Crayotic Knows Everything: Strawberry Marshmallow vol.1 (and a rant)
I picked up volume 1 of Strawberry Marshmallow today, and being an overbearing fanboy dick, naturally I decided to compare various chapters of it to the Ichigo Marshimaro scanlations.
From what I can tell, it does look like "fanservice" is still all a go, so that's one worry hopefully taken care of.
However, sadly it seems that the adaptation is less than a steller performance here. While not anywhere near early Negima levels of atrocities, it seems as though the writers haven't really "got" the characters of Nobue and more importantly, Miu—who the series really hinges on.
Nobue who was originally cool in a laid-back sorta way is now more of a "wow I'm fucking cool; James Dean is a pussy" rebel teen (and by that I obviously mean using dated collequisms. Because nothing says Fucking Cool like "let's saddle up and ride!") and in turn looses a lot of the biased affection she displays for Matsuri in the process.. not to mention everyone else, as she comes across as having much less time for these kids antics as she does in other adaptations.
And Miu just looses a lot of her weird and inappropriately direct personality by way of structure and writing her dialogue more "normal". Possible that the person responsible for this assumed the original was just typical wacky Japanese speech, and not something important to her character.
I base these character assessments not just on the scanlations but also the fansubs and DVD release of the series, so I think the odds are with me on this one. It's not a slopjob by far, but I honestly don't know if the appeal is going to be there with Miu-lite instead of the real thing.
I will also add that Tokyopop doesn't deal with honorifics, and while I can let "Mats" slide for Matsuri-chan, turning Onee-chan into "Nobby" is just straight up retarded. Find me a woman who finds the term endeering and I'm getting laid that night.
Dialogue topics also seem to differ quite frequently from the scanlations, although it seems to be for pretty minor stuff, and I'm not really willing to say the scanlators got it right in the first place anyway.
You see, it may seem like I'm being a whiny bitch about this (and you'd be partially right), but I've long said that creative adaptation for any old manga isn't necessarly the end of the world, but if you're doing it for a comedy series, you better know how the hell to write Funny. Knowing the punchline isn't just enough, because the wrong sentence structure or choosing of words can kill a joke dead in the water (or at least reduce it's effectiveness, which is what happens in quite a few cases here).
Least of all you have to know your audience's mindset of what's funny. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that's possibly why scanlators do tend to do a better job with comedy translations (from my experience); because they're more in touch with the fans, and most likely being internet geeks, are a part of making what's funny each day, rather than lifting some several year old puns that they saw on Animal House.*
*The above has absolutely no factual information to back this up. But c'mon, are these people in charge of adapting and translating the same kinds of people that spend all their paycheques on anime and manga and run their own fanboy blog? And even then, are they funny?
Not to mention that in many cases verbal gags and reactions work better with less complicated dialogue. The more you try to get away from the literal translation by peppering it up with cliches and extra "zing", the more likely it can detract from the actual punchline (of course there's many instances where it doesn't matter, but it's safe rule if you don't know what the hell you're doing).
But yeah, if you're not a huge Ichigo Mashimaro fan or just don't not really that fussed over details, then you'll probably get a lot more milage out of it. It's certainly not an atrocity like I may have made out, but that rant was something I had to get off my chest for a while.
I'm too tired and strapped for cash to be getting more entertainment out of free internet translations than the official ones, that's all.