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Monday, September 21, 2015

Entertainment Roulette:

What percentage of good manga is finished and fully translated?  How much is finished but untranslated?  How much is unfinished?  How much is straight out abandoned?


The six series we should be enjoying but can't are: 

Sailor Moon
Kokoro Toshokan
Junai Sensation
Sakura Zensen
Angel Hunt

Sailor Moon is translated, but in such a spotty and low quality that it's unreadable all the same.

Working has been fully animated so it doesn't matter if they ever translate the manga or not.

So really we're looking at 4% of manga where the ball has just been totally dropped.

But let's combine that with manga that the manga-ka themselves have no will to finish, and therefore are just as doomed as the untranslated ones:

Hunter x Hunter
High School of the Dead
Nanoha Force

Now we're up to 8% totally screwed.  8% of good manga will never be finished either because it's never translated or because it's never written to begin with.

53% of good manga is still in the process of being written.  Of these, how many are up to date translated, vs. how many translation efforts are not up to par?

14% are kept reliably up to date.  The remaining 39% of translations are always lagging behind.

Which means good manga is satisfying only 37% + 14% of the time = 51%.  49% of the time the manga has some problem that makes it less enjoyable than it should be.  Every time you start reading a good manga, you're taking a 50/50 shot with your happiness on the line.  It's manga roulette.

If manga were as reliably translated as anime is, it could compete with anime as the premier form of entertainment.  As it is, it's just a heavy stone of grief hanging down all our necks, always making us miserable because we lack x, y, or z.

Not that anime has a good track record either.  How many anime are both finished and fully adapted as a percentage of great anime?  33%.

So each time you start a great anime, you have a 2/3 chance of being unhappy.  What a great starting point to work from.  Become a fan of anime, we promise it'll be fulfilling 1/3 of the time!

What if you like light novels?  What Japanese authors are fully translated?

Sword Art Online takes a while, but it's reliably translated at least.  The same for Oreimo and Ero Manga Sensei.  The same for Index/Railgun.  The same for Haruhi.  The same for Spice and Wolf.  The same for Washio Sumi.  Of those, how many series are finished, such that you can just sit down and read them from beginning to end, and reach a satisfying conclusion?

Oreimo, Washio Sumi and Spice and Wolf only.  So three light novel series out of 33 authors.  Or 9% of the time there's a chance Japanese light novels can make you happy.  Why does it feel like our odds just keep dropping every time?

What about visual novels?  Which visual novel franchises are finished and fully translated into English?  Clannad + Tomoyo After Story, Planetarian and Umineko are the only three.  Out of a trillion that have never been translated or just keep on receiving sequels that are never brought over stateside.  I don't even want to compute the odds on this one.

How about some non-Japanese entertainment then.  Surely there's a better chance to be happy if we just focus on movies and tv shows, right?

How many movie franchises are finished?

Lord of the Rings, Braveheart (etc), Red Cliff, The Princess Bride, Crouching Tiger (etc), Gone with the Wind, the olden days musicals, Willow, Indiana Jones, The Last of the Mohicans, and the old good westerns.

 So about half the movie franchises are finished and ready for viewing.  11/20.

What about tv shows?  Only 1 is finished to any remote degree of satisfaction -- Gilmore Girls.  Sports shows are always starting over with new seasons.  Firefly ended prematurely.  Game of Thrones, Daredevil and the DC comics shows are still being made.  So that's 1/10 likelihood of tv satisfaction or a 10% chance.

How many gaming franchises are finished and ready to play?

1942, Alpha Centauri, Metal Gear Solid, Tetris, Grandia, Bloody Roar, Lunar, Double Dragon, X-men, Dune II, King of Dragons, Warlords, Ogre Battle, Megaman, Powerstones, and Chrono.

16/50 = 32%  So 1/3 of the time you'll be playing the final and best version of a good video game franchise, whereas 2/3 of the time you're just a sucker throwing away money on a game that could have been better if you had just waited for the updated version instead.

Finally, who, among writers who have been fully translated into English, are safely dead and no longer writing additional books, and therefore approachable from a reader's viewpoint?

Dickens, Dostoyevsky, Robert Jordan, E.E. Doc Smith, Jane Austen, Ayn Rand, Leo Tolstoy, James Clavell, Fred Saberhagen, J.R.R. Tolkein, Samuel Richardson, James Finmore Cooper, H.G. Wells, John Steinbeck, Ludovico Ariosto, Nikolai Gogol, Murasaki Shikibu, Arthur Conan Doyle, William Shakespeare, Louisa May Alcott, George Orwell, George Eliot, and Frank Herbert.

23/34 or 68% of the time these authors won't pull anything on you, being dead.  They can't start a series and then not finish it.  They can't still be in the middle of completing a series.  They can't do anything to upset you anymore.  However, Robert Jordan, J.R.R. Tolkein and Frank Herbert all had their works revised after their deaths or given posthumous sequels, so really 20/34 is the more appropriate measurement.  That brings us down to 59%.  Still the best percentage so far!

In conclusion, people should read old dead people's English-translated books if they want to be entertained in a foolproof and failsafe manner.  Everything else is a minefield.  It's all hopeless. Hopeless!

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