I Just Hit the Motherload


When I first started this project, I could only find 23 issues of Say Hello to Black Jack translated into English. Episode 23 ends abruptly. But I knew Shuho Sato experienced problems with his publisher, and chose to go to a different magazine to publish a continuation of his manga called ‘The New Say Hello to Black Jack’.

Since I couldn’t find any more issues anywhere, and since Baka-Manga Updates told me my list was complete, I assumed I had all the work Sato did for SH2BJ, and that he finished episode 23 in The New SH2BJ.  I’m able to publish this audio drama because of SH2BJ’s Royalty Free clause, but that doesn’t apply to New SH2BJ.  So when episode 23 was done, I expected to write a fitting end to the series and call it at that.

I since found my initial assessment was wrong. Looking at Japanese scans, it was obvious that the series ran for much longer before Sato was forced to move. SH2BJ was never published in English in print form, but it was published in Spanish and French (odd, but true.) I figured I might try my hand at translating either Spanish or French. I’m only an intermediate student at both, but Sato is often sparing with his dialogue, and a lot of what is conveyed is in the art. I might get a few details wrong, but the main thrust of the story would be present.

Since I’m unskilled though, it would take time. It would make for a nice side project, but it might mean seasons would take years to come out as I used my inadequate translation abilities to pick apart the original, and rescript it for an audio drama. It was nice to know I could finish the storyline in episode 23 the right way, but the rest of the audio drama would take a long time to unfold, if I even chose to continue doing it. Besides, I wouldn’t have the money to rush the project. With no scans of the manga in French or Spanish that I could find, I would need to buy print copies, which often ran into the fifty dollar range per book.

Recently, I came across MangaTraders. I get the impression that if you read a lot of manga online, you came across this site years ago. It’s pretty big. I read manga, but it just wasn’t on my radar. Nor did it ever show up when I went searching for stuff on Say Hello to Black Jack. For some reason or other, all the web traffic went to other readers and databases. I only found out about MangaTraders by digging so hard that I was reading through posts about where to find scans of Berserk and One Piece, which I wasn’t interested in, but I figured might give me a lead. And it did. Oh man, it did.

[‘Give My Regards to Black Jack’ is an alternate title to ‘Say Hello to Black Jack’.  It’s a little closer to the intent of the title.  The original Black Jack is an idealistic doctor, and a famous character in manga, originally made by Osamu Tezuka in 1973.  Outside of Japan, however, he’s not as well known.  And since that reference is lost on many English speakers, I felt it was better for the audio drama to go with the more snappy, and commonly used ‘Say Hello to Black Jack’ since the title wasn’t going to make sense to Western audiences either way.  All that said, this manga being called ‘Say Hello to Black Jack’ is similar to calling a modern detective novel “Tell Sherlock Holmes I said, ‘Hello'”.]

All these thousands of pdf scans are in English.  I have no idea who did the translating.  I can’t find their credits, or any more information anywhere.  All I know is that the number of episodes I have access to jumped from 23 to 127.  And I’m flabbergasted.  Yes, I want to do them all.  But I don’t know if it’s even possible (I don’t even know if these scans are any good.  For all I know, a fan created his own story and plugged words to pictures.  From what I can tell from a preliminary look-see, though, it’s not a garbled mess.)

Oh, also, this is the first time I’ve seen the official Terms of Use document.  It turns out I was supposed to credit the website Manga on Web (found at mangaonweb.com.)  That’s news to me.  I’m sure Sato and Manga on Web understand, though.  Information in English about this series is sorely lacking.

Consider the Terms of Use officially posted.  I’ll probably update the first season episodes later.

Gah!  Over 100 issues to read!  I better get started.  See you guys in episode 4!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *