Monday, March 19, 2018

And All the Fair Effects of Future Hopes!

With the release of Madowanai Hoshi chapters 7, 8 and 9, the first volume comes to a close, but we will be starting volume 2 next. Also, volume 3 is set to come out in April, so there's still much of this series yet to come, in addition to it being a currently ongoing series in Morning. However, even though Morning is a weekly magazine, this series is usually serialized on a monthly basis, which is why there has been a full year between the release of each of the volumes: v01 came out in early 2016, followed by v02 in early 2017, and now v03 next month.

Now for a small update on our ongoing projects. Kamieko v04 comes out at the end of this week, although we will work on that once Madowanai Hoshi v02 is finished. Mizutama Honey Boy v08 comes out in early April, but we will probably not get to that until May once (we believe) Shiomi-chan v04 comes out. And as for our two projects on hiatus, Shounen Oujo has now been on hiatus for 9 months, and LiLy has been on hiatus for a full year. Although we can safely assume Shounen Oujo will be back someday (its longest hiatus was 2 years long at one point), we're not entirely sure about LiLy. It's certainly been long enough for the author's reported maternity leave to have long since ended, so it simply could have gotten axed in the interim, but we'll just have to wait and see until it either comes back, or there's an official announcement of it ceasing publication (or just waiting so long that we can safely assume it's never coming back, of course).

Madowanai Hoshi ch. 7: Mediafire, Dropbox
Madowanai Hoshi ch. 8: Mediafire, Dropbox
Madowanai Hoshi ch. 9: Mediafire, Dropbox

Thursday, March 15, 2018

A Brief History of (When's the Right) Time!


Now here's Shimanami Tasogare chapter 19, with the next chapter slated for release on March 28, which could be the last in this biweekly schedule, but we'll see when we get there.

Shimanami Tasogare ch. 19: Mediafire, Dropbox

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

In the Affliction of These Terrible Dreams!

Happy Pi Day! Madowanai Hoshi chapters 4, 5 and 6 are done, marking more than halfway through the volume. Chapter 4 also has some colors pages like in chapter 1.

Madowanai Hoshi ch. 4: Mediafire, Dropbox
Madowanai Hoshi ch. 5: Mediafire, Dropbox
Madowanai Hoshi ch. 6: Mediafire, Dropbox

Saturday, March 10, 2018

In All Designs Begun on Earth Below!

Fresh off the heels of Moyashimon's conclusion, we are pleased to present the start of Mayayuki Ishikawa's currently ongoing series Madowanai Hoshi with the first three chapters! After working on Moyashimon over the past year, it was hard to say goodbye to a series we put so much love and effort into, so we had been planning for a while to start working on Madowanai Hoshi once Moyashimon was finished, so here we are. The story is as follows:

In the future, Earth has become so polluted that humanity is forced to live in enclosed shelters. In Japan, the shelters are divided between the "inside", which caters to the country's lucrative anime industry, and the "outside", where most people work to support the people working on the "inside". S-zawa is one such "outside" worker whose job involves sending messages into space. One day, he's approached by the ailing embodiment of Earth to send a message before she collapses. Shortly after the message is sent, other girls similar to Earth start showing up at S-zawa's workplace in an effort to help Earth, but he has a thing or two to learn about what the planets and their moons are really like.

Readers of Moyashimon will notice similarities with that series, some subtle, others obvious, but you don't have to have read Moyashimon to enjoy Madowanai Hoshi, although if you liked Moyashimon, Madowanai Hoshi should also be right up your alley. You can almost think of it as Moyashimon, but instead of microbes and fermentation as motifs, you have planets, their moons, and astronomy. It's pretty much the closest thing to a spiritual successor to Moyashimon, so it's well-worth the effort that goes into scanlating it.

Regarding the title, Madowanai Hoshi (惑わない星) can be loosely translated as "unwandering star", and is closely related to the etymology of "planet" and by extension the typical Japanese word for planet, "wakusei" (惑星). Ancient Greeks originally called planets "wandering stars" (planētes asteres) or simply "wanderers" (planētai), which is where "planet" comes from. Meanwhile, the word "wakusei" can literally mean "wandering star". However, in Japanese, "hoshi" (星) is also often used to refer to planets, and it's used as a suffix to the names of the planets in Japanese using hoshi's alternate reading of "-sei": Mercury is "suisei" (水星), Venus is "kinsei" (金星), etc. Earth is the exception to this, which is "chikyuu" (地球). So, Madowanai Hoshi could also be translated as "unwavering planet". Also, the series has a Greek subtitle, γνῶθι σεαυτόν, which translates as "know thyself", possibly another reference to the Greek origin of "planet".

So we hope you enjoy Masayuki Ishikawa's next work. Currently, the first two volumes have been released, with the third volume slated for release in the next couple of months, so there's a lot of material to go through for the time being. The first chapter also starts with several color pages.

Madowanai Hoshi ch. 1: Mediafire, Dropbox
Madowanai Hoshi ch. 2: Mediafire, Dropbox
Madowanai Hoshi ch. 3: Mediafire, Dropbox

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The Circle of Life Knows No End!

Exactly one year ago today, we embarked on a very ambitious project to finally bring a completed version of Masayuki Ishikawa's masterpiece Moyashimon to English readers after years of the manga first being licensed, and then dropped, and then being picked up by another scanlation group, only to then not go beyond volume 2. And so, it is with great pleasure, but also a bit of sadness, that we now release chapters 158 and 159 of Moyashimon, ending the series after a year-long scanlation effort, which according to our Manga Updates page, is our 1,111th batch release. Also included at the end of the series is the last bit of bonus content, 7 pages in total.

When it comes to Moyashimon, the series itself is amazing, and well worth the multiple awards and adaptations it received. Overall, we wouldn't have decided to do it if we didn't love this series enough to make it through its more difficult aspects, although far and away, the most difficult part of Moyashimon was the sheer amount of text. Not only the amount of text in the actual panels, but of course all of the other text that was written into the margins, which, as a translator, was incredibly frustrating at times. And don't even get me started on all of those super long bubbles that Itsuki would sometimes say, and more often than not, with really technical text that was already challenging to translate in the first place.

But for the most part, it wasn't really all that bad, considering that most chapters in the series were only 16 pages, most of those pages didn't require redraws, and as an extension of that, there weren't that many double-page spreads that required to be joined and redrawn. Granted, there was that double-page of doom in chapter 1, which you can see the before and after with all of the overtext, and also the before and after with the overtext removed. But once that was done, everything else about the series seemed almost minor by comparison, enabling us to ultimately complete the series in only a year's time.

The series itself is certainly one of the best projects we've worked on, and seeing it progress over the course of the series was a joy that we can't really say we experienced with most of our other projects, except for perhaps Usotsuki Lily and Kuragehime, which are the longest and second-longest series we've done. Moyashimon is our third-longest series at about 2,730 pages; in comparison, Kuragehime was just over 2,900 pages, and Usotsuki Lily was about 3,600 pages.

Moyashimon was so different when it began, with radically different art, and the lack of a concrete direction for the series was also rather evident in volume 1. But as the series progressed, Ishikawa's art improved immensely, and the characterization and plots started to become more complex and nuanced, enabling it to expand far beyond its rather humble beginnings. This is really one of those series that you can't really get a clear idea of what it ultimately becomes unless you've read the first 2 or 3 volumes at least, and even then, the series still manages to change rather dramatically in the later volumes.

It's especially for that reason, that we are going to miss Moyashimon immensely. Long before we decided to work on it, there was certainly an interest in the series, although maybe not exactly one that would extend to scanlating it. Especially before we did Stop!! Hibari-kun!, it's doubtful that we would have had the experience or the confidence to attempt something as intimidating as Moyashimon from a scanlating point of view. So to a large degree, our ability to have not only worked on but ultimately complete the series is largely due to all of the experience that we have gained over the time that we've been scanlating manga. Up until early last year, Moyashimon seemed almost too insurmountable, as it was too long, with too much text, that was too technical, and it had a double-page spread in chapter 1 that was way too hard to even think about attempting to not only do it, but do it correctly. But we're glad we didn't think about all of that, and just decided to do it. That too was also due to all of the support we've received from readers of our projects over the years.

So although there will be aspects of the series we won't miss working on, we will miss seeing the daily lives of Sawaki, Haruka, Hazuki, and of course, especially Kei, which although not the only reason why we decided to do the series, was certainly a major one. Just in terms of cross-dressing characters in manga, Kei is one of the more prominent and well-known characters in general, but on a more personal level, his character is also one of the most endearing, especially after reading chapter 155.

So what's the final takeaway for Moyashimon? That it was mainly about fermentation and microbes set at a crazy agricultural university with really quirky characters and situations? Maybe on the surface, but like so many great series, it really was more than the sum of its parts, and it's a series that deserves to be read and re-read for generations of manga readers. If ever there was a series that deserved the moniker modern classic, then we believe Moyashimon satisfies that distinction. So it's with a heavy heart that we lay this series to rest, but just to be able to even say that, we wouldn't have it any other way.

Let's brew!

Moyashimon ch. 158: Mediafire, Dropbox
Moyashimon ch. 159: Mediafire, Dropbox
Moyashimon volume batches: Moyashimon page