Why do the Japanese get all the good books?

Discussion in 'Transformers General Discussion' started by The Crazy Collector, Mar 7, 2009.

  1. The Crazy Collector

    The Crazy Collector Well, that's just Prime! TFW2005 Supporter

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    So I got my copy of Transformer Generations 2009: Vol. 1 in the mail today and I gotta say, it's a great book. There are tons of beautiful pictures, interesting design sketches, and a bunch of catalog scans. The only problem? It's all in Japanese!

    Of course I knew it would be when I purchased the book. My point is, why doesn't someone put out a similar book in the US? Japan as gotten numerous TF books, including the original Generations book, the Visual Works book, and others that I think would do well in the US market. We've gotten a few books, most notably from Rik Alvarez, and those are great, but something officially backed with the type of resources Hasbro has available would be great. I wouldn't expect it to be on Oprah's booklist or anything, but I think a well executed book covering the history of Transformers toys could do well if marketed to the right group. Something more in-depth than the Transformers: Ultimate Guide from a few years back. Even if they just translated the original Generations book and released it in the US, I'd be happy.

    Anyway, sorry for the mini-rant. I was just frustrated from not being able to read the text accompanying the pics in the book I just paid too much for to import from Japan. :lol  Anyone have any thoughts or ideas?
     
  2. Nachtsider

    Nachtsider Banned

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    Get a hold of someone who's fluent in Japanese, and have them translate the thing for you.
     
  3. Backstop

    Backstop Have you seen my box art?

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    treat it as a picture book lol...
     
  4. MACRAPTRON

    MACRAPTRON Well-Known Member

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    I've grew up 'watching' japanese books as I couldn't read japanese. And I tell you, it was nearly IMPOSSIBLE to find TF books back then. In 1998, they were selling TF books at Botcon Japan for no less than a hundred bucks.

    Now every publisher and their mothers want to make a TF book, obviously for the 80's revival a bunch of years ago and the 2007 movie.
     
  5. Midnight

    Midnight Nerdicon

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    Ive been ordering alot of stuff from Japan lately and my and my ability to read Japanese is,well,non-existint.

    The words are pretty to look at though.
     
  6. FrankyWest

    FrankyWest As far as it goes

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    Japan Population: 127,288,416
    Us population 303,824,640
    half size in population and I have no clue how smaller japan is related to us
    Japanese tend to bring those out for the past 30 years ( my lifespan that is)
    and I would say that they might be even more people there who likes tf than here.
    I've seen translated dragonball z comics, and the translation was very limited I find.
    It's a money game probably
    wouldn't sell enough to actually bring here and translate them
     
  7. Aernaroth

    Aernaroth <b><font color=blue>I voted for Super_Megatron and Veteran

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    It also has to do with how the print industry in Japan is completely different than in the US (when's the last time you bought a book, period?), and how collectors in Japan behave differently, and are marketed to differently, than they are in the US.

    I can tell you that there's a TF G1 Collecting Field Guide and a larger Collector's Handbook available right now at most Chapters/Indigo/Coles bookstores in Canada, at least. It only covers G1, but still, the kind of books the OP mentioned aren't completely absent, and who's to say we won't get a more detailed one soon?
     
  8. Backstop

    Backstop Have you seen my box art?

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    threads back! lol....
     
  9. Pravus Prime

    Pravus Prime Sorcerer

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    QFT. That's the big thing, with so many franchises in Japan, practically all of them have print tie ins that run parallel to the TV series. Then there's also the magazines that do tie ins to dozens of shows every week/month, and it becomes clear that print media and TV are closely intertwined in many cases in Japanese franchises.

    Heck, the manga for BWNeo was a completely different story, with different origins and resolution from the cartoon, so you got two universes for your characters at the same time. It was far more divergent then even the Sunbow G1 cartoon and the Marvel comics.

    That said, I still wouldn't mind getting a version of Generations that was broken down for each series, as a complete reference tool. It would be encompassing preproduction design, the series bible, a list of comics with synopsis for each, a list of cartoon episodes with a synopsis for each, toy catalogs, toy pictures, toy notes, etc. A single book for G1 and G2, a second for BW and BM and RiD, a third for Armada, Energon, Cybertron, then finally one for Animated. Sure they'd vary in size, but it would also vary in price for the books as well. Plus a rule that no series gets a book until the series is actually done.
     
  10. Aernaroth

    Aernaroth <b><font color=blue>I voted for Super_Megatron and Veteran

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    That would be pretty cool to get books like that, actually. Especially if they were in english. I wonder how licensing would work on that (and if the collectors guides have to go through Hasbro, for example).

    But yeah, hell, most of the mangas have been surprisingly different from the animated series they coincide with, although these differences can range from changes in characterization to a complete shift in tone / how the universe functions (I'm looking at you, Esmeryl).
     
  11. megatronkicksas

    megatronkicksas Well-Known Member

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    Because us Americans aint got no readin skillz. :p 
     
  12. The Crazy Collector

    The Crazy Collector Well, that's just Prime! TFW2005 Supporter

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    In my dreams, this is want I would like too, but I think that may be asking too much. I'd be happy with what Pravus described, but just for toys. A book including a series bible, catalog scans, etc, would get really big, really fast, and would probably be really expensive. And a seperate book for each series would be perfect!

    Anway, nice to see my thread is back from the dead! LOL!!
     
  13. Mobb One

    Mobb One Godmaster

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    I've been collecting Japanese toys since 1990, and I can say that it's just the way the collector's market is, relative to the "toy" market. There's a much greater distinction between toys for kids and toys for collectors in Japan; there's a much more developed "collector's market" in Japan than there is here. This has to do with, among other things, the shrinking birth rate that Japan experiences; every year there are fewer kids who buy toys and more collectors who collect toys, relative to the previous year, as the population ages and fewer births occur.

    Thus there's a highly developed market that caters to the collector...specialized display cases for resin models that are 17" tall, guide books that document 10 variations of 3 different molds representing the same character, exclusive movie theater, convention, or press event/contest/etc. figures that are exremely limited in quantity...all this shit isn't here in the U.S. (when was the last time you could go to the hobby store and easily buy a display case marketed specifically for your Transformers collection?). Likewise there's a lot of printed material to support the market.

    Paritally the reason why I wanted to learn Japanese when I was in college...I wanted to be able to read all the guide books/film books whatever that I had, but the language was too damn hard so I quit haha.
     
  14. Sol Fury

    Sol Fury The British Butcher Administrator News Staff

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    Not to mention the fact that in Japan there seems to be a huge market for companion volumes and artbooks. Many, many anime get companion volumes, I own a few of the Brave series ones and the one they brought out for the Final Fantasy anime too. Videogames get companion books too and just recently they have started to come out more in the states, in large part thanks to the likes of Udon and their partnership with Capcom to bring out some of the Street Fighter books.

    It's all symptomatic of that, really. Transformers just has many more years to fall back on.
     
  15. billcosby

    billcosby Geewin

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    That might work, if you have several years to spare.

    A lot of the words are extremely technical. The average Japanese wouldn't know
    all of the extremely difficult or obscure kanji.

    The fact is, the Japanese overlook providing English and Japanese text when they design their books. I have bought a few books in Japan that are dual-language and they are so effing sweet. But it is likely laziness or shortsightedness on the part of the publisher to publish something as internationally heralded as Transformers. They knew it would export, but they published it only in Japanese. My personal opinion of Japan's economic engine is that of a quick buck.

    Excellent point, Mobb One
     
  16. MACRAPTRON

    MACRAPTRON Well-Known Member

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    The fact is that books and magazines don't sell like they used to, the market is shrinking globally and Japan is one, if not the only place where printed media remains strong. Let's not forget that Japan poisoned several countries with it's culture, making people wanting to learn japanese to read books and watch visual media. So it's a very comfortable position for japanese publishers.

    The language barrier isn't a problem for a mook like TF:Generations. It will never be considered serious literature in Japan and publishers know that, making it easy to read for children and teenagers. It's just not like samurai literature with all the ancient words and kanjis, for example.
     
  17. billcosby

    billcosby Geewin

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    :lol  "poisoned" That's funny. 'Influenced' works too, but not as good as poisoned!
     
  18. Victory Leo

    Victory Leo Well-Known Member

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    The first thing to consider is that dual language books are not done for selling in both markets unless they are supported by a English language publisher, like Dark Horse for the Intron Depot books. Next, other books that are dual language are usually designed to be learning tools for Japanese speakers to practice English and their benefit to English speakers is not even considered.

    As for Japanese TF books ... I LOVE THEM!!! Such goodness, main things I used to learn Japanese. I spent so much time hunting down Japanese TF books. My prized one that I used to learn from was a 2010 board book which I copied stuff out of for weeks to learn hiragana and katakana.

    As for the books that are worth the most or most sought? Well there are probably three in terms of holy grails: First, early TV Magazines (especially season 1 related issues). Next the four Transformers Encyclopedias (they didn't do one for 2010 though there was similar book but different size done for 2010). (The Masterforce cover is seen
    here:

    The Encyclopedia of the Transformers: Super-God Masterforce - Transformers Wiki - Transformers 2, Animated, Toys

    They usually go for around $100 or more per book. Third are the mail away/give away mini blackbook comics for Zone and Battlestars, though these were reprinted in Transformers The Comic.

    Collecting TF books is probably my main passion collection wise and I would shell out far more and get more excited for a TF book than a TF toy. (And yes of the TF books I listed as holy grails I have them all except for a complete collection of TV Magazines for G1).

    The other issue with Transformers books/magazines in Japan is no one has made a complete list in English that talks about what was all published. Many magazines in the 80's published TF material and there were alot of kids books published (same for BW era too).

    Of the examples of books done there was material published in Comic Bon Bon on a regular basis showing off new G1 episodes with the occasional manga, like the one tied to the Mystery of Convoy Nintendo game.

    Tanoshi Yochien published monthly content, but not as much as sister magazine TV Magazine, but had some of the best illustrations.

    And the number of books is massive.

    Sigh, so much to collect!

    Victory Leo
     

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