Katakana Furigana manga help

I’ve found some katakana furigana in a manga (Sailor Moon) I’m attempting to read at the moment. I’m having a largely negative reaction to it after the first volume but that’s another story.

On a few occasions the author uses katakana beside the main text, but it’s not clear to me that this is supposed to give the reading, but rather a helpful interpretation. Here’s what I mean

わたしは また この手で あいつを 解き放った

In this sentence, あいつ is given クイン・メタリア as the furigana. I assume this is to make it clear who is speaking about whom, since the panel is otherwise ambiguous. It would be bizarre to mark hiragana with a katakana pronunciation, right?

そして あたしたちの 王女さまを さがしだして

In this sentence, 王女さま has プリンセス written beside it. Since these are Kanji, it might be that the author actually wants プリンセス to be the reading. There are several times in this manga where プリンセス is written in the main line of text, without any kanji. In fact, usually it is written in katakana alone; it’s part of the jargon. So it might be that the author wants to clarify for readers what プリンセス actually means by occasionally providing the kanji. That’s what I think

The last two examples show an inconsistency:

水と知性の戦士 水星の守護を受けしもし者
火星の守護を受けた 炎と情熱の戦士

The first is the introduction of Sailor Mercury, and the second of Sailor Mars. These obviously follow a similar formula. What puzzles me is that 水星 is marked with マーキュリー, but 火星 is marked with かせい. I’m assuming that both planets are supposed to br read in Japanese, but Mercury is given with the “English” on top to make the connection between the planet and the character, while they didn’t bother to do this for Mars.

Is it normal for furigana to be used loosely as an interpretive key instead of a phonetic key? Do you agree with my interpretations?

The first instance of 王女さま(プリンセス) I believe is in case the reader is unfamiliar with the English word. (Remember, this was circa 1992.) If I recall correctly, Usagi makes a side comment about pudding (プリン), which suggests the furigana is what was spoken, and the kanji is to let the reader know what the word means. After the first instance, it becomes fine to use プリンセス alone.

On the other hand, the あいつ, I took the furigana not to be what was said, but rather to specific to the reader who あいつ refers to. (I know, inconsistent if I’m right.)

As for マーキュリー and かせい, well, Naoko Takeuchi was wildly inconsistent. See also: エネルギー vs エナジー.

Yes and no. Depends on the author. Here’s from a manga series I’m currently reading:

0821_rental_1280_01_032 furigana

In this case, the word is supposed to read レンタル, and the furigana (which includes kanji!) is giving the meaning. That’s backwards from what I usually see, where the furigana is the reading/what’s spoken.

Edit: From the same manga:


If you want to complain or vent about it, feel free to =) Anything specific?


I think that’s Japan in general where the former is the correct way and the latter is only applied to drinks. :wink:

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Thanks for the reply! Yeah, I’ve watched some of the anime and really enjoyed it and its pace. I hope I’ll catch up to the forum’s read through by the way. Anyway, there is a lot of doofy stuff that’s happened in the manga that I’m glad they altered in the anime. Cat-somersault generated magic wands are much more believable than hi-score generated prize toy magic wands, or “I banged on the arcade machine and a power stick came out” wands. Or “it just conveniently appeared lol” after the first two.

The Four Kings are total trash in the manga. Killed by the exorcism tag? Pathetic.

Rei, Ami, and Makoto are not interesting. In my amateur opinion, there are too many main characters for a once-per-month serialized manga. It’s almost like Sailor Moon was conceptualized as an anime first, not as a manga…

And Mamoru is a creep. Him: sees Sailor Moon passed out (my Japanese is trash so I wasn’t super clear on why the radiowave voodoo made everyone faint). Knows she is Usagi and where she lives. Chooses instead to take her to his condo and put her in his bed. (I give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he sleeps on the couch that night, but the way he acts the next morning, gee I dunno…) The next morning he applies “bedroom eyes” and gives her a cutesy nickname, and she’s totally feeling it, after having only run into him a couple of times. I don’t like it. If I didn’t know this was a canonical pairing, I would assume, at this point, that the author was trying to weird us out and make us hate the pairing. This is where I put down the volume. I’ll keep going because it’s interesting to see how considerably different it is from the anime, but I suspect what I’ve discovered is that Shoujo manga is unappealing to me. The anime, especially season 1, is great. I think season 1 is basically flawless. But the manga, wew. It’s not just that I think the anime greatly improved on the manga: I straight up think the manga is bad so far, besides the artwork. You sound like a fan: can you give me some advice to enjoy this more? BTW your bio says you’re reading Saint Tail, whose anime I watched coincidentally and enjoyed a lot, but I decided against buying the manga for it because of the lackluster experience I’ve had with Sailor Moon’s manga.

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The anime made similar use of the Sailor V arcade game similar to the manga in some ways, but to a much lesser extent. The machine gets more use in the manga, and I think it eventually becomes clear why those prizes were awarded from the machine. I don’t recall when this comes up, so spoiler: The arcade machine is essentially a computer that Luna uses to train Usagi and the others, and to distribute items to them.

Yeah, they feel very “monster of the week” in the manga. The manga was released one chapter per month, and the anime had four episodes per month. Add in the time to make an episode after the source material is released, and you can see why there’s so much filler:

Chapter Episode Event
2 8 Mercury appears
3 11 Mars appears
5 25 Jupiter appears

Another consideration (which is a bit spoilery) is that in the anime, Beryl and the Four Kings are presented as aliens whereas in the manga they are not aliens. In other words, there’s reason to believe Four Kings and Beryl are a lot stronger in the anime than in the manga, and that makes their manga fragility more understandable. At least, that’s my own personal take on it.

I expect it only to get worse as more characters are added, as well. I’m not personally complaining, but I do see the value in having some filler material to get to know the characters.

On the Internet, it’s not always clear if someone is serious or kidding, so just in case it’s the former, I’ll mention: Naoko Takeuchi’s main series at the time was Sailor V, which is centered around Minako and Artemis. She started Sailormoon on the side because it was requested she do a series that can would have an anime adaptation.

There might have been an issue if he took Sailormoon to Usagi’s house, though. “Good evening, Mr. and Mrs. Usagi’s parents. I brought your daughter home. Why yes, she is dressed as Saillormoon.”

The plot-lines of the anime and manga diverge around Act.11 or so. Once you reach that point, it’s all unique material compared with the anime.

For some background: I’m mostly familiar with the orignal Sailormoon anime, except for the S and SuperS seasons. My English-version manga-reading experience previously was up through part of the Black Moon arc (season two, R, in the anime), and a lot of that I read so quickly that I’d forgotten it. So, much of reading the manga this year has felt “all new” to me.

For the manga, I think you have to simply accept it for what it is. It was a companion to an anime series. It has a lot of characters, but its focus is on pushing the storyline at a rapid pace, at the expense of getting to know the characters. (Although, as I’m reading through the second story arc, and I try to recall the R anime series, I feel like Mamoru gets a lot more personality to him by this point in the manga versus the anime.)

Oops, I should update that. I’ve finished reading Saint Tail!

If you’ve watched the entire anime, there’s no reason to read the manga, unless you really like the series. The anime closely follows the manga, so you’re not getting anything new. In fact, you get a lot less:

  • Chapters are shorter than episodes, so the animated adaptions had extra content added.
  • The anime anime has almost twice as many episodes than the manga had chapters (43 episodes vs 24 chapters).
  • Meimi’s friends Kyoko and Ryoko are very hard to tell apart in the manga. They were redesigned for the anime.
Sample pages

Edit: I forgot to mention, if you’ve watched the anime fairly recently, or know it well, then the manga is a great way to read a series in Japanese that you’re familiar with. It recently got a re-release, since there’s a sequel series by a new author/artist. (I haven’t checked out the new series because it doesn’t sound interesting to me.)

Edit 2: The final volume of the manga is side-stories that didn’t make it into the anime, including how Meimi first became Saint Tail. If you remember the anime and liked it, consider picking up the final volume of the manga!


LoL. Yeah, that’s where I got it.

Oy, thanks for the comments. I’ll derail my own thread and follow up. Thanks for the spoiler tags; I left most of them unopened.

I know vaguely that the Four Kings are reincarnations, rather than the original people themselves like in the anime. Or I think I read that somewhere a long time ago. I’ll probably miss something that subtle in the Japanese. But I got the sense in the anime for both season 1 and R (as much as I’ve watched), that all of the arc villains are human, just with sojourns in the underworld/another plant. Or in Metalia and Wiseman’s case, they’re homegrown demons or something, but not aliens. The Four Kings and Beryl were definitely human originally. Somehow they got revived, but they’re still the same souls as before.

Ya, that’s what I meant. But I think it goes further than what you said: Takeuchi wrote a single chapter of Sailor V, and had no intention of doing any more, and then Toei told her to do Sailor Moon.

There might have been an issue if he took Sailormoon to Usagi’s house, though. “Good evening, Mr. and Mrs. Usagi’s parents. I brought your daughter home. Why yes, she is dressed as Saillormoon.”

I suppose so… Still doesn’t justify “Usako.”

The plot-lines of the anime and manga diverge around Act.11 or so. Once you reach that point, it’s all unique material compared with the anime.

Act 11? I felt like chapter 5 when Makoto shows up was the divergence point. (I have a general idea of what happens in the rest of the first arc). I’ve considered this, and my hypothesis is that around Act 5, Takeuchi got the green light to go for at least another year, and the anime staff got the same green light. Then both parties diverged somewhat from Takeuchi’s original roadmap/sketch of the story. Takeuchi toned down the ending, which was originally “everyone dies,” in order to allow future arcs not to be forever overshadowed by the first. Toei decided to keep the “everyone dies” ending along with other tropes you would expect for a one-season anime. And, knowing that Takeuchi was not going to stick with the plan, they ceased to even reference the manga for their story. They (sort of) arrived at the same conclusion to the Dark Kingdom arc, with Sailor Venus, the Silver Crystal, the Princess Serenity, Mamoru kidnapped, and the Moon Kingdom, and the last fight. But from what I suspect, the anime was just riffing on the original sketch they got from TN, and considered themselves to have total freedom in arranging the events of the second half of the arc. Whereas for the first half, they sometimes copied panels and lines straight from the manga. I haven’t read it yet, but I can’t imagine this will be possible anymore since it changes so much.

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Looking back on it, you’re right. The divergence did start closer to Act.5. Up to about Act.11 I had read in English back in the 90’s, so I think that gave me a familiarity of the material which caused me to not realize/recall it differed from the anime.

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Sorry to temporarily ‘un-derail’ the thread. You all are definitely having a very interesting conversation about the series, and that’s great. About katakana , furigana and other strange uses of words above other words… have you heard of Akashic Records of Bastard Magic Instructor? In Japanese, the title looks like this:

I can think of another example in a chapter title from the Konosuba light novel: この手にお宝を!or something like that, with お宝 being marked with the type of ‘treasure’ the protagonist managed to get. (Hint: it wasn’t actually valuable, but it was a piece of clothing belonging to girl, so…) So to answer your question: it’s perfectly normal. In fact, don’t be surprised if you see something written in any Japanese script over the main text for the purpose of commentary. I wouldn’t be surprised to see something like ‘Off I went to けいこ大馬鹿の部屋’ in a protagonist’s internal monologue. There are two lines of text, and authors are free (more or less) to do whatever they want with them.


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