The Japanese Dorohedoro volumes are some of the most beautiful books I've seen! I don't think I've ever been so in love with a publication before. *_* The printing quality so much better than the Viz release! You see detail more clearly and the lines are more crisp, but the real difference is in the color pages. Things don't look dirty and smudged, colors and details are very clean. The Japanese volumes are printed on a smoother and brighter type of paper. The first page with a picture and table of contents is slick and glossy.

Like most Japanese manga, there is an outer cover with flaps that sits over the inner cover that has extra pictures on it. Though Viz keeps the whole outer cover, including the cover flaps (which is more than I've seen other publishers do), it doesn't reproduce the inner cover. Also, the outer cover in the Japanese volumes is textured with raised raised patterns (lizard scales, mushrooms, crosses, etc.), which are really awesome to see and touch. Viz release cover is flat and lifeless.

For an English release, Viz actually did a great job with the first 3 Dorohedoro volumes. They kept the original (bigger than
average) size of the Japanese release, kept the cover flap graphics, printed the color pages in color, and paid attention to the translation, even including cultural notes and translation details. I was happy, and figured I wouldn't need to resort to getting the Japanese volumes. Ebisu's comical speech impediment was gone, and even though I think it's important to her character, I could deal with that.

Then, starting with volume 4, Viz started printing the color pages in black and white, and since Doro color pages have heavy shading (which looks beautiful in color), it became very hard to see detail and appreciate what's going on. English readers who didn't know these were supposed to be in color started complaining that the pages were too dark, and were blaming the author.
(Ugh.) Cultural and translation notes were gone, too.

But my biggest gripe with volume 4+ of the Viz release is that the translation quality dropped off dramatically. They were translating what was said, but not what was meant. I can only assume that new teams of people were getting different volumes or different chapters, since at times it became very obvious that they had no clue what was going on in the context of the plot - even one chapter or one volume ago.

For example, there is a character named Kikurage. She's named after a kind of mushroom (Viz translation took the literal route and translated the mushroom name into English - Judas's Ear - which is accurate, but I think flows a lot worse than if they
just left it as Kikurage), and she has the power to resurrect the dead. Yet, in the translation Viz put up online, a character says "the mushrooms can resurrect him!" instead of Judas's Ear. Thankfully this was fixed before it hit print, but the fact that it occurred at all is most unsettling.

Then there is an important line that Risu says to Ebisu which is inherently vague in Japanese. In volume 4 Viz translated this as "You are the one who stopped me." In volume 5, in a scene where characters were still trying to figure out what the line meant, it is translated as "interrupting me." The line can mean various levels of inconvenience, anywhere from bothering to interrupting to stopping, so the translation wasn't inaccurate. But, by not keeping the translation consistent (or at least making a note of the vagueness, since "stopped" in English isn't very vague), English readers have no idea that they're still talking about that line, and the point of the scene is lost.

Viz also mistakes the sex of various characters. This is a very easy mistake to make since the Japanese often doesn't specify sex right away. However, this guy (Fukuyama) wears a suit and probably doesn't talk like a girl (females have different speech patterns in Japanese). Furthermore, he explicitly uses the English word "Waiter" not "Waitress" in the Japanese. Had they read a bit ahead, this would've been made clear. I think it would be professional for official translators to read what's out in Japanese in order to not make stupid contextual mistakes, and for the same team to work on the same series.


So SOO glad I ordered the Japanese volumes. They're pretty expensive but worth every penny. Plus they'll encourage me to learn more kanji! Will still be collecting the Viz release too, for mutual cross-reference.
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DISCLAIMER: all story, art, characters are copyright Q Hayashida. This is a fansite. No copyright infringement is intended. Translations by Gantz Waiting Room, VIZ Media, and sometimes myself. Dorohedoro is published in Ikki Magazine.