To celebrate the release of “Our House Love Trouble” and the accompanying “drama CD”, Marine Entertainment has shared a special follow-up interview with Owal-Sensei.
In it, Owal-Sensei discusses character names, her favorite type of characters to draw, and how they came up with some of the more shockingly sexy and fun moments in the bedroom scenes for “Our House Love Trouble” (Available now in English at Renta! Manga Store ❤ )
I took a moment this weekend to give it a quickie translation from Japanese to English. I hope you find it as interesting as I did!
I feel like translation is quite subjective, with no “perfect” translation out there.
Manga is unique because it’s a combination of written and spoken English, but almost always focuses on conversation above all other types of language.
Localization in particular can make the difference between a translation that is, technically speaking, “correct”… and a translation that FEELS right.
Today I was thrown off by a perfectly correct translation of [ 人間 健康が一番 / ningen — kenkou ga ichiban ] which was a piece of some thought-dialog in a manga I was browsing through.
It was submitted as “Health is the most important thing for humans.”
While there is nothing grammatically inappropriate here and it is, arguably, natural speech in English, I couldn’t help but think “Oh, but not for apes or cats.”
The way we throw words together in normal conversations happens with very little conscious thought at all, but we still manage to express much more than what is being said by the way we choose to phrase our words.
I know it says ningen (humans) in Japanese, but saying it in English adds unnecessary emphasis, and makes it feel slightly off, even though nothing is technically wrong.
Maybe it’s the cold medicine I’m taking, or maybe I just have special issues, but I find that listening to the voices in your head is the best way to get a natural translation out of something that feels weird when you can’t quite put your finger on WHY it feels weird.
The voices in my head told me to write it as:
“Nothing is more important than your health.”
Assuming, of course, that the person reading that inner thought dialog is a human. But the nice thing about this is that it works for other species, too. Even aliens will not feel left out now.
Isn’t that nice?
It feels right to me.
I also feel guilty for not taking better care of my health now. Oops.
This blog was brought to you by cold medicine, ecchi localization contemplations, and my sincere apologies for not updating the blog more often recently. I’ve been out of the office a lot and I’m catching up on my to do list of delicious manga for your reading pleasure, so hopefully things will settle down soon and I’ll update you with all the wonderful things that have been happening around here.
Yoko Ito, artist of the bestselling Allergic to Love, is back again with their latest work Shouganai Kara Aishite Ageru (しょうがないから愛してあげる). Its official release date and title on the English website is yet to be announced, but I guarantee you’ll love it.
We follow two coworkers: Sako Miyamura and Eiji Miya. They have nothing in common other than the fact that they joined the company at the same time and that Sako is in charge of his accounts.
Sako’s just your average Japanese office worker, but has a surprisingly feisty temperament and a thing for suits–in particular, Eiji’s. Every chance she can get, Sako ogles Eiji’s suits.
Eiji, on the other hand, is a handsome and intelligent hotshot salesman who’s so motivated, he’s hardly swayed by all the women in the office fawning over him. He’s so disinterested in others that he flat out turns down an invitation from the new-hire before she can even spit it out.
On the day when Sako and Eiji’s relationship takes an unexpected turn, Sako heads to the company file room and opens the door. She’s surprised to find Eiji going through the files. She thinks it must be her lucky day since she can get gawk at his suit to her heart’s content through the gap in the shelf without him noticing. She leans down in anticipation… but he’s gone!
Just then, she hears footsteps behind her. She turns around.
Eiji’s glaring at her. He barks at her to quit staring because it’s so distracting. He’s well-aware he’s gorgeous, but he’s beyond her league, so she shouldn’t get any ideas about having a chance with him.
Just as he smirks and turns to walk away, Sako throws her hands on his face and starts squishing it. She sarcastically apologizes for gawking, but just can’t help herself–his suit is too gorgeous! She doesn’t want to wrinkle it, so she’s intentionally squishing his face.
Hell hath no fury like an office worker denied her suit-viewing privileges. She doesn’t give a shit about Eiji’s looks or personality–she just wants a good look at that suit! Eiji’s simultaneously taken aback by her hot temper and enamored with her for her passion for and knowledge of suits.
We are currently working on the lettering, but hope to have it released soon! I will announce when it is released. In the meantime, check out Yoko Ito’s other work here!
Sometimes artists or other people on twitter will open up a “question box” feature through a third-party app where you can submit any question you want, and if they feel like it, they will answer!
Usually yaoi/BL manga artists are incredibly sweet, and will take the time to answer as many questions as they can.
I happened to know that Nerima zim, author of “I Never Taught You That!”, “Listen To Your Teacher!”, and “My Hopeless Dreamer”, has a certain predilection for creating stories with older men as the UKE in all of their manga.
Several months ago I asked them on Twitter, “Uh… I’m just taking a wild guess, but… Sensei do you have an “older guy fetish?”” and their reply to me was an enthusiastic “YES!”
I knew it…
Equipped with that knowledge, I noticed Nerima zim accepting questions on Twitter today, and couldn’t resist poking a stick at that land-mine:
I have a question regarding your “older-man fetish.” Could you explain the attraction and appeal of “older men” to people who have not yet reached enlightenment?
Not only did they answer me in great detail, they also got so excited that Twitter’s character count limit got in the way, uh, more than once. That did not stop Nerima Sensei, though.
They were so adorable and passionate about older-men uke that I asked permission to loosely translate and share their answers with you on this blog, so here you go!
Of course! Older uke men are so cute when they let their guard down because the LAST thing they’d ever expect is that another guy would be looking at them romantically or sexually. I love it when an older, wiser man (who long ago grew past the stage of life where young men typically strut their stuff trying to be a hot shot etc…) starts to warm up to the affections of a younger man, only to come face to face with the overflowing hot desire of a young man’s lust!!
Oh no! 100 characters is not enough! I also love it when an older guy who’s settled down after going through all the ups and downs of an adult life has to confront the (what he thought was an extremely unlikely) idea that he’d be starting a new romance at what he considers to be so late in life That kind of story development is the BEST! Naturally they’d be shocked that someone their age would end up an uke to a younger guy! And when the seme treats him right, ’cause he’s so important to him!
I’d kill to interview that older guy and ask how it felt when he realized that an ambitious, lust-filled younger guy was desperately hunting him down. Like, “Having once been a robust young man yourself, what’s it like now that all those hormones and affections of a younger stud are honed in and locked on to YOU?” Please, older men! Tell me! I need to know!! So yeah, I adore the type of older man who can appreciate and accept those feelings. What a blessing/gem/rare gift/precious thing…
And! And!! It makes me sooo happy when the older guy is like “How could you fall in love with an old fart like me? Poor thing! What a pitiful guy!” But then inwardly he’s all secretly feeling like hot shit because he’s got a gorgeous guy so many years younger than him for a boyfriend. It’s so fun to see them getting into it( ◜௰◝و(و
So what do you think? See what I mean about a land-mine? Sensei was sooo cute answering my question, and the passion they feel for “Ossan” (older men) uke is INTENSE! and we love it! ❤
We currently have three manga titles from Nerima zim Sensei on Renta! in English (with more on the way!), so if you wanna see what all the hot fuss is about, check them out!
They ALL have older-men uke in them! hahaha! ❤
Story: Shinobu Aizawa is already in his forties, but he works part-time as a security guard while pursuing his dream of becoming an archaeologist. One day, he is sent to work security at a party venue and the guy he tries to hold down for making a fuss turns out to be Aldo, the very prince who organized the party. Before Shinobu has a chance to understand what’s going on, he’s being dragged into the center of the room and introduced as the prince’s fiance! This is a romantic love story between a bold and brazen prince and a middle-aged dreamer!
Story: Masaki Tsuji is a divorced high school teacher in his early 30s. Lately, he’s been running into a groper on his train ride to work. At first, he thought it was a mistake, but once the hand reaches around the front, things start to escalate! Then a voice whispers, “You’re cute, Mr. Tsuji.” He can’t stop thinking about the perpetrator all the way to school. When Sohta, a student who usually gets good grades, hands in a blank test sheet, Masaki calls him in for a talk. They meet after school, and once Sohta confirms that they’re alone, he goes in for a kiss! This is a secret school love story between a handsome student and his 30-something teacher!
Story: Masaki Tsuji’s a 30-something year old high school teacher as sincere as they come. His student, Sohta Izumi, is in love with him. Through many twists and turns, Sohta’s earnest feelings eventually swayed Masaki and the two are now in a romantic relationship. Sohta’s dating Masaki, something he thought he only could’ve dreamed of. His fantasies are reigned in by Masaki, who forbids any kind of hanky-panky at school and sex until graduation! Forced to hold back right after attaining his love, Sohta’s jealousy builds day by day. Just then, Mr. Noda, the new school nurse, catches on to their relationship…
This is the sequel to the popular “I Never Taught You That!”
Please try these out, and enjoy! Also, you can follow Nerima zim’s Twitter account (in Japanese) at @nerima_zim to keep an eye on this hard-working, amazingly talented Sensei I adore.
PS: Coming soon to Renta! in 2018, 『Kore Mo O-Shigoto Desu!』featuring, you guessed it, a sweet (and hot) relationship between an older uke and a younger man! Check it out in the original Japanese at the link provided, or wait ever-so-patiently just a LITTLE longer and it’ll be in English soon! ❤
My Fickle Jaguar (気まぐれなジャガー Kimagure na Jaguar) is the latest addition of Unohana‘s works to Renta!’s English-language website. I have had the pleasure to edit its translations as they come out. Although I have been working in Renta! as an editor for
only one year, let me tell you–this is nothing like the other BL/Yaoi that I have had the opportunity to read and/or edit in my short time here.
As one user review put it…
“The plot is quite different from the typical BL: theres [sic] no more of the cat and mouse, back and forth of getting to a love declaration (ot [sic] ahem, a night together). The main couple is two interesting adults who are together in love, but the slow reveal of how they get to that point is so riveting. The music industry background is also fascinating. I love love looove this manga and I can’t wait to read the rest of it!!!!”
I can fully stand behind this review. That’s why I’ve chosen to review it here, so get your guitars and picks ready. You’ll need them.
My Fickle Jaguar starts at Arata Aso’s apartment. Sitting up in bed with his smart phone in one hand and a cigarette in the other, Arata’s scrolling through an online forum.
“What’s Shiina doing now?”
“Sojun Shiina, from Peg.”
“Yeah. After Peg split up he was the backup in some other bands and did some side projects. But I haven’t seen him at all lately.”
“But what’s he doing now? I mean, is he still alive?”
“Don’t kill him! LOL!”
“But he vanished!”
“Is he in Alaska or something?”
Pull back from Arata’s screen. A man is lying asleep next to him. Arata scrunches his eyebrows, puts his cigarette to his lips, and says:
“[In fact Shiina] is sleeping right next to me.”
Three months earlier, Sojun (A.K.A. Shiina) showed up at Arata Aso’s doorstep.
“Arata, I’m hungry,” he proclaimed as he threw his arms around Arata’s waist and his stomach growled. The main course: Arata à la carte.
We learn then that Sojun Shiina is a professional musician, but he’s bordering on the title of ex-musician (since his fans wonder if he’s even alive). Three years prior to the beginning of My Fickle Jaguar, Sojun tells his band members from Peg that he’s taking a break and bounces between Japan and other countries. He’s so fickle that he hardly stays in one place for more than a few months. Three months away from Japan (and Arata), however, is the shortest that he’s ever been away. Arata can’t help but find it unusual.
Arata Aso, on the other hand, is an editor at a music magazine. He’d dreamed of becoming a professional musician like Sojun, but gave up after he realized he had no talent and would never reach Sojun’s level. He took up writing instead so that he could share Sojun, the center of his universe, and his talent with the world. He’s miffed that Sojun is so self-centered and unaware of his feelings that he runs away for months at a time, though.
This time, Sojun confesses that he missed Arata so much he “wanted to die”. They’ve discussed his leaving endlessly before. He’s always replied in the same manner. Arata wonders why he leaves if he feels the way he says he does. He knows that Sojun is as fickle as a cat (Jaguar) and that he only goes to Arata when he feels like it. Yet, he can’t help but loving him…
Although currently up to volume 6, the intertwining of Arata and Sojun’s dreams, careers and relationship is totally captivating. You won’t want to miss out on this one! Check it out from the item page here!
As an avid Yaoi/BL reader, I feel like I have grown accustomed to the satisfaction of reading a story from start to finish in 4-6 chapters, a.k.a. a one-volume by the book kind of thing.
I love this length of story because it is just long enough to get in good character growth while still giving you the satisfaction of an amazing ending.
SOME genres keep you hanging forever with eternal cliffhangers and flashbacks and never-ending drama.
I’m looking at YOU, Shojo manga and JUMP series like Naruto and Bleach. PLEASE just let Skip Beat end. They need to be together already! I would like to finish this story before I die. Thank you.
One-Shots are really great sometimes, too. This term refers to the type of story that most commonly wraps everything up in a nice bow within one chapter.
(Though sometimes there will be a part-one or part-two. Lots of new yaoi artists will start by drawing a series of one-shots and then their work gets compiled into a by-the-book volume which we call an Anthology, and there are lots of those on our site, too!)
Today I wanted to introduce a new one-shot that just came out this week on 8/14, called “My Younger Boyfriend is an Ice Prince” (Toshishita Kareshi wa Reikoku Ouji) by tare.
It was my pleasure to edit this! I loved it.
The art is both cute and gorgeous and the characters are adorable… until they’re not *smirk*…
We get to read this 37-page manga from Shuya’s perspective. From the very outset, we learn that he’s dating Kyo, a gorgeous celebrity, and that they’re currently living together. However, it would seem they haven’t “gone all the way” so it’s hard to tell at first glance who will be doing what in the bedroom later on.
Kyo’s public persona is that of a dark and handsome hottie with the aura of an “Ice Prince.” Only Shuya knows Kyo’s real personality is a fluffy cutie whose smile could warm the room.
At least… that’s what he thinks.
Shuya gets forced into going to a mixer (Goukon “group date”) and gets fairly wasted there.
This seems to happen a lot in manga! Please don’t try this at home. We all know where it leads so I hope you brought condoms. Unless that is your intention in which case, good luck but please drink responsibly. : )
When Shuya’s friend borrows his phone and dial’s Kyo to come pick him up, he’s so alarmed that he shows up like a Knight in Shining Armor and takes him home.
But something about Kyo’s personality is different…
It could be the ice-cold sparkle in his eyes that sends chills down Shuya’s spine…
Or maybe the aggressive way he pushes Shuya down?
Which personality is the REAL Kyo?? Shuya… might be surprised. But you? I hope you will be as pleased as I was.
Get a glass of water ready before you read this one because it will make you thirsty.
The only downside to one-shots is that when they’re this good, it leaves you wanting more!
This by-the-book manga is extremely high on the eroi ratings chart, so if you’re a yaoi beginner, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Recently I had the honor of editing the manga “Rikai Dekinai Kare to no Koto” which Renta! translated as “What I Don’t Understand About Him“.
This by-the-book manga is extremely high on the eroi ratings chart, so if you’re a yaoi beginner, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
It begins innocuously enough, and I enjoyed the office setting where a quiet, very “normal” office worker “Shiro” suddenly has to manage a new employee who comes from what seems to be an entirely different culture. Koma’s a sweet kid, but he also doesn’t seem to fit into a typical office environment at all… He wears casual and flashy clothes, baggy shirts, and basically looks like he just walked out of a modern rap video.
Watching Shiro struggle to deal with Koma is so cute, and the outset of the manga makes you feel like you’re getting into a romantic comedy. Which you are!! It’s just… uh…
How should I explain this…
I think the reviews from readers who purchased this manga sum it up pretty nicely.
“I thought this was HILARIOUS. So unique. Absolutely filled with characters you don’t get to see often. Definitely gritty, but in the best way. Highly recommended, worth every minute, the stories are fun, the art is great… I had so much fun with this. A refreshing divergence from the norm.”
“This… got real kinky without, like, any warning whatsoever. I probably wouldn’t have purchased the manga if I’d known this much pee was involved. It’s also really not my thing for characters to discover kinks by being pushed into them by a partner. One of the stories also had a real child-grooming vibe to it, so be aware of that. That said, the art was quite nice, and this will probably be right up some people’s alleys. (Maybe literally.) Just not mine.”
I’ve been working here long enough to have seen every trope you can imagine, but for a BL, this is one manga that showed me things I have never seen executed in quite this way before.
The part of me that loves unique, original, and bold art really REALLY enjoyed this manga!! But even someone as desensitized as me reacted with more than a few sweat drop emoji as I was working on this one.
As the reviewer says, Koma gets really kinky, really fast. I think the artist wanted the reader to feel exactly how Shiro felt as they read it, which is SHOCKED, panicked, and turned on all at once.
I wanted to be more disgusted but the artist (Shimako Wan) pulled it off in a way that leaves you hot and bothered. So instead, I traumatized all my friends, and I would encourage you to do the same if you enjoyed this refreshing manga that definitely crosses the line.
When I bought this manga myself (in Japanese, when it first came out) I don’t know how I felt about it. More shock than pleasure, I think. However, I have clearly grown so much since then, because now I am embracing it.
Fun Fact: Shimako Wan also has two other manga on our site at the moment:
I really enjoyed the threesome one. Since falling in love with Shimako Wan, I went on to buy all their manga and have a very traumatizing yet satisfying weekend after Yaoi Day (August 1).
In fact, my gorgeous BL compatriot and angel “Amy” came up with the perfect name for Shimako Wan fans:
We’re all Wankers now.
Final Side Note: Shimako Wan enjoys putting weird things up butts. Giant grapes… Chapstick… Too much water… XXX- and XXX-filled condom (What I Don’t Understand About Him).
My favorite manga by them so far was about a boy who inherited a power passed down in his family which made it rain whenever he cried. He moved back to the countryside after his grandfather (the previous heir) passed away and met the boy whose family line dedicated themselves to uh… making the rain boy cry. I love it!
See? Not every manga by them includes weird stuff up the butt. Some of them are uh… what’s the word. Not “pure”… I’ll keep thinking about this and let you know if I find the word I’m looking for.
Meanwhile, I love this sensei and all their stories are COMPLETELY different, refreshing, and entertaining, and I recommend it to anyone who has a high tolerance for shock, a love for hot yaoi, and the desire to traumatize your friends.
Recently someone came to me privately with some very thoughtful questions about my job because they were considering their own future possibilities and wanted an inside look.
うそ～ I’m not actually a vampire. I’m just sensitive to sunlight…
Recently someone came to me privately with some very thoughtful questions about my job because they were considering their own future possibilities and wanted an inside look.
I thought many other aspiring manga lovers and fellow nerds would also be interested in this kind of topic, so I asked if it would be okay to share my comments here as well.
“Was it difficult to enter your position with Renta in Tokyo?– do they only hire locally?”
It was a little difficult, but only because the hiring process was very thorough/intensive with multiple interviews and tests. I’ve been living in Japan for some time now and had the appropriate work visa and relevant university degree/work experience, but I think my love for art, language, and manga made me a great candidate for the position! I’m positive they didn’t know I would be so talkative or else they would have reconsidered… (*shared working space)
My position in the Tokyo office is a sei-sha-in (full time) contract, and my main job is to edit, check, and finalize the manga’s translation and lettering/layout quality for its final review before going on sale on the site.
We have a network of freelancers and companies who work with us to do translation and lettering, and it goes through several checks before publication.
Freelance translators, translation checkers, and letterers are often hired locally in Japan, but applicants for freelance-type positions do not necessarily need to live in Japan. Full time Renta! employees do, because as you have rightly guessed, I do a lot more than just editing (I also handle most online social media, marketing, projects for conventions, etc…) but not everyone’s job requires them to physically be in Tokyo or even Japan. In fact, as we continue to grow, the office we have in San Francisco will take on a bigger role in our activities, too.
“Do you find your day-to-day job challenging, grueling, fun? It seems that you handle both translating/editing as well as PR work, that’s quite a lot!”
Oh goodness. hmm. Incredibly fun and incredibly stressful. Trying to edit something to perfection takes a lot of mental energy! However, this is also a job where creativity is essential, and I never get bored because each page is different.
Language and translation has always been a passion of mine, and linguistics was my major in university. Art has ALSO been a passion of mine that I’ve kept up as a hobby my whole life. So to get to do a job where both art and language/writing are needed feels just perfect for me.
As I already mentioned, I do have to do more than just editing as part of my full-time position here. However, they also don’t force me to do anything I’m terrible at! We’re lucky to have a really great boss in the international department that runs the English site, and he encourages us to take initiatives on projects we’re excited about.
For me, that includes SNS and PR-adjacent stuff. I’m a little bit uhhhh… impulsive? lol. So I can get away with speaking from a “human” opinion/standpoint here on this blog and the twitter account for Yaoi that I have thoroughly infiltrated and taken over, and I love that it allows me to connect with other BL fans online.
Overall, we (fujoshi & fudanshi & pervs who love manga) are an awesome community, and I’d like to be able to pull more people together. As you know, most people get introduced to BL either by accident or by introduction via a friend! Let’s indoctrinate… I mean… introduce more people to Yaoi!! What a weird typo.
“I understand that to the translating/editing industry, there are some major problems such as piracy. Are there any other wide-reaching issues that you’ve come across?”
Piracy is an issue both in native Japanese and in the world of translation. I’ve spoken about it recently in this letter to Scanlation groups that was REALLY well received. (Bless the kind people out there who understand.) Chase also wrote about piracy in more depth here on this blog.
Other issues that come quickly to mind… would probably include cultural attitudes on sexuality.
As an issue, this is extremely difficult to discuss openly because we are all human, and most people struggle to set their own experience and beliefs to the side to try to see things from an unfamiliar or even opposite perspective. This is true not only when it comes to such a personal and sensitive topic, but in this case they also have to see past the fact that this content comes from a different culture entirely, so even things that SEEM like they would be universal, often aren’t.
I would like more English-speaking women (and men) to enjoy these types of genres out of Japan (awesome eroi ones) and gain a better understanding of their own sexuality without constantly feeling guilt, shame, and the need to repress everything always all the time, but unfortunately due to the nature of the subject, it can be very challenging to address.
As an industry, I think another issue we need to face is the growing desire of customers to have everything available both digitally and in print as soon as it is published vs. the desperate publishers trying to keep print sales up, too. This can make them hesitant to jump on the digital bandwagon. Yet, we book lovers want it both ways. We’re definitely not willing to give up paper printed books altogether, so finding a way to make everyone happy and still get as much content into English as possible 1) while still making the artists and publishers money 2) AND giving the English-speaking world the content they want can be challenging!
The last thing that occurred to me as far as issues in the industry go is that sometimes the more popular a manga is, the less likely it is to sell official and licensed copies because hardcore fans keep one eye on the Japanese releases, getting fan-translated editions way before it’s licensed in English (which is understandable, we’re a very thirsty impatient group!).
When the manga does finally become available, only obsessed fans buy it, and regular/casual fans do not.
Renta! has been getting more and more popular big-name titles as we grow, but I think one of the reasons we’ve been so successful is that we’ve been offering some really great titles that are actually quite nice and high quality, but that have been falling under the radar of the larger international community compared to huge, famous titles getting all the attention, so illegal translations aren’t available and people are more willing to try them out because they look good (and they ARE good!). Also, we publish so much contemporary manga that our releases are often too new to even be registered in the manga updates database by fans yet.
Again, sometimes, but not always, when we release a title from some of the more popular artists such as Tomo Kurahashi or Harada for instance, it’s difficult to get people who are already fans to buy something they’ve already read and have access to. Loyal and hardcore fans will buy them, but casual manga fans face an emotional barrier of being asked to pay for something they’ve already read, EVEN IF it is professional quality and will support the artist financially.
This has been my experience so far.
“Do you feel that despite these issues, your job is still enjoyable and viable, and you’re able to support yourself (both emotionally as well as financially)?”
I must admit, I have to read a lot of porny manga Monday through Friday, eight hours a day plus overtime, and sometimes that can be exhausting lol. It can also be fun though, and the other full-time editors I work with are amazing. We all emotionally-cope together.
(I bought a “stress banana” which we keep on our desks when we need an outlet. It stretches and twists and wobbles. It’s amazing. Everyone should have a stress banana.)
As editors, we’re all perfectionist, perverted otaku who just want to get things right. But, when your job is to find and correct mistakes, it comes with the downside of having to find and correct mistakes all the time. Some of them seem unbelievable or unforgivable. However, we all make mistakes! Still…
Asking our computer screen daily “WHY ARE YOU LIKE THIS!?” is a common occurrence. We all vent but we all love our jobs and support each other! I’m really, really glad that I work with this group of amazing people.
To answer the last part, as I mentioned in the letter to scanlation groups, financially speaking, we are but one department/branch that’s part of a larger Japanese company with lots of bureaucracy and typical office life that comes with the job, so I can’t say that we do it for the money. We do it for love.
As long as I can spend all my extra money on new manga, I’m happy.
I think it’s amazing that you’re interested in Japanese culture and are considering finding your way into a position that lets you share that with other people. I love that part about my job, too.
It’s true you can’t support yourself on what you love if you treat it like a hobby, but you’d be surprised if you take a look around and see what opportunities are out there.
I never expected to work with manga, never ever. But the right opportunity came at the right time and I hit apply SO fast. I knew that this was the job I wanted, and it felt right.
I have also been living in Japan for 10 years now, so it took lots of experience to get my Japanese and writing experience up to this level.
To be honest, I wasn’t even reading manga 10 years ago and never would have expected to end up where I am now. (I taught at an Eikaiwa my first year, and have done various teaching jobs since then. I was a writer’s assistant for a Japanese author in my previous job. Then life took some interesting turns. muehehe.)
My advice would be to grab onto whatever makes you curious or excited NOW, and it will lead you to something different that you love down the road.
Don’t overthink it, just follow your curiosity! : )
I think we share a lot in common.
We both love Japan and its culture, and especially the language. We love manga, and some of you in particular share a love for BL (yaoi) that runs very deep. Sometimes it feels like we exist within a niche inside a niche hidden in another niche market, so knowing that other people are out there who share our passion is kinda cool.
In a way, we are like family. But like family, some siblings get along quite well while others hate each other.
I feel like scanlation groups who treat artists with respect and stop working on titles that have been officially licensed or released are the siblings with principles that I can at least understand and appreciate. We get along just fine. It’d be nice to have you helping to do things the legal way, but at least I know you’re not releasing anything out of spite or rage. You do it out of love.
However… I’ve been trying to wrap my head around the rationale of certain groups who talk badly about Renta! and insist on continuing to scanlate manga that has already been licensed and released in English through our services.
I feel like there is a genuine misunderstanding of the facts, so I felt inspired to reach out today and correct some of the misinformation that these groups must genuinely believe to cause them to feel that way.
I would not call anyone out specifically (at least not today) because I’m not here to make enemies, but I would like to address certain statements directly here on our staff blog where anyone can access it.
I received the following comments from a certain scanlation group who continues to release a particular manga that has been on our site legally since 2015:
“Regarding our working on other “licensed” titles… We continue to work on titles picked up by Renta. Renta is a Japanese company with no English licenses in the U.S., Europe, etc. They are also, in our opinion, a parasite on the industry.
“The way Renta works: They pay outsourced people to give them what are essentially mediocre scanlations of various titles, and they pay the parent publisher a fee for the rights to produce digital versions of those titles in English. Then they charge the unsuspecting and/or desperate reader exorbitant amounts of money to look at their outsourced mediocre scanlations. The original artists get paid royalties for the digital copies – but those royalties amount to peanuts, basically. The artists are getting screwed, the consumers are getting screwed, and Renta is raking in money for doing virtually nothing.”
I don’t even know where to start, so I’ll just go in order.
“Renta is a Japanese company with no English licenses in the U.S., Europe, etc.”
Fact Check: FALSE
Renta’s company address is in San Francisco and we are officially an American company. Hello.
Although the Japanese Renta! has been around for over 20 years, and we originally worked as a department in that company, the English Renta! has officially split from our Japanese partner, and all our digital translation licenses are for the English language rights globally. That would be true regardless of whether or not we’re based in Tokyo, so accusing us of not having rights in America or Europe for that reasoning is just a very narrow, misinformed interpretation of copyright laws that are not on your side.
It’s true though that we grew up in Japan and I still work here in the Tokyo office as a full-time employee and editor. It’s convenient at this time to walk over and ask our Japanese support staff to contact the publisher or the artists’ agents and get legal permission directly for each and every image or graphic we share, complete with a copyright mark notating the artist and publisher, which is perhaps not something a scanlation group would be used to doing, I imagine.
“The way Renta works: They pay outsourced people to give them what are essentially mediocre scanlations of various titles…
Fact Check: FALSE
On the English Renta! team in this company, we currently have five full-time editors including myself. When I was hired late last year, there were only two. That’s one reason we’ve been growing so fast recently, putting out more titles each week. The five are responsible for quality control of everything translated for us and by us.
Renta! is the official translator, and nothing goes on the site without multiple careful reviews. It’s really time-consuming, actually, but this is currently the best way to ensure quality work. Everyone who works with us gets paid for their work, but the only name that gets printed in the end is “Renta!” because that’s just how the system works, unfortunately. I don’t even get to put my name on it. I work for Renta! so it’s not mine. Get it?
Otherwise you would see my name signed all over the damn place because I need constant validation, reassurance, and approval. We do offer our freelance translators a place on the website to comment and take credit for their hard work.
It is true, however, that we have lots of partners we work with to get things translated and lettered. Some of those partners are freelance translators, translation checkers, or letterers, and some of them are companies. However, we have yet to find any company we trust enough to just release manga in the state that they send it to us. That would be… *shivers*
If you expect the five of us to put out 15 full volumes and a million ongoing chapter updates per month doing each translation, lettering, and final check ourselves, you are insane. That’s what scanlation groups do. But if we tried to do that as a company, we wouldn’t be able to bring you a fraction of the full amount we currently release now twice a week.
That’s why I am an editor, not a translator. (Although ultimately I do have to thoroughly check things as if I were looking at it for the first time, comparing the Japanese original to the English to make sure it says exactly what the original language intended it to say, in the very same art style or as close as we can get, in a visually appealing way. It’s…….. a fun job.)
Yes. Part of our jobs as editors is to go through all that with a comb, making changes in both the language and art layout where necessary, to make sure everything looks as good as possible with an eye for perfection. A mistake or typo will OCCASIONALLY slip through because we are human, but to prevent myself from wanting to tear my own hair out and stab myself to death, I try my hardest to get things right before it is released. That’s just what it means to be professional. I couldn’t forgive myself for putting anything out into the world as a product of someone else’s art that was anything less than my best.*
*Sidenote: Perfectionism is a disease, not something to be proud of. Don’t try this at home, kids. It’s very unhealthy.
I kind of understand why the scanlation group in question called that particular title mediocre, though. I took a look today at the manga they insist on continuing to scanlate, years after its release. The official manga was translated and lettered by two different companies who we no longer work with at all (for a reason, clearly), and the font choices alone hurt my eyes and heart.
Four or five years ago, we were still basically a start-up company on the English side, growing very quickly but not having quite the standards of quality we have today. That is around the time when this particular manga was first published that this particular scanlation group used to judge Renta as a whole.
I would ask, however, that you judge us based on how we work today, and not how things were in the beginning. Our quality standards are so tight now that Renta!’s nsfw translated manga is of higher quality than huge companies that do big name series. Again, I’m not here to point fingers or make enemies, but I’m sure you could name a few titles yourself.
Try out something we’ve done in the last few years and then call me again. Preferably something done by me personally. I will stand by it. If you need recommendations, I have a ton!
“and they pay the parent publisher a fee for the rights to produce digital versions of those titles in English.”
Fact Check: FALSE
We pay the publisher of each artist a percentage of the sales for each specific manga according to individual contracts for each title. Occasionally we have contracts for “all the titles that come out from this artist under this publisher” but the money flows directly to them all the same.
We do not pay a margin (“MG”) for the rights to produce digital versions of those titles in English. That’s what all the other companies do, so maybe they just assumed this was true of us, too.
Artists get paid when people buy their work from us. End of story.
“Then they charge the unsuspecting and/or desperate reader exorbitant amounts of money to look at their outsourced mediocre scanlations.”
Fact Check: FALSE and FALSE
There are two points I’d like to address here.
The first is that we set a high price. Actually, with the way publishing works in Japan, we have little to no say in the price at all.
The PUBLISHER sets the price. You know… those people who, without which, the artists would not be able to get their books into book stores or sell physical OR digital copies without their support and cooperation. Yes them. They are sometimes a pain to work with because there are humans in those buildings and you know how that can be, but without them your artists would not get paid and you wouldn’t even know about their work because it wouldn’t exist, at least not in the format or reach it has today.
These are not self-published works or doujinshi. The manga industry would not exist without them.
If you wanted to do things legally instead of scanlating, you could actually contact the publishers and ask them directly for permission to get the rights to translate and sell an artist’s manga on your own site with your own translations and English lettering.
They will probably say no, because they have no trust in your ability to sell the manga or honor the contract so that artists would be compensated because of your history of giving their products away for free with no compensation. There’s also no guarantee on the quality. This is not a slam, it is just how the publishers would see an unknown group with no track record to prove you could make the artist (and of course the publisher) money by selling their works to a larger audience.
Do you understand where they’re coming from?
They were once a small group of people who wanted to get manga (and other books/publications obviously) out there into the world. That’s why there are so MANY of them, actually!
Another option would be to start your own publishing group, finding and nurturing your own artists until they get famous enough to sell to fans around the world. You could do things digitally or in print, but I dare you to imagine how it would feel to have YOUR hard work taken and distributed by free by individuals who think they’re doing you a favor.
If you can’t imagine how the publisher would feel, I’m sure you could imagine how it would feel as the artist.
Also, we literally have nothing to do with scanlating. Nothing we do is scanned by us, and therefore doesn’t need adjusting for quality. The publishers and artists give us their work directly. They send us the files from the original.
Do you know how amazing it feels to get a file where everything is zoomable down to the pixel, and every layer is separate so that with a click of the button you can make all the Japanese disappear?
We got a few covers this week like that, and I thought my senpai was going to pass out from joy. Removing the editing from the cover actually revealed art that wasn’t even VISIBLE on the Japanese original.
Just try to imagine and savor that feeling. It is… orgasmic.
Many times they will just send us a file that has already been combined and we do have to clean it. But when they send us those layer separated files… it’s just the best feeling you’ve ever had.
“The original artists get paid royalties for the digital copies – but those royalties amount to peanuts, basically. The artists are getting screwed, the consumers are getting screwed, and Renta is raking in money for doing virtually nothing.”
Fact Check: FALSE
As I said before, the artists get paid a percentage of the sales. The artists ARE getting screwed, but not by us.
And trust me, Renta is not raking in money for the work we do. If it were, we would be demanding raises. Every single one of us works here out of love. We are broke. Sad tear. I tell you that not so you will pity me, but so you will understand the absurdity of what you said in that quote.
If you want to support a starving artist, you can make direct deposits to my paypal account. Just lemme know.
This turned into a long post so I’ll pause here, although there is one more group who was talking badly about us out of sheer misinformation, and I will address that in a future blog.
Let me wrap up this blog by saying something very important:
Manga artists hate it when people scanlate their work. However, they love Renta! for what we do, because we are not some terrible company. We are a legitimate bookstore run by otaku trying to make a difference and do things the right way. Did you see the exclusive illustrations that Ikuyasu, Wacoco Waco, Kyohei Azumi, and Tsutako Tsurusawa drew for us?
They drew… exclusive illustrations of their hot af characters… just for Renta! users. They made announcements on their own official twitter accounts about it. They responded to my public comments that I was able to make directly where I shared links to their work. They retweeted MY announcements and commented on them. The publisher retweeted me, too. I get to communicate with all our artists frequently on twitter and they constantly tell me how happy they are that we translated their titles with care.
No scanlation group in their right mind would announce directly to the artist that you’re releasing their work insisting they should be grateful to you. And I think you know why.
That is the difference.
Please stop spreading misinformation. If you have genuine questions, ask me! I will try to respond. If I don’t know the answer, I will ask people in the business who do. But to continue releasing manga that we’ve already got for sale that actually supports the artists, that’s just mean, entitled, unjustified, and hurtful to the artist, to the publisher, and everyone else involved. In fact I think it gives a bad name to scanlator groups who try to do the right thing and remove the licensed work of artists they claim to love.
Please don’t be the black sheep of this family.
For more information about why piracy hurts artists and how Renta actually works, please read this post by Chase, another full-time editor here in our office who knows what he’s talking about.
Or read this blog by an actual published author in English-language novels/fiction whose explanation was very easy to understand.
To compliment my post about all the full books we released in June, this blog will be a compilation of all the ongoing or completed series we released by the chapter! If it’s still ongoing you’ll see it again next month, but if it’s completed I will mark it below with a (Series Completed!) notation.
In alphabetical order (probably):
Bossy Bottoms On Top! Volume 2
(ビッチなあの子の言うとおり！2・Bitch na Anoko no Iutouri 2)
by Yahiro Kaji
Link to Manga: https://www.ebookrenta.com/renta/sc/frm/item/138858
Desperate for Love! (Series Completed!)
(愛されたがりの尽くし方・Aisaretagari no Tsukushi Kata)
by Sachi Narashima
Link to Manga: https://www.ebookrenta.com/renta/sc/frm/item/139226
DragoStarPlayer ROMEO Part 3
by Asia Watanabe
Link to Manga: https://www.ebookrenta.com/renta/sc/frm/item/138865
Flowers Bloom as the Night Unravels (Series Completed!)
(夜がほどけて花が咲く・Yoru ga Hodokete Hana ga Saku)
Link to Manga: https://www.ebookrenta.com/renta/sc/frm/item/139296
From the Front-Line Base with Love
(前線基地から愛を込めて・Zensen Kichi Kara Ai wo Komete)
by Ichigo Satou
Link to Manga: https://www.ebookrenta.com/renta/sc/frm/item/127751
He Knows What I Do After Dark (Series Complete!)
(俺様な同期に夜の仕事がバレました・Ore-sama na Douki ni Yoru no Shigoto ga Baremashita)
by Yuki Matsushita
Link to Manga: https://www.ebookrenta.com/renta/sc/frm/item/139297
Kiss and Tell
(秘密はキスで暴かれる・Himitsu wa Kiss de Abakareru)
by Anna Takamura
Link to Manga: https://www.ebookrenta.com/renta/sc/frm/item/138957
Lovesick Odd Couple
Link to Manga: https://www.ebookrenta.com/renta/sc/frm/item/138948
Marriage in Prison: Bear My Child
(監獄マリッジ～オレの子を産め～・Kangoku Marriage Ore no Ko wo Ume)
Link to Manga: https://www.ebookrenta.com/renta/sc/frm/item/78623
My Hopeless Dreamer (Series Completed!)
(僕だけのロマンチスト・Boku Dake no Romantist)
by Nerima zim
Link to Manga: https://www.ebookrenta.com/renta/sc/frm/item/139230
My Love (Series Completed!)
by Minori Saku
Link to Manga: https://www.ebookrenta.com/renta/sc/frm/item/139213
My Sweet Cherry Boy
(僕のかわいい童貞くん・Boku no Kawaii Doutei-kun)
by Moko Tonda
Link to Manga: https://www.ebookrenta.com/renta/sc/frm/item/139151
Nice to Meet You, Please Touch Me (Series Completed!)
(はじめまして、触ってください。・Hajimemashite, Sawatte Kudasai.)
Link to Manga: https://www.ebookrenta.com/renta/sc/frm/item/139181
Nipple Bingo -Kishiwada, A Guy with Very Sensitive Nipples-
(チクBINGO★岸和田、乳首異常に感じるってよ・Chiku Bingo Kishiwada Chikubi Ijou ni Kanjirutteyo)
by Asuka Ibiki
Link to Manga: https://www.ebookrenta.com/renta/sc/frm/item/138846
One-Sided Sentimental Sensations (Series Completed!)
(一方通行レンアイ体質・Ippou Tsuukou Renai Taishitsu)
by Katsura Kojima
Link to Manga: https://www.ebookrenta.com/renta/sc/frm/item/139223
Only Guys Can Come Inside!? -Shared Housing with Gay Porn Stars-
(男の中に俺が1人！？ゲイビ男優とシェアハウス・Otoko no Naka ni Ore ga Hitori Geibi Danyuu to Shared House)
by Chihaya Magase
Link to Manga: https://www.ebookrenta.com/renta/sc/frm/item/138847
The Face I Like
(ぼくの好きなかお・Boku no Suki na Kao)
by Kunoi Aizawa
Link to Manga: https://www.ebookrenta.com/renta/sc/frm/item/139300
Those Eyes Should Be Illegal!!! (Series Completed!)
(テメーのその目は反則だッ！！・Teme no Sono Me wa Hansoku Da)
by Tomo Mitsuhashi
Link to Manga: https://www.ebookrenta.com/renta/sc/frm/item/139103
We Became the Wives of Beasts Today!?
(今日からケモノの男嫁さん！？・Kyou kara Kemono no Otokoyome-san)
by Kazuki Natsu
Link to Manga: https://www.ebookrenta.com/renta/sc/frm/item/139306
You’re My Extracurricular! (Series Completed!)
(放課後キミを我慢できない！・Houkago Kimi wo Gaman Dekinai)
by Takayuki Shidatsu
Link to Manga: https://www.ebookrenta.com/renta/sc/frm/item/139225
Want other completed stories by the book? See what full-length volumes we released in June!