Mon, 07 Mar 2005
Excel Saga, volume 01
I'm a fan of the anime series and I saw the first two volumes of the manga in the book store, so I decided to give it a read. I like it.
This is the first manga I've really read that went right-to-left. It is arguably more true to the original format (no reflections or rearrangement needed), but it can be harder for americans to follow. I found myself adapting to the format much more quickly than I thought I would, however.
I like the footnotes supplied in these manga. The American editor decided to leave many of the sound effects in the manga, which is not too surprising given the fact that they're often as decorative as they are descriptive. In lieu of translation, there are gootnotes for all of the sound effects. Much of the time, you can get the gist of the soungs from other context, but it's nice to be able to look to the back of the book and see exactly what's going on.
There are also general translation notes, mostly noting places where American idioms or similar things were substituted for Japanese concepts. It's a tribute to the editor that I barely noticed most of these; the story flowed well.
According to notes in the volume, Excel Saga was a doujinshi that went pro. Didn't realize that was how it started.
Discussion of differences between the anime and manga occurs below.
The biggest difference I noticed was the name of the dog. In the anime, her name is Menchi. In the manga, she's named Mince. I don't know if there's really a difference in name between the two or if the fansubbers merely translated phonetically. If the latter, then the commercial DVD follows their footsteps and uses the same name. (Probably because people were used to the name from the fansub.)
There's less themed stuff, like the anime's war movie episode or star wars episode.
Several anime characters aren't present in the manga or, at least, haven't shown up yet: Pedro, the Great Will of the Universe, the puchuus, Nabeshin, and the Space Butler.
I was thrown a bit by the decision to give Sumioshi a scottish accent. The footnotes say he has a rural accent in the manga, but I personally would probably have found a rural American accent easier to deal with.
Overall, the feel of the manga is much the same as the anime, and it's downright funny in a lot of places. For those who are familiar with the anime, the manga is a good continuation. For those unfamiliar with Excel at all, it's a very fun, funny read.