Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Mirabilis in Japanese!

Sneak peek here of something we'll be unveiling on the Mirabilis website in a few short weeks: the whole of the 10-page opening episode, "Stung!", in Japanese. The translation proved to be nowhere near as straightforward as with our French version, and we have to say "domo arigato gozaimasu" to Keiko and Paul Mason for putting in the work required, not just to turn the English text into Japanese, but to figure out how to lay it out on the page. As Keiko notes:

"A completely manga treatment would be impossible as the artwork doesn't follow manga conventions. For example, it is pretty well de rigeur for a manga to display a close-up of a character in any scene where the character has strong emotion. Various bits of visual grammar will then be deployed to express that emotion (hence the huge twinkly eyes in most manga). But the Mirabilis approach is more Western, and in many cases more literary."
Whether there will be any appetite in Japan for a non-manga comic remains to be seen. But the Japanese reading public is pretty comics-literate (unlike some other island kingdoms we could mention) so we'll just have to see.

Meanwhile, our English-language episodes are still up - and watch out this Friday for "Shadows in Silver".


  1. Amazing - the Japanese text is very sympatico to the artwork. Love the eye image with the text flowing down. But the reading pattern is evidently very different judging by the panel re-jigging that's had to be done to accommodate the translation.

    Really fascinating and very enterprising of you guys too.

  2. To start off, I naively thought it would just be a question of mirror-flipping the pages. But that's not so easy with this episode, where everybody would suddenly be shaking hands and pointing guns with their left hands. And then there was the question of picking the right honorifics and pronouns, and the fact that Japanese tends to take up more space than English, and pretty soon we realized that Paul and Keiko had a major set of creative decisions to make. But it makes a big difference to have translators who are in tune with the material and who are equally conversant in both languages, so that they can catch every nuance. I just hope that they'll have the patience to undertake the whole 200 pages, should we ever get a Japanese publisher!