Futaba-kun Change: About the US Translation from Studio Ironcat

Futaba-kun Change is now available in English from Studio Ironcat. Overall, they've done an excellent job with this adaptation and they're making efforts to correct some of the mistakes made with the early issues.

The first issues of Futaba-kun Change released by Studio Ironcat suffered from a poor print quality such that much of the linework lost its crispness, giving the images a slightly grainy appearance. The lettering font was very sharp-edged and impersonal and the first version of the title lettering was frankly amateurish.

However, the title lettering was revamped for issue #2 and again for #3, resulting in a title which is much more visually appealing. In addition, the general lettering font has been replaced with a much friendlier appearance and I've been told by Studio Ironcat that they have gone back to remaster the artwork of the original issues for the recently released trade paperback compilation of the first six issues. The trade paperback also features a cover sporting new, original artwork by Aro Hiroshi.

Where Studio Ironcat has excelled from the first is in the translation which is very accurate, capturing the context and feel of the characters. There are ample footnotes to explain the meanings of character and place names. Most significant though is that the manga is, for the most part, not printed in mirror-image. Since Japanese manga are printed from right-to-left, most English adaptations simply mirror-image the entire story to help readability for western readers. However, Studio Ironcat has taken great care to retain the original artwork by mirror-imaging the layout of the panels without mirror-imaging the panels themselves. On occasion, a given panel simply couldn't be kept from being mirror-imaged due to some part of the artwork passing over the panel border but the vast majority of panels retain their original, unflipped artwork. This attention to the artistic integrity of the original design is very laudable and helps to maintain Hiroshi Aro's original intent. As an extra bonus, every issue features a full-color version of the original chapter titles from the manga. (You can see some of these covers at Studio Ironcat's FKC cover gallery.)

Unfortunately, many of you are having difficulty locating a comic shop which carries Futaba-kun Change. If your local shop doesn't carry it, tell them to. Some shops will only order non-mainstream titles if they have someone promising to buy them. Try setting up a subscription through your local shop. If that doesn't work, don't shop there. If all else fails, you can order Futaba-kun Change directly from Studio Ironcat at http://www.ironcat.com/.

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