After fans called out the newly localized English language version of the Kamen Rider Kuuga manga for its translation and other related problems, Titan Comics and its partner, Stonebot Comics, put out statements in response.
Kamen Rider Kuuga Volume 2, part of a manga series by Toshiki Inoue, released in North America in late January 2023. The previous volume released a month prior on December 6th, 2022. After Volume 2’s release, angry fans took to social media to complain about poor translation quality, errors in typesetting, and even false advertising in the lead-up to each release. Many of the errors were documented on Twitter by Team TokuNet member Kaylyn Saucedo among others.
Occasional bad line breaks, too.
"Hey, I Chijo."
The character's name is Ichijo. pic.twitter.com/jsfpKkWQ9o
— Kaylyn Saucedo – MarzGurl ➡️ Fighting the Yakuza (@MarzGurl) January 22, 2023
In the lead-up to each Kamen Rider Kuuga volume’s release, Titan Comics promoted the books using preview images featuring translations that differ from the final release. While the translations in these preview images made sense to readers, translations in the final release were sometimes reduced to nonsense phrases that do make sense in English.
For extra clarity's sake, the images are as follows:
1) original Japanese
3) Titan's preview page
4) Titan's final English release pic.twitter.com/d3YQfsJf21
— Kaylyn Saucedo – MarzGurl ➡️ Fighting the Yakuza (@MarzGurl) January 25, 2023
Other errors fans noticed include instances of original Japanese text being noticeably drawn over which created inconsistencies alongside some Japanese text being left untouched alongside added translations. Some translations are also clearly incorrect according to context, and different instances of the same name are translated differently.
They couldnt even consistently translate Grongi names pic.twitter.com/VuZ9g4HXPO
— Garmore (@GleamingGarmore) January 25, 2023
As a result of fans making their grievances heard on series creator Shotaro Ishinomori’s birthday, “Kamen Rider” was trending on Twitter. In response to these problems, Titan Comics first released the following statement with comments disabled on Twitter:
The above statement explains that the preview pages fans used for comparison were “early drafts” which were translated for marketing purposes. While this explanation partly explained the origin of the preview images, fans were quick to point out that this statement dodges any criticism of the manga release.
Additionally, this statement suggested that it wasn’t Titan’s fault that fans expected different translations even though the official Titan Comics Twitter account had been responsible for posting the preview images just two days prior. Despite this, the statement dodged responsibility by saying “These [draft pages] may still be circulating on the web.”
Out this week! Kamen Rider Kuuga: Vol 2, from Shotaro Ishinomori, Toshiki Inoue (W) and Hitotsu Yokoshima (A). #Kamenriderkuuga is back for a second volume with more action, more monsters, and more super heroics!
— @ComicsTitan (@ComicsTitan) January 23, 2023
Amid further complaints following this statement, Titan Comics and Stonebot Comics both released new statements the following day to explain the situation and apologize for the errors. Stonebot Comics is the original license holder for the manga’s English language release, and they announced this back in November, 2021. Stonebot Comics would go on to partner with Titan Comics for publishing and distribution, according to its latest statement.
In the above statement, Stonebot explains that the promotional images that fans saw were originally translated from Japanese to English by a team at OVNI Press, Stonebot’s Argentinian sister company. Those translations were made using the style of the Argentinian release of Kamen Rider Kuuga in Spanish and were intended for promotion for distributors and social media. They differ from the final release as a result of trying to make the English localization “more similar to current manga localizations in the market.”
Stonebot Comics also claimed it’s working with Titan Comics to “deliver an edition the fans can be happy with.” Meanwhile, Titan Comics released an updated statement that lists more specific promises of actions it’s taking to resolve the problems.
As part of the updated Titan Comics statement, corrections will be made to “art errors and textual inconsistencies” in all future printings of Kamen Rider Kuuga Volumes 1 and 2. Updates will also be applied to digital versions.
Extra editorial processes are also being put in place to ensure high quality and accuracy in the future. Titan Comics has assured its readers that it will continue to work closely with translators and “Kamen Rider brand experts” to improve production on the series. There has been no further elaboration on partnerships.