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The making of Alice in the Country of Hearts!

The complete Alice in the Country of Hearts is available now in a store near you! Because we are so excited to see the long-awaited finale to Alice’s adventures in Wonderland, Wendy and Abby thought they’d share a little bit about the editorial and design processes that went into bringing you these lovely omnibus editions!

When we set out to publish Alice in the Country of Hearts, we were able to begin with the text of the first five TokyoPop editions as our starting point. But every manga publisher has a different approach to how they handle translation. When you read a Yen book, we’ve asked our translators to preserve the original language’s meaning as closely as possible while delivering a natural, readable story. The rewriters of the first Alice release did a great job with the dialogue, but we wanted to make sure that the Yen editions of Alice were as doggedly faithful to the original as we try to be with our other series. This adaptation by senior editor JuYoun Lee amounts to general changes throughout, though we tried to preserve the voices of the characters you’ve come to love as much as possible. The most distinctive change you may notice is a general reduction of modern slang in Alice’s speech. She may not fancy herself a lady like her sister, but she is still something of a well-mannered girl, in spite of her lawn naps!

Of course, the text is only half of the story! We wanted to make sure the interior of the book looked as good as those covers Wendy put together! We used the original digital art files that were used to print the Japanese editions so that you get pristine image quality at the larger trim size. And how about that larger size, huh? Boris is that much more mischievous, Julius is that much more mysterious, Elliot more adorable, Blood more…deplorable… :P
When we start making omnibuses, people fear that we’re going to cut material, but that is absolutely not the case. Each omnibus includes the full-color cover art for each volume and the extra art that appeared under the dust jackets of the Japanese editions, and the third omnibus contains a special color gallery at the back that features nine gorgeous pieces of Alice art from artist Soumei Hoshino!

Whether it’s your first time visiting Wonderland or if you’ve leaped down the rabbit-hole before, we hope you will enjoy the Yen Press omnibus editions of Alice in the Country of Hearts!

–Abby Blackman

 

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When I learned that Yen was saving Alice in the Country of Hearts, I was so excited that I couldn’t contain myself. Like many of you I’ve read the first five volumes and was sorely disappointed to learn that I would never see volume 6 in English. But rejoice! There’s finally an ending!

When our Spring 2012 schedule came out I asked my art director to be put on the Alice project. Lucky me I got it. This was a tricky title because there was already a established “look” for the series since it’s been published in the U.S. before and the fans were familiar with it. I was given two pieces of information from the Editor.

1. Make it Awesome.

2. Make it look like the Japanese logo.

And this is what my first round looked like.

Round 1: FAIL

 

They mimic the thin strokes of the Japanese logo but hardly what you call amazing. It didn’t go over too well in the meeting and they were rejected. So from there, I decided to start from scratch as if there wasn’t a Japanese logo or previous “english” logo to refer to. I tried out several typefaces and played with their placement, sizing and look of each letter. Also added were personal little elements from the story like Alice’s bow and the hearts. In the end the second round turned out much stronger and refined. They also better portrayed the feelings of the story itself.

Round 2: Which one will they choose?

 

The editorial team took a vote and went with the last one.

 

To give more definition to the logo, we decided to use a gloss lamination on the books and spotte matte on the areas that are white. That way there is a texture to the book when you handle it. The spot matte layer was a pain to do. All those little ornaments on the sides of the books and spine are teeny tiny and hard to register. Thankfully they came out pretty good.

They’re so nice you just want to run your hands along the spine constantly to feel the letters! Go ahead, run to your local bookstore just to feel the book up. Or if it makes you feel uncomfortable sitting in the manga section just constantly touching the three amazing omnibuses, buy them and sit them on your bookshelf at home. They’re awfully pretty on a shelf.

 

Hope you guys enjoy the Alice omnibuses! I enjoyed working on them!

-Wendy Chan

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43 Responses to “The making of Alice in the Country of Hearts!”

  1. Thank you so much!
    I truly appreciated the effort put into the Alice in the Country of Hearts omnibuses, the spine is so beautiful on my bookshelf.
    Also thanks for Olympos, the glossy cover is so elegant! <3 I never fancied the idea of getting an omnibuses since they're so chunky but now I got all four at once and I love them.

  2. Wow the logos (not just the final one!) are awesome and the omnibuses so pretty! I somehow managed to sell off my Tokyopop versions at a swapmeet so this is where that money raised will go towards :D

    And I see Olympos is out now too?! Got some catching up to do it seems… (Madoka too…I don’t think I have that Pandora Hearts volume either!)

  3. I’ll be honest, I was hesitant in buying Alice because I already owned the first five volumes and I really didn’t want to double dip. But I saw those gorgeous spines and now I REALLY want them on my bookshelf.

  4. Good job. ^_^ I’ve never read this series, but as a graphic designer I can tell that you put a lot of thought into the design. The bow on the “A” is genius.

  5. CherryCola Says:

    I was so happy to see yen press to pick this manga. I already own Tokyopop’s version of first five volumes and (as Jessica said above) I was really hesitant to buy all three of them just because I was missing only the last one volume of the books. But after reading this I am going to buy them as soon as I get my paycheck. Thank you so much Yen Press! I am truly happy that you always manage to pick most interesting titles! So, thank you once again <3!

  6. Thank you, thank you, thank you again for saving this series! Since I’ve bought several of the manga of Alice in the Country of Clover in the original Japanese, I can’t wait to see what you guys do for those as well!

    Your choice for text was definitely lovely. And I love that you used more of the second names of people, like Clockmaker/Clock Maker, Knight, Cheshire Cat, etc. Knowing what the original text says or would say makes me love this even more, since I get a grin out of seeing it kept so close.

    The localization of Boris’ joke about roses was one of my favorite parts. Translating jokes between languages is not easy at all, and that was very well done!

  7. I have mine! Got them last week. Love them! I was soooo excited to finialy get to read the ending. ThankYou!!!!

  8. Ok, I never read Alice mangas, but they look amazing on that shelf xD Can you tell me their height in centimeters? And I have no idea of what is Olympos, but it looks so awesome that I’ll buy it for sure. You’re the best manga publisher ever! I mean… Your titles are amazing, you release OEL adaptations of titles like Twilight and Gossip Girl (I bought both), you release cool not-known manhwas like Hissing (I bought all six volumes), the formats and designs of yor mangas are excellent, you pick Tokyopop titles and you establish contact with your costumers and (why not?) fans. Oh, and your site is really practicle and presentable.
    I have to complete some titles first, but then I’ll buy many Yen Press mangas. I really have to buy Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Blood Lad, Thermae Romae, Book Girl, Bunny Drop, Gossip Girl (volumes 2-3), Is This a Zombie?, K-On!, Kobato., Twilight (volume 2, since I bought the first one in portuguese)… And then I’ll buy many other serirs because they’re all very cool xD So… Yeah, thank you for everything, you-re incredible.
    Just a P.S. – Could you please try to re-release other Tokyopop titles like Chibi Vampire, Fruits Basket, Future Diary, Deadmen Wonderland and (the best) Digimon? These are just some examples, I would buy many more. Fortunately I didn’t start collecting any of them, so I would buy all your volumes.

  9. These look beautiful! I must admit I’m really not familiar with this series but I really appreciated this lovely post on logo design and a peek into the process of adapting the work.

    I will definitely check out those omnibuses at the bookstore now. :D

    Thanks for sharing this post!

  10. I’m not too much of a fan of this manga, but I’m a real fan of the YP quality
    work that went into it!!
    It’s really interesting to see how you guys worked all these details out! I’m loving every bit of it :’D

    Hoo~! I’ve never been so excited to eventually buy an Omnibus from Yen Press before today, haha. Thanks for bringing a smile to people’s faces, guys!

  11. @Wildcat17 The Alice omnibuses are just shy of 21 centimeters tall~ Hope you’ll give them a look!

    A few people have been noticing the Olympos omnibus that Wendy slipped into the photos, which is definitely another gorgeous omnibus worth checking out! Aside from that shimmery cover, we were able to include color pages and additional pieces of art that didn’t even appear in the Japanese editions! And Aki-sensei’s artwork…ohhhhhh…well, that’s a whole other post right there! ^^

  12. Awesome post :D I always love hearing about the design process of books! And I was absolutely giddy when I got my copies of Alice and saw how pretty they are with their spot matte and that lovely new logo, and all those colour pages!!! Ahhh… a lovingly-designed book makes my heart so happy!

    And yes, I too could go on and on about the gorgeousness of Olympos and Aki-sensei’s artwork. *swoon* The fancy cover finish was a perfect accent to its special-ness!

  13. Wow, Alice looks amazing. Maybe going to buy it.

  14. As someone looking to go into localizing print manga I found this post really interesting. I love to see the work that goes into this. Thanks for sharing!

  15. Alice isn’t my thing, but I love hearing about the production work! You guys put so much effort into making high quality products. I especially love how YP always adds the color artwork~

    You should totally make more posts like this, delving into the presentation or translation of a particular manga. It’s simply fascinating.

  16. OMG! I’ve waited so~~ long for this! Thank you so much! So going to buy it.

  17. Hello!
    Is it possible for you to licence some new light novels? For example Gosick. I really enjoy reading your mangas, but I LOVE reading novels. And Gosick will definitely be my favourite one :D And maybe Another? And all the Bakemonogatari novels? Well, if you do I will die from happiness!

  18. Like a few above, I also bought the Tokyopop versions, however I shall double-dip [and maybe donate my current tokyopop versions to the library or something >.>...]
    I also plan to grab Olympos, and Blood Lad when it comes out.

    The spine looks so gorgeous *A*.

  19. I’m still very impressed that Yen managed to get the final volume out, and this post is incredibly interesting to an aspiring manga editor/publisher like I am! It’s still my dream to work for Yen some day and I hope you guys will continue to bring awesome titles to America for all the fans to enjoy.

  20. ExSummoner Says:

    This post is great. It really goes to show hpw much effort is put into even the smallest of details. I’m glad you were failthful to the original Japanese covers, as well. By the way, I highly encourage you guys buy Olympos. It’s so gorgeous. <3 Yen Press, please give us Angel's Doubt, which is also by Aki. I'm her newest fan, and I really would love to see more of her works.

  21. jellorific Says:

    I’m all for light novels… Some fantastic examples would be the Garden of the Sinner novels, Durarara, Baccano, Gosick, sword art online, Toradora, Bake/nise/etc monogatari novels, fate/zero, and shigofumi… to list everything I’d love to read…

  22. I loved getting to see the end of alice….Now how about the manga B.O.D.Y….?????? Ive been waiting forever for the ending to those… Loved them. Just wishing here…have a great day Yen Press!!!

  23. This was a very interesting post. And these are excellent-looking covers! Thanks for sharing some of your manga-making process. I hope to read more posts like these in the future.

  24. Btw Yen, I would love it if you guys licensed Another. The novel is over 600 pages, but the manga is a mere 4 volumes and would be able to be wrapped up in two omnibuses if you published it. :)

  25. hiera-chan Says:

    @Jessica

    Another in omnibuses *q*
    Want it!

  26. Those spines are gorgeous and I love the logo, actually all of the them in the second round were very pretty. I need to order all of these now from my bookstore.

  27. MrHatandClogs Says:

    Anxiously awaiting my copies from TRSI…. I saw them in the store the other day, and was OMG!!! I almost bought them right there, but I already had my copies ordered, but they looked so amazing!! I can’t wait to read them all and finally finish the series, and be able to read the Bloody Twins I got from SS, and the Chesire Waltz I have on the way as well! Now if only J-list or MangaGamer would license the VNs I would be ecstatic!! I’m a guy and not gay, and I would love to play the games, I know they’re romance games for chicks, but I love this story so much I want to experience every piece of it possible!!

  28. Light novels!

  29. I have never read Alice In the Country Of Hearts, but it seems interesting so, I’ll try and read it sometime. Thanks for telling me about it!!!
    =)

  30. I’m not a fan of the series, but thanks for the look into the process of releasing manga. It’s always fascinating seeing things like this! =D

  31. jellorific Says:

    oh yes, I’ll second the Another novel requests, and I’ll add a Penguindrum novel request. that would be fantastic.

  32. I think Yen Press does the best job talking about mangas.
    I have a lot o ideas to new releases for you guys!! lol
    Here’s a little list:
    Deadman Wonderland; Aoharaido (Ao Haru Ride); RG Veda (re-release from TokyoPop); Wish; Zetman.
    All this mangas seems to be a great choice, don’t you think?
    Thank you for everything!!

  33. Dear Yenpress,
    I just bought all three omnibuses about a week or two ago and I have to say they are wonderful. You truly did a wonderful job putting it all together–I also really enjoyed seeing the process involved in this entry. The pictures, type faces/formats, the process being described; it was all very nice :)
    Thank you for putting so much effort into everything and trying your best to meet the wants of all your fans out there. I will continue to keep buying your titles! Keep up the great work ^_^

    Sincerely,
    Fay

  34. I really appreciate the detail you’ve put into this release
    The art cover, font & spine = flawless and so pretty ;A; ah the pictures are so nice, damn
    I’ve decided I must definitely order all three omnibus (A MUST have omg)

  35. While I am so happy you guys were able to pick up this manga, I am disappointed because this means I have to re-buy 5 to get 6. I love the look and all but…

  36. I’ve only read through a bit more than half of the first volume, and while I think the “doggedly” faithful translation suffers some flow issues so far, I’m more than happy with the construction of the books. Very classy, and I’m glad you decided on going for an original logo. Maybe the original logo made more sense in the context of a visual novel?
    Also, YES, OVERSIZED MANGA. I remember how sad I was to receive Mushi-shi Volumes 8-10, trying to divine the secrets hiding between the spine, shy and scared.

  37. so my question is will there be a volume 6 or not? (BTW amazing book titles love the bow on the “A”)

  38. @lavender123 Volume 6 is included in the third omnibus edition. We do not have plans to release these as individual volumes, but you can finish out the story with that third omnibus~

  39. Pretty Girl Bunny Says:

    Thank you, thank you, a million times that you! I’m so happy to have these!!! I love the elegance of these books. Putting them together was probably not easy, but I’m so glad you all took the time to do this! They are not just books, they are labors of love and mini masterpieces!

  40. [...] That as purveyors of goods produced for this community, their efforts, dedication, and standards should do no less than match our own. [...]

  41. [...] This photo is from YenPress, who are the ones who translate/make the omnibus editions. [...]

  42. Would it be possible at all to release a separate volume 6 and just make it extra collectable? I know I’d pay $20-30 just to have the volume separate

  43. Yen press thank you so much for distributing Alice in the country of hearts in English and for translating all the volumes it really means a lot!!!

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