability to save words to a vocabulary list. It really is a great resource and it saves me a lot of time compared to using my phonebook sized kanji dictionary.

      The other resources I use are EUDict and Kamus. These are fairly standard dictionaries.

      I still haven't found a good online source for grammar, but I did just purchase and fundamental and comprehensive Japanese grammar reference books -- no, not those little ones from Kodansha, but some real substantial references (Man! were they pricey!). I'll report on those once I have picked through them.

      Aug 31, 2009

      Arakure Chp 41 Translation

      Here's "Arakure" chapter 41. I put some notes in the back describing a couple of animals in this chapter. Consult the notes of you don't know what these animals are. I also encourage you to Google them as they are quite strange.

      Anyhow, this is somewhat of a continuation of Yuzuki's story, but this time Sachie and Rakuto are more involved. It seems that in this chapter, everyone gets their signals mixed up. The interaction between Rakuto and Azuma is quite entertaining.

      Link to Arakure chp 41

      As usual, please do not post this to any manga aggregators without my permission. You, may link to this blog entry, though. Also, if you find any mistakes, please leave a kind comment or send my a nice little e-mail and I will address the mistake.

      Aug 26, 2009

      Ouran 74 Translation

      Here it is, Ouran High School Host Club chp 74. This time I worked really hard to smooth out the English, so hopefully it's less confusing than chp 73.

      Link to Ouran Chp 74 (Retired)

      As usual please do not upload this to any of the manga aggregator sites without my permission. Those sites that have my permission (and you know who you are), may upload at your convenience. Otherwise, feel free to share the link to this blog entry. Also as usual, if you find any errors in the translation or the scanlation, please send a kind little e-mail or leave a comment and I will address it.

      I will wait a couple of days for people to read the chapter and then I will say my peace/piece about the recent events in a blog entry.

      Aug 21, 2009

      Ouran 74 is out in Lala 10

      08/25/2009 Update: I have only 7 more pages to edit and then proofing. I also have a couple of bubbles with iffy translations that I want to ruminate on some more. Anyhow, the editing is taking longer than usual because there are a lot of sounds, especially the dogs!!! OMG!!! I'm getting a real Photoshop workout! On almost every page I had to repair the artwork around some hiragana/katana that I replaced with English! Anyhow, it should be out tomorrow afternoon (PST -- Los Angeles Time), barring no surprises...

      I have Lala 10 and have completed scanning Ouran 74. There does not appear to be anything really cute that I must share up front, so I will only put out this teaser until I'm done with the scanlation:

      There's lots of dense dialogue and more of Bisco Hatori's chicken-scratch kanji in this chapter so it make take me longer to put this one out than the last. My current estimate is 7 - 9-days. If you must see a running summary, look at the Twitter feed on the right side panel of this blog or here ( (please do not follow me unless you feel you must. I will most likely block you).

      Aug 19, 2009

      Manga Review: Beauty Pop

      I just finishing re-reading "Beauty Pop" because it came to mind that it was similar to Ouran High School Host Club -- and, indeed it is. but without the twins. Kiri is =_= like Haruhi, Naru is the clueless crown prince with a mischievous father like Tamaki, Ochiai is the seemingly heartless megane shadow king like Kyouya, Kei is very child-like and loves sweets like Hani, and there's also that big silent guy, Ken, who is like Mori.

      Anyhow "Beauty Pop" is about a group of student who call themselves the Scissor Project (SP). SP is composed of two hair stylists (Kiri and Naru); Kei, who does nails; Ochiai, who does make-up; Iori, who does fragrances, and Ken who is a massage expert. They hold styling sessions at school to beautify girls so they can gain the confidence to confess to the boys they like. AUGH ... if this was the crux of it, I would have stopped at volume one. However, what kept me reading were the engaging characters and the interactions between these characters inside of and outside of SP. The beautifying part is just a backdrop or an excuse to get these characters together. At some point most of the male characters (except for Kei) and even one female characters, have some sort of crush on Kiri at one time or another. But the real tension comes at the end between just to truly viable suitors.

      I like this series, even though it runs a little long at 10-volumes. It's very much like Ouran-lite -- same basic set-up and characters, but with less drama, less complicated drama, and the humor isn't as sophisticated. It's basically something you could read to a 6 - 8-year old as a bed time story, if you are so inclined to read manga as a bed time story (I think it's a good idea!). It follows, then, that I think this manga is appropriate for 8-11-year 'tweens and older, and, for those adults who are still kids at heart (jaded, martini sipping adults, go find something else ...).

      This gets me back to Ouran ... we're all dying to know how it will end and what's up with Kyouya, and for some reason I thought maybe I could get some clues from reading this "lite" version. Haha!!! I think we all know how Ouran will end. It's just a matter of how we will get to the end and if we take Beauty Pop as a archetype, then the final obstacle in the road between Tamaki x Haruhi will be Kyouya. Hahaha!!! Personally, that's what I'd like to see because I'm tired of Kyouya being treated as a souless money grubbing control freak. I want a reason for his control freakiness and I wanna see him blush!!!

      Okay, back to Beauty Pop -- in conclusion is a very cute story with engaging characters and a very non-threatening story line. For the 13 and under crowd, "'tween-Kuroneko003" says, 4/5 because Kiri, Naru, and Occhi are so cute and sweet. Adult Kuroneko003 says 3/5 because in the end, it is rather mediocre and runs 6-volumes too long (the real story happens in the first and the last 3-volumes. The rest of it is filler).

      Ratings: 4/5 and 3/5

      Aug 18, 2009

      Ouran Wallpaper Feature The Accidental Kiss

      Here's is a wallpaper I made of Tamaki and Haruhi's accidental Kiss. I decide to go with the feel of ice-cream. I don't really know why -- perhaps because it's summer and ice-cream would be great right now.


      Manga Review: Otomen vol 1 - 3

      Volumes 1 - 3 of "Otomen" are out in English from Viz. I read through these volumes and I still think this manga is very sweet. After the first three volumes, though, I don't know if the sweetness hold up. Looking at Bessatsu Hana to Yume I know the series takes a long detour in which it appears that Asuka and his fellow Otomen become roadies for a rock band. The whole rock band detour turned me off so much that I haven't bothered to even look at the Japanese text. The other thing I noticed, even after reading the first 3 volumes, there is no tension in the story that is driving me find the next chapter. I think the series has a great premise, but ultimately Asuka is so wonderful, there is no dramatic tension despite his Otomen ways. In conclusion, I recommend this manga if you are looking for something really cute and laid-back. If you are looking for drama, humor, romance, and gay or straight tension then skip this and read "VB Rose" instead.

      Here's a link to some more of what I've written about Otomen


      Rating 3/5

      Aug 17, 2009

      Starting Wallpaper

      I started some Ouran wallpaper today. I'm feeling very inspired yet, though. When I started looking for images, I found that none of the drawings really called out. Not even the bump-kiss. I pulled the bump kiss and some other images together in a collage so far, so see if I could squeeze any inspiration out of them. Still nothing. Anyhow, I cleaned the images down to a nice line drawings and I'll have to ruminate on how to put some life into the drawings.

      The bump kiss it's self was unremarkably drawn to me. Rather I like the reactions afterward. What I need is an idea for the background ... sigh ...

      I really wanted to do ZHD wallpaper because there are several images from the recent chapters that I love. I figured, though, Ouran paper would be more popular.

      Aug 16, 2009

      Zettai Heiwa Daisakusen Chp 12 Translation

      Here's "Zettai Heiwa Daisakusen" chapter 12. I worked hard this time to smooth out the English without losing too much meaning from the original Japanese. This is a really cute chapter, which is a nice break from the recent drama. Sigh ... and now another 2-month wait for the next issue of Lala DX ...

      Link to ZHD Chp 12 (updated 8/17 -- page 1 fixed)

      As always, please do not upload this to the manga aggregators sites. I will do it myself. You may, of course, link to this blog entry. Also, if you see any translation errors, please send me a kind little e-mail describing the error.

      Aug 13, 2009

      Arakure chp 40 Translation

      Here is Arakure Chp 40. This is an Azuma side story. At first I was bummed about the diversion, but it turned out to be a very cute story that greatly humanizes Azuma. Azuma really is a great guy and I hope as the story progresses he quits comparing himself to Rakuto and recognizes his own wonderfulness. Here a link to the chapter:

      Link to Arakure Chp 40

      It will take some time before I am able to get to chp 41. I want to translate ZHD chp 12 and when that gets done, Ouran 74 should be out. In between those two, I would like to squeeze in a wallpaper or two and work on my portfolio. So expect Arakure chp 41 sometime in September.

      Aug 12, 2009

      Black Bird Volume 1, Viz Translation (1-1/2 stars)

      I have written about "Black Bird" in the past (2007 and 2008) and my opinion of it hasn't changed. The appeal of "Black Bird" is seeing how low it can go from chapter to chapter and as such, can be, at best, categorized as "guilty pleasure."

      As a reminder:

      New Manga: BlackBird

      From the mangaka who brought us "Backstage Prince" comes another tale of a good hearted but weak female, Misao, and a bad tempered Tengu, Kyou, who disguises himself as a handsome guy. Misao has the misfortune of being able to see supernatural beings and now at the age of 16 has become the target of those supernatural beings who wish to eat her to gain eternal life or marry her to strengthen their clan. Kyou wants to marry Misao, but Misao doubts his sincerity and believes he only seeks to strengthen his clan. Kyou shows up in Misao's everyday life as her Math teacher at her high school (but of course). Anyhow, most of the stories revolve around various beasties attacking Misao and Kyou coming to her rescue followed by Misao asking herself why this guy bothers. Meanwhile Kyo seems to find some excuse to lick her, whether it's licking Misao's wounds to heal her, or licking her as a prelude to a kiss, or licking her in her dreams and so on ... Half of me continues to read this just to see how creative the licking can get ... (I'm sad, sad, sad person ...). Somewhere in here, there is a story, but I'm just so distracted by the licking that I haven't quite grasped it.
      I do not recommend this manga for teens, unless they are mature enough to understand that is an over-the-top smutty drama. The main character, Misao, is intentionally written as a weak female character, and I would hate for young women to think this is model female behavior. Actually, I'm a little torqued that this is aimed at a teen audience.

      As for the Viz translation, it's flat. It seems they've decided to take this manga series more seriously than it is. My understanding is that Viz is trying to appeal to the "Twilight" audience. Personally, I find it APPALLING to target the manga to 11-13-year olds, due to the sexual content (I wonder if the Viz folks have read the latest chapter in Betsucomi. It is clearly 18+) and the level of violence and gore (If this were a movie, it would be R-rated). Anyhow, this series is over-the-top in a "so bad it's good" way and the translation should reflect that.

      I can't honestly recommend this series eventhough I regard it as a guilty pleasure (it's like an "Ebert 1-1/2 star" rating). The first volume is very mediocre in the original Japanese and made even more lackluster in the Viz English translation. It does get better as the story progresses, but it never rises above the level of smut and the main female character, Misao, never rises above being a victim. If you can take this manga for the stupid, but entertaining smut that it is, go for it -- especially if you can read Japanese. The demon world intrigue is fun. If you hate to see objectified weak female characters and objectified bare-chested macho male characters, then steer of this series.

      If you are considering whether to allow your teenager to read this series, I recommend reading the first couple of chapters yourself and then consider whether your teen is mature enough to recognize that the characters are caricatures in a Japanese style "bodice ripper" and that this in no way reflects healthy human relationships or human behavior. Also consider there are better manga options for your teen. For older teens, Hino Matsuri's "Vampire Knight" is a good manga series with plenty of story, well developed characters, a strong lead female character, pretty drawings, and smoldering, but tempered, sexuality. For the under 13 crowd, I recommend "Crescent Moon" and "Recipe for Gertrude."

      Rating 1-1/2 or of 5

      Aug 7, 2009

      Arakure Chp 39 Translation

      Here's chapter 39 and with this, the Midori challenge story comes to an end -- THANK GOODNESS. Enjoy the first 3-pages ^-^

      Link to Arakure chp 39

      Please do not upload this to any of the manga aggregator sites without my permission.

      Aug 4, 2009

      Sushi Chef Apprenticeships

      Here a link to a great write-up on the life of a sushi chef apprentice from the Mrs. Lin's Kitchen newsletter.


      It made me think about the possible lack of training some of the sushi chefs may have had at some of my local sushi restaurants. Hahahaha!!! I think in the state of CA, there a 6 -12-mo training program required to be a sushi chef and most of it centers around food safety. It also makes me want to try sushi from a formally trained sushi chef.

      Not to give Mrs. Lin's free advertising, but I do shop there online for dishes, tea cups, and tea. I love to eat from beautiful bowls and drink from lovely tea cups. They also have an excellent selection of high quality teas. The shipping is a little steep, but everything always arrives neatly packed and they provide some nice free chopsticks with each shipment. Check it out! You might find something lovely that you can't live without.

      Jul 30, 2009

      Zettai Heiwa Daisakusen Chp 11 Translation

      Here is a translation of chapter 11 of "Zettai Heiwa Daisakusen"

      Link to ZHD Chp 11

      It looks like Aerandria is currently working on chp 9, so I will not go back and do scanlation for that and the preceding chapters. If Aerandria catches up with me, then I will not longer scanlate this series. Yay!!! My job may be done here :).

      Anyhow, this is another very cute chapter. We learn a little bit about Canaan's past and the disposition of Yuda's mother.

      As usual, this translation is by no means perfect, and if you find any errors, please send me a kind little e-mail detailing the error. Please do not upload this file to any of the manga aggregators because I will do it myself. You may, however, share the link.

      Some Thoughts on Translating Manga

      I'd like to extend upon a blog entry I did on manga translation way back in Nov of 2007.


      What I'd like to expand upon is this:

      What’s interesting about this is that I feel a very strong connection to the original text and to what I’ve written. I didn’t expect this. It feels sort of like I’m a part of the story creation process because much of how I feel about the story and the characters comes out in the words and the phrasing I choose to translate the words to and the way I describe the action in the pictures. I also feel that I have a greater understanding of the story because I’ve had to fully digest the Japanese words and the pictures in order to choose the proper words and phrasing.
      Does it matter to me whether I accurately present the mangaka’s intent? That’s a tough question to answer. I really can’t say for certain what the author intended without talking to the author. Besides, when I read a manga, all that is present goes through my filter and that shapes how I perceive the story. Therefore, when translating and then scripting, what exits my filter is what goes on the screen. I think this is very powerful and double-edged. I endeavored to learn Japanese because I didn’t like the way the professional publishers localized manga for an American audience. I sought purity and from this pure base, I wanted to be able overlay my own interpretation. Being on the other side of it as a translator, I’m am not offering purity to those that read my blog. This leaves me to ask myself, who am I to offer up my interpretation of this manga to the world? Am I providing a service or satisfying myself? I think I am doing both. Besides I know not to take myself too seriously since anybody that reads what I’ve written, will apply their own filter on top of my filter.

      I've had reason to think a lot about translation lately. And I think some people don't understand the difference between translation and interpretation. If I translate the Japanese in manga directly into English, I don't think it would make much sense. Japanese syntax is different and there are idioms, that if directly translated, make no sense. I also come back to the thought of a person's filter. I see through the lens of my own experiences and knowledge, so that is where I interpret from. Every person is different, so naturally, no two people would ever come up with the exact same translation for a very long piece of work. But this is where interpretation comes in. Sure I can understand the Japanese, but getting the Japanese into English is something entirely different. Compared to English, Japanese is a very compressed language that has subtleties linked to culture. In essence, one Japanses word or phrase may unravel into a very long concept in English. And when I say "concept," I mean the translation unravels into something that's not concrete in English -- in other words, there is no 1-to-1 translation in English. This is why I take issue with "100% translation," because there is no such thing.

      Going back a little, I think I understand now why I took Japanese. It was to understand all that stuff that couldn't be expressed in English. For me, the actual Japanese of many manga is very beautiful and intensely descriptive in terms of the emotion and the relationship between characters. In many ways, I wish I could do a direct brain transfer so everyone could have the same joyful experience with the text as I do. As for a "truer translation," I can do a translation in which I go between a Japanese-to-English dictionary, plugging words in. This, though, doesn't get at the underlying meaning that is trying to be conveyed through the words because the context has not been taken into consideration. It is important how the sentence is constructed and what the relationship is between characters to understand the full meaning of what is said in Japanese. Context also comes from personal experience and knowledge of culture and life in general. This is what I strive for when I scanlate. I am not interested in a 100% perfect translation. Rather, what I'm interested in is conveying the story and the relationships between the characters as I've interpreted from the Japanese. Again, I can't say whether this is the author's intent. Nobody can say the author's intent other than the author -- hence, this is why we have discussions about texts.

      Now, what to make of the different translations you may see of various anime and manga series? Well, I'll say this: go with the interpretation you like best. As for my work on Ouran and ZHD, well, I admit to a mistake or two on the small things, but for the most part, I am quite confident that I've properly conveyed the stories as I've interpreted from the Japanese. As for the differences you may see, well, I've done comparisons with the different version and the raws ... and I'm sticking with my translation and my interpretation. Like I said before, there's no such thing as a 100% perfect translation and I know, for sure, that's nobody's perfect, nor am I arrogant enough to proclaim my translation is anywhere near perfect or better than anyone else's. I do, though, want to say, in conclusion, I love the series I scanlate and love sharing my translations and interpretations with my blog readers.