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I was in the mood for manga last night and since I've had my entire series of Sailor Moon sitting on the shelf, I decided to start re-reading. Now, when my mom brought them up for me ((I live in MN while many of my things still live with Mom back in WI)), the first volume was missing. I ended up picking up a more recently published first volume from Half Price Books.

Last night I finished reading Vol 1, published in 2011 through Kodansha Comics and a single person is given translation credit. I have some mixed feelings, but overall? I don't like the translation. It doesn't feel very professional. But here:

The Good: Accurate names. Kodansha didn't follow the American anime translation for names thus the character names retain their original Japanese form, which I appreciate greatly. I also like the translation notes at the back with attention paid to issues of Japanese culture that appear. There are at times a little more information given. (I had one "chapter"/issue that overlapped between vol 1 & 2 that I could directly compare.) Oh! And the artwork is very clear plus it's slightly larger due to book size, and that's a huge plus.

The Bad (or disappointing): The honorifics/suffixes attached ALL THE TIME. This is largely where I feel like things are unprofessional. Yes, -kun, -chan, -san, etc. are used in Japanese and are important and can give you clues about relationships, but in translations...? Honestly I don't think they're needed. Certainly not all the time. It becomes clunky in English and just doesn't translate well. Speaking of clunky and lengthening things that don't need to be, there's at least one thing on every page that sounds like it's been directly translated then edited to be grammatically correct. OK... but it sounds awkward and there's a lot of unnecessary words that then make people sound stilted or strange; I prefer maintaining meaning while making the words sound natural, so I'll stick with Mixx and shortening speech to say the important stuff. There are two things that annoy me more than anything else in the translation, however. One: Motoki is addressed as "bro" while the girls don't know his name (and even after). I wish I remembered what Mixx did about this... the chapter that overlaps there are only a couple panels while he's referred to in reflection and he's aptly called "the arcade guy." But seriously, Usagi saying "bro"? No. You can do better. Two: Instead of saying priestess, or even easing into that term, Kodansha uses "Miko" any time it comes up. I haven't looked deeply into this and I'm guessing that "priestess" isn't necessarily an exact translation of "miko" but again this signals to me a less than professional translation. As a professional translator, part of your job is to pay attention to localizing your content in a form that will be familiar or educate your target readers(/viewers/players etc) to the content. ...Do you get what I'm saying?

My biggest issue with the Mixx translations have always been their relying on the American anime translation for terms and names. (This holds true for anything that would have been contained in the anime SM and SMR seasons.) I winced when I transitioned to Vol 2 this morning and had to read about "Lita" and "Darien Shields". I also looked askance at the term "morph" (instead of "transform") until I remembered that they tend to use "morph" in the anime. I also noticed some odd, very minor changes in background during the overlap chapter and I can only think that changes were made due to fitting in text...? The art quality was not as well maintained with Mixx either, though I think part of that is its compilation in book form since I remember a couple single issues I once had that looked fine. Another plus of Mixx? Awesome little side notes and pieces of extra art from Naoko Takeuchi.

So yes, I wanted to share my thoughts since it was something that was bugging me. I'm torn between wanting the other volumes of the Kodansha translation and just... not. They're probably something I'd pick up if I saw them super cheap. I'm now curious about the fan translations out there, so I may be seeking those out from my online sources now.

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