I didn't want to blow off Review Rednesday! Something suddenly came up. (<--that's a Brady Bunch reference for all you kids out there.) But I'll actually tell you what came up, because it was an Adventure with a capital A. Capital, I tell you! (If you're not interested, just skip to the LJ cut for the review.)
See, a friend of ours had to move out today, and she needed help, so she called us and the missionaries, and fortunately we have four missionaries in our ward because nobody thought to call the elder's quorum (which probably wouldn't have helped much anyway, based on when we moved in...and all the people who showed up to help have moved away by now, so...), but anyway it was us seven, and we were doing pretty good. It wasn't the couple of hours I hoped it would be (and then we'd come home and, since we'd been working hard, just watch A Series of Unfortunate Events and unwind), but we made decent time and we got the U-Haul back before closing and everything!
But! there was an added wrinkle in that the roommate our friend was replacing in her new apartment had not actually moved out yet. This was especially surprising, because according to the story our roommate heard, he was the one that told his roommates at the last minute that he was going to move out. So basically it just resulted in us hanging out and talking with the missionaries while we waited for the room to be ready to receive our friend's stuff, and that was fun because we love geeking out about the scriptures with the missionaries. (Also, one of the missionaries, when he's not on a mission, is a DJ, and he's just as passionate about DJing as we are about translating, so it was fascinating to hear him talk about how to properly DJ a party.)
But you're not here for that! You're here for our review! And it's Fire Force! Woohoo! Volume 6! Yeah! (<--oddly hyper because it's been a weird day)
It's funny what a difference a day translating an episode of anime makes. What happened in this volume again? (I feel like I say that in all the reviews...)
Athena says, "It started with they were fighting, and then they weren't fighting, and then everyone was fighting, and then they were friends, and then there was a new guy. The end." ...Yeah, I think that about sums it up. Tadah!
I remember really liking this volume, at least... So Benimaru thought that Obi and Hinawa were behind the Infernal outbreak. Dun dun DUN! So he's ready to kill them, and he probably would have, except that Konro was like, "I don't think so," and he used his powers! Oh no! He's already turning to charcoal! If he uses his powers, he'll make it even worse!! Ooooohhhh noooooooo!! Now, this does bring up a question about tephrosis. It seems to make him cough and stuff, like it's a condition that needs to be managed, like diabetes or something. But if it's overusing powers that causes it, and he's just not using his powers, wouldn't it stop spreading? That seems to make the most sense. On the other hand, if you think about it, there are probably more bits of charcoal inside of him than outside of him, and those bits are probably useless as far as functionality. So, like, if one of his lungs has carbonized, that would definitely affect his health in ways other than just turning to charcoal. Well, I guess the point is it's bad.
So anyway, now the whole town is upset because the White Hoods have been making impostors and sending them all through the town to cause confusion and chaos. This is where we meet the new villain, Yona [ETA: hopefully we caught this in time to change it to Jonah; all our geeking out over scripture and we forgot Yona is the Japanese version of Jonah], who literally has the power to mold people's faces. There really are some clever uses of fire powers in this series. I do wonder if that's really a doable thing, but it's sci-fi, so whatever. Yona is an interesting challenge to translate, because s/he...wait, let's talk about the White Hoods for a second and their genders. Yona talks like a woman and looks androgynous. Arrow talks androgynously, has a very masculine body, but also a rather feminine face. So basically we really don't know what the genders are of either of them, and neither of them has told us their preferred pronouns. Fortunately, our training with Land of the Lustrous has paid off...a little. There was that scene where Shinra was like, "Where'd the archer go? S/he's gone?" That gave us trouble, because it sounded SO MUCH BETTER with a pronoun, but we couldn't use our Land of the Lustrous strategy, because that involves using actual nouns instead of pronouns, and Shinra'd already done that with "archer." Le sigh. So we opted for sentence fragments instead. That's the beauty of dialogue. People don't always talk in complete sentences.
Anyway, Yona was an interesting challenge to translate because s/he likes to use weird words. Like, not really English, and not really Japanese, sometimes a little of both. So we couldn't just say, "Eh, have her use French!" because the fancy(?) words aren't all foreign. Also, there was that pun about plaster. It wasn't about plaster in the original. We thought about writing a note but were like, "I dun wanna," and opted not to. We'll see if our editor asks us to write one later. Anyway, it was "aa to iu ma ni," which is "art to iu ma ni," which...no, I'm still too tired to explain it. If you really want to know, ask in the comments and we'll see how I'm feeling then. Buy anyway, the whole art is a big bang thing was highly unnecessary and yucky. I'm with Arrow: don't do that.
Speaking of the impostors, the best was when Arthur kicked fake Hikage in the face. It was just like, "What the--!" And I know it was manga, but I feel like the timing was just perfect. And the way Company 8 reacted. "I thought you were a GOOD idiot!" Bwa ha ha! I sort of thought maybe his excessive stupidity gave him the ability to see through illusions or something, but since Yona's power is to mold the faces, and not just create some kind of illusion, that theory doesn't quite work. So we don't know how he managed to do it, but he did it, and we're all very impressed.
Then Arrow and Haran join the fight, and everything gets pretty actiony, which was super awesome for us, because other than that, oh my goodness, so many words! Look through the volume! There are GIGANTIC speech bubbles! FILLED with text! And somehow, there's something about fantasy manga that makes things seem extra tricky to word properly. Oh right, that reminds me! We have the flashback to when Konro got his tephrosis and the subsequent formation of Company 7. And that was really important as far as getting to know Company 7, but also because it had two or three translation things I wanted to talk about! First, I hope it comes across that Konro keeps referring to Benimaru as some form of child. This happened in the Japanese, and it was probably there in the last volume, too, but this is where I remember wanting to make sure that came across in the English, too. In Japanese it's pretty easy--you take the verb that describes some unfavorable behavior, and you add bou (little boy, child) to it to describe an immature person who does that thing (there's a little verb conjugation involved, too). It's not that much harder in English, except that you have to find adjectives instead of verbs.
Then there's the demon. Readers who are familiar with Japanese folklore/legends/etc. may have guessed that the Japanese word used was oni. We took a long time trying to decide whether we should keep the Japanese word or translate it, because oni are kind of a specific creature in Japanese folklore, and Asakusa, where demons are formed, is the most Japanese place in the Fire Force world. On the other hand, demons fit a lot better with the Fire Force mythos, because Infernals are residents of hell, and so are demons, so it kind of makes sense that a creature higher on the Infernal hierarchy would be a demon, right? But we tend to prefer ogre as a translation for oni, and these oni were definitely not ogres, and... Etc. etc. I will say, although I don't think this factored into our decision at the time, that we learned, while researching the word oni, that it did not originally refer to a specific creature, and in fact was just a way of describing the cause of unfavorable, inexplicable, possibly supernatural phenomena. There are theories that it stems from the Chinese word for "hidden," and basically meant "hidden forces." Then they took on a life of their own and became the two-horned, tiger-skin loincloth wearing ogres that most people know about today. We also looked into the origins of the English word demon...and found a lot of fascinating stuff that I'm too tired to remember. Check it out on Wikipedia!
Oh! I remembered something! The article for...oni, I think it was, said that they closely resemble the concept of djinn, which we thought was a very interesting parallel...oh wait, maybe it was the article for demon. I don't remember, but they did all end up being tied together. The point is, according to a Negima lexicon, a djinn is a creature of pure fire. So there you go, back to the whole fire zombie thing.
Anyway, speaking of translation challenges about oni, when Konro met the first one, that line he said gave us so much trouble! We knew exactly what it meant, but we had such a hard time figuring out a way to say it that expresses the sense of, "I am in so much trouble," with the fear and the alarm and the drama and everything. We think in most American things, the character would have simply said, "Oh, sh--!" But that didn't connect well with the previous sentence--he did say specifically that the four-letter word would be caused by the Infernal, which doesn't necessarily come across in that interjection, etc. etc. I think what we went with works pretty well, even though it sounds like maybe it's a little calmer than I would have liked (although, come to think of it, Beni did say that Konro stays cool under pressure), but it describes how horrible the fight is going to be and makes a reference to where the Infernal may have come from, so, you know. It's nice. Or something.
Let's get back to the story. Shinra and Arthur have to team up to fight Arrow and Haran. I don't think I have much to say about that except that it was pretty awesome. Arthur gave us a bunch of trouble with his mixed up words, though. How many times did he do it? Two or three? Well, there were at least two, and at least two of those times we were thiiiiiiiis close to being like, "I think that's close enough; we'll just have to write a note." But it just kept bugging us, so we kept looking, and for both of them we came up with something better that we don't think requires a note because the correct and incorrect words were close enough to the Japanese. ...Except maybe for "leafing," but leaves are flammable, painting oil on stuff makes it flammable... That's the annoying thing about that second one. We didn't want to have to write a note about selling oil when Arthur was already getting it wrong. Or maybe we just didn't want to write a note about selling oil. Part of it is that the comment was so...in passing? I guess, that a note about selling oil seemed like it was over the top. and we didn't want to write notes, I'll admit it. I'm just tired, okay?
Well, eventually Haran turns himself into a demon, and that's when Shinra has his adolla link! What! You don't have ribcages on your legs! Where is that even coming from? I know you have poofy pants, but come on. Your pants are not part of your skeleton. But it definitely did look creepier that way, which is what I'm pretty sure Ohkubo-sensei was going for. Well, mission accomplished...except among the people who are immediately taken out of the story because you don't have ribcages on your legs. That's not the point--monsters have all kinds of useless body parts! And besides, maybe as an Infernal devil, or whatever he may or may not evolve(?) into, he'll have some vital organs there that will need ribcages to protect them. You don't know. That is
where his fire powers come from after all, is his feet.
Anyway. That's something to look forward to finding out more about in the future. In the meantime, he now has developed a spider sense! Or a fire sense. Or something. And that's pretty cool. He's definitely becoming the superhero he wants to be...as long as his devil powers don't take over! Dun dun DUN! I don't know; he seems pretty determined that they don't.
Which reminds me. All this business about "the will of your flame." Apparently the will of Arthur's flame is strong enough to deflect Arrow's arrows, but Shinra's isn't. At least, not yet. What is that
about? I hope this means that Arthur is going to turn out to be some important person or something. I like Shinra a lot, but I think it's nice for everybody to be important.
Finally, Benimaru is forced to realize that he IS the one true king of Asakusa. That was pretty great how it happened, too. "Konro, we need your help!" "See? I told you you're the one they want." "We need you to find Beni-chan!" "......" That was the best. And then launching the whole guardtower into the sky was pretty great, too.
And thanks to Benimaru, the demon is defeated, the White Hoods retreat, and Asakusa is saved! Tadah! Now Company 7 and Company 8 are friends, so Company 8 goes home and finds...a new recruit that they didn't ask for! And we almost spelled his name wrong! I'm so glad we looked it up. We thought, "Rihito, eh? Must be German--Richt." I was kind of thinking of Richter Belmont from the Castlevania series. But we figured we ought to check Wiktionary first, to make sure it was a legit German word...and it wasn't. But Licht was! And it means light! Which means it's fire-related like all the other names. Good thing we didn't just guess. (Wikipedia says Richt is a legit German name, so we still could have used it, and we don't know if it's a legit German name with an L, but Licht still fits the theme better.) And he's the guy that was all creepy in volume one with the scary powder...that we still don't know anything else about. The plot thickens!
Oh man, that was a fun review. Fire Force is a fun series. If you're not reading it, might I suggest you try it out?
As for this week, we thought we were going to have a very Halloween-appropriate release, but it looks like it's been pushed back. But we do have! a new volume of Kigurumi Guardians! You guys! This series is so good!!! ...We had an old college friend only give it three stars on Goodreads, but I don't know what her problem is. (Maybe she didn't like the abusive relationship between Ginger and Hakka. That would be a valid reason.) Don't listen to her, though, because it's so good!!!
And tune in next week, for our review of Beasts of Abigaile volume two!
Today I'm thankful for finally getting our friend mostly moved in, the wonderful elders who helped us out, getting to learn about the secret art of DJing, getting to go to Target where Reese's pumpkins were on sale, and getting to come home and read a fun review of Fire Force.