Monogatari author NisiOisin is well known for writing stories with intricate wordplay, but he might have gone too far this time. Manga translator Kumar Sivasubramanian announced on his Twitter account on Sunday that he will stop translating NisiOisin and artist Yūji Iwasaki’s Cipher Academy (Angō Gakuen no Iroha) manga after its 13th chapter. As for the reason, he linked a Screen Rant article, which describes the manga as “impossible to translate.”
The article cites a lipogram challenge in chapter 10 where the characters quote Shonen Jump manga using only specific Japanese syllables as a particularly difficult passage to adapt. The English translation transliterates the syllables, then provides a translation of the meaning in brackets. Notably, despite the frequent Japanese wordplay and puzzles in the manga, the English translation did not resort to transliteration until chapter 10, opting to adopt the format of the puzzles with English wordplay instead.
Many fans have replied to Sivasubramanian’s tweet thanking him for his hard work and sympathizing with the translation difficulties.
Viz Media and MANGA Plus published the 12th chapter in English on Sunday. Sivasubramanian noted that a replacement translator has already been arranged. The publishers have not announced any delays.
MANGA Plus describes the story:
Iroha is an average student newly enrolled in Cipher Academy, a Spartan school where students must crack code after code after code with barely enough time to catch their breath! Then a mysterious person named Kogoe gives Iroha an unusual pair of glasses with a crazy secret behind them!
Author NisiOisin (Monogatari series, Medaka Box, Juni Taisen: Zodiac War) and artist Yūji Iwasaki launched the manga in Shueisha‘s Weekly Shonen Jump magazine’s 51st issue on November 21. Iwasaki has previously published one shots on Shonen Jump+ and in Shonen Jump GIGA.
Sources: Kumar Sivasubramanian‘s Twitter account, Screen Rant (Ben Sockol)