Viz to Consider "Inuyasha" Manga Improvements?

I sorta stumbled across this bit of news regarding the Inuyasha manga. One of the Inuyasha scanlation groups, Freelance-Manga, decided to approach Viz about their publishing practices, specifically as it relates to the Inuyasha manga.

For those who aren’t aware, Viz still lives in the early 90’s for the most part when it comes to manga. For the title Inuyasha, Viz still flips the art at times, thus creating all sorts of stupidity such as Sesshoumaru’s arm being missing on either side of him, depending on whether they decided to flip the art or not. Kaede’s eye-patch can be on both sides of her eye on the same page. Its annoying and stupid and there’s no reason to flip art any more (heck, even Dark Horse understands that).

Second, there are the translation issues. Personally, I want the attack names left untranslated with a note saying what the attack means somewhere. Viz generally uses whatever they feel like, depending on the volume, when it comes to translating the attack names. So there’s no consistency for many of the attack names. Also, Viz removed Japanese titles and honorifics, and in doing so, change the nature of the relationships of characters. For example, Sango never calls Miroku by name. She refers to him by his title “Houshi” and adds the “sama” honorific at the end of it to show great respect for his position. Viz just has her call him “Miroku,” thus you’ve changed the nature of their relationship. There’s no respect conveyed in Sango’s conversations with Miroku because all that’s been removed.

Finally, there’ve been a lot of quality control errors, so that character names are misspelled. Sometimes, characters have their speech bubbles changed. And there have been other quality control issues.

Apparently someone at Viz is interested because Freelance discussed things with the Inuyasha Supervising Editor, Mr. Ian Robertson. They’ve also talked with Alvin Lu (VP of Publishing) regarding this. While Mr. Robertson seems more enthused about making changes, it will be up to Mr. Lu or Ms. Liza Coppola (VP of Marketing).

While it is encouraging that someone involved with the project is interested in improving their project based on what fans say, my gut tells me that Viz will ultimately poo-poo Freelance-Manga’s suggestions as luny rantings of fanboys living in their Mama’s basement with nothing better to do than complain. After all, Viz has never shown any real interest in taking care of fans or doing things right before. While Mr. Robertson’s apparent interest is nice, without his bosses deciding to give fans what they want, its meaningless.

We’ll see what happens. Should Viz actually fix all the mistakes mentioned (stop flipping art, use Japanese honorifics and attack names, etc.), I’d actually buy the title to support that effort.

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