We're back from Anime Expo and of course we want to tell everybody about it! But we were also exhausted and slept in and then had some odds and ends to take care of for the new anime we're translating and then we finally got back to work on the manga that's due today (and still not finished), so we've been half hiding from the internet and we will reply to comments later, I promise. But! since it's Review Rednesday and we already have a post written, we figured we might as well post it. I know you're all excited to read what we think about Beasts of Abigaile and Land of the Lustrous, but Fire Force got here first, and I don't want to neglect it, because I love that series, too! So, without further ado, here is our review of Fire Force volume 4! Spoiler level: pretty high.
Things are really heating up in this volume! Aaaahh ha ha ha...ha. Anyway. I think the most important thing that needs to be addressed in this volume is the afterword. It's not our fault! None of it is our fault! (Denial?) First of all, we didn't even know the Japanese title of the series before we knew the determined-by-somebody-else English title, so (we keep reminding ourselves) our translation can't have anything to do with Ohkubo-sensei being told that "fire soldier" is lame. Second of all, by some freak miracle accident, we somehow managed to not notice, even a single time in the whole of volume one, that the helmets said "fire soldier" to begin with...of course, that makes me wonder if we made him feel bad by leaving "fire soldier" out of it... But I just want to be on the record as saying we didn't say that "fire soldier" is lame. We really wonder where he got that idea from, though, because I like to imagine that, when dealing with approvals for stuff like that, people are generally polite. Although we can totally imagine his editor just joking around with him and not being polite about it, so maybe it was just a matter of how the message was relayed. I don't know. But I do know that if we had noticed the words "fire soldier" on the helmets, we probably would have used them. [Reminder: When we translated volume one, we translated "fire soldier" as "fire officer."]
Anyway. This volume. What happened again? Right, we find out who it is that's working for "the Evangelist," that guy gets killed...okay, I don't think I can properly review this volume without talking about him anyway, so it's Rekka. Let's just put that out there. No one who's paying any attention should be very surprised anyway. Karim was just too caring a guy. (Although the way they try to pull the "surprise villain" thing in entertainment these days... This is why I like anime and manga. There tends to be a lot more character consistency.) Rekka's kind of a fun character to translate, though. We were going for "excessively peppy motivational speaker." I don't know if I mentioned this in the review of volume three, but he made us think of that famous tennis player that got mentioned in Noragami. It was just so cute how he was like, "Come on, Tamaki, you can't let the children see you like this!" And yet he was still a terrible person.
So apparently the organization he's working for is trying to turn the earth into a second sun. What I'm having a hard time figuring out is why in the world anyone would want to do that. It really just doesn't seem like a great idea. Is it about...like...okay, so that famous scientist guy who was all for demoting Pluto to "dwarf planet" said that he didn't like the idea that a planet as minuscule as Pluto would be in the same category as our super awesome Earth (I'm paraphrasing, of course). Athena says she got the feeling he doesn't think Earth should be in the same category as Saturn and Jupiter, either. So the point is, do some people have this idea of some kind of a celestial body hierarchy? So the Evangelist and his organization want to raise the Earth's status in that hierarchy or something, for some weird pride reason? ...From Rekka, that almost kind of makes sense. As for the rest of the organization...
Anyway, speaking of the rest of the organization, this is a big spoiler coming up, so if you haven't read the book and want to, stop reading right now. Sho's location has been revealed, and are you kidding me? He's an actual knight? Shinra and/or Arthur is going to be very unhappy about this. ...I don't have a whole lot else to say about that, but I think that is the biggest question on my mind currently in this series: how is Shinra going to take it when he finds out his brother is a knight? And probably also turning people into Infernals. ...Well, we always knew he was going to turn out to be working with the bad guys. Not really surprised that he's a commander, either. Speaking of that, though! We wanted to get the right term for the leader of an order of knights, and we really hoped it wasn't "captain" (as seems to be the common translation, based solely on The Seven Deadly Sins), because "danchou" is decidedly not the same word as "daitaichou." So we did some Googling and Wikidepia-ing, and discovered that the number one leader of a chivalric order is actually a grand master. But, since we've been in so much agony over whether or not "captain" was the right word for "daitaichou," we wanted to put Sho in a position that was a little more vague, and maybe not quite so grandiose, in case he was only in charge of one detachment or something like that, and that's why we went with commander. We also came up with several possible translations for the name of the order, so as of this writing, even we don't know what it's going to be in English!
And since we're focusing on individual characters, this volume has a lot of Tamaki, but actually not a lot of the "lucky gropee" condition. I just wanted to talk about it, because we read about that in an interview recently. Apparently the condition came about, once again, from Atsushi Ohkubo's contrary nature, because you have a lot of "lucky gropes" but never the other way around. But in the interview, he revealed that he actually doesn't really enjoy drawing it, because he's always worried about whether or not Tamaki is cute enough for the readers. At that point, he started talking about wanting to do a hot springs scene, but only with the guy characters, and then they started talking about a firemen calendar kind of thing, but it would be full of big buff guys, so they weren't sure if the girl readers would like it either, because in Japan even the men realize that the big buff guy is a male fantasy and not really something women find attractive.
And then there's Benimaru. He makes me question our choice to Westernize all the names in the manga we translate. On the other hand, there are a lot of Japanese people who sign autographs in romaji with Western name order, so I guess it's about whatever sounds coolest.
And that reminds me of Amaterasu. Our big question about Amaterasu is this: is there a person inside it? It just seems like there would be, because apparently all of the fire powers have to be used by people, or they could just use the bugs without putting them inside people. And does that mean the natural Infernals are caused because Tokyo gets all its power from Amaterasu? And if the adolla burst belongs to the offspring of the sun god, who is
Shinra's father, anyway? And why was Huo Yan Li not in shock after losing his arm? He was even standing upright! Is he a cyborg? But there was kind of a lot of blood on the floor with his arm...which also means the wound wasn't cauterized, so he should have been losing even more blood, because, as previously mentioned, he was still standing! And does the Tokyo Empire cover only Tokyo, or the whole world? Only Tokyo would be a pretty small empire, so maybe it's all of Japan, but based on Benimaru's proto-nationalism, it would have had to be taken over by a non-Japanese entity. And Raffles is certainly not a Japanese name. (I wanted to call him Ruffles, but some Googling indicated a mixed martial artist who went by Raffles, and that seems like the kind of thing a shonen manga artist would name characters after.)
Anyway, speaking of proto-nationalism. We're actually not sure the term is used in the same way we're using it in Fire Force. Someone on the internet said something about how, since "proto" means first, it means you put your nation(ality) above all else, which is not untrue of Benimaru, but what we were really going for was the "first" as in "the Japanese people who ruled Japan before whoever's in charge in this series." Linguistically, it's technically accurate, but I don't know.
Anyway again, it was awfully convenient that Shinra has an errand to run all by himself right after everybody said, "Hey, dude, the Evangelist's coming for you." But I like the scenes with Joker. He's fun to translate, and he always has the information that we want.
And I think that covers everything we wanted to talk about. After volumes two and three, I was a little sad that I didn't like the series as much as I did with volume one, but I think it's picking up again...at least as far as my liking it. As far as its difficulty level...well, that's picking up, too. Man, this volume was hard to get through.
And there you have it. Boy, what a fun series, even if it does raise a lot of questions.
As for this week's releases, we once again have a grand total of nothing! Tadah! But tune in next week, for our review of The Beasts of Abigaile! Why did we choose this one? Because we're still going in alphabetical order and I especially wanted to still go in alphabetical order this time because people seem to be forgetting that you don't include "the" when you're alphabetizing titles. So tune in next week for our review of Beasts of Abigaile, The! Volume one!
Today I'm thankful for having another lovely Anime Expo, having a Cheesy Bites pizza to help us recover, getting to sleep in this morning, being on track to finish our translation today even if it happens a little late but that's okay because! I'm also thankful for our plans to take the rest of the week off.