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Alethea & Athena
Complex Age volume 5 
27th-Jun-2017 10:23 pm
Gaston called and wants to go to Disneyland tonight (even though it's late), tomorrow, and probably Thursday morning (we told him we could spare A day), so I was going to just forget about LJ and disappear for a couple of days, but then Athena reminded me about Review Rednesday. And we don't want to skip it, so have a late Reviewsday/early Review Rednesday. This week's feature: Complex Age volume 5. Spoiler level: moderate?

This volume was half, "Finally somebody gets it!" and half, "What is WRONG with you people!?" And then there was a whole lot of, "Why isn't this thing over yet!?" which wasn't the story's fault at all; it was partly our own fault for taking time off to go to Disneyland and partly the fault of the Sendai travel guide, and mostly the part of the Cospedia full of all kinds of things that have nothing to do with cosplay. And if Matsumoto Kiyoshi is such a big chain in Japan, wouldn't most of the readers have known that already? I mean, sure, we had to ask the Kodansha editors what Matsumoto Kiyoko was a parody of, but we're Americans! And that was partly because the lettering was at a weird angle so we couldn't tell if it was supposed to be Kiyoko or Chiyoko (Choco), but anyway.

So this is the volume where Nagisa is trying to figure out what the deal is with Kimiko giving up cosplay, and where Director Hase comes along asking questions about Hayama. It was kind of disappointing, because Kimiko was always so reasonable and level-headed throughout the series, and now here she is being insecure about her cosplay. And apparently she was insecure all along, and on the one hand, I maybe sort of get it, because we go to AX and see cosplayers and think, "Whoa! Those costumes are so good! I wish we could have super awesome costumes like that!" But come on. The part where she was like, "I can do the same makeup and the same poses, but I would never be as good as Nagisa," and we were like, "Hello, you of all people (or at least Nagisa of all people, and she would have told you) should know that you can't do the same poses when you're cosplaying a different character!" Different characters pose differently! Just look at any Sailor Moon merchandise! For crying out loud.

On the other hand, you have Hayama saying that she finally realized that some characters are just going to look better cosplayed by older people. Okay, so you think it's creepy to cosplay a girl who's a small fraction of your age. Find a character that's closer to your age! So we were very happy that somebody finally figured that out, but then, oh my goodness, in the Cospedia, it gave examples of three such characters, and two of them were like super old. There are middle-aged characters, too, you know! I think there's a lady in Hellsing, and Queen Serenity I think would be acceptable to do as a middle-aged woman, there are definitely some Gundam characters (Noin might be on the younger side, but Lady Une, Marrue Lamias, etc.). And I'm pretty sure every series by Hiromu Arakawa has at least one (even if not, you have to admit her art style makes everybody look a little old). Of course, if you're looking for middle-aged male characters, you'll probably find about a bazillion more, which goes into the whole problem of actresses finding work, but that's another thing.

Anyway. The other really great development in this volume was Hase's opinion on cosplay. It was so refreshing to find that there is at least one person in the entire world of this series who doesn't cosplay but also doesn't think it's creepy. (Although I guess Nagisa's dad and Kimiko's fiance feel the same way, but they don't really talk about it.) I especially loved how Hase was like, "I really just don't get what you people are so scared of."

Actually, this volume had us considering the importance of family. Why? Because if you have kids, you can keep doing the childishest of childish hobbies for as long as you want, because you're doing it for your kids. And when they grow up, you can do it for your grandkids. Imagine the adorableness that would have ensued if Sawako had decided to dress Nagisa in goth loli clothes when she was little! ...Maybe it would be sort of creepy-adorable, but adorable nonetheless. (When we first started going to Anime Expo, there was a family that cosplayed together. One year, they were Miaka, Tamahome, and a couple of Tamahome's siblings. It was super cute. And if Gaston and Alice ever have a kid, we're going to try to convince them to dress the kid up as Zipper for our Rescue Rangers group that we still haven't convinced Gaston to do.)

Incidentally, I don't know what it says about anything that we were pretty sure right from the start of Hase's appearance that he had absolutely no hostile intentions toward Nagisa. Thinking about it, I think it was pretty unfair of Nagisa to assume that he was going to be a jerk, especially after her experience with Hayama.

And speaking of Hayama, as of this writing, we didn't recognize the characters everybody was cosplaying at Cosplay Village. There wasn't a note in the Cospedia, so we suspect they're originals, which is annoying, because if Nagisa is going to cosplay a hot guy, we want to see a character we recognize! Oh well.

Oh! And there's also the mention of Nori! That was a bit of a surprise. I do sort of remember thinking, at the end of the original Complex Age short, that sure Sawako is giving it up, but how does Nori feel about it? Turns out, she wasn't willing to give it up, and I think that's great! Hopefully together she and Nagisa can convince Kimiko that sameness is not what you're going for in the world of cosplay. But on the other hand, more and more, I'm starting to think that it's okay to outgrow some things. Of course, I might just be thinking that because I wish other people would grow out of Disneyland so it wouldn't be so crowded when I want to go.

And there you have it. Oh, this series. As for this week's releases, oh my gosh, you guys, Land of the Lustrous 1 is finally out! You totally have to check it out! Also, Amazon tells us that Beasts of Abigaile 1 is available as well. I remember really liking that one a lot, too, but I think...okay, according to my files, we translated it last October, which only makes it about nine months ago. So this is the week of first volumes that we translated several months ago that we really liked. Check them out, they're really good!

And tune in next week, for our review of Fire Force...whatever volume of Fire Force we're on!

Today I'm thankful for getting this posted before Gaston arrived, Land of the Lustrous finally going on sale, Beasts of Abigaile also going on sale, getting our translation done today despite all manner of distractions, and Page being super cute as usual.
2nd-Jul-2017 01:42 am (UTC)
Families that share their nerdy or "childish" hobbies are so fun to see :)

This is mostly a comment to say I got Land of the Lustrous and Beasts of Abigaile vol 1s today!!!! Woooooo~~~! They had them in stock even though I didn't preorder them! (this doesn't always happen.) And comic shop gal said she wants to read Lustrous too :D

Hope you had a fun first day at Anime Expo, and have a happy Sunday!
2nd-Jul-2017 08:12 pm (UTC)
Right? I think we saw one at AX yesterday, but now we can't remember what they were dressed as.

YAAAAAAYY! We saw copies of Land of the Lustrous at Anime Expo yesterday, too! (We don't have our comps yet; there's been a delay.) I remember thinking that LoL (this is the danger of using alliteration all the time (Athena points out that technically it's LotL, but eh)) has been highly anticipated, so I guess your comic shop proves it. The anticipation should pay off, I think, although I also get the feeling that one of the main selling points is that there's no gender, but that's not really a main point of the story (at least, it's not one that's really even mentioned yet), so unless they're excited to see how a couple of translators avoided using gendered pronouns, they might be a little let down.

Thanks, we hope you are having a happy Sunday as well!
2nd-Jul-2017 10:06 pm (UTC)
Oooh, well, getting to buy two new series translated by you was a significant source of excitement for me, and now I am curious to see how you've avoided those pronouns! (I started with Abigaile though, because the shoujo sucked me innnn...)
2nd-Jul-2017 10:57 pm (UTC)
Aww, thanks! We're not sure we succeeded in making the dialogue sound natural without the gender pronouns, but it was an interesting challenge, at least. (And we totally don't blame you. Abigaile is like pure shoujo goodness. We just don't think about it as much, because we didn't translate three or four volumes of it all at once.)
3rd-Jul-2017 05:58 pm (UTC)
I've read them both now! And I can report that in spite of going into Land of the Lustrous on the lookout for your handling of the pronouns, the only time it really stood out to me was during the Cinnabar chapter, because everyone was just talking about Cinnabar so much that I couldn't help noticing Cinnabar's name (along with other references) got said a lot. But I thought it was pretty cool, overall, how the challenge led to adding in(?) or relying on various descriptors instead of a simple "him/her." And I also found it rather impressive that (at least to me) the characters themselves didn't come across as "totally a girl/guy, they're just not saying so." (of course, without years spent reading manga, I might be inclined to think of them all as girls on account of their all being so pretty...)
6th-Jul-2017 03:55 pm (UTC)
Yup, that Cinnabar chapter was the worst. It's actually really easy to avoid pronouns when characters are having a dialogue talking about each other or events or ideas, but when they start talking about a third party...
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