But today is Reviewsday! And our review for today is Hatsu*Haru 3! Woohoo! Spoilers ahead!
Hatsu*Haru... I don't know. When did we work on this? A week and a half ago? Two weeks ago? Dang, it was a long time. It's a good series, though. I seem to remember translating this one through a kind of haze ("But isn't that just how life is these days?" Athena adds). I remember now. That was the Friday where I think I really did use up the very last of my energy. Only I didn't because, I didn't pass out, which means I had enough energy to stay conscious. But I was really sleepy by the end of the day, so I was getting close.
That being the case, I also remember feeling a little bit bad while we were doing the edit, because while I felt like the translation sounded pretty good overall, I wasn't sure if we were distinguishing the characters very well. Like, there was a time where each of them was talking extra dramatically, and I think it ended up being the same kind of dramatic for everyone, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. I don't know, I think I was just being overly self-conscious about whether or not we were working the character voice thing or not. And I was too tired to try any harder, so we just did it however it came to mind, which really is the best way to do character voice properly, but only if you're properly understanding the Japanese character voice and not superimposing your own opinion onto things too much. And while I don't think we were necessarily superimposing our own ideas onto the characters, I'm not sure, at our energy levels, if we were understanding them properly. But! from the weakened mental capacity I had at the time we did our final read-over, I think it turned out pretty good.
Anyway, all that rambling bought me enough time to remember what happened in this volume! The fireworks! Come to think of it, maybe we should have translated "taikai" to "festival" in this case, because that's basically what it amounts to. But the point is, it's a hot date spot, and Kai desperately wants to ask Riko, but is convinced she would just blow him off. Meanwhile, adorable little Mickey already has plans to go with his date, and wow the relationship dynamics of teenagers are so confusing. "We're not a couple, we just date all the time." This may also be a thing with young adults. I don't know; it's kind of foreign territory to me. But it did cause for a bit of trouble with the translation, because to say they're "not a couple," Mickey and Kiyo say they're not "tsukiatteru," which literally means "going out together." But that's also literally exactly what they're doing. "We're not 'going out,' we're just going out." Uuuuuugh. Teenagers. But then we just made it "a couple," and we remembered the note we wrote for Missions of Love volume six about how we translated "go out with me" to "be my girlfriend," and we were like, "It fits!" Only we didn't write a note this time, because we're kind of over that. We're just like, "Look, I shouldn't have to explain every single one of our translation choices to you people, okay? Why can't you just trust that we know what we're doing?" I think a few years ago, like when we started Noragami, we were afraid the little upstart Japanese learners would be like, "Nuh-uh!" and we wanted to nip that in the bud. Now we just don't care. We are old and tired.
But the point is, Kai gives Mickey advice, and it's kind of cute. I seem to remember having an opinion about this back when we translated it, something about comfortable footwear. Because as cosplayers, there are times when we decide to get cute shoes to match the costumes and times when we say heck with it we're wearing sneakers, and guess which times our feet were happier? The first time we wore our Siamese cats costumes to Mickey's Halloween Party, I was very persistent in describing our movements as "hobbling." Anyway, it also shows how Kai manages to be so popular with the ladies despite being an obvious player. Everybody likes it when people pay attention.
Fortunately for Kai, Suwa has some class representative business for him and Riko to take care of, and Kai uses this fully to his advantage by stapling as slowly as humanly possible. I can understand Riko's frustration, because when you just want to get a job done and go home... But on the other hand, now that I think of it, if he was going slowly, that just means she would have stapled more packets. Unless she was going slow, too, or he was deliberately holding on to a stack and not letting her get to it, they probably still wouldn't have been there that long, unless the fireworks started early and school got out late. And that's a possibility, because I remember hearing that Japanese kids are typically at school until about six. So maybe it wasn't so far-fetched after all...except that they're usually staying to do extracurricular activities. Oh well. It's not important.
The important thing is oh my gosh these kids are so ridiculously awkward. I was so excited at the end of volume two when Riko figured out that it was Kai who made the bunny apples for her, so it was like, "Come on, you were just talking all day about how he stopped playing around with other girls because he's found 'the one'!" Surely she put two and two together, right? Wrong. Riko's determination that no guy would ever possibly see her as an object of romantic affection is very strong, and it makes me sad. On the other hand, if she got right to the point, we wouldn't have the chance to be constantly amused at Kai's failed attempts to get closer to her, so. And the other thing is, even just with the bunny apples thing, Riko is so stubborn and awkward that she can't say anything about that, either! So it's all very much in character for everyone, and is simultaneously frustrating and delicious. This series, man. But anyway, Kai gets to hold her hand, and he's at least won her over enough that she doesn't immediately shake him off and tell him to leave her alone, so! Kai has his first victory, and I also really like his inner monologue about how he's held hands and much more with so many other women (we were reminded of Naveen from The Princess and the Frog: "Thousands of--uh, other women."), but it never really meant anything until now. Awww, true love<<<3
Meanwhile, Mickey and Kiyo have a similarly adorable and awkward date. It usually drives me nuts when a character keeps trying to be somebody else, but Fujisawa-sensei managed to portray this in a not-so-annoying way, and of course he learned his lesson in the end. And! it wasn't just that he needs to be himself, but that he needs to get out of his own head and pay attention to this girl. Come on, dude. Another thing I really liked about this is that Riko even warned Kiyo about her footwear, so we were like, "But Riko warned her, so shouldn't she be okay?" and then she explained that she ignored the warning, and now it all made sense. I just...I really love it when authors explain bad decisions, instead of just, "I need it to happen this way to move the story along." ...Actually, even if they did give that as a reason, I would be happy that they're self-aware about it. (Like in The Emperor's New Groove: "How did you get here before us?")
And then they kissed and it was soooooo cute, and of course they're an official couple now. I seem to remember having more to say about that, but it was oh so very long ago. So let's just move on.
...What happened after that? Something that plunged Kai into despair. What was it? He yelled at Riko for some reason. Right, he was annoyed because Ayumi wrote that newspaper article exposing their scandalous hand-holding incident. Not that the article bothered him, of course, because what does he care if people knows he's hanging out with a girl? What bothered him is that when his jealous ex-harem went to confront Riko about it, not only did he not get to rescue her, but she told them it didn't mean anything, and he was reminded that he doesn't have a chance when he thought he did. So then he saw Riko talking to Suwa and his jealousy and frustration all exploded out at her, and when he finally came back to his senses he felt so terrible that he literally made himself sick. And it's probably sadistic of me, but I love that. I love that he cares about her so much that the thought of hurting her literally makes him sick.
Meanwhile, Riko is over having dinner with Suwa and his family, and Suwa and his girlfriend have an announcement. Of course, they cut away before we can find out what it is, but we all knew they were getting married, right? I mean, come on. The only other thing it could be is that they were pregnant. Oh wait, it was both! But I'm getting ahead of things.
When Kai finally recovers and goes back to school, he finds out that not only did he not devastate Riko with his bitter insults, but she was now dating some random guy from another school. And that sends him right back into illness. Man, that kid has a weak constitution when it comes to this stuff. But I still think it's cute. And Riko's all, "Sure, I don't actually like this guy, but maybe I could learn to!" and Kai's like, "*@#$&$#^%~!" And he's convinced that he's lost her forever and he's just going to go die now, thanks.
Fortunately, Kai has a very good friend in Takaya. Speaking of Takaya, we did learn that he has a sister! Dun dun DUN! Ayumi our reporter friend was hoping it was the girl he was hiding from the world, but when she found out they were related, she was like, "Oh, so much for that." But then he was alone, holding the picture of him and his sister together at the fireworks, and saying, "A picture is worth a thousand words," or whatever weird cryptic thing it was, and so it seems that maybe his crush is his sister. Is one of them adopted, perhaps? Well, I'm sure Ayumi will get to the bottom of it eventually.
In the meantime, she's tracking Riko and her new boyfriend to make sure he doesn't do anything untoward. I'm kind of astounded at how good a friend she is, despite being almost your typical school paper stereotype. She even restrains herself from taking pictures! Awww! That's friendship. Takaya, on the other hand, has no such compunctions. But that's just because he's a good friend, too! He sees whatsisname pulling all of Kai's old stunts, and he sees Riko not liking it, so he takes a picture and sends it to Kai, because he knows it's the one thing that will snap him out of his funk. And it worked, and it was so cute! We knew, as soon as he took the picture, that he was going to send it to Kai. And then the reveal--just as Ayumi was about to run in and save Riko, and how he holds her back and says it's taken care of. Oh man. So kakko ii.
By the way, Kai's friends are still gossiping behind his back about his true love, and it's still the cutest thing ever. Especially Mickey, how he's so worried, and then Kiyo comes along and he's like, "I'm so sorry!" but he still rushes off to be with his girlfriend. The whole cast of this series is great.
And then! finally! Kai comes thiiiiiiiiiiis close to telling Riko that he loves her. But of course he can't just state it outright. Oh, teenagers, you're so silly. But at least this time, it comes in the form of a pep talk about how there are definitely decent guys out there who will like her. If he's not going to tell her he likes her, the least he could do is help her get over that weird inferiority complex she has. So of course we're anxious to see how she responds, but we're not getting our hopes up about her figuring out what he means.
And last of all, we have a ridiculously wordy afterword about how Fujisawa-sensei overworks herself, which of course ended up in us overworking ourselves, and the vicious cycle continues. What I'm saying is, that afterword was simultaneously extremely relatable and needed to die. But I do like Fujisawa-sensei. And we hope you all enjoy(ed) this volume!
Awww, what a great series! (I'm pretty sure I say this every time. (Doesn't make it any less true.))
Anyway, it looks like we don't have any new releases this week, but tune in on Thursday for our review of My Monster Secret 13!
Today I'm thankful for having time to go to Disneyland with Gaston and Alice, finishing our simulpubs with time to spare, getting to look back on Hatsu*Haru, getting our Kinokuniya order, and it being time to relax.