When English Goes Too Far In Japanese Manga

Japanese love to stick English in Japanese manga. Even where there is a chance it may not be understood, as long it sounds cool, then all is well. With solo vocabulary words, and possibly super easy phrases that Japanese people may recall from their high school mandatory English class days, I suppose this is fine. But there is manga that takes this to a new extreme level.

Let’s look at the following page from the zombie manga アイアムアヒーロー (I Am A Hero).

When English Goes To Far In Japanese Manga 1 -

Did I give you the English translated version?

No, let’s look at the previous page.

When English Goes To Far In Japanese Manga 2

Aha! There is some Japanese in the bottom right.

And a page before that.

When English Goes To Far In Japanese Manga 3

So here you have some complex English, with the average reader having no idea at all what he is saying. No character is translating this for him either.


To show confusion of the main character to the reader? Possibly.

Because a foreigner is involved? Not really sure about this as most foreigners that appear in manga speak in Japanese (See 宇宙兄弟 for a good example).

But then at the end of the volume of this manga, there are 2 bonus pages attached.

Translating everything that was said.

When English Goes To Far In Japanese Manga 4

This is definitely a first I’ve seen in manga that uses English.

What do you think about this? English shows good confusion and sets the mood? If that’s the case, are the translations required at the end? Will trends like this continue?

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Founder of Jalup. Spends most of his time absorbing and spreading thrilling information about learning Japanese.


When English Goes Too Far In Japanese Manga — 12 Comments

  1. I’d like to see how they deal with this in the translated version! They’d have to change the English. I wonder if the mangaka would be offended, aha.

    Sadly, those pages wouldn’t count for Tadoku (-_-)

    • Interesting point! I don’t believe the manga had been translated yet but I’m sure it eventually will.

      I’m sure the manga artist won’t notice a complete change in text!

  2. I’m sorry but I’m kind of confused right now. I’m still a beginner so I haven’t been able to read Japanese. The English used here sounds a little bit strange (I think so but not so sure since I’m not a native speaker) however I can still understand what it means. So I wonder what is “funny” here. Are the English and Japanese meanings different (like, incorrect translation) ? Or it is the unnatural English ? Sorry for this retarded question but I can’t help thinking about this.

    • Whats funny is that this is a JAPANESE manga, not a translated one. So in yhe ORIGINAL one they put that much english in, even though the average japanese wont understand any of it

      • Thanks, since in my country there are many comics written in or containing a lot of English rather than our mother tongue so I’m kind of used to it and find it pretty normal. I almost forgot the fact that English hasn’t been very popular in Japan.

  3. Somehow great for beginners ^^ Although the English sentences sound a bit odd, the Japanese ones seem to be completely natural. Even I could pick up some sentences, I understood most of them, though.

    • Just watch out because some of the Japanese doesn’t match up with the English the way it should.

  4. You read “I Am a Hero,” Adshap?
    Volume 13 (IIRC) also has a lot of French! It’s a really great manga, though, I think showing what’s happening all over the world, and not just using Japanese when people in France are talking is awesome.

    • I actually just got to volume 13 and found out about French being used in the same way as English. Also there was a chapter in Chinese. These chapters were hard to follow though, and I think could’ve worked in Japanese as every other manga does for foreign countries/people. I do praise them for originality though.

  5. I wonder too. The only other manga I’ve read recently with English was Eyeshield 21, when they play an American team. The team captian (fluent in English thanks to hanging on an Army base) ends up arguing with the opposing coach on who’s [censored] is bigger. Is pretty hilarious, and it’s obviously not meant to be understood by the reader.

    Also, the only manga I’ve read where the f-bomb is dropped constantly. It’s in furigana though.

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