With the Ides of March now past us, now’s as good a time as ever for an update. Chances are if you’ve come to the site you’re probably a fan of Manabe Joji and/or Harumi Chihiro, so I’ll fill you in on what they’ve been up to:
This is a promotional poster for the French license of Ring x Mama (called “Catch x Mama”) that Manabe Joji posted on his blog. The publisher did a pretty awesome job, if I do say so myself. Project-H’s English version of volume 1 will be out in July, but we haven’t had any involvement with it so I’m afraid I don’t know anything more than that.
After Ring x Mama finished, he started another series in the same magazine called “Kuikomi wo naoshiteiru hima wa nai!” which translates to “No time to fix my wedgie!” If you have a swimsuit fetish then it’ll knock your socks off, since it looks to be about a swim team that’s chock-a-block with buxom young ladies. I haven’t actually sat down and read it but from the few glimpses I’ve had, it appears to be about 90% sex scenes. If I recall correctly it’s going to conclude after two volumes.
At the same time, he’s been running another series in a more mainstream weekly magazine with the title of “Hibi Kore Koujitsu.” ANN recently reported that it’s now concluding in its fourth volume. I have the first two volumes here in print and I must say that the series is very different than what you might expect from him. It’s set in the extremely ritualized and tradition-steeped world of Japanese tea ceremonies. The artwork is quite lush and the only way I can think of to describe the story is dense. You can tell that it borrows from a broader cultural vocabulary that’s very unique to Japan and I think it would be a fascinating yet extremely challenging series to localize. Hopefully if Ring x Mama and Makunouchi Deluxe are successful then we’ll see more Manabe Joji licenses in the future.
With both of those series wrapping up at about the same time, he’s been talking on his blog about what he’s working on next. Obviously it’s still tentative but he says he’s thinking about going back to a “military”-type setting that a lot of his earlier work from the 80s and 90s featured.
Now, how about Harumi Chihiro? It’s been just about a year since Velvet Kiss finished its serialized run in Comic Vitaman, but she hasn’t started any new series since then. She continues to work on “Come Come Vanilla,” which now has two volumes in print, but like a lot of Velvet Kiss fans I’ve heard from, I haven’t even bothered to read it. It seems a little too fluffy and insubstantial for fans of her other series. Strangely enough, I recently stumbled across a figurine that someone made of the main character. I wonder if anyone’s ever made one of Kano…
At any rate, I think Harumi Chihiro has been taking a well-deserved break after Velvet Kiss finished and probably played some advisory role in the movie adaptation that I mentioned earlier. She’s put out a variety of one-shots in a couple different magazines over the last year. I’ve seen a couple of them and they’re fairly nice but not especially weighty. She ran a one-off in the same magazine that runs “Hibi Kore Koujitsu” which teased a longer series on the last page but it never materialized for whatever reason. Most recently she published in “Le Paradis,” a bimonthly romance manga magazine. They seem to have made rather a big deal that it’s her debut in the magazine, giving her very prominent billing on their web site. I’ve seen a fair deal of Japanese twitter buzz about it as well, so that may indicate that Velvet Kiss has made more of a splash than you might expect.
Speaking of Velvet Kiss, it looks like it’s been licensed in Italian now, although someone who speaks Italian will probably need to confirm that for me. It looks like France and Italy have been more active in licensing h-manga during that long dark period when US licensors weren’t touching it with a 12-inch marital aid, and they’re not slowing down. I think our French and Italian compatriots have been able to buy licensed versions of Yamatogawa tankoubons for years now, amongst other stuff. Hopefully these new series from both authors will get the high-quality treatment they deserve and go on to commercial success.
Right now we’re working on getting the last volumes of Velvet Kiss and Love on the Job finished. Velvet Kiss 4 will have two bonus pages at the end like the other volumes, and this will be the first time that they’ll be in English. It also looks like the mid-volume color spread which is usually reduced to black and white will be in color in the English version. It’ll actually be superior to the Japanese version in that respect! Those will be out later in the year, and we’ll try and keep you abreast (heh heh) of any other new developments in the meantime.
Now that’s a title I never thought I’d write. But sure enough, Velvet Kiss has been given a live-action movie treatment. It appears to have been produced through Velvet Kiss’ publisher, Takeshobo, and stars AV actress Kanae Ruka as Kanoko, with her trademark twin tails intact. It’s divided into two separate parts (the second being due out next month) and it looks like they’re each 70 minutes long.
Is it a faithful adaptation? Is it any good? I couldn’t tell you, since I haven’t seen it. I’m debating about whether I want to pick it up or not, especially since I don’t have a Region 2 DVD player. It’s not as weird of a move as you might think, though, since Takeshobo has done with same thing with a few of its other successful h-manga series (Glass no Megami, Virgin na Kankei, Hishoka Drop). They all seem to follow a formula of two parts released within a month of each other, and perhaps more curiously, an R-15 rating. This is in contrast to the R-18 rating that explicit pornography is usually granted. I would venture a guess that there are probably sex scenes but camera angles and brevity might mean that they’re not terribly graphic. Maybe about Skinemax level?
I wouldn’t suggest holding your breath for a licensed version outside of Japan, although I would have said the exact same thing about the manga series a couple years ago and look how that turned out. It’s probably a rather niche title even its home market, and hopefully it’s not hobbled by a low budget. I’ll try and write up some impressions if I get the chance to watch it.
The second English volume of Velvet Kiss is printed and ready! This time around the translation is mine, as opposed to me editing another translator’s work. Everything’s been re-done to a higher standard and this should be a much more definitive version than what was out before.
In addition, Project-H has announced that they now have the rights to digitally distribute releases from Takeshobo, which includes Velvet Kiss, Ring x Mama, Makunouchi Deluxe, and Love on the Job. Here are the details, as we know them: They’ll be available primarily through Digital Manga’s site, emanga, which will be re-launching in November. Other platforms may be in the works but they have to deal with stuff like vendors such as Amazon and Apple being squeamish about carrying adult content. Releases will be downloadable and readable on “most popular devices.” That’s all the information we’ve been given, though, so I don’t have answers when it comes to pricing, file formats, DRM, or anything else like that. But if you’ve been holding back on purchasing the official version because you’d rather have it in digital rather than physical format, you should be able to have the chance pretty soon.
Currently it’s before the official release date, but it sounds like you can buy it already if you get it through Akadot or Project-H. Similar to last time, it looks like other online merchants are selling it with some sort of two-week delay. Couldn’t tell you why that is, I’m afraid, but pick whichever store you like best:
We’re also about a month away from the first volume of Love on the Job (aka Koi wo Suru), so we’ll let you know when that’s available!
Looks like our favorite Harumi Chihiro series is going to be officially available in another language. I found the news on this blog post that the publisher Soleil Manga is going to translate and release Velvet Kiss in France. Whoever does their covers seems to do a really good job, and I like what they did with this one as well. My understanding is that France has a really big market for licensed manga, so perhaps this was only a matter of time.
I feel like all these recent h-manga licenses go a long way towards taking the wind out of the sails of the argument that scanlation is justified because the mean ol’ creators and publishers won’t let it escape Japan. Clearly artists like Harumi Chihiro are happy to have their works enjoyed outside of its country of origin, but there has to be a licensor and an audience willing to support them.
Having been out of the game for several months now, I look back at all the time and energy I spent on scanlation, and if it wasn’t effort wasted then it was certainly effort misdirected. Sometimes it feels like all I did was just line the pockets of whoever owns those ad-choked manga aggregator sites. I bet if half the effort spent on scanlation were spent supporting legitimate efforts to localize manga, you’d see a lot more h-manga available for legitimate purchase today, and it would be of much higher quality.
Obviously, the issue’s a little more complex than this, but I look at all the rip-off artists and unhealthy bickering surrounding scanlation nowadays and I wonder why anybody bothers sticking with it. I feel like if it’s worth spending effort on anything, it’s to help improve the system that has the support of the people who actually make the manga. They’re happy for you to read what they make, if you help support the system that helps them.
Velvet Kiss Volume 2 should be out in about a month now, so we’ll let you know how you can get it pretty soon. Ciao!
More good news on the licensed h-manga front: among many other titles, Ring x Mama is going to receive an official English version courtesy of Project-H. I’m very happy to hear that English-speaking Manabe Joji fans will have a chance to support him. To be honest, I can’t even read the early chapters of our scanlated version – there were far too many newbie mistakes. It’ll be good to see it redone in the hands of someone more experienced.
That said, it doesn’t look like we’ll be the ones performing the work on it. Having already committed ourselves to 6 volumes of Harumi Chihiro’s two series, adding another 5-volume series on top of that seems like it might be unwise. I’d rather we know that we have our workload under control than accidentally over-commit ourselves into paralysis, which is a classic scanlation mistake. I’ll try and see if I can act in any sort of an advisory role with whoever is doing the localization, but it’s up to Project-H’s discretion. In any case, we’ll be providing more information as the volumes become available in print.
Other licenses in this round of announcements were Velvet Kiss Volume 4, completing the series, and the Mizuki Asamori series “Goddess of the Glass.” That’s another series from my distant scanlating past that I’m glad will be given the attention it needs by someone who has a better idea of what they’re doing. As for Velvet Kiss, we’re not confirmed to be working on the last volume quite yet, but it’s probably a safe bet.
I know that there are probably plenty of people out there who are a little disappointed that when we switched to working on licensed material, it’s been stuff that they’ve already read before in scanlation. We understand and share the concern, believe me. Our primary reason for getting involved with licensed releases was so we could ensure that they weren’t bungled. We have these two Harumi Chihiro series, Velvet Kiss and Love on the Job, that we want to make sure are as good as possible in English. Beyond that, it’ll be new stuff.
One series that we still see people express interest in is Manabe Joji’s Kanojo de Ippai. It’s an absolutely hilarious series that I, more than probably anyone else, want to see in English. But it’s gotta be done correctly. Unlike a few years ago, there really is a possibility of an official English license now, and if you respect Manabe Joji like I do, then you’ll want to support him through the channel of his choosing. I’ve been trying to twist Project-H’s arm for months, but I’m only one schmuck. What you might not realize is that your voice matters a whole lot more than you might realize. Project-H licenses a lot of stuff based on fan feedback since they know that artists who are popular in scanlation are likely to have more fans that are excited to support an official version once it becomes available. The most effective form of lobbying them is to talk to them on twitter. It helps them build the brand up as an internet-savvy new licensor, and it probably helps them make the case to Japanese publishers that there’s a real interest in this material. You don’t have to use your real twitter account if you don’t want Aunt May to see what you’re up to. I’ll be here to pounce on any new Manabe Joji or Harumi Chihiro work that gets licensed and give it my best, but in the meantime, that’s the best way I know of to get the ball rolling. It doesn’t even have to be authors that we’ve worked on in the past, any artist you’re a fan of would be a good suggestion to Project-H if you want to be able to support them officially.
In order to keep the front page fresh, I’m gonna try and write up some more posts on the general manga and h-manga industry in the not-too-distant future. I’ll see if we can’t make a little use of Project-H’s contacts within the industry to try and explain some of the stuff that’s really opaque to people outside of Japan. See you then!
Hey everyone! I have another doujin here translated by Yumeko-chan and edited by blackrussian. This doujinshi is actually two stories in one (and the second one is my personal fav!). The genre’s are much different than we’d normally release, but especially the second story, I’d say the genre’s are pretty mild compared to the other Puella Magi Madoka Magica doujinshi. I added loli because of how the art is drawn (especially in the first half of the doujin)
In the first story we have Sayaka who invites Kyoko in a group session together, and in the second half of the story we have Homura and Madoka together as they should be <3
Thanks guys, hope you enjoy!
Hey all, I have another Inu x Boku SS doujinshi to share with the pairing of Ririchiyo-sama and Miketsukami-kun. If you enjoy cat ears, then this one is definitely to grab, albeit the ears seem to be magical in this edition…
Ririchiyo confesses to Nobara and Karuta on her feelings regarding Miketsukami’s fox ears and tails. If you can only imagine Nobara’s advice on anything – Ririchiyo ends up getting more than she had thought she’d receive.
I’m going to end up getting rocks thrown at me for the amount of Inu x Boku doujinshi I want to do. Haha… All the characters in the series were extremely attractive and almost all the doujinshi are sickeningly sweet and romantic. So it’s a combination I have a hard time ever saying no to
Mystery! Dark arts! Action! Vengeance! All this and more in the sixth chapter of Gaiakitan, the final chapter of Volume 1. And, though I’m sure this news will be greeted with much gnashing of teeth, it will be the last chapter that we’ll release. Read on for a little more info.
In our recent announcement about Velvet Kiss licensing, I mentioned that we need to change what we do if we aim to try and do this stuff professionally. If we want a bunch of different publishers to try and work with us, we can’t tell them “we’ll keep putting out your stuff for free until you hire us.” I know this is not exactly the most receptive audience to make this point to, but speaking personally, I’d rather work to blend scanlation into the official licensed world if the opportunity seems at all feasible (more on this in a few days). As with many of the other projects I’ve worked on, I’d be happy to pick it up again if it gets licensed.
It’s sad to see it go, of course, as there’s more of the story to be told. But I thought it would be better to be firm as to whether we were working on it or not rather than string readers along for a long time by staying uncertain. If another group does try to pick this project up, my advice would be that you’re going to need an extremely good translator. In order to do this series correctly, you have to be able to understand the archaic form of Japanese it’s written in, and then adapt it using tone-appropriate English dialog, which is something that’s pretty rare to see in writers that work for free. Personally, I feel like I didn’t really do it justice – not because the original dialog is some sort of Shakespearean masterwork, but because producing solid medieval-sounding dialog is pretty challenging for someone of my age and background. It’s very easy to identify and parody bad examples of this style, but certainly not easy to do it well.
Anyway, that’s enough rambling on my part. We hope you’ve enjoyed volume 1, and we hope that in the future we’ll be able to bring you more series like this in a way that will have the support of the authors. Take care!
Hey Soba-fans! We have a doujin to share with you from the series Ben-to! Nothing like a healthy helping of wincest to complete the day~
Translated by the wonderful Yumeko-chan and edited by the amazing Voo we have Bento where every gaming guy meets his dream (if you’re into your cousin I mean)! You’ll be seeing more and more doujinshi for you of various series (especially those of our personal favorite *coughinuxbokucough* But in all seriousness, we have ourselves a raw provider in Japan where shipping is loots less when we don’t have to ship items overseas. So that means more dinero going towards doujinshi and not shipping. We really encourage everyone to donate a couple dollars ($5 practically buys a doujinshi) so we can continue searching for awesome doujinshi that don’t get scanned.
We’re looking at buying future Accel World, Tasogare x Amnesia, and Sankarea. We’re also going to keep an eye out for Haiyore! Nyaruko-san doujinshi (NJMANGA already put his money to use picking out one he really likes from that series)~ Our goal is to keep our eyes out for doujinshi that can relate to the series and even be romantic with favorite pairings. It seems like typically the doujinshi that get scanned immediately are the rape/depressing/gangbang/hardcore doujinshi. We’ll always try and be most upfront with all of you and keep you up to date with what we’re doing with the donations – but until then I hope you’ll enjoy the handful we have finishing up in the assembly line for you all
P.S. Yumeko-chan is going to Japan again this summer and can personally pick up a bunch more doujinshi. But having a large community help donate a little bit of money is way more effective than a lot of money from a few – so we really encourage everyone to chip in and help!
Swords a’swingin’ and ninjas locked in deadly contention in this latest chapter of Gaiakitan. Something goes bump in the night…
The series is a bit of a slow burn, but hopefully at this point the characters and setting are established enough to make it a bit more compelling to the reader. As always, the dialog is a much different style than I’m used to working in, and some lines I’m proud of while others feel like they’re just the least bad option I can think of. I haven’t gotten very far in chapter 6′s translation yet, so it may be a little bit before I can get to it. We’ll see you for the volume 1 finale next time!