We finished this volume of Fire Force on Saturday, and it's now Tuesday, and we've been exceedingly busy as usual, which means thoughts of Fire Force have been pushed out of our heads in favor of the work we were actually working on. It's also been exceedingly hot, which means there's even less storage space in the front of my head, as indicated by the fact that I had to stop and think for a while to remember what we were working on yesterday, because after some other thought I remembered that the thing we worked on today is something we also started today. This is how tired and hot I am.
Anyway. What happened in this volume? Oh right! Sho! Oh my goodness, this was the cutest thing ever. I love how it's still funny to have serious guys like Shinra get all doting about family, but it's also still okay. Which reminds me! The cover flap! I think the author's comments make it into the English version...I think I have some comp copies right at my feet to check, but I'm too lazy. The point is, this volume is the one where Atsushi Ohkubo reveals that he put all the main characters into Company 8 because 8 is the cutest number. Stop and think about Ohkubo-sensei's art style, his apparent obsession with monsters and horror, etc. etc. and let that sink in. ...On the other hand, some of the t-shirts in Atsushiya have revealed that he's a fan of Baby Metal, so maybe it shouldn't be that much of a surprise. But anyway, we like it. We also wonder if he also revealed where Death the Kid got his obsession with symmetry...
Okay, so Shinra is finally reunited with Sho, but of course Sho has been brainwashed(?) by the badguys, so he's not too happy about being related. We're really glad that Shinra was prepared for that kind of thing, though, and didn't spend a ton of time angsting about how his long-lost brother was his enemy and hated him and blah blah blah. The best was when he was like, "I have to get better for my honor as big brother!" or however that went. Of course, Sho is ridiculously powerful, so the team is saved by the convenient appearance of the morally ambibiguous Viktor Licht, as well as a more secret appearance of Joker. But let's talk about the phrase "morally ambiguous." If you read the character descriptions (and we don't blame you if you don't; we wouldn't read them either if we weren't translating them), then you'll know we used it for Viktor's. The word in Japanese was "hyou-hyou," which is usually used to describe people who, in the words of Natsuki Takaya, are "like a ripple." The J-E dictionary definition is "aloof from the world," but that makes the characters sound all dark and brooding like Batman or something. These characters are more like Iron Man, usually, as far as attitude is concerned. But unlike Iron Man, you can never tell what they're thinking, so you don't know if they're working for you or against you. We were struggling to come up with a good translation for it, but then we remembered a fun plan we had for character interactions with superheroes at Disneyland, which we can't tell you in a public forum because we don't want anyone stealing it, but the key element was that we wanted to seem like we were from an organization that Athena had described as "morally ambiguous." So when we were wondering about this word and how to deal with it, we were like, "These characters are morally ambiguous...heeey!" And now you know.
Anyway, recently we're inclined to believe that Viktor and Joker (who are clearly working together) are good, mostly because they seem like decent fellows, and also because "licht" is German for light. Did I mention that in the last review? "Light" is generally associated with goodness, so yeah. I mean, sure they use the remains of Infernals to make explosives, but those fire zombies aren't getting any deader. Joker is still pretty fun to translate, but he's a little less fun since our editor came along and said, "You have to put 'real punctuation' in with the hearts and music notes." Of course we were like, "The card suits ARE punctuation! Do we have any clue what intonation is indicated by a spade? No, we do not, but that is not the point!" And I'm pretty sure Ohkubo-sensei doesn't know, either; he's just getting creative. It is punctuation, though, as indicated when people quote others as saying things with, for example, a heart mark. But enough of that rant. The point is, Joker told Sho that he couldn't let the Evangelist have Shinra yet, and that makes us all kinds of curious as to what he is up to. I mean, obviously we wanted to know already, but the hints are a bit tantalizing. We have a loose theory that Joker may be the boys' father...and also somehow related to the sun god. Did we mention our question about how, if the adolla burst is for the sun god's offspring, wouldn't that make Shinra the sun god's son?
So everybody escapes, and Shinra asks Vulcan to come to Company 8's cathedral for his own safety, and Vulcan finds out that Company 8 is not like the evil organization he expected to see in the Fire Force. He also figures it's the best way to fix the world, I guess, so he decides to join up, despite his promise to his father and grandfather. We really like Vulcan, so I kind of wish there was more to say about him... He made sloth goggles! That's fun. We also like how he insists on making all of his inventions somehow related to animals. And then there's the Way Maximum, which can't not be a Baymax parody. I have mixed feelings about that, because I didn't hate Big Hero 6, but it still doesn't live up to the high standards of earlier Disney films, so I'm like, "If you HAD to parody Disney..." At least it wasn't Frozen.
Company 8 is gearing up to face the Evangelist, and they determine that Shinra and Arthur need to learn how to fight better, so Captain Obi sends them off to Company 7 to train with Benimaru. I must say, I really like Benimaru as a martial arts trainer. The whole "stay sharp" running gag was great, and a nice way to show progress. But I think the best was when he was fighting Arthur, but Shinra was making progress with his thing, so Benimaru would get distracted, and then Arthur would try to take advantage of it. Oh man, you gotta read it, because it's good.
But let's talk about Shinra's progress. He has a finishing move now! I'm never sure if that's the best way to translate that. We just don't play fighting games, so I keep forgetting how we talk about those moves. (We used to play the Sailor Moon fighting game back in high school. Ah, memories.) ...And I'm realizing I don't have much more to say on that. So let's move on to Arthur. They keep indicating that Arthur is actually ridiculously powerful. First, he manages to dodge Sho with his super speed, and then Benimaru tells him his powers are basically finishing move class already. He is a literal manifestation of the term "bakajikara." I find this to be very interesting...and yet I don't have much else to say about that, either.
But! Athena just reminded me of the redecorating that went on at Company 8, and most importantly Silburro. That was... I don't even know. It actually turned out not to be hard at all. We came to the "shiroba" thing, and immediately groaned that we were going to have to deal with a pun, and I was like, "But surely there are other words for donkey that we can put in there...maybe something that sounds like part of 'silver'..." And then it just hit me. It must have been inspiration, I think, because I don't think I'd been thinking about Spanish or the little Burrito cartoon from Saludos Amigos... Anyway, we were very grateful that that solution came so easily. And we hope it doesn't sound too weird or confusing. If you read the translation notes, you'll see we referenced Don Quixote, and while we did not think of him during the translation of shiroba, we did when discussing amongst ourselves how someone as stupid as Arthur could be familiar with Spanish. We were like, "He was channeling his inner Don Quixote," and a second later we were like, "Yeeeeeah," as in, "I just realized how extremely appropriate that is." And then I typed up the note and I was like, "...But how many of our readers will know who Don Quixote is?" Maybe this will give them the chance to find out! (I did not tell them.)
So Shinra and Arthur have powered up, and now it's time to face the Evangelist! Fortunately, our resident genius Viktor Licht has managed to track down their lair. And of course it's in...the Nether! Dun dun DUN! We actually didn't have to come up with the word Nether this time; that was all Ohkubo-sensei (unless his editor helped; I don't know). We did add the "the," though, because it just sounds so much more dramatic and imposing that way. I feel like it was a really good choice. I also remember that we had a slightly unusual use of the word "nether" back in volume one, and I'm not sure if this new place is going to change the implications of that usage. ...I also wonder if our use of "nether" somehow inspired the naming of this place... You know, if Ohkubo-sensei or his editor was like, "I wonder how they dealt with that one line of Obi's..." and they checked and were like, "Nethers? What's nethers?" (We also wonder if our note about godfathers in Noragami inspired a series of artwork and gag comics, and subsequent line of merchandise.) [ETA: Incidentally, we took "nethers" from a song in Galavant.]
Anyway. I thought it was so cute how everyone was scared of the Nether. I mean, I don't know, I'm like, "Eh, it's just underground." In fact, the map of the subway that Viktor showed them is the same map that we have on our Sailor Moon stamp rally thingie, so of course it wasn't scary; we had been there, it was fine. Also, we're like, "Okay, obviously the Holy Sol Temple is some kind of a front, and they're telling you not to go to the underground because it makes it that much easier for them to do their secret evil things in the shadows." But I also realize that, from the point of view of someone like Maki, who grew up being told that the Nether is basically hell, it would be a very scary place to go. I was going to say, "Like if I were to go to a haunted house," and then I remembered Maki being scared of running into ghosts, and I was like, "Yeah, pretty much exactly like that."
Of course, the enemy was ready for Company 8 when they showed up, so they used their clever strategy to separate the team! Dun dun DUN! The best was the fake Tamaki scene. "See, look? I even have fire ears!" "No fair! You're trying to trick her by doing things I can't do!" Oh, Iris. You're a nice girl, but... The best was when Tamaki's like, "And she totally has an old man's voice!"
So now Company 8 is in the middle of several battles. Maki already finished hers, and of course she made quick work of it. Seriously, I don't get all these people who are upset about the lack of kick-butt women in entertainment. Y'all just aren't reading enough shonen manga. And Vulcan is up against Lisa! Oh no! But we won't see that until next time.
There was one more funny thing, that happened much earlier. When Hibana was sitting on top of the couch. That was hilarious. Her profile is pretty funny, too. But that reminds us that Karim was talking differently! He was still being redundant, but he was using synonyms instead of blatantly repeating himself. I'm a little disappointed, actually. Oh well.
So yeah. This was a really fun volume. I hope all the Soul Eater fans who had a hard time with it at first because "it's not Soul Eater" (they never said that in so many words, but let's face it, guys, that's why you didn't like it) are managing to see it for its own thing. There's a bunch of fun characters doing fun and cool things, and I always thought it was good, but I think it's getting even better.
Ah, Fire Force. This is the review where I talk about people not liking it because "it's not Soul Eater," which is great timing, because we just started re-watching Soul Eater as our dinnertime show. (Athena: I'm like, "Shinra doesn't even look like Soul.") When we watched episode 3, I was like, "I remember this show being funnier..." So of course, that biased me in favor of Fire Force even more. But then we watched episode four, and I was like, "Okay, maybe it's still okay." It might be a frame of mind thing. Like, when I'm not busy, I can appreciate the humor of Death the Kid rushing back home in the middle of an important mission to make sure his artwork is hanging properly, but when I am busy and trying to get things done, I want to smack him.
Anyway. Fire Force is great, you should check it out if you haven't yet. And this week we had three whole translations come out!! There's Forbidden Scrollery 2, Wake Up Sleeping Beauty 3, and! our Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight debut (volume four)!! Check it out!
And tune in next week, for our review of My Brother the Shut-In 2! Volume three comes out next week, so it looks like we don't have to be so grumpy about the translation schedule anymore. Well, that, and the fact that we just finished the last volume.
Today I'm thankful for work still going at a pretty good pace, all the geeky things we get to think about with Fire Force, Pepperidge Farm strawberry thumbprint cookies, Page's flea treatment arriving today, and stuff we worked on actually being published.