Mangas en français not-so-frequently asked questions (MeFnsFAQ)

Every subject needs a FAQ, so here's mine. Honesty compels me to admit that the "F" part is a bit of a misnomer, since hardly anyone has asked me any of these questions. And hopefully now that they're in the MeFnsFAQ, no one will ever ask any of them again!

Sommaire
  1. Introduction - The French Market
  2. The French Manga Scene
  3. Language Issues
  4. Shopping Info
  5. The Censorship Question
  6. French Anime
  7. Personal Stuff

1. Introduction - The French Market

Q: Why should we care about French manga translations, anyway?

Simply put, there are a whole lot more of them than there are English translations. Not so much in terms of the number of different titles translated, as in the number of volumes per title. [N.B. The following figures are from early 2000!!] A single French publisher, Glénat, has issued over 300 manga volumes, which by my rough count just about equals all the English publishers put together. Viz has been putting out Ranma since 1993 (more or less) and has just published the 15th volume; there are at least 15 French series which have gotten that far, most of which started much later than that. (In France, active series come out at a rate of about one tankoubon volume every two months - some even come out at one volume a month. By contrast, the rate in the U.S. seems at best around one volume every five or six months.)

What sustains this publishing rate is also simple: Manga translations are much more popular in France (and other francophone countries) than here; for example, the latest volumes of Dragonball or Sailor Moon often topped the bestseller lists at (regular) bookstores. To see for yourself, just stop by your local Fnac: at any time of the day or night, the manga section is packed full of people perusing the wares. By contrast, the tiny graphic novel section at our local Barnes and Noble is generally deserted and forlorn.

To be a little quantitative, an article I saw from a few years back said that at that point Glénat had sold around 3 million volumes of Dragonball; at the time, they were somewhere around volume 20, I believe. So by now they may well have sold over 10 million volumes,** which from what little I know would by itself dwarf any English manga publisher.

Note my sophisticated research methods here! The difference between my claims and those of, say, the last batch of presidential candidates is that I reveal how shoddy my statistics are. Well, that, and the fact that the candidates haven't had a whole lot to say to date on the market for translated manga. [Though I do understand that George W. Bush is a closet Dr. Slump otaku (he identifies with Arale), while Al Gore's obsession with Sailor V is practically notorious in Washington social circles. Elizabeth Dole waits by the mailbox every month for the latest volume of Fushigi Yugi, which her husband Bob refers to as "that Franco-Japanese girly crap." Even Bill Bradley is getting sucked in, being spotted recently on an IRC channel arguing the merits of Dargaud/Kana's version of Slam Dunk vs. the Mixx edition of Harlem Beat. Surprisingly, though, it turns out his favorite manga series is Rg Veda!]

**[All right, I couldn't just leave it at that. I did a little research (i.e., glanced briefly at Glénat's web site ) and it seems current (as of mid-2000) sales of Dragonball stand at somewhat over 8 million. So I was a little optimistic. Also the English manga market is probably a tad bigger than I was assuming...]

Q: I'm French, or maybe not, but in any case I don't believe you when you say Glénat sold more than 8 million copies of Dragonball. You must have misread it!

Hmm, that wasn't really a question, was it? Oh, all right, I will defend myself from the fr.rec.anime skeptics. The original article I saw quoting sales of 3 million copies of Dragonball dated from the first half of 1997; it did say "copies sold" (exemplaires vendus), though since this was written by a third party, you could be skeptical if you wish. Checking the old liste.manga.frs from that era, at that point they had issued somewhere between 22 and 25 volumes.

The second note I saw on Glénat's web site was from mid-2000, at which point 41 of the 42 volumes had been issued. It did give figures of over 8 million for Dragonball alone, but I'll admit I don't recall whether they said vendus or some weasel-word like imprimés. I can't find any similar claims at the site currently.

In any case, it doesn't seem necessarily all that far out of line to me. As I mentioned, a number of French bookstores listed the new volumes of Dragonball at the top of their bestseller lists when they were coming out; given that, per-volume sales of 200,000 seem within the realm of possibility to me. (And yes, I am the one who checked the math behind Bush's $1.3 trillion tax cut. Why do you ask?)

Shin! Q: Uh... the stuff above seems a little dated. (Just who was that Al Gore guy, anyway?) Any updates on the market comparisons?

Yeah, the MeFnsFAQ was originally written at the beginning of 2000, as the dated political humor will attest. To update things a bit, Howard Dean has confessed he secretly identifies with the protagonist in Monster, which confused the heck out of the press corps. (You remember those "Howard Dean - Secret Monster!!!" headlines in the NY Post? Well, now you know the rest of the story.) John Kerry was going to confess a similar interest in 20th Century Boys, until his media relations head told him how that would be taken.

Anyway, since then, some major changes have occurred - most notably, the American (English) manga market finally broke out of its doldrums, and is striving mightily to catch up with the rest of the Western world. Manga in English is now often published with nearly the same rapidity as manga in French, at prices only slightly above the French level. (Well, 2 times, rather than 3 times.)

The French market has changed as well, becoming more mature. By that I mean both more mature in economic terms (slower growth, but less instability) and in terms of the titles featured. And for once, by "mature" titles I don't mean naughty ones (the number of these seems actually to have decreased), but thoughtful ones, like Jiro Taniguchi's or Naoki Urasawa's work. The U.S. market is still rather behind in this area. My rough guess is we'll have to wait until 2006 to see the same range in English. And by then, the Euro will be worth about $US5, so we won't be able to afford any French manga any more anyways.


2. The French Manga Scene

Q: Why should manga sell so much better in French? After all, there are a whole lot more of us English speakers!

I don't really know why, so instead I will make up a few reasons:

Q: Surely you're overselling the French manga market. As a trained cynic, I know there have to be problems with it!

You caught me there. Yes, there are problems:

Q: Tell me a little about the fine companies which publish French mangas.

They are a diverse lot, whose relative merits are a frequent topic of discussion on fr.rec.anime. By virtue of painstaking investigation (i.e., glancing at the newsgroup and the various company websites), I can now present the results of my researches on the publishers of French mangas.


3. Language Issues

Q: Let's say I do decide to look into French manga translations. How hard are they to read? How much French should I have?

I'm not entirely sure why, but French mangas are generally rather easier to read than native French B.D.s. Many series are quite accessible to anyone with even a moderate knowledge of French - say, one or two (high school) years, or whenever you're at the point of being able to struggle through short stories and articles with the (not completely constant) aid of a dictionary. Progress in French is much faster than in Japanese!

If you want specifics, under the reviews section (i.e., the liste.manga.fr) I have tried to note the difficulty level of the series I have seen. Please be aware, though, that these are from the viewpoint of someone who's had a lot more than one or two years of French, so I can't guarantee their accuracy. I have lent some mangas to people who've just had French I or II, but I haven't gotten any feedback more specific than "It was ok" or "It wasn't too bad" (or "Sorry I lost your book...") So if you're in this position, and decide to take the French manga plunge, I would really appreciate your comments! (And no, I'm not lending out books anymore.)

Q: OK, I'm a whiz at French II. What's going to surprise me when I read French mangas - i.e., how does the language there differ from what I've learned in the textbooks?

French manga translations will usually use ordinary colloquial (spoken) French, which differs from textbook French in a number of respects. Here are a few random notes, which I will hopefully expand on at some point.

Shin! Q: I don't have time to read your silly liste.manga.fr. What series should I look at if I'm just starting out?

Here are a few suggestions for novice French readers:

If you're at the point where you're reading stories (like La Fontaine's Fables or whatever), you've got a huge range. A few ideas:

If you're looking to work on your knowledge of (real or contrived) slang, take a look at:

Of course, as with so many other things, interest matters more than any particular degree of experience. So if you're a pirate fanatic, feel free to go ahead and pick up One Piece, even if your French is kind of weak. Sure, you'll have to slog your way through all the odd lingo and contractions, but you can feel virtuous at the knowledge you've gained! (Which is possessed in abundance by the average French 8-year-old, but no matter...)


4. Shopping Info

Q: Where can I, a poor isolated American, buy these French mangas?

Probably not at your local bookstore, unless you are very fortunate. However, one of the major accomplishments of the Internet has been making shopping for weird things like these quite straightforward. Here are my notes on online sources for French mangas.

Q: What if I'm in Paris for a week; where should I go?

Oh, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame, you know, tous les trucs comme ça. And when you're done with them and want to do some manga shopping, a standard choice is Fnac. There are several in the Paris area, but I'd recommend going to the one in Les Halles. The manga section is all the way in the back of the bottom floor. Based on recent reports, let me revise this recommendation: the Fnac at La Defense seems generally to have a better selection.

If you want to go beyond just the "standard," then your best bet is the Bastille area. Within a few blocks of the Métro are Atomic Club (17 rue Trousseau), Librairie Tonkam (29 rue Keller) and Mangarake (?? rue Keller - it's about 4 or 5 doors down from Tonkam). They're all kind of hole-in-the-wall places, but have reasonable selections of French and Japanese manga, art books, and whatnot. Tonkam and now Atomic Club are also in the French manga publishing business, but don't expect to see gleaming printing presses at the comic stores! (By the way, Tonkam had a second location on rue Monge on the Left Bank, but it was kind of torn up when I was there. I heard somewhere that it might be closed for good now.)

Paris is also thoroughly blessed with bouquinistes selling livres d'occasion (used books); for older titles this may well be your only option. They're all over the place, but there's a good concentration along the Seine near Notre Dame. Obviously finding any particular title you're looking for is like searching for a needle in a haystack, so patience and flexibility are recommended!

For more comprehensive shopping info, check fr.rec.anime, where the subject is regularly discussed. There's also a guide book, Paris Nippon, which was available at Fnac; to be sure, most of its contents are not manga-related, but they do have a good section on new and used book stores.


5. Scandal

Q: Are French mangas censored?

There are a couple of answers I can give to this. First of all, French mangas are generally relatively unaltered from their source. So little or no censorship of the content actually originates in France. (I have heard that some of the earlier titles from certain publishers, Glénat in particular, were allegedly censored, or at least retouched with a heavy hand. Unfortunately, I don't have any details on which titles were involved, and can't confirm or deny the rumors.)

[Ah, I just had to wait long enough, and the subject would come up again on fr.rec.anime. I don't think this is actually the incident I was thinking of, but there is a line mistranslated in the Manga Player edition of Trefle (Clover) which was attributed to self-censorship of a sort. This provoked an endless discussion a few years ago (2000). Interesting to see if Pika makes any changes in their edition.]

However, any censorship in the source will generally be preserved. Thus, H mangas will look like the Japanese versions, not uncensored American ones. (Well, all except the ones from B.D. Erogène, which are made from the American editions.) There are a couple of special cases people ask about: Ghost in the Shell was made from the American version, and so has the American censorship. On the other hand, the French Video Girl Ai was made from the earlier, uncensored, Japanese version, and so is uncensored.

The other answer I can give relates to official government censorship. That there is such a thing might seem a little surprising to anyone who's seen much French television, but (slightly contradicting what I claimed above) France has not been immune to "foreign influences are corrupting our youth"-type cant. The following account is taken from Reseau Voltaire (the Voltaire Network) at http://reseauvoltaire.net., supplemented with info from Sources Ouvertes

There was a touch of anti-manga fervor in France in 1996 (the "guerre aux mangas"), with U-Jin's Angel (Tonkam) being its first victim. The Ministry of Interior eventually banned the following mangas from being advertised or displayed publicly:

They could still be sold (though generally not to minors), provided someone asked for them directly. These strictures did have some effect, since even now these titles are quite hard to find. (Of course, Samourai also went out of business, which didn't help availability.) Interestingly, the French censorship law of July 16, 1949, forbids such controls to be imposed on a book more than a year after its publication date. Since some of these had been out for more than a year, they were called "reviews" and not books. Don't ask me what it was they were reviewing.

According to the Sources Ouvertes account, the hysteria extended to seizing offending books from several Parisian bookstores: Tonkam, Gibert Jeune, Virgin Megastore and Imagika. As might be expected, this seizure was never brought to trial, so its legality seems never to have been determined.

The following year, in a case reminiscent of the Miyazaki scandal in Japan, several child molesters and murderers were arrested in Belgium. Allegations circulated that the police had responded too slowly to evidence of what was occurring. Hysteria ensued, and somehow blame became focused on manga. (I think one of the accused had some mangas in his house.) In March 1997, police seized several hundred mangas and anime tapes from Schlirf-Book in Brussels and Multi BD/Gem (a distributor). The manga victims included:

(I haven't ever seen the last two, but I assume they are doujinshi or artbooks of some sort.)

Then, in the most absurd development, Dragonball was accused of pedophilia. To quote:

Les représentants belges de la maison d'édition française Glénat ont été convoqués par le Parquet général de Bruxelles à propos de la bande dessinée japonaise Dragonball d'Akira Toriyama (25 volumes parus). "Tortue géniale", l'un des principaux personnages de ce manga destiné à la jeunesse est soupçonné d'être pédophile. Un gag récurrent de la série est que ce vieux maître du kung-fu, en apparence très digne avec sa barbe blanche, collectionne les petites culottes et tente, par tous les moyens, de faire perdre leur soutien-gorge aux héroïnes.

[The Belgian representatives of the French publishing firm Glénat were summoned by the attorney general of Brussels with respect to the Japanese comic Dragonball by Akira Toriyama (25 volumes of which have appeared). The "turtle hermit," one of the principal characters of this manga intended for young people, was suspected of being a pedophile. One of the recurring gags of the series is that this ancient master of kung fu, very distinguished in his appearance with his white beard, collects panties and attempts, by all sorts of methods, to get the heroines to take off their bras.]

On that elevated note, I think I will leave the subject. If you're wondering, I have not been able to find any followup on any of this. I rather suspect things just petered out afterwards the way they usually do. And yes, that was intended as a double-entendre.


6. Anime

Q: I love French mangas! Should I go for French-translated DAs (dessins animés) too?

Well, the prices on them are generally good, though not the extraordinary bargains that mangas represent. However, the selection is really not as good as in the American market, with only a few titles with no current or imminent English-language release. And of course they will be in SECAM or PAL format, unless you can grab one of the few Quebec NTSC-format releases. (If you don't know what those acronyms mean, then don't buy any French videos!) French DVDs (again, except for Quebec releases) are also almost always restricted to region 2, so you will most likely need a multiregion/codefree player to view them as well. If you're still interested, there is a liste.anime.fr which also gets posted periodically to fr.rec.anime.

Q: Speaking of anime, what silly names did anime series end up with on French TV?

Some of these are noted in the liste.manga.fr, but let me try to pull together all the title changes I'm aware of for anime series in French (TV series, OAVs and movies). (For a comprehensive list, check out the Encyclopédie at the Animint web site. So go ahead, have a good laugh, and we'll be back in a minute.

French title Original title
Albator Captain Harlock
Albator 84 Arcadia of my youth
Belle et Sébastien Meiken Jolie
[Jolie the great dog, or something like that, though I think here "Belle and Sebastian" really is the original name...]
But pour Rudy! [Goal for Rudy!] Gambare! Kickers
Cherry Miel Cutey Honey
Les Chevaliers du Zodiaque Saint Seiya
Cynthia ou le rythme de la vie Hikari no Densetsu [Legend of Light]
Essayez de sauter, de danser
Oh Cynthia
C'est tres dur mais j'y arriverai
Oh Cynthia
C'est normal tout le mal qu'on se donne
Oh Cynthia
Tu verras je serai championne
J'aime la gym
J'aime la gym
Je m'entraine
Et j'aime la gym
Leave this dump! Try to jump, try to dance
Oh Cynthia
Sure it's rough, but that's tough; it's your chance
Oh Cynthia
Just fling back all that crap, and be strong
Oh Cynthia
You will see; first to me will belong!
I love gym
But not Jim
I will train
And I love gym
Dan et Danny Dirty Pair
Nous sommes deux filles inter-spatiales
Des detectives inter-siderales
On nous appelle Dan et Danny
Les anges de la galaxie!
We're extraterrestrial chicks
A couple of interstellar dicks
They call us Dan and Danny
The angels of the galaxy!
Docteur FeelGood Ogenki Clinic
Des équipières de choc [Shock troops] You're under arrest [Taiho shichauzo!]
Edgar, le détective cambrioleur [Edgar, the detective burglar] Lupin III
As you may have heard, they would have had difficulty using the name Lupin in France even if they wanted to, since the estate of Maurice Leblanc (who wrote the original Arsène Lupin books) apparently was not too happy about the Japanese appropriating the name Lupin.
Fly Dragon Quest Dai no Daibouken
Fulgutor Sengoku Majin Goushougun ["Demon God of the War Torn Land Goshogun"; shown in the U.S. as part of Macron 1]
Juliette, je t'aime [Juliet, I love you] Maison Ikkoku
. . . chez la Pension des Mimosas, mysterious Stéphane, sexy Charlotte, and raucous Pauline constantly interfere with the already difficult romance between indecisive Hugo Dufour and the lovely widow Juliette Rosier. And when prof de tennis François shows up...
Lady Oscar Rose of Versailles [Versailles no bara]
Lamu Urusei Yatsura
Mon nom est Lamu, Lamu
Je viens du fin fond de l'espace
Mon nom est Lamu, Lamu
Je ne suis pas de votre race
Mon nom est Lamu, Lamu
Et je ne manque pas d'audace
Mon nom est Lamu, Lamu
Et j'oublie tout quand tu m'embrasses
My name is Lamu, Lamu
I come from the ends of space
My name is Lamu, Lamu
I'm not from the human race
My name is Lamu, Lamu
And I know I'm a brazen miss
My name is Lamu, Lamu
I forget it all when we kiss
Le college fou fou fou High school! Kimen-gumi
Max et compagnie [Max and company] Kimagure Orange Road
. . . featuring the lovable love triangle of the aloof Sabrina, the endlessly cheerful Pamela and the terminally-indecisive but psychically-powered Maxime, along with his sisters, the serious Manuella and the irresponsible Fanny (!)
Le monde enchanté de Lalabel Mahou Shoujo Lalabelle [or however it's spelled...]
Nicky Larson City Hunter
Lorsque les coups de feu resonnent
Comme un eclair il tourbillonne
Surtout si la fille est mignonne
Nicky Larson ne craint personne
When shots ring out into the night
Like lightning, putting all to flight
If he thinks the girl might get laid
Nicky Larson's never afraid!
Ooooh, I'm gonna pay for that one...
Olive et Tom Captain Tsubasa
Paul le Pêcheur Tsurikichi Sanpei [Sanpei the Fisherman]
La princesse des etoiles
[The princess of the stars]
Nausicaa
Reincarnations Please save my earth
La reine du fond des temps
[The queen of the end of time]
Princess Millennium
Sakura, chasseuse de cartes Card Captor Sakura
Susy aux fleurs magiques [Suzy of the magic flowers] Mahou no idol Pastel Yumi
Théo ou la batte de la victoire
[Theo, or the Bat of Victory(sic!)]
Touch
Très cher frère Oniisama E
As an aside, only the first seven episodes of this 39-episode series were actually run on French TV. (Around 17 were dubbed, and are now available on video.) Unfortunately, without quite realizing the content, TF1 ran it on "Club Dorothée," a children's programming block. Even censored, it proved to be too much for them, so was yanked. The French dub is supposed to be relatively good, though of course will remain forever unfinished.

Thanks to Toutes les paroles (ou presque) des dessins animes de votre jeunesse and the Animint Encyclopédie for the theme song lyrics. Can't blame them for my pathetic translations, though! (Oh, make sure to check out the lyrics for Juliette je t'aime. The author obviously confused "Stéphane" and "François." The idea of a romance between Kyoko and Yotsuya is more than a little creepy....)

Oh, and "Les mystérieuses cités d'or" was its original title; it's not a Japanese anime! More precisely, it was a French (RTL) / Japanese (NHK) coproduction. DIC France (back in its early days) was the main creative source, while Studio Pierrot (back in its early days) was the main animator. For more information, see "Les Mystérieuses Cités d'Or" http://www.citesdor.com.

Q: While we're on the subject of name changes, what names did the "Sakura, chasseuse de cartes" (Card Captor Sakura) characters end up with?

First of all, we need to clarify that this is generally only for the anime, shown on Fox Kids in France, and Teletoon in Quebec. (The only changes in the French manga are things like Touya->Toya, Kero->Kelo, which arguably aren't "changes" at all.) That being understood, here's a name table:

French name Original(/manga) name French name Original(/manga) name
Sakura Gauthier Sakura Kinomoto Stéphanie Meiling Li (anime only)
Thomas Gauthier Touya/Toya Kinomoto Katia Moreau Kaho Mizuki
Dominique Gauthier Fujitaka Kinomoto Nadine Naoko Yanagisama
Nathalie Gauthier Nadeshiko Kinomoto Sandrine Chiharu Mihara
Kero Kero/Kelo Sonya Rika/Lika Sasaki
Tiffany (or Tiphanie?) Tomoyo Daidoji Anthony Eriol Hiiragizawa
Susan Sonomi Daidoji Gothar Suppy (Spinel Sun)
Mathieu Tournier Yukito Tsukishiro Samantha Nakuru Akizuki
Lionel Shaolan Li

And by the way, while the French version of the anime is hardly unaltered, it doesn't seem to have suffered quite the draconian hacking the English version received. In particular, I don't think they've skipped any episodes. (On the other hand, there's as yet no version originale sous-titrée in French.)


7. Personal stuff

Q: So which French mangas do you currently own?

I don't know if anyone else really cares about this, but there seems to be a requirement on sites like this to list all the mangas (or videos or Star Wars figurines or Pez dispensers) the author personally possesses. So here is my (instantly incomplete and out-of-date) list.

20th century boys 1-10 Koi Koi Seven 1
Ah, My Goddess 1-3, 6-28 L'Apprenti Mangaka (complete)
Alice 19th 1 L'Homme qui Marche (complete)
Ange, mode d'emploi 1 L'Orme du Caucase (complete)
Angel Dust (complete) La vie en rose 1-2 (complete)
Angel Heart 1-8 Le Cheminot (complete)
Angel Sanctuary 1 Le Coffret de Jade (complete)
Angel 1-7 (complete) Le Robot de l'Espace (complete)
Appare Jipangu! 1 Le Trou Bleu 1-2 (complete)
Asatte Dance 1-7 (complete) Le Voleur aux Cent Visages 1-2 (complete)
Ayashi no Ceres 1-7 Le journal de mon père 1-3 (complete)
Basara 1-3 Let's volleyball (complete)
Belle Starr 1 Lunes et Petites Cerises (complete)
Bleach 1-7 Macross 7 Trash 1-5
Bleu Indigo/Ai Yori Aoshi 1-12 Magie Interieure 1-2
Butsu Zone 1 Maison Ikkoku 1
Caramel Diary (complete) Marie et Elie 1-4
Card Captor Sakura 1-12 (complete) Marmalade Boy 1-8 (complete)
Cat's World 1-2 (complete) Message pour l'être aimé (complete)
Celui que j'aime (complete) Min min Mint (complete)
City Hunter 1-9 Mint na Bokura 1-6 (complete)
Clamp School Detectives 1-3 (complete) Miss 130 (complete)
Complex 1 Miyuki-chan in Wonderland (complete)
Coups d'Éclat (complete) Monster 1-18 (complete)
Cyber Idol Mink 1-5 Najica 1-3
Déclics amoureux (complete) Naru Taru 1-2
Da da da! 1-9 (complete) Next Stop 1-2 (complete, sort of)
Dame de la chambre close (complete) No Bra 1-5 (complete)
Detective Conan 1-29 Ondes Toxiques (complete)
Dispersion 1 One Piece 1-3
Docteur Koh 1-2 (complete) Orange Road 1-18 (complete)
Dr. Slump 1-9, 18 Parallel 1-4 (complete)
Dragon Head 1-10 (complete) Parodi'z 1
Dragonball 1-15 Peridot 1-6 (complete)
Dukalyon 1-2 (complete) Phenix l'oiseau de feu 1-2
Dynamite Milk (complete) Please Save My Earth 1-7
Eden 1-3 Princesse Vampire Miyu 1
Entretien avec une Nymphe Celeste (complete) Psychometrer Eiji 1-16
Et Cetera 1 Quand un ange s'invite (complete)
Exodus Creators (complete) Quartier Lointain 1-2 (complete)
Family Compo 1-14 (complete) RG Veda 1-4
Forget-me-not (complete?) Rampou 1-3 (complete)
Fushigi Yugi 1-18 (complete) Role-playing Girl (complete)
GTO 1-25 (complete) Sailor V 1-3 (complete)
Gals 1-10 (complete) Samourai Deeper Kyo 1-12
Genzo le marionnettiste 1-4 Seraphic Feather 1-8
Girls saurus 1-2 Shadow Lady 1-3 (complete)
Gokinjo 1-2 Someday's Dreamers 1-2 (complete)
Golden Boy 1-5 Spirit of Wonder (complete)
Gon 1-5 + color (coffret) Stairway to Heaven 1-2
Himiko-den (complete) Step Up Love Story/Futari H 1-10
IWGP 1 Tajikarao 1-2
Ice (complete) Talulu le magicien 1-15
Ikkitousen 1-2 Tekken Chinmi 1
Initiation 1-2 Transparent 1-3
It 1 Trefle 1-4 (complete)
J'aime ce que j'aime 1-3 (complete) Un été andalou et autres aubergines 1
Je suis une demoiselle (complete) Urukyu 1-8
Kagome 1-3 (complete) Urusei Yatsura/Lamu 1-3
Kaori Paradise 1 (complete?) Version 1
Kenshin Guide Book 1 Video Girl Ai 1-9
Kenshin le Vagabond 1-22 Video Girl: le roman (complete)
Kimagure Orange Road Roman 1-2 You're Under Arrest 1-7 (complete)
Kirara 1-6 (complete) Yuyu Hakusho 1-4
Kiss me, kiss you (complete) Zioïd le Premier Continent (complete?)

While I'm listing stuff, I'll note that I also have the following in German. As promised, here is my (tiny) page on German manga translations.

Cherry Project 1-2
Chocolate Christmas (complete)
Slayers (Shoko Yoshinaka version) 1-6

Q: Isn't French kind of a girly language? Why are you making such a big deal about it?

I know, that question makes absolutely no sense to anyone outside the U.S. But it's one of those odd facts of U.S. schooling that certain languages, like French and Italian, seem to be studied (at the college level, at least) mostly by women, while others, like German and Russian, seem to be studied mostly by men. "Weird" languages like Arabic or Sanskrit or Japanese seem to be more balanced. [Yes, I have studied all those languages. Why do you ask?]

Just a personal illustration here - demonstrating my usual arrogance, I signed up for an advanced French conversation course when I started college. It was called "Advanced Oral French." (The obvious joke being the sequel would be "Advanced Nasal French.") Of the 23 students in the class, I was the only one of the male persuasion. So you see, for me a manga series like Love Hina isn't some male fantasy, but a straightforward documentary account. And in case you're wondering what the class was like, just remember that because of my arrogance, I was by far the youngest person in the class. So everyone treated me like a little kid. In particular, the teacher (also a woman) seemed to think I was a little brat. Of course, I showed her. Now I'm a big brat!

Uh, so what was the manga connection in all of this? Again, just an observation - of the various U.S. correspondents I've had on this subject since I started this page, only one was male. The foreign correspondents were more evenly split.

Q: You hoser! It's "manga," not "mangas," even in the plural. And why do French kids annoyingly refer to "manga" even when they mean "anime"?

Well, you see, things are a little different in French. "Les manga" looks out and out wrong, so I'm carrying over the French plural here. And "animé" in French (as in les dessins animés) just means "cartoon," so there's a natural tendency to use some sort of distinctive term when referring to Japanese cartoons. (J'aime bien regarder les mangas à la télé.) So don't be too hard on the French for not using Japanese words the same way they are used in English!

Q: Just what is a "mahousu" anyway? And is it contagious?

As the little box at the bottom of the page implies, "mahousu" is a somewhat arbitrary romanization of the Japanese word for "magic number" (as in magic number squares). It's the name I chose for my computer consulting business. (The arbitrary romanization is because I thought "mahousuu" looked a little odd.) I do Linux kernel and security hackery and related things. As you can easily tell from this site, I do not do web page design. (Yes, you can email me about possible consulting jobs if you wish.)

Q: So just what are your qualifications to talk about any of this stuff? Are you a professional translator or something?

It might not be evident from the small sample translations provided on this site, but I actually do (barely) qualify as a professional translator, in the sense that I translated some stuff and got paid for it. (Come to think of it, what other definition is there?)

Curiously enough, though, none of my "paid" translations have been from French! What I have gotten paid for is an odd lot indeed: some random notes by Isaac Newton in Latin; a couple of biochemical papers in Russian; a master's thesis written in German; and various emails written in Portuguese, Dutch, and Japanese. (The fact that I've never actually studied Portuguese or Dutch fits in well with the oddness of this list.)

With this minimal experience (and the untold amounts of unpaid translations I've done for school, friends, or elsewhere, of course), I have developed my own philosophy of translation. I was going to bloviate here, but instead it's better to present by example, I think. So take a look here, for starters.

And on an irrelevant note, I took one of those online quizzes and finally got a correct result:

You are Slackware Linux. You are the brightest among your peers, but are often mistaken as insane.  Your elegant solutions to problems often take a little longer, but require much less effort to complete.
Which OS are You?


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