The sixth and final volume of Wake Up, Sleeping Beauty. You guys, this was a really good series. We translated this volume while at Disneyland, and it would have been nice if we could have done the whole thing by Sleeping Beauty's Castle, especially on the bench where we were facing a painting of the scene where Sleeping Beauty wakes up, but it was just too popular a spot. Also, despite being surrounded by crowds and distractions (probably the worst distractions we've ever had at the Disneyland Office), this volume did make us cry several times. Oh man, it's so good.
First we have some dealings with Harumichi... Oh wait, first there was the little extra story about Kanato! Oh my goodness, little Kanato. Morino-sensei is so good at breaking your heart but still keeping it lighthearted and funny. And Kanato's opinions about being in a girl's body were pretty hilarious. Oh, but poor Kanato. I'm glad I have a really hopeful belief about the afterlife, because otherwise, I think this series would just kill me.
Was it right after this that Morino-sensei talked about the covers? Of course she didn't tell us the meanings of the flowers, so of course we had to look them up! Our editor was really happy that we did, so we hope all the other readers were, too! The only problem was, we couldn't remember who was on each cover! But that wasn't really a problem, because we didn't know what the flowers meant until we got home. The Mirei cover was on the top of a stack of manga we had in the office, and we already knew what blue roses meant from recently translating the final volume of Beasts of Abigaile, where they just tell you. We still looked it up to confirm, though. But man, when you look at the meanings of the flowers and you look at all the covers, it's just like, "~~~~~!!!" We did have a bit of confusion, because Shizu is on volume three, which seemed like an odd cover for her to be on, as the heroine. We guess they're on covers in the order that we really meet them, so first is Tetsu, then Harumichi, because he's the personality that Tetsu got to know and fall in love with first (we were highly amused to discover the meanings of those particular flowers), and then Shizu. We had to remind ourselves of the continuity, though, because we were like, "Wait, but wasn't Shinobu first?" No, Shinobu wasn't until after the pool incident, which was definitely Shizu. But Mirei's was the best.
But back to Harumichi. My favorite thing about this was getting to see what he really looks like. I think it would be interesting to go back and reread the series now that we know what all the ghosts look like. I hope it won't make the dialogue feel off... But we usually translate it by the personality of the writing and not the look of the character...I think. I mean, facial expressions are important, but there was the time Shizu smiled like Harumichi, after Harumichi was gone, and she really did look just like him, so she probably did before, too. I don't know; this is getting confusing.
Anyway. The best. Was when Sakura walked straight up to Chihiro and said, "I'm looking for this man. Have you seen him?" And Harumichi tries to sneak away, but Chihiro puts a death grip on his wrist. That was awesome. Sakura is a great character. ...Interrupted thought, but Athena just pointed out the possibility that, since Chihiro knew who Mirei really was, maybe he drew those picture badly on purpose. Verrrrry interesting. But yes, Sakura is a great character. I love how she just rolls with everything. "Wait, you can see ghosts? Lucky..." "That's an unusual reaction." Really, I think they could have told her about Shizu being possessed and she would have been okay with it, but I guess that wouldn't have been fair to Harumichi.
So Sakura is looking for Harumichi because her mother still insists that he must be alive somewhere. It's especially tragic when you realize her first husband already died. That poor woman has no luck with men. On the other hand, it's good that nobody knew Harumichi was dead, because then the neighbors would have all thought she was a serial killer or something. Or maybe our skepticism about neighborhood gossips is just the result of having recently translated a volume of In/Spectre where the neighbors and their gossip were absolutely horrible. Oh, but Harumichi. We kind of almost think maybe there was some karma involved with his death, after he went and told Sakura's real father that he was going to make her forget all about him. On the other hand, I like to think the universe is kind enough that it would have first given him a chance to realize what a dumb thing that was to say. Anyway, as members of a blended family, we think it would have been better for him to just try to be her friend instead of her dad. Not like the "cool parent" that lets kids get away with everything, but, like, a responsible grownup friend. The kind of friend who helps you to be a better person. The point is, he shouldn't worry so much about what she calls him and he should just care about her without labels.
Anyway, when they were wandering around trying to prove to Sakura that Harumichi really did care about her, we saw them cross the bridge, and we saw the sign by the river, and we were like, "Yup. He drowned." We didn't predict that it was trying to save another girl, until there was a girl floating flowers down the river, and then her mom goes, "Sakura! It's time to go!" and we were like, "Yup." I will say, though, that one thing Morino-sensei is great at is slipping foreshadowing in there so casually that we hardly even notice it. I'm still worried about the time Tetsu tells Chihiro not to kick the ball any old which way. In the Japanese version, it was more like, "Don't kick it in random directions." Even though we had predicted that Chihiro could see ghosts, we didn't realize until Chihiro told the story that he was actually kicking the ball to ghosts. So subtle.
So without revealing Harumichi's presence, they convince Sakura that he really is dead, but now, even though all she wanted this whole time was to settle the whole matter, she's actually pretty sad about it. And to help her feel better, Shizu initiates her very first slumber party ever! And Sanae's reaction to it was adorable, too. I can definitely see Shizu being like that in the future. That's when Tetsu goes out to talk to Harumichi in the middle of the night, and we have a very bittersweet scene as Harumichi spends his last moments on earth. Oh, the feels...!
But now the remaining ghosts know that the end is near. I mean, they knew before, but now they really know. So Mirei ambushes Tetsu again! and explains the whole deal about Shizu being empty, but she's almost full now. And she just needs to learn one more thing before she can be a fully realized human being. And it's Tetsu's job to make that happen. This is where things got to be a little bit tricky for us as translators, because they actually used the title of the series as the title for the chapter, and Morino-sensei even said she chose the title based on this concept. But the Japanese title is actually "Good morning, little Briar-Rose," and Mirei tells Tetsu that the important thing for Sleeping Beauty was to have someone say good morning! So we weren't sure if it would be better to use the Japanese title or the American title for the chapter...so we left a note to the editor and let her decide. There are some perks to not having the final call.
Anyway. Tetsu and Shizu go on a date. It's the cutest date ever. And the dolphin experience looks awesome, and I want to do it. Shizu's reaction to the dolphin kiss had us going, "Oooohhhh nooooooooo!!!!" We felt bad that she was too upset to kiss the dolphin herself, but we figure she's from a wealthy family, so she can always go back if she decides she wanted to after all. And then Tetsu gives Shizu a birthday present, which is such a sweet and thoughtful birthday present, and I also wonder how he carried it around all day without her noticing. Athena says she thinks he had a backpack. But when he gives it to her, she realizes that she's in love with him, and the cup of her soul fills to overflowing! Awwwwwwww!!!
And I have to tell you, this was such a frustrating thing. I think it's great that Japanese has a word for the standard all-around love as well as one for the romantic "I want to date you" kind of love, and I really, really, really wish we had one for each in English, too. We'd been using "like" and "love" interchangeably, because in the context it really worked better that way, but now Shizu has a name for the emotion that completed her, and it's not the same as love. Incidentally, we were sort of having this problem in Waiting for Spring, too, but for different reasons. We've kind of been ruing the day we let a Fruits Basket fan convince us that "I like you" was the wrong way to have Hatsuharu confess his love to Isuzu, because we've been using "I love you" ever since, and now we're getting to situations where it's really tripping us up. Fortunately, in the case of Waiting for Spring, we were able to email our editor and get some things changed before it got to be a real problem. Anyway, we went with "love" versus "being in love," because those are fairly different in English, so we think it's okay. It may not seem like a big difference at first glance, but it really can be, so then it turns into a great example of why we should be more careful with our wording choices, and how you can't just take a bunch of words from a dictionary and throw them at the page and say, "Look, dialogue!" But I digress.
These are the things we think about while also crying about how beautiful the scene is.
But now there's a problem. There's no more room inside Shizu for the ghosts, so all her friends are gone. I still felt really bad for her when we were working on the translation, but now that I think about it, yeah. The only friends she's had for years and years and years are now gone from her life. That's really tragic. I can totally understand why Tetsu would be like, "Come on, you want me to replace all of them?" But anyway, this chapter. It was just so...you know? I just...I don't know if I have anything to say about it, except that I loved it. Of course, it would have been awful without the rest of the series first, so if you haven't read the series and you're like, "I'll just read that super awesome chapter," stop right there, because context is everything. ...Okay, come to think of it, it wouldn't have been awful. Just really weird. I think you probably could even follow what's happening, as long as you're the type of person to say, "He's referring to some people she knew before, so I guess they're gone now," and you don't feel a need to know more about them. This is getting rambly.
Anyway. Tetsu finally found Shizu, and she wakes up and sees him, and he's asleep and he wakes up, and they say good morning, and they're so cute. And he's not able to magically fix the fact that her friends are gone, but he's able to be there for her when she needs a shoulder to cry on...and now I'm tearing up just remembering it. He tells her that he's sad, too, and that tells her that she's not alone. She was alone when she was a little girl, until Shinobu came along. Now that Shinobu is gone, she's not alone because she has Tetsu. And I'm with Mirei--that's all you need. Someone to be there with you. And it's just such a good series, you guys.
Finally, we have an epilogue, where Shizu and Tetsu go to visit Kanato's mother. One of the main themes seems to be how we don't want to be forgotten...which really had us wondering if Morino-sensei is a Final Fantasy fan, because death and being forgotten is a huge theme of Type-0. And also how our memories help us not to be so lonely. I love that Shizu is putting mementos of the ghosts in her treasure box.
And that reminds me!!!! Before the epilogue! The cutest thing! When the ghosts realized the time was coming for them to go, they got together and made a little goodbye present for Tetsu and Shizu, and it was soooooooooooo sweet!
But anyway, the important thing is that they go to visit Tetsu's mother in the hospital, and we learn two very important things. Most importantly, we learn that the very first Shizu to make contact with Tetsu was, in fact, the original Shizu. Sanae was more right than she knew when she said that Tetsu was the first thing Shizu had shown any interest in. And I'm really glad to know that it was Shizu herself that initiated the contact. I guess Tetsu's right in that it didn't really matter, but it's just nice to know.
And second, we learn that Shizu and Tetsu had a dream about the future, where they went to visit his parents and Akira was conscious. When we first translated it, we were like, "Oh, that's a nice dream." And it was extra nice that the last panel seemed to be showing her finger twitching, because otherwise it would be like, "What the heck! How can you leave us hanging like that!!!!" But then we came home, and we saw the blue roses on the cover with Mirei on it, and that's how we knew that everything was going to be okay. And we're just so happy for everyone...except for Kanato, who had to die tragically young. I'm glad we believe in a resurrection and that families can be together forever, because I just totally killed the nice feeling from the dream about Akira. But I didn't want to neglect poor little Kanato! I'm sure he'll be fine.
Anyway. This was a beautiful series from start to finish, and I just...I can't say anything that would do it justice. I'm really glad that we got to translate it, and we hope you all enjoyed it.
We read a review of this volume where the reviewer says Morino-sensei kind of leaves you hanging about Akira, but I just want to tell that reviewer to read the translation notes and go check the covers. And usually this is where I do a little more gushing, but there's so much gushing under the cut that I really just can't add much to it. This series was amazing, you guys. If you haven't checked it out yet, I would definitely recommend checking it out!
Now! As for this week. Oh my goodness, I think we have six new releases! Six!! That's like a million! ...Or six. But it's still a lot! In alphabetical order, we have Forbidden Scrollery 5, Fruits Basket another 2, Land of the Lustrous 7, Nekogahara 5, Sailor Moon Eternal Edition 2, and Waiting for Spring 9! I think that's the most releases we've ever had all at once! Surely there's something on that list to like!
Also I think we're going to need to go back to doing two reviews a week, so tune in on Tuesday next week, for our review of Fire Force 12!
Today I'm thankful for finally finishing our Fire Force translation, making it to the post office today, having a nice big pizza for dinner tonight, getting to translate Wake Up Sleeping Beauty, and getting to look back on that beautiful beautiful series.