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Alethea & Athena
Waiting for Spring volume 1 
2nd-Aug-2017 02:53 pm
blush
Oh my gosh, you guys. We're working on this chapter of UQ Holder! and everyone's favorite spell, Thousand Thunder Bolts, comes up. There were some other old spells that came up, but they were from the volumes of Negima that we never translated, so we went to a Negima! wiki to see if we could get a shortcut for spelling them properly, and while we were there, we figured we could copy and paste the Greek, because we don't have a Greek IME. So we went to Thousand Thunder Bolts...and what they had was different! Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!

Have we been wrong all this time? Why would they put an alpha in there? There's no ah sound in the Japanese text! Why? Why!? WHY!? So of course now we're questioning our knowledge of Ancient Greek, which is already pretty much nonexistent anyway, but we felt like we were doing pretty good with all the non-English, non-Japanese stuff in Negima!. So we went to Wiktionary to look up the Greek for a thousand, and it's spelled with a chi!? CHI, you guys! We've been spelling it with a kappa ALL THIS TIME!!! All this time, we've been wrong wrong WRONG!!

Fortunately(?), we managed to console ourselves when we realized that the spell first showed up in volume nineteen, and we didn't start work on the series until volume twenty-two, so we were just copying someone else's error. Still, we really should have looked into it more. We thought now was a pretty good opportunity to fix it, even though we already used kilipl astrape several times, even in UQ Holder!. But we couldn't figure out why it would be kilipl instead of khilioi, so we figured we should just leave it all with the Japanese text and let it be their problem. And be thankful that DuoLingo offers Greek.

In the meantime, it's Review Rednesday! And this week, we have the first volume of a new shoujo series, Waiting for Spring! Spoiler level: mild?


I feel like I say this about everything lately, but I really feel like this translation was all a blur. First of all, we started it in the middle of a workday, which probably would have been okay under normal circumstances, but as it was we could not get any traction on this series. Or at least, on this book. Hopefully we'll get better traction on later volumes. We had a plan. We were going to start it, finish it up real quick, and still have time to finish another translation before the week was over. This plan was thwarted by three other factors. First, we were delayed on the translation that came ahead of it (Noragami, my love...), which is why we didn't start it at the beginning of the workday like we normally would have. I'm not sure why it's so much better to start a book at the beginning of the day (maybe just momentum), but it is. The second factor, which we really did see coming...oh yeah, that's why we couldn't get any traction that first day. Gaston called about going to Disneyland and then we talked for an hour and a half. I don't know why I didn't just tell him, "Cool, let's go. But we're really busy now, so we can't talk." I just didn't, and then I had to face the consequences. Of course, that phone call then resulted in the loss of almost two workdays. So much for finishing another translation that week.

Finally, the most significant factor that delayed us was oh my heck this series is wordy. We were like, "That's okay, we'll just whip up a first draft in one day and a second draft in another and we'll be good to go!" (Oh right, there was a fourth factor; simulpub chapters. We just couldn't catch a break last week.) And then there were so many words! I don't think it was quite so bad as a Hana to Yume series, but to give you an idea, the typical translation script for a Kodansha series ranges from about 35 to 45 pages. That's a pretty wide range, wouldn't you say? This one was 61 pages. They talk a LOT.

And that is the first thing that comes to mind when I remember this series. They talk a lot, and the translation process was broken up into way more segments than I would have liked. I think I like it, though...if I can remember it.

Athena says it kind of reminds her of My Darling! Miss Bancho, and she doesn't remember if she thought that before or after we found out that series has returned. But basically it's a girl surrounded by four guys who don't really seem to know the proper way to deal with girls, so it is similar in a way. It was kind of funny going in, because we checked Amazon Japan reviews of it before we accepted the series, and the only thing we remembered from it was that there were four guys so it was kind of a reverse harem. We had no idea all the guys played basketball. That's kind of a big thing. (It's possible we read something about it in the Amazon reviews, but promptly forgot about it.)

Right, I should give a summary. Mitsuki Haruno is a girl who has always struggled to make friends, except for the one good friend she had back in grade school. One day, while she's at work musing on this, one of the uber popular guys from the basketball team asks her to come with him so his friend can confess his love to her. After a false start, the friend realizes that she's not the right girl, and they promptly insult her in multiple ways. But since the right girl is Mitsuki's coworker, they start hanging out at the cafe where she works, much to her dismay. Nevertheless, she learns that they're actually pretty decent guys after all, and they start to be friends! Tadah!

And the story goes on from there, of course. It doesn't even take long before Mitsuki manages to make a female friend, and I hope everybody's read the book by now, because I want to talk about Reina. That chapter was a little scary. See, Reina is a basketball team fangirl big time. She doesn't want any girl touching them, especially the four guys that hang out at the cafe...which is why Mitsuki decides not to tell her about them. But then! Towa, the guy that is clearly the male lead, gives her some strawberry milk at school. This happened right before Reina asked Mitsuki to join her for lunch. The lunch where she gets a really scary look on her face and says, "But don't touch the basketball team, okay?" We were like, "Tell her! Tell her now!" Alternatively, "Run!!!" And then! Reina says, "Ooh, that milk looks good," and we were like, "Give it to her! Give it to her now! For your own safety!!!!" But Mitsuki didn't give it to her, even after complaining about how it wouldn't go with her lunch! And we were like, "Don't you value your life, woman!?" But it turned out that Reina didn't actually know the milk was from Towa, so it was all okay. Whew.

And then it turned out to be a pretty nice chapter after all, because Towa found out why Mitsuki was avoiding them and said, "But do you really want a friend who's going to ditch you over your friendship with some guys?" So Mitsuki decided to be honest, and it all worked out very nicely. Huzzah!

So this is why Athena describes this series as "My Little Monster from Natsume's perspective." Mitsuki's not exactly in the same boat as Asako, but the whole, "Stay away from me, boys!" thing is rather similar. And they're both not so great at the scholastics.

The chapter where Mitsuki and Towa take the train together was super cute. Rui's the best with his phone pranks. And it was so brilliant, because Anashin already gave Rui a track record of changing people's wallpaper to Towa, so you don't know if he's doing it because he always uses Towa, or because he's all, "I know you liiiiike him!" And the way he did it, too! Man, he's good. First he asks Mitsuki to get out some pictures, so she unlocks her phone, then he snatches it from her so he can do whatever he wants! Very sneaky. He's a fun character. I do wonder if his name is actually, like, Louie or something. It does have kanji, but sometimes that happens in manga where they'll give someone a more Western name and have kanji for it, just because, I guess? I remember reading a short story in a Hana to Yume anthology about a couple of girls name Olivia and Sylvia with kanji.

Anyway. Then there was Aya. The book started out with a flashback showing Aya, and we didn't know who anybody was yet, so we credited Aya as "Boy." Then Mitsuki was telling Towa about her friend, and we were like, "Oh. I guess it's a girl." But it didn't matter, because we had a name. But then! there was the reveal at the end, and we were like, "Aha! I knew it was a boy!" Incidentally, there's like a CD drama or something? where Aya is played by the same guy as Haru from My Little Monster, so listening to his voice there would be no doubt, I'm pretty sure. On the other hand, maybe Tatsuhisa Suzuki can do a feminine voice. Just because I've never heard it doesn't mean he can't. He is a voice actor after all; it's what they do. Anyway, it makes me wonder if one of the reasons Mitsuki had trouble making friends is that all the girls were in love with Aya but Aya only ever hung out with Mitsuki so they were jealous? That would be bad for a couple of reasons. First, it's a terrible reflection on girls in general (although based on the whole cheering fiasco, it seems like it might be a thing in this series), and second, Mitsuki said she had trouble with friends before she met Aya. ...And then I start coming up with new theories that are really just way too complicated to be realistic theories.

I think that just about covers everything. The episode with the spilled coffee was pretty good, too. Towa's so nice. And I appreciate that Rui played along instead of telling Towa he should take the money. I feel like we've seen a lot of Towa and Rui but not a lot of Kyosuke and Ryuji, but I like Towa and Rui the best, so I don't really mind. Also I should probably mention Nanase, because she's pretty great, too. I love that she likes a challenge.


And there you have it! This is a nice series, so I hope people are liking it!

As for this week, we have...no new releases! Zero! Tadah! But tune in next week, for our review of My Monster Secret 7!

Today I'm thankful for learning the Greek alphabet, Duo Lingo teaching Greek, finishing that chapter of Negima UQ Holder!, getting to review Waiting for Spring, and getting to play more of Melissa's story last night.
Comments 
17th-Aug-2017 11:45 am (UTC)
So Aya really is a boy? The way he was drawn at the end (flat-chested, but with a somewhat androgynous face and longish hair) and the fact that he was hanging out with a member of the visiting girls' basketball team initially led me to assume that Aya was also a member of said girls' basketball team. The fact that Mitsuki always referred to him as "Aya-chan" when reminiscing about the past (at least in the version that made it into print) also seemed pretty conclusive. But now that I think about it, Mitsuki and Aya seemed to have been friends since they were little kids. So since small children of both sexes can be referred to as "-chan," and I've seen a number of other manga where childhood friends still called each other "-chan" even as teenagers, I guess that's more or less what happened with these two (except for the fact that Mitsuki genuinely thought Aya was a girl).

As for the whole "jealous fangirls bullying any girl who dares to get close to the most popular boy(s)" motif, that seems to be mercifully less popular lately, but I remember it being a big thing in the '90's series "Mars." Although in that case, it evolved into one particular girl repeatedly beating up the heroine until Rei, the boy who liked the heroine and was the target of the rival girl's obsession, intervened and got her to stop. (At least, I think that's what happened. I haven't reread the series in years, so I'm a bit vague about the details.) After that the rival girl and the heroine eventually somehow wound up becoming friends. The mangaka actually managed to pull this off somewhat plausibly, although if somebody had treated me like that, I probably would have avoided her like the plague long after she finally stopped.

Anyway, this whole "targeted for being too friendly with the wrong boy" thing made such an impression on me in that series that I was pleasantly surprised when nothing like that wound up happening in "That Wolf Boy Is Mine!," even though Komugi's(?) female classmates were constantly fangirling over the beast-boy pack that she was friends with. Admittedly, Komugi was pretty good at keeping her friendship with the yokai boys a secret from the other people at school, and the three-legged crow sensei kept popping in to alter people's memories as he saw fit whether it was necessary or not. But in some older shoujo manga, just looking at the popular boy(s) too often could be enough to unleash the wrath of the rival fangirls, no matter how innocuous the heroine's intentions might be.
18th-Aug-2017 04:21 am (UTC)
Well, to be fair, we did write this review before we translated volume two, so our opinion in this writing is based almost solely on the information provided in volume one. There is a big piece of evidence outside of volume one (also referenced in this review) that Aya is, in fact, a boy, but you'll have to tune in to our volume two review to see if we changed our minds. As for the information in this volume, we can tell you that in the Japanese version, Aya uses the masculine first-person pronoun "ore," and that there's more than just a flat chest to indicate a masculine build, like posture, broad shoulders, Adam's apple, the way the character dresses, etc. You are right about -chan not being a helpful indicator, though; it's not uncommon for guy friends to call each other -chan in a joking way, even as adults.

You know, now that you mention it, I can only really remember the fangirl mobs being a thing in Waiting for Spring, Fruits Basket, and a little in That Wolf-Boy Is Mine!. Is it because we've been relatively estranged from shoujo manga recently...? Athena reminds me that there was an attempt at creating a fangirl mob to fight Yukina in Missions of Love... Hmmm...

If I remember correctly, the reason the other girls stopped bullying Komugi is that she stood up to them and Yu backed her up, so they gave up and left them all alone. I'm pretty sure she was openly friends with them for a good chunk of the series.
18th-Aug-2017 06:13 am (UTC)
Was Aya using "ore" to refer to himself even in the flashback to him and Mitsuki as kids at the beginning of the book? I just assumed he was using "boku," at least back then. My impression is that it would be considered a bit eccentric, but not flagrantly inappropriate, for a girl to use "boku," especially if she was a bit tomboyish. But if Aya was using the more macho pronoun "ore" even when Mitsuki last saw him back in elementary school(?), it really makes me wonder how she managed to remain under the misapprehension that he was a girl right up until she ran into him again after he'd hit puberty.
18th-Aug-2017 03:06 pm (UTC)
It's not super uncommon for tomboyish girls to use "boku," and there are even some "orekko" girls who use "ore" (Jun-Jun from Sailor Moon SuperS is the one we always think of first, but I'm sure we've encountered others...right, Cutlass from UQ Holder!). But Aya manages to avoid any use of the first-person pronoun in all of the flashbacks that have been presented so far. Japanese grammar allows for that better than English, so it's possible that on the rare occasions he had to use one, Mitsuki was just distracted enough that she didn't notice.
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