- 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.
A couple weeks later, a set of chance meetings on Mother's Day set the events of "Mayoi Snail" in motion. Hitagi and Koyomi stumble into each other at the park. While Hitagi tries to flirt with an utterly clueless Koyomi, he notices a lost child wearing a snail-like backpack wandering through the park. After a sharp-tongued introduction, Mayoi Hachikuji allows Koyomi and Hitagi to help her. She calls herself a lost snail, and can't find her way home. But after hours of wandering through the park, Koyomi wonders if an aberration is affecting Mayoi. He sends Hitagi to find Oshino, and waits with Mayoi for Hitagi to return with the identity of the aberration.
"Hitagi Crab" is both a supernatural mystery and the story of a girl coming to grips with her past. While Nisioisin's celebrated wordplay explains why a crab might have the power to take away Hitagi's weight, (kani, or crab, is similar to kami, or god), the heart of the story is the confrontation of demons, literal and personal. Following Lester Dent's classic pulp formula, after catching the reader's attention with Hitagi's weightlessness, "Hitagi Crab" piles twists and stakes ever higher onto Koyomi's shoulders, until he convinces Hitagi to challenge her cursed crab god. It is exciting to see pulp techniques used in a time and culture utterly different from 1930s Depression Era Chicago, and the mounting apprehension fostered by the pulp plot creates a roller-coaster that whisks the reader through the story towards the inevitable punchline at the end.
The wheels, however, come off in "Mayoi Snail," as the wordplay overwhelms everything, leaving the story bloated in an exercise in cleverness. Wordplay is essential to the plot, as it reveals the identity of who is keeping Mayoi from returning to her home. Furthermore, Hitagi, Koyomi, and Mayoi pepper their dialogue with word games that can grow tedious. Some of Hitagi's flirtations recall the days where cleverness with poetic language was more desirable than a fair face. "Mayoi Snail" gives them plenty of opportunity to attempt cleverness while Koyomi and Mayoi wait for Hitagi's return. While the twist at the end overturns the reader's understanding of the previous scenes, "Mayoi Snail" best sets up the growing dread surrounding Tsubasa Hanekawa, a supporting character in both Part 01 stories who will become the heroine of Bakemonogatari's final volume.
The onmyodo magic underpinning the mysteries of Bakemonogatari depends on wordplay, as does much of Nisioisin's humor. Sometimes this wordplay can be easily rendered into English. Other times, it must be allowed to fall by the wayside. (Monster Tale, the English translation of Bakemonogatari, lacks the portmanteau found in the Japanese, formed from bakemono, monster, and monogatari, story. No suitable English equivalent has been found.) Ko Ransom, as the hand-picked translator, navigates the neologisms and wordplay admirably. Care was taken to ensure that Bakemonogatari works as an English language story. The excessive Japanese that marks fan translations and even many professional anime and manga translations will not be found here. Sharp-eyed anime fans might catch references to Full Metal Alchemist, Read or Die, and Dragon Ball, but the pop culture references are subdued so that a new reader can understand the story without confusion. What at first glance might come off as a translation misstep, such as Koyomi's attempt to use smelt and melt to express the same romantic image, can instead be treated as his clumsy attempt to impress a pretty girl.
Bakemonogatari is one of the most ambitious light novels to be translated into English, thriving in a strange intersection between pop culture, pulp mystery, and prose experimentation that can only occur outside of mainstream English-language publishing. As such, it is an example of what genre fiction might become. But for those just looking for a good read, Bakemonogatari: Monster Tale, Part 01 delivers a supernatural mystery worthy of Weird Tales with "Hitagi Crab."
Together with the help of a shady Hawaiian-shirt-wearing "old" dude, Koyomi will have his hands full, as it seems he cannot help but run into distressing damsels.
The Afterword is an excellent insight into the mind of the author, and offers some valuable nuggets of wisdom within.