Del Rey is Slipping

Del Rey is Slipping

One of the reasons I buy so many Del Rey titles is their commitment to the use of Japanese honorifics in the English adaptation. Honorific usage in Japanese literary works (whether printed or visual) are a tool by the author to relay some character information to the audience. How characters refer to each other reveals what relationship the characters have or how they see each other. Its something that is very limited with English honorifics. So when Del Rey published their commitment to honorifics (as well as a brief definition) in every manga, I decided to give Del Rey titles more of a try without having known anything about the manga. That’s how I got into Genshiken, School Rumble, and KageTora.

After I’d purchased and read the Kouga Ninja Scrolls manga, I decided to purchase the sequel manga called Yagyu Ninja Scrolls. While the story didn’t do anything for me like the Kouga one did, I immediately noticed that despite the time period, no one was addressing anyone with an honorific, and I knew that “sama” and “dono” should be heavily used. Further, “Lord” and “Lady” was showing up a lot. In the end, despite having the Del Rey letter of commitment to honorifics at the beginning of the manga, the honorifics had been stripped from the adaptation. Thank you Mina Eda.

OK, one time is a fluke and maybe Mina didn’t get the memo from Del Rey regarding honorifics. So this morning I have volume 1 of Pumpkin Scissors in my mailbox. I scan through it real quick, as I’m want to do, and the first thing that leaped out at me was that the dog Mercury, who’s called “Mer-kun” in both the manga and the anime, is no longer called by that name. Instead of “Mer-kun,” we get “Merc.” I was very unhappy by this turn of events. I looked through and saw that Stekkin is now “Stecchin.” The Kana for the character was “Stekkin” and I don’t know how you get the name “Stecchin” from that. Maybe there’s an official thing somewhere that spells it this way, with the “C’s” using the “K” sound. I could accept that (as happened with “Machs” whom the Japanese spelled in English as “Martis”) but nothing was said of it.

Finally, Sgt. Major “Stecchin” is very polite and always uses the “san” honorific when not referring to her comrades by their military rank. So “Alice” is referred to as “Alice-san.” Oreldo is “Oreldo-san.” Etc. However, thanks to Ikoi Hiroe’s adaptation, all that is gone. Again, remember that Del Rey’s official stance on honorifics is that they’ll be used but now we have two adapters who are scrapping the honorifics. Heck, even Peter David for all his re-writing of Negima Vol. 1 didn’t scrap the honorifics.

Del Rey MangaSo while I shouldn’t be, I find myself kind of angry at the moment. I’ve seen ads where Del Rey proclaims itself to be the “otaku’s choice.” This so-called otaku won’t be so quick to chose them for new titles from now on because they’ve shown they can’t be trusted.

Update: The Pumpkin Scissors Volume 2 mangawas no better. You can read that rant here.

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5 Responses to “Del Rey is Slipping”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I noticed that too for Pumpkin Scissors. I don’t suppose they’ll fix it will they?

  2. AstroNerdBoy says:

    I know of only one case of Del Rey fixing anything. For some early volumes of “Negima!,” the translation/adaptation erroneously changed “Thousand Master” to “Southern Master.” Del Rey corrected those early volumes from what I’m told so that everything is “Thousand Master” again.

  3. […] to drop the Japanese honorifics from a couple of manga titles (you can read my rant about that here). Then they released a Japanese novel and again dropped the Japanese honorifics. So I, as a huge […]

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