"MudaMudaMuda": A Jojo's Manga Translation No-no?

Should Japanese to English Translators Appease Fans at the Expense of Readability? A Twitter Debate


  1. Jojo's Bizarre Adventure, Hirohiko Araki's iconic and intense over-the-top fighting manga has been enjoying a bit of a revival in North America lately.
  2. The anime series debuted in 2014, and has been streaming on Crunchyroll.
  3. VIZ Media had originally published 16 volumes of the 3rd story arc of Jojo's Bizarre Adventures, Stardust Crusaders between 2005-2010, then stopped, leaving fans of the series wondering if they would ever see official releases of the first two Jojo's story arcs, Phantom Blood and Battle Tendency, much less the rest of this long-running Shonen Jump series about several generations of the Joestar family and their allies, and their battle against Dio, an immortal villain.
  4. Then VIZ announced last year that they would be publishing the first two arcs of Jojo's as deluxe omnibus editions. Fans rejoiced, and sales appear to have been pretty good since the first volumes of Phantom Blood have been released in print and digital formats late last year. It has even appeared on the New York Times Graphic Books Bestseller list, which is generally a good sign.
  5. But translating an iconic and extremely quirky series like Jojo's Bizarre Adventures is not without its... challenges.
  6. This example popped up in my Twitter feed, courtesy of Vicente de Pedregal, a Jojo's fan from Santiago, Chile:
  7. Professional J<-->E translator Peter Durfee chimed in with his take:
  8. The rapid-fire, repeated use of catch-phrases that are used in fighting scenes in Jojo's is part of what makes it unique, and why this is translation problem is a bit... unique too.
  9. Almost immediately upon posting this, two sides of the argument for and against translating this phrase uttered by Jojo's immortal enemy Dio into English or keeping the Japanese as in the VIZ Edition example shared by Vicente.
  10. Chiming in from the professional translator side are (in alphabetical order)
  11. Zack Davisson (Showa: A History of Japan by Shigeru Mizuki, Opus by Satoshi Kon)
  12. Peter Durfee (Director, Nippon Communications Foundation/Nippon.com, translation instructor at Simul Academy, Tokyo)
  13. Dan Kanemitsu (Manga Translator, Black Lagoon, Initial D, and anime translator Evangelion: 3.33 You Can (Not) Redo)