Friday, June 22, 2012

HERO Chapter 1

Well, if you thought Death Pie was the surprise I was hinting at in the last Akagi post, you'll be surprised to find that the real surprise is more surprising than that surprise you were surprised at earlier! So, Surprise! We have for you the first chapter of Hero: Gyakkyou no Tohai! For those of you not in the know, Hero is the sequel to Fukumoto's classic manga, Ten, which is the manga that Akagi was based off of! And now, the English-Speaking world will finally be able to continue this epic saga!

When I read Hero for the first time, I was expecting it to be similar to Washizu - Enma no Tohai in style... an alternate interpretation on the history of the Ten universe that would be interesting, but not anywhere near as meaningful or innovative as the series it spun off from. Well, gentlemen, I am happy to report that I was mistaken. You can feel Fukumoto's writing in every page of this sequel, and there was clearly no part of it that got through without Fukumoto saying yes to it. So I consider this a worthy addition to the FKMT collection, and certainly worth taking a break from Akagi to scanlate. :)

Oh, and by the way, if you haven't read Ten yet, you can find it here. Please don't read Hero until you've finished Ten all the way; there are spoilers for the end of Ten from the very first page and I feel like you'll enjoy it much more if you know what happened before. Thank you.

And what better way to celebrate the release of Hero to the english-speaking world than by coming to Mahjong Day on Saturday at 23:00 GMT (5:00 MST)?! I certainly can't think of anything. Thanks to Crump for the cleans and to Kazuhiko for the typesetting!

"Three years ago today, Akagi-San departed from our world..."

Well, from the moment I saw the opening page to this chapter, I knew that it was going to be something special. Akagi's memory is handled very respectfully, but they don't dwell on it so much that it takes away from the present. Kind of a "and the world keeps on going" vibe. But this manga is primarily about Hiro, and how he will carry out the advice that Akagi gave him before he passed away.

As for the art style, I feel like it remains very true to the original style while not altogether copying it. Maeda Jirou is one of Fukumoto's assistants, and it's mentioned in the omake at the end of Volume 2 that found something very special in the Ten Manga, and wanted to see the story continue. So Fukumoto is still co-writing this manga, but Maeda also gives it his own interpretation, making sure that nothing usurps what Fukumoto has created in the Ten universe. I feel like he changed Hiro's appearance a bit more than the other characters, giving him more of a messy hairstyle and changing his eyes and nose a bit. Ten's hair also looks even more spikey, and his model in this manga reminds me a lot of Kenpachi from Bleach. Akagi looks surprisingly similar to how he did in Ten, only transformed a bit to match Maeda's style. Sawada is heavily changed, having his hair grayed a bit by old age and a bit more frizzled than it was before, though those both could be accounted to his getting older. I think the art style as a whole is the perfect fusion between Fukumoto's art style and a more traditional Manga style.

Oh, and 24-Hour Mahjong? Epic. It's not that much compared to the 3-day battle that they had in volume 2 of Ten, but that had people switching out; this is just 4 (5, counting Sawada) people staying awake to play mahjong for 24 straight hours, stopping only for food and water breaks. And that's totally unreal. This chapter kind of sets the stage for the chapters to follow, and those were the ones that made me go "okay, we need to translate this, now." So if you found this chapter somewhat lacking, don't worry, the slack more than picks up in the coming chapters. Though Hiro's read of the Kokushi Musou 1-man Wait was pretty sick; it didn't use any guesswork, he found it all out by watching his movements.

Finally, some continuity notes. I tried to keep the wording of Akagi's parting words similar to what it was in the Ten scanlations, but obviously I didn't plagarize. Most of the wording is changed, but I used some of the words that were used in the original, again. Second, there's a very interesting easter egg on page 018 that you might not catch if you hadn't read Ten recently; the hand Hiroyuki is using to teach his classmates is the first hand in Chapter 1 of Ten. Ten ronned on a 2-sou, but the others at the table pointed out that he missed a chance to win off the 9-man and was in Furiten, so he had to pay a chombo penalty. A pretty nice bonus, and one that I wouldn't have noticed if I hadn't reread the first couple chapters of Ten, again. Oh, and I'm surprised they didn't call out Hiro for winning with a hand made up of 14 Haku on the page after that... that'd seem like a pretty obvious indication that someone was cheating, to me. <_< >_>

So yeah, expect more Hero chapters! We'll be scanlating Volume 1 all the way through, then we'll put up a poll to see if you want us to continue on to Akagi V17, or finish off Volume 2. There's only 4 volumes of Hero out so far, so we could probably blaze through it pretty quickly now, since Akagi's at something of a stopping point. See you at mahjong day, tomorrow!

15 comments:

  1. The first chapter was excellent, good manga to pick up.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you guys .. i really wanted to read it .. and you granted my wish <3

    ReplyDelete
  3. "I am not a hero,the real hero is hiro from heroes" The Office

    ReplyDelete
  4. ...!

    AAAAAAH

    zxdasjdsajhdkljf

    Thank you so much! <33 I've always wanted to read HERO.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I thought the cover looked pretty crappy when I first saw it back then, but luckily the actual chapter art seems fine.

    I'm really looking forward to more releases.

    ReplyDelete
  6. dunno , I had sort of fan fiction feeling about this one.. appreciate it nonetheless...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nah, it's just the art. I think this one is actually written by Fukumoto, unlike the Washizu prequel.

      Delete
  7. Most excellent. Definitely a worthy pickup.

    ReplyDelete
  8. THanks so much for this release! Please continue this most excellent series (up until now) and dont forget to feed us hungry Akagi fans also :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. I gotta say the art is this one is actually quite nice. I really like how everyone has a real nose and chin. The better body proportions and clothes help too. But I find it funny how everyone speaks with their mouth closed. Definitely looking forward to this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. >everyone speaks with their mouth closed
      I didn't even notice that. Might be because most of the "dialog" in FKMT series is either internal-monolog or third-person narration during the games/situations.

      Delete
  10. Do you guys have an IRC channel or something?

    ReplyDelete
  11. Great release, was wondering if this might turn up one day on here. I've had a look at a few chapters later on browsing through issues of Kindai Mahjong, and it seems to be a decent series. Plus it's interesting to see the characters drawn in a more traditional way.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I didn't even know this existed! Definitely looking forward to this, cheers!

    ReplyDelete