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feihong

Grand Comic Reading Project

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jbradfor

For the "The Grand Comic Reading Project", one other aspect that would interest me would be knowing where the "good parts" are. For example, I doubt I will every get through 7000+ pages of Ranma 1/2, but I wouldn't mind reading some. Is starting from the beginning the best? Often not, as that is often just character / background development, and I think a lot of series takes some time to really hit their stride. So something along the lines of "these 200 pages are great, and here's the background you need to know" would be fantastic as well.

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feihong

@jbradfor

For the "The Grand Comic Reading Project", one other aspect that would interest me would be knowing where the "good parts" are. For example, I doubt I will every get through 7000+ pages of Ranma 1/2, but I wouldn't mind reading some. Is starting from the beginning the best? Often not, as that is often just character / background development, and I think a lot of series takes some time to really hit their stride. So something along the lines of "these 200 pages are great, and here's the background you need to know" would be fantastic as well.

I hadn't really even considered that, but that's a very good idea. Off the top of my head, though, I can't think of many examples of series that start off weak and get much stronger. The only exceptions are superhero comics, which go through many stages of writer and artist rotations. But the number of superhero comics translated to Chinese is still rather small.

I can think of another extremely good reason for suggesting middle chapters instead of beginning chapters. I often notice that many series have atrocious scan quality in the earlier chapters, to the point where I can't even read the text. But the scan quality can improve drastically in later chapters. If it's a series that I've already read in English, then I can certainly write a summary of earlier plot details and then recommend some middle chapters.

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renzhe

Ranma 1/2 features relatively short story arcs (maybe 20-100 pages or so), so it's not too bad to try it somewhere in the middle. It keeps quality throughout, though some story arcs are better than others.

The problem might be that you are not familiar with all the characters, and will miss many of the subtle recurring jokes. Because of this, I recommend reading the first few chapters to get the basic background information on the main characters (the Tendo and Saotome families) and some of the supporting ones. The Chinese characters are introduced a bit later, but are among the funniest.

After the first few chapters, you should have a good idea whether you'll enjoy it or not. Then you can dip in and out as you wish. I wasn't planning to finish the whole 7000+ pages, but it was fun, and I kept reading a bit here and there every day :)

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feihong

@roddy

Don't start a new topic, I'll edit the title of this one, and you can edit the first post yourself if you want.

Can you also edit this post so its title becomes "Grand Comic Reading Project #1"?

UPDATE: Never mind, apparently I can do it myself.

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feihong

Another suggestion:

Chinese Title: 四叶妹妹

English Title: Yotsuba&!

Japanese Title: よつばと!

Character Set: Traditional

Genre: Comedic Slice-of-Life

Read Online: http://www.dm5.com/Type.aspx?id=1626

Jump to First Page: http://www.dm5.com/Comic/MH19/Comics-19031_1f1744fe_page-8.htm

Level: Easy

Page Count for Volume 1: 230

Summary: Yotsuba (四叶) is a rambunctious five-year-old who lives with her father. Together they explore their new neighborhood and frequently bumble their way into awkward situations.

Sample Page: post-38695-014079100 1282067503_thumb.jpg

Yotsuba is written by the same mangaka that did Azumanga Daioh (which someone else also recommended). Even though it's a kids comic, I feel it's a bit more enjoyable than, say, Doraemon, because the adult characters are realistic and well-written.

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Hofmann

I think the first post should link to this image which illustrates the order in which to read frames and text.

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Hofmann

Another recommendation I have is Death Note. It's a 少年漫畫 (i.e. aimed at teens) and I would rate the language difficulty at about a 3rd year Mandarin course in a university. .zip files are available for download here. However, the scans aren't very high resolution. If anyone can find better scans, please tell of them.

The main character is Yagami Light (夜神月), a high school student who discovers a supernatural notebook, the "Death Note", dropped on Earth by a death god named Ryuk. It centers around Light's attempt to create and rule a world cleansed of evil using the notebook and the efforts of a detective known as L, and subsequently his successors, Near and Mello, to stop him. The Death Note grants its user the ability to kill anyone whose name they know, by writing the name in the notebook while picturing their face.

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Gleaves

Helpful image., Hoffmann.

四叶妹妹 looks like a solid bet to me. I got a kick out of the sample page, at least. I think its a good idea to keep the first couple comics moderately easy.

Death Note is awesome. I've only read up to book 8 of 12, but have been meaning to get back to it. The level of the language is pretty tough (as far as comics go).

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feihong

@Hofmann

I think the first post should link to this image which illustrates the order in which to read frames and text.

Done.

Also, I agree that Death Note (死亡笔记) is pretty awesome. Unfortunately, I can't find high resolution scans of it on any of the comics portals I've checked.

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jbradfor

As suggestions for other comics, I've listed some of my favorite anime. I believe most/all were based on magna, so I'd be interested in reading them if they are appropriate

Bleach

Fashugi-yugi (sp?)

Fruits Basket

Fullmetal Alchemist

Full Metal Panic (several series)

Genshiken

Ghost in the Shell

Inu-Yasha (don't laugh! we watched all 169 episodes....)

Rurouni Kenshin

The Twelve Kingdoms

xxxHolic

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feihong

@jbradfor

Most of these can be easily found on Chinese comics portals, with the exception of Twelve Kingdoms, which began life as a light novel series (the Chinese translation can be found on 92wy as "十二国记").

The manga version of Ghost in the Shell is quite different from the anime adaptation.

Since they are all Japanese titles, they are probably only available in traditional characters.

BTW, the correct spelling is Fushigi Yuugi.

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jbradfor

@SiMaKe (over here) writes:

The lingo that one can pick up on this forum! I'm going to have to stop hanging around with you folks lest you contaminate my 词汇. :rolleyes:

Good point. Here's a list of Japanese comic related lingo (I think) you should know.

  • manga (漫画) -- print cartoons
  • anime -- video cartoons
  • hentai -- pornographic
  • otaku -- a fan (to the extreme!)
  • fanservice -- gratuitous mild sexually-derived content (typically showing underwear [Panchira/upskirt], bouncing breasts, swimsuit, etc)
  • cosplay -- dressing up in costume, in particular characters from manga/anime
  • shōjo (少女) / shōnen (少年) -- manga/anime aimed at teen-aged girls / boys
  • josei (女性) / seinen (青年)-- manga/anime aimed at adult women / men
  • mecha -- referring to piloted robotic armors
  • OVA -- Original video animation. What we would call now "direct-to-DVD" movie. Except almost-always consists of many separate episodes. However, the episode length for OVA, unlike "TV Series", is not limited to the typical 22-ish minute block. Also OVA often has bigger budget than TV series, but smaller than movies.

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jbradfor
Most of these can be easily found on Chinese comics portals

Could you post a brief intro to using / search the Chinese comics portals? I'm sure we could figure it out on our own, but it would save us some time. Not to mention encourage us to off-load the work from you and suggest other series....

Since they are all Japanese titles, they are probably only available in traditional characters.

Well, you found Doraemon in simplified.....

BTW, why would Japanese titles be more likely to be in traditional? Given that the originals are in neither simplified nor traditional, but in Japanese?

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Hofmann

Official translations are usually only available in Traditional Chinese, intended for the Taiwanese market.

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jbradfor

Ah. That makes sense. For some reason I assumed these were fan-translated versions, not official translated versions. Not sure why I assumed that....

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Hofmann

I've seen the anime Nodame Cantabile, and I think I would enjoy the manga.

I've seen some of the anime jbradfor mentioned. I didn't like Fushigi Yuugi. I enjoyed 12 Kingdoms (in a similar setting) more. Too bad there's no comic. Fruits Basket is popular, and I think I enjoyed the anime when I watched it long ago. Fullmetal Alchemist is very popular along with Death Note which I recommended earlier, and should be very good. I also enjoyed the anime Ghost in the Shell, and should also enjoy the manga.

Another recommendation I have is Great Teacher Onizuka.

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Gleaves

Here's two recommendations (and some love for Western comics):

Superman: Red Son (超人- 红色之子) - What if Superman grew up in the Soviet Union? I have not read this, but it is supposedly well thought out as far as these what if scenarios go. 3 issues, 150 pages total. Simplified. Sample page.

Gotham Central (高谭重案组) - This is a "cop show" about Gotham. Batman barely appears, but Gotham's villians play a more prominent role. I've only read 5 issues, but this is high quality, gritty stuff (can be violent and vulgar, which maybe we are avoiding?). It would not be fun to be a cop in Gotham. 40 issues, 25 pages each, with 3-4 issue story arcs. Simplified. Sample Page.

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feihong

@jbradfor

Could you post a brief intro to using / search the Chinese comics portals? I'm sure we could figure it out on our own, but it would save us some time. Not to mention encourage us to off-load the work from you and suggest other series....

A Mini Guide to Chinese Comics Portals

动漫屋: Has the largest catalog of any comics portal that I've seen. They tend to go down from time to time, but their site is relatively fast if you are using it from North America during non-peak hours (i.e. when Chinese people are asleep).

万宇动漫: Has a number of titles not available at 动漫屋. By far the best organized comics portal, as you can click on an author's link and see if any of his other works are on the site. North American users can expect this site to be slow, even during non-peak hours. They also have a lot of translated novels.

89890漫画网: Has the largest collection of translated comics from the West. They also seem to have more simplified charset comics than the other two. Relatively fast, but very ad-heavy and cluttered. They really love sticking popup ads in your face, too.

Scan quality at all three of these sites is generally pretty decent. However, sometimes one site will have much better quality scans than the other two. But don't expect it to be consistent over all the chapters in a given series. For example, I read most of Yotsuba (四叶妹妹) at 动漫屋, but volume 5 looked awful so I read that volume at 万宇动漫 instead. In very rare instances, the scans for a given title might have different character sets on the different sites. For example, Ranma 1/2 (乱马1/2) can be found in either traditional and simplified, depending on which site you read it on. Some chapters of Yotsuba were actually in simplified, even though most of it was in traditional.

Usually the only Japanese comics that can be found in simplified are those that are not commercially available in China, and so were fan-translated. But most major Japanese titles get an official translation for the Taiwan and Hong Kong markets, so fans just scan those and post them online.

All three sites have a search box, but 万宇动漫 is the only one that consistently stores Japanese and English titles in their database (again, because they have the best organization). Therefore if I don't find it there and I only know the English name for a comic I have to check Wikipedia for the Japanese name, then enter characters from the Japanese name into the search box and see if it turns up. If the Japanese name contains no Chinese characters in it, then a good last resort is to enter the Japanese name into 百度百科 and get the Chinese name from there.

There are plenty of other comics portals, but in my experience if you don't find something you're looking for on one of these three sites, then chances are you won't easily find high resolution scans on other portals either. For example, I couldn't find Death Note on any of those three sites. It was available on other comics portals, but the scans I found were not good enough to be comfortably read by me (someone with better knowledge of traditional characters might be OK, though). It doesn't mean high-quality scans of Death Note don't exist, it just means it takes more effort than I'm willing to put in.

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