Today I bought the second volume of your release to Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei. As with the first volume, I enjoyed this release immensely. The mere statement that I went and bought your release is a testament to the high regard in which I hold it. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I gave a set of both of your releases a girl as a present. As she is not much of an anime/manga person, the work you put into the translation notes helped her to enjoy it almost as much as I did. To give you some idea of how excited I was to purchase this volume, I woke up early at 12:30pm in order to go to the nearest Barnes & Noble bookseller. After a 20 minute drive, I was shocked to see that this particular store did not have either volume of the manga on its shelves. I then ran back to my car, and drove another hour to the next nearest bookstore, this time a Hastings. Unfortunately, I did not see SZS there, either. I did pick up a Jethro Tull CD which turned out to be a Guitar World CD in a Jethro Tull CD’s packaging, but that’s a different story, that was probably best left out of this letter. Anyway, I drove another 5 minutes to another Barnes & Noble, which had only volume one on the shelves. Disregarding my first instinct to run away, I walked up and asked a clerk on duty if they had the second volume on sale. They did, and I bought two, in the process, depleting 66% of the store’s stock. I was glad when I finally made it home to sit down and read this latest volume.
However, there is always something that has left me with a bit of a sour taste in my mouth with each volume. For example, translating “Pink Supervisor” as “Pink Branch Manager” in Volume 1. (Although it kind of makes up for itself because it makes a pun, intentional or not, I’m not sure) In Volume 2, though, I noticed a lot more of the japanese words left in, such as “miai” for “arranged marriage”, as well as other words that can be easily explained without having to flip to the translation notes in back. There comes a point where leaving in romanized Japanese crosses the line between succinctly stating a point (the word still needs to be explained first, but in many cases is easily substituted with an English equivalent instead) and becoming a baka gaijin weeaboo circle jerk, which this volume very nearly crossed in this volume. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to be harsh, but this unnatural sounding hybrid of English and Japanese comes off sounding like an obsessed fangirl spouting off kawaii and other words in Japanese with every sentence. It’s really distracting from the main point of the manga. (See chapter 100, “An Artist By The Roadside”, for more details on the effect it has on a person reading your esteemed publication)
Finally, as we all know, human civilization is to end in late-2012. At your current release rate of 4 volumes per year, you will reach volume 16 by the end of 2012. And with world events edging the direction they are, I am extremely worried that your esteemed publishing house, which I believe is located in New York, is a prime target for a pre-emptive nuclear strike, breeding ground for infectious diseases, or if we were to follow the storyline of an old video game, both. The loss to your publishing department would be devastating, to say the least. Even more devastated would be the fans let down because a nuclear war left them with no quality material to read. I, for one, wish to carry a sizable collection of SZS with me into a post-apocalyptic wasteland. I’m sure that there are tens of other Americans willing to do the same. In fact, I think that SZS would give me a different view on the radically new Earth that I would be forced to confront, hell, it may even make me laugh.
As such, I’m looking forward to your next release in August.