We have another batch of books that were released on the same day, so I'm resorting once again to the fairest method I know for selecting which one gets posted first: alphabetical. And that means Devil Survivor! Spoiler level: moderately high, but it's a pretty funny review, so if you're not planning to read the series, I recommend reading the review anyway.
This volume of Devil Survivor was actually mentioned in a Danny Phantom special. In "Reign Storm", someone (we can't remember if it was Danny or Val; I guess we'll just have to watch the whole series again) is running from bullies, and he or she goes to the cafeteria where there's a table occupied by a couple of kids who Danny calls "nerds playing nerd poker". In the course of their game, one of the nerds plays the "Fireball of Infinite Exposition" card ("Aw, man... You just bored my character to death."). And I think we just found that card. This volume is a fireball of infinite exposition. At least, it felt infinite.
It's not necessarily boring, either. We couldn't say how well it was presented to a Japanese audience, because at this point we have extreme prejudice, but we like to think we managed to translate it in a non-boring way. Even if it does sound okay in Japanese, when you get exposition, sometimes it takes a lot of extra work to make it sound like a conversation and not an info dump. Of course, when they're specifically answering questions, then it's okay for what follows to sound like an explanation, so hopefully the readers were just as eager for answers as the heroes of the manga were! Anyway, the point is, it was long and hard and we are so glad that we're done with it. Here's a rundown:
Chapter 1: The Government Is Going to Kill Everyone Exposition
Chapter 2: How Remiel Came to be Friends with Amane Exposition
Chapter 3: What Is Naoya Thinking? Exposition
Chapter 4: Naoya Explains the Demon Summoning Program Design Process and
Gigolo Tells All About Bel and Belial Exposition
Chapter 5: Azuma Is a Creep Exposition
Chapter 6: Not So Much with the Exposition, but Why Won't You Just Stop Talking Already? *Weeps*
Actually, Chapter 5 wasn't so bad. Exposition is a little bit more fun to translate when the person giving it is having the snot beat out of him. ...Maybe I shouldn't be so violent.
Anyway, we already knew most of the stuff from playing the game, so we weren't really desperate for answers and we didn't appreciate the exposition so much, because we were like, "Yeah, we know
! Doesn't everybody already know this? Do you really need to have it spelled out for you? It wasn't even that hard to begin with!" But that was just the overwork talking (which of course is not the fault of only this volume; we've been pushing ourselves too hard for too long).
But! Gin uses Take-Mikazuchi, and that was a lot of fun to see, because we just translated a volume of Noragami that prominently features Takemikazuchi. We spell his name without a hyphen in Noragami; I'm not sure why that is, but my guess would be we either copied Wikipedia, or we were too lazy to check whether or not there was a hyphen in any generally accepted articles about him. Anyway, the Shin Megami Tensei series spells it with a hyphen.
...And come to think of it, there WAS exposition in chapter six! Arrrrrgh.
That's not important now. What IS important is the stupidity in deploying Fushimi and Izuna's team. They were deployed by the government to try and find a solution to the problem of demons running rampant through Tokyo in the one week while it was under lockdown, but they can't leave their post. It's like, "Hey, I know! The Shomonkai's all together in one place, so let's lock it down and see if we can solve the problem before we just nuke them all. And we'll send a special team and make sure they can't leave their one post so they can't actually be effective at anything!" Seriously. If you wanted someone to enforce the lockdown, you should have sent two teams--one to enforce the lockdown and one to, like, actually do something helpful.
So our opinion of the story in this game/manga is kind of going down a little bit, but the concept is still pretty interesting, with the War of Bel and all that stuff. We still don't know who Naoya and Kazuya really are, because we haven't gotten that far in the game OR the manga. But Naoya hints at it, and that's the kind of plot tidbit that keeps us interested.
...I wanted to say something about the characters in this volume, but it really is all exposition. Oh! We could talk about Haru's dress. We think we figured out why it doesn't fit. (Remember in the volume two review, how I was talking about our being overly critical of everyone's clothes, and how Haru's dress didn't fit?) Aya is wearing practically the same dress! So we figure Haru got the dress as a hand-me-down from Aya, and she wears it despite the fact that it doesn't fit, because she's so codependent on Aya. Maybe now that she's moving on she can buy her own dress and won't have to worry about nip slips all the time. Or at least wear a shirt under it.
And Naoya showed some personality. Some very angry personality. But his is a cold rage. Really makes me wonder what his deal is.
Then there was Azuma, who dropped his smarmy persona and showed his true cowardly colors. I don't think he did that in the game (at least not in the path we took), so it was kind of interesting to see. But mostly it was interesting to see Gin doing stuff.
PS: When we turned this translation in to the editor, we actually said, "Here's the translation for volume six, also known as Exposition Central." She laughed.
Today I'm thankful for getting to look back fondly on a trying experience, finding out that the sudden email from the company we booked our flight with saying our reservation needs immediate attention wasn't serious after all, having a lovely time translating That Wolf-Boy Is Mine! today, also getting to finish Your Lie In April today (bittersweet), and getting to have macaroni and cheese for dinner.