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.