Today's life lesson is that...okay, maybe it's not a life lesson so much as a "this project" lesson, which is that these anime episodes take more time than we hoped they would, and we need to re-calibrate our scheduling projections. Hopefully once we're more used to the whole thing, and once we stop having irregular plans on the day we work on anime, it will take less time and we can fit things in better.
But never mind that. Today is Review Rednesday! And this week, we bring you Complex Age 4! I don't know if I mentioned this before, but it's really funny how we tend to always post the review for a volume in an ongoing series the same week we're translating that series. Maybe that's only logical if you consider the production schedule, but since we're only really familiar with the first part of it, we couldn't say for sure. Anyway, here's the review! Spoiler level: moderately high.
This afternoon I was remembering that we had to write a review for something, but it took me a minute to remember what it was. I was like, "It has a bunch of girls in it..." and then a picture of them came into my head, and then I remembered! Tadah! Failing that, Athena hasn't crossed it off our deadline list, so I could have just looked at the whiteboard. I don't think it's a sign of forgetfulness so much as busyness. My mind is very cluttered.
Anyway, Complex Age 4. I think we might have said this about every volume, but it's true every time--we just don't quite relate to their problems. I mean, we do, and we're sympathetic, but sometimes we're like, "Is it really that
big a deal?" I totally get the stuff with Aya, but...
In this volume, we have the return of Hayama-san, the return of Riu, and the breakup. Speaking of the breakup. Ugh, that guy. I don't understand his problem. If he's such a big fan of Magi-Ruru, why is he so put off by people dressing up in the costumes? It's not like they wear that stuff to work every day, unless they work as a character at a theme park, but then it's their job. It just seems silly. So if he was going to insist on being that way, then I definitely think Nagisa was right to break up with him, the jerk.
We were really glad to see that somebody (Hayama) finally came up with the idea of getting a job that was related to cosplay. Is it because people have this idea that if they label their hobby as "work," suddenly they won't like it anymore? We've actually seen that happen and we still think it's silly, being manipulated by a little label. I mean, overwork is one thing (that's why we start to dislike translating, but even in our state of overwork, if we had time to read more manga, we would!)...and come to think of it, Japan did
redefine workaholism. So maybe it's a legitimate concern. On the other hand, the way Nagisa obsesses over her costumes, she would probably still like it even if it was her job. And that's why we think it's so great that Hayama has found a way to combine her talent for her old job with her talent for her hobby.
And then there's Riu. Based on the artwork, it seems like our reaction to her is supposed to be, "She's crazy." But she's really more evil than crazy. Everything she does is the kind of thing you do with a cool head. And then they have Nagisa saying she actually agrees with her in general, so obviously Riu's opinions on cosplay are not supposed to be too unreasonable. She is an interesting character though. My thought was, "So...when Nagisa snapped and lectured the Kusu Kusu cosplayer...did her cosplay darkness transfer to Riu?" Because Nagisa started working with Aya and turning into a more understanding person, while Riu started becoming a cosplay perfection fascist. Oh, but poor Aya. I'm really glad they were able to get that taken care of, and I hope she wasn't too traumatized.
Then there's all the talk about whether or not to quit cosplay. I think so far Shiho has had the most reasonable opinion about it: not everything about your hobby is going to be fun, and that's okay, but if it gets to a point where there isn't any
fun, that's when it's not a hobby anymore and you might as well at least take a break. (I added that last part.) We don't know why Kimiko suddenly said she was going to quit cosplay. I mean, if you get married and have kids and your priorities change and the cosplay gradually falls away, that's one thing. But having a spouse and kids just means having more cosplay
buddies. There was a time when we tried (not too hard, but it was an idea) to get Gaston and Alice to have a kid so we could cosplay the Rescue Rangers and the baby could be Zipper. We also thought the baby would make a good Mowgli if we could come up with good Jungle Book costume designs. So there's nothing that says you can't cosplay just because you have a family--you make it a family activity, of course!
We suspect it's something Riu said to her at that event before Hayama's welcome back party. And since Riu asked Nagisa how long the old hag (Nagisa) was going to keep playing a little girl, and since in the bonus manga Riu talked about Kimiko being grandmotherly, it stands to reason that Riu said something about how Kimiko is getting to old for this. Or she threatened Nagisa. That would be a more logical reason for Kimiko to quit. When Riu confronted Kimiko, I was like, "You can't get to Kimiko! She's way too awesome for that!" She always seemed like the most reasonable character. So we might lose a little respect for her if it's because Riu said something about her age. And maybe that's because we actually choose our cosplay characters more the way Riu does--based on who we can
be instead of who we want to be. But here's why: the point of cosplay, as they say repeatedly in this volume, is to get people to look at you. Especially here in the States, you tend to get a lot of people dressing as the same character, so you need something that sets you apart. And so we choose characters where we can take advantage of the fact that we're twins. We've also thought a lot about characters that don't get cosplayed a lot and why, so we've come up with some pretty unconventional ideas. A lot of those ideas will work no matter how old you are. So the point is, if you're getting too old to play the little girls, play the older characters. They can look cool, too. And there are more of them than you might think.
And I think that covers it. This was another interesting volume, even if we were a little exasperated sometimes.
That's all for this week's review! As for this week's releases, we have the fourth and final volume of The Prince in His Dark Days! And tune in next week for our review of That Wolf-Boy Is Mine! volume four! That's also the final volume *sniffle*
Today I'm thankful for having enough wiggle room in our schedule that I don't think we're in too much trouble for the extra time we're taking on stuff, the Swiss dark chocolate Gaston and Alice got for us while in Europe, Page acting like she's feeling better (she seemed a little unhappy this morning, but she seems to have gotten over it), the Cospedia in the last volume of Complex Age only being two pages (they'll probably still take a while to edit properly, but at least there's not as much to edit), and Little Boy Cat feeling well enough to visit.