Scanlating the Sunfish Scans Way Part 1: Preface

This is Part 1 of our scanlation tutorial series. You can find all parts here.

Hi, guys! Floating Sunfish here of Sunfish Scans, the one-man scanlation group currently working on Mitsudomoe. Thank you so much for being with us today. 🙂

I decided to write this series to help those just getting into scanlation, especially those who’d like to help translate Mitsudomoe so we can all see that final chapter sooner. 

NOTE: Apologies for the small site font, as it comes with the theme. I sadly can’t make it any larger without affecting other parts of the site. If you have difficulty reading the text, please zoom-in on the page.

In this series, I’ll be teaching you everything I know about scanlation, everything I wish I knew when I was just getting started, and everything I learned along the way. This series, however, will not cover how to speak or read Japanese as I only know how to read Hiragana and Katakana myself. You can read how I managed to translate 4 whole volumes of this awesome series despite that fact here.

It’s been quite a journey looking back on my own and other people’s work on Mitsudomoe, and I hope you’ll have as much fun reading this series as I did writing it.

But before we begin, I’d like to give a very special thank you to all the wonderful people who helped me work on this awesome series over the years:

  • First off to Hyoenmadan, who helped provide the magazine scan RAWs, Drama CD translations, and awesome comments early on;
  • To Mac and another anonymous person, for helping me with a few Volume 7 chapters;
  • To VP, for providing the Almost-Weekly Mitsudomoe RAWs;
  • To Oshima Azusa, who not only helped me translate said spin-off series, but also helped with transcripts and first drafts for the main series as well;
  • To all the awesome people at the Little White Butterflies IRC who helped me with some chapters I was having trouble with;
  • And last but not least, to everyone who took the time to comment on my site, and the old Bato.to and Mangadex Mitsudomoe pages.

Working on this awesome series never would’ve been the same without you guys. You all rock. 😉

And now, without further ado — let’s jump right in, shall we?


A Little Bit of History

My road to discovering Mitsudomoe was a pretty weird one.

It all started sometime in 2013, after watching the classic AMV Hell series (feature-length compilations of some of the funniest and most creative AMVs at the time), I found myself searching YouTube for various anime-related Jackass videos (because the One Piece Jackass entry from AMV Hell 4 cracked me up for some reason).

One of the search results was a video titled “[AMV] Mitsudo-Jackass,” which showed the Mitsudomoe cast in various messed-up situations from the anime, which immediately caught my attention because it was a series about cute kids doing some pretty crazy stuff.

The video is sadly now deleted so I can’t give credit to the original uploader who introduced me to Mitsudomoe, but whoever they were, we all owe them a lot because I never would’ve discovered (and worked on!) this awesome series if it weren’t for their video.

For the curious, below are mirrors to said videos that I managed to find:

Naturally, after binge-watching all 2 seasons (twice!) and laughing my heart out, I wanted to see if the manga was just as enjoyable — and boy, was it ever! It had a lot more content than the anime, and so I ended up binge-reading that as well.

Of course, I noticed the huge gap from Volume 4 to Volume 11 — but paid it no mind since Mitsudomoe was so episodic.

After finishing every translated chapter and doing a little bit of research, I found out that TDX, the most active scanlation group that worked on Mitsudomoe at the time, dropped the series due to a lack of staff members willing to work on it due to the nature of its content (as much as I hate to admit it, this series sadly isn’t for everyone). And so, my wait for new chapters of this awesome series began…

For 2 whole years.

After seemingly waiting forever for a new chapter to come out, I thought maybe *I* could give it a shot — but quickly realized that I’d have to learn how to at least read Japanese in order to do so. And so I proceeded to download gigs and gigs of Japanese study materials: everything from PDFs to ebooks and even video tutorials.

And then, after spending about 2 weeks trying to learn a language that I wasn’t going to use once I was done with this series, I said “Screw it, this is gonna take forever. I’m going in!!

Thankfully, I stumbled upon an obscure Youtube series called “Learning Japanese through Hentai” at the time (I honestly don’t remember how I found this one. Fate, I guess?). While I obviously didn’t learn how to read Japanese from it, I did learn how to type Japanese text on an English keyboard using Windows’ Language Bar.

Below is a mirror to said video:

I was positively intrigued: the very thought of being able to type in Kanji through syllables meant that I could copy every text line-by-line (as long as I knew how it was pronounced), machine-translate it, and make the necessary adjustments to come up with at least halfway decent-sounding dialogue.

Luckily for me, I didn’t even need to learn how to read Kanji because most of the dialogue in Mitsudomoe was written for kids (because it was published in a kids’ magazine for some reason). That meant that all spoken dialog would have these small Hiragana and Katakana characters called Furigana right next to the Kanji so Japanese kids could learn how to pronounce them.

And so, I proceeded to memorize the entire Hiragana and Katakana tables by heart and decided to try my luck.

At first, I was only planning on reading each chapter for myself — but quickly realized that after a couple of weeks, I’d probably forget my own translations and have to do them all over again just to enjoy a chapter I’ve already read.

This made me dust off my old *cough* totally legit *cough* copy of Adobe Photoshop and typeset everything I came up with onto the actual pages. Then, after finishing my very first chapter (which was fortunately a part of the anime, so I had the subtitles to fall back on as a crutch), I thought “Hey, I already made the chapter. I might as well share it with the rest of the world!”

And so, I decided to create a free WordPress site and make my very first release. I also posted a comment linking back to said site on the old Bato.to’s Mitsudomoe page, to which another user asked if I could upload it there, too.

My first Bato.to comment ever.

Ahh, meeeeemories~♪

I believe my work on Mitsudomoe never would’ve got as much attention as it did if I didn’t upload it to Bato.to as well (huh, guess all those aggregator sites do have a purpose after all!).

It was one of the best decisions I ever made while working on this awesome series, and I actually enjoyed talking with other Mitsudomoe fans around the world (the continued existence of which legitimately surprised me, seeing how this series was basically “dead” since 2013).

I was truly making a contribution to the world (in a shady and morally-gray way of course, but a contribution nonetheless), making new friends, and releasing fun new chapters which continues to this day.

Next time, I’ll be talking about everything I learned from the very first scanlation group to ever work on Mitsudomoe: KS Scanlation.

See you in the next post! Same Mitsudomoe time, same Mitsudomoe channel!

7 thoughts on “Scanlating the Sunfish Scans Way Part 1: Preface

  1. OshimaAzusa says:

    I read your translation tutorial a while back, I guess around when you started on Almost Weekly, and I was surprised at the time you could do such effective translations by just machine translating. Even now when my reading level is at N3, which is sub-fluent and enough to be able to read and understand a relatively simple manga like Mitsudomoe without outside help, the chapters that you release are pretty much just as well translated as mine would be.

    In any case, I was curious (if you don’t mind me asking here), do you think you’ve learned kanji and certain grammar forms by inculcation now? Four volumes worth of Japanese is quite a lot, after all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Floating Sunfish says:

      Aww, thank you for all the kind words! 🙂
      It’s very flattering to hear from someone of your level.

      I just happened to watch so many English shows back when I was a kid that I grew up instinctively knowing what sounds good and what doesn’t without exactly knowing how. 😛
      I’m actually glad I got to put my skills to good use with Mitsudomoe.

      >do you think you’ve learned kanji and certain grammar forms by inculcation now?
      Sadly, my work on Mitsudomoe has been so sporadic over the years that nothing has actually stuck. Sorry to disappoint. :/

      But if it’s any consolation, I have started to recognize some Kanji and grammar forms to a certain degree (I certainly take a lot less time figuring out what they say than when I first started), but it’s so crude and informal I’d probably be at N9 if such a rank even existed. 😛

      Liked by 1 person

      • Daniel says:

        How did you learn all the cultural references in the chapter titles? I want to do the one-man scanlation thing eventually and I think my biggest problem area will be cultural things like that. References to other works, unfamiliar Japanese collocations and idioms, and statements that are not intended to be taken literally/directly.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Floating Sunfish says:

          >How did you learn all the cultural references in the chapter titles?
          Azusa and I were very fortunate to stumble upon 325.liblo.jp.
          It’s basically the go-to site for Mitsudomoe manga and anime references.
          It has a section for each chapter, and the references each title makes.

          >unfamiliar Japanese collocations and idioms
          I just happened to realize that sometimes, when I dropped something in Google Translate and Jisho.org, their results would be drastically different.
          This is because Google Translate has some level of understanding of basic Japanese idioms, while Jisho tends to falter when certain phrases are worded differently.

          It’s at this point that I Google said phrases and hope that other sites explain it better (like Japanese Stackexchange).

          Hope that helps!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Oshima Azusa says:

            To add to that, the site Weblio (https://ejje.weblio.jp/) has been very helpful to me. It’s a bilingual dictionary, but it’s also a glossary and encyclopedia, which is what really makes it useful. Even just Wikipedia (the English or Japanese versions) is helpful. For instance, Sakurai seems to have an interest in sumo wrestling as references to it appear frequently in the manga (‘Mitsudomoe,’ which means a lot of things in different settings, is also a sumo term.) For many sumo terms, Google Translate or dictionaries won’t help unless the term is quite common, but Wikipedia has a list of a handful of them at the very least.
            Then there’s characters like Matsuoka who use lots of obscure terms having to do with Shino and Buddhism. It was just by luck that knew the Heart Sutra before she started using it all over, but in cases like that you just have to know what you’re looking for and how to identify it when you’ve found it. The less you have to go on when you start doing Google searches, the longer it’s gonna take. Then thirty minutes have passed and you realize you’ve been stuck trying to figure out one speech bubble that whole time.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Daniel says:

    In my opinion watching anime in original language without having to look down at subtitles every five seconds is worth learning Japanese for, and the Remembering the Kanji books by Heisig are a pretty painless method for learning the kanji (painless, after accounting for the fact that there are 2000 to learn just for basic fluency).

    I found Mitsudomoe about a year ago when I was on an anonymous imageboard. Somebody posted a .webm of the scene where Futaba and Mitsuba roll a barrel to their house intending to fill it with water and put it over a fire before noticing that the barrel is open on both ends.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Floating Sunfish says:

      >watching anime in original language without having to look down at subtitles every five seconds
      True, but I barely have time to watch anything either nowadays. 😛
      Which is why learning Japanese isn’t high on my todo list right now.
      Sorry about that.

      Though if I were going to start, I’m looking at LingoDeer (the android app).
      Judging by the reviews, it makes Japanese even easier to pick up.

      >I found Mitsudomoe about a year ago when I was on an anonymous imageboard
      Ah, always good to hear more people are learning about this awesome series.
      I hope you enjoy reading it as much as we did translating it!

      Like

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