This week's feature is the fifth and final volume of Chaika: The Coffin Princess. We translated this one so long ago that I hardly remember working on this series at all! I mean, if I think about it, of course I remember working on it, but if someone were to ask me for a list of things I've translated, I wouldn't think to add this. Not that I didn't like it, though! Anyway, let's just get to it. Spoiler level: surprisingly low for a final volume, but it is a final volume, so keep that in mind.
We just got back from our trip to Japan and then we had to translate the last volume of Chaika: The Coffin Princess, and I have so much information in my head that I need to get written down that I feel like if I don't jump on the opportunity, it will all be lost forever. Fortunately, in the case of our Japan trip, I can scroll through the pictures on my camera to help me remember stuff. But this is supposed to be about Chaika.
We were kind of taken off guard by the fact that this was the last volume, but we knew before we translated it. Before we left for Japan, our editor at Yen Press asked us to translate the back cover summaries for this one and the last volume of The Ice Reaper manga. So we translated the back cover and it said something about being the last volume and we were like, "Wait, what?" And then we were like, "Well, that figures." Pretty much everything we've been working on for the last year is ending right now. Before our trip to Japan, we finished up My Little Monster and Ice Reaper. We'd probably be finishing Your Lie in April soon, too, if we were still on the original schedule, but fortunately for our sanity and the rest of the things we're working on, the editor changed and she realized we were actually way far ahead, so we might not get to the last couple of volumes of that for another few months. Or, since everything else will be over, sooner.
Of course, as you might expect from a five-volume manga adaptation of a twelve-volume series of light novels, the end of the manga does not represent the end of the story as a whole. In fact, it's just the beginning! Well, sort of. I mean, I'm pretty sure the beginning was volume one, but it does end by saying, "This is just the beginning (spoiler alert? eh heh...)", so it is a beginning of sorts. And it's the beginning of their journey with Fredrika, so that's something, I guess. Speaking of Fredrika, we can't help but wonder if the name is in any way an homage to Higurashi. I wonder if we could ever find that out somehow.
This volume was very kind to us. As I said, we just got back from Japan, and we had this, a volume of Noragami, and a volume of Kamakura Monogatari, all to finish as soon as possible. Fortunately(?), our Noragami deadline was set officially for February, but we had been asked if it were possible to finish Kamakura Monogatari before January was out, and we were like, "Yeah, that would be totally doable...in normal circumstances, but we're taking two weeks off (approximately) to go to Japan, so..." And not only is Kamakura Monogatari very time consuming page by page, but it also tends to have a lot more pages with which to consume time. But the point is, we were very grateful to this volume of Chaika for being very quick to translate and giving us extra time with which to work on Kamakura Monogatari.
And why was it such a quick translation? Because it was all fighting, of course! We kind of suspected it would be, since it was a final volume and the last one ended with them getting ready for a battle, but it was really nice to have that actually be the case. Of course, there are some talkative scenes, but they weren't too hard, either. Something about Toru makes it really easy to just plug in real American colloquialisms, which makes me feel like a good translator. That's not necessarily a sign of good translating, though, because we've read plenty of subtitles that used colloquialisms and were still not great, but what does help is that I can look back at our old Chaika scripts (we had to search for flashbacks and terms that showed up earlier on, etc.) and see a line from Toru and be like, "Hey, that's pretty good!" So hopefully the readers feel the same way.
Dominica was a little bit of a challenge because we had her talking fancy earlier on and then it just got less and less fancy, I think. But then her true identity was revealed and we were like, "Hey, it doesn't matter anymore!" Like in Beauty and the Beast, how they did the song "Human Again" for the special edition, but since "Human Again" involves cleaning up the castle, they had to clean up the backgrounds for all the scenes after it. In the commentary, the directors said that after Belle went back to see Maurice again, they decided the Beast was sad again so they didn't have to worry about it anymore. Tadah!
Anyway, we like the manga better than the anime, but if we want more of the story we're going to have to get it somewhere. The novels make the most sense, of course, but who has time for that? And then the anime is just so rushed! I wonder if it would have bothered us less if we hadn't read the manga first, like how we liked the Noragami anime until we read the manga, and we liked the Durarara!! anime so we read the novels and then we hated the second season. In my imagination, the first season of Durarara!! anime is still good, but we haven't watched it since reading the books.
But anyway, the scene towards the end with Toru and Jasmin was very sweet, and then they had all the stuff with Fredrika, and it all made for a very nice end-of-a-beginning. We enjoyed working on this series, I think, but I feel like every time it came up, we were in the middle of something, so it's hard to say for sure. We do tend to like things that go quickly, though, so there is definitely that. So it's a nice little high-fantasy romp (and it made Athena want to play Final Fantasy XII, which I think is a compliment, and not an, "Ugh, I wish I could get some fantasy that I actually LIKE!"), and we hope you all enjoyed it, too!
Today I'm thankful for having a pretty light must-get-done workload, having a lovely time at the temple last night, Page snuggling under blankets, getting to translate Chaika, and finally having time to get some Dewey medals in Kingdom Hearts Unchained Chi.