Kodansha Comics — What’s Going On With You?

Kodansha Comics — What’s Going On With You?

When Kodansha USA basically booted Del Rey out of the manga publishing world to take over, I decided to be mostly positive in how I took this.  I ignored a lot of the concerns I had read then.  However, as Kodansha Comics lollygagged around, I became concerned with how they were dealing with things. However, Kodansha Comics made me feel somewhat better when they announced they’d be fixing the horrible, early adaptations of Negima! and when they quietly license-rescued Love Hina. However, recent events have raised the old concerns with me again.

Kodansha Comics -- What's Going On With You?

Recent volumes of Negima! have seen some real quality control issues of late. In volume 30, there were instances of the letter “u” being dropped from words, something I don’t believe came from the translators. In volume 31, this became worse with some bizarre printing errors as well as the complete dropping of the cover notes (which were translated).  Volume 32 continued this trend by again dropping the cover notes and having some other QC issues.

I am told that for the Sailor Moon releases, Kodansha Comics is having similar QC issues and have dropped certain extras that were included with the newly re-released Japanese versions of the same manga.

Also, Kodansha Comics appears to have not sent out cover art for several of their manga titles for the last quarter of 2011.  Thus, online retailers either had no cover artwork or had to use 3rd-party provided cover art. That’s not acceptable.  (To be fair, a spot check of Kodansha Comic titles I currently buy all have upcoming manga with proper cover art.)

I did some checking and hear that Kodansha USA is understaffed and overworked. Certainly, that would account for the QC issues, but then that just means that Kodansha USA’s management isn’t doing their job.   It does not account for why the cover notes are now gone from recent Negima! releases, or why certain extras from the Japanese tankoubons for Sailor Moon weren’t included in the U.S. release.

Hopefully, these were just hiccups and that volume 33 of Negima! picks up all of the “lost” cover notes from the earlier volumes as well as its own cover notes.  Hopefully, the other QC issues will be corrected as well.

If Kodansha Comics wants to really impress me, they’ll start doing a bit more with their releases.  They did make things nice with the extra color pages with Sailor Moon and Sailor V.  I’d love for Kodansha Comics to have things like the LE Negima! color cover art as an extra, as an example of what would impress me.

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16 Responses to “Kodansha Comics — What’s Going On With You?”

  1. I had that same issue when I found out that there was no line art at the back of what was part of the Del Rey releases. If volume 33 bundles that line art, I would be a more satisfied person, since I do like to sketch images.

    And the LE images from old volumes in a book would be impressive. I would like to see that happen, since there would be few issues in making translations, and it’s an easy way to profit, if Kodansha USA decided to not bundle the images as part of the volumes.

    But the cover art issue is another whole mess that I could not comprehend. If the publisher does not take time to publish a schedule with the cover art, there is so much mystery shrouded. Although my assumption is that the cover art is similar or an exact copy of the Japanese edition, at least the North American distribution should know about this.

  2. Ultimaniac says:

    Just recently I bought 28-32 and the two omnibus books all at once and I haven’t had the chance to re-read through all of them yet. I also hadn’t read your post on volume 30 until just now.

    Sounds like whoever was editing tried to get rid of a Japanese accent where there wasn’t any -_-

    That’s on par with the kind of garbage that went on back in the days of the first couple of volumes(Southern Master, Yue being the headmaster’s grandaughter, “Osaru means fault,” “CAN I HAVE A COOKIE?”)

    I hope things don’t get any worse for Negima. I don’t wanna relive the dark days T_T

  3. evgenidb says:

    Hopefully, these were just hiccups and that volume 33 of Negima! picks up all of the “lost” cover notes from the earlier volumes as well as its own cover notes. Hopefully, the other QC issues will be corrected as well.

    If Kodansha Comics wants to really impress me, they’ll start doing a bit more with their releases. They did make things nice with the extra color pages with Sailor Moon and Sailor V. I’d love for Kodansha Comics to have things like the LE Negima! color cover art as an extra, as an example of what would impress me.

    Waaayyy too optimistic. The most you could hope is to have better QC and the extras from that particular volume. Nothing more.

    Also, skipping the extras is something normal in book translations. For instance, there should be some short stories at the back of each Star Wars novels in the English print, but they are completely gone in the Russian and Bulgarian prints. (That’s just an example! Of course, I don’t know how are the things with comic and manga translations, so it might be a little bit different.)

  4. Farray says:

    Well… at least they didn’t change Chachamaru and Chisame’s names to Sasamaru and Senu, like in the German tankoubons, did they?

    The German publisher even admitted they made a mistake, yet they don’t WANT TO fix it. I’m even more pissed when they sometimes tend to cut dialogues for whatever reason. Don’t buy the volumes since volume 25 anymore(33 volumes released so far here).

  5. What do you mean by “cover notes”? Is it the rough sketches of the cover art with all the little blurbs from Akamatsu-sensei?

    Anywho, I’m behind on collecting volumes of Negima, but I did notice typos this past summer when Kodansha USA released the first Negima omnibus. They really need to up their quality control efforts.

  6. AstroNerdBoy says:

    If volume 33 bundles that line art, I would be a more satisfied person, since I do like to sketch images.

    It would let me know that Kodansha is at least aware of the fans and trying to make things right. We’ll see if they do it or not.

    And the LE images from old volumes in a book would be impressive. I would like to see that happen, since there would be few issues in making translations, and it’s an easy way to profit, if Kodansha USA decided to not bundle the images as part of the volumes.

    I’ve been wanting these for a long time. I’m guessing that there are licensing issues with the LE versions, such as not allowing gaijin have them since these are for the Japanese otaku audiences. Gaijin must buy LE versions from Japan to get this art. *_*


    I hope things don’t get any worse for Negima. I don’t wanna relive the dark days T_T

    Well, on one hand, the franchise is in the hands of good translators/adapters. On the other, what happens after The Twins send in their work is on Kodansha and considering these issues affect other titles by other good translators, well…

    Hopefully, Kodansha USA will correct the QC issues and move on.

    Waaayyy too optimistic. The most you could hope is to have better QC and the extras from that particular volume. Nothing more.

    You are right, HOWEVER, in my mind, there’s no reason that Kodansha Comics couldn’t get this for a better release. Dark Horse, for their timetable issues, releases a superior omnibus edition of manga, going the extra mile on color pages and the like.

    Also, skipping the extras is something normal in book translations.

    These cover-art notes were initially skipped by Del Rey, but then picked up a few volumes later and then they’ve been included ever since. They are part of the book and there’s no reason to not have them in the American release. Kodansha Comics initially carried them, then stopped for no reason. VERY irritating. 🙁

    Well… at least they didn’t change Chachamaru and Chisame’s names to Sasamaru and Senu, like in the German tankoubons, did they?

    Well, there is that. ^_^; That would tick me off to be sure.


    The German publisher even admitted they made a mistake, yet they don’t WANT TO fix it. I’m even more pissed when they sometimes tend to cut dialogues for whatever reason. Don’t buy the volumes since volume 25 anymore(33 volumes released so far here).

    Yeah, I wouldn’t be supporting that financially.

    What do you mean by “cover notes”? Is it the rough sketches of the cover art with all the little blurbs from Akamatsu-sensei?

    Yep. ^_^ In the Japanese tankoubon versions, that IS the cover art. The color art is actually a dust cover.

  7. Kim says:

    I didn’t really know that they were missing the promised Sailor Moon extras? I liked the way that they handled translating the SFX in the English version though (small translation by the SFX). I was disappointed that they did not use a much more varied amount of fonts as in the older Tokyopop release. I preorder those books from Amazon since there’s usually a major discount and I would like to own the whole series this time. On the other hand, I actually own one of the re-released Japanese tankoubons, and the quality is EXTREMELY WELL DONE and I loved the extra color pages at the beginning of the book.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the Kodansha issue!

  8. Zeether says:

    I have been pestering Kodansha via their Facebook and Twitter over the past few months and have gotten no response. I shot off an email to the one address they had on their website, still nothing. This is no way to run a company if you ask me.

    Also, I hope they include the rough sketches in 33 as well. Color LE cover inserts would be nice too, if possible.

  9. AstroNerdBoy says:

    I didn’t really know that they were missing the promised Sailor Moon extras?

    I wouldn’t have known there were extras at all except I’ve been told by several people.

    I was disappointed that they did not use a much more varied amount of fonts as in the older Tokyopop release.

    Even before Kodansha took over, I did notice that Del Rey really cut back on this as well. For Negima!, Chachamaru should have a special font. I’m guessing special fonts add to the costs. *_*


    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the Kodansha issue!

    You’re welcome. ^_^

    I have been pestering Kodansha via their Facebook and Twitter over the past few months and have gotten no response.

    Probably because no one is home to see those posts. 🙁

    Also, I hope they include the rough sketches in 33 as well. Color LE cover inserts would be nice too, if possible.

    Ditto, and yeah, for sure.

  10. cooleofranco555 says:

    With all these issues, is it also occuring in their omnibus releases of Love Hina? I’d like to start buying the series but this questionable downward trend in quality is currently holding me back from purchasing anything (love hina and negima) from this company.

  11. Anonymous says:

    No offense, but what exactly do you expect them to do? Re-release all the manga AGAIN? I understand the disappointment, but no matter how many times you reprint something, there will ALWAYS be at least one or two mistakes.

    • Samantha says:

      These are more than ‘one or two mistakes.’ THIS is blatantly ignoring comments from the fans. THIS is setting up a facebook page, and then never replying to even the positive messages. THIS is not updating their news page since October.

      This? This is shoddy workmanship, and a poor strategy for communication/business in general.

  12. […] more volume and then, no more Del Rey manga purchases for me.  It really is sad, considering how Kodansha Comics appears to be on shaky ground at the […]

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