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Monday, January 26, 2015

Anime vs. Manga, Visual Novels, and Light Novels:

Anime and manga added together makes for a lot of good things per month.  Not only do we have 15 good shows airing weekly on the anime front, but we've got a ton of good manga coming out concurrently in their own little world.

Weekly manga includes:

One Piece
UQ Holder
Hayate no Gotoku
Zettai Karen Children
Gokukoku no Brynhildr

Monthly manga includes:

Fate/Kaleid Liner
Shingeki no Kyojin
Akame ga Kill
Kimi ni Todoke
Ao Haru Ride
To love-ru Darkness
Fairy Tail Zero
Freezing Zero/Pair Love Stories

Some manga are translated sporadically, but they still come out every now and then:

Shin Prince of Tennis
Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun
Angel Beats
Tales of 'x'
Yuru Yuri
Vinland Saga
Broken Blade
Shinryaku! Ika Musume
Kyoukai no Rinne
Futari Ecchi
Sakura Trick
Shinohayu Dawn of Age

Some manga are lost to the West because no one's translating them:

Nanoha Vivid/Strike Force
Mikakunin de Shinkoukei
Kitakubu Katsudou Kiroku
Lucky Star
Yama no Susume

Some manga are still being animated so there's no need to read them:

Jojo's Bizarre Adventure
Akatsuki no Yona
Kiniro Mosaic
Non Non Biyori

Some manga are on hiatus due to useless authors:

Hunter x Hunter
High School of the Dead
Akame ga Kill Zero
Nanoha Force

29 series that lack authorial production or fansubbing diligence really lowers the monthly fun factor of manga compared to what it should be.  These days, all tv anime series are fansubbed (though many ova's, strangely, are left untranslated no matter how long you wait).  So even though manga is much more plentiful than anime, when it comes to translated content, anime actually has more total words per month to say than manga has.

Say anime airs four times a month, for a total of 60 good episodes of anime this month.  Treat each episode of anime as 2 chapters of weekly manga or 1 chapter of monthly manga.  The seven weekly manga series that are released and translated each month produce about 14 episodes worth of anime content.  The eleven monthly series produce 11 episodes worth of content.  Let's say the sporadically translated manga somehow adds in another 5 episodes worth of content just to reach a round number.  In that case, manga is still only producing 30 episodes of good content per month, compared to anime's 60 episodes.

Therefore, having manga as a hobby, even following a plethora of different manga series at once, can't keep up with having anime as a hobby.  Manga can only serve as a support structure to the main anime edifice.

Visual Novels are no better.  Around two good visual novels can be expected to be translated per year.  Let's say they take 80 hours for a complete conquest.  That's 160 hours.  If you skip the opening and ending of anime, as well as recaps and previews and the like, you can generally narrow an episode of anime down to 20 minutes.  So that's 480 episodes of anime in equivalent content.  That's about six months worth of new anime content, when you start counting oav and movie releases on top of the regularly airing tv schedule.  If more visual novels were translated into English, this ratio could be flipped around, but visual novel translations are insanely rare.  They're like S class gold pokemon or something.  Even key, the most famous and beloved visual novel brand in the world, still doesn't even have an English translated version of Little Busters Ecstasy, Kud Wafter or Rewrite: Harvest Festa.  Other brands are even less likely to be translated.

Light novels as a hobby is simply torturous.  Haganai volume 10 came out in June 2014, and only the first chapter of it has been translated so far.  Zero no Tsukaima and PapaKiki have been totally abandoned by the translators.  SAO volume 15 came out in August of 2014, and only its first chapter has been translated.  Oreshura is three volumes behind, it hasn't even translated stuff that was coming out in 2013.  Ero Manga Sensei volume 3 came out October of 2014 and only the first chapter is translated.  Hyouka's latest volume came out in 2012, and it still isn't translated.  Maria-sama ga Miteru ceased being translated at 'Little Horrors,' which was written in 2009.  Seikai no Senki volume 5 came out in 2013, and still hasn't been touched.

If you're lucky, maybe two light novels will be translated per year.  Each takes about 10 hours to read, for a grand total of 20 hours of entertainment, or 60 episodes of anime, or exactly one month's worth of fun anime can deliver.

If you combine visual novels, manga and light novels all together, it's conceivable that your hobby could match that of simply watching anime.  So at most, the less translated world of Japanese entertainment can double your fun.  If everything that came out in Japan was actually translated, there would be more entertainment than hours in the day.  But since this isn't so, even anime, manga, visual novels and light novels combined are never enough.

How I yearn for the day that machine translation matches the level of human translation.  Then, like a cornucopia, Japanese entertainment will flow out into the world in a never-ending stream, gushing out over the surface of our brains and flooding us with eternal delight.  Until then, we're basically stuck looking forward to the new spring anime season, which will be the lion's share of all the fun we get from Japan this year.

This spring has an amazing anime lineup scheduled.  Carryovers from this season include:

Sailor Moon
One Piece
Pretty Cure
Assassination Classroom
Jojo's Bizarre Adventure
Fairy Tail
Dragon Ball Kai Buu
Durara Shou(?)
Idolm@ster: Cinderella Girls(?)

Add in known good sequels:

Grisaia no Meikyuu
Hello! Kiniro Mosaic
Nanoha Vivid
Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru Zoku
Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works

Plus anime based on wildly popular sources:

Yamada-kun to 7-nin no Majo
Triage X
Kyoukai no Rinne
Ore Monogatari
Owari no Seraph
Shokugeki no Souma
Denpa Kyoushi
Arslan Senki New
Dungeon ni Deai o Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka?

Plus Kyoto Animation's new project:

Hibike! Euphonium

Plus oav's and movies:

Happiness Charge Precure movie
Fate/kaleid liner ova
Angel Beats ova
Suisei no Gargantia ova
Prince of Tennis vs. Genius 10 ova
To Love-ru Darkness ova

We could be looking at 25 good series all airing at once, or 100 episodes of good anime per month!  I'd like to see visual novels, light novels and manga keep up with that.

By this spring, no doubt Doremi fansubs will have released the new and higher quality (dvd level) first season of Ojamajo Doremi batch, for a total of 51 episodes of good anime.  That on its own is a bombshell manga will have a hard time keeping up with.  Now that we more or less know the quality of the winter anime season (overall pretty lacking, with Fairy Tail still filler and Dragon Ball Kai still untranslated), the spring season is looking more and more appetizing.  Some good weather might be nice for a change too. . .

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