July 06, 2006

Manglish


The English edition of the Mainichi Daily News (which, by the way, translates as the "Daily Daily News"--love that) is publishing an online version of the manga "A Six Feet [sic] Girl" ("Manglish contents are run strictly in their original format, which occasionally includes incorrect use of English"), rendering the translations as mouse-over popups. The story, of course, is about a Japanese high school student who's six feet tall--and worse, has no interest in sports. A perfect sit-com setup. (Average female height is 62 inches in Japan and 65 inches in the U.S.; for males it's 67 and 70 inches respectively.)

Perhaps the only drawback to the presentation style is that at one page a day, the story proceeds at a measured pace (a good example of "decompression"). You might do better to read it once a week. But this is such a good idea that I'm surprised more American magazines haven't done the same. TokyoPop has struck a deal with United Press Syndicate to publish serial manga in the daily and/or Sunday editions of newspapers. Yet Japanese publishers have such huge backlists of manga titles that it would be easy to find audience-appropriate titles for publications such as Seventeen and Boy's Life.

("Decompression" in manga essentially applies the "show don't tell" rule to the comic format.)

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