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Alethea & Athena
First Love Monster, volume 3 
16th-Feb-2016 05:19 pm
tadah
Oh man, I'm so tired. We've been working on Corpse Party today, and it is exhausting. In fact, we have a bit of a scheduling conflict, in that our editor for Devil Survivor was hoping to get that one on Friday, but our editor for Corpse Party came along first and asked for two volumes of that by Friday, and we had to work on Noragami on Monday, we have just enough time to get two of those books done if we don't work overtime...so overtime it is! We did get more time on Devil Survivor, but we want to get it done ASAP for the other production people's sake. (Apparently it, too, is on a monthly release schedule. And we're like, "Whyyyyyyy!?" Not that we don't like the series, just that we're kind of drowning in work (and ill-advised trips to Disneyland) here.)

So we were going to make it all better by finishing our first draft of not one, but both! volumes of Corpse Party today, and we actually might have been able to come pretty close. But, even though Corpse Party is scaring us less, it's still exhausting. So much gruesome death. So we decided to work on Devil Survivor instead, and that one isn't nearly as gruesome, but it's not exactly sunshine and lollipops. That being the case, even though we'll probably have a little more time after this before we have to go to dinner, we have to stop working for today. We made enough progress that we'll have very little trouble finishing everything by its official deadline...barring any ill-advised trips to Disneyland. Oh wait.

Anyway, let's distract ourselves! We are still in the middle of our very special edition of Review Rednesday, after all! (Of course we are; it only started yesterday!) Since we started the week off with a monster series, we thought we'd go along with the theme and review another monster series! And maybe we should have started with this one, because it bills itself as "first", ha ha ha. That's right, we present to you First Love Monster, volume...3? Hold on, let me check my notes. Yes, three! Spoiler level: Did you even mention a single thing that happened in this book?


Athena says mostly what she remembers about this volume is being tired. We had just been working working working for about six months or so, sometimes working overtime, sometimes refusing to work overtime, sometimes taking time off only to wear ourselves out at Disneyland. But! our schedule had a break in it--two weeks without a deadline--and we were really eager to finish this last volume on our list before we could finally take a break. But more than that, we were really eager to just not be working at all. I guess it's like senioritis. Is that still a thing? When seniors in high school are so close to graduating that they just can't bring themselves to put any effort into what little school they have left.

Not that we slacked off on this! Not on purpose, anyway. We were pretty tired, so it's not unthinkable that quality suffered because of it. And the edit happened right after a weekend of working more and eating less than usual. And waking up early on a Saturday.

But anyway, this isn't about our work schedule, it's about First Love Monster! I do think that the series is getting more entertaining as it goes on. There is some concern that, like with Maid Sama!, they're going to overuse the cross-dressing jokes, but so far they at least seem to be keeping that in the bonus chapters, and only touching on it briefly during the main story.

Another concern is the ridiculous amount of puns in this volume. Oh my goodness, it was crazy! It wasn't too hard to get most of them to work in English, but the thing about rounding up--that was just awful. And we spent like half an hour on it, and we don't even like what we came up with! (Well, I do like it in the sense that it's something, and it doesn't entirely not work.) Maybe the editors will have tweaked it into something better by the time this review gets posted. What made it especially difficult was the image Kanade came up with, and the fact that he used it again later when Chiaki and Mafuyu were insulting each other.

...And that just made us realize for the first time that all the girls are named after seasons. Kaho is summer, Chiaki is autumn, and Mafuyu is winter. Now we just need a spring!

But back to the puns. We were a little afraid that, in order to get them to work in English, we have to change Kanade's perception a little bit. In Japanese, he's hearing words for the first time, and applying a meaning that at least fits the words he heard (and heard accurately). For English, we have to kind of turn him into a bad listener. Only kind of--I comfort myself by remembering the story of the 65-Roses thing, which is an organization to fight cystic fibrosis, and gots its name from how a kid pronounced the name of the disease.

But, for example, in the book we used the translation "suspended animation" (and in case the final version got changed, I'll point out that this is when Kaho is dreaming about Snow White). To get the pun to work better, we considered using "cold sleep," which Kanade could have heard as "cold sweet(s)." But "sleep" is not a word that Kanade wouldn't know, so in that case, it would almost certainly be a matter of bad listening. And while Kanade does a lot of weird things in a lot of aspects of life, one thing he is not is a bad listener. And so we chose to use "suspended animation" instead, but we couldn't come up with a pun on it, so we had to just have him randomly make the jump from "I don't know what that is" to "I bet it's some kind of food." (I think we wrote a note explaining why that jump isn't so random in Japanese.)

As for the story, it's certainly entertaining if you're not in a hurry for answers. And if you don't mind people repetitively suggesting to Taga that maybe he's in love with Kaho after all. To be fair, that only happens maybe once per volume, but we think he's acknowledged it every time, so at some point it has to sink in. Of course, Kaho's in denial about it, so maybe that's the problem. I actually really like Atsushi as a character, even though I think he's a pretty horrible person.

Kaho's brother is kind of fun to translate. I understand that he's obsessed with Kaho, but other than that, I really wonder what his deal is.

Anyway, basically it all comes down to it's a fun series when you accept the idea that some aspects of it may never actually make sense.


Wow, that review talked even more about our work schedule! It's kind of fun how all these things tie together sometimes. Or how our life never changes. Hrm.

Today I'm thankful for Corpse Party not being more tiring than it is (the horror is pretty draining, but if it were chatty on top of that...I shudder to think of it!), having an unintended monster theme for our Review Rednesday Week (it will end after tomorrow, though), getting to look forward to a relaxing evening of not working (which we hopefully won't regret deeply later), having lots of happy music to listen to while translating horror, and it being time to go lie down now.
Comments 
17th-Feb-2016 03:26 am (UTC)
Nice spoiler-level advisory! Haha. But on the other hand, anyone who's read the book can write a review about what happens, and while I do like reading your thoughts on the happenings too, your perspective on the technical/process stuff is pretty unique, and always fascinating! And now I want to see the puns you came up with. I think almost all puns in English probably have to be taken as a result of bad listening or bad pronunciation, but I'm sure you made a valiant effort!

That means My Little Monster tomorrow! Enjoy your relaxing evening of not working. You've earned it! (I think I read something about Devil Survivor ending soon... which may not be as encouraging if you're still in the earlyish volumes. But according to its ANN page the US release switches to every-other-month after v4...?)
17th-Feb-2016 05:53 am (UTC)
I know, right? XD Seriously, though, we tend to agree. When we read reviews that are mostly summaries with very little of the reviewer's feelings on what happened, we get very impatient. It's like hello, if all I wanted to know was what happened in the book, I'd read the book, for goodness' sakes. I can't even remember exactly what the puns are, so I can't guarantee that they're any good at all. We did do our best, though! This is the series that reminds me that punnery is not one of our strong suites.

That's right! You can look forward to it! (We read about it ending, too. The game is pretty short (but has multiple endings, yeargh), so we're not all that surprised. It's encouraging on the one hand, but it is usually a little sad to see a series go, and it's probably going to give away the finale ending, which we certainly do not have time to get to before we have to translate it. And that is weird about the release schedule; you'd think they'd start slower to see how sales go. Oh well; I don't question it, I just do what they tell me to.)
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