Sunday, April 8, 2007

About Poe no Ichizoku

It seems like everyone is reading manga these days. As for examples of the "classic" comic masterpieces that brought the artistic level of manga to a whole new level, many of the works of Osamu Tezuka, for example, are translated into English and even now can be found in print. Some decades after Tezuka came another groundbreaking manga artist, Moto Hagio. A very limited amount of her work has been translated into English at this time. (By this, I mean "officially" translated for publication.)

Hagio and her peers in the "Year 24 Group" transformed shojo manga (comics aimed at girls) into a rich expressive art form that we see today, with their ambitious stories that go beyond the conventional "boy meets girl" (or more likely, "girl meets boy") formula.

I've been a translator for a long time, and had some recent experience translating manga, but until recently I hadn't noticed that Hagio's work was on our bookshelf until my Japanese husband pointed this out--he had bought them a long time ago. At his suggestion I began to read one of Hagio's most influential and creative works, Poe no Ichizoku (The Poes). It's a series about a family of "vampanellas" (vampires), two parents and two siblings, who travel endlessly through time and space. It's a haunting, poignant work--and not a single volume of it is available in a published English translation.

Just as the Poes attempt to bring new "blood" into their clan, I want to introduce this fantastic vintage manga to new readers. I will take a relaxed approach, using small segments of the comic layout as a springboard for talking about anything interesting--decisions a translator makes, notes on cultural aspects of that time, unintentional anachronisms...anything is fair game for discussion. I just want people to appreciate the story of the Poes.


CoCo said...

I love Hagio Moto since I was 12. I'm in NZ for last 14 years. I missed her lot.
Now My step daughter 17, became a Manga lover but she can only read English. I am going to buy her English version of "A-A'" for her birthday. But I wish I could give her "Poe no Ichizoku" or "Gin no Sankaku" or "Toma" or more of her work as well as "Year 24 Group" Good luck for your project.

Akiko said...

Wow! I'm so surprised to know there are such heavy readers of Poe of Hagio abroad. Thank you for your introduction of her work in English! I and my whole family has been a heavy fan of Poe no Ichizoku. I wish you translate her excellent work in English (it isn't yet done?). I want more people to touch artistic manga pieces. I highly recommend Ryoko Yamagishi's "Hi Izuru tokoro no tenshi" and "Kahori Takesaka" too. They draw their manga as if well-written poems or fine art pieces.