Silent Mobius Complete Edition, Volume 1 (English)

December 30th, 2009

Silent Mobius: Complete Edition Volume 1Way back, when I read the original Viz adaptation of the Silent Mobius manga, there was only one thing I felt I was missing. In the original Japanese editions, there was some seriously servicey- nice art under the dust covers. Not having the dust covers, the English edition failed to have the art.

When I heard that Udon was redoing Silent Mobius my first reaction was “why?” Sure, the original is out of print. Okay, so it’ll be back in print, that’s cool. But they were touting an all-new translation and I was pretty skeptical that they were going to manage to be better than Matt Thorn. Unless they gave me my dust cover art. Then I’d be happy.

Before I critique the reproduction, let me say that I just love the story of Silent Mobius. Powerful, all-female group of cops, fighting creepy unearthly baddies and having real, adult relationships with each other and, in the case of Kiddy and Katsumi, with their boyfriends. Like…wow, you just never see this kind of thing any more. Nowadays Yuki would be drawn to look 6 and the rest would be powerful only in between being powerless and giggly.

The series itself has a lot of my hooks – adult women in uniform, magic, fighting, Rally Cheyenne…. As many times as they release this series, I’m probably willing to read it. :-)

The absolute, flat out best thing about the new Udon edition of Silent Mobius: Complete Edition Volume 1 is the reproduction. It’s orders above the old Viz edition. I’m sitting here with the both of them side-by-side and there is no comparison. Udon has added in a color image gallery and is presenting the book unflipped, as well. All very good. Still no dusctover art. Boo-hoo.

The translation is fine, until it isn’t. There’s no appreciable difference for most of the story, because “Look OUT!!!” is going to read the same no matter who translates it.

And then, jarringly, Nami’s ofuda, which were sensibly translated as “talismans” in the Viz edition, were called “labels.” Labels? What the…? I feel like a Dilbert comic hashing this one thing over and over but…. I have this weird hope that new editions with new translations are *better* than the original – that they might leave less changed, more intact, that they assume that the reading audience is intelligent, perhaps educated and definitely educatable. So when I get a new edition that dumbs a smart sci-fi/fantasy story down for the *one* person who might accidentally pick it up and not know what an ofuda is, then I’m not all that blown away.

As for Yuri, I need to state that Ralph and Kiddy are one of my favorite straight couples, and I think the idea of Kiddy x Katsumi is delusional. However, speaking of delusion, as I said in my original review of this manga “I maintain that Rally is totally gay (using only my gaydar and my unflappable belief that lesbian manga characters are, in fact, cooler, better looking and more competent than the other characters around them.)”

So, while the technical reproduction is Aces and the color pages are spiffy, I’m hung up on the use of the word “labels” and lack of dust cover art.

What this proves to me (again) is that the one edition of this series I’ll keep on my shelves is the original Japanese edition. Then I have the art, the page quality and a translation (you know, the one in my head) that I can live with. ^_^


Art – 8
Story – 8
Characters – 7
Yuri – 1
Service – There is service, but there’s very little loser-ness to it. Nothing wrong with enjoying attractive men and women’s bodies. Let’s call it a 3.

Today’s thanks is directed at Okazu Superhero and “Friend of Yuri” Eric P for his kind sponsorship for this review!

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