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Lost without translation: manga we’d love to see localized

Over the last few decades, manga has found a large audience in America and other western countries. It’s great to see comics obtain followings beyond national borders, but unfortunately, not every series gets localized. Many manga fans have series they would like to read but can’t due to a lack of translated versions. The AiPT! staff discussed this topic, and here are some of their dream series they’d love to read.

Eric Cline’s Picks:

As a lifelong Digimon fan, the main manga that I wish would get an official English translation is Digimon Adventure V-Tamer 01. It ran from 1998 to 2003 and was the longest-running Digimon manga ever. The series had nine volumes worth of content that American fans have sadly never gotten access to. It’s more or less the biggest Digimon saga that never made it stateside.

It also has the cutest Gabumon in the history of the franchise.

V-Tamer featured an alternate version of Digimon Adventure’s main protagonist, Taichi Yagami, as well as variety of cute side characters. There were a lot of badass villains (the Arcadiamon line was particularly cool), plus multiple crossovers featuring characters from the franchise’s various anime series. There’s just so much to dig! Though I know Digimon’s American popularity is way past its peak, I still can’t help but feel sad this series never made its way over here.

As unlikely as a V-Tamer translation is, even more unlikely is the prospect of the Suikoden V manga getting localized. Suikoden III had a manga that got released in English, but the Suikoden V manga had no such luck. The fifth (and final) game was my favorite in the entire series because of its charming world-building, political intrigue plot, and gigantic cast of characters. I would love to read the elusive adaptation, but it wasn’t meant to be. I actually own a few of the volumes in Japanese, but for now I’m stuck just admiring the artwork.

Mark Buckeldee’s Picks:

A lot of Naoki Urasawa’s works have been translated into English: Monster, 20th Century Boys, Pluto, and Master Keaton. However, his most recent and most ambitious series still hasn’t been licensed. Billy Bat is a 20 volume series following cartoonist Kevin Yamagata and his realisation that he may not be the first person to have created his character Billy Bat.

Billy Bat covers over 2000 years, exploring the history of the Bat and it’s influence on history. The series features a range of intermingling stories set across multiple continents and time periods, often involving historical figures. This really lets Urasawa stretch his legs with the different settings and character designs.

Viz has a history of translating Weekly Shounen Jump sports manga, including Eyeshield 21, Prince of Tennis, and most recently, Haikyu!!. Current Jump series Hinomaru Zumo is the story of Onimaru, a high school student who dreams of becoming a Yokozuna. Unfortunately, Hinomaru is seen as too short and light to be a professional Sumo wrestler.

Hinomaru is a compelling protagonist, with a huge disadvantage but with a confidence and strength of will that sets him apart from other underdogs. It has a high school setting but the focus is on the world of Sumo. The action scenes are well-drawn and the characters are varied with a mix of designs and personalities but often with a singular goal: to become the next Japanese Yokozuna.

Starting in 1989 and running at over 1200 chapters, Hajime no Ippo is one of the longest running manga. George Morikawa’s series channels the author’s love of boxing. The series’ namesake, Ippo Makanouchi, is a victim of bullying until a boxer helps him out. Taking up boxing to build up his confidence, the series follows Ippo’s journey in boxing.

The series covers both the training and fights in detail. The art in the fight scenes is incredible. The series has developed a sprawling cast of boxers and the antics of these boxers is as entertaining as the action. While the series has started to lose its way over time the early years truly deserve to be seen by U.S. manga readers.

Madeleine Sisco’s Pick:

Ace of Diamond. This is cheating a little bit as AoD did get licensed for English translation by Kodansha this time last year, but they have yet to release a physical copy. For a series that has over 500 chapters, 300 anime episodes, and is one of the most recognizable sports manga in Japan, I find it so weird that it took this long for it to get licensed and there’s still no physical release in sight. Ace of Diamond is my favorite sports manga ever, and that’s coming from someone who used to read A LOT of sports manga. The trademarks of the genre like crazy designs, drawn-out games/matches, and ridiculous abilities aren’t present here and instead what takes its place is a pure and realistic story of kids who just want to get better at their passion. The main team doesn’t always win, and the protagonists aren’t always the aces, which all comes together to be a wonderful story about self-improvement and the excitement of high school sports.

Trevor Richardson’s Pick:

It’s been really cool seeing manga adaptations of the various Legend of Zelda games hitting bookstores across the US, but where is the adaptation of my most favorite Zelda game, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker?! Futabasha put out a comedic, parody manga in the yonkoma, or four cell style, that includes super cute, super funny scenarios from across Wind Waker’s story.

From the couple of fan translations I’ve seen float around online, I can safely say I need this manga on my bookshelf. There’s a great strip that involves Link mistakenly throwing a bomb plant right at the King of Red Lions’ face that is hysterical and provides a great reaction image that I ought to use more. Breath of the Wild has clearly breathed (wink) new life into the Zelda franchise and given us an open world worthy of Hylia and the goddesses’ approval, but Wind Waker will always have my favorite cast of weird pirates, cool bird people, and adorable forest sprites. If this manga ever gets localized, I’ll be at my local bookstore waiting outside the day it’s released.

Do you agree with these picks? What manga would you love to see localized? Let us know in the comments below!


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