the cult manga “Rokudenashi Blues” back in the bookstore

Flagship title of “fûryô”, a subgenre of big-hearted thugs, Rokudenashi Blues makes a comeback in France with a new edition to be published by Pika editions on Wednesday, June 1.

Formerly known in France as Scum Bluesthe cult manga of the 90s Rokudenashi Blues by Masanori Morita is available again in a new edition that will be published by Pika editions on Wednesday 1 June. A return eagerly anticipated by the fans of “fûryô”, a Japanese villainous subgenre.

First published in Japan on May 30, 1988 in the columns of Weekly Shonen JumpRokudenashi Blues has sold over 60 million copies worldwide. We follow the stories of love, friendship and honor of a group of high school students who often choose fists to gain respect.

Flagship title of the second golden age of Shonen Jump in the eighties and nineties, Rokudenashi Blues contributed to the revival of the magazine alongside series like Captain Tsubasacat eyeHokuto no KenoDragon BallSaint SeiyaJojo’s Bizarre AdventureDragonQuestYūYū Hakusho and slam dunk

Realism and graphic exaggerations

“In fact, you can imagine the merit that… Rokudenashi Blues to exist for almost ten years in this terribly competitive and demanding editorial ecosystem,” notes Ludovic Gottigny, specialist in the history of Shonen Jump and contributor to the specialized magazine poufbefore recalling that success was not immediate for Morita’s manga:

It took six months to a year for the series to take root, find its rhythm, its graphical balance and its own grammar, before finally exploding with the addition of colorful characters such as Koheiji, then the arc of the Four Kings of Heaven and the addition of small humorous chapters in [style] ‘super deformed’Rokudenashi Buruuchu

Without revolutionizing the “fûryô”, Rokudenashi Blues “Pushed a new direction for him, more realistic with regard to the daily lives of the young protagonists, if not in the combat phases”, closer to the classic shônens, analyzes Ludovic Gottigny. “An ambivalence found in a style that is both realistic, but not impervious to graphic exaggerations for humorous purposes.”

A leaf from the manga
A page from the manga “Rokudenashi Blues” by Masanori Morita © Pika

Former assistant to Tetsuo Hara (Hokuto no Keno), Morita won with Rokudenashi Blues thereafter rookies (1998-2003) and Beshari Gurashi (2006) as a big name in manga. Ludovic Gottigny particularly praises “his slick graphic style, his visual humor and [sa] great ability to convey the impact of the action.”

Fifteen years exhausted, Rokudenashi Blues owes its revival in France to a favorable context for the reissues of manga classics, and especially to “fûryô”, a genre long neglected by the French, which has just achieved enormous success in our territory with tokyo revenge by Ken Wakui.

“If there’s so much buzz, it’s also because it’s a title that was missing from the French landscape,” said Pika editor-in-chief Mehdi Benrabah. “If people have claimed it, it’s also because it’s one of the last shonens in the… To jump which was no longer available on the French market. It was my dream to publish it.”

Why have you waited so long to fulfill this dream? “I have always prioritized other titles that until then had greater potential than Rokudenashi Blues† We are talking about a title from 1988 which is 42 parts in normal edition. It remains a challenge. You think twice before you start,” says Mehdi Benrabah.

The click took place in 2018 during the major exhibition dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the Weekly Shonen Jump“When I saw the place that… Rokudenashi Blueswhich was set to the same level as YūYū Hakushoslam dunkYugi Oh!it reinforced my desire to re-release it in France.”

According to the publisher, the second French life of Rokudenashi Blues could only take place at Pika: “The ‘furyo’ never left the Pika catalog, nor with” funny scumGTOYoung GTO Where the fable† We are all opportunists in publishing, but the pressure of people, I’m sorry, is relative to my work and my decisions.”

Change of title

In this case, Scum Blues took back its Japanese name. “From the moment people know how to say Jujutsu KaisenRokudenashi Bluesit’s going to fit,” says the editor. “And Scum Blues, that wasn’t much. The word ‘scum’, which is very much a part of us, doesn’t apply to these guys, who are good for nothing with values.”

“It’s a choice that doesn’t shock me,” notes Ludovic Gottigny. “I really liked the name ‘Racaille Blues’, which was very well liked while still staying true to the Japanese title, but I understand Pika’s desire to differentiate itself from the previous edition.” But he laments the retranslation, which erases the dialogue overload from the original edition:

“Sometimes ‘over the top’, in her language level she perfectly reproduced the attitude, elocution and extravagance of the characters, as well as certain important geographic nuances in the understanding of the narrative problems,” he says.

Despite the paper shortage, Pika editions offer a well-maintained publication with a large circulation. “We believe that this edition lives up to expectations. We put our heart into it,” emphasizes Mehdi Benrabah. A volume comes out every two months. A total of 25 are planned.

Despite the paper shortage, Pika editions offer a well-maintained publication with a large circulation. “We believe that this edition lives up to expectations. We have re-translated everything, re-literated everything. We put our heart into it,” emphasizes Mehdi Benrabah. A volume comes out every two months. A total of 25 are planned.

A leaf from the manga
A page from the manga “Rokudenashi Blues” by Masanori Morita © Pika

But one detail has already pissed off fans: the presence of a single color page in the reissue, but announced as final. A non-subject, Mehdi Benrabah finds, still visibly shocked by the many critiques posted on social networks on the subject:

“We are based on an existing edition in Japan, ‘bunko’, which is pocket-sized. We chose to put it in a more stylish, enlarged box. We had other design ideas that are not in the bunko edition, but the only coloring material we had access to was that of this ‘bunko’ edition. End of story!”

The publisher invites fans of Rokudenashi Blues on Twitter to go to bookstores. “I hope these people who pushed hard will be there in the stores too. I really hope so. Because of course we don’t want to stop at Rokudenashi Blues† All of Morita’s work interests me.”

Half of his work remains unpublished in France. And Morita is working on a new series that mixes thriller and horror, “which he has fantasized about for several years, which he wants to make more ambitious, serious and realistic than his previous titles, in this one probably inspired by his best enemy. [le mangaka Takehiko] Inoue,” concludes Ludovic Gottigny.

Rokudenashi Blues, Masanori Morita (script & drawing), Pascale Simon (translation), Pika Masterpiece, 340 pages, 16 euros. 25 parts planned. Appears every two months.

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