But of course, we don't want to forget Review Rednesday! I'm not sure how many of our regular readers will be interested, though, because today we feature Corpse Party! Tadah! But I seem to remember these reviews being pretty amusing, so they might be worth reading anyway. Spoiler level: moderate.
Here is the review for the first volume of Corpse Party Blood Covered, which I guess is the first half of the first English volume. Some of you may remember back in 2015 when our schedule went haywire. Here's a recap with better details: our editor at Yen Press asked us if we wanted to take on a new series. She said it was horror, so we looked it up because even though we did really like Higurashi, we're not really big horror fans. We found a site claiming to be the official website and all we read was a few sentences of what appeared to be some kind of prologue, and they talked about some journal or something that said, "Today I ate my friend." We were like, "Whoa, that's a little too scary for us! ...But we're always interested in trying new series, so sure! ...We'll see if we can fit it into our schedule."
Then we checked with Kodansha, who was dealing with all kinds of chaos. We said, "We think we have just these three things, is that right?" And they said, "Yup, that's right!" So we emailed our Yen Press editor and gave her the green light. Not long thereafter, as Kodansha was reviewing its various schedules, we got emails saying basically, "Oh yeah, and can you fit this in, too? But you don't have to do the one thing--we won't need it until June. But we also need you to add this other thing." And our schedule exploded. But it very kindly waited until after we agreed to take on a new series, so I figured it was some kind of force majeure and we might as well still do it, even though our Yen Press editor emailed again and said, "So, uh, I just found out this is going to be an omnibus release. Can you do two books before you go to Japan?"
Anyway, we worked steadily through our pile of assignments, and yesterday we came to Corpse Party. The first part of it seemed cheerful enough, but I always had that blurb from the website on my mind, and I was pretty scared about when that would happen, so every little thing had me going, "This isn't going to be what causes it, is it!?" But then the plot went in a direction that indicated none of that was going to happen anyway (we think the blurb was for another game in the same series, or maybe just another game by the same people (oh right, the manga is based on a video game)), so we breathed a sigh of relief. We were about halfway into it by lunchtime, and at lunch, we were talking about it saying, "It's actually not that scary! I kept waiting for it to get scary, but it looks like it won't."
We had stopped just before Naomi opened the door to the dark classroom where she thought she heard voices. Just before she found the first corpse. After that, it got pretty scary and mostly stayed that way, although there were periods of mild relief. We were pretty tired by the end of the day, and very relieved that we finished the first draft. Today (day two of translation), we were very reluctant to get to work, but even more eager to get it over with. And to make matters worse, today was rainy and therefore darker than usual. Also, last night we really wanted a change of scenery, so after watching Sailor Stars (I always knew the first few episodes of Sailor Stars were pretty serious, but when you're already worked up over a horror manga, they can be downright scary!), we tried watching Mr. Osomatsu, and it just happened to be the Christmas episode, which starts out with the six Matsus lumbering around as zombie Christmas characters (Santa, reindeer, one of them was dressed as a zombie Christmas tree...). Thanks a lot, Osomatsu. Ugh.
I suppose readers might be interested in what the series is actually about. There are seven classmates and a teacher and a little sister, and one of the classmates is changing schools, so as a good luck charm to help them be friends forever, they tear apart a paper doll (and perform other ritual elements), then immediately get sucked into an alternate dimension where they're trapped in a creepy old elementary school that's full of corpses. Apparently the school traps people a lot, and since nobody's managed to make it out alive, the place is littered with dead bodies. (Okay, it's not like there are piles of them everywhere; so far they've only come across three.) And also apparently several alternate dimensions of the school exist in the same place sort of, so the friends all got sent to different dimensions of the school and can't meet each other even if they're in the same place.
The moral of the story is don't try good luck rituals that you read about on ghost story websites. The idea to perform the ritual was presented by the class's resident ghost story expert Ayumi, and I figure if she read about it on a ghost story website, surely she must have known something. On the other hand, both the Japanese and English versions of the game have created a blog based on the one Ayumi found, so really we'd just have to read it to find out if she really knew anything or not.
So...yeah. It's kinda gory. And there are scissors involved, which is just ugh. But now that we've started it, I want the kids to hurry up and solve the problem. I was thinking about it earlier today, and I felt like not finishing the series would be like playing Kingdom Hearts and not finding all the lost dalmatian puppies, but specifically not finding the ones in Halloween Town. That thought put "This Is Halloween" in my head, which was not the most brilliant of moves on a day when I want to surround myself with as much happy music as possible. I think this is going to be a trying project.
Well, I'm going to have to think a little bit to remember what happened in this volume, which I think is a good sign, because the main thing that worries me about horror is the idea that I'll be scared about something for a long time afterward. Or it might just be a sign that after we finished this volume, we charged straight on ahead to translate a chapter of UQ Holder! and then work on The Ice Reaper. Nevertheless, I think the first volume was definitely creepier. But we're told this series is going to be released as a series of omnibuses, so maybe the reviews will be posted together!
Aaaaanyway...what happened again? Right. People died. I guess this one isn't going to be like Higurashi where everybody dies but they all come back to life because of the Groundhog Day effect. But maybe they will anyway, because it's an alternate dimension and once the spell is broken it will be like none of it ever happened? That would be nice.
So like I said, this volume wasn't as creepy as volume one, and I think that's because by this volume, you kind of have an idea of what the whole situation is, so there's less fear of the unknown. Plus they didn't mention the scissors. I think the scissors might be the scariest thing about the series so far. Did I mention this series is based on a PC game? The game has been brought over to the States, too, so there's an online wiki site and everything. We'll go to the wiki site for reference about the game localization, because there's no way we're going to play this game and we might want to make things match. But we might NOT want to make things match, because the game localization didn't get the Tenjin reference, and since Tenjin is such a main character in Noragami, we didn't want to leave it out. But it doesn't really matter anyway, because it's all up to the editors, and it's not like most American readers would understand the Tenjin reference anyway, but they should because they should all be reading Noragami, which is fun for fans of all genres. Also, we wrote a note about it. Anyway, the point is, the wiki site does a cute little thing where it changes your cursor into a pair of bloody scissors. Reeeeal cute.
So...yeah. Naomi got attacked, and then they had a fight, and then Seiko died. That was pretty sad. We can really see what the authors meant in the afterwords when they talked about how sadistic the manga artist is to the characters, because...well, because it's really sadistic. On the bright side, at least Naomi got to redeem herself in Seiko's eyes (we hope) by trying to rescue her, so it wasn't like, "And the last time I ever saw her was when we had that fight!" It was more like, "The last time I ever saw her I tried in vain to save her life!" which really ends their relationship on much friendlier terms. She really did try, too. The bucket was disgusting.
The way Yui died was pretty brutal, too. Usually, since Athena's the one holding the book while I type the translation, if a series is really actiony, I'll make her hold a page open longer so I can look at all the panels more carefully and see what exactly is going on. Not so with this series. With this series, I'm very happy not to get all the gory details, thank you very much. That made me feel bad for Athena, but she tells me she mostly just skims for text, so she doesn't have to process any of the gory details if she doesn't want to, either.
Unless we have to figure out what something is the sound of, but they're usually pretty straightforward in this series. I just posted the review of Noragami 9 on LiveJournal today, which talks about our discussion about the sound made when Ebisu died, and I seem to remember having similar conversations when we worked on volume one, but it wasn't so much about what is that the sound of, but "I know what that's the sound of, now how can we replicate it." The conversations were much like the one we had about the Ebisu sound effect, if I remember correctly.
I'm still not entirely convinced that Ayumi's panic attack is real, or for the same reason Yui thinks it is. Maybe she really was surprised about what happened, or maybe she was surprised at how bad it was. We'll see. In the meantime, it is interesting to see the contrast between Ayumi and Satoshi. Ayumi loves to tell ghost stories but doesn't do so well in real scary situations. On the other hand, we've already seen how Satoshi was the one to step up when Yui was scaring everyone by knocking on the door during the blackout. It makes us wonder if some people don't like ghost stories because they know they're going to have to step up and take care of things if something like that were to really happen. Or maybe it's that the people who don't like the stories just have an easier time imagining things being much worse than they really are, and then when something really happens it's not as bad as they imagined. Or something. I don't know. I just wonder when we're ever going to see Satoshi again, since he's supposedly the main character.
I think another thing that I liked about this volume is that Yui actually talked to the ghost that confronted her. We keep wanting them to talk to the ghosts, see if they can reach an understanding or something. Of course, that didn't work out so well in Yui's situation...but at least she tried.
Today I'm thankful for getting our Tokyo Treat box today, making as much progress as we did on work today, getting the book for Fire Force (with an obi that has glowing reviews from a Mr. Soul Eater and Ms. Maka Albarn), the much needed morale boost from peanut butter M&Ms, and having groceries again (that's part of why we didn't make as much progress on work as we'd hoped; we needed to go buy food).