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Alethea & Athena
Back to the AX report 
5th-Jul-2016 08:19 pm
We've finished our work for today, we have been well fed, and now we can finally get back to telling everybody all about Anime Expo.

We were about to go to the Yen Press panel. And we did. Tadah! ...Sorry, it's just that that first sentence in the paragraph worked for the LJ cut text, but then when it was the beginning of the story it sounded like I was saying we were just about to...when something else happened! But nothing else happened. We just went to the panel.

It was pretty good, as panels go. Kurt Hassler, who certainly lives up to his name, started out by explaining that they usually like to get through the announcements as quickly as possible, but this time they were going to play a game first, called something like, "People we like better than you." The idea was that all of the panelists would select random people from the audience to get giant posters representing Yen Press titles. And the important thing for everyone else to remember was that the panelists liked the selected people better than they liked the rest of us. We were okay with it, though, because we don't have any need for giant posters, or to be liked better than everyone else. (That's only partially true. Everyone needs to feel like they matter, but we're pretty sure we matter a little bit to Yen Press, even if they don't like us as much as the people who got posters. (Also, I'm pretty sure the "liking them better" thing was a lie.)) But I just wanted to point out that one guy got a Prison School poster because he was wearing a striped shirt, because I thought that was kind of funny.

Anyway, they made announcements, which were posted on news sites so I'm pretty sure you all know about them already, but there was one bit of news that seems to have been reported differently than how we heard it. When Hassler mentioned Shueisha and Shogakukan, it was in a list of people that they were grateful that they have been able to make connections with. For example, later it was mentioned that one of those two publishers was the rights holder for one of the light novel series they announced. In other words, he didn't say they "hoped" to build a relationship with them, but that they were already starting to. On the other hand, it's possible that the reporter went in for followup questions later and got some more clarification which indicated that the relationships are not strong enough to count on yet, and they hope they can fortify them. I don't know. Alls I know is that they have the rights to a light novel series that is owned by either Shueisha or Shogakukan, and I don't remember which.

Then there was a Q&A and at the end, they had everybody come up and grab a free book. We were torn about it, because we don't really read Japanese books in English, but it was there and it was free, so we figured why not. We also realized, as we stood in line, that we could ask our editor for any of these books and she would send them to us (a theory she confirmed very soon thereafter as she handed us a book), but odds are we wouldn't have asked for any of them for the aforementioned reason that we don't really read Japanese books in English. We chose the one light novel they were handing out, because I'm sort of interested in seeing how their light novels look, and Liselotte. The latter is a dangerous one, because of course the temptation is strong to pull out our Japanese copy and find every little flaw we can. Instead, we add it to the list of manga we hope to review the translation of in the future, and remind ourselves that if that ever happens, we must strive to remain objective.

After that panel, we headed over to Dallas Middaugh's Deeply Biased History of Manga in America. This was a fascinating panel that unfortunately got cut short because there was just way too much material to cover in such a short amount of time. (He called it biased because he admitted to not actually talking to any of the people he was referring to. In other words, he was straight-up admitting he didn't do any research. We do the same thing, so we can respect that, especially because when you admit you're biased, you tend to actually be a lot less biased than people who don't. Or maybe we're just biased in thinking that.) Unfortunately, the whole weekend was such a whirlwind that we didn't remember a whole lot of the details to report. The main things we got out of it were that Stu Levy was a marketing genius and Attack on Titan is beyond surprisingly popular. Oh, and Pokemon. That was the main thing that spurred American interest in anime and manga (until Attack on Titan, of course). Also, the second to last thing that popped up on the last slide he was allowed to share before we all got kicked out was the cover of Noragami 1, presented as one of the series that helped revitalize the market, followed by the last thing to pop up, which was the statistic showing how much money the manga market made that year. The point is, thanks to Attack on Titan, the manga market is making a big comeback, which is good news for all of us in the industry (except perhaps for those of us who are overworked). But the important thing is yay Noragami!

Then we were done with our panels for the afternoon, so we were off to wander the dealers' hall. The idea was to walk by every booth to find out where they had stuff we were interested in, and what kind of stuff that was, so we could determine how much we wanted things and how much we were willing to spend on said things. We also wanted to stop by and say hello to our publishing peeps, but when we passed by their booths, none of the people we really knew were there, so we just kept walking. That might be what contributed to our annual feeling of Anime Expo Ennui, but that wasn't until later. For now, we were focused. We did make one purchase that day, though, because they had the Your Lie in April CD that we needed, AND limited edition AX-only Your Lie in April t-shirts! Of course we had to buy one for each of us. We'll wear them probably the next time we go to Disneyland or something. We also got more Noragami animal ears keychains, and ended up with two more Yatos! But one of them was in a kimono, which was nice.

The dealers' hall was gigantically enormous, so by the time we finished looking it over, it was getting pretty late. We bought some overpriced convention center pizza for dinner, and then we noticed there was a...okay, they had this series of academic presentations on anime that had some name but I don't remember what it is. I think it had "symposium" in it. But this particular installment was called "Words, Scripts, and Implication: Giving Meaning to...through..." I don't know, but it seemed to be about translation, so of course we were interested. Ironically, the symposium that claimed to be about wording and implication didn't seem to understand words or implications, because that's not what it was about at all. There were three kids from Stanford who gave presentations that...okay, if I think about it, I could see where maybe the presentations sorta kinda fit under that title.

The first presentation was about shojo manga versus shonen manga and what do the words "shojo" and "shonen" really mean, which to us as linguists is maddening (in the "drives us crazy" sense), because "shojo" means "girl" and "shonen" means "boy", end of discussion. But it was more about what do they mean in terms of the manga that fall into those categories, and it was still maddening, because it seemed to be all about stereotypes and how women are oppressed by the patriarchy and okay, so we're oversimplifying, but it really seemed to be the perspective of an outsider looking in and not have asked any of the people who are really involved in the industry (many of whom were at that very convention). In the presenter's defense, she admitted to not having fully developed her thesis (for lack of a better word). We talked to her afterward, and she's a very nice person, but we tend to disagree on a lot of things.

There was another presentation that was pretty much a deep analysis of the main character in Perfect Blue. Like a college-level book report, but about an anime movie. It was specifically about how the character's voice (by which we mean the way she talks, not how it sounds) changes through the course of the movie, and it was sort of about language but also about the patriarchy I think. For example, one of his main points was how the main girl uses "atashi" for a first-person pronoun throughout the movie, until she really finds her true voice at the end and uses "watashi" instead, which he seemed to be saying was a stronger pronoun. That hasn't been our experience with atashi versus watashi--in our experience, it's usually just a matter of formality. In the presenter's defense, we haven't actually done any research on "atashi", and generally it seemed to be a pretty good analysis.

The last presentation was on sound effects, which was frustrating because the presenter didn't seem to have discussed it with any actual translators. But other than that, it was interesting enough. Pretty much the standard discussion on sound effects from a non-translator perspective, though, so there's not a lot worth reporting on.

After the panel, we approached the panelists because we're uppity enough that we wanted to voice some complaints. Fortunately the one presenter that we really took issue with loves to get constructive criticism, so even though I felt like a bit of a jerk, she took it in stride.

We parted ways, and we were standing on a hallway that overlooked the lower floors of the convention center. It was standing there looking at all the cosplayers that the ennui hit and we were feeling a little melancholy. Also, we had some stitching to do on our Hiyori costumes, so we went back to the hotel and got ready for the next day.

Our first order of business...well, first we had to decide if we really wanted to wear the Hiyori costumes, because the skirts really were just a teensy bit shorter than we were comfortable with. We agonized over it all that evening and into the morning, and eventually realized that oh hey, the sweaters are long enough that we can wear the skirts down a little below our hips and the sweaters will cover up any oddness. Duh. So we put on our Hiyori costumes and headed out without any qualms! Except that we still weren't sure if we looked okay in bangs.

We got bangs wigs, which we didn't know existed until Athena was determined to make sure we had the right hair. We already have long brown hair (too long, actually, but still), so I thought it would be weird to wear a wig that looked mostly like my real hair just so we could have bangs, and that's why Athena got to Googling. And voila. We didn't have time to try a lot of things to make sure the hairpieces matched our real hair, though, so we just picked a color and hoped for the best. After they arrived, we didn't really have time to check anything, and it wouldn't have made a difference even if we had because we didn't have time to order new ones, so between their arrival and the convention, Athena and I both had dreams that we opened up the package and the pieces didn't match our hair at all. But! they turned out to match perfectly! It was really amazing how similar they were to our real hair. The only difference was that the hairpieces had a slightly artificial sheen to them, so you could only tell if you were looking reeeeeeeally close.

Anyway, we finally got all organized and got into our costumes, and went down to wait for the shuttle...and everything was running late, including the shuttle. So we were waiting for a long time. As we were waiting, a group of guests came out of the hotel and was waiting across the driveway, and Athena was like, "Hey, isn't that Junichi Suwabe?" and I looked and I was like, "Yeah, I think it is." And then I kept looking at him for a while, because hey, we were across the street from a famous voice actor (we worked on Type-0 together! (okay, not together, but we all three worked on it)). And then he caught me staring at him and kind of nodded in acknowledgment, which I thought was kind of nice.

Eventually our shuttle arrived, and we went to the convention center. But we were too late! for the Ace Attorney panel, which was fine because we don't want previews of this game that we already have sitting in our apartment and are totally going to play someday when we have time lol. So instead we went to the dealers' hall and said hi to our main editor at Kodansha. He asked if we're like super busy, and he already knew the answer was yes, and he told us we're translating like half of their titles right now. He also said they wished we could translate more, and we were like, "Us, too. But we also don't wanna die." We want to translate ALL the manga! ...Okay, so I can think of a few manga that we don't want to translate. (Yen Press announced Smokin' Parade, and that sounds like exactly the kind of thing that we would be too squeamish about.)

Anyway, then we were like, "Oh, snap! We have to get to the Naoshi Arakawa panel!" And then we realized we were an hour ahead of when we thought we were, but we'd already left the Kodansha booth and it would have been awkward to go back. And then we realized we really did want to get in line early (duh), but we still had a little time to spare, so we remedied a wrong from last year and bought a capybara plush. Tadah! We now have a capybara plush, and it is adorable. We also bought a CD of character songs from K, because even though he was hardly in it at all, our beloved favorite voice actor does have a character song, and we've been wanting more character songs to listen to while we work.

Then we finally got in line...to get in line for the Naoshi Arakawa panel. See, the panel before the Naoshi Arakawa panel hadn't started seating yet, so the line was still full of people waiting for that panel. But there were also plenty of people who were already waiting for the Arakawa-sensei panel, and we joined them as they waited to be allowed to get in the right line. Eventually we were able to get in line, and it was in the sun, and despite all our preparation, we were silly enough to forget to put on sunscreen that day--the one day when we were actually waiting out in the sun for a while. And we brought the sunscreen specifically because we knew we would end up waiting in line in the sun. Oh well.

Anyway, after waiting and waiting and waiting, finally it was time to go to the Naoshi Arakawa panel. ...And more on that tomorrow.

Now our dilemma is that we don't want to keep writing tonight because we've been writing long enough and we need to conserve energy (and we don't want people to get tired of reading so much all at once), but! tomorrow is Review Rednesday. So do we make two posts tomorrow? Do we push back Review Rednesday and make it a Review Rursday? Or do we have Review Rednesday like usual and get back to the report on Thursday? Hmmmm...

Today I'm thankful for finally having a capybara, getting to meet some interesting people, getting to go to some interesting panels, feeling loved at Kodansha USA, and getting fancy Your Lie in April t-shirts.
6th-Jul-2016 04:15 am (UTC)
Your reports on the panels are fun because they include the details that don't make it into ANN/twitter reports of license announcements :D Since I have never been to one of these panels it is interesting to know a bit more about what they're like (and what one of my bosses who I'm not sure I've ever interacted with is like... :) )

It's cool to hear your interpretation of the Sho/Shu comment, and to know they have formed a relationship with those publishers. From the consumer's perspective, I suppose nothing matters until there's a new series to show for it (and making that happen could still take any amount of time), so maybe that's why it's not being more widely reported on. (I remember when there were rumours about Kodansha opening up its own US manga publishing imprint and at the time I was like psssh nothing will come of it, and look where we are now :D ) Still, good job Yen! You go and make friends with All the Publishers!

I told you, didn't I, that the Yen editors will send you any and as many books as you ask for! I find it quite nice (after I got over my hesitation to ask for free things, and putting aside the fact that probably 75% of their books that I want to read, I'm already lettering...)

I hope Liselotte fares alright in your estimation! What novel were they handing out? I thought the recent Bacanno! release was pretty great but I don't read many LNs otherwise.

Yay Noragami!! I'm glad it was included :D That Dallas seems like an alright guy!

Yato with ears and a kimono!♥

Oooh the symposium... hmmm. Well, I'm happy in my shoujo bubble, satisfied it's not all patriarchy and oppression and bad romantic ideals, and there's plenty of good stuff if you know what to look for. I always liked "atashi" because it seemed like the character using it was making more of a statement—some kind of statement anyway—than just the neutral one. Plus it seems girlier and I'm all for characters who embrace their girliness. But I haven't done research on this either so maybe the presenter had a point, as you say. Did the thing about sound effects remark on the shocking existence of a sound effect for silence? Or was it at least a little more novel than that? (now I'm just being a cynic. stop that, lys.)

Do you actually translate half the titles Kodansha is publishing, or just "like half"? I'd believe it either way. I'm glad they love you there :) I'm glad you got a capybara plush too!!!!!!! Ahhhh!! And I'm glad you got to wear your Hiyori/Yatori costumes and that that voice actor acknowledged you and that you made it to the panel you'll tell us about next time :D But most of all I want to see pictures of Hiyori and Yatori!!! Ahhhh!

If you're going to finish the AX report in one more entry, then you could do that tomorrow, but if it'll have a "to be continued" anyway, then I think it makes sense to just do the review tomorrow and post the next segment Thursday. At least this report had plenty to read about! Yesterday's left off just when it was getting interesting. (but you were tired and busy, I can sympathize)
6th-Jul-2016 05:14 am (UTC)
Thanks! That's why I post about them--I know all the anime news sites are posting the newsworthy bits, but there's fun to be had in the telling and we want to let people in on it, and have the report to remember for ourselves.

That's a good point about the existence or nonexistence of a relationship being irrelevant to the consumer until there's something to buy. Especially now when there's so much good stuff out there already, and when the legal streaming is already up-to-date--there's a lot less of knowing something you want to read/watch is out there and not being able to legally access it, so there's a lot less sitting around waiting for someone to announce it. Or maybe we just feel that way because we're so busy we don't have time for anything we're not already translating.

Haha, yes, you did tell us that! And the editor in question has told us that, as well. She told us at Anime Expo last year, in fact. We just never think to ask, but now that it's been brought up, that reminds us that that thing with the antlered guy looked intriguing...

Ha ha ha, well, we looked at the credits page of Liselotte and unfortunately the bias got even stronger, so... (It's only sort of personal; we never met the guy in person, but we did exchange emails. There was a very brief period in which he was a managing editor at TokyoPop. Although, thinking back, I think the emails were not unprofessional.) The novel was Re:Zero, which I didn't realize right away was that anime that we watched the first episode of which was half of a two-parter and we didn't even care enough to watch the second half, but mostly due to time constraints. We'll see if we ever read it. Like, when we have time lol.

Well, the stuff about shojo manga and the patriarchy was more of a "how it's written" thing as opposed to a content thing. It was all, "The editors of shojo manga tell the authors what to do and the editors are all men, so really the content of what girls read in Japan is dictated by men," and we were like, "It's dictated by men who read the surveys and watch the sales numbers..." That's what we had to tell the presenter afterward, and she was like, "Oh yeah, I know, I just couldn't fit it in," so we were like, "Oh. Sorry." But in retrospect, there is something to be said about how what gets left out of a presentation shapes the message that is presented. I think your interpretation of "atashi" is pretty accurate, and we agree with liking women who aren't afraid to embrace their girliness. I do think in the case of Perfect Blue, it was more that the character had grown up now and wasn't a little girl anymore, now that I'm thinking about it (part of what makes "atashi" girly is that it's more childlike). No, the sound effects presentation didn't get much farther than how different publishers deal with sound effects in manga (he ran out of time because there had been technical difficulties), but now that I think about it, he seemed to be placing all of the responsibility on the translators and that's why I was so irked by the whole thing. That and his statement that TokyoPop left the sound effects untranslated "because it was too much work, I guess." We had to talk to him after the symposium, too.

We think it's just "like half", because considerably less than half of the titles mentioned at the panel were things we're translating. And yes! The capybara plush is adorable! We haven't taken any pictures of it, but the website for this brand is here. We have pictures of Hiyori and Yatori (as I said somewhere else that I can't remember), but we still have to get them off our camera. Keep bugging us and it will happen!

We could potentially finish the report in one post. Maybe we'll type for a while, and if we decide we've been typing for too long and it's not done, we'll save it somewhere else and post a review. Yes, this seems like a decent strategy.
6th-Jul-2016 07:38 am (UTC)
Rokka is a Shueisha title. Shueisha has been a bit more open to non-Viz publishers lately.

Seven Seas licensed a long shoujo title at AX, Dreamin' Sun, that ran in Margaret, but I wonder if the rights got sold to someone else (very common with shoujo).
6th-Jul-2016 04:13 pm (UTC)
Dreamin' Sun is getting a rerelease by Futabasha (publisher that took over orange when the author left Shueisha) so I'm assuming that's where 7S licensed from :)
6th-Jul-2016 04:31 pm (UTC)
I didn't realize that translator ever worked for Tokyopop! But I was looking at the credits on ANN for Fruits Basket (with some shock again at just HOW MANY people got credited in TP books, and how many different editors/designers/etc the series had over the course of its run. but just two very consistent translators! :) ) and was surprised to see Adam Arnold on the list for something. These people are everywhere!! (I realize, so am I at this point...)

Ahh, manga editors. I don't know, I think some author-editor relationships may be like that, but some are surely more collaborative (or even author's-gonna-do-what-she-wants, after she reaches a certain level of renown) and I know there are female editors too. Aya Kanno came to TCAF last year with her Akita Shoten editor, who was a woman. (I think she might've said that her Hakusensha editor was a guy, though...) I do think author-editor relationships and processes are a topic that would be super interesting to explore and learn more about (TCAF had a panel that Akita Shoten editor was on along with some others in both the JP and US comics industry, and it was my favourite and most informative of the weekend because I really didn't know much about how that all worked in daily practice) but authors themselves don't really talk about in their sidebars or whatnot, so it'd take some effort (and probably the ability to converse in Japanese with the editors themselves) to do that research. Maybe there are more resources or discussions of that stuff in Japanese though... (which would still require the language ability to find and read it. good luck, symposium girl!)

I'm glad you set the SFX guy straight on why things get handled the way they do at different publishers. *shakes head*
6th-Jul-2016 06:47 pm (UTC)
It's a small translating world after all! Haha, yeah, I remember we got assigned Nosatsu Junkie because we do well with long series. Is it that hard to stick with something?

We agree--we think the process is more collaborative. Her point came from a comparison of manga contest winners for Shonen Jump versus Hana to Yume. When they present the winners' stories, they do it with critique from the editors, and the Jump critique is very minimal and vague, while the Hana to Yume critique was very detailed and particular, hence men dictating what women want. We also told her she should compare shonen versus shojo submissions winners among the same publisher, because Hana to Yume and Jump are like apples and oranges. I definitely think it would be more informative to talk to real manga artists and editors. That was a big problem with all of the symposiums; all of their research seemed to be from secondary sources. If you're trying to find out new things (and the actual current state of things), it's not going to do you a lot of good to research the research of people who did the research years ago.
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