Our schedule has been thrown into chaos! It's mostly our own fault, but the important point of it is I don't remember this volume of Fire Force. One thing I kept telling myself to remember to say in the review, though, is that it's really awesome. Now let's refresh our memories as to what happened, and then I can tell you what makes it awesome. Maybe.
First, Shinra has discovered that his brother (if Joker is to be believed) is working for the Evangelist! Dun dun DUN! We already knew that. In fact, around the time we worked on this, I posted our review of volume 2, where we said, "Whaaaat, he's alive? I'm so [not] shocked, and I bet he's working for the bad guys." Well, sure enough. The sad thing about it, though, is that Shinra didn't react to the fact that Sho is a knight. I guess his concern for his brother overshadows all thoughts of Arthur. But then Arthur didn't react when Shinra told them, either. And here we were so looking forward to the kind of drama that was going to cause. Well that's what we get for being sadistic, I guess.
Anyway! Takehisa tells us about the origins of Company 8, once again confirming that all of Company 8 is exactly the kind of characters we like best. I'm not sure I have a whole lot to add about that, but man, Akitaru and Takehisa were cool. I can say some things about Tojo, though. Isn't it interesting that a nonmember of the Holy Sol Temple visited the church one time, and very soon thereafter he went Infernal? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. I also wonder, since Takehisa made a reference to him being duped by an evil woman, if a certain evil woman is going to make an appearance, or if it was just a short comment to illustrate how trusting Tojo is. They said it happened a few times, so it might not have been that big a deal. That line was ridiculously hard to translate for some reason. Oh, but Takehisa was so sad. Man, I love these guys.
Then we move on to deal with Company 7. Company 7 is pretty interesting, character-wise and world-building-wise. I mean, when we did the rough draft, we were like, "Yes, well, that's rather unorthodox, but whatever floats your boat." And then we were looking up hikeshi to decide what we wanted to do with that word, and we learned that all the property damage was exactly how hikeshi put out fires back in the Edo era, so it was historically accurate in a twisted kind of way, and that made it really cool.
And then we meet Konro, who has haibyo, or "ash sickness." It was supposed to sound really scary, we felt, or maybe it's just our word snobbery, but we wanted to use something fancier than just a straight translation. We wanted it to sound "official" or something, I guess. So we looked up all kinds of words, trying to figure out the disease naming pattern--we thought of pneumonia, and malaria, and things like this, and we looked up the Greek word for ash, the Greek word for cinders, the Greek word for carbon. We looked up suffixes used in the names of diseases. We went all out. We spent so much time on this. It was driving us nuts. What had us really tearing our hair out was when we looked up...either charcoal or carbon, because the Greek word for both is anthrakas. We were like, "!!!! There's already a disease with this name!!!" So we looked up anthrax, and it's a disease that gives you carbon-like lesions! What!! (I mean, we already knew that anthrax was a scary disease, but we didn't know what it did. We're linguists, not pathologists; give us a break.) In fact, its Japanese name is "carbon lesion disease." Well, great. There's already a disease that does sort of the same thing and has a name that means pretty much the same thing, but we can't use that name because it will give people entirely the wrong idea. That's when our brains broke for a while, and we had a hard time processing anything else.
Eventually everything came back online and somehow, I couldn't even tell you how, we came across -osis, and looked up -os and -is and words that ended in -osis, to make sure were understanding how it's used and how it gets attached to words, and we thought, "You know, I think it could work." And then we stuck that onto one of the Greek words for ash, tephra (which is used in English volcanology), because it seemed like the one that got used in all the compounds and it was easier to figure out than the other one (stachti), and we came up with tephrosis. Tadah!
Then we had our script all finished and about to turn in, and I thought, "Wait, maybe we should Google tephrosis to make sure it's not already a thing that's completely different." So we did, and it was already a thing! Oh no!!! But we only found one entry in a medical dictionary that said it meant "incineration" or something like that, and we're like, "Great! That's pretty much the worst case terminal stages of haibyou anyway, so we can still use it!" We think. At any rate, we wrote a note to our editor, and we'll see whether or not she agrees. But that is the tale of the biggest challenge in this challenge-fraught translation.
Another challenge was that, since Company 7 is basically Old Edo, one of the hikeshi has a thicker Tokyo dialect than your average anime/manga character, and we thought maybe we should try to give him, like, a New York accent or something. You'll notice we didn't try very hard, but we did try to find some New York slang to use when Hikage and Hinata were being themselves...and that didn't turn up so many results, either. The only traces of those attempts, which may or may not be changed by the editor, are the two times we have somebody say, "Get outta here!" And now you know.
But anyway, while Company 8 is trying to get Company 7 to let them investigate a suspicious company in their jurisdiction, one of Captain Benimaru's friends goes Infernal, and Company 8 wins favor by helping clean up the aftermath of that, but then! the White Hoods make Benimaru think that Company 8 was behind it all along and that they were going to turn the whole town into Infernals! Oh no! So now Benimaru is itching for a fight and he won't take no for an answer, and that goes on for a long time, which was wonderful because finally this translation wasn't killing us. And then there was an interview, so so much for that.
And talking about Benimaru reminded me of Ohkubo-sensei's comment in the cover flap, which was about placeholder names for his characters. If you look at Benimaru's eyes, you'll see the one eye has a round pupil like normal, and the other one has an x-shaped one. So we're guessing that his placeholder name was Batsumaru (X-O). He's a pretty cool guy, too.
But more importantly! There are three White Hood featured in this arc so far, and one of them has a different style of hood than the others. He seems to be a bit of a leaderly type. We have a theory that that one is Captain Burns. Just because they determined that Rekka was the one turning people Infernal in Shinjuku doesn't mean that there weren't any other members of the conspiracy in Company 1. And if you think about it, Burns was surprisingly uninvolved in the whole Rekka affair. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
The other important thing about volume five is that this is the volume where Ohkubo-sensei learned that the English title was going to be Fire Force, so there's more than one chapter title page with art featuring the new title. Our favorite, and we don't know if it's going to stay this way in the English release, is the one for Chapter 41, because Ohkubo-sensei drew out all the letters, and then put hiragana on each one for pronunciation. But "force" is five letters in English and only four in hiragana, so it became "fu o o o su," or fooorce. We find this to be amusing and adorable. I'm also intrigued about the timing of introducing Hikage and Hinata. Did he know that a pair of twins would be translating Fire Force by then, or was it a happy coincidence? At any rate, we're waaaaaaay older than they are, but I think if we style the costumes just right, we could pull off a pretty cute cosplay.
We were hoping the Atsushiya would talk about the English version a little, but it was the deadest of lines again, so he went off the rails instead. It was really funny, though.
So yeah. This was a really fun volume. Oh! And we have to mention the splash page! I think we mentioned this on LJ before, but I want to point it out again! The splash page has English text, and it may sound like we translated it so you wouldn't even know that it wasn't originally in Japanese. I mean, it was originally in Japanese, but the timing of it may surprise you! (Unless you've already read about it.) The Japanese text was sent to us in an email before the book went to print in Japan. That means all the Japanese readers saw it exactly the same way you'll be seeing it! (except for the part where it says "Fire Force"; that was "Enn Ennno Syouboutai.") In other words, our translation was printed in the Japanese version of the book! What! That's pretty exciting! I might spoil it for everyone by going to post about it on Facebook! Or I'll forget and be like, "Well, we haven't worked on it in a couple days, so the timing is all wrong and it wouldn't make sense to talk about it now." By the time this review goes up, you'll already know!
Ah, what a fun series. And oh my goodness, we have some fun stuff going on this week! For this week's new releases, we have two great new series! Kigurumi Guardians and Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun! Or if you prefer this order, Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun and Kigurumi Guardians! (Don't let the title fool you; there's not that much about toilets in Hanako-kun.) They're both really great, so check them out! Hanako-kun is digital only, so you don't even have to leave your home to get it! And it doesn't cost as much!
And! next week, we'll be reviewing volume two of one of our other favorite titles, Land of the Lustrous! So tune in!
Today I'm thankful for Page being done hiding from us, making progress on work, getting to go to Joe's Italian Ice, getting to review Fire Force, and having a bunch of other fun reviews to look forward to posting.