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Alethea & Athena
First Love Monster, volume 5 
9th-Nov-2016 04:41 pm
We woke up to the news about the election, and pretty much our reaction was surprise and maybe a little confusion. I had some nice coherent thoughts on the matter, and then we worked on Nekogahara, so all of those thoughts have flown from my mind. Nekogahara is weird, you guys.

Anyway, he's not who we wanted for president, but we refuse to despair about it. First of all, our government was set up with checks and balances, so the president isn't all-powerful. In fact, I think a lot of people who voted for him reasoned that he wouldn't ever be able to do all the things he said he would do, and we all know politicians don't have a great track record for keeping promises. But more than any of that, one of the reasons he won is that he tapped into a lot of people's fear and anger, so it seems to me that giving in to fear and anger is a pretty good way to let evil win. I think what our nation needs more than ever is kindness, and fear and anger tend to get in the way of that. So let's be kind, people!

But more importantly. ...Okay, so I'm joking about the more importantly part, but more relevant to the direct effect on our individual lives, today is Review Rednesday! Last week it was suggested that we have these more frequently because we have sooooo many translations backed up. We looked ahead at the release schedule and decided it couldn't hurt to have another review week, and we decided to start it today! Why? Because, even though we have no reason to believe that anyone tunes in specifically for Review Rednesdays, I did say last week that today we would be posting about First Love Monster 5, and in case anybody was counting on that information, I didn't want to make it false.

So today we will be posting the First Love Monster review, and after the review, I will post the schedule for the rest of the week, so people can read what they're interested in before it gets reviewed. But first! this week's releases include Fire Force volume one! Tadah! And UQ Holder!...nine, I think, but we haven't been reviewing that one. And that's all.

Now on to the review! Spoiler level: can anything in this series really be considered a spoiler? If so, let's say moderate?

I'm not going to mince words on this. We hated this volume. I mean, we haaaaaated it. But to be fair, that might have been due more to the timing of when we translated it than the content. We had been struggling to beat our schedule into submission for two whole months since we got back from Japan, and before that we'd had a pretty heavy workload consistently for over a year, and now here we were with just one volume of First Love Monster, one volume of Noragami, and one volume of a new series to translate before we got all caught up with Noragami, thus eliminating about a fourth of the most challenging and time-consuming part of our monthly workload--we were almost free! But before that, we had just translated the most difficult volume of Noragami to date and Exposition Central (also known as Devil Survivor 6), and now here we were, completely exhausted but so close to freedom we could taste it, and then! not only do we find out we have to juggle this translation with a small non-manga project (okay, so that part is our own fault; we could have said no), but this volume felt like a MASSIVE WASTE OF TIME.

Everything in it just seemed so pointless. The jokes were tired and boring even before this series repeated them ad nauseum. The thing about Hanako needs to die. Seriously, just die. In fact, we bandied about the idea of literally (by which I mean figuratively) killing Hanako. Then Kouta would be free of Kazuo's stupid crush and Kazuo could mourn her death and move on with his life. I just don't think it's funny to deliberately prolong misunderstandings, and we had enough of forcing people into dresses when we were working on Maid Sama. (Interesting(?) side note about that, though. In Maid Sama!, Usui was constantly forcing Yukimura into a dress. Now the actor who played Usui in the anime is playing Kouta in First Love Monster, and the tables have been turned. Did I mention that in the review of volume four? Maybe I did, but I'm too tired and apathetic to check.)

And I hate that everyone is so mean to Kouta all the time. Mostly I hate that everyone is so mean to everyone else all the time. I mean, one of the reasons I didn't dislike the series before is that Kanade was so caring, but he was barely in this volume, and when he was in it, he was oblivious and I love obliviousness about as much as I love forcing men into dresses against their will. Also, we hate that Kouta's virginity is somehow a valid point to be mocked. What do you want him to do? Rape a girl? ...Okay, so that's probably extreme. They're probably just commenting on the fact that he's so timid he can't even ask a girl out, but that doesn't make me hate the "joke" any less.

Right, we were going to make a point of summarizing the plot of this series so people could follow along. Well, in the last volume, Taga kissed Kaho and so he started holding that over her head and saying it was going to tear her and Kanade apart, and she said nuh-uh I'm gonna tell him, and guess what! She never told him for the whole volume because nothing significant ever happens in this series! Okay, that's not true. It came out at the very end, in a way that was all, "Is he even listening?" and then he said, "Don't touch me, I'm gonna break up with you," and based on everything that happens in this series constantly, chances are he wasn't listening and this new breakup is based on some other non sequitur. (Speaking of Kanade not listening, apparently it's a thing now that he's a bad listener, so I guess there's no problem with all the puns being based on mishearings after all.)

So while Kaho is failing to tell Kanade about Taga kissing her because people keep interrupting with stupid boring gags, Kanade's teacher comes to live at Kasumi Inn, and then there's a whole chapter with him making house calls at Kanade's friends' houses, which served no purpose but to reveal all the minutiae about Kanade's friends' living situations. Tomu's situation made us want to throw things, with all the embroidered jackets. Meanwhile, the dialogue on that page (the story of how Tomu's parents got married--she got taken in by the police for a lecture when she was a teenager, he was the officer, she fell in love and visited him everyday until he arrested her) sounds kinda funny when I summarize it but was barely amusing at all when we were translating it.

And then there's the guys with breast implants at Ginjirou's family's clinic...at least, we assume they're dudes. That's the thing about this series--people say nonsensical things all the time in this series, and the fifth graders especially are constantly saying things that you're not supposed to take seriously...until you are. So how are we supposed to know the difference? Arrrrrrrrgh.

Anyway, after the house calls, Daikoku comes home (I don't think they ever specified that he moved in to Kasumi Inn, but apparently he did) and we find out he and Kanade's teacher are old college friends. And then they have a sports day, during which the main plot point was--you guessed it--putting Kouta in a dress again. Then Kanade said he was going to kiss Kaho after his race, but instead he forgets and introduces her to Sadako. Oh that was another thing--right before Taga kissed Kaho, he caught her reading Kanade's diary where he talks about this girl Sadako that he wants to spend every waking moment with. This series being what it is, we knew right away that Sadako was some kind of animal, and sure enough, she's a dog. Anyway, Kanade introduces Kaho to Sadako, and Taga comes along and reveals that he kissed Kaho, and now Kanade's saying he has to break up with her. The end.

In the meantime, there's an extra story about--you guessed it--Kouta in a dress. Okay, actually it's about Kazuo being in love with Kouta in a dress (this is the Hanako thing that needs to die), and the thought process leading up to him starting an exchange diary, which is annoying, because in the diary he writes, "This is my first exchange diary"!!! The diary showed up for the first time in volume four, but the ret-conned story of how it came to be involves Kazuo keeping an exchange diary with Kanade and the others. Arrrrrrgh.

Anyway, I think that's all. It's possible that the jokes would have seemed funnier if we weren't already disposed towards grumpiness, but that volume involved pretty much all the characters we don't care about and none of the ones we do care about, so it seems less likely. I could also mention the fact that the teacher uses broken Japanese, which had us at a bit of a loss because we're too tired to deal with this crap. Then we decided we just won't try very hard to make it sound like natural English and it should be fine, because it's not really broken Japanese, just slightly off Japanese. We had a note, too. We also thought of foreign accents based on the fact that apparently he's Catholic, but then his middle name was Roland, so we're like, okay English it is. In retrospect, it's possible that Rolando could be, like, an Italian name, and an Italian accent would be funny, but the script has been turned in and the idea of rewriting his dialogue makes me want to cry anyway. Sorry readers! But at least now you can enjoy the full extent of the nonsense that is boxless Yamaguchi's bizarro English. (Yamaguchi wears a box on his head, and when the box is on, he is a pious Catholic(?) priest; when it's off, he's like some kind of a punk rocker type or something.)

And that was probably the meanest review we've ever written, so I bet it will get you really curious about the series!

As for the coming review schedule! Here it is:

Tomorrow, Review Rursday: The Prince in His Dark Days 1
Freview Friday: Say I Love You 16

We're going to skip the weekend, just because, so next:

Manga Review Monday: My Monster Secret 4
Reviewsday: Nekogahara 1
And for the finale Review Rednesday: Noragami 17

If there's something on the list that you're interested in reading but won't have time for until later, let us know, and maybe we can rearrange the schedule.

Today I'm thankful for Pikotaro's new song (PPAP is hard to beat, but the new one's good because he's just so happy in it), checks and balances, Stephen Colbert's sign-off message from his election coverage, Nekogahara being really low on text (because what little text it has is like impossible), and Page once again being super cute.
9th-Nov-2016 11:56 pm (UTC)
Thank you for considering my request for more reviews! And for making it happen, and doing Prince in His Dark Days next! And Noragami, ohhh Noragami!!!! How long it's been. I think I need to pick up Say I Love You 16 from the comic shop yet (along with Wolf-Boy 2 that just came in today?! And other things :D ) so I'll try to do that by Friday! I just ordered My Monster Secret 4 from RightStuf so I'll have to come back to that review later. I'll read Nekogahara's review because I haven't decided about buying the series yet.

This book/series sounds like nonsense, but it made for an entertaining review, if not so entertaining translation job. (I guess a lot of shoujo manga can sound like nonsense when you get into it, and sometimes nonsense isn't a bad thing...) The best part was when Daikoku showed up, but I'm guessing he's not the awesome Daikoku we know and love best. (you probably wrote something about this one before in a review, but...) Gakuen Babysitters has had a bit of a thing about putting a boy in a dress now and then too, but at least that series isn't mean about it (because when is it ever mean about anything...?)

Your words about kindness and not despairing are good ones. ♥ I know where my peace comes from, but seeing so many people fearful and anxious around me, I'm thinking hard about what I can do for those who have good reason to be worried.
10th-Nov-2016 01:04 am (UTC)
Haha, it just so happened that Dark Days was next on the list anyway, but we are considering bumping Fire Force up, because I can see the appeal of a shiny new series over a later volume of a series that may or may not be a favorite. Wow, we sure do have a lot of translations out there.

I think this series is the most nonsensical series we've ever dealt with. We're not against nonsense, per se, but there has to be a good storytelling element, which we think this series lacks. And yeah, I read the name Daikoku, and I was like, "Wait..." No, he's a very different person. They are both played by a Daisuke, too. And I think even if we weren't biased toward the one series and against the other, we'd still like the Noragami Daikoku better. But then, great characters or the lack thereof is what creates the bias, so of course we like Noragami's Daikoku better. I think the difference between the cross-dressing in this (and Maid Sama) and the cross-dressing in Gakuen Babysitters is that it's not forced so much as persuaded. And it doesn't seem like a fallback gag for an artist who doesn't know what to do with the story.

You do make a good point about the people who have good reasons to be worried. Of course we like to think that ultimately they really don't have anything to fear, because checks and balances will prevent Trump from doing anything drastic, but telling people, "Oh, it'll be fine!" isn't usually that helpful, either. Hmmm...
10th-Nov-2016 06:23 pm (UTC)
" I think what our nation needs more than ever is kindness, and fear and anger tend to get in the way of that. So let's be kind, people!"
Thank you for the positive message.
I look forward to reading your review on "Dark Days" - I'm cautiously curious about this series. I have requested my local public library to buy it. Maybe I should remind them :)
10th-Nov-2016 10:02 pm (UTC)
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