I recently finished reading the 2022 reprint of Hayao Miyazaki's brilliantly illustrated story, Shuna's Journey. I have a copy of the 1983 original which I purchased and read years ago so I thought it'd be interesting to do a comparison.
The first thing to note is the size different between the original and the reprint. The original is a pocket-sized book, about 6" X 4.25" and the reprint is larger at 8.75" X 6.25". I enjoy the size of the 1983 original, but that's a personal preference.
For the text, I enjoyed being able to read the translation because I don't read or speak Japanese. The placement and color of the text matches the original pretty closely. When I got the original version years ago, I found an online translation and read the book alongside that--not the best way to enjoy a manga/illustrated book.
The reprint still has the right to left format, which I was happy to see and it also contains an insightful note from the translator, Alex Dudok De Wit (son of the director of The Red Turtle (2016), Michael Dudok De Wit).
As I was reading the reprint, I was really distracted by the feeling that the artwork was really lacking. So after I finished reading it, I pulled out the original and noticed some major differences. The reprint is very bleached out and as a watercolor painter myself, I was really disappointed; the reprint almost looks monochromatic compared to the original (see below). Now, it may be the case that the original artwork has faded over time and the reprint is showing how the paintings look today; watercolor can fade over years of light exposure, but it's impossible to tell without seeing the original paintings.
Overall, I'm glad that this translated reprint was published and I hope some more of Miyazaki's work gets translated. I'd love to read a translation of Miyazaki's watercolor manga, The Wind Rises (Kaze Tachinu).. Or maybe I should start studying Japanese..
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