Sunday, September 16, 2012

Behind the Scenes: Climb on to My Shoulders

Today we'll be taking a look at the massive amounts of old-school geeky fun that can be found in Yuhki Takada's Climb on to My Shoulders.  Everything, from the setting to the characters, is a reference to some of the biggest names from the early days of the IT industry.

Credit where it's due: much of this post was contributed by the editor, Sinister Queien.  As a Washington native, she knows what she's talking about. :)


Trey = Bill Gates
Bill Gates’ full name is William Henry Gates III. “Trey” is derived from the old French "treis," meaning “three,” and is a nickname his grandmother gave him. As for the hair, Bill Gates had light, curly hair when he was younger.

Steve Jobs was in fact adopted. However, unlike MJ, he wasn’t half Japanese; he was half Syrian.  After Steve Jobs' passing, Yuhki Takada released a tribute doujinshi called "Remembering SJ."  (More on Takada's doujinshi later.)

Coz is always dressed as a rabbit as a tribute to the time when he and Steve Jobs dressed up as Alice in Wonderland characters at a mall to amuse kids so that Steve Jobs could buy a new car. Steve Jobs didn’t enjoy the work very much, but Steve Wozniak thought it was fun.

Paul Alan = Paul Allen
In the original Japanese version, Paul’s name was depicted twice in English letters as "Pearl." We decided to call him “Paul Alan” to give him a manlier name that was still a pseudonym.

Surrey = Larry Ellison
His name in Japanese katakana was “サリー” which would come out in English sounding like “Sally.” Like with Paul, we decided to call him Surrey to try to preserve some of his manly dignity.  Surrey’s feudal Japanese styled mansion is in reference to Larry Ellison’s estate in Woodside, CA.


I suspect that a majority of today's manga readers weren't around in 1969, when the book is set, and so are not familiar with the methods and equipment used in early computer programming.  Terms to know to facilitate your understanding of Climb on to My Shoulders include teletypes and paper tape. 

Climb on to My Shoulders is set in Seattle, Washington.  Our main characters attend Lakesand Boy's School, which is based off of Lakeside School, where Paul Allen and Bill Gates met. The two practiced their programming skills on the school’s teletypes. 


Page 6, Page 31 
When Trey says “eyedee” for “ID” and “Em Jay” for “MJ,” his words were originally written in hiragana (Japanese alphabet used for Japanese words) instead of katakana (Japanese alphabet used primarily for foreign words). Since this would look strange to a native Japanese speaker, we decided to change the spellings in the English version for a similar feel. 

Page 18 - Bellevue
Microsoft headquarters was located in Bellevue for several years. Bill Gates also has a house in Medina, which is a city near Bellevue.

MJ stumbling with the pronunciation of “Bellevue” is no real surprise: Washington city names are notoriously hard to pronounce. A few good examples are Puyallup (pew-all-up), Tulalip (too-lay-lip) and Sequim (the E is silent).

Page 29 - "These are wingtips from MJ's country...!!"
No, Trey, they're not. :)  Wingtips, or full brogue shoes, have little in common with MJ's wooden sandals, other than them both being footwear.

Page 32 - Lakesand Programming Group (LPG)
The real-life Lakeside Programming Group was formed in 1968 by Bill Gates, Paul Allen, Ric Weiland, and Kent Evans.

Page 94 - Olsen: Digital Equipment Computer
The company Coz works at is a reference to Digital Equipment Corporation, which was co-founded by Ken Olsen.

Page 113 - Sarah and Ann’s wrap
Though the story in the manga isn't true, “Saran” got its name from the combination of the names “Sarah” and “Ann.” 

Page 124 - Mercer Island
It exists. 

The MicroKids live on!

Are you anxious for more stories about Trey, MJ, and the rest?  Yuhki Takada has released nearly two dozen doujinshi featuring her adorable versions of the tech titans.  Book info, sample pages, and ordering info can all be found on her homepage.  Google translate does a passable job at facilitating navigation for those not proficient in Japanese.

Climb on to My Shoulders can be found on the following platforms:

eManga | Kindle | Nook | PDF

And we also have a main info page for Previews.

Climb On To My Shoulders - Onbu Ni Dakko Ni Kataguruma © Yuhki Takada. All rights reserved. Original Japanese edition published in 2009 by Taiyoh Tosho Publishing Co., Ltd.

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