Today’s review was brought to you by Infinity Studios, the publisher of the English-language adaptation of Iono-sama Fanatics.
I reviewed this book originally on November 11, 2005. For a discussion of the plot and characters, please read my original review. For today’s review I am going to focus solely on the adaptation to English.
Unusually for me, I’d like to start with some of the good things. I am exceptionally pleased with the general level of reproduction (although my review copy was a PDF and not an actual book, so I can’t tell you how it will look on paper.) Color pages have been retained, which pleases me no end. The notes for the story are mostly very decent. I particularly liked the glosses on the notes about the characters and the roles from Mito Koumon upon which they they were loosely based. That worked for me and I felt that the translators were doing a decent job of keeping us readers included in the in-jokes within the book.
On the other hand…other than the “-sama” for “Iono-sama” they left out honorifics (and we all know how I feel about that.) If you could leave in one honorific, I am at a loss as to why you wouldn’t just leave in the others? The names of the characters are transliterated, which works fine for me (except that Aruje will inevitably be pronounced ah-rooj instead of ar-gee, but oh well…) and I admited a certain amount of uncertainty about some of the names myself when I reviewed it originally. But…Frechet (name transliteration taken from the 2007 Fujieda Miyabi Calendar I got at Comike, so the author’s own choice) is transliterated to “Fletch.” That’s just…I dunno…yucky. Frechet-san just seems tons cooler than Ms. Fletch, doesn’t it?
In general, the translation is decent, but the one or two times it isn’t, it’s horribly, disturbingly jarring. The first time it is not the translator’s fault.
There is a scene, late in the book, when Frechet (yes, I am going to continue to use the author’s version of the name) and Arata are making googly eyes at one another – obviously enough that everyone else can see it. Iono-sama jarringly asks if they are on the “L Word” together. I took a look back at the original Japanese and honestly, that particular passage would have been a bear to translate without being, well, crude. The points I take away for mentioning a current (and copyrighted…what’s the chances that they got permission?) TV show I give back because the actual sentence…ugh.
The second horribly egregious translation will not go unnoticed, however. Inexplicably, in the author’s note comic in the back of the book, where the word “moe” was used, it was left untranslated, but the word “Yuri” was translated – as “girl on girl.” Thank you, Infinity, for rendering the genre I live and love into a porn term. I wrote them and let them know that it offended.
It’s always nice to *politely* let comapnies know that the word “Yuri” can remain unstranslated as well as “moe” can or, if they insist on translating it, to please use something less connotative of a porn movie, perhaps something like “lesbian stories” or “girls in love”.
And while we’re on the topic, let ADV Films know that it annoys you when THEY did that very same thing in Best Student Council, Volume 1. You can reach them here: http://www.advfilms.com/FILMScontact.asp
I encourage you all to explain – politely, please – that Yuri fandom is well established enough that there’s no need to be so crude.
I have already contacted both companies, of course, and asked folks on the Yuricon Mailing List to do so as well. ADV sent me an apology for having offended and said that they’d send my message along to the translators.
In both cases I have no doubt that they did not *mean* to offend, but seriously – Yuri fans are the main audience for Iono-sama. It was, as Fujieda says in his comic, originally created as a Yuri story. (Not surprising, as he does quite a lot of Yuri – click his name in the category sidebar to see some of the others. A fact that, apparently, most other reviewers somehow missed.) I just feel that the companies would never have translated “Yaoi” as “gayboy sex” or “gay porn” and realistically, “girl on girl” is a porn term, not a reasonable way to describe Yuri.
One last bad thing about the translated Iono-sama is that there was a rather large typo on one of the character bios. Not a book killer, but I was kind of surprised it got past the editors, since it was really obvious. And yes, I emailed them about that, as well.
So. What do I think of the English adaptation of Iono-sama? I think it’s a nice attempt, but it falls flat in some key places. I would still recommend the book to Yuri fans, because the characters and story shine through the roughness of the adaptation on their sheer force of wonderfulness. ^_^
Art – 8
Story – 8
Characters – 9
Yuri – 10
Sevirce – 2 (it is, indeed, moe))
English Adaptation – 6 (without the Yuri issue, it would have definitely been higher.)
Overall – 9
Dear English manga companies – Yuri fans really don’t like being condescended to. Please treat us with respect. This may mean that you have to police the FanBoyness of your own staff. “Yuri” means lesbian images and narratives – not just girl on girl action (which if it were a porn anime, would be completely understandable!) We’re not prudes, we’re just certain that Yuri is more than hot lesbo sex. Thanks, Erica
For a Yuri manga that treats Yuri fans with respect, try one of our 100% Yuri manga from ALC Publishing! All honorifics intact and no insults to your intelligence! Yuri Monogatari 4, 5 and 6 – on sale now!