2 August 2014

Some Thoughts About Webtoons and Panelling

The dominant players in the Korean webtoon market: Naver (left) and Daum (right)
This time for my Some Thoughts series, I'll take a break a from the usual post about a specific work or author and instead talk generally about a medium known as webtoons, or as I like to call them, "mobile comics." For those of you who've never heard of webtoons, they're basically Korean webcomics. The language barrier has kept much of it closed off from Westerners, like how manga used to be back in the 80s, but I've noted they've begun to gain some fans overseas through fan-translations of works like Tower of God, Noblesse, or Annarasumanara. Now, you might be thinking, "Well, that's hardly a distinct medium. It's just the term Koreans use for webcomics, which itself is a sub-medium of comics." And yes, that is true, but there's an aspect in this "sub-medium" that makes them distinct to most Western webcomics, which I've already alluded to in my first sentence.

24 July 2014

More Iwaaki Goodness

As mentioned a few posts ago, Iwaaki's Snow Ridge, Sword Dance is now out. Much thanks go out to Illuminati-Manga for scanning, cleaning, typesetting and QC'ing. This 300-page volume is just two long oneshots joined together. Here's a short synopsis I wrote for illuminati-manga (my apologies beforehand if it sounds more pretentious than it needs to be):
The closing stages of Sengoku (Warring States) Japan. A setting commonly explored in Japanese manga through vivid scenes of gory battles, samurai, and feats of bravery, honour, and loyalty. Iwaaki Hitoshi dares to go against the popular grain by not focusing on the 3 famous unifiers, but by depicting stories of a society in transition. Rapidly changing cultural norms and class expectations pit the old versus the young, the war-weary versus the war-mongers, and the parochial versus the foward-thinking. The first story, "Snow Ridge," explores the changing role of samurai and provinces while the second story, "Sword Dance," deals with kendo's early evolution from warfare to art.
I personally preferred the first story, but both are quite good as Iwaaki nicely reinforces the themes of both stories consistently through the various character and plot conflicts.
In addition, last month's chapter of Historie is now finally out as well. The next chapter will come in August. I also included the untranslated the two page coverage of the upcoming live-action film of Iwaaki's Parasyte, just in case there's anyone interested and can read Japanese.

Snow Ridge, Sword Dance:   Mega;   Sendspace
Historie c86:   Sendspace
Hox's Mega Manga Folder

18 July 2014

Chinggis Khan v1

Chinggis, Genghis, Dschingis, Чингисm, 成吉思汗, チンギス... However you spell it, unless you're historically clueless or have never played a Civilization game in your life, you know who Chinggis Khan is. And if I were to ask you who he was, you'd probably answer somewhere along the lines, "The Mongolian dude who created a huge-ass empire and killed a bunch of people." Sadly, very few know any more than that. It's rather unfortunate that for a guy so important in world history, people don't seem to know anything about him other than the extent of land that he and his Mongols conquered, and the number of inhabitants of those very lands they killed. 
In fact, when you take a look at the image above showing the Mongolian Empire at the deaths of Chinggis Khan and his grandson, Khubilai Khan, you'll realize that the bulk of the Empire was actually expanded by his successors. By dwarfing all empires before it, the Mongolian Empire seems to have paradoxically dwarfed the true story of Chinggis Khan. His rise from poverty to become the supreme khan of the Mongolian steppe. 
This is why Happyscans and I bring you the first of five volumes in Mitsuteru Yokoyama's biographical manga of Chinggis Khan. Not only is it mostly faithful to the account as given by The Secret History of the Mongols, but 4 of its 5 volumes are dedicated to his struggle to become the Khan. So if you're looking for a story about how the Mongols terrorized the world, then you're out of luck. This is the timeless account of a man fighting against the circumstances he was born under, to achieve more than world ever expected him to.

P.S. Progress will be one volume per month, so it should be done by the end of the year. If you're looking for actual books to read on the subject, as I mentioned in the translator's foreword, I recommend Ratchnevsky's "Genghis Khan: His Life and Legacy" and Onon's translation of "The Secret History of the Mongols." You can find an online copy of the latter here.

Chinggis Khan v1:   Mega;   Sendspace

5 July 2014

Zhang Fei's Cunning

Volume 38 is finally done and uploaded, with the missing pages 17 and 52 added in. I gotta really pay attention to those mistakes... I know things are really heating up in the story, but I'm gonna be alternating Sangokushi with a new project I'm starting this month, the first volume of which should be out in 2 weeks or so. So expect v39 in August.

P.S. There was a Historie chapter for June. I just haven't gotten to it yet. I will this week though.

Sangokushi c249:   Sendspace
Sangokushi v38:   Mediafire;   Mega;   Sendspace
Hox's Mega Manga Folder

24 June 2014

Sangokushi v38 (last updated July 3)

Time for v38. You're in for one entertaining volume full of Wei-Shu clashes.
It's nice to see Cao Hong learning from his past blunders, but it is odd to see Zhange He being so reckless. There was a brief clash between him and Ma Chao (after he took shelter with Zhang Lu of Hanzhong) in which he defeated Ma Chao so perhaps his overconfidence stemmed from that event.
Liu Bei might seem foolish for doubting his own brother, but I certainly think it's understandable. He's been burned  by Zhang Fei's drinking habits before and it never hurts to be too cautious.
Honestly, the most impressive thing about this battle isn't Zhang Fei's strategy but how easily Wei Yan was able to locate and ambush the ambushers, without tipping off Zhang He.
Like they have any choice in the matter... Still, these were the few opportunities that smart peasants throughout history could exploit to rise through the ranks, like with the local shepherd who became a noble for his help to the Christian Iberians at the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa.
Classic Kongming.
The question is... If the flames engulfed the mountain, how did Huang Zhong and Yan Yan manage to not get fucked over? And how did they manage to actually capture the base and make use of its supplies, rather than having it all get burnt to a crisp?

Sangokushi c242:   Sendspace
Sangokushi c243:   Sendspace (fixed version with missing page 52)
Sangokushi c244:   Sendspace
Sangokushi c245:   Sendspace
Sangokushi c246:   Sendspace
Sangokushi c247:   Sendspace
Sangokushi c248:   Sendspace

23 June 2014

Historie v08

I haven't been inactive for the past two weeks for no reason. Yuki no Touge is translated and just waiting to be typeset by Illuminati-manga, and Historie v08 is done! As I've mentioned before, the volume chapters don't correspond in number to the magazine chapters because some of the shorter ones get merged into one, but volume 8 covers the magazine chapters 71-80. Much thanks go out to AMS for cleaning the volume and joining the double pages for me. I'm just sorry it took me half a year to actually get around to typesetting this volume. Well, enjoy Iwaaki-fans!

Historie v08:   Mega;   Sendspace

6 June 2014

Black Knight Story

Well, I took about a whole week and a half longer than planned, but here's the full volume of Black Knight Story. I really apologize for the untranslated extra bits containing info on Tiger and M4 Sherman variations as well as sexy Nazi uniforms, but it really was far more work than I was willing to put into (I kept having to google every term to see what they were actually called in English so I said to hell with this). But honestly, if you're interested in that, you're far better off picking up an actual book on the subject than reading some poor translations of a guy who can't even distinguish between a Panther and a Tiger. In any case, I hope this is enough to satisfy that original guy who requested this project. Finally, I can start working on Yuki no Touge...

P.S. Page 125 (which technically should be p123 in my filename order) is missing from the raws. It's not that I forgot to include it.

Black Knight Story:   Mega;   Sendspace
Black Knight Story c13-epilogue:   Sendspace