May 14, 2016 6:40 AM   Subscribe

Sakana is a slice of life, romantic comedy (a sli-li-rom-com if you will) that takes place in a giant fish market in Tokyo, Japan. Our intrepid heroes must do battle with unruly seafood and THEMSELVES!!! in order to find love, inner peace, and a paycheck. By Madeline Rupert
posted by rebent (6 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I love the manga-inspired artwork, and the concept is terrific . . . but, wow. This is a very liberal take on the way Japanese fishmongers communicate with each other, and the language they use. It almost reads best when you pretend they're not speaking Japanese.
posted by Gordion Knott at 8:43 AM on May 14, 2016

how do japanese fishmongers communicate with each other?
posted by andrewcooke at 9:15 AM on May 14, 2016

Something kind of like the Victorian Language of Flowers, only using unsalable fish parts.
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:09 AM on May 14, 2016 [5 favorites]

I don't know anything about Japanese fishmonger culture, but I am a professional J-E translator and editor, and—hmm.

Sakana reads like exactly what it is: a comic strip written by someone who's an extremely skilled comic artist, and who decided to set a strip in a very peculiar and specialized environment itself mysterious even to native laypeople—and she's not that, either; she visited the country for two weeks and does not appear to speak the language.

So it's weird. It's a beautifully-executed ensemble comedy strip, but the English they're speaking is so deeply rooted in the rhythms of contemporary American comic dialogue that, as a translator, when I imagine translating it "back" into Japanese, the characters still feel very, very American. Charming though they are, they are not recognizable as people who work in even a fictionalized, comic-strip version of the Tsukiji market, and I'm honestly not sure how I feel about it.
posted by Sokka shot first at 10:24 AM on May 14, 2016 [10 favorites]

"Imagine that Hamilton were being presented as the way people actually talked back then."
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:26 PM on May 14, 2016

I'm on strip #15 and I'm liking this so far, with the requisite suspension of disbelief about the setting. But, wow, I just peeked at the latest strip and it's already up to #355! It's nearly three in the morning here and I must resist the urge to binge-read the rest...
posted by spinda at 2:59 AM on May 15, 2016

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