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Alethea & Athena
Kigurumi Guardians volume 2 
29th-Nov-2017 12:50 pm
tadah
Our schedule kind of blew up in our faces today, so we're doing everything out of order. We were all ready to work on a translation, and then we looked around and realized the book we were planning to translate was nowhere to be found. We were sure we'd gotten it, but evidence suggests otherwise. So we had to rearrange everything, and now here we are, posting a review in the middle of the day instead of at night.

And now I am reminded that this week's Review Rednesday will be featuring Kigurumi Guardians 2, so I'm very excited! Spoiler level: I don't know. Proceed at your own risk.


We've been a bit lax on our extracurricular activity lately, which means it's been a few days since we finished this translation and now I have to remember what happened. Not that I've been able to remember things right away even when we've written the reviews immediately after finishing. Also, a lot has happened in the last few days, which kind of overshadowed this book. We got tickets to a Sailor Moon Musical! Aaaaaaahhh!

But anyway. This volume, like the last one, was really good. We start out with a kind of wrap-up chapter...I feel like very little actually happened in it, probably because of what happened at the end. Hakka asks Ginger if it really is easier on him to be in human form, and so she says, hey, since nobody else is home, why don't you hang out as a human, and he teases her about it at first because he is so not sunao, and then he takes her up on the offer, and dun dun DUN!, that's right when her brother walks in.

But first, let's talk about the human/kigurumi thing. Or I wish we could, anyway, because that's a big question: why, why, why do they have to go around as kigurumi? Probably for the same reason Lavender has that ribbon coming from her head. I wonder what that looks like from a distance--like, does the ribbon just kind of fade out as it connects to the other dimension, or what? So anyway, I guess it's something like a spacesuit. Since they're supposedly from another dimension, there might be something about interdimensional travel that requires special equipment.

But back to Hakka and Ginger making out on the sofa when her brother walks in. That whole situation was pretty hilarious. I thought her family dealt with it in a pretty good way, except for being rude to Ginger to his face. But Ginger's a jerk, so that didn't bother me. I was like, "Whatever, he needs it." For some reason, the revelation that Ginger is 24 years old has me wondering if, like, something happened ten years ago in this same dimension (Athena reminds me that Chigaya says he's been lying for ten years, so that's another clue(?)), that made all of these people puppets. So Chigaya is a puppet, and Ginger is a puppet, and Basilico and Fennel and Lavender are all puppets. It's a very common magical girl plot device, the "some big thing happened in the past that is sort of repeating now" thing; just watch Pretear. Anyway, the questions about why exactly all this stuff is happening are still as big as ever.

But we don't get any answers! Instead, we get something that's probably more entertaining anyway: a date between Hakka and Ginger! And while they're out, they run into Satsuki and Fennel, who are on their way to an audition to get close to their next person of interest, the idol Ranan. Incidentally, we were tempted to translate her name to Buttercup, but since we didn't translate Hakka or Nobara or Satsuki, we figured we probably shouldn't, even though, as a pop star, she likely has a stage name. And Buttercup is such a cute one! And of course, she wasn't the one stealing the hearts of everyone around her, she was just looking the other way while her boss did it! I'm not really buying her motivation, though. I mean, okay, I understand the need for encouragement, but to let Harissa do all that stuff just because of a few compliments? I'm just going to say she didn't know what was going on; she just suspected.

Anyway, Ginger and Fennel fight off the enemy executive Harissa, and Hakka makes a new friend, because that's Hakka's magic power. It's a pretty good one to have, if you ask me. And then we move right along into the choir arc. Lavender randomly shows up in the Guardians' meeting room and says hey, let's play a game! I'm gonna try and take a lot of hearts; see if you can stop me. And if she wins, she wants Hakka's heart! Gasp! And of course, the victims will be all the school choirs that are at the competition on Sunday. And Nobara is in the choir! Oh no!

So Hakka and Satsuki race to find Nobara, who has already gone home. They go there to find her and discover that she is not the rich girl she'd led everyone to believe she was! What! ...Okay, it really wasn't that much of a surprise. But Basilico was really cute during the whole thing. And Hakka tells Nobara that they want to join the choir, and Nobara's like, "Why?" and Hakka's like, "Uh...no reason..." ...I'm having a hard time with summaries right now. I wanted to recreate Hakka's terrible lying skills, but really you should just read the book anyway. The important thing is that they all join the choir, and the choir director is like, "Can you sing?" and Hakka's like, "You bet I can!" and she turns out to be totally tone deaf. Meanwhile, as expected, Satsuki is pretty good, because, while he claims to be average at everything, he seems to actually be super good at it instead. He is a very mysterious child, and I really hope we learn more about him.

Hakka's reaction to the discovery that she is tone deaf is pretty great. First, it was really impressive how those girls were making fun of her, and instead of getting mad, she's like, "Oh, sorry about that. Why don't you teach me how to sing?" and there was no trace of annoyance or sarcasm or anything. She's really amazing like that. And then! when she called Ranan to report about it, that was the best. She was all, "Can you believe it!?" almost with a, "It's the funniest thing!" kind of attitude. And Ranan tried to be so diplomatic about it. They're good friends.

Meanwhile, there appears to be a rivalry going on between President Chigaya and Choir Director Karin. And by the way, there were three titles in here that are usually translated to "president," all referring to different people, and it was kind of a challenge to deal with until we remembered that, oh yeah, you call the leader of the choir a "choir director." (According to Wikipedia, you call them a "conductor" or "choirmaster," but we call them choir directors.) Harissa was the other president. Her title could also be translated as CEO or chairman, but neither of those really worked, either. This is where it gets to be difficult that Japanese people refer to people with titles by just the title. In English, we insist on having a name in there, too.

Anyway, because Chigaya and Masaki noticed a marked change in Karin's...appearance?, Hakka and Satsuki have decided that she might be a shell, and that's where this book leaves off! Dun dun DUN!

And there was a lot of stuff about Nobara, but I hardly talked about her at all. It's cute how Basilico keeps trying to hug her. And that reminds me! the filler pages! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagh! The one with Ginger and the letter C! Or homerun! I don't know how it's going to end up. Probably as homerun. But it was so awful, because first we had to figure out what C was, which wasn't so bad, because we had come across that before, as far back as good old Fushigi Yuugi fansubs. But then we had to figure out why he would then say "right?", and that took forever. Finally we decided there must be some significance to the fact that he was covering his right eye, so we thought maybe he was pretending to take an eye exam? And I remembered something about eye charts with the letter C all over the place, so that's how we eventually figured it out, but then! we had to figure out how to make the joke make any kind of sense in English, where we use eye charts that use multiple letters, and we don't talk about how far a couple's gone in a physical relationship using letters. Oh my goodness, it was the worst. And we finally got it all sorted out, and then Basilico had to come along and refer to another thing that wouldn't make much sense in the States. I wanted to slap them both.

Thinking about it, though, I tried to imagine Ginger doing the pretend eye exam thing in human form, and it just wasn't working for me at all. He really does have a different personality when he's in that suit.

Oh, now I thought of something I could talk about involving Nobara. But it's another thing about how great Hakka is. When Nobara said she could laugh if she wanted, Hakka was all, "No, that's okay," and then she complimented her, but it was while she was looking through her bag for something, so you really got the feeling that she was just saying what was on her mind, and not trying too hard to help Nobara feel better now that the secret of her family life was out. And then, in case there was any doubt, there was the whole fiasco with Hakka trying to lie about their reason for joining the choir.

Also, it's cute that that kid wants to marry Nobara. But kids are punks.


Ah, this series. I feel like this review is not as fun as the series itself. You should go read it! ...It seems to get mixed reviews by people on the internet, by which I mean it doesn't get good or bad reviews, but the reaction we've seen the most is "meh." And I always wonder, "What is WRONG with you people!?" This series is so much fun! ...I know, I know. Everyone's entitled to their own opinion. But anyway, did you read the ANN review of this volume? Oh man, where did the reviewer get that idea about Satsuki? I won't say that there were no flags, but I never would have thought of that! We're only one volume ahead, though, so we couldn't say one way or the other if it's right or wrong.

As for this week's releases, we have! a new series! TADAH!!! But it's digital only. It's My Brother the Shut-In, and we came up with the title ourselves! Sort of. It was called Futsutsuka Mono no Ani Desu ga, and we asked if they wanted us to translate the title, and they said yeah, if you could come up with a title, that'd be great, but remember Kodansha reserves the right to change it. (We translated it through different channels than Kodansha USA.) So our original title was My Brother the Recovering Shut-In, and I guess nobody had any better ideas, so they took out the one word to make it less cumbersome, and there you have it.

The other translation of ours that came out this week was Waiting for Spring...3? Whichever one is next. I'm pretty sure it's three. So there you go, two fun shojo-ish manga to enjoy! (Shut-In Brother is in Morning 2.)

And tune in next week for our review of First Love Monster 8! I seem to remember that one not being as ranty as previous reviews for First Love Monster, which is good for us and maybe the series?, but maybe not so good for readers of our reviews, because our angry ones are pretty hilarious. I feel a little bad about that. But I still want everyone to read our review of Complex Age 6 (it's not angry, but it's very ranty).

Today I'm thankful for having our schedule sort of worked out maybe, getting to talk to our sister today, getting to look back at Kigurumi Guardians, the return of toaster strudels to our lives, and having extra time to work on that translation we can't find the book for.
Comments 
2nd-Dec-2017 07:38 am (UTC)
I finally got around to reading "Kigurumi Guardians" volumes 1 and 2. I already posted some more general comments on the series and the "what kind of animals are the Kigurumi supposed to be?" issue in response to your review of volume 1. So here's my theory about Chigaya, which is mostly based on his conversation with Masaki toward the end of volume 2.

I think maybe the (occasionally) heart-shaped irises displayed by the shells and their masters--and Chigaya--are less an automatic telltale symptom of evil character or intent than an ethnic characteristic of people who are native to the other universe--or people who have fallen under their influence, such as the shells. So Chigaya's heart-shaped irises might mean that he's a shell himself, as you theorized. Or he could be a refugee from the alternate universe who fled to our world ten years ago, perhaps as the result of coming out on the wrong side of some sort of dynastic struggle. If Chigaya were actually some kind of exiled heir--or potential heir--to the puppetmaster dimension's throne who'd assumed a (relatively) normal human identity after arriving here, his remark about how he's been lying about who he is for ten years could mean that he's been lying about which universe he's from, not just about whether or not he's a shell. And if Chigaya is some sort of puppetmaster-dimension political dissident and/or exiled claimant to its throne (which would explain his self-consciously princely airs), that could explain why he organized the Kigurumi Guardians to frustrate the official puppetmaster agenda of invading Earth and stealing hearts, despite apparently being linked to the puppetmasters himself in a way that he's concealed from the human members of the Kigurumi Guardians.

Based on what we've seen so far, Chigaya's methods are obviously more than a little shady. But even if his motives for opposing the puppetmasters currently in power are less than totally altruistic, his occasionally heart-shaped irises and his deceiving everyone but Masaki about who and/or what he really is don't necessarily make him a full-blown villain in disguise.
2nd-Dec-2017 06:24 pm (UTC)
We're open to the idea that heart-shaped eyes are not necessarily a sign of evil. Chigaya is suspicious for many other reasons (which aren't really prominent in volume two, which may or may not be why we didn't say anything about them in this review). So of course if he turns out to be super altruistic, we'll be like, "Okay, I guess we were wrong," but the jury's still out. I will say, though, that based on the way Ginger talks to him, I don't think Masaki is the only one who knows the truth.
5th-Dec-2017 01:57 am (UTC)
Dude, yeah, the people who are meh about this series I just don't get. It's soooooo great!! It can't just be because we worked on it, right?!

I like the admittance that Hakka's and Ginger's date was more entertaining than the answers to mysteries that we didn't get. It was fun.

Oh, Ranan!! I really liked how that ended up going, and I especially liked that she didn't just disappear at the end of that plot but that Hakka called her later about the choir thing. Hahaha! What a great girl is Hakka♥

I just read the ANN review for v2 since you mentioned it. I feel like there was something in that volume that made me think Satsuki might have an interest in Hakka, but maybe it was just one of Ginger's jealous reactions somewhere. It's rather vague in my memory now. (Hmm, I haven't gotten Kodansha comps in a while...)

Oh, you translated the Shut-In series! You've got an in with digital Kodansha titles! I hope it's going well! I'll check the series out if I get a chance. (they'll probably have the first chapter somewhere at least, right?)
5th-Dec-2017 02:14 am (UTC)
I don't think it's just because we worked on it. I mean, there are a bunch of series we worked on that we don't love this much...but I couldn't say we fall in love with series we don't work on, because we don't have time for any. Although there is Miraculous... Our theory is that they had Expectations that were not met. (But our editor has told us it's an office favorite, so at least the people at Kodansha USA have taste, but we already knew that.)

Yes! Hakka is so cute, being friends with everybody. I can see maybe Ginger having a jealous reaction might cause people to think that he had a reason for it, but our take is just that Ginger is way too overprotective. Hasn't he even told Basilico to stay away from Hakka? And we all know that Basilico is all about Nobara.

We did! And the first chapter is up somewhere! Right here! We like the series, but we have a rushed schedule on it that makes us like it less when we're in a less objective mood. (Also, we know that the editor altered our translation significantly for at least the first dozen or so pages. We think she ran out of steam and kept a higher ratio after a while, but those first few pages, it was almost like she was just changing stuff for the sake of changing stuff. We chose not to fight her on it, because we had to get back to work on other stuff.)
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