When we got back from Anime Expo last year, we had a most happy e-mail in our inbox from our boss at TokyoPop, because any e-mail offering us a new title is exciting and happy. In the e-mail, she described the series as the girly version of Kingdom Hearts, saying that the main character's friend gets lost and she gets the power of the princesses and meets a mysterious prince guy (or something like that). We're like, "Okay, I can't really see how that's like Kingdom Hearts, but it sounds so cute! We'd love to do it!" And so we e-mailed her and told her we'd do it, and she said she'd send us the books as soon as they got them.
We went along our merry way and didn't think a whole lot of it other than, "Yay new girly series!" (Despite all our cuteness, I don't think most of the stuff we translate is very "girly." This seems somewhat ironic.) Until the fateful day we were browsing the TokyoPop message boards. I don't know for sure why we signed up for the message boards, but we would check every so often, in case someone was saying something about the stuff we work on. Someone posted an entry about the new titles TokyoPop announced at AX, and included was something called "Disney's Kilala Princess." And suddenly we understood why our boss compared it to Kingdom Hearts, and that the mysterious "the princesses" meant "the Disney princesses."
We did a little research to make sure it was true before we started freaking out, but then we did start freaking out. We had taken it very badly when we found out that TokyoPop had Kingdom Hearts and we weren't the ones translating it, so our answer shouldn't have been, "We'd love to do it!" but "Is the sky blue? Is water wet? Did Mickey Mouse start as a little sketch Walt Disney drew on a train ride and grow to become a household name beloved by children the world over!? Yes, yes, YES! PLEEEEEEASE let us do it!!!!!"
I'm sure a lot of people have figured out by now that we're huge Disney fanatics. Walt Disney is my hero. When we were little, we were obsessed with Disney before we even knew what it was, and then when we found out, it became our dream to work for them somehow--Disney princesses at Disneyland, voices in Disney movies, animators. It varied depending on what phase of life we were in, but Disney was practically our world. Well, Disney and Animaniacs. And church, of course. I even read the entire book on animation by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston (two of Walt Disney's "Nine Old Men" who were animating with him from close to the very beginning).
When we started liking anime, it wasn't because we'd grown out of Disney, but because we were branching out. Noboru Ishiguro (director of a ton of anime) even said at AX last year (someone had asked what other anime he liked and if it influenced his work) that when he was starting out, the only thing they really had as a model was Disney movies, and they strived to be just as good. Anime just had so much more to feed our obsession, while Disney only gave us a movie once a year at the most. But anything that combined anime and Disney, like Kingdom Hearts, is like one of the greatest things that could ever be. For us, anyway. We wanted Kingdom Hearts the moment we heard it might possibly exist.
Of course, there's always the possibility that just because it's Disney and Japan doesn't necessarily make it any good, but Kingdom Hearts did turn out to be one of our favoritest things of all time (and this time it's not so much of an exaggeration, seriously), so we had great hopes for Kilala Princess. Some of you might have noticed around that time that I would mention a different Disney princess movie every day, and sometimes give a review of why it was so awesome. The reason we were watching them to begin with was that we wanted to have the princesses' speech patterns fresh in our minds. (Have you ever noticed that Snow White speaks in rhyme? According to Frank & Ollie, it's easier to animate things that are in song.)
But we knew something else. When the first volume of Kingdom Hearts manga came out, there was a review for it at AnimeOnDVD. And that review said that Disney insisted on providing the translations themselves. So we were a little worried that we wouldn't get to do it after all. But we had hope! She had offered it to us, after all. And that's why we kept watching movies.
But sure enough, before we saw any books, we got an e-mail from our boss. She said that Disney would be providing the translations. She offered us another title (which, incidentally, is pretty dang cool), and we knew it was coming, but we were still very sad.
And that's why we were so incredulous about six months later when she e-mailed us asking if we wanted to work on Kingdom Hearts II.
So that's our story about Kilala Princess. How did you like the twist ending? Or did you see it coming a mile away?
We really ought to see about getting ourselves Japanese copies of Kilala Princess--there are two English volumes out already. We really want to read it, but we prefer our manga in Japanese. We're such brats.
On a completely random note, today there was a strange man looking in our window!! Juuuust kidding. He was outside our window, but not looking in (we think), which is only unusual because we're on the second floor. But he was just pruning the tree outside, so now with so many branches gone our room is much brighter! Though it is a little sad that Oreo's bed of leaves on the balcony is gone now. Poor kitty.
Today I'm thankful for a brighter bedroom, crazy hats (I'm wearing my Thorn hat right now! Whee!), plot twists, tiger butter (or is it tigger butter?) fudge, and storage bins.