Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Don Dracula, Chapter 1, Part 1, Intro

Back around 2003-2004, there was a special monthly release of a phonebook-style magazine (ala Weekly Shonen Jump) that was dedicated to Osamu Tezuka. Each issue ran about 400 pages, and contained one or two chapters of various serialized manga like "Black Jack", "The Phoenix", "Astro Boy" and "Dororo" as well as various one-shot stories. I was going through a few back issues of these magazines recently, and in volume 11 I happened to find "Don Dracula", a sitcom featuring the adventures of the hapless Count Dracula and his cute little daughter, Chocola.

Turns out that Don Dracula was a series that initially ran in Weekly Shonen Champion magazine starting with the May 28, 1979, issue. I really like the way Chocola can go from sweet and charming to frightening and vicious in an instant. Tezuka is an amazing artist that way. Many people may believe that Tezuka just created stories for children, but he was a lot deeper and more complex than that, as evidenced by some of his other works, like "Buddha", "MW" and "The Crater".

Interestingly, one of my students recommended "The Crater" a few weeks ago, and within this same special monthly release series the publishers included it in a later volume. And I agree, the "The Crater" is a good story. In fact, it uses a similar idea to "Groundhog Day", but predates that movie by a good decade or two.

Anyway, I want to tackle "Don Dracula" as my next "Learning Japanese" project.

Some notes before I begin.

The title is written in katakana as "Don Dorakyura". Within the story, Dracula refers to himself as "ドラキュラ伯爵" (Dracula Hakyushaku), which translates as "Count, or Earl, Dracula". According to the wiki entry, Tezuka's official website lists the title in English as "Earl Dracula". So that's what I'm going to go with for the moment. (If you don't like "Earl Dracula" you can always do a global search and replace to make it "Count Dracula".

In previous "Learning Japanese" entries, I've given the hiragana pronunciations of the kanji, and I've gone through most of the translation process pretty much word-for-word. I've gotten almost no feedback from anyone that they've been reading any of these entries or that they've learned anything from them. So, this time, I'm just going to include the original dialog, my translations, and any notes that I feel are relevant for some reason.

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