Witches of Africa Splurge (Updated)

[Scroll down for more updates.]

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

Additional update:

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.

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33 Responses to Witches of Africa Splurge (Updated)

  1. Anonymous says:

    Will the compilation also include translations of the novels that were bundled with the original volumes?

    • dankanemitsu says:

      The compilation will not include the novels. The novels by Suzuki will be collected seperately.
      So far I have translated all novels by Suzuki included in the Witches of the Sphnix series, but not the previous three.
      Actually, work on translating those novels has already started, but we are still figuring out how the novels should be complied together.

      • Maxim says:

        I just recently discovered the (strike) witches world, and I ordered the compilation: witches in Africa. As it doesn’t include the Novels by Suzuzki, I am really curious to know wether the translating of those first three is done, and wether there is a release date sheduled? Thank you!

  2. linger says:

    This is absolutely wonderful news. I had just about given up on Vol. 3 of Witches of the Sphinx getting an English translation, since things seemed so quiet on it. so this is…well, “absolutely wonderful” already says it, right?

    The novel compilation won’t be out for a good while, right? At least more than 2-3 months? I always like to make orders large as possible with amazon.co.jp, to make shipping costs more efficient, but I get the feeling I definitely shouldn’t wait until the novel compilation is also order-able.

    • dankanemitsu says:

      I’m glad you appreciated the news. I wish I could have shared it sooner, but I was under the gun trying to finish the translation, along with being responsible for numerous other projects. I need a publicist. (grin)
      The novel compilation might take some time. Part of it has to do with the fact that we are not getting a lot of feedback from overseas, so we have to figure out what’s the best way to match the Japanese audience’s needs with the overseas audience’s needs. If there was stronger demand from overseas, it would be easier to get things done faster, but that’s not the case for now.
      Plus, there’s more translations I need to get done!

      • omo says:

        Just a note on oversea demand: I bought the first volume of Sphinx (3 copies in fact, for reasons I’ll explain later) but have not gotten around to volumes 2 and 3 yet, because it feels really, really odd to spend upward of 40+ US dollars on a doujinshi that isn’t a limited edition or anything.

        Granted part of it is due to the exchange rate, which we can’t do anything about (as an aside, some smaller export shops have closed as a result of this), but when the price of anime and manga (I can buy a copy of Strike Witches anime from Funimation for less than that) is set notably lower, it becomes a real hurdle.

        The reason I bought 3 copies partly because I wanted to share the doujinshi with other people, and this way it lowers the per-unit cost. Most of the cost of a single purchase is due to the middleman/proxy and shipping, and it makes more sense if you purchase several copies (3+ copies) so the cost becomes reasonable. It’s too bad, because I thought volume 1 of Sphinx was very good, but the subsequent volumes were too cost-prohibitive; for the same price I could buy a full color artbooks at a US con or at a Kinokuniya or a similar store.

        Anyways, I hope you find some retailers for your books that do not charge arms and legs on top of the cover price, as inflated by the exchange rate as it is.

        • omo says:

          I guess I just want to amend that buying from Amazon.jp is definitely a more preferable venue for volume 3 of Sphinx and is a great move. But some marketing at this stage would be pretty cool.

      • linger says:

        I was *this close* to signing up for Twitter, just to tell you how much I loved the novel portions of Witches of the Sphinx 1+2… (Although I love light novels in general and wish more could be published in North America).

  3. Borja says:

    Thnk you VERY much for your effort! I’m from Spain and I’ve just preordered the Sphinx manga vol.3 and the Compilation… I hope Nogami, you and all the people who are working hard to keep this going on will succeed! Thank you very much again ^^

  4. Noko says:

    I’d be very interested to see more availability of the strike witches media in the west.
    It seems to still have a presence of sorts, not as great as its presence in Japan, but it’s still there none the less.

    I for one would be very willing to pay for any translated strike witches media that becomes commercially available either in Japan or overseas. Unfortunately or perhaps fortunately fan translations are lagging greatly when it comes to strike witches.
    The Suomos misfits novels and both the Isle of wight witches and Strike witches zero manga serials remain untranslated for the most part.

    I think if the english translations of strike witches was promoted, you’d certainly shift more copies than you are currently. Perhaps you could tie it into the upcoming release of Strike Witches II in north America, though as of current the release date is TBC 2011.

    Perhaps the problem is that people are not willing to import from Japan because of the cost, compared to buying domestically. Maybe the solution is to find a way to release it through an overseas company be it Amazon.com or through a western publishing company. But I know it won’t have half as much of an impact if it continues to be available as it is.

    Despite what I said, I wish you luck with your push for overseas sales and I look forward to purchasing the novel compilation when it goes on sale.

  5. Richard J. says:

    As a fan of Strike Witches and as someone who appreciates hard work and fan love, I just want to thank you for all your hard work. You’ve helped to bring a little bit of joy into my life and for that I will always be grateful. I know that might sound a little melodramatic but trust me, it is merely heartfelt truth.

    Thank you and I hope to see more projects like this in the future! I’m buying and I hope others are too.

  6. Dan,
    I apologize that we didn’t have time to speak during Comic1 a couple weeks ago. In any case I had sent you an e-mail in regards to distributing Nogami-sensei’s books in the States and beyond. Hit me up if you want to talk about it.

  7. SH says:

    Put in the order for The Witches of Africa Compilation, but I have to say that the prices here are a little bit steep. (Mostly due to shipping, which was nearly twice as much as the book itself by way of Amazon.co.jp.) So unless there is an option that’s a little less hard on the shipping costs, even my working class economy isn’t going to be able to support this in the long run.

  8. TheBigN says:

    I was one of the people who received one of omo’s three copies of vol. 1, and I bought volume 2 as well. Are there any efforts to help make selling this new compiliation overseas easier? Not necessarily cheaper, but using other vendors to sell physical copies?

    • NegativeZero says:

      Amazon Japan ship internationally. Surely that’s easy enough? Though they only offer courier shipping which is a bit of a pain, expense wise. You really want to make sure that you order multiple things at once.

  9. linger says:

    I was thinking about possibilities for Digital Distribution: have you ever heard of DriveThruComics.com? I have used them before and found them well-run. They also sold the preview sampler for eromanga company Icarus Publishing, “Comic AG Digital,” so there shouldn’t be any problems with potentially objectionable content. DLSite also comes to mind. Those are just sites that specifically do comics, though, maybe there’s some other digital distribution platform which is more efficient.

  10. Ashram says:

    I discovered the existence of this through animenewsnetwork. Copies of both purchased from amazon ($42 shipping is ouch, but I’ll live). Nice to see a way to get some non-anime Strike Witches that is official, and in English! Thanks for your efforts on making this happen. :)

  11. Justin says:

    Just wondering are you guys going to add Australia and New Zealand strike witches
    in your stories?
    Anyway i forward details about your attempts sell your books to two
    overseas western outlets http://www.mightyape.co.nz and http://www.play-asia.com.
    Have you heard from them i often buy Asian books and items from them.
    By the way i’m from New Zealand

  12. Fish says:

    I just wanted to express my gratitude and say thank you. I find it to be rare that fans overseas like us get anything like this. For you guys to be taking the time and effort to give us an official translation of any sort means a lot to fans like me. As soon as I heard the first Witches of the Sphinx had an english translation, I picked it up instantly. Followed the by second and hopefully soon the third. I’m really looking forward to the next releases. I hope you guys can also find some ways to get them overseas more readily. I’ll do my best to support you guys. Keep up the great work, it’s really appreciated.

  13. Noko says:

    I received “Witches of the sphinx” volumes 1-3 last week and so far I am impressed with the dedication and work that has gone into the project. The art by Nogami is fantastic and the quality of the translation is pretty outstanding, one or two iffy parts here and there but for the most part, pretty coherent.
    The light novel sections by Suzuki are also well written and again translated.

    I look forward the eventual collection of the light novel sections from “Tiger in the desert” and “Witches in Afrika” and The “Witches of Afrika” compilation at some point in the future. And I hope to see not only more releases by Nogami but also a larger involvement in the franchise by you Dan.

    On another note, Strike witches is spreading, it recently got licensed in the UK, slowly taking the world by storm, one can only hope it will produce more overseas sales of the Afrika series as a result.

  14. Leebot says:

    I’m really glad to see people taking risks with English translations. This is honestly probably the best way to get around piracy. If fans don’t have to wait for an official translation, they won’t seek out a fan translation in the meantime. The only catch here is the distribution. I’ve been looking at getting these myself, but it’s the shipping costs that are the real killer. If there were an electronic distribution method, I would jump on it in a heartbeat.

    That’s just me, of course. A friend who I talked to about this is the type who prefers hardcopies, but the shipping costs are still an issue for her. So I do hope you’ll be able to find a distributor in North America soon.

  15. Richard J. says:

    Got my copies of Sphinx 3 and the Witches of Africa compilation recently. They’re just fantastic! A few spots editing missed but no worse than many publications I’ve seen over the years.

    I hope these are selling well because I love this franchise and want more of it released like this. It’s always been so frustrating to me as a fan who wants to buy that virtually all doujinshi, side-story manga, light novels, etc. were often left unlicensed. Sure I could download scanlations but that’s not the same thing as having it on my shelf and knowing the creators got something for their hard work. (And if the corporate suits get some money too, maybe they’ll help produce more!)

    I hope to see more Strike Witches releases like these and I’m keeping my eyes on this blog for news.

  16. Sarah says:

    Whats the current status on the censorship bill?

  17. Greg says:

    I just found out about the Strike Witches of Africa volumes including English translations and have just ordered the compilation volume along with Sphinx vols. 1-3 from Amazon JP. I hope this venture has been successful enough to make further translations viable. I would suggest possibly making these available digitally through iTunes or Comixology to help offset the high shipping costs from Japan.

  18. daniel broom says:

    hi there
    im having trouble locating volume 2 in bi-language unless i want to pay £79 pounds without p @ p, does anyone know where i can find a copy as the stockist have cessed production, i thought the comics would be popular if well advertised, it was only by chance i found the comics for sale, pity as they was really good, would luv to have seen one winged witches.

    • dankanemitsu says:

      It’s really too bad, but for the moment it’s really hard to find anyway to sell the items outside of Japan. Hopefully a buyer will come around and buy some stock that’s still in Japan to sell overseas. Just to let you know, the entire series is now going out of print. I also think it would be nice if “One Wing Witches” could get a foreign release. I’d be more than happy to translate it, but it all depends on someone licensing the title from Kadokawa.

While I may not be able to respond to all comments, I always welcome feedback. Thank you.

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