"The Untouchables"

by "Miso" Suzuki

"The Untouchables" was the name of a monthly(?) comic strip that appeared in Famicom Tsushin magazine during the late '80s and early '90s.

The format of the comic strip was primarily that of a satirical account of the various facets of the Japanese videogame industry -- usually the names were changed, but the underlying theme of that particular week's strip was clear to the reader.

The strip usually took a comical view of the often tough and demanding world of game programmers, testers, publicists, magazine writers, and the gaming/computing industry in general.

The bespectacled main character is assumed to be the author himself, and he usually was accompanied by a sidekick, who sometimes changed over the course of the series.

What attracted me to this comic strip was the deadpan, gallows humour that invariably would result from a satirical look at the weird, wild things that happened in videogaming at that time.

Miso Suzuki in 1988

So, one day, I decided to take a crack at translating one or more of the comic strips into English... and boy, did I learn a lot about translating! I learned basically that it took a long time (2 months?!) for an amateur to translate 4 mere pages in his meagre free time. I also learned how tough it is to convey nuances in Japanese over to English... and still have it look like English!

Perhaps I'll find a faster and more efficient way to translate some more of these comic strips in the future. Until then, enjoy the strips below!

The first episode of "The Untouchables" that I've translated for you is a look into how publicists at game companies promote games, and the various trials that their work entails.

I've translated all of the dialogue, and overlaid it on top of the original Japanese text. Sound effects are left as-is, except where it was crucial to the story itself. And if there are any, I apologize in advance for any errors!

Click the image to the right to view a PDF of "The Untouchables!"

"Forbidden Gamers" is the title of the next episode that I wanted to translate. It documents the Famitsu staff's crunch time as they have to write up a tip book for the just-released Dragon Quest IV as hastily as they can.

Editorial pressure, panic, desperation, game company interference: it's all here in this bone-chilling (and mildly amusing?) comic strip!

"The Origin of Company Names" is a very informative, and sometimes hilarious, comic presented in a quiz show format.  Here I do a very quick translation of the comic strip ('cause I'm a busy father, see?)

Also, that table, translated.