Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Our Upcoming Project

Among older yuri fans, there is a franchise that is well known and fondly remembered. The anime versions of this franchise, a 6-episode OVA and 26-episode TV series, were some of the earliest anime to contain strong and intentional yuri themes, as opposed to the willful self-delusion of "subtext" which was the order of the day. (To put its age in perspective, the TV series was apparently the very first anime TV series of all to be released on DVD in Region 1.) It was among my first anime purchases, a great show that I continue to cherish as one of my most important early experiences in both yuri and anime in general.

However, there is a mysterious misfortune attached to this franchise, one that has endured down through the years even to this day. The original version of this work, the manga, is a phantasm which has remained all but completely unknown to the West. The Wikipedia article barely mentions it, TVTropes and the ANN Encyclopedia don't even register its existence, and - as far as anyone knows - beyond a few tantalizing and perennially reposted images of the ending, it is simply not to be found on the internet. It is an old manga now, difficult to obtain, and it would seem that without being sure of what they were getting, no one has been crazy enough to go to the trouble.

That is, no one until now. Obtaining and scanlating this manga has long been a secret dream of mine. At last, after a nontrivial amount of money and effort, my dream of bringing it into the light is finally underway. Zefiberyl Translations is delighted to announce our "new" project:
Battle Athletes Daiundoukai.

That's right. We're taking you all the way back to 1996.
The characters of Battle Athletes are old and dear friends to me, so I was extremely interested to see the treatment the manga gave them. Having finally had a chance to look at it, I can say that I'm extremely pleased with it. On the whole, it's a superior version of the story that combines some of the best features (and omits some of the worst features) of the OVA and TV versions, along with plenty of its own unique elements and attractive artwork. Besides the canonical and mutual main couple resolution, there is also a second canonical pairing at the end, a couple that I never would've expected to actually get a happy ending together.

Another interesting difference is that later on in the manga, there's quite a bit of martial arts/fighting action. Judo and Kickboxing are some of the final qualifying events, and in true sports manga fashion, our heroine Akari has to undergo some intensive training to be able to stand up to her opponents.

Shoryukens? Yeah, we've got those.

At four full volumes, this is quite an ambitious and long-term project for us to undertake.  Even so, we're hoping to begin bringing it to you soon. Translation should not be too difficult; the kanji all have furigana, and no complicated terminology is in use. One problem is that the copies I received, while serviceable, are showing their age somewhat, especially around the outer page edges. Here you can see an example, before and after scanner magic. (The new scanner I bought for the purpose proved to be a very good investment.)

The content's not important, pay no attention...

Zefiris assures me that further cleaning should be able to fix these issues up tolerably. She's hard at work in both areas at the moment, so have no fear. (She has a criticism that it "needs more Bernkastel", but that particular criticism of hers is liberally applied to all Bernkastel-free media...) She also states, in rather the same vein, "I look forward to people claiming that it turns het. Their whining when the yuri shows up will be so delicious, even Bernkastel would approve."

Since, as I said earlier, raws of this manga don't seem to currently exist on the internet, our intention is to also make the raw versions of each release available as we go along.

Well then, please look forward to our first release!