We also got an e-mail from our Japanese penpal. This time we were especially looking forward to it, because when we contact companies that aren't so familiar with the manga we've translated about work, they ask for samples, and we never know what we should send, so we asked our penpal if he would write something for us. In his last e-mail, he said he'd be happy to, and asked what we'd like him to write. So we told him a basic idea of the kind of thing we wanted, and then, since I know I would want some idea of exactly what to write about if I was asked to write something, we threw out some ideas for themes.
We thought of the ideas like this: We had no idea what kind of content to ask for, so Athena was like, "We could say something like, 'We want the theme to be... friendship,' or something." So we spent a while trying to come up with a good idea for a theme, and friendship seemed to work, since it's a common theme in a lot of our favorite things (Danny Phantom, Teen Titans, Kingdom Hearts). We also asked Celeste (over AIM, since she wasn't living with us just yet) if she had any ideas, and she said "Socks." Only it was more like "socks" because she doesn't use capitalization, or periods if it's obvious where the sentence ends.
So I told our penpal that the theme could be friendship, but if he wanted, he could go with a different theme, like cats or rain or something, and I added as a little joke that we asked our little sister and she said socks. And so of course, he came up with a story involving all four of those. At first I was impressed that he included socks without making it a gag thing, but thinking about it now, in Japan, socks plus rain very easily equals drama.
I would summarize the summary (it was a long summary; we said it could be about so long, and the summary was about one and a half times that), but I haven't asked his permission to post anything on the internet, so I don't want to type it up somewhere so public. I like the idea a lot. But I don't think I'd get in trouble if I said one of the main characters just transferred to a new school and is having a hard time making friends. Our penpal doesn't know about our recent angst session or any of the reasons behind it, so it was kind of trippy.
We keep trying to work on translating Host Club, but progress is very slow. It's really just bad timing I guess, because if we hadn't watched anime first, we would have had plenty of time before Celeste got home. Speaking of which, it's kind of strange watching the Angelique anime, because some of the costumes just scream to be cosplayed, so I'm like, "Ooooh... cosplay..." and then I'm like, "No! You already cosplayed Angelique! And it was kind of a painful experience!" But then... these costumes would be easier... Eh, it wouldn't be the same without a group, anyway.
As I mentioned yesterday in a sort of cryptic way, we had just reached Port Royal in KH2. Well, technically, we were about to reach Port Royal, since we hadn't opened the route yet, but that's where we were in the plot. The first time we played through, it was really cool when we landed there (though we were a little annoyed about it because we had been spoiled about it being in the game), because it all looked just like the movie. And they had the music and everything, and Pete trying to team up with Barbossa seemed like a good way to do things. And then we ran into Will, and he was so in character with his "We must save Elizabeth!" thing that it was just very awesome.
But after that, it quickly started to look like, "We interrupt your regularly schedule Kingdom Hearts to bring you Pirates of the Caribbean!" We weren't so cool with that, because we were playing Kingdom Hearts, dangit. If we wanted Pirates of the Caribbean, we would have put in the DVD. It would have looked a lot better, too. Playing through this time, since we're keeping up with Jiminy's journal, I noticed that while in other worlds Jiminy wouldn't write about stuff that Sora and company wouldn't know about, in Port Royal, there's a whole long paragraph where Jiminy tells everybody about what Barbossa is planning.
The other thing I had a problem with is Sora's sudden obsession with becoming a pirate. He dealt with pirates in KH1, and he didn't seem struck by any sort of crazy ideas about it being cool to be a pirate. And then his first encounter with pirates in KH2 involved him fighting Barbossa's men. And based on just about everything Sora does everywhere else, Sora does not want to be like anybody who is going around killing people. It might be argued that Sora just thought Jack Sparrow was cool, but before he really talked to Jack, you can see him very briefly grinning at the idea of being a pirate.
And then! Then! He let's Jack trick him into staying on the Interceptor! What is that!? Okay, I'll give you that Sora is gullible, but I have vague memories of him using the same trick himself. Maybe I'm imagining it. Ah well.
Cursed pirates being one of the most annoying things to fight in the game did not help the world to be any more interesting. And, now that we're playing through again, that annoyance is joined by the fact that you can't level up Wisdom Form while fighting them. But overall, the animation was really good, especially how Jack moves, and how Barbossa's eyes are so close to Geoffrey Rush's. But Elizabeth's and Barbossa's hair don't work so well in CGI. Not normal video game CGI, anyway.
So then we finished up there, and happily moved on to Agrabah. For some reason Jasmine's voice seemed to be having a hard time getting into character. I wonder if she had seen the Japanese version of the game and was trying to act like Kaori Asoh (Jasmine's Japanese dub voice, who also plays Nurse Angel Ririka, Blossom in Powerpuff Girls, and sings the end theme to Bokura ga Ita). It was really cute to see Jasmine chasing Iago around though.
I really don't have a whole lot to say about Agrabah. Aladdin's limit is cool. The Cave of Wonders obviously did some remodeling, and changed their tourist policy. But I guess it let Sora and the others enter before... except they were with Aladdin then, too. But Pete? Come on. Maybe because the lamp wasn't there anymore it didn't care. The Peddler reminds me why I hate capitalists. Not capitalism, just capitalists.
The Genie was pretty awesome. I like how they're not doing the "semi-phenomenal, nearly cosmic" thing. I have a theory that the genie is able to maintain his funny-ness without Robin Williams in Japan a lot better than in America, because the Japanese dub voice has a better sense of humor than the writers for the Aladdin animated series. I don't know; for some reason he seems funnier to me in Kingdom Hearts than he does in the series. Though there are definitely some good moments in the series.
I also think that the Japanese writers are more careful about keeping everybody in character, because they have to deal with dubbing the movies, and subsequently all the fans who saw the English version and will have their hides if they mess anything up. (Except when it comes to Port Royal, as indicated by the exchange where Jack says go away I don't need you, and Will says how will you sail the ship without us. In the movie, one of my favorite scenes is the one where Jack tells Will that he's fully aware that he can't sail the ship by himself.)
We got interrupted in Agrabah, but we finished there when we got home from Mom's place. Sarah came home with us to spend the night so she could hang out with Celeste, and we're like, "Eh, it's okay that she hasn't even seen the end of KH1; there's no plot stuff where we are." So we finished up at Agrabah and were reminded that there's very important plot stuff that happens after that. Oops.
Today I'm thankful for chocolate cookies with butterscotch chips, little sisters who like to cook, once again having money in our account, stories with socks, and opportunities to work more on Host Club.