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Bits and Pieces of Miscellany

October 9th, 2009 (11:40 pm)

current mood: calm

Every now and again, diving into 2ch is one of the worst things I endure doing in order to try to find info. One of the reasons I pretty much never dive into the Saiun threads there is that they're extremely negative. In fact, the 'anti' thread for Saiunkoku is more active than the regular thread, and diving into the regular one this time around, I found that it seems like the anti-side was quite active at the moment over there. >.>

Don't get me wrong, not all threads on 2ch are really bad, but since it's so anonymous, people over there seem to seriously lose all concept of netiquette on both sides (writers and repliers). >.> Earlier in the summer, I was trying to track down some raw DL sites for manga and novels, and ended up finding myself in an anti-Chinese, racist thread during the search. >.<;; I seriously felt like taking my brain out and bleaching it after that experience.

Fortunately, not all threads are bad. Migawari and HakuYou are generally quite amiable with lots of info sharing and such. I've seen one anti-Saiun poster come into the HakuYou thread, but other than some minor posts clarifying what the person was trying to talk about, the poster was essentially shrugged off and ignored. Presumably they were trolling trying to incite a flame war or otherwise create trouble, but... *shrug* The HakuYou crowd are pretty laid back and since it wasn't an issue of wrong-doing on the HakuYou side, it was seen as a problem with Saiun and not HakuYou.

The Saiun and anti-Saiun threads at the moment though, are pretty bad. The main thing (constantly) being mentioned in the anti-thread that's spilled over to the main thread currently is about plagiarism. Basically, that Saiun's author has essentially plagiarised bits and pieces from anywhere and everywhere including doujinshi. (There is a detailed list of the scenes/plot points/chara concepts supposedly plagiarised from titles including Harukanaru, 12 Kokuki, HakuYou, etc.) And since it's been quite some time since the last main story novel was published for Saiun, there's speculation that the publisher is being more careful about watching for plagiarism by the author and that's why things are taking so long. Alternatively, since no ideas have been posted for where the story should go next, the author (who 'doesn't have an original story concept in her') has nothing to steal and therefore has no idea what to write. Personally, I can't say a huge amount because a lot of what's on the list deals with titles I'm not familiar with. And while I suppose comparisons can be drawn between HakuYou and Saiun... I've been more bothered lately by the similarities in plot points between Migawari and HakuYou. Those similarities are quite frankly more striking to me. (Not to mention, I have other issues with Saiunkoku which has led to my declining interest in the title. Oh, FWIW, there's no anti-Migawari thread (there was a very inactive anti-HakuYou anime thread though) on 2ch, and I haven't seen any comments about the similarities I've noticed. *shrug*)

In terms of Migawari, two (... three now?) plot devices and one major concept overlap with HakuYou. The first of which is seen in the latest chapter (8) of the manga. Since it's a minor thing, I didn't pay a huge amount of attention to it other than noticing the similarity at first. More importantly, in HakuYou, it was a minor scene and that was it. But in Migawari, it's mentioned again 3 books later and takes on more significance. The same is true for another scene in book 3. (Folks who've seen HakuYou would probably see the similarity pretty quickly in this case since the HakuYou equivalent was a pretty major incident in the anime / novels.) In Migawari, the scene ended up creating an incredibly humourous situation that's drawn throughout the book until it's resolved at the end. It also introduces what ends up becoming a major concept to the current story. (FWIW, in HakuYou, since the relationship of the charas at that point are quite different to those in Migawari, it creates a very different situation and the actual issue was never truly talked about or resolved while more or less being forgiven.) Because of these differences in usage, I tend to forgive these similarities between Migawari and HakuYou, but I have to admit they're rather noticeable at times. (Oh, and the uncertain third similarity happens at the end of the latest novel, so I'm not sure how things are going to go yet and whether it will be similar in concept to HakuYou's London Bridge usage or not. It's a common plot device though, and has been used in lots of doujinshi, too. Actually, the concept has been making the rounds in HakuYou doujinshi lately. (...Come to think of it, I used the plot device in last year's NaNo. :P))

In this sense, I often see these sorts of light novels like, oh... Harlequin romance books where the stories follow a generic plot by numbers style. By no means is this great writing or anything, but it's fun and light stuffs using generic plot devices and concepts. The thing that does bother to a degree is the claims of plagiarism against Saiun since it's quite extensive. But quite frankly, I think I'd rather leave that concept for the J fans and anti-fans to fight out.

Otherwise, I'm hoping to get out tomorrow and take a look at some systems to see what I think of the makers, how much I like the build quality, the feel of the keyboards, and also see how bad the screen glare may or may not be.

It's sad, but at the moment, I'm essentially looking at systems with fairly similar specs to Mokkun (in the end, Mokkun was a 3GB (2.5 orig) RAM, 2GHz C2D, 120GB HD, 256 MB (128 orig) discrete graphics, Vista Bus). I didn't find myself overly restricted during the two+ years I was working on him beyond him being a bit weak for gaming. The bigger restrictions I ran into were compatibility issues with Vista. Even after two years, some of those still plagued me, but for the most part, they were finally getting pounded out. Right now, I'm primarily looking at 3-4GB RAM, 2-2.2GHz C2D, 320-500GB HD, 256-512 MB graphics, Vista Home Prem. I keep waffling over whether I really need discrete graphics or not. (FSU immediately said I did when I mentioned not being sure. ^^; ) The other thing that I'm waffling over is if I want to skip C2D and go for the new quad core processors, but they've only recently started coming out, and I have no idea if I really want to go that far or not. Like I said, I didn't particularly feel restricted during the entire time I was using Mokkun, so I'm not sure I'd need that sort of power these days. (Maybe if I was subbing stuffs I would need that.)

As it is, I continue in my tendency to go with less popular brand names. I haven't decided whether to go with another Asus and am currently looking at Gateway, Samsung, and LG. ^^; Funny how Toshiba, Sony, HP, and Compaq never seem to be on my list of possible systems. (I might add Toshiba back to my list of possibilities some day.) Lenovo might also be a possibility, but I don't know if I can get the system I was interested in or not. I will admit though, I did briefly consider the 17" quad core HP system, but... ^^;; It's 17". :P Dell's an outside possibility as I continue to eye the Studio 15. I'm not sure if I really want to try going with them though. >.>

And Monday's Thanksgiving! Already! O_O;; I think we're doing bird again this year (Hutterite chicken). FSU seems to want buns, so I'll check my bread book for a recipe. I thought it was me when the buns ended up a bit heavy, but I think it's the stand mixer's recipes. Its recipes are calling for more flour to liquid compared to what my regular bread book calls for. Still, the bread's been decent so far, and the two loaves of French bread made... yesterday?!? are already all gone. O_O;; Okay, that's a bit too fast. ^^;

Here's to hoping tomorrow's shopping excursion is fruitful and I'll be able to home in on a system for purchase within the next few days or so. ^_^


Posted by: kasumi (kasumi14)
Posted at: October 10th, 2009 03:19 am (UTC)

Well, to be honest I can see why does they say that Saiunkoku has similarities with the series that they mentioned above. 12 Kokuki, Harukanaru...those series kinda deal with chinese/japanese kingdoms like afterall. It's kinda unavoidable if they think that the author is plagiarised from those series, really. Though I can't really see why do they think Saiun is similar with HakuYou...is it because the triangle-love like Lidya-Edgar-Kelpie in HakuYou?

Posted by: Shadow (kagedreams)
Posted at: October 10th, 2009 02:52 pm (UTC)

So Harukanaru is also Chinese/Japanese ancient kingdom style? I'm familiar with 12 Kokuki but had no idea what Harukanaru's about.

Just checked the HakuYou thread and the troll's post(s?) isn't/aren't in it, so it must've been in the previous thread which has since been archived. From what I recall (there might have been other things but I don't remember), it was drawing parallels between Seiran's character background and Edgar's as well as parallels between Shuurei travelling with Sakujun to the capital of Sa Prov. with Edgar and Lydia's original trip to Manaan Island (while deflecting advances etc.) WRT drawing parallels between Seiran and Edgar is the question of which was written first - Saiun or HakuYou? They're both long series, but I'm not sure which came out first. That's one easy way to refute the charge if it's Saiun.

Could you imagine if they're drawing parallels strictly from something like the story having a love triangle? How many other manga, novels, etc. out there have those in them? ^^;

Posted by: kasumi (kasumi14)
Posted at: October 11th, 2009 12:12 am (UTC)
spr ghost hunt

Harukanaru is actually a sim game, usually the plot is about a girl who was transported into another world/time (usually it's a Chinese/Japanese ancient kingdom period) and she becomes an important role there (the first Harukanaru's protagonist becomes an important miko to ward off the evil) with lots of bishonen around her. Roughly the plot is like that.

LOL I see your point. From what I check from wiki, Saiunkoku's light novels came out at 2003, while HakuYou came out at 2004 (Saiun wiki and HakuYou wiki).

Posted by: camui_hekiru (camui_hekiru)
Posted at: October 11th, 2009 09:41 am (UTC)
Saiunkoku vs HakuYou - "similarities"

(Long time lurker, first time poster~)

For the part about Shuurei travelling with Sakujun to the capital of Sa Province: I believe that this particular plotline started in Saiunkoku Novel Volume 4, which was published on September 30, 2004.
http://www.kadokawa.co.jp/lnovel/bk_detail.php?pcd=200406000181 (Kadokawa book detail page for Saiunkoku Novel Vol 4 - Japanese only)

I haven't read HakuYou, but the only volumes that predates Saiunkoku Novel 4 in terms of publication date were the first two.
http://books.shueisha.co.jp/CGI/search/syousai_put.cgi?isbn_cd=4-08-600393-7&mode=1 (Shueisha book volume index page for HakuYou - Japanese only - click each title to see publication date details)

Did Edgar and Lydia's original trip to Manaan Island happen in the first two volumes of HakuYou? Because if that's not the case, then we've proven that those 2ch posters don't know what they're talking about when they were throwing these accusations around.

Anyways, keep up the great work with your translations!

Posted by: Too cute for evil (ginny_t)
Posted at: October 10th, 2009 09:21 am (UTC)

I vote for a Lenovo--the keyboards are wonderful! (My ideal plan is to get a Lenovo netbook and run either Linux or OS X on it.)

Posted by: Shadow (kagedreams)
Posted at: October 11th, 2009 12:42 am (UTC)

I have to admit, I'm often *so* tempted by Lenovo, but I don't know of anyone that carries them in store for me to actually *see* them. >.<;; What about the possibilities of an Apple netbook?

Posted by: Too cute for evil (ginny_t)
Posted at: October 11th, 2009 10:13 am (UTC)

Yeah, if I could've messed around with a Lenovo in-store, I think I would have one right now, even though I should save my pennies.

Rumour has it that an Apple netbook is coming first quarter of next year. However, rumour has been chewing on an Apple netbook (actually, a tablet) for quite a while, so take that with a grain of salt. Also, an Apple netbook will be at Apple prices (and specs, granted), and that comes back to the pennies and saving thereof. *sigh*

Posted by: LKK (lkk)
Posted at: October 10th, 2009 10:44 am (UTC)

I agree with FSU about the discrete graphics, especially if you thought Mokkun was a little weak for gaming.

The plagarism charges sound more like a case of similar situations aided by some cross-pollination rather than true cases of plagarism.

Posted by: Shadow (kagedreams)
Posted at: October 10th, 2009 05:39 pm (UTC)

^^; I'd agree if I were still playing games much, but lately, I've mostly been playing online games. So, it's a matter of deciding how much I might game in the future and if it's important enough to hunt down the discrete graphics systems. ^^;

^^; If you mean in terms of Migawari and HakuYou, that's mostly me noticing things, but sometimes, I wonder if it mightn't have been deliberate, too. (The first scene I mentioned was pretty noticeable.) As it is, Migawari is a strange one and seems to like poking fun at cliches and such on occasion.

Otherwise, if you mean in terms of Saiun, I have no idea. Too much of what was listed involves stuff I'm not familiar with. The list was quite lengthy and drew parallels with titles I wouldn't have expected parallels to be made with. I have to admit, I did look at some of the things mentioned and wondered how much the person was stretching to draw parallels. (I'll also admit that I didn't bother reading a number of the template posts (where everything is listed), either.)

Posted by: Gale (coastal_spirit)
Posted at: October 10th, 2009 10:51 am (UTC)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Good luck with computer shopping. My last two computers have been Sonys, and I've never had any problems with them other than the odd virus, which isn't the fault of the system. I do have a Gateway monitor, which I also like very much. And I don't do much gaming, so this probably isn't very helpful at all. -_-;;

Posted by: Shadow (kagedreams)
Posted at: October 10th, 2009 04:43 pm (UTC)

Cheers! ^_^

^^; Yeah, I don't think viruses can normally be blamed on the system itself. Thanks for the note about Gateway. I don't think I have anything by them, so I have no idea what to expect from them.

Posted by: bored_angel11 (bored_angel11)
Posted at: October 10th, 2009 11:36 am (UTC)

Hi there... New here and as I am researching where to download saiunkoku monogatari many users said that your work is the best but i can't seem to find the links/torrent files anywhere. can you help me? Much appreciate your advise.

Posted by: Shadow (kagedreams)
Posted at: October 10th, 2009 04:48 pm (UTC)
Re: confused

The Saiunkoku subbing project was dropped when the anime was licensed and all the links removed. I'm afraid I can't help you in your search.

Posted by: wombat1138 (wombat1138)
Posted at: October 10th, 2009 12:17 pm (UTC)

But... but... plagiarism is the exact word-for-word copying of actual text/dialogue, not just the close adoption of plot events/mechanics, character types, or (in visual media) cinematography/costumes/etc. -- sure, it's stunningly unoriginal to just file off the serial numbers of an existing work and paraphrase the hell out of it, but it's not plagiarism. Otherwise, George Lucas would be totally nailed for "plagiarizing" the original Star Wars trilogy from Arthurian legends and (for ep. 4) Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress. Shakespeare would be even more culpable for cribbing his basic plot outlines from pre-existing stories and historical events.

Or has someone actually done side-by-side text comparisons between Saiun and those other works, instead of just noting close conceptual parallels?

Posted by: Shadow (kagedreams)
Posted at: October 10th, 2009 06:32 pm (UTC)

Quite frankly, I have no idea if someone did a word for word text comparison or if they're more reworded or what have you. It could be mass idea and scene theft / copying. From what I remember of the anti-thread (the current one was sloppily created and didn't maintain the proper template posts), it normally has a list of various scenes (and concepts?) by title. Anyone wanting to determine to what degree the claims are true, semi-true, or if they're just being inflammatory would have to wade their way through 2ch's archives and see what's in there. Alternatively, (some of?) the archive posts were put up on an independent site. Either way, you're looking at >20k posts to go through with 2ch's archives to figure out where the lists came from and if they're remotely credible or not. (Presumably the things mentioned would have been posted over time in the threads and then added to the lists.)

Posted by: Too cute for evil (ginny_t)
Posted at: October 11th, 2009 10:26 am (UTC)

That's the strictest definition of plagiarism; however, it's more complicated than that. Frex, George Harrison was successfully sued for copyright infringement. He later said it was entirely unintentional, and had he known he was doing it, he would've shared royalties. (Trufax or cover-up?I can't say.) Daphne DuMaurier faced a similar situation with Rebecca.

All that aside, if there's no legal action being taken in Japan, then someone has (possibly tacitly) agreed to look the other way, or the similarities aren't close enough to pursue under Japanese law. (It could have implications on the licensability of the two titles here in North America, but considering the sad state of the novel adaptation market here, licensing isn't so likely anyway. :/ )

Posted by: seiaeka (seiaeka)
Posted at: October 10th, 2009 05:53 pm (UTC)
Happy Turkey Weekend!

Randomly saying happy thanksgiving to a fellow Canadian! o3o *flees into obscurity again*

Posted by: Simply NANA (toriru4ever)
Posted at: October 10th, 2009 06:09 pm (UTC)

ah! that's sad to hear :(
*plagiarizing from doujinshi??! like Shakespeare plagiarizing from fanfiction.net* -__-

Posted by: Shadow (kagedreams)
Posted at: October 10th, 2009 07:05 pm (UTC)

*plagiarizing from doujinshi??! like Shakespeare plagiarizing from fanfiction.net* -__-

^^;; I know, it's a sad thought. Actually, that should be 'doujin sites' rather than 'doujinshi'. The current thread has a list of scenes, ideas, and such that's thought to be taken from message threads or from fan sites. (I wonder why whoever set up the thread couldn't be bothered to put up the rest of the template properly if they put that part up. Or maybe it was someone else who posted that.)

In any case, the atmosphere for Saiun threads on 2ch is pretty darn nasty which is why I generally won't go in them.

Posted by: wanderingdreamr (wanderingdreamr)
Posted at: October 10th, 2009 09:11 pm (UTC)

Lol, the idea of a creator stealing from fan-comics is amusing although some do seem to include incidents in their stories that are a nod to the fans. I can think of one or two things in the American series Avatar, god the creators probably knew EVERYTHING about the fans that time (well, except for the whole "is the world flat or not?" argument XD ). And some series are just so crack filled that it certainly feels like the creators are messing with the fans heads (I swear, the Pandora Hearts canon is so much more crack filled than the fanon, XD).
And good luck in the laptop hunt!

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