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More on Beck

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Just came across this review of the Beck anime over at anime news network. While the review is of the anime, it could cover the manga pretty well.

Also, a little addittion to my review about an editorial trick in the book that I really appreciated.

One of the big issues with slice of life style manga is the various references in the story that, while being relatively apparent to the original Japanese audience, are lost on the American audience. Another series that I’ve been reading, Genshiken, addresses this problem by having translator notes in the back on the book.

While this deffinitely is helpful, it has the downside of separating the notes from the story. I usually end up plowing through the volume and then reading the notes afterwards. Generally it works, since the references are ussually minor, but it isn’t ideal.

For Beck, the editors put short notes in between the panels on the page itself. So, when Maho, Ryosuke’s sister, is coming down with a cold and blows her nose in public, we get a little note pointing out that this type of behavior is frowned upon in Japanese society. The notes are generally pretty informative (though some of the minor details, like translations of background signs, I could do without. I’m sure there are folks out there that are grateful though) and are unobtrusive enough that they don’t take away from the flow of the story. In exchange though, we get small notes which close the culture gap. And for a series as nuanced as Beck, that’s definitely a good thing.

While I personally love the notes, I could see some people being annoying that they are written in pretty small lettering since they’re literally in-between panels. If you have trouble reading fine print, you may want to have a magnifying glass handy. :)

Written by Matt

July 17th, 2007 at 12:58 pm

Posted in Uncategorized