And! we're waiting for family to arrive so we can join them for dinner at Denny's! So timing is a little awkward to get back to work, and we can't anyway because we're still in "what did I just do?" mode. But we also remembered that it's Review Rednesday! And I had considered postponing it in favor of more Disneyland stories, but I did already say last week that I was going to post a review today. So here it is, our review of In/Spectre volume eight!
I realize that it's kind of pointless to start these reviews with reports on the state of affairs when I write them, and yet I am inclined to do it anyway, because I'm too tired to come up with a better way to write an introduction. They usually just end up being excuses for why I don't remember what happened in the book, which is also silly, because I'm going to review it anyway, and it's really just a simple matter of flipping through the book and remembering. And besides, I sort of already remember this one. Why? Possibly because we only finished it two days ago (only? it feels like so much longer...), but more likely because the theme was Pinocchio. And the great thing about Pinocchio is that its most famous incarnation is a Disney movie that I really like. Interestingly enough, there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of other variations on it, unlike Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan. I wonder if that's because Pinocchio is an Italian story... There are about a billion Snow Whites, and that's German, and Cinderella is French or German, depending on which one you want to use as the base... Athena points out that there are other variations on Pinocchio, but they tend to be horror, which would be why we are utterly clueless about them, aside from a vague awareness of their existence. That reminds me, there's a web comic that keeps referencing Pinocchio and implying that Geppetto controlled him and made him kill people, and we're like, "Where in the world did you get that idea?" Because it's not like that in the Disney version or the original.
Anyway, I especially liked it because it did reference the original story, which made me feel extra smart because I happen to have read it. Or a translation of it, anyway. Let's face it--you can't actually read the original version of anything unless you read it in the language it was written in. Makes you think about whether or not anyone other than scholars has actually read the Bible... Because a translator is a filter, and while they can do their best to let everything through, it's still going to come out based on their perspective. And in fact, that's true of this very manga! Especially if there were times when we weren't entirely sure what something was referring to--we had to just pick what made the most sense to us personally based on what we did know. But this is not really important for this particular review; it's more a discussion of translation in general. The point is, we even had our copy of the translation of Pinocchio that we read, so we were able to refer to it to make sure our translations were accurately conveying what they said happened in the book. We could have even quoted it in the one bit where they reference the original and you see Geppetto taking an ax to the piece of wood and it says ow. If I remember correctly, the book we have has that line as, "Ow! You hurt me!" We went with "That's wood abuse!" because from our own interpretation of the original Pinocchio story, that's 100% in character, and our opinion is that it's funnier.
I'm also very proud of myself for being able to spell Pinocchio without any help.
So this volume actually had a continuous storyline, as opposed to the episodic formula of the last volume, but! it still wasn't really part of the main story. Or was it? Maybe stuff will come up later. They did take the meteorite home with them, after all. And it started out as a very friendly translation, because it was Kotoko and Kuro bantering with each other, and banter is pretty easy for us. Let me tell you about the Momo Ranger thing, though! We kind of automatically sided with Kuro on it, because we're still hung up on the peach vs. pink thing, so we wrote our note about how momoiro actually means pink and not the color peach, and we went on our merry way. Then as we were doing our final read-through, it occurred to Athena that confirmed liar Kotoko would not insist that something is true if it was not. So we looked it up, and sure enough, the Momo Ranger was named after thighs. Welcome to the zany world of Japanese entertainment, everyone. But, lest you think she was only there for the eye candy, this particular pink ranger was a chemical analyst and special weapons engineer...who also happened to have very sexy legs.
Anyway, Kotoko's lovely day with her boyfriend is interrupted by a cry for help from some yokai in a beach town that's being terrorized by a creepy doll with electricity powers. ...And it just occurred to us that maybe we should have had a note on why a wooden doll would have electric powers. Just...read the Sailor Moon Eternal Edition; it's all in there. (Okay, fine. The wood element of the five elements is further divided into wind and lightning powers. We're not sure why. It just is, for all we know. Maybe because trees get hit by wind and lightning a lot.) Anyway, then the perspective shifts and we meet Tae and Cat. We briefly considered keeping the cat's name as Neko, but that would be silly. The reason that cat's name is Cat is that Tae never bothered to give it a name, so if she were speaking English, the cat's name would be Cat, just like it's Neko when she speaks Japanese. It loses all the humor if we leave it in Japanese.
So then we get a whoooooole lot of exposition about this dude Zenta (we're pretty sure his name starts with "ze" because in Japanese, Geppetto is "Zepetto") who hated everybody in the town because of when his grandkid died. And I gotta say, from all the reports about Zenta and Tae, it's really a pretty crummy town. Like, what the heck is wrong with you people? Have you no compassion? Maybe they threw it all away when the tourists came along. They were like, "Hmm, I'm not sure if I like all these rowdy tourists damaging property and littering and whatnot," and the tourists were like, "Bag of money?" and they were like, "Stay as long as you like!" So they gave up their humanity in exchange for filthy lucre, and maybe that's why the quality of tourists is so low, too. Like, seriously, can't the tourists be considerate, too? On the other hand, we've seen how Disneyland is with the growing crowds... But back to the first hand, despite all the obliviousness and world-revolves-around-me-ness, at least we're not usually seeing, for example, a spot on the ride where a bunch of teenagers must have decided they could reach it so they would all stick their gum there. (It happened on Pirates of the Caribbean many years ago. It made me angry.)
Long story short, Zenta's grandson died, so he built a doll to get revenge. And everybody thought it was killing the fish to ruin tourism, and oh my heck, they just talked on and on about this thing. It actually wasn't so bad, though, because they didn't have to repeat much. With Steel Lady Nanase, I felt like they just kept belaboring every single point, and I was like, "Yes! I know! We translated this about five times already!" With this one, every time something got brought up, it was new information. But there was sooooooooo much of it.
That reminds me! This volume came along at a time where our schedule kind of felt like it was in limbo, and kind of felt like there was a lot of doom ahead, so we wanted to finish the translation ASAP. With the average series, we can spend an entire day on a first draft and an entire day on a second draft, and be done with it in two days. For this volume, we spent two entire days (by which I mean working until bedtime) on the second draft. And we were also very tired because we pushed ourselves too hard a few weeks ago and never had a chance to recover properly. So when we read over it one last time before turning it in, there were way more typos than we usually find in a second draft. And I kind of got the feeling that the concentration of them was higher at the parts I know we were working on soon before bedtime. So it was like you could just see the increase in tiredness as you read further. It was fascinating as well as depressing.
Anyway. Kotoko considers all possibilities, so instead of just blowing the doll up, which would be the easy thing to do, they captured it to make sure it wasn't a voodoo doll. And this was another thing that gave us trouble. She was all, "What other use for dolls can you think of, that might involve curses?" And we couldn't phrase it that way, because the answer is "curse doll." And we couldn't just use "voodoo doll" instead, even though that's pretty much what we call dolls like that in English-written entertainment (at least in America), so we did a bunch of research and found out that the technical term for such dolls is actually "poppet." And then I was annoyed that we couldn't use that word, because the readers (at least if they were anything like me before I did the research) would see it and be like "What?" when they're supposed to be like "GASP!" Well, we worked it out somehow, and we learned some neat new things in the process, but oh what a process it was. The meteorite sword thing was tough, too.
So they capture the doll and un-curse it, and voila! the town and the kids that ran over Zenta's grandson and Tae are all saved! Woohoo!
Then Kotoko and Kuro stop in Kameido (we recognized the shrine from Noragami!), and Kotoko has a run in with a Tofu Kozo. I'm...not sure I have anything else to say about that. Oh wait, maybe I do. This is the one that I guess the theme was The Omen? ...And I'm still not sure I have anything else to say about that, except that apparently Kotoko's birthday is in May. Somehow that doesn't surprise me. But that reminds me of my favorite line from when they were talking to Tae! "Boyfriend is such a strong word." It's not a literal literal translation, but it's what we usually say in those circumstances. Or at least, it's what they would say in the cartoons we always watched. The literal version is, "Boyfriend makes it sound so bad." See? You know our version is better. Also, I really like Tae. I just wanted to make sure to say that.
Shirodaira-sensei implied that future In/Spectre stories are also going to have elements from classic works of the past, so I'm interested to see if we're familiar with them! And I think I have now really run out of energy to dedicate to this volume anymore. I really liked it, but boy howdy did it wear us out. We hope you enjoy(ed) it!
Aw, what a fun review. I'm glad we get to work on this series, even if it does destroy us.
This week, we only have one new translation coming out, but it's a cute one! Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight volume seven! And tune in next week, for our review of Forbidden Scrollery volume four!
Today I'm thankful for getting to be on an ANNCast, making good progress on work despite our weirdo schedule, Page continuing to find new and adorable places to sleep, series that reference the original Pinocchio, and Denny's.