And now, without further ado, Fire Force 7! Spoilers ahead.
I don't know how to start this review. Fire Force 7...this volume featured Vulcan! He's a pretty great character. But let's start with Viktor Licht. First we get a flashback of him talking to Joker, which was especially interesting, because he says that they're all fighting for justice. We always knew that Joker's motives were questionable...by which I mean, there's a lot of questions about them. He's very ambiguous. On the one hand, he crashed the Rookie Games and hurt a bunch of fire soldiers, but on the other hand, he does seem to be on Shinra's side somehow. And that fact alone makes me prone to believe that Viktor meant it when he said they were fighting for justice. (Side note: Athena asks, "Also: is Joker Shinra's father?" Shinra's parentage is something I'm especially curious about because they say the adolla burst belongs to the offspring of the Sun God. ...And since they're referring to Vulcan as the god of the forge, it does seem like there's a possibility of a historical figure that has been designated as the sun god. Hmmmmmmmmm...) I mean, sure they make explosive powder out of Infernal remains, but it's not like those guys are getting any deader. Viktor and Joker might be the kind of people who are willing to get their hands dirty for their own interpretation of "the greater good." I don't remember if Joker actually killed any fire soldiers, but if he didn't it seems like he might be legit. We'll see.
Anyway, I am very curious to see how Viktor interacts with Vulcan, considering Vulcan's hatred of Haijima and Viktor's close association with it. But anyway, after Akitaru seems to resign himself to the fact that Viktor is his new science team, he decides to send Shinra, Arthur, and Iris off to recruit an engineer. And the guy they have in mind is Vulcan, who is infamous for his strong hatred of Haijima Industries and, by extension, the Fire Force.
When Shinra and company make it to his home, they are chased off by flying soda cans. This is where we get a fake brand name for the Fake Brand Name Hall of Fame: instead of Coke, there's a can labeled Meth. There's also a can labeled Coke later, because I guess someone realized that Coca Cola is the official brand name, so Coke itself is probably fair game. And suddenly I just remembered the very first thing that stood out to us about this volume! The English blurb on the splash page! We read it, and we were like, "That is definitely not what we gave them." We panicked. We were like, "What went wrong!? Did we explain something wrong? Did I make a typo? How did this happen!?" And then we remembered that they didn't ask for our help on this volume, and we felt much better about life, but also not better, because it would have sounded so much nicer (and been more grammatically correct) if they'd asked for our help. Looking back at it, though, it may be bad English, but it still sounds pretty fun.
They did ask us to translate the blurbs for volumes eight and nine. For eight, it was in reference to something that happens at the end of this volume (we'll get to it later), which we expected was going to happen at some point, but we hadn't read the volume yet, so we didn't know exactly what it was about, and we supplied several different translations, all with an explanation like, "And if it's talking about this thing that happens, you're going to want to go with this translation, but if the details are more like this, you're going to want to go with this translation." So when our editor sent our response, she requested that we get more context next time so our job would be easier, and we were like, "Please, we love this kind of thing!" It makes us feel smart to be able to point out all the different possibilities we've come up with. Also, Dr. Giovanni tells Shinra (in this volume) that he needs to consider all the possibilities, so it was like we were taking his advice!
Okay, so Vulcan is not going to listen to the Fire Force at all, but by an extremely convenient coincidence, his apprentice is the kid whose life Shinra saved back in volume...three...? I think it was three. Back when they were fighting Company 5, but before they went to the combine. Anyway, the kid's name is Yu, and I'm not sure if that was not meant to be a play on the English "you", because the first thing Shinra says when he sees him is, "Who are you?" He's Yu. Get it? Like, "Ah! It's you! Who are you?" Or something.
Anyway, the point is, Yu has no qualms about sneaking them all into Vulcan's workshop to try to get an interview with him, but then they're fended off by Lisa! Who is throwing soda cans just like Vulcan's security robot. But she's like okay, whatever, and so they all get to talk to Vulcan. But not! before Dr. Giovanni shows up. Dun dun DUN! Dr. Giovanni is the captain of Company 3--the company that's closest to Haijima after Company 5. I think the point is that Haijima is very close to a lot of fire soldiers. Anyway, Giovanni's here to scout Vulcan, and that meeting wasn't really anything special, so back to Company 8! Shinra's trying to talk Vulcan into giving Company 8 a chance while Arthur and Iris are looking around at all of Vulcan's inventions...and pushing buttons they shouldn't be pushing. That chipmunk thing was pretty disturbing. After Iris pressed the button to pop all the heads off of the forest creatures, we had to steal a line from The Emperor's New Groove, because it fit so perfectly. We had Shinra ask, "Why do you even have that button!?" Technically, what he literally said was, "Why would they [your robots] have that function!?" The best part about it, though, is that Vulcan actually had an answer that made sense. I mean, it's sort of an, "Ooookay, if you insist," kind of reason, but it makes sense for Vulcan, and that's the important thing.
And then Vulcan decides he likes them enough not to join their company, but at least to show them his super cool animal hologram thingie. I'm kind of jealous of it, because it's awesome, but on the other hand, at least we get to live in a world where all these animals are still alive. (For now?) Anyway, I want to take a time out to talk about Vulcan's love of animals, because it's adorable. I love how his shirt says "the animals," and I love how his shirt on the cover of volume nine has a giant paw print. He's just so cute! And then later (or earlier, because it's in a flashback), Lisa makes him dinner that's shaped like a seal! Awwwwwwwww! After the forest creature series, I wasn't sure Ohkubo-sensei could draw legitimately cute animals. Maybe only if they're food. ...Okay, I take that back. Athena just picked up volume nine to show me the cover again, where Vulcan has a super cute little squirrel on his big skull mask.
So Vulcan's dream is to bring back all the extinct species...although it is interesting to note that they didn't seem to address any carnivores... Hmmm... There was a lion in the hologram thingie, though. I forgot to mention that in this volume, we learn that the face of the earth has been seriously devastated, and because of the way it was explained (they don't know, but they guess there was some warping of spacetime?), it even sort of makes sense that Japan is still around and not, say, the Rockies. Because when you hear about large landmasses being gone, your first thought is Waterworld, am I right? So obviously the Rockies would have survived. But that's not what happened.
Incidentally, it took us forever to find the perfect word for Boumetsu no Honoo (Flame of Perdition). The Japanese dictionaries told us it was the same as metsubou (destruction), but we were like, "Then why would they use boumetsu instead? There must be some significance!!!" Or it was just a cool slangy thing, like gurasan instead of sangurasu (sunglasses). Some searching led us to discover that the word "boumetsu" is used in the Japanese translation a treatise on Christianity, where the corresponding words in the English version were things like "lost" and "doomed." Well, that wasn't quite good enough for us, so we looked up the original Latin text of the treatise, and found that "perdito" was used at least once, and Wiktionary gave us some definitions for "perdition" that meant doomed and lost, so we figured hey, it's perfect! And it has that slightly religious flavor that seems to permeate the series, so even better!
And speaking of things that took us forever because of research! All the Asakusa words!!! I want to point out that they did not use that many in volume six. In fact, we didn't reread any of the Asakusa chapters, so I couldn't say with 100% certainty about gatten shouchi or suttodokkoi specifically, but as for the others, they were not actually spoken by anyone that said anything we translated in the Asakusa chapters. There was a bit of an Edo accent going on, but it wasn't nearly as thick as what Shinra and Arthur were doing. We suspect they picked up the words from the first and second class fire soldiers that didn't get a lot of screentime. But anyway, we thought we could kind of...piggyback...someone else's idea because when they started calling each other Shin no Ji and Ar no Ji, we knew of another character who referred to people like that, so we were like, "Aha! If we can just find how they translated that guy, we'll have some idea what to do!"
So we looked up this other character...and apparently they translated him as a kind of Victorian samurai type. It seems like a pretty fair idea, considering that Asakusa words are actually old Edo words, and the Edo Era goes back even further than the Victorian Age. But this character we were looking up was more of a scary criminal type, the kind of guy you wouldn't want to run into in a dark alley. And when we read him in Japanese, that was the feeling we got from his speech pattern, too--it wasn't exactly "Victorian gentleman." Our thinking was more along the lines of Prohibition Era gangster type speech. On the other hand, it was old-fashioned Edo speak...but back to the first hand, the flowers of Edo are fires and street fights. And, after translating a lot of kabuki stuff, we know that a lot of the entertainment from that era was more about thieves and prostitutes, so that language is probably going to be more fitting of the lower classes. Some more research on the XX no Ji phenomenon confirmed this theory, so we felt justified in using 1920s slang. The funny thing is, that time period is so close to the Victorian Era, so it's like the other translators were thiiiiiis close to going with the same concept. It was just a matter of doing some research (enough to know that this speech pattern is old), but not quite enough (to find out that it was used by the lower classes). But it completely changes how the readers are going to perceive the character, so it's kind of scary in a way. I really hope we're getting it right!
Anyway, then Shinra's hero senses start tingling, and we begin the big battle against Dr. Giovanni and his lackeys. What!? You mean to tell me that Dr. Giovanni was working for the Evangelist all along? I'm so not surprised! There are still a lot of questions going on, but none of them are answered because in shounen manga everything has a lot of fighting inbetween. But the chapter about Arthur and his steed was pretty hilarious. When we edited Yu's line about Silver being a donkey, the thought briefly crossed Athena's mind, "There's another word for donkey, would it be funnier?" But it didn't linger and we moved on. It came back in full force when Arthur noticed the difference. "What was that other word for donkey? ...Yeah, that would be funnier." It actually reminds me of Much Ado About Nothing.
But more importantly, we learn that Vulcan's ancestors invented Amaterasu! What! And apparently there's a key to Amaterasu, but nobody knows what that's about. What we do know is that Lisa was a plant and a traitor all along, which is kind of a bummer for Vulcan, but we saw it coming because we all knew Vulcan was going to end up in Company 8, and it didn't seem like Lisa was going to come along. Yu is a little iffier; seems like he could join them as a little mascot/sidekick, or, at this point, he might die. Poor kid. I hope he pulls through. Anyway, Vulcan's new family that he was hoping would be unbreakable is pretty much falling apart, but on the bright side, Shinra made it back just in time to fight Giovanni off before he got the key, so that's good. He almost got captured, too, by the way.
And finally, now the Commander of the Knights of the Ashen Flame has made it to the scene, and if you all remember who that is, you will be very interested to see how that plays out. But that's the end of the volume, so we don't know, either. (But we probably will know by the time this gets posted.)
Wow, that review was kind of all over the place. But it has some interesting(?) discussions of all the research we did to get certain language choices just right. I think the whole "Asakusa words" thing is what started me on my translation=cooking analogy.
Anyway, this week's releases include My Monster Secret 9 (eh heh), Waiting for Spring volume something, and Wake Up Sleeping Beauty volume 2! You see why we were a little torn about bumping up My Monster Secret 9 in favor of Wake Up Sleeping Beauty. But My Monster Secret has been discussed here, and Wake Up Sleeping Beauty hasn't, so I think we'll just give it a bit of a priority. Or maybe we'll post both reviews next week. What do you say? It can be the day of reviewing volumes that already have the next volume out. Or something.
At any rate, there will definitely be a review of Wake Up Sleeping Beauty 1 next week, so tune in!
Today I'm thankful for LJ letting me switch back to the old posting format (I'm just a little too agoraphobic to deal with an interface that has no outlines), the interesting translation challenges presented by Fire Force (we don't always like it in the moment, but we do feel like it's a job well done when we're finished), our package from CD Japan being on its way, our ability to get materials for our next project being restored, and the beautiful weather outside.