Heartbreaking encounter spells the end of foreign fan relying on translations.

Once upon a time, it was pretty much a given that any serious anime/manga fan would at least wish they could speak and read Japanese. The overseas anime market was small, and every year there were cool-looking series that were hits in Japan, but which never came out in professionally translated form.

Things are a little different these days, though. Now that anime has built up a worldwide fanbase, all but the most obscure Japanese animation and comics get licensed for international release, so as long as you’re patient, you’re probably not going to miss out on any content.

But while patience is usually a virtue, sometimes it can cause problems too, which is why a foreign friend of Japanese Twitter user @manndamm started studying Japanese.

I was talking to a Polish person who started studying Japanese because he wanted to read manga. I think there are a lot of people like that, but his story was one of both obsession and resentment. He told me:

‘I was talking to a Japanese girl about a manga we both like, but the Japanese version is a year ahead of the overseas release, and so she ended up giving away some gigantic spoilers. That’s when I realized the only thing for me to do is to read my favorite manga in real-time as they get published in Japanese.’”

You’ve got to admit, it’s a healthier way of dealing with spoilers than beating the person to a pulp, like Avengers fans did in Hong Kong, and a more educational way than the Japanese judicial system’s campaign against manga “spoiler sites.” And even if the Polish fan’s primary motivation is to be able to keep up with the latest adventures of fictional characters, learning the language will help him make connections with real-world Japanese people too, broadening his cultural horizons.

Source: Twitter/@manndamm
Top image: Pakutaso
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Follow Casey on Twitter, where he was happy when he learned enough Japanese to read Kimagure Orange Road in its original-language form.