Fujojocast #7 – Give what’s due to Saezuru

Saezuru Japanese cover

This is a podcast about the fans who love an author’s work and a publisher who has been a bit of a hit and miss when it comes to maintaining the quality of their titles.

Saezuru Tori wa Habatakanai (Twittering Birds Never Fly) is a work written by Yoneda Kou that features the relationship of high masochist yakuza boss and his loyal bodyguard. It is possibly the most popular title of Yoneda Kou to date, one that is loved dearly by many BL fans in Japan and abroad. It also has one of the most visually stunning cover designs in BL to date and these designs have been lauded by many fans.

In this show, I have Himi, owner of Com801 and organiser for the Licensing of Saezuru Tori wa Habatakanai, an online fan campaign that seeks the support for a better quality release for this title. The title has been released by Digital Manga Publishing as part of their June titles. The online edition is available in Amazon US and e-manga and the print edition will be made available in September.

Throughout the show, Himi and I talk about the issues they raised in the campaign, particularly in the quality of translations and editing that DMG have done to some of their works. It’s an interesting talk that really gets into the expectations of fans as consumers of a niche genre and perhaps some insights about translation, post-production work, and the manga industry.

OP/ED – Season of Love by Pinky & Killers (Evangelion 2.0, You can (NOT) Advance OST)

In the end, as fans who know that DMG publishes the largest amount of BL for us, we want to put our money on something worth it. No shoddy translations, lazy editing and cut up printing. We want DMG to set the same standards they have in their Tezuka titles for their BL titles as well.

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4 thoughts on “Fujojocast #7 – Give what’s due to Saezuru”

  • I’m kinda late to the party, but I started wondering… If BL in English is already a niche market and people stop buying because of bad quality, wouldn’t that mean the publishers could easily just stop publishing BL in English altogether and focus on something that’s more profitable? That’s what I fear whenever I think of any kind of boycotts, even if there are publishers whose work I’d rather not buy because of low quality. I feel like I’m stuck since I want to support the English BL market but not the bad quality.

    Another thing you pointed out in this podcast was that SuBLime seems to be mostly focused on the US market. I’d say the same thing is true about Juné, at least to an extent. Juné puts their print titles on sale at Akadot retail before making them available in other stores (if there are any books left), and nowadays that seems to be the only place where they can be purchased because of the very limited print runs. That wouldn’t be a problem if anyone could buy the titles online from Akadot, but their shipping abroad costs something like $40, so it’s out of the question. My friends who preordered Saezuru from Book Depository ages ago never got their print copies and the same thing has happened with Juné titles before, so it really feels like the company only cares about their US customers. At least SuBLime’s print and digital titles can be easily bought online, and they’re usually available in my local manga shops too.

    • I totally feel ya and I find it particularly frustrating as well but it cannot be helped because the likes of Sublime and June are US businesses and would give priority to their immediate audiences before even considering the global audiences. That said, compared to Viz, Sublime has sorted out a lot of its licenses to be available globally, especially their digital manga which is great for us who live outside the US. As someone outside of the US market, it is not your obligation to fulfil the market needs of these companies. That said, you are more than welcome to provide support to companies that merit your hard-earned money. You don’t have to carry the burden of an industry “folding” because fans like you were not buying. For all we know, it could also be due to bad business practices or the economy is making it difficult or the lack of visibility has made things inaccessible to fans.

      I am shocked to hear about Saezuru never sent via Book Depository. That’s just bad business practice. They shouldn’t put their books out on sale to retailers if they have no intention to send it. It saddens me, to be honest. They have a lot of amazing titles under their belt and their low-quality publications and license hogging is just not helping their cause. Not even their new Kickstarter for Viewfinder sits well with them.

  • As depressing a topic as it is, I was also cheered up a little by hearing other people express opinions and thoughts I have as well. Sometimes I wonder if I’m just being too picky or like well-written language. Or I question if I might let other bias interfere when I’m reading or were to translate something myself. So, I felt sort of validated listening to the podcast.

    Coincidentally, I was thinking this week about why I’ve kept trying DMI books. August of this year marks 10 years since I purchased my first DMP book. I still spend money on their editions even when years ago I decided I wouldn’t consider some of their releases unless I had already purchased the title or, could import another copy. (To be fair DMI isn’t the only English-language publisher I feel that way about either.) It’s beginning to feel a little strange to have multiple editions like that. I guess I’m asking myself some of the same questions others have been asking too. I am very unsure of how much longer I will keep buying from DMI.

    And Twittering Birds Never Fly was the first work I read of Yoneda Kou. I don’t read or like a lot of BL (sorry!). Nevertheless, I think it is one of the most thought-provoking titles in the genre I’ve encountered in the last few years. For that reason I especially want the English edition to be very good.

  • Yes,i hate the “yaoi manga” smashed on Juné manga covers with intensity of thousand suns. Of course,i agree on your other points as well but because the cover is the first thing i see,it’s the thing that irritates me the most.This year they are going to release (or already released) so many of my favourite titles but yes,i am more worried than excited.

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