And it's also okay because it's Review Rednesday! And that means we're going to take time out to post a review whether it's a good idea or not! (It really just means we'll probably lose twenty minutes to half an hour of sleep, if anything.) So without further ado...what were we reviewing this week again? Oh yeah! Our Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight debut! Woohoo! So here it is, Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight volume four! (Spoilers ahead!)
We have been led to believe that we turned in the translation for Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight 4 sometime earlier this week. It feels so long ago... It's Friday now, and we finished it on Saturday, so that's probably part of it. The other part is the Shut-In Brother, Disneyland, Land of the Lustrous, and sleep deprivation that came between then and now.
Anyway, we've had a complicated relationship with Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight. Kodansha USA announced it a while ago, and then the editor soon asked us to translate it. We agreed and were busy getting through all the rest of our work until the far-off first deadline, but suddenly the editor emailed us apologizing profusely because there had been a mix-up and somebody else was already translating it. Well, that was a big bummer, but it was probably for the best, since we've been swamped pretty much constantly for the last more than a year. On the other hand, this is a nice, easy series, and if we're going to be swamped, it's good for a series like this to be sprinkled in, because it makes us feel like we can actually get things done, and it helps us to relax and be productive at the same time. But anyway, we still had the first two volumes in Japanese, so we did somehow find time to read them (probably on a Sunday), and we thought, "Well, that was cute. Too bad we'll probably never read the rest of it."
And then we heard from our editor again. We didn't ask for details; all we know is that now we get to take over the series starting at volume four. And now, here you have it! I will say that sometimes taking over a series from someone else, as we have learned from Hozuki's Coolheadedness, can be one of the hardest types of translation, because there are likely to be stylistic choices that you don't agree with, and it can be maddening to deal with them. ...Okay, that's probably a bigger problem with Hozuki than anything else, because the previous translator wanted to localize as much as possible, which we think is the wrong choice when working on a series that deals with Japanese hell specifically. But that's not really a discussion for this review, is it? I will say (back to Stroke of Midnight) that there were a few things that we would have done differently, but it wasn't so bad. We only got stubborn about a recurring sound effect. But you'll have to decide for yourselves if the dialogue style is super different.
Now for this volume! It started with Hinana and Kaede going to Charmingland, which is almost certainly a parody of Disneyland but has a Ferris wheel. The queue area to buy tickets, though, that was exactly like the one at Tokyo Disneyland. But we haven't been to a lot of ticket booths for other Japanese theme parks, so for all we know it's very common. But since Kodansha Japan has strong ties to Disneyland, it makes sense that all their manga artists would use that place for reference. The important thing is that Kaede was super adorable, especially when he saw Charming-kun. The funny thing is, unlike Yato, he surely knew that it was a guy in a suit, but he was still so star-stuck. But then there were cat puns, which Athena pointed out before either of us remembered the reason for the cat puns, which was by far the more important story point. But we always remember the bad things first; it's a bad human habit that we're going to need to break. Anyway, there were cat puns, and I don't even know how they turned out, because I may have blocked the details from my memory. In Japan, they just have to say "nya" at the end of a sentence, but English doesn't have sentence-enders like that. Except in Final Fantasy with moogles and oglops. And oddly enough, words that can easily fit a "meow" into them are just not that common. So we default to cat puns, which is not a fun thing to do because we are not punnily minded. It would be okay if we were well-rested and not rushed, but we are always rushed these days.
Let's just talk about why the cat puns happened. So Hinana and Kaede are there on a date with the hopes of accomplishing their first kiss--Hinana's first kiss ever. Well, who should happen to be at the theme park on the same day but Akira himself. They run into each other, literally, and their lips touch. This happens so much in manga and even otome games (it even happened in a Final Fantasy: Type-0 spin off, where you could play as a guy or a girl; that was pretty funny), but we're really not sure it's possible in real life. If someone has any kind of experience like that, I would love to hear about it. In fact, if Mythbusters were still a thing, I would want them to look into it. (Come to think of it, we never really watched Mythbusters. Maybe they've already done a thing on the accidental kiss? Anybody know anything?) But! if you ask the entire internet in In/Spectre (plug), they will tell you that there is no possible way that someone would see something moving toward their face and not make a move to protect themselves unless they're feeling suicidal. ...On the other hand, Hinana and Akira were in much closer proximity to each other, so maybe their reflexes just didn't kick in fast enough. Still, for it to go mouth-to-mouth so easily, it just doesn't seem right.
So Hinana's all bummed out, and Kaede's like, "Aw, she's bummed out; I should be supportive," and then she's more bummed out because he's not bummed out, and wow, love is complicated. It's not that I don't understand the sentiments, but it definitely seems like the kind of thing you'd look back on and be like, "That was silly of me, wasn't it?" Not that I wouldn't have done the same thing (I really couldn't say). And so, when Kaede figured out what the problem was, he started meowing. Ugh. (Because he was talking through a Charming-kun puppet.) But the point is, they resolved their issues and safely accomplished their first kiss, which was technically Hinana's second kiss now, but they decided the first one didn't count, and I agree; that wasn't a kiss, it was an accident.
And now they're a happy couple, just like in the fairy tales. But! Kaede's old boy bandmates are at it again, and whatsisname (Mitsuki?) has informed Kaede's ex-girlfriend that Kaede has a new girlfriend. And while all that is going on, Hinana is learning about Kaede's new movie role, which involves playing the piano. We are about 85% convinced this movie he's in is based on Your Lie in April, but since we only know the basic premise, nothing is conclusive. The point is, Hinana lied to Kaede! What! But she told Kaede from the very beginning that she didn't want to lie to him! (I only remember that fact because I started rereading volume one (in English) while Athena read volume three (in Japanese) to get caught up with the story.) She came clean pretty quick, though. Once a prodigy, always a know-it-all, I guess. She just couldn't bear to hear Kaede playing a piece she knew so well in an incorrect way. And that's where things get interesting! We learn (through brief flashbacks that are not dwelt on) that apparently Hinana was an award-winning pianist when she was little. I'm guessing that stopped because of Suzu, or maybe before Suzu was born, or maybe because her parents died... There are so many possible reasons! (We only remember Hinana was adopted because we came across the part when she told Kaede while we were looking for the part when she said she was learning something specific.) But then! she lied again when she told Kaede why she stopped doing it, which is why Athena thinks it has to do with some unknown dude that made her cry, as implied in the flashback with Akira and the umbrella standing over Hinana while she was crying. Only time will tell, but man this series moves slow. It's okay, because that slow pace means less dialogue and easier translations, and because the characters are enjoyable enough to spend time with that the journey is pleasant while we wait to get to the various destinations.
Anyway, now that Kaede has learned some important information about Hinana, their relationship is about to be sabotaged! The love interest has finally been cast for this new movie, and it's his ex-girlfriend! Dun dun DUN! She broke up with him, and he only has eyes for Hinana, so it shouldn't be a problem, right? Wrong! Shu still has feelings for Kaede! Then why did she break up with him!? What's going on!? ...And that's what I mean by this series moving slow. We get just one tiiiiiny piece of information per chapter, it feels like.
So Hinana is now pretty worried because she can't see Kaede while he's filming, and she keeps hearing rumors and speculation about him getting back with his ex. In the meantime, Suzu has tickets to Lockheart Castle, and I'm so glad that Mikimoto-sensei told us it's a real place, because I totally want to look it up the next time we go to Japan. We went to the official website, and it says the Lockhearts were Scottish, and we have Scottish heritage, so that makes me even more interested in going! Well, one of the main draws to this castle is that they let you rent out princess dresses and take pictures dressed as a princess in a real castle! So Hinana and Suzu were going to do that, but! all the adult-sized gowns were rented out for some silly movie shoot. And now Hinana's best option is to dress as a maid. She really is Cinderella.
Show of hands, who was surprised that the movie was the one Kaede was in? Anybody? Well, it was! Tadah! But instead of being all, "Yay, it's my boyfriend!" like Suzu thought she would be, Hinana was all, "Oh, he really does look better with his ex." Fortunately, little girls, at least in manga and other such stories, have more sense than teenagers, and so Suzu resolved the problem by finding Kaede herself. So Kaede was able to reassure Hinana, yet again, that she's the one he loves, and they're a happy couple once more. But! Shu is now asking Shige-chan how she can win Kaede back! Oh no! What will become of them!?
I did not mention Shu being a fujoshi, or her Kyoto dialect. Our tendency is to go with American dialects, so we wanted to go Southern Belle, since (as you may have read in the note [you didn't; the note got deleted]), Kyoto is one of the more high-class dialects. But there were two things that prevented us from committing to it (even though it's like a perfect match personality-stereotype-wise). First, with the whole climate about Confederate monuments going on in the South right now, we were afraid that portraying the Southern Belle dialect (spoken by the white women on southern plantations) as an elegant thing to be admired might be problematic. (Not that monarchs in general are exactly known for their magnanimity...) But second, since the whole thing is about Hinana and her longing to be a fairytale princess...well, even in the States, we think of fairytale princesses as coming from Europe, so we thought maybe an English accent would be more appropriate. And so we refused to commit on it, and chose to just use slightly more classy wordings without necessarily aiming for a specific region. (Sidenote about English accents: there's an Alice at Disneyland right now who uses an almost Cockney accent, and it kind of makes us smirk, I guess? So we realize that there are about thirty different English accents, and we wish this Alice would realize it, too, but the point is, obviously we're going for a more Julie Andrews sort of accent than Dick van Dyke...but I think we'll end up with Dick van Dyke anyway. But hopefully with classier vocabulary.)
I don't have much to say about her being a fujoshi, except that it was funny when she made Shige-chan and Kaede pose.
And there you have it, our debut of and return to Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight! We hope you enjoy(ed) the manga!
Oh man, this series. It's a lot of fun.
Anyway! We noticed that we have a pretty big backlog of reviews to post, so we're thinking we ought to start doubling up for a while. The question is, should we post double reviews on Wednesday, or should we choose another day of the week? If we choose another day of the week, will people miss the reviews we post on those days? Is anybody reading this blog anyway? We still have to think about this. All I can say is our next review is for Wake Up, Sleeping Beauty volume three. But I can't even say when we'll post it!
As for this week's releases...we have nothing! This is why the double posting will only go on for a little while.
Today I'm thankful for the radiologist appointment not taking too much time out of our schedule, managing to find a ride to and from the radiologist, making fairly decent progress on work so far, the rain we got today, and getting to work on Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight.