MH Interviews: Bomber D Rufi
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Next interview is with Bomber D Rufi, well known for taking up one of the most text heavy series around (which is the manga featured in the picture above if you don't read it, which you should, cause it's great). He also translates a whole heap of other manga, which makes you wonder where he finds all the time. Read on to find out more about this guy.
1. Please give an introduction of yourself. What manga you translate, if you are a part of any groups or just freelance etc.
I'm Bomber D Rufi, and it's great to meet everyone. I translate Magic Ban Removal!! Hyde and Closer, Hajimete No Aku, Undead, Traumeister, Takkoku, Artist Acro, Holy Crystal Albatross, random songs and Bomberman clips, and drumrollllllllll, Gintama. (I guess that's what everyone really knows me for. I also used to do Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro, Mieru Hito, and Law of Ueki Plus, but I dropped them for various reasons.
2. How did you start learning Japanese and for how long? How and why did you start translating manga chapters? Which was the first series you translated it and how hard was it compared to now?
I started learning in High school. Once I graduated, I ended up getting into a college that didn't offer it however, so I kept teaching myself through raw anime and manga. 'The Law of Ueki plus' was my first foray into Translation, and it's also the first raw manga I actually bought, rather than downloading scans. (Which at the time were impossible to find.) Though I should say I own 'The Law of Ueki' and not the 'Plus' series. ^^;;; Plus was just the first series I actually translated. As for why....I think that it was slightly after Ueki's anime had ended, and a few hungry fans on a forum I frequented wanted to tackle translating plus. I figured it wouldn't be hard (Boy was I wrong.), so I volunteered for the project. I'm a bit of a defeatist, so I gave up two chapters in. A few years later I discovered Gintama, and after seeing no one translating the series, I decided to once again take it upon myself. This time however I had MH to help me, and it's what kept me from giving up. There's a huge difference between then and now too. Back then I had to type up the whole script, and then use altavista for terms I didn't know. At least now I can just glance at a page and get a gist of what's going on.
3. What types of manga are your personal favourite? Which manga titles do you like in particular? Any genres that you don't like? What series do you think everybody should read at least once?
I personally love gag manga. Especially those that don't rely heavily on slapstick. Dialog based humor is hard to pull off, but if done right, it beats the heck out of a smack to the head. (Though slapstick and bathroom humor are good in doses.) I'm also extremely immature, so I love Shounen and Kids manga in general. I haven't read a lot of seinen to compare, so I won't make a sweeping statement against them, but I just love the imagination and adventure that permeate from Shounen manga. As for what I like...hmm...well I wouldn't translate something unless I enjoyed it, so the series I translate are all favorites of mine. Outside of those, I'm enjoying Beelzebub, Sket Dance, Alive the final evolution, Coppelion (I'd like to translate this if my Japanese were better...) Defense Devil, Detective Conan, Fairy Tail and Zetsubou Sensei. I think everyone should read Gintama at least once, since it does so many different genres so very well. It's a clichéd saying, but the series has something for everyone.
4. How do you feel about the amount of fan feedback and thanks that you get for the work you've done? How do you feel overall seeing people read and discussing the manga that you have translated?
I can't deny that It's a remarkably good feeling when someone enjoys my work. I know I'm not doing really popular series, so I can't expect the same amount of thanks as translators who do Bleach, One piece, or Naruto get, but I love what I do, and making people happy. Unfortunately because the series I do aren't that popular, I don't really get to see too much discussion on them, but the few fans that loyally wait for the next chapter of one of my translations make me happy that I chose this hobby.
5. Are there any other hobbies or things that you like to work on in your spare time?
Ah, as a antisocial person, I usually keep to myself. I write poems, songs, little stories, and scripts. I keep trying to find ways to learn more Japanese, because I'm in love with the culture. I'm also a huge music lover, who will listen to anything and everything at least once. (You'll know that it's me from the fact that I've always got headphones on.) I've also got a wiki of my stories, that I try to update weekly.
6. You've been translating Gintama for a while now. What about it makes you want to work on it? It must be difficult working on such a text heavy series each week, how do you get motivated to do it rather than just giving up?
That's a long story. Honestly at the beginning I didn't really like Gintama too much. When I first encountered it, my Japanese was poor at best. So it was like looking at a wall of Asian Hieroglyphics without a bunch of flashy jutsu, or cool bankai. (I was really into Bleach and Naruto around the time, so It didn't help my anti-Gintama bias.) I heard of the anime in 2006, and got curious. I had only found a few raws the first time I read Gintama, so this time I tried looking for scans. I found Yanime's work on the first 20 or so chapters, and still wasn't impressed. What did get me was the author, Sorachi Hideaki himself. I was used to Oda's strange but cheerful mannerisms in the One piece SBS pages, and figured that all mangaka loved what they did and were generally happy people. Sorachi is different though. He complains about drawing manga, is somewhat rude to the readers, and has no problem putting embarrassing things about himself into the forwards of each volume. In a sense, I liked Sorachi before I liked his series. The Gintama anime began airing soon after my find of the series, and the magic of animation endeared me to the characters and their misadventures. Soon I went back to the raws and read ahead to see what the anime would be covering. Since scans had died after Yanime dropped it because of Viz's license, I figured I'd try the Umibozu arc since it looked the most interesting. I got a flood of support from fellow Gintama fans, and MH members in general, so I finished the arc, and tried doing several random chapters after that. It wasn't until chapter 187 that I decided to do it weekly.
Motivation? That's easy enough. It's all of you. Seriously. I'd drop Gintama if it weren't for the people who love the series. Sure I love Gintama too, but that text is really a strain. However, (and this goes for all of my translations) I think about how if I give up there probably won't be another translator who will do it instead. Consider it a paradox, that I'm antisocial, but yet I like to make people happy. It wasn't too long ago that I was that manga fan, unable to read my favorite series past where the translations stopped, and growing frustrated. In short....I get motivated by thinking of that experience, and how I don't want anyone else to have to go through it.
7. A lot of translators give up after trying to translate a couple of times. Do you have any advice for new translators like these? What do you do when you have trouble translating a part? Where do you go for advice?
Hm, First off I would say to them that giving up doesn't have to be forever. It's one thing to read that series every week, and it's another to sit down and get in depth with the words. One shouldn't think that to translate manga is the same as reading it. I made that mistake far, FAR too many times. If you grow frustrated, step back and relax. Translate it when you're not stressed or pressed for time. It's also a good idea to start with simpler manga, even if someone else is translating it at the time. Once one improves, they don't have to stick with that one series unless they choose to, and now that MH has several options for newbie translators, it's a fine time to learn how to use them to your advantages. Consider what you enjoy when you read a manga, and try to incorporate that into translations. Most of all have a good sense of humor. Sometimes it's just best to laugh at a silly mistake rather than to get frustrated. As for myself, Google and wiki are really good tools. I have a translation friend as well who helps me when I'm stuck. Sometimes I'll read a translation of a veteran here on MH, and then read the raw of the same chapter to see what they did and why. Japanese is just like any other language in which there are words that are said often, and act as building blocks. It's really just the specified vocabulary that can be a pain, and the only solution there is experience.
8. You also translate a whole bunch of other series, although you just decided to drop two of them. Could you explain why you did that and the reasoning for dropping those two?
Well I'm working two jobs now. That's really the reason why. I hate stopping what I start, (although I do it all of the time.) but I've got to keep a roof over my head. I only chose those two because one isn't being scantlated, and the other is a slow slow process. Though, many things can happen to change up my decision....as one of the series I'm doing is already over, and cancellation unfortunately runs rampant in these Shounen mags, so you never know. If I have free time to kill, I may just recant my decision.
9. Do you want to make any comments about the cancelling of series (particularly your favourites) in any of the magazines such as Weekly Shonen Jump, Sunday, and Magazine?
Other than Gintama, One piece, Sket Dance, and Beelzebub, I don't have a whole lot in WSJ that I care about. Gin's current plummet bothers me a bit, but Sorachi's got too much clout for them to drop him like a rock. One piece....is One piece. Enough said. Beelzebub seems to be a hit, but as Samurai Usagi taught us...things can change quickly. Magazine's the same, where I don't read anything but two series. (Fairy Tail and Zetsubou.) Both of those seem to be fairly popular too, so I suppose I don't have anything to worry about. Now WSS does bother me, as two of my favorites are ending (one has ended at the time of this writing, and the other has two more weeks.) I know Shogakukan is going through an identity crisis right now, but I don't think that cutting series the way they have will make a difference. It saddens me that two series had to die just for Shogakukan to bring in more unknowns, but I know it's only business, and what works for many, may not work for some.
10. If you were able to write and draw your own manga series (assuming it wouldn't be cancelled), what would it be about? How would the story develop and what characters would you have?
I hope it's okay to plug my wiki here, cause it pretty much answers all of these questions. ^_^
I'd probably mesh my series with snarky humor and big adventure. As one can see I've got three series which means three different leads and three different sets of characters. It's tough cause I like translating, but it gets in the way of writing more on the wiki, but I'm sure I'll find time to do both. I'm a fan of character development over plot development, but I'd try to keep both equal so that the plot doesn't drag, and the characters are likeable. The characters I'd have would really range, but I can't get enough of the smart alec hero with a calm sometimes quiet sometimes energetic girl as his partner. Please check out the wiki and let me know how you feel about what I've got down there everyone!
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