And despite the fact that it's the weekend, so people are out doing stuff and therefore not glued to LJ as they kill time or procrastinate other things, thus making readership low, we've decided it's time to continue our 100th Translation Commemorative Multi-Part Series! Tadah!
Ai Yori Aoshi
Ai Yori Aoshi was the second series TokyoPop gave us to translate, but the first one that was published for some reason. I wasn't around when we were assigned it, but Athena tells me it went like this (parentheses are me):
"Jake came up to me, and asked, 'What do you know about Ai Yori Aoshi?' (We had seen four episodes a few months previous, because our beloved Soichiro Hoshi♥ (Goku in Saiyuki) played the main character.) I replied, 'It's kind of like Love Hina, but more boring.' And he said (this is partially recreated, but she knows the end for sure), 'Oh. Well, you and your sister can translate the first three volumes for us, and then you'll each have fifteen hundred dollars. So there.' And that was how we came to be the translators for Ai Yori Aoshi."
As a note, according to our original contract with TokyoPop, we got paid $500 per book, and we had already been assigned the first three volumes of Fruits Basket. For those of you doing the math.
Fortunately, a series is naturally less boring when you're translating it than when you're watching it, and of course the manga is almost inevitably better. Even so, it took us a while to get into Ai Yori Aoshi. I think it was volume nine that Kaoru and Aoi were finally completely over their, "Oh, I hope Kaoru-sama still likes me..." "Man, I hope Aoi-chan doesn't hate me..." I mean, come on! There's one part where Kaoru's club at college is doing a cafe thing for the Bunkasai, and Aoi is in the cafe helping out, and Kaoru's wandering around campus advertising, and they're both freaking out because they couldn't see the other one and they were afraid the other one hated them. Logic, people.
In Kaoru's case, it was especially dumb, because she was obviously his stalker. But anyway, I have to not rant about that too much because I don't want to have too many spoilers.
By volume nine, they have that all sorted out and start getting into all the intrigue and stuff going on behind the scenes, and that's when it gets really interesting. We had started to like it before that; I think Mayu's appearance is what did it, but it really does help to have more characters, with a story like that.
Translation-wise, this series was pretty challenging at first, because first it was one of our first professional translations so we were more worried about getting things right, and then in volumes two and three the characters do stuff like going out drinking, and we don't know the right idioms and stuff for going out drinking, obviously, because we don't do it ourselves. And at the time, we had been at BYU and not really watching normal TV for a while.
One of our favorite AYA memories is when we went back to TokyoPop the winter break after our internship. Jake gave us each a copy, because, like with Fruits Basket, he wanted us to finish it superfast so he could show copies to all the bookstores and make them want to sell them, so they already had it printed. Athena was holding hers and commenting on how thick it was, because she likes thick books, but Jake didn't know that, so when he overheard her, he interrupted with, "I hope you're not complaining about the length, because half the words in there are 'Kaoru-sama.'" So true. And because of that, we can now finish a volume of AYA in about five hours. On the translation difficulty scale, we give it a two. Unless they're out somewhere with a bunch of signs, in which case it goes up to a five.
I was thinking I might do this report without mentioning the nudity, so people would go check it out without any bias against it, but that wouldn't be fair. We don't want anyone to be unpleasantly surprised, and the nudity gets started pretty early on (Kou Fumizuki (the author) isn't really that great with comedy, but standard in many harem comedies is the "bath scene in which you find the two main characters in questionable positions"). It didn't really bother us that much, I think because naked girls aren't that big a deal to us, being girls ourselves, and it's not pornographic. Just a little excessive. It gets toned down after the first volume until Chika shows up with her friends, and then they're often in a locker room naked, because of course they're in swim club.
Our favorite character, as if you even needed to ask, is Kaoru. One thing that very nice about harem comedies is that, in a lot of them, the author realizes that in order for a guy to have a harem, there has to be some reason for all the girls to like him, so he's usually a really great guy. He is kind of dense in some situations, and then there's the horrible sexism, but I blame that on Aoi, since it's her dream to be an oppressed female. Seriously, she visits his room one night, and she's the one who makes the tea! Since I think Kaoru's generally pretty nice, I think he lets her do it because he knows how badly she wants to, and that if he tried to do it himself, she would either insist, or get really insecure because she thinks he doesn't like her tea.
Fumizuki-sensei also gave him a lot of angst, but made it so he doesn't angst all the time, which is the best kind of angst boy. And he has scars.
We only have one volume left in the entire series to translate, and we are looking forward to it. Our only regret (that we remember) is that we haven't been able to buy the CD that has the Kaoru/Aoi duet to listen to while we translate. And that one scene... But really just the one.
So that's our Ai Yori Aoshi spiel. The floor is again open to any questions you may have. Also, our icon contest will be closing on Thursday. For rules, and a peek back at the first part in our commemorative series, you can go here!