Alethea & Athena (double_dear) wrote,
Alethea & Athena
double_dear

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Calculations

This morning, we got a comment from seangaffney that had us wondering about text density in manga. It's not as if we have time for such frivolity, seeing as how we're in the middle of Negima! volume nine, but since the translation is driving us crazy, maybe it was a good idea to take a little break for something that used different brain functions. Or a calculator.

The comment was about how Hana to Yume manga is packed with text. This is an undeniable fact, especially in earlier volumes of a series. (For example, we all know Gakuen Alice is scarily text-heavy, but Athena's reading volume 20 now, and she says there's a lot of stuff where it's like two things on a page and they're both something that takes no time to translate, like a name.) But the question is, since, as mentioned above, Negima! is driving us insane, how does it compare to Hana to Yume for text density?

Of course, the quick test is to pull out a random volume, turn to a page, and count how many items of text are on that page. Athena, who's in charge of numbering text items, has given Maid Sama! (our most text heavy series from Hana to Yume) as an example, saying it averages about 25 items of text per page in a bad scene. Turning to a random page of Negima! volume 9, she's getting a lot of pages with text items numbering in the thirties.

But that's just the quick test, and depending on the drama level of the scene, text items per page can vary dramatically. So a more accurate test would be to compare script length. Unfortunately, most of our Hana to Yume scripts were done in the TokyoPop format which (we're not afraid to say now that they've shut down), we absolutely despised. Our personal feelings aside, that format made the scripts three to four times longer than they had to be, and more importantly, three to four times longer than those scripts would be in the format for Negima! scripts. So we could say that Hana to Yume wins because we have a Portrait of M and N script that's about three hundred pages long, but that script is mostly blank space.

We do, however, have the scripts for the last volumes of I Hate You More Than Anything and VB Rose in a format that's similar enough to the format we use for Negima! that the lengths are comparable. So! we have averaged them up! The only drawback to using those particular scripts is that, as we mentioned above, once a Hana to Yume artist calms down some (i.e. gets closer to the end of a series), they use less text per page. So the results of this survey may be slightly skewed. Fortunately, Akamatsu has followed the same trend, and the scripts for the later volumes of Negima! are significantly shorter than those for the manga we're translating now.

So without further ado! The average script length for a volume at the end of a Hidaka-sensei series is...

58 pages!

And the average script length for the later volumes of Negima! is...

72 pages!

That's 24% longer. Whew.

And, of course, bringing it back to the manga that's been putting us out of our minds lately, the average script length for the first eight volumes of Negima! is...

86 pages!

That's a 19% increase over later volumes of Negima!, and a 48% increase over the last volumes of those Hidaka-sensei's series. Take into account that Hidaka-sensei write cute girly stuff that's usually easier for us to translate, while Negima! has a lot of magic explanations, science, politics, etc. ...whew. I think we can see which one has the higher difficulty level. No wonder we've been getting so tired of our job these days...

Well that was a fascinating analysis. And now we have more work to do.

Today I'm thankful for Reese's ice cream still being on sale, the power of math, being done (for now) with Satomi's spiel about why a robot can't be in love, Oreo being such a gentleman and letting Page have the box in the closet, and Page being lured out of the closet so Oreo can go there when he feels like it.
Tags: hana to yume, math, negima
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