But now it is Review Rednesday, and as promised, we have our review of Fire Force volume 2! Spoiler level: I'm going to say mild, but I will warn that there's one spoiler that was presented as a major surprise (and we all know Shinra was surprised), but was anybody really surprised? I mean, come on. But just in case, I will warn you that it's about Shinra's backstory.
Oh man, I love Fire Force, but I'm so tired right now. This volume felt so chatty! I'm pretty sure it was. When we went over the script, there were so many places where, instead of a nice, narrow column of text, it looked like a solid brick wall. There was a lot of, "Hey, let me explain this other new thing in detail!"
But of course, the biggest shocker of this volume was, "What!? Sho is ALIVE!? *gaspies!*" It reminds me of this commercial that I don't know if we ever saw it, but Gaston and Alice would tell us about it from time to time when the subject of surprise came up, and it was...what was it, E-Trade? With the baby who was making investments or something, and he talked? Well, the point is, there was a talking baby, and in one of these commercials, something happens and he goes, "Wait a second, let me put on my shocked face." Or something like that, but the joke is that it's not shocking in the least, much like the fact that Sho was still alive. Athena suggests that that little tidbit is Hint Number 1 because it's the one thing that all the readers have already figured out. I mean, come on, they couldn't even find his bones? If I know anything about storytelling, that means it's because his bones weren't there to be found. And that means either he went all Infernal, or somebody took him away, or both. So yeah. Not surprised at all that Sho is alive. But Joker is kind of a fun character.
Still, the most fun character to translate remains Arthur. We have him use fancy words, and at one point I had a minor crisis because I remembered that Shinra said he's only the silent type because he's too stupid to find the words, so that indicates that he has a small vocabulary. On the other hand, he does know the word "uruwashii," which is not exactly common in the modern Japanese vernacular, or at least not in the modern manga vernacular, so we figure it's okay as long as the fancy words are knightly. We'd also like to point out that the name Excalibur is really misleading, because it wasn't until the third time through that we realized there's no way the griffin can be rust on Arthur Boyle's Excalibur, because the blade is made of fire. Or plasma, if you're one of those nitpicky people. (Speaking of the griffin, we deliberately had Arthur say it "Gryphon", which might get changed by the editor, but in case it doesn't, you should know, we did do it on purpose. Gryphon just sounds a little more like an epic beast that needs slaying, while "griffin" is more common and so more likely to be used by Maki.)
Speaking of Arthur Boyle, we did deliberate a little about the name of Company 1's captain, because with that katakana, it could also be Barnes. But we figured, since all the names have to do with fire, we should stick with the pronunciation that actually sounds like fire. And speaking of Company 1, we had another minor crisis when it occurred to us that maybe, since the companies other than eight have a lot more personnel and therefore could be made up of several companies' worth of soldiers, maybe we should have been calling them battalions all along, which would make all the captains batallion chiefs and the lieutenant a captain. And it would still all be in line with correct firefighting terminology, and perhaps be even more correct, and maybe using captain and lieutenant was completely wrong all along and oooohhhhh nooooooo!! But we knew that volume one had already gone to print, so we couldn't change it! Aaaaaahhhh! Well, for one thing, I really just like the sound of company and captain and lieutenant better...but that didn't really help because maybe it was just because I was already used to it, like how I liked "fire officer" better because I was used to it, and maybe if I had used the correct(?) terms to begin with, I would like them just as well if not better. So what really helped us calm down was the afterward, where Usher's friends point out that there wasn't much point in his research trip because there's not a lot of real firefighting in this series. So now we're just hoping we don't give a copy to our firefighter brother-in-law and have him reading it and thinking, "You know, that's not really right..."
Anyway, speaking of the lieutenant. This volume kind of featured him a lot, explaining his powers and everything, but the important thing is man, does he ever sleep? Why are his eyes so wide open all the time? Maybe he needs a massage. He's fun to translate, too, because we get to channel our misanthropy into him. But I do feel bad for Maki whenever he squelches one of her fire mascots.
This volume also gives us a little more information on Iris! And first of all, I have to say, in that scene where Hibana yells at her not to wear a habit in front of her, bras don't work like that. But more importantly, Princess Hibana is kind of a hilarious name. Like, since it's her first name, it may not come across as clearly in English, but her first name is literally Princess. Or I guess it's literally "purinsesu", but you know what I mean. There was also a bit of deliberation about the whole gravel thing--what sound it should make. Ultimately we decided that since there are so few things in English that have a specific sound effect, and stepping on gravel is one of those things, we should probably go with the standard (crunch). It just made for a little tweaking of her first gravel monologue to make it clear that crunch was supposed to be the sound gravel, and therefore everyone she equates to gravel, makes.
Anyway. We felt like this volume wasn't quite as funny as volume one, and maybe it wasn't but it was still pretty good. It's kind of amazing how fast the story shifts around. First we're finding out shocking secrets about Sho at the Rookie Games, which have us questioning what all's going on with Company 1, and then all of a sudden we're storming Company 5's combine. By the way, "combine" is the official English name for the Russian "kombinat", which is some sort of specific building that we didn't really bother to get any details about. I'm sorry! There's just so much! And linguistically, we're fine. And that reminds me of the adolla burst. The adolla burst is how we discovered that there's already a fan-made wiki for this series in English, that just translates the title straight from the Japanese. They spell this term differently, and it's an understandable way to go, especially since that's the straight romanization (adora), but we always have this nagging feeling, whenever a manga artist gives something a specifically not Japanese name, that maybe it's based on something. And with Atsushi Ohkubo, you never know, because he obviously knows a lot of stuff about Greek mythology and Arthurian legend. So first we Googled the word, of course, and that only gave us links to forums talking about Fire Force. And then we went to Wiktionary, and since we didn't know what he was going for, we just started guessing. The adolla burst has to do with fire (there's a little more to it, we discovered from our Googling, but that hasn't been addressed as of volume two), so we looked up "fire" and looked at all the different language translations of it, and discovered that there's a people in Northern Europe called the Sami People, and in their language, "dolla" means fire. And what with latom being potentially Icelandic, we thought maybe it was more than a coincidence that both of these non-Japanese words corresponded with words that mean relevant things in these languages that are close to the North Pole. Athena says, "It's just so cold there. Why would you go there to get words for a series about fire?" And I respond, "Because they wanted to get warm." And Athena says, "That actually makes a lot of sense. 'It's really cold here. I know--let's set people on fire.' OR the less morbid version: Let's give people fire powers." The preview says we'll learn more about that in volume three.
Oh I had some thoughts about Sho. What with Krona (Crona? I don't know how they spelled it officially, but it should be a K, because it's related to Ragnarok--see? the dude knows about stuff from the North [on the other hand, who doesn't know about Ragnarok?]) being raised up to evil, it seems like Ohkubo-sensei really likes the "raise a child to be evil" plot device. But we don't know yet--maybe Sho was taken by someone benevolent...who for some reason has ties to a guy who likes to blow people up. Maybe the benevolent person knew Joker had his eye on Sho, so took Sho away to keep him safe from Joker? Joker's trying to find the truth, too, after all.
Anyway. This review doesn't really talk about the story much. You'll just have to go read the book.
Oh my gosh, that review was geeky. Now I'm remembering why this series tend to be surprisingly time-consuming. That's either a good or bad thing to remember as it comes up on our to-do list.
As for this week's new releases, we have...nothing! But tune in next week, for our review of The Prince in His Dark Days 3. Unless there's someone out there eagerly awaiting our review of Say I Love You 17, which is technically next on the list.
Today I'm thankful for finishing work early, the beautiful warm weather we have today, the hope that we won't be broke forever, geeky reviews of Fire Force, and remembering that we get to translate a lot of fun manga.