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A 40-ish publisher (editor, project manager, etc.), husband, and father of an even number of offspring, I grew up, or failed to, reading fantasy and sci-fi. I still enjoy reading, and now am trying to write. My favorite books include YA fantasy, manga, biography, and advice to authors. I'm also a former history major/grad student/high school teacher and assessment writer. Now I work for a school supplement publisher, specializing in high-low chapter books. I spend a lot of my time controlling reading levels. At night, I cut loose and use long words. W00t!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Found in Translation: Soccer and Basketball Manga

Phew! Brief hiatus, in which I read another Tamora Pierce book (comments TK) and attended a Scottish cutural festival without drinking any ale.

For today, I just read Jonathan Bethune's Found in Translation: Soccer and Basketball Manga, where I left the following, incriminating comment:
I didn't know Captain Tsubasa had such a long history. I agree - the eight year run sounds like a good addition to manga libraries.

For my part, the sports series I would love to see licensed and translated in the US is Urasawa Naoki's tennis drama, "Happy!" The main character Umino Miyuki's grit, shown wonderfully in her facial expressions and body language, and her frustrating stoicism both make for a great combination of sports and drama.

It's definitely a seinen manga, but there's a romantic theme that probably cut into the purity of its fan base in Japan where, I read, it suffered by comparison with Urasawa's immediately preceding sports series, "Yawara."

Umino's name, Miyuki, which means "happy," gives the series its somewhat overbearing irony, in that (as far as I've gotten with the amateur translations), she isn't.

If I win the lottery, I'm going to have somebody translate this for me. It's that good.
I'd welcome more sports manga that looked and read different from "Eyeshield 21," which has a silly name and a skimpy premise, with underdeveloped characters, little story line, and spazzy art, or "Beach Stars," which is cheesecake volleyball (hmm, the word "skimpy" applies here, too), and exploitative of short people! (I'm tall, but I still disapprove...maybe not enough to keep from looking, but still I disapprove.)

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