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Thermae Romae, Vol. 1 [Englisch] [Gebundene Ausgabe]

Mari Yamazaki

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20. November 2012 Thermae Romae
When Roman architect Lucius is criticized for his "outdated" thermae designs, he retreats to the local bath to collect his thoughts. All Lucius wants is to recapture the Rome of earlier days, when one could enjoy a relaxing bath without the pressure of merchants and roughhousing patrons. Slipping deeper into the warm water, Lucius is suddenly caught in the suction and dragged through the drainage at the bottom of the bath! He emerges coughing and sputtering amid a group of strange-looking foreigners with the most peculiar bathhouse customs...over 1,500 years in the future in modern-day Japan! His contemporaries wanted him to modernize, and so, borrowing the customs of these mysterious bath-loving people, Lucius opens what quickly becomes the most popular new bathhouse in Rome-Thermae Romae!

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Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Mari Yamazaki was born in Tokyo on April 20, 1967. At age seventeen, she moved to Italy, where she started studying drawing at an art school in Florence. Yamazaki made her manga debut in 1996 with an autobiographical look at her life in Italy. After bouncing around between Japan, the Middle East, and Italy, she finally settled down in Lisbon, Portugal, in 2003. In 2008, she began drawing Thermae Romae for the monthly magazine Comic Beam on an irregular basis, and the first collected volume was a smash hit upon its 2009 release. In 2010, Thermae Romae received the Manga Taisho Award 2010 and the 14th Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prize, Short Story Award.
Mari Yamazaki currently lives in Chicago with her Italian husband and their son.

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Amazon.com: 4.2 von 5 Sternen  4 Rezensionen
9 von 9 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Not what you'd expect 12. Dezember 2012
Von Benjamin Applegate - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
The concept sounds weird, and it is -- but this seemingly narrow conceit gets expanded into something way more complex than you would expect. The scenes of time travel to the present are much funnier than they have any right to be, and you do start to care about the characters after a while. The story of Lucius's troubled marriage and rise as a genius engineer is quite engaging.
5 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Bathing culture reaches new highs - and lows - in the irreverent Thermae Romae! 3. Januar 2013
Von Suzi Hough - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Lucius Modestus, a second century Roman architect, is fired when his designs for a public bath are deemed too old-fashioned and outdated. Frustrated, he joins his friend Marcus for a relaxing afternoon at the baths. As he slips his head under the water, Lucius gets caught in the suction of the drain and is pulled under. When he is finally able to surface, he finds himself surrounded by "flat-faced" foreigners in the strangest bath house he has ever seen! Somehow, the Roman has time traveled to the 20th century. Lucius cannot understand Japanese and his Latin passes right over the heads of his fellow bathers, but he is fascinated by the innovative bathhouse design and customs that he sees. When he eventually returns back to Rome, he implements these new designs and becomes the go-to architect for new and novel baths - eventually attracting the attention of Emperor Hadrian himself!

"Thermae Romae" is one of the strangest ideas I've ever seen for a comic series. A Roman who time travels via hot baths to modern Japan? When a Japanese friend first described the series to me last year, I seriously thought something had gone wrong in his Japanese-to-English translation.

The comic book is very well drawn, an interesting hybrid of Western and Japanese comic book styles. There are some color illustrations, but the majority of the pages are black and white. The Roman scenes and characters are very naturalistic; the chiseled features and muscled bodies resembled the Greek and Roman sculptures now found in museums around the world. By contrast, the Japanese characters are rendered in a much more cartoon-y and plastic manga style, which visually reminds the reader of the culture clash between East and West experienced by Lucius in his new surroundings.

Each chapter has a basic formula. Lucius is presented with some sort of architectural challenge, and as he's mulling it over he winds up in hot water, which transports him to a new type of Japanese bathing experience. Lucius is a mix of arrogant pride - he is, after all, a Roman citizen, and therefore superior to all other races - and naïve bumpkin fascinated by simple things like plastic buckets and bottles of fruit-flavored milk. His inability to communicate with the Japanese doesn't faze him in the slightest, because they're only "flat-faced slaves" anyway. Likewise, most of the Japanese that he meets just shrug off his ignorance, observing that he's a foreigner and content to leave it at that. After being sufficiently impressed and amazed by Japanese ingenuity, Lucius is transported back to the Roman Empire, where he puts his observations into practice. At the end of each section, the author has a brief essay talking about her experiences and/or research that influenced the chapter.

I initially thought this was too obvious to mention, but on second thought I should point out that as the majority of the action takes place in bath houses, there is a lot of nudity. There's also a chapter that goes into great detail about some of the phallic cults of both Rome and Japan so, y'know, penises. I think the only visible male members are on statues, but there are plenty of naked breasts, chests and bums to offend the shy and demure.

This comic is ridiculous, charming, and hilarious. It's a great way to start off the new year, and I highly recommend it.
4 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Glad I Chose to Read it in English 28. Februar 2013
Von Brian Watson - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
I'm a professional Japanese to English translator, so I could have easily chosen to read the originals. In fact they are at hand, as my partner is an avid fan of the series. But the English edition does the Japanese originals a great improvement: the size format is much larger. Probably a technical necessity, for squeezing in the translated onomatopoeia, but it makes it much easier and more enjoyable to read than the originals. Plus, you get four of the originals in one volume, I think.
Clearly the story's intent is to play fast and loose with history, so I can't fault Yamazaki for the little details that slip through (like Apollodorus, for example), but most of the time, her research is excellent, and the details of Roman life and attitudes come shining through. And it's excellently done, how the main character never realizes he is traveling through time (which would, of course, never occur to him). The explanatory section from Yamazaki at the end of each chapter was always fun to read and brought me closer to the author (and furthered my outrage over the pittance she received for the Thermae Romae movie).
By and large the translation is excellent, and I was glad to see the notes, although it would have been better to place them at the end of each section and not at the end of the book. Being a translator, I had minor quibbles on rare occasions with word choices, but nothing that would make me stop and pick up pen to write the editors.
As an indication of my overall experience, however, nothing says more than the fact that i finished the book within a few days. Can't wait for Volume 2, and pre-ordered it already.
4.0 von 5 Sternen How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Taking a Bath in Japan 28. Januar 2013
Von Tsuyoshi - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Lucius Modestus is a Roman architect, living in the time of Hadrian (76 AD - 138 AD). Lucius is in trouble, as his recent idea for a public bath is dismissed as "antiquated." However, Lucius finds inspiration for new and innovative bath designs, when he takes a bath in ancient Rome and is mysteriously transported into a "sento," a modern Japanese public bathhouse, where he encounters "flat-faced" people and their "hedonistic" culture.

The idea of transportation through a bathtub is a novel one, but nothing new (remember "Girls Bravo"?). The strength of "Thermae Romae," Mari Yamazaki's culture-based comedy, lies somewhere else. Through the hilarious interaction with modern Japanese, including his occasional misunderstandings of their customs, the proud and idealistic bath engineer quickly learns how to improve the Roman public bathhouse, or Thermae Romae.

So "Thermae Romae" is a comedy about culture clashes and (more importantly) affinities between ancient Roman Empire and modern-day Japan, covering a variety of topics including phallus worshipping, water slides and crocodiles. Each chapter (all in ten) concludes with a two-page essay (with photos) by the author that is amusing and often insightful.

[ABOUT VOLUME 1] Yen Press's "Thermae Romae" Volume 1 consists of Volumes 1 and 2 of the original Japanese edition (English version's "Chapter 6" is actually the first chapter of the original second volume). Unlike most of the Japanese comics translated and published by Yen Press (and other publishes), the book comes in hard cover, about one inch smaller than A4. (See "Product Dimensions" above.) The book is larger and thicker than the same publisher's "A Bride's Story," and this means big.

Already made into a live-action movie, "Thermae Romae" is a huge commercial hit in Japan. The comic's artwork is good but not exceptional by today's comic standards, though her orthodox drawing style perfectly matches the content, delightful misadventures of a likable and credible protagonist Lucius, bolstered by creator Yamazaki's vivid descriptions of culture and people seen from the man's observant viewpoint. Enjoy it.
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