Monday, August 28, 2023

Wallaby Tidbits & Triva


Now that my Wallaby translation has been out for a while, let's go over some tidbits and trivia I learned as I translated it! Yaaaay!

Gamer Time

Wallaby is a unique comic in Azuma Kiyohiko's catalog as it was published in the gaming magazine "GAME-JIN", from the December 1998 issue until the Summer 2000 issue.


The best photo of the December 1998 issue I could find

I'm not quite sure why Wallaby was published here. Azuma's most notable works were published in Dengenki Daioh, owned by ASCII Media Works, and he also did some promotional comic work for some anime produced by Pioneer. T2 Publishing seems unrelated to either of them.

A crappy photo of the inside. I would love to have this, but the auction starts at like 40 bucks! Maybe this could be an early Christmas present for me...? :)

Perhaps Azuma was a fan of this magazine, and that's why they were published here? Regardless, it seems that its publication in a gaming magazine meant two things: 1.) the manga actually reads from left to right, and 2.) the cameo appearance of Sony's own Playstation!

The pinnacle of Computer Entertainment™️

Specialist Yukawa

Speaking of gaming, when Wallaby suggests buying a Playstation, Kokoro mistakenly brings up "Specialist Yukawa", a tongue-in-cheek ad campaign in which SEGA executive Yukawa Eiichi laments over the performance of the Dreamcast. His picture was printed on the Dreamcast's box, and he even appears in Shenmue!

Translator's note: "Yukawa" means "former executive director of SEGA"


Poor guy had to clean up after Tom Kalisnke

Not even Quake III could save the Dreamcast at this point

His Shenmue cameo. The resemblance is uncanny.

Here's a compilation of these commercials. Kokoro must've watched a lot of TV to see them.


Playstation Classics

As for the games they actually end up playing, the first one, "Battle Fighter", seems like a parody of almost any fantasy/swordplay-based fighting game, of which the PS1 had many (Battle Arena Toshinden, Soulcalibur, Bushido Blade, etc.)

A common sight every Friday night in 1999

Kokoro's character sure looks familiar...

The second game Kokoro plays, however, is very clearly a parody of the Japanese-exclusive "Doko Demo Issyo", a game in which you chat and hang out with a variety of wacky animal characters. In fact, Mimi-Pi seems to be a color-swapped parody of the character "Jun Mihara"


Basically unknown in the west, but in Japan this guy is one of Playstation's mascots.

Jun Mihara. I... don't really have a snarky comment about this one.

This game revolves around interacting and talking to these characters using dialog options and text boxes, hence Wallaby's intention to get back at Kokoro by teaching Mimi-Pi "some new words" and by rudely poking him.

Who remembers teaching their Animal Crossing neighbors some nasty catchphrases?

Modern game design has a lot to learn from this era.

Here's a detailed video (in English this time!) going over the history of the series:



Stepping away from gaming-related trivia, let's go over something that might surprise you Kiyohiko Azuma-heads out there. One thing of note about Wallaby is that it's publication overlapped the beginnings of Azumanga Daioh. And on the final page of Wallaby, Kokoro mentions her friend's school having a cultural festival...

I wonder who this friend of hers is...

...Sure enough, you may remember that the school of Azumanga Daioh hosts a yearly cultural festival, and you can see it for the first time during Chapter 11 of Volume 1.

Yes, I do own 4 different copies of Azumanga Daioh. Yes, I know you're jealous.

Well, simply grab your closest copy of Azumanga Daioh (Volume 1 or the Omnibus), turn to page 140, and be greeted by a very special guest making a surprise cameo appearance!

That's right! You can actually find the obscure characters Kokoro and Wallaby at almost any Barnes & Noble in the country!

The same getup appears in both series! And you guys thought that the plushie sticking out of her pocket was something she already bought from the booth, huh?

The equivalent scene as shown in the anime. Unfortunately it seems they swapped out Kokoro & Wallaby for somebody else...


Gee, I hope somebody got fired for that blunder!

Surprisingly enough, Wallaby actually contains a mistake on page 16, in which a speech bubble is left empty! This mistake is really annoying, as at first glance it looks like it's my fault and that I forgot to fill it in while typesetting!

Thankfully I haven't received any comments about this one... yet.

As you can see, this mistake is present in the orginal version, making it Azuma's (or his editor's) fault! I was even able to confirm with another owner of Azumanga 2 that this mistake is present in all versions and not just a weird misprint with my copy.

My guess is that Kokoro's line "quit it already!" was originally going to be in the bubble, but was later changed to a handwritten scribble. However, the bubble was already drawn, and either it was forgotten about or it would've been too difficult to cover up.


The Wallaby formerly known as Warabi

And for the last bit of trivia, we go the the very back cover. What does this one little (or big) kanji say?

Very Mysterious

This one is very simple to answer: it's 蕨, or Warabi, the name of our main character!

Throughout the comic, he's referred to by a wide variety of spellings and honorific combinations, such as 蕨、わらび君、わらびー, etc. Depending on the context and if the last syllable was elongated, they were translated as either "Warabi" or "Wallaby".

Well, that's it for trivia! I had a lot of fun working on this translation, and I learned a lot more about the process simply working through it. I admit that my translation is not perfect, however you have to admit that it's a huge improvement of what we used to have. I hope that my effort could breathe a tiny bit of life into this old, forgotten comic. Given how popular Kiyohiko Azuma is now, it's a shame that a good portion of his earlier work has never been translated into English. But I'm glad that I can help chip away at that problem!

I've already begun working on my next project, but it's gonna take a bit longer compared to this one. I will say one thing, it's something you Azuma-heads will be excited to see!

Well, until then, see you next time! 


me when im gamin


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