Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Akagi Chapter 57

Last update of August, but the first chapter of the Washizu Arc! This took me close to a week to fully translate and edit, just because of the sheer density of the pages and the fact that whole chunks of it got skipped over by the anime. But nonetheless, I've got it out, and will be working on 58. No translation of 115 yet, sorry to say.

- We learn the name of the guy who finds Yukio's body: "Asanuma Kouichi"
- More expansion on why Asanuma chose to investigate the people in the forest.
- The idea of keeping the Autopsy results a secret from the public, which fails.
- More explanation on Yasuoka's relationship to Yukio.
- A few moments in Yasuoka and Ohgi's meeting

Whoa, a whole chapter without Akagi! Well, he's on the cover, and gets mentioned at the end... but that hardly counts. A lot of the stuff that got cut out in the anime was pretty reasonable; we didn't need to know how much of a grudge Asanuma had against the trash-dumpers, nor did we need the longer explanation of who the corpse was. But there are some things that were important, most of which were in the meeting at the end... the manga explains that Ohgi and the Inada group were simply doing business by getting free labor in exchange for a little gamble, whereas the Anime sort of skipped over with that, leaving an impression that Ohgi was the one who'd kidnapped Yukio and all that.

Also, by my count, Yasuoka's partner says "Senpai" 5 times here, whereas he only said it once in the Anime. He's also a bit more serious and talks on equal terms to Yasuoka in the Anime, whereas in the Manga he's more submissive. But that's nothing new; the anime makes Yasuoka and Ohgi less shout-y and cowardly during Washizu Mahjong.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Akagi Chapter 114

All right! New Akagi! This time, we find out what will happen now that Washizu can no longer draw a ton...!

- Akagi breaks up his Tenpai to avoid dealing the ton, and is thus out of the game.
- The rules for deciding a draw are discussed in more detail
- Yasuoka deals a risky tile to avoid being in Noten if the game is a draw.
- Washizu is about to Riichi, but something tells him to hold off on it...!

Wow, 2 discards got made this chapter! Heh, but really, it was interesting to hear the three players' rationale. I liked the explanation on draws, as well, since that was something I'd been wondering for a while about Washizu Mahjong. Not much to say, I guess... Good chapter, though.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Akagi Chapter 113

As promised, here's chapter 113, in record time! ...-ish. By my records. Which I make up daily. In any event, the round heats up some more, and it ends with one of the players in a bit of a pickle!

Also, I'm planning on having the Mahjong Day at this Saturday, at 11:00 PM GMT. Kind of early for the Americans, but it should work overall. Yell at me if you can't make it in time.

- Washizu deals the 3-pin from his tenpai, but does not riichi, as his hand can still grow.
- Ohgi remarks at how strange it is for him to be in tenpai without Riiching.
- Akagi draws Washizu's winning tile, the Ton, with a notable lack of Zawas.

Yeah, I think I said something about a lot happening in these chapters. Well, it felt like a lot happened, but looking on it now, it was mostly Washizu and Ohgi analyzing the situation. Still entertaining, but I'm seeing where the copious amounts of padding are kicking in.

Personally, I thought of the Suu An Kou thing back in 112 when I saw his tenpai... but apparently that's not what he's waiting for, so I can't take any credit. I do like how close to real-time this is, even if that makes it slow... I imagine Washizu and Ohgi really would be having internal monologues to help calm themselves down at this point.

In other news, I've decided to work on the earlier chapters of Akagi in between translations of the later ones, but the later ones still take priority. No new translations at present, but it shouldn't be long until 114.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Akagi Chapter 112

Bam! New Akagi in 2 days! Well, it may have helped that Sasayaki Yako did all the translating for me. And that she's generally awesome to work with all around. But in any event, the exciting start of the East 4th Round is now upon us!

Oh, and I'm thinking of doing a Mahjong day on on the weekend; I'm not sure what time zones you guys have, so if you want to play with us, leave a comment saying what times would work for you, and I'll  work out the best time based on that. ^^

- The players get their starting hands, Akagi's being of a higher "Shan Ten" than Washizu's by a long shot.
- Ohgi feels confident they've won the round, but Akagi senses something unusual. The round is a "Toitsu-Ba", and his hand is primarily sequences.
- As Akagi suspected, Washizu's Ton gets paired up. Akagi and Yasuoka get into Tenpai, but Washizu follows them there in only a few turns.

You know, I thought that most of these chapters would have lots of padding and suspense to them to stretch a few rounds over 12 volumes, but I'm happy to say that, from these last couple chapters at least, there's a good amount of stuff happening in each one. It's not as jam-packed full of gameplay per chapter as the Nakai arc, for sure, but that allows for more introspection and twists within a single round.

Also, is this the first time in the whole series that we've gotten to hear Akagi's thoughts during the game? Well, besides Chapter 107 where he just thinks about how much he's dominating... This actually goes through what he has to consider and where the danger lies. I think we get to hear Yasuoka's thoughts in the next chapter... so after that, will we hear Suzuki's? That would make it so we've heard every named character's thoughts in the room. That's just cool to me for some reason.

As for the game itself, Akagi seems to have his finger on the pulse of the game no matter what, so he can tell where the flow is going... it's not just reading people, he can read inanimate objects and theoretical concepts! It's only because of Washizu's luck that he is in any sort of danger. Should be an exciting round.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Akagi Chapter 56

And the final chapter of the Nakai arc is up, just in time to entirely miss the weekend rush! This one was probably the best of the whole arc, resolving the whole arc, as well as Osamu and Akagi's relationship, very nicely.

Also, I should point out that there are probably a number of polls on the sidebar by this point, but the first one is the one I'm really interested in; what I should do after this if I have time in between Yako's translations. I'm interested in starting some other manga, but you might want to have the gaps filled in in Akagi first.

As usual, and especially for this chapter, read it or be spoiled!

-Nakai changes up the signals to his partners, but still loses the South 2nd and 3rd rounds.
-Nakai gets a Baiman hand in the South Fourth, but Akagi puts a stop to it by turning his own signals against him.
-Akagi gives Osamu his money back and walks away into the night.
-Nakai explains to Osamu why he can't go with Akagi; they are too different.

If there's one thing this arc did as a whole, it was wrap up the Urabe arc... Now we know why Akagi didn't stick around with Osamu. But I still feel kind of sad that he did leave Osamu... I think he had a real connection, but Osamu is the first person that he's ever done so with, so he doesn't know how to handle it and just leaves without saying good-bye, like he's done his whole life to that point. It makes me wonder if they ever met up again in the over 20 years between the presumed end of Akagi and the start of Ten... accidentally or otherwise. Akagi definitely changed Osamu's life, and probably felt good about himself for doing it... which helps to explain why he's more sociable by the time we see him in Ten.

As for Nakai himself, I found him a morally unethical person for the most part, but the final pages of this chapter made me have a bit of respect for him... he lost all the money he has, but he doesn't break down and cry, he takes it like a man and licks his wounds. I do get why he cheated, since he had to have a backup plan and stuff, but it makes him seem really rotten after all that talk about Akagi being nothing but a cheater. A good antagonist overall, and helped to show how little hustling would work on Akagi.

As for the 3 rounds covered in the chapter, Akagi definitely fulfilled his promise to Osamu that he'd go on a winning streak; the only round in the South set he lost was his turn as dealer, and that helped speed things along anyway. Nakai was already defeated in Chapter 55, looking back... but it was totally badass that Akagi figured out their new signals without really needing to at any point. Nakai lost the South Fourth Round as soon as he got into Tenpai; that 1-man single wait required that he either play it himself to change up his wait or have his Right-Hand ally play it, allowing Akagi to Atama Hane.

Overall, a very worthwhile arc, IMO. I think Madhouse should do an OVA of it at least, if they don't use it as "Flashback Filler" sometime in Season 2 of the anime. It really gave some depth to Akagi's character that we didn't have before, and resolved the Urabe arc nicely.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Akagi Chapter 55

Whoo, School takes a lot of energy... I feel like I took a long time on this chapter, but maybe it wasn't all that long, seeing how it was only 4 days. But anyway, 55 is up, and Nakai is beginning to feel the heat, even with his advantage. As always, read the chapter or be spoiled!

- Akagi explains to Osamu how Nakai and his friends are cheating, while picking up his favorite brand of cigarettes.
- We hear Osamu explain the signals that Nakai and pals use as they happen.
- Nakai wins a hand off his Rightmost buddy and smugly states that he's catching up to Akagi.
- Nakai gets another hand from his Rightmost buddy, but is Atama Hane'd. He suspects that Akagi figured out the signals, but can't believe that he could have done it so fast.
- After winning a cheap hand and advancing to the South Set, Nakai gets his leftmost buddy to deal in to avoid an Atama Hane again, but Akagi stops it by forcing him to take a cheap direct hit instead.
- Nakai has had it, and takes his Allies to the bathroom to change their signals.

Akagi is such a beast. What's his reaction to having to fight 3v1? "I'm up against 3 amateurs... I'll take them apart quick." I've read ahead, so I won't spoil anything, but the next chapter is freaking amazingly badass. As was this chapter... pretty much any time there's an Atama Hane, it's badass to the extreme.

Also, I like how Nakai doesn't know his own teammates' names. It's like he has a whole closet full of partners and these two were just the first he grabbed. They have names, man! Unless they actually are "Kami Cha" and "Shimo Cha" (the japanese names for the seats on either side of you)... which would make you wonder what their parents were thinking. Also, the Left one, at least, seems quite dumb from what Nakai says... if he couldn't recognize that there are certain times not to follow orders (and wait to deal the 9-pin when the turn comes back around), he really is an amateur. Or maybe Nakai was also worried about Akagi getting a tsumo on his next turn. But I don't like the generic-ness of these partners either way.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Akagi Chapter 54

And the thrilling 54th chapter of Akagi is now up! And I'm starting school tomorrow! So I'll probably be slowing down a little bit just 'cause of the added schoolwork and stuff.

In other news, with an overwhelming majority for the option on the poll, I've decided to finish the Nakai arc before I work on Sasayaki's translations. It doesn't go on for much longer, now that I look at it... a really short arc, but entertaining nonetheless.

Finally, the Mediafire version of Chapter 54 has a bit of bonus content from the volume that you can't see on Mangafox (you can also get it in the Volume 6 zip, though). There's an advert for the Live Action version of Akagi, as well as one for a cool-looking manga called "Teppen", which is also about Mahjong. Maybe we'll get it translated someday. Dunno.

-After losing two more hands to Akagi, Nakai wins a quick hand to end his reign of dealership.
-Nakai goes on to win three more hands, one by Tsumo and one a Direct Hit Dealer Mangan from Akagi.
-Akagi excuses himself to go buy some more cigarettes, and tells Osamu to fill in for him. Nakai refuses to play Osamu, and insists that they come back quickly.
-Akagi explains that Nakai is cheating with the help of the other two at the table; it's 3-against-1.
-Akagi goes through the first hand Nakai won using cute chalk drawings.

Yeah, remember when I guessed that Nakai was more of a hustler than an actual gambler? Well, look who was right. The average person (aka Osamu) would get torn apart by this combination play... It should be quite the feat for Akagi to beat Nakai at his own game in these next couple chapters.

Also, Akagi using chalk drawings to explain the game to Osamu. There's no need to do it... Osamu remembers well enough, and we get the full shot of the hand to look at. We also have no idea where he got this chalk; it just appears out of nowhere. Apparently, he just found some chalk, and decided "hey, I could use this". Or maybe there were some kids nearby who were scared off by his being Akagi. Who knows. But one thing that's for sure is that the way he draws the 1-pin is really cute. It's just... a circle with a "1" in it. Granted, no one ever said he was an artist, but still... that's one for the fandom alongside the Monkey Toys at the factory he was in, and Yukio's arms sticking out of the ground. I demand to see it in AMVs of akagi from now on!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Akagi Chapter 111

And the Washizu arc continues! As I mentioned, a big thanks to Sasayaki Yako for doing the translation so quickly. FKMTkrazy is now our group name, so there's no need to change everything around on my twitter and stuff. Which makes me Sonickrazy again. Yay!

Also, I've re-organized the Washizu section of my mediafire so there's not a huge gap in between 107 and 111. Part 1 is of everything in the Anime, Part 2 is of the 5th Hanchan, and if we get to it, Part 3 will be of the 6th. I may add a part 1.5 if it gets too crowded in Part 1, but it should make it easier to navigate.

Finally, I have a poll on the sidebar where you can give me feedback as to how I should balance doing the two arcs at the same time. I don't want to give up the Nakai arc entirely, but I put that as an option to get some feedback as to how many people are interested in it.

- Washizu rants to himself about how he needs to Tsumo to fight Akagi
- Washizu gets a Chii Toi Tsu tenpai, and chooses the hand more likely for a tsumo over that where a Ron is possible.
- Akagi deals into Yasuoka's hand to stop Washizu's Riichi
-Washizu makes another Chii Toi Tsu, but is stopped by Akagi's hand, which has the exact same number of outs.

Wow, lots happens in this one. Washizu definitely has the right idea with his Tsumos; Akagi will never deal in if it's not beneficial to him. Other than that, not much to say, this was just a very busy chapter that leads up to future badassery and tension.

Also, I realize that some of you have read the spoilers of the chapters to come, but I haven't, so please try and keep them out of the comments section. I don't like to read spoilers if I can avoid it; it just feels like taking all the tension out of the manga and getting instant gratification when the whole point of the manga IS tension... but yeah, I guess it's up to you whether you read them or not.

Currently, I'm planning to get Akagi 54 out next... if you think that's a bad idea, yell at me and I'll just release it whenever I get a chance to come back to Nakai.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Akagi Chapter 53

And a sparkly new chapter of Akagi is up, right on time! Lots and lots happens in this one... I'm surprised I did it as fast as I did. As always, read the chapter first, or be spoiled!

- Nakai agrees to bet an arm on the match... which then turns into all his money.
- Nakai convinces Akagi to battle him and sets the rules
- Akagi bets Osamu's paycheck and all the money in his pockets, and doesn't mind that Nakai's share is significantly smaller than his
- Nakai gets suspicious of foul play, so he takes them to a different Mahjong Parlor
- Akagi wipes the floor with Nakai in the first Renchan of the match, and claims he'll finish Nakai off in the East First Round.

Yeah, Nakai's a shady little guy. You can tell he has something up his sleeve, but you can't really pinpoint what it is from the information provided... though I noticed that Akagi's expression changed from a disinterested scowl to an intrigued grin on page 185... right when Nakai asked him to choose a mahjong parlor. Maybe that has something to do with what his so-called "backup plan" is. I think Akagi knows, and is threatening to finish him off quick if he doesn't use it. Should be fun to see.

You've gotta love how willing Akagi is to gamble with money that isn't really his. He doesn't even take it back when the .5 Million he had in his pockets is shown to be more than enough to match what Nakai has. Just goes to show how confident he is that he'll win. Something else that gets characterized further in this chapter is Akagi's "life before living" theme... normal people would take their money down to where Nakai's is to avoid risking their whole life, but not Akagi. He keeps it up at 1.5 Mil because he wants to have an exciting battle, even though he could be at an advantage. And that's why he's cool.

EDIT: Forgot to mention... Osamu is really turning into the comic relief, isn't he? There was just that one moment in the Urabe arc where he got manhandled by Ishikawa, but now he's getting the short end of the stick with Akagi, too... though you've gotta love how he reacted to Akagi saying he wanted to fight. Made me chuckle a bit when I was translating it.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Akagi Chapter 100

A bit of a surprise release here, unless you've been stalking my mangafox account... Sasayaki Yako allowed me to revise her release of chapter 100, so I figured I may as well do that. I'm not gonna do a whole analysis here, since it's kind of hard to just jump in the middle of things, but this was a really fun chapter to do with all the shouting and stuff.

So basically, I asked Sasayaki if she wanted to translate from Chapter 111 onwards about 4 months ago... she just responded and said that I was free to redo 100 if I wanted and that she'd start on translating! So new chapters are in the works, both of the Nakai arc and Washizu arc. We'll see which one is faster at releases. Akagi 53 should be out tomorrow.

Oh, and with the addition of 100, I've re-uploaded the volume 11 and 12 complete zips on my mediafire. Dunno if it's worth a re-download, but both of them are certainly looking more complete.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Akagi Chapter 52

All right, as it turns out, I only have a week before I need to go back to school... they should not start school while it's still summer, I say.

But that aside, Akagi 52 now up, my first-ever release with nothing but new content!

- Everything!

...Ok, that list is now obsolete. How about...

- Nakai introduces himself, more or less
- Osamu's game is ripped to shreds by Nakai
- Nakai tries to bribe Osamu into introducing him to Akagi, but Akagi saves him the trouble
- Osamu gets paycheck of 1 Mil from Akagi
- Akagi tries to leave, but is stopped by Nakai

Yeah, Nakai isn't exactly the most loveable character the world has ever known, but that's fine for a villain. He does make some pretty big assumptions in the chapter, but they're pretty logical after the initial assumption that Osamu is some kind of employee of Akagi's... and that Akagi is a normal person. I don't know how much of a threat Nakai will actually be to Akagi... he's overconfident to the point where he makes an estimate about Akagi's ability based on the rumors alone, and his debunking of Osamu's game did have a fair amount of hindsight bias, despite his claims otherwise. So we'll have to see what kind of game he'll play; he hasn't given out much indication of how good he is.

Akagi sure chose the most inconvenient time to go looking for Osamu, didn't he? If he didn't show up at exactly that moment, we might not have had a story... which, come to think of it, is probably what happened off-screen in the Anime. He certainly doesn't look very pleased to be forced into a battle with Nakai... the smile literally dropped off his face once Mahjong was mentioned.

So, here's what I hope we'll get out of this arc: More on the relationship between Osamu and Akagi, Information on just how much cheating was done during the Urabe arc, and how Akagi will do playing against someone he really doesn't want to. Two of those are pretty much granted, but only time will tell to what extent. 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Akagi Chapter 51

Whooooooooooahhhh! Nakai arc in full swing! As it turns out, this chapter went by really fast... probably because I had half of it done already. But yeah, don't expect another update until the end of the week, or you may be disappointed... Homework and all. But after this week, I'm done, so I'll have a full month until I need to go back to school in the fall. And just in time for new content! Oh, and go read the chapter if you haven't, obviously.

- Everything after Akagi's speech to Osamu!!

All right, new content! And, uh, Akagi talking to Urabe about how worthless he is. We gotta sit through that too. See if you can spot the exact moment the manga takes a sharp turn from the anime and heads down the Nakai road.

...Okay, I'll tell you. See, in the Anime, Akagi pretty much said that he really wished Urabe had accepted so he could have a life-or-death battle with him... which provides a great segue into the Washizu arc that they skip to. In the manga, however, Akagi is more down-to-earth, stating simply that Urabe was never angry enough to accept his offer to begin with, then going on to say that he'll always put "staying alive before living", which is a major theme for this coming arc, firstly by driving Osamu to be more serious about gambling and try to better his game through Akagi's words of wisdom. I'm definitely glad we're getting more characterization from both Akagi and Osamu during this arc; I felt like I didn't really know much about their relationship with just what the Anime gave.

As for Osamu's actual game at the parlor, I guess the "Robbing a Kan" rule wasn't around back in these days... though I distinctly remember it in the Tetsuya anime. I dunno, maybe that rule isn't in the Kansai variant or something. If it were, Osamu would definitely play the 9-pin and take the 2-sou closed wait, since he apparently thought the player to his right was in Tenpai. If it isn't, it also explains why Urabe did the two kans in the South Third Round of his game, since kans would be totally safe without that rule.

But nevertheless, he took a chance and made a kan to get a safer tile on his Dead Wall draw, which he did, and then riichi'd with it for his 1-sou single wait. It wasn't a horrible call, per se, but he definitely needs to find a way of figuring out what's in people's hands better.

And finally, first impression of Nakai: he's really rude, and speaks in a very heavy Kansai dialect, making it hard for my formalized comprehension to... comprehend. I haven't read much further than this chapter, but overall I get the impression that he's more of a hustler than a real gambler, who just wants to beat the Legend of Mahjong at his own game. He does have some real mahjong experience, though, as is explored in the next chapter. Should be an interesting battle.

Ah, and the winner of the "Nakai's Laugh" poll was... "hnn-hn-hn...", by a phenomenal 1 vote! Now he will say "hnn-hn-hn..." whenever he laughs! I'm sure you're all very honored to have chosen the nasal sound a character in a manga makes. I certainly feel privileged to have taken part, myself.