nogami takeshi

More global doujinshi: The Witches of the Sphinx vol. 2

Firstspear's semi-official, bilingual Strike Witches doujinshi series The Witches of the Sphinx continues!

We presented the first volume on this blog when it was released in April at COMIC1. Volume 2 was released at Comiket 78 a couple of weeks ago, and like the first, is available for purchase right now from Manga Pal, an online store specializing in the international distribution of doujinshi.

Manga Pal and more at Epitanime

Quick annoucement: I received a kind e-mail from the good folks over at Manga Pal regarding their line-up at the Epitanime convention which will be held in Paris, France this week-end. Here's a somewhat belated summary.

The e-mail from Manga Pal actually came in last week, but being in Russia with almost no Internet connection at the time, I was unable to report on this until now (back in France). I hope fellow French bloggers will still have time to pass it over to their own readership.

The Witches of the Sphinx: doujinshi goes global

There aren't many avenues for the distribution of doujinshi overseas. There are even fewer cases of doujinshi creators officially supporting the distribution of their works overseas. And official translations of doujinshi into English are practically unheard of. Perhaps as a result, a significant part of the English-speaking fandom tends to confound doujinshi as a whole with the tiny subset of books that get translated and distributed illegally on the Internet—often shallow and graphic ero parodies of whatever popular anime is airing at the time.

But this may be about to change. ABe Yoshitoshi already did a few experiments with international distribution of English-translated doujinshi in a digital format, on the iPhone or the Amazon Kindle. But today, Nogami Takeshi's doujin circle Firstspear goes one historic step further: its new release, The Witches of the Sphinx, is fully bilingual, and a partnership with doujinshi online store Manga Pal allows it to be shipped internationally in paper form. It is probably the first such project ever.

An open letter to CNN by Nogami Takeshi

You have probably heard about CNN recently stirring up gratuitous controversy over Rapelay, an issue that should have died down almost a year ago. It is not difficult to imagine that lobby groups within Japan are using Western media to put pressure on Japanese elected officials on related issues. And it might be working: at any rate, that CNN report is getting quite a bit of attention on the Japanese Internet (though not yet on mainstream media). CNN is also getting many hits for that piece of quality reporting, to the point that reporter Kyung Lah got to put up an even finer follow-up article yesterday: a cultural-essentialist explanation of why Japan is so perverted. And there were a couple of silly CNN blog posts on the subject in between, to boot.

Nogami Takeshi, a Japanese mangaka known for such works as Koutetsu no shoujo-tachi (art, Shounen Ace), Serafuku to juusensha (Champion Red Ichigo) or various artworks for the Strike Witches franchise, has written an open letter to CNN in reaction to the latest report. He asked if someone could translate it. I am pleased to oblige. Note that I may not agree with all arguments made in this letter, and I don't really think it's likely to gain many supporters for our viewpoint, but it's an entertaining read.

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