Thursday, November 03, 2022

Shuna's Jouney (2022)

First Second Books in the US has released the first authorized English-language translation of Hayao Miyazaki's 1983 full-color manga Shuna no tabi (Shuna's Journey). I've written about the original Japanese version at length before (link); I speak no Japanese but was able to follow the story with the help of earlier fan translations. The readable new translation, by Alex Dudok de Wit, clears up a few points in the narrative here and there. The New York Times has a review. I'll confine myself below to a few technical points about the reproduction.

The American edition, printed in Singapore, respects the layout and orientation of the Japanese edition, that is, printing it back-to-front from a US perspective. The trim size has been increased by about 50% with a noticeable but not glaring decrease in sharpness, and unlike the original, which was a paperback, the book has a hardcover binding, which makes it easier to see into the gutter. The paper stock isn't coated, however, and the color palette, particularly the lovely rich blues of Miyazaki's original, is a bit washed out. Whatever image processing magic was required to replace the Japanese text with English seems to have gone smoothly. Devotees may want to seek out the Japanese edition (ISBN 9784196695103), which should be obtainable for under $20, so that they can appreciate the full beauty of the original in tandem with this welcome and overdue translation.

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