Kore Yamazaki’s The Ancient Magus’ Bride now has a simultaneous English release, translated with the help of AI technology provided by Mantra Inc. The manga returned from a hiatus on Thursday with the 96th chapter and a new publisher – Bushiroad Works’ Comic Growl. It was originally serialized under Mag Garden. first in Monthly Comic Blade magazine and then in Monthly Comic Garden.
In addition to The Ancient Magus’ Bride, Yamazaki’s Ghost & Witch will also be released simultaneously using the Manga Engine, a “cloud translation tool” that uses AI technology and promises to streamline and cut the work required for translations in half. Mantra states that the tool is currently “used by domestic and international publishers, translation companies, and distribution companies to translate approximately 50,000 manga/comic pages per month (equivalent to 250 to 300 books per month).”
The announcement drew the attention of many fans and industry professionals, who criticized the decision to use AI tools instead of hiring professional translators. A statement released on the official Twitter/X account for The Ancient Magus’ Bride series claims that the translation is still being checked and edited by professional translators. According to the statement, the decision to use Mantra’s tools was made due to unofficial (pirated) translations that show up online before the official ones and “cause serious harm to the manga culture and industry both domestically and internationally.” Read the full statement below:
To clarify misinformation that has been spread, I would like to provide some additional information. Firstly, regarding “AI-assisted translation,” we have implemented a system from Mantra Corporation (https://mantra.co.jp/index_en.html).
This system combines their unique machine translation technology with the editing and proofreading by professional translators. Next, about the purpose of simulcast distribution. Unofficial translations are sometimes released for free and circulate as “pirated versions.” Illegal manga piracy sites that publish these cause serious harm to the manga culture and industry both domestically and internationally.
“The Ancient Magus’ Bride” has also continuously suffered from such damages. Initiatives like the one we are undertaking now have been proven effective in reducing piracy damage, as demonstrated by precedent cases with Shueisha’s works. Finally, regarding books produced and licensed officially by foreign publishers. If there are any offers from various companies, they will continue to be considered, and if conditions are met, publications will proceed as before. This situation remains unchanged. Thank you.
Kore Yamazaki posted on her Twitter/X profile, saying that she was frustrated by people reading pirated copies of her work. She asked fans to try and look at this situation as a new way of doing things.
So far, only the 96th chapter is available in English on the Comic Growl ((formerly Comic Bushiroad Web) website, along with all the chapters in Japanese. The same situation goes for Ghost & Witch – all chapters are available in Japanese and only the most recent one (7th) is available in English. Both titles have been on hiatus since May. Anime News Network previously reported that Bushiroad Works will pay Mag Garden’s IG Port 200 million yen (~1.4 million USD) for the dissolution of Yamazaki’s contract. According to the same source, Kyohei Shinpuku, who spent years as the editor in charge of Mag Garden moved to Bushiroad Works in July of this year – a decision that may have influenced Yamazaki to do the same. Anime Corner recently interviewed both Yamazaki and Shimpuku.
Seven Seas Entertainment is publishing The Ancient Magus’ Bride manga in English. The 19th volume was released earlier this month (both in English and Japanese). The manga has been serialized since 2013 and has an anime adaptation by WIT Studio (first season, the studio’s parent company is IG Port) and Studio Kafka (Twin Engine subsidiary), which took over for the second OVA series and the second season.