- Capa comum: 240 páginas
- Editora: Vertical (20 de dezembro de 2016)
- Idioma: Inglês
- ISBN-10: 1942993889
- ISBN-13: 978-1942993889
- Dimensões do produto: 14 x 1,5 x 19 cm
- Peso de envio: 240 g
- Avaliação média: 4 avaliações de clientes
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BAKEMONOGATARI, Part 1: Monster Tale (Inglês) Capa Comum – 20 dez 2016
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Sobre o Autor
Nishio's works often cover themes of youth, but are framed in genres that are familiar to the masses. His works tend to mix mystery with comedy and touches or romance and/or the supernatural. He is a modern author in every sense, sometimes even experiementing with the Japanese language itself. Many of his works have been adapted into animated television series and films. His best known works are the Monogatari series and Katanagatari.
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First, some context: It's fantastic that Vertical is taking on translating these books, and thus far it appears they've committed to translating at least the first 5 of the Monogatari books (Bakemonogatari, Kizumonogatari, and Nisemonogatari). This is great given that previous fan translations of the books only existed for Kizu and part of Bake, and those projects have long been abandoned. Hopefully the books find success and Vertical will continue on further with the series! However, there's a reason English fan-translations of NISIOISIN's Japanese books were abandoned; translating them is a major challenge.
So, why is the Monogatari series so difficult to translate? First, without getting into a language lesson, Japanese does not cleanly translate to English because the structures of the languages are wildly different. Second, NISIOISIN's writing is very fast paced, raw, and heavily focused on dialogue; that's to say he uses relatively little narration to guide the story and give the reader context, and instead primarily does so with first-person character dialogue much in the same way that you would find in the style of Plato or Aristotle. Third, NISIOISIN's writing is pretty complex; the dialogue he uses contains a lot of Japanese wordplay (such as puns on different readings of kanji, that simply cannot be translated to English), layers of Japanese cultural references (anime, manga, TV shows, folklore, etc), and very little third-person narration to indicate who is speaking when, often leaving the reader to infer which characters are talking during long dialogues.
Given the above, no translation could be perfect. However, Vertical could definitely have done better. While the translations do a great job of staying true to the essence of the original both in substance and style, there are a few major problems: clarity, embellishment, and a complete lack of translator notes. More on these below:
Clarity: Some parts of the book simply do not read well, particularly during adversarial back-and-forth dialogue between characters and long internal dialogues. This is largely because the sentence structure used can be unintuitive and just not make a lot of sense. While this is by no means prolific throughout the book, there are definitely areas that will force you to go back and re-read to figure out what exactly was just trying to be conveyed. It's definitely enough to be noticeable/distracting.
Embellishment: As I mentioned above, NISIOISIN's writing is layered with cultural references and the like. While for the most part Vertical's translation tries to preserve these references, on multiple occasions they completely embellish the original to "westernize" it. For example, you'll find references to American movies and TV shows that frankly, don't make sense or belong there. Often references that are kept will not make sense to readers either, simply because they're foreign and lack any translation notes to explain them (see below).
Lack of Translator Notes: Almost ANY accurate translation from Japanese is going to need translator notes, Vertical's translations have none. What I mean by "translator notes" are footnotes that explain parts that simply cannot be translated to English smoothly, or cultural references that a western reader may not be familiar with (solving the “embellishment” issue above). The biggest issue with lack of translator notes in Bakemonogatari is that the translation completely ignores the clever wordplay and puns that NISIOISIN uses in his characters’ dialogue. This not only leaves out a great element of the original, but it affirmatively detracts from the translation by making these sections unclear and the characters come across as unintelligent (rather than witty). For example, one character often uses puns on Japanese kanji when teasing the main character; kanji – Japanese characters that symbolize whole words – have multiple readings and can be interchangeable. Often this character is playing on these different meanings, and intentionally switches readings of kanji out in sentences as a form of humor, but Vertical instead plays these off as the main character “misspeaking” and gives no effort to translating them. In instances like this, translator notes are essential to not only get the original dialogue across, but not confuse the reader into thinking, “why is the most intelligent character in this book such an airhead that she keeps confusing random words in sentences? And why is the other character too stupid to notice?” The reason is those “misspoken” words are intentional, and the other character knows this – and that he’s being poked fun at – and ignores it out of pride. Solving this confusion and providing clarity in the translation could easily be done if more literal, true-to-the-original translations were used, and translation notes added to explain them.
tl;dr - The Monogatari series tells a phenominal story that anyone should read. While overall Vertical's translations are of good quality, they do have flaws - some accidental and others deliberate - that range from annoying (clarity, embellishment) to downright problematic (lack of translation notes). However, these are also very difficult books to translate, and Vertical provides the ONLY translations of these books; for that they should be supported so that English readers can enjoy one of the best stories out there.
Edit: Last important note; Vertical's English Bakemonogatari Part 1 ≠ Original Japanese Bakemonogatari Vol. 1. Vertical split Bakemonogatari up into 3 "Parts" as opposed to the original which was 2 "Volumes". This isn't necessarily a bad thing since individual stories/episodes are intact, and I'm guessing Vertical did it to put out quality translations more often. Do be aware of it though, I didn't notice this until after I received the book and was surprised to find that Episode 3 (Suruga Monkey) wasn't included. Wikipedia's "List of Monogatari Novels" page notes the differences between the English and Japanese releases.
If you're looking at this novel, there's a good chance you've already either read Kizumonogatari or are familiar from the anime. The translation was done well, around the same level of quality as Kizumonogatari, which I was very impressed with. It stays true to the original light novels which I have read in the past, but unfortunately, some of the puns/wordplay didn't translate over completely which is understandable and simply a part of what happens when translating anything from a foreign language.
As someone who regards the Monogatari Series as one of their all-time favorite series, whether it's the anime or the light novel, the amount of joy when I found out that Vertical would be licensing this series was unreal. Thankfully, they've done a fantastic job so far and I plan on purchasing every Monogatari LN they publish as long as they keep up this level of quality. In case you're someone who may have stumbled upon this without any knowledge of the series, while Kizumonogatari takes place first chronologically, this was the first novel originally published in Japan, so it would an alright place to start with. If you're looking for a mix of mystery, supernatural elements, comedy, romance and most importantly, some of the most interesting characters I've come across, this may be a novel you want to check out.
For all the Monogatari fans out there who wants to enjoy the series in it's most original form, but may not be familiar enough with Japanese, this is the perfect way to do so. Not to mention this is a great way to support the series if you don't have the money for the Blu-rays. I will patiently be waiting for the rest of Bakemonogatari and Nisemonogatari, until then, back to more Monogatari.