Jul 30, 2014

"Servamp" has been licensed in English by Seven Seas Entertainment

W00t! Another OS/CF series has been licensed! I'm happy to see so many of the series we've championed get licensed! The first volume will release in March 2015. Here is some more information from Seven Seas Entertainment (LINK). If you enjoyed this series, please purchase the licensed version and support Tanaka Strike and Seven Seas!

We will now remove "Servamp" from our server, like we always do when a series get licensed.

Jul 28, 2014

"Bread & Butter" Chapter 2

Update 7/29/2014 --

Minor changes to the translation were made. None of them affect the story. I just wanted refinements for archiving purposes. If you are archiving the series, I suggest you download the latest file.

It's been a while! We pretty much cleared our queue of unfinished content for our anniversary, so it has taken a while to get the next batch of releases ready. We are using a new imagine editing process that's so fast that translation and lettering are our bottlenecks now! It's gonna take some getting used to!

Ah... the second chapter of "Bread & Butter". I like this chapter a lot, but it took FOREVER to complete! Haha! After this, the chapters are shorter, so it shouldn't consume so much time in the future. Lots of emotions in this chapter, many of which we've experienced one way or another. I'll write my thoughts later in the comments.

One of the things I like about this series is the way the breads are integrated into the story. Too many mangas that involve cooking get wrapped up in the cooking process or the food itself, so the mangaka ends up writing long and boring food expositions. "Bread & Butter" seems to be doing a good job weaving the food into the narrative such that it's natural and the story doesn't come to a standstill.

And now onto the release!

Jul 26, 2014

Update! What I Recently Read: "Waltz no Ojikan -- Let's Dance a Waltz" Volume 1 by Natsumi Ando


"Let's Dance a Waltz" has been licensed by Kodansha USA! Information here! If this series seems interesting to you, please support it by purchasing the book in Spring 2015! It would be a great starter manga for a tween or a young teen, of course, in conjunction with a talk about healthy weight loss.
Title: "Waltz no Ojikan -- Let's Dance a Waltz" (”ワルツのお時間”)
Mangaka: Natsumi Ando
Publisher: Kodansha
Magazine: Nakayoshi
Genre: shoujo
ISBN: 9784063643909
Purchase: Amazon JP / YesAsia

Synopsis: When Hime Makimura was young, her mother told her that she could become like a princess. Now that Hime is in middle school, over weight, and unpopular, she believes her mom's expectations were too high and that the world is a cruel lie. Tango Minami is a popular high school boy who hides his job as a ballroom dance instructor to maintain his image. But what happens when Tango's mom urges Tango to take Hime as a student?! Will Tango's embarrassing job be revealed to his classmates?! Will Hime find the self-confidence needed to be like a Princess on the ballroom floor?! And what will it take to get Tango to dance competitively and challenge his childhood friend Yuusei?

The first volume includes chapters 1 - 4. There is a postcard pack-in included with the volume.

First Impressions -- 
Hime is really cute! She seems like a girl that we shy and unpopular girls can relate to.  The main male character Tango is an ass in a bad way.  I don't like people who hide their true selves for the sake of popularity. Oh gosh, please let Hime understand that being like a Princess comes from the heart and not from her surface appearance.

Breakdown --

Artwork B+: It's typical Natsumi Ando. There are big eyes, flower sprays, and sparkles everywhere. The cover, though, is beautiful and attracted me to buy it before I knew that it was by Natsumi Ando. That character designs are simple and clean. The characters can be distinguished from one another and the character's emotions are easy to read. The dance scenes are very dynamic and fluid and give a sense of the rhythm and the feel of the dance. These drawings are also the most detailed and are quite lovely. I also like the ballroom dress designs. There are lots of frills and flowing fabric that please my maiden's heart.

Presentation C: The dust cover is very pretty. Otherwise, it is an ordinary book. There are no color pages and on some pages, the text is really small because the book is small format. There is a post card packed into the volume. It's flimsy and monochrome, so I'm not sure how useful or collectible it is.

Story C: I like Hime, Yuusei, and Sumire a lot.  Hime has the potential to learn to love herself as she is, and Yuusei and his dance partner, Sumire, are the kind of caring people who could protect Hime as she goes through the process of self discovery.  However, Yuusei and Sumire are side characters who look like love triangle fodder, and the focus of the story is on the relationship between Hime and Tango. I understand that this is going to be a journey for both Hime and Tango, but Tango is too much of an ass for me to believe that Hime feels anything for him initially. I would like it more if Hime was focused on the dancing and self-improvement, while Tango wrangles with his popularity "issues".

While I like having a chubby female main character, I think the mangaka missed the opportunity to do something interesting with that character. Rather than her coming to like herself as she is and showing that body type does not impact the beauty of dance,  Hime is transformed into a Princess after getting put in to dress and having her hair and make-up done. To pile on the insults, Hime losses 40 lbs in two weeks by the end of the volume. And now suddenly-skinny and made-up Hime is a cute girl that Tango notices. This is an awful message to girls. I understand that I am approaching this from the standpoint of an American and that notions of being overweight and lady-like are different to Japanese people. But 40-lb weigh loss in two weeks is a dangerous expectation to set regardless of culture.

Anyhow, this is typical brain-rotting shoujo. There was potential for Hime to grow and become like a princess through her discovery of her natural dancing talent, but instead the story is reduced pretty princess production through hair, make-up, dress, and weight loss, and she's dancing because she's crushing on Tango. It's hurts my soul, but I have to give this a C because it's typical of shoujo to take this vapid viewpoint. But outside of the context of shoujo, this is an F.

Readability -- Easy: This series has furigana and many of the words are spelled out in hiragana rather than kanji. Because I am not a native speaker, the lack of kanji for some words drove me nuts because of the myriad homophones in Japanese. Regardless, this series uses typical shoujo language, so readers used to shoujo should breeze through this. The only things new to me were the dance terms, some of which had weird Katakana. Fortunately, all of the terms were in my iOS dictionary. The entire volume took me a little over an hour to read.

Overall C+: This is vapid and potentially damaging to already fragile tweens and teens. However, this is typical shoujo, so hopefully readers enter expecting purely imaginary fluff. The pretty pictures and Hime's and Yuusei likable personalities save some of the story for me.  However because it follows a strict shoujo formulation, I don't feel like I need to read the rest of the series. If you are learning Japanese and want something to read, this is a good first manga. Otherwise, unless you are a hardcore shoujo fangirl who loves ALL the tropes, you can skip this a miss nothing.

Jul 11, 2014

Josei Oneshot: "Ai no Tane" ("What Love Is") by Akiko Oshima

This is one of the oneshots I live Tweeted a a few months back. I got a lot of positive feedback while Tweeting it, so I decided to do a formal translation. A huge thanks goes out to Silver Lunar for cleaning and redrawing this oneshot. It looks lovely.

Just a note so you don't get confused, the pets are shown as humans and animals.

I live-Tweet manga at least once a week. If you would like to join in the fun and have some say about what gets scanlated, follow me @KuronekoOO3. If you don't want to be overwhelmed by my other Tweets, you can view the stream in the right side bar of this blog. Just wait until you see manga going by and then join in. You can reply using the widget imbedded in the blog.

And now onto the release!

Jul 8, 2014

"Kanojo ni Naru Hi -- Another" Volume 1 Extras

Purchase —
     Volume 1: Amazon JP / YesAsia

Finally! Here they are! This big bundle of goodies includes the "Kanojo ni Naru Hi" Miyoshi and Mamiya story that ran in Lala a few months back. I'm glad I waited for the high quality tankoubon version.

In case you didn't know, "Kanojo ni Naru Hi" will be returning in September. It will run in Ane Lala, which is switching to bi-monthly publication instead of quarterly. Of course, we will continue with the series. I'm looking forward to it!

And now onto the release!

Jul 7, 2014

"The Ghost Apartment Manager" Chapter 12 and Chapters 1 - 11 Catch Up

I was toying around with releasing this yesterday, and then "Orcs Must Die 2" happened to me and my husband. It's a simple video game, but it's so addictive, especially if you have some other people to play with.  That game may ruin my life for the next couple of weeks.

It's been a while since we released a chapter of "The Ghost Apartment Manager". It isn't that I'm not not excited about this series. To the contrary, finishing the series makes feel kinda sad because it's so good. I've decided, though, that we will put more effort into finishing the series. I was kinda hoping that it would get licensed, but since it doesn't involve a supernatural boyfriend, a harem of supernatural boyfriends, and the main character is male, I've given up hope on a licensed version.

I've created volume batches for those of you new to the series or if you need a refresher on the series. I hope people unfamiliar with the series give it a try. It really is wonderful. Work on chapters 13 and 14 has already begun, so barring any real life drama, we should be able to crank this series out to the end.

This chapter gets the Tatsumi arc into full swing. It's nice to see that he's more than just dogs and running. I'm not sure about the new character Usami. I usually don't like characters like him because in real life aggressively friendly people scare me.

Jul 6, 2014

Lala Fantasy Oneshot: "Baku to Nemurihime" by Yuki Fujitsuka

I hope everyone in the US had a nice 4th of July! We grilled vegetables and portobello mushrooms instead meat. It turned out better than I ever could have thought. For a change of pace during a BBQ, I suggest giving grilled veggies a try!

Thanks for the wait. Of course, I wasn't anywhere near a computer on the 4th of July, so I couldn't do the release. This is the last of our 5th anniversary releases. This oneshot is also from Lala Fantasy, and if I remember correctly, the favorite amongst the Crimson Flower translators. This story is a new fairytale.  Hee! I hope you enjoy it as much as we all did!

And now onto the release!

Jul 4, 2014

Lala Fantasy Oneshot: "Vered no Rosemary" by Hitsuji Harumi

This is one of the oneshot from Lala Fantasy, a special Fantasy themed Lala magazine. The frontis page of this oneshot struck me. It looks like one of those carved cameo. I also like the rosemary wreathe and the ornament in Rose's hair.

I really enjoyed Peonine and Jade's translation of this oneshot. Great job ladies! Ahhh... and Ichi's redraws... Hee! Anyhow, I'm a sucker for royal romance like this one.

And now onto the release!

Jul 3, 2014

Aka Lala Oneshot: "Shoku no Hana" ("Starving for Hana") by Yumi Kiiro

I know a bunch of you feel trolled by yesterday's release. I think we can say after that, typical shoujo won't do for this audience. Of course I'm happy about this! It means we've made the transition! I still appreciated the drawing of the action sequences in "Shoujo Jump" and I had a lot of fun creating a sparkly banner. But now it's time to go to back something different. This oneshot is from Aka Lala (Red Lala), one of the special color Lalas that released in early 2013. The theme for this magazine was "passion". I don't want to say too much about his oneshot because the fun is in watching the story unfold. This isn't the last you'll see about the subject of this oneshot from us. Hopefully within the next few weeks, we'll debut one of the weirdest joseis I've ever read that happens to be about "this".

For now, please enjoy this "Ravenous" shoujo. And now onto the release!

Jul 2, 2014

Oneshot: "Shoujo Jump" by Yuu Kurumi

We wanted to release this during the Winter Olympics, but the release didn't come together until now. Thanks to Ichi for taking on and producing some wonderful redraws! Thanks to Peonine and Jade for the translation! And lastly, thanks to Suzume for lettering the oneshot.

This is an ice skating oneshot, obviously. Haha! I thought it was super cute and I like the action drawings, something we rarely see in shoujo. It's too bad we'll not see any sports shoujo manga soon since the US publishers assume we won't buy the series. Grr...  I hope you all enjoy this confection!

And now onto the release!

Jul 1, 2014

"Hanaibara" Epilogue

Here's the short "Hanaibara" extra story that came after chapter 3. I got a good laugh out of this short, but I think it sums up where the story ended. I'll miss these three. Maybe we'll get lucky in the future and see a oneshot with these characters. It seems to happen all the time in Wings magazine.

If you enjoyed this short series, please buy the book and show Mio Kawahara your love. The book is lovely and comes with color pages and some nice extras.  Here are some links to purchase:

ISBN-13: 9784800000996

Amazon JP
Yes Asia ($9.99 + 3.99 shipping or free shipping on International orders over $39)
Honto JP

And now onto the release!