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All previous The Witches of Africa manga has now been translated into English. Previously untranslated material, the Tiger in the Desert chapters, are now in English. We are currently in the editing phase of the a new Witches of Africa compilation.
The new Witches of Africa compilation will include:
- Witches of Africa
- Tiger in the Desert
- Tiger in the Desert II
- The Stuka Witch (new material)
Many pages of the previously published material has been redrawn. Nogami has gone out of his way to improve the quality of the manga. He went all out to add the additional 24 page manga exclusive for this compilation.
The entire book will be in Japanese / English.
This is in addition to the Witches of the Sphinx Vol.3 that has already been released.
Here are links to the books at Amazon.jp.
Witches of the Sphinx Vol. 3
The Witches of Africa Compilation
We are looking for other outlets to stock this material for overseas sales. Stay tuned.
Some useful links.
Nogami’s twitter feed: http://twitter.com/takeshi_nogami
Kanemitsu’s twitter feed: http://twitter.com/dankanemitsu
The Witches of Africa / Witches of the Sphinx twitter # tag: http://www.firstspear.com/0501kanso/index.html
Witches of the Sphinx feedback form: http://www.smaster.jp/Sheet.aspx?SheetID=45041
The Witches of Africa compilation reprints only Nogami’s manga included in The Witches of Africa (August 2008), Tiger in the Desert (December 2008) and Tiger in the Desert II (August 2008). The compilation will not include the stories written by Suzuki and other short comics / illustrations by other contributors that were included in the original publication.
The novels by Suzuki will be compiled together in a separate book.
All text in the three manga has been reformatted. The English translation in The Witches of Africa has been revised. Both chapters of Tiger in the Desert have been translated into English for the first time in this compilation. The Stuka Witch is completely new material chronicling the Frederica Porsche’s saga as told by Marseille.
I will translate Suzuki’s other North Africa stories in the future. But whether or not I translate other novels and manga by other creators involved in the Strike Witches universe is largely dependent on demand and enthusiasm from overseas.
Many Japanese publishers’ interest in providing English translation has soured thanks to the rampant availability of fan translations. In the past, English language releases sold by foreign firms guaranteed a certain amount of sales that made these efforts worthwhile and the impact of fan translations was not seen as threatening. But now we are at a stage where sales have dropped off so much so that many North American licensors have collapsed, meaning even “small” fan translation presence poses much greater threat to an overall diminished market.
I am of the mind that Japanese creators and publishers must work harder to satisfy not only the domestic market, but the overseas market as well. Creating an English translation can be a good investment toward establishing a global presence. But its hard to justify spending money to hire a translator to create an English adaptation when there are so many fan translations already out there AND the sales of English material is still rather weak.
This is why Nogami is insane. He is personally financing the English translations of his manga included in his doujinshi releases. He pays me to what I do. No one else.
It would be a lot cheaper for him to leave me out, but that would not be as much fun, for Nogami, for me and you.
Please realize that I don’t pump out translations like chicken laying eggs. I check facts. I talk to Nogami and Suzuki. I read up on military history. I try to provide story ideas to the plot myself. This means, a good chunk of my adult life is sucked up for extended durations, and I need to get paid for that.
And any translation that’s worth its salt should be like that.
So whether I do other material depends on how loud you ask for it and how much money you are willing backup your statements.
To that end, electronic distribution is something we are seriously considering. We realize that some people might simply like to have a digital copy to read at a more modest price. At the same time, we also want to reward those who are willing to pay more for a hardcopy (a physical book).
One idea we are currently floating around is where the printed version will be treated like a deluxe version, aimed for hard core fans, while the electronic version will be customized for more casual fans. We are also working hard to find more distribution outlets to make buying the book from overseas cheaper, but we all have day jobs so progress can be slow. Please understand.
I personally don’t think it’s a good idea to create one product that aims to satisfy both the hard core fans and casual fans all at the same time, but that’s my personal opinion.
(By the way, for the complete fanboy/fangirl experience, people who buy Nogami’s doujinshis at doujinshi marketplaces in Japan can sometimes get original sketches by the man himself. The line of people waiting for sketches from Nogami at Comic 1 this last May was so long, it posed a safety hazard and had to be moved!)
I personally don’t see fan translations as being evil. Unauthorized fan translations, in of itself, are not the problem. I believe the combination of the lack of availability of an official translation by the content providers and unwillingness to financially reward the original creators by the consumers creates a dangerous situation where the creative industry will increasingly become introverted and less willing to take risks.
Please reward Nogami’s willingness to take such huge risks, for your own sake.
PS: If you want to express your opinions on how we do things and what you want, you might want to write comments on my blog or send notes to Nogami’s twitter account. There’s a reason why I listed the links above. We rarely poke around other Internet forums much because of we’re usy with work, life, family, etc. so if you want to get word out, you might want to tell us more directly. Hint hint.