But that's okay, because! we have a volume of Sailor Moon to review!! Tadah!! So here it is! Spoilers ahead!
We still have a pretty thick backlog of reviews to write--four, including this one, and if we wanted to write them in order of when we translated them, we should write two more first, but since we tend to translate Sailor Moon out of order, we figured it was okay to review it out of order, too. Especially because we need to get to work translating the next volume, and if we don't write the review first, we'll have a much harder time separating the relevant information for each volume into the proper reviews. So here we are!
As for what I meant by "translating Sailor Moon out of order," because the books are soooooo thick, a lot of the time what happens (as I'm sure you've noticed in past reviews) is that we'll start a volume and then have to do a ton of other work while we're still in the middle of it. This volume actually looked like we might get to work on it exclusively for a while, but our family had other ideas. We finished the first half of it right before our sister and her kids showed up for a trip to Disneyland. We meant to get back to it fairly soon, but we had other assignments that needed to get done (including a surprise rush job that shouldn't have been a surprise or a rush job (we forgot to put it on our schedule, is what I'm saying)) and another sister bring her kids for another trip to Disneyland. I suppose it's possible that we could have told our sisters sorry, we can't go to Disneyland with you, but one of them was here on our birthday, so of course we're going to go to Disneyland instead. And for the other one, we only went part of the day. But this is neither here nor there; what's done is done.
As a result, when our editor finally got back to us to ask about the second half of the volume, hoping to get it by the end of the week, all we could do was sheepishly reply that we had a bunch of other obligations, and we'd do the best we could, which ended up meaning turning in one chapter a week until we finally got them all in. We admit that we blame Saint Young Men for most of that part. At any rate, we're hoping to do much better with the next volume. And I'm sorry for boring you with things that don't even involve the series or its translation.
So about that translation! This time, we started the Dream Arc, and we were super excited about it, because, since we'd seen Crystal through the Infinity Arc, and we'd seen the Mouvement Finale of the recent musical set, we had a pretty good idea of how things went down in the manga for the whole series except for the Dream Arc. We hadn't read it in over a decade, either, so this was going to be almost new territory! And we adore Helios, so there's that, too. Which brings up an interesting bit of trivia we discovered! When Helios introduced himself to Usagi and Mamoru and started to explain everything, we figured it was time we wrote a translation note about where his name came from. I mean, I'm pretty sure here in the West, we all know it's the personification of the sun, right? Like Selene is the personification of the moon. But we like to double check, because we've seen what can happen when people are too sure of themselves without bothering to confirm things, and when we Googled it (Helios name origin) in Japanese, we got a few links with people asking where it came from...and that was it. At Yahoo Answers, somebody even came along and said, "I always figured it was derived from Elysium." So in Japan, very few people know!
That means we had to do a little more digging to make sure our theory was correct, and it turns out that the katakana spelling of Helios doesn't match the spelling of Pegasus's alterego. What! Have we been wrong all along!? ...Well, I don't know how we thought of it...Athena thinks we found the name of a Japanese store or something...but we determined that the Helios in Sailor Moon spells his name (with katakana) based on the French pronunciation! (And our editor keeps telling us to knock it off with the French. Le sigh.) After that, I was tempted to put an accent mark on it, like the French spelling, but by then we'd felt like we'd messed with the names enough already.
And let me tell you about that! For the Infinity Arc, I remember writing in a review that we didn't care about consistency with the previous version anymore, and we were just ready to change everything, darnit! Well, our editor wasn't as okay with this approach, so we had quite a bit of back and forth to see if Athena and I could really justify our new spellings of all the Death Busters terms. I mean, normally I don't think we would have cared that much, but we were just SO SURE that there had to be some word that she based thyoron off of, and that a straight romanization wasn't good enough. And we were also sure that hoste wasn't quite correct, either (sorry, previous translator!). So we fought pretty hard on that, and we also came across some reviews of the Eternal Edition that were like, "Ugh, we finally had consistent names for everyone and everything with the manga and the anime matching, but now they have to change it all!" And we weren't completely unsympathetic to our editor or the fans' plight in this regard, so we were hoping that with the Dream Arc, since it's based on the kinds of things mythology nerds already know all about, that we wouldn't get ourselves too worked up about "correcting" the spellings.
We underestimated ourselves. I mean, we already suspected, based on the way people were talking at the Sailor Moon anime panel at Anime Expo last year (2018), that we would at least want to change Fish Eye back from Fish's Eye. Even if we didn't have a legitimate reason to, we wanted to, because "Fish's Eye" doesn't sound nearly as nice as Fish Eye. I think some translators have this idea that because manga is a written medium instead of an audio one, it doesn't matter how things sound, and since this particular translator couldn't have predicted that they would re-dub the whole series, it stands to reason that the way something sounds when spoken wouldn't have factored in to the translation, and besides, the other two members of the Amazon Trio have apostrophe-esses, too. But we're opinionated, and we demanded change! Thankfully, our editor okayed that one (thanks in part to a blog post by Tuxedo Unmasked, which kind of makes us shake our fists at the rivalry, but it's really not a contest).
The other one we had changed was Elysion to Elysium. The katakana spelling of the name matched the Greek, and that's what the previous edition went with. We really weren't too attached one way or the other, but it kind of bugged us when we checked a Sailor Moon wiki about it and it said that Elysion "is similar to" (or something like that) Elysium. We're like, "No, it is Elysium!" Eryushion is the Japanese word for the Greek place, Elysium is the English word. Why the English version changed it from Elysion to Elysium we don't know (probably something to do with Latin), but we wanted people to know that it wasn't just a similar name--it was the same name. And our editor was okay with it, so it got changed to Elysium.
Our editor was less okay with our idea of changing the spelling of Nehellenia. Apparently the evidence is not convincing enough that she's based on the Celtic goddess Nehalennia, so we opted for consistency. I am a little disappointed with that one, mostly because I think the "Nehalennia" spelling is prettier than "Nehellenia." But a line had to be drawn somewhere with all this name-change frenzy, and Nehellenia was it. But I think that a goddess of sailors who guides the spirits of the dead to an island paradise is probably a good inspiration for the rival of Sailor Moon and the priest of the afterlife paradise of Elysium.
We did change all of Palla Palla's spells, though, as I'm sure was obvious to anyone who's read both versions. And the new versions of those aren't even close to what they were in the previous edition. Fortunately, that part hasn't been animated for Crystal yet, so there can at least be some part of the anime where it matches. We wanted to make sure to make them punny, but that should be obvious, too. Also obvious: some spell names were more successful than others.
Now let's get to the story! Aaaaahh, I love it! I remember back when we were first getting into Sailor Moon, everyone hated Chibi Usa, but she has grown on us since then, and her love story is super adorable. Let's see, it starts with the eclipse...and there was a song! We actually put a surprising number of rhymes (or attempts at rhymes) into this volume. And the Dead Moon Circus came into town, which of course had us thinking about the song from the SuperS musical. That reminds me, Pegasus kept repeating the description of the chosen maiden, and those lines are in Moonlight Romance verbatim, so we were singing that song to ourselves a lot, too. That's when we decided to look up who played Pegasus in the musicals, and apparently it was Kappei Yamaguchi! What! How did we not know that?
So because of the eclipse and ensuing crowds, Chibi Usa can't go back to the future, so they go buy kaleidoscopes instead. ...We later learned that Tuxedo Unmasked has an article about the significance of that, so we did some poking around and weren't able to find anything. (We couldn't just read his article, because we don't want to copy it.) You win this round, Unmasked. (Still not a contest.) I just remember thinking that scene was really cute. And the Usagis were all, "They're just begging us to buy them!" and then later Pegasus reveals that that was true! So that was neat.
Being the Dream Arc, this is where we learn all the Guardians' dreams. I remember having some thoughts on that, but I don't remember what they were... Anyway, I do remember doing a lot of research in an attempt to find a specific European legend about getting dragged into mirrors. I'm still convinced it must exist, but we must have been Googling all the wrong keywords, because we couldn't find anything. The best we got is to cover mirrors after there's a death in the home, and there might have been something about mirrors stealing your soul. At any rate, 1)it's sad but adorable how Mamoru cannot say no to these girls, and 2)what in the heck kind of bedtime stories are you telling this girl, Serenity? The especially baffling thing about it is that the stories are too scary for Usagi. So does it mean she got really into the occult after she got more powerful, or was Chibi Usa lying about who told her these stories, or...maybe once she grew out of her fear, Usagi realized she could handle it and thought that telling Chibi Usa these stories from a young age would help her not to be scared? Who knows?
Meanwhile, we have the Dead Moon Circus getting ready to move forward with their evil plan. And it starts with the Amazon Trio, who all go out and seduce one of the Sailor Guardians. Incidentally, I think we ended up not writing a note about this, so I'll go into it here. When they're in their animal forms, Ves Ves calls each of the Trio by a Japanese name (which of course means the same thing as their English name), which is just to say that there is a distinct boundary drawn between their animal forms and their human forms. But I guess that doesn't really matter, because even after he turns human, Fish Eye infiltrates Ami's home as a fish. We felt pretty accomplished when we identified what kind of fish he was...or looked like, anyway.
But more importantly, we're finally getting to learn more about each of the Sailor Guardians. I don't think we're the only ones who noticed that they only really get to be in about one chapter per arc, if that. The Inners were pretty much background characters for most of the Infinity Arc, it was kind of sad. So it seems like each of these chapters is expanding on the theme brought up in the Labyrinth, which is that maybe they have lives that don't revolve around Usagi. Of course the answer to that question is no, they really don't. But on the bright side, they can still pursue their talents and interests on their quest to serve Usagi better. It sounds like the existence of Sailor Moon is this horrible dictator hanging over them, but when you look at it another way, it means they have a place to belong, and an important role to play, which does good for the entire world. And they're not really being forced to do anything, either. So basically it just boils down to the fact that if you want to be a force for good in the world, you have to prioritize.
I did kind of want to go into Ami's story more, because I don't think the feelings of a child with divorced parents get explored very much, and it's a topic I can relate to. I definitely related to her nightmare when she saw everyone she cared about leaving her and going off to have extra happy lives without her. And I also understand that that's a fear that tends to get amplified out of proportion, so, like Ami, you just have to recognize that those people really do care about you.
Then there was the Mercury Harp! Oh my gosh, you guys, we spent so much time trying to figure out if it was a harp or a lyre. See, in the previous edition, Ami sees it and goes, "A lyre?!" The Japanese word is "tategoto," which means "standing koto," and can refer to a harp or a lyre. Our thinking is that when anyone sees a standing stringed instrument like that, unless they're super educated in harps and/or lyres, they would just assume it's a harp, because in most cases, laymen mistake lyres for harps anyway. Of course, Ami's the brains of the operation, so if anyone knew the difference it would be her (or Michiru or Setsuna, I'm thinking), so now we had to find out if it would be reasonable for her to see the harp and go, "A harp?!" or if we should keep lyre, since the lyre is the symbol of Hermes aka Mercury. And oh man, it was intense. We Googled images of harps and lyres, and we looked up descriptions of the differences, and here's the thing. If you cover up half of the Mercury Harp, it looks like a harp, and if you cover the other half, it looks like a lyre. Our thinking is that the design really is based on a lyre, but that wing there makes it look like a harp. So it could go either way. Of course, Mercury Harp sounds way better than Mercury Lyre in English or Japanese, so we're absolutely not changing that one. And fortunately, there's a woman in our church who actually plays the harp, so we were able to show her a picture and say, "Would you call that a harp or a lyre?" and she said harp, so harp is what we went with!
Mars Dream was interesting, because in the anime, Rei is the one with all the things she wants to be in the future, but in this she's like, "I dunno, I just figured I'd take over my grandpa's shrine." Minako's plan to have her marry a guy to do all the work for her was pretty hilarious. We wanted to write a note about Rei's line where she says something about having pledged her chastity to Princess Serenity, because we think that's a thing Shinto priestesses do...but based on our research, it's only sometimes, or only ones at certain shrines? When we Googled to see if miko have to be virgins, the results indicated that a lot of Japanese people Google the same thing, like maybe there are a lot of guys who are interested in dating priestesses. And all the articles written to answer their question seemed to be saying, "Not necessarily." But anyway, we think the reason that line shows up specifically in Sailor Mars chapter is that she's comparing her service to Princess Serenity with her service as a priestess, and not because Sailor Moon requires all her Guardians to be single forever, but we didn't have enough information to write a note. We might still find something and add it before the volume goes to print, but we'll see. At any rate, you've read this, so now you know our theory.
This is also the chapter where Phobos and Deimos first take their human forms, so that's neat. They're awfully cute for girls named Fear and Terror.
Jupiter Dream is where we learn that, in the manga, Makoto's the one with too many dreams to choose from. The biggest challenge with this chapter was Hawk's Eye, though, because oh my goodness the herbs! Gah, so many obscure plants! And they all seemed to have so many different names! And when we looked them up at medicinal herb sites, their uses were different than the ones listed! Aaaaaaahhhh! I think we managed to reconcile all the information, though. It makes me tired thinking about it. Oh, but the cutest part about this chapter is that it's the one where Chibi Usa is starting to realize that she's in love with Helios, so she goes to Makoto for advice.
Which! Reminds me! Oh my goodness, at the end of Mars Dream! Chibi Usa's starting to realize that it's much more likely that Helios has been searching for Usagi all this time, so she gets all bummed out and runs away, which is understandable (and I really admire the fact that she at least realized she was being silly, but sometimes you just have to run away and sort out your emotions for a while), but then! Pegasus comes to cheer her up, and he kisses her! And he transforms into human form! Aaaaaaahhh! ...I mean, I don't really have a whole lot more to add to that than <33333.
Anyway, pretty much the first three guardians' dream chapters followed the same pattern: This is my dream! But is it really? I'm not sure, but at the very least I'm not sure this guardian schtick is helping me get there. Enemy attack! Oh no, I can't transform! If only one of the Outer Senshi were here to save the day... Tiny person appears! Snap out of it! Of course! Being a Guardian was my real dream all along! Here, have a crystal! Now I'm more powerful than ever!
Oh yeah, and they each get an item representing their planet, which is pretty cool. Researching the symbolism of oak leaves took us more time than we felt was reasonable, too. I mean, it seems like there should just be a website with a list of plants and what they symbolize, right? Well, there wasn't. Or we didn't do the right keyword search to find it.
But then we get to Venus Dream, and the whole pattern changes, which is good, because if it had gone on too long, it would have been trite. Actually, I really love this whole story, to the point where I was a little annoyed that it was interrupted at a very dramatic part by a whole chapter about the Outers. It's like, "Okay, yeah, I get it, everybody loves them, but Minako is about to die here!!!" And they'd just smashed Artemis with a boulder!
...But I'm getting ahead of myself. Minako is really frustrated that she's the only one who still can't transform, and I guess the Amazoness Quartet have been spying on them, because they decide this is the perfect opportunity to change up their own plans and make things more exciting. They host an idol audition! And for some reason, none of the auditioners questioned the fact that the audition was more of a survival game challenge. The MCs said they were acting out a story, so I guess that's enough explanation for even the more skeptical auditioners to be like, "Well, okay, if you say so..." And it was so sad, too, because Minako got scouted for the audition, and being an idol has always been her dream! But it's obviously just a Dead Moon trap. Awww, poor Minako. You'll get your big break someday!
So she goes all by herself, even though she can't transform, because she's supposed to be the leader and she's useless, and meanwhile the others can't stop talking about Haruka this, Michiru that, Setsuna the other thing. I'm actually kind of with her on that one. I mean, I agree that the Outers are pretty cool and mostly very competent (they were just as guilty of conclusion-jumping in the Infinity Arc as anybody else), but they aren't there anymore, so maybe try to figure out how you can get on without them. But unfortunately, the Dead Moon is too powerful for her to handle on her own without powers, so the other Inners come to help...and get captured. And then Minako almost gets brainwashed! ...I kind of liked that part, because it was just like in the musical.
But she snaps out of it, and gets dropped through a trapdoor. But it's okay, because Artemis saves her! And this is the most painful cliffhanger I've ever seen, because the only way he can tighten his grip enough to stop her from falling is to dig his claws into her arm, and ow. Just...ow. Still, I gotta admit, it's impressive to see a housecat holding up a human like that. And then a boulder falls on him and the chapter's over.
But we don't get to see what happens, because apparently now is the best time to check in on the Outers. I mean, it probably really was, and I don't really hate the chapter. I was just a little annoyed at the timing of it. But for dramatic purposes, it works very well. This is another chapter that had a ton of exposition, and really had us struggling to find good, natural wording. We think we mostly succeeded. We actually got into a fight over that random guy's commentary on Haruka's Ferrari. It was late, and we were tired. But more importantly, Michiru's dress in that next scene was gorgeous.
Oh my goodness, when we looked up the tableware brand names for that note, our jaws dropped at the Lilaque prices. Like, wow. First of all, what could possibly be so great about tableware that you would pay thousands of dollars for it, and second of all, why did you not move all of that stuff to storage as soon as Hotaru started crawling? Yeah, yeah, she was an agreeable baby, but even the most agreeable babies can break stuff. It's kind of what they do. But little Hotaru was super cute.
The chapter was an interesting reversal of the other chapters, in that all of the Inner Senshi were thinking about their dreams for the future, while the Outers were commenting on how basically they were living their dreams, but it was such an ideal life, that they felt like it couldn't in reality last for very long. On the other hand, even in their ideal life, there was still a bit of sadness when they thought that the Inners didn't need their help anymore. Everybody likes to know that the people they care about care about them, too, after all. Anyway, long story short, Sailor Saturn comes along to awaken Hotaru, and then Hotaru gives crystals to all the other Outers, and the end. (I wonder how often anyone thinks about the fact that technically Jupiter is a planet of the outer solar system, too...)
So we go back to Minako's audition! She's still hanging from that cliff! But suddenly! it's not cat claws holding her up, it's a human hand! Artemis has taken human form! What!! I really liked how that was done, even if I'm not sure how it really works. And he was all, "I figured out why you couldn't transform. It was my fault!" and we were all, "Awwwwwww!" So then Minako transforms and takes care of Xenotime and Zeolite...but the Amazoness Quartet is still too powerful! Dun dun DUN!!
Finally, we get a short scene with the Usagis, and even though this is like the main overarching storyline of the whole thing, I haven't mentioned it at all! Mamoru is dying! OH NO!!! And that also reminds me of Usagi and Chibi Usa switching sizes. I don't think I have anything to say about that, but I thought it was a fun story. Anyway, having been to the doctor, Mamoru knows there's a mysterious shadow on his lungs, and then he starts coughing up black blood, and he's all, "I know that can't be healthy." It's typical Mamo-chan, though, because there he is basically dying, and instead of being really scared about his own fate, he's all, "I can't believe I'm holding her back again!" It's really very cute. Meanwhile, Usagi sees that something bad is happening to him, and she eventually finds out it's because of The Enemy, which (in her mind) means in an indirect way, it's her fault. So Mamoru's all thinking he can't be with Usagi because he's holding her back, and Usagi's all worried that she can't be with Mamoru or he'll keep getting hurt, and it's really very sweet, but as a reader who's not really going through what they're going through, I'm just like, "No, you love each other! You must stay together!" ...And apparently Usagi feels the same way, because somehow or other she manages to catch Mamoru's curse, and by the end of this volume, she's coughing up black blood, too. Dun dun DUN!
And despite him being my very favorite character, I've said hardly anything about Helios at all! Well, part of that is because almost all he does is show up to give exposition. He speaks formally and uses words like "maiden," so we figured it was okay to have him talk like...well, the image I had in my mind was a knight from, like, some kind of Arthurian tale or something? The point is, it was okay to have him sound a little more like an essay than normal, and also, because we wanted him to sound just a little fancy, we were able to access less common vocabulary to make sure his lengthy explanations weren't too too repetitive. ...I'm not sure we succeeded in that, but when we read through his life story again, it all sounded pretty good to us.
Nehellenia was there doing stuff, too. Mostly just reminding her minions who's in charge and what the plan is. But, like, it's the same plan as always, so that was nothing new. The hard part was dealing with her commentary on the White Moon and its relationship to the Earth. This series has a lot of exposition, you guys. And exposition is hard.
But! overall, this volume was a lot of fun, and we hope you enjoyed reading it as much as we enjoyed translating it!
Oh man, it's a shame we had to stop writing reviews, because we are hilarious (modest, too!). Maybe we'll start it up again, but I'm sad to report, I think it's too late to write reviews for the final two volumes of the Eternal Edition. We do have a review for volume eight, though!
At any rate, that was a great pick-me-up after that tragic season finale.
Today I'm thankful for really fun Sailor Moon reviews, little details in the Miraculous season three finale that keep the hope alive, knowing people who can identify harps and lyres, evolving two more Pokemon (we finally have a Meowstic!), and finishing our main work quota today.