Anyway, on to our commemorative multi-part series!
DN Angel is what we called our other favorite series for a very long time. (The reason we don't call it that now is that there haven't been any new chapters in over a year, so we just don't remember it as much. That Sugisaki-sensei...) (We think this is true again. Saiyuki is coming out very slowly now, too, but we don't complain because Minekura-sensei has very good reasons not to be cranking out chapters of Saiyuki. And besides, we still have a volume of Ibun to read.) Saiyuki was our favorite series that we shared with everyone, while DN Angel was our favorite series that was just ours. Not that we didn't want to share it, just that we didn't have the first two volumes for a while, and you can't have people start out with volume 3!
Our first encounter with DN Angel was actually a very small one. Our best friend in high school had seen it somewhere (I assume Kinokuniya, but you never know) and thought "DN Angel" was the most brilliant title he'd ever seen. That's probably the only reason we had any idea it existed when we really found out what it was about later.
It was October of 2001, and the Posse (then consisting of four official members) had decided to dress as Weiss (from Weiss Kreuz) for Halloween. (We were living in the dorms at BYU then.) And so, I was making a Yohji coat for our Yohji, when one of the girls two doors down saw me at work and remembered that we were studying Japanese. She asked us if we could translate her DN Angel manga for her, and that's where it all began.
DN Angel was the first manga we translated without taking turns reading it first. We didn't really think much of it; we were just doing someone a favor, and we'd get to read an interesting series as a bonus. We flipped through it a little bit (those who really know us will know that that is something we would never, ever do for a series we planned on reading for ourselves), and when we saw a few pictures, we were like, "Uh... what is this girl asking us to translate!?" But then we found out Dark and Daisuke's real relationship, and it was totally awesome and stuff. We were hooked before the first chapter ended.
We instantly fell in love with Daisuke. We can't resist cute characters like that. And not only is he adorable, but he has mad skillz.
Whenever we had to do something that was not translating DN Angel, we were wishing we were translating DN instead. We finished volumes 1 and 2, which were what this girl, we'll call her Veronica, had. So we run to her and we say, "Here's the translation! Do you have volume 3!?" And she's like, "Yeah! I think I'm gonna see if I can get it for Christmas!" And we're like, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!"
So the very next time we talked to Mom (who had been bugging me to give the sewing machine back for a long time) we say, "Mom! This is urgent! Dad's coming up to visit for Thanksgiving, right? You need to go to Kinokuniya and get volume 3 of a series called DN Angel and send it up with him! We will send the sewing machine back with him in exchange!"
Finally Thanksgiving came around, and Dad met us in the Cougar Cove with a care package. Members of the Posse can tell you how excited we were to receive not only volume 3, but volume 4 of DN Angel as well. There was much squealing. We started translating it as soon as we were on our own again, and the next day when we went to see Atlantis (a movie we actually thoroughly enjoyed the first two times we saw it) at the Dollar Theater, we were bored out of our skulls, simply because it was Not DN Angel.
And DN Angel was the other series that prompted us to apply to intern at TokyoPop. While we were there, we suggested they try for the anime, too, because that way we could dub Risa and Riku (it was already too late for us to be their Japanese voices), but it was not to be. Anyway, we were very happy to be allowed to be the translators on DN Angel. And the senior editor would come to us for questions about anything, because DN was a big fan favorite and she didn't like getting hate mail.
But then! Tragedy struck. Okay, so it didn't really. The previous senior editor went on maternity leave, so they put somebody else on DN Angel. Thinking about it now, I don't think the outcome would have been much different had they not changed editors, because it really seemed like the rewriter was the culprit. One thing the original senior editor had made very clear was that, before volume 1 went to print, the new senior editor was to let us have a look at it to make sure everything was cool. We're very honored that she thought so highly of our opinion. But what with stuff going on, we didn't actually get the copy of the manuscript until the day before it went to print. And by then, it was too late.
I think the main thing is that the rewriter was trying to make it funnier or something. Or she didn't understand Daisuke's personality. She seemed to be thinking of him in terms of "a fourteen-year-old boy," and not "Daisuke." She also made Satoshi talk a little more like Daisuke, and because Dark is the mysterious, magical being, he was the one talking all cryptically, like Satoshi is supposed to. That's just how we felt about it, though.
Another problem it had was that they took out the name suffixes. We asked the original senior editor right at the beginning if we should take them out or leave them, and she asked us which would be best. We said it would be better to leave them in, because as many of you who are familiar with the DN Angel manga might know, how people refer to each other in that series is very important. And identity and personality and stuff are like The Theme for DN, so messing up character voice and taking out name suffixes was a huge problem.
We e-mailed the new senior editor, and he confirmed that it was too late to fix it, but he'd keep it all in mind for later volumes, which we're pretty sure he did. We haven't read past volume two, which was better, so we don't know for sure. We did notice that a lot of the lines we thought sounded dumb were kept the same, and a lot of the lines we were proud of were changed to something we thought was dumb. One thing I do feel the need to point out is that Emiko would never say you have to be sharp and elegant (or whatever she said) "even when you're falling like a clown," because clowns by definition do not fall elegantly, and she would never want Daisuke to be a disgrace to the phantom thief line by being clownlike. Ugh.
Anyway, we know a lot of people who are enjoying the English version of the manga anyway (or were, when it was still coming out more regularly), so I guess it's not so bad.
On the translation difficulty scale, I think I'd give DN Angel a 1.5. There's always something hard in anything we translate, but for the most part DN comes very easily. (When we got our copy of volume...fourteen or fifteen...we managed to translate it in about two hours.)
As I said, we fell in love with Daisuke immediately, so he's definitely a favorite character. But I don't know if it was playing through Kingdom Hearts that gave me a thing for angsty pale-haired boys or what, but more and more Satoshi became our very favorite. Athena points out that it was really easy to relate Sora and Riku to Daisuke and Satoshi (mostly because Sora and Daisuke have the same voice actor, and Riku and Satoshi both have blue(ish) hair and are evil-ish), and while playing Kingdom Hearts, we both agreed that, while we love Sora with all our beings, we probably would have acted more like Riku, stupid as he was.
Maybe it was that they got Akira Ishida♥ to play Satoshi in the anime. Athena says for her it was when she carved stamps of the main DN characters, and Satoshi was just very easy to work with. At any rate, we ♥ Satoshi.
Of course, all of the characters in DN Angel are ♥ (especially the guys, except for Hiwatari (not Satoshi--his foster dad)). I especially have to mention Kosuke, because he's the cutest ever. I want a dad like him. Only without the being gone for a bazillion years.
Hm... I think that's about all. There might be some other things, but some of them maybe should not be posted quite so publicly. But if anybody wants to talk about them on AIM or something... *wink*
(This is referring to more stuff about the rewriter. We really hated the rewrite for volume one. We were despondent for at least a whole day after we read that draft. We're a little bit more flexible now, but we still remember examples of why we hated it, and I think we'd still hate it if we were to read it again (we still have it, actually; I think we were supposed to destroy it, but it's around here somewhere).)
And that's it for DN Angel! Oh! Except I have to mention Argentine, because he's also the cutest! Volume 11 is out in the States now, so everybody can see how cute he is! Unless they changed his attitude, too. Ahem. Be nice, be nice.
As you may or may not have figured out from this post, DN Angel is the series that destroyed all our trust in manga adaptation writers. I mean, certain anime dubs had already done a good job of making us wary, but that was the last straw. We really love the series that we love, and we want to share them with all our friends, but our friends don't know Japanese, and the translation process seems to constantly transform things into a different series...or it did back then, anyway. Now we're concerned about translations being too true to the original...in the sense that they end up not being true at all, because people are trying to be so true to the original words. Like, it's literally the letter of book over the spirit of the book. But that's a discussion for another time, and requires Research.
Actually, after the first volume of DN Angel came out (this might be the thing I couldn't talk about, but I'm confident I can do it in a nice way now), the senior editor got an email (or maybe several--we'll never know) from a fan(s) talking about the importance of the name suffixes. It was too late to start using them all of a sudden, so he discussed it with the adaptation writer and they decided to at least have some characters refer to others by their surname, as opposed to having everyone on a first-name basis. So the senior editor sent us an email asking for our opinion on which characters would use surnames for which other characters. We could tell that it took a lot of courage and he was dreading our "I told you so," so we just answered the question and didn't rub it in. I do wonder how they dealt with the part where Riku tells Daisuke to stop calling her Harada-san (because with "Harada-san" she never knows if he means her or her twin sister Risa).
Somewhere in the middle of the series, the rewriter was changed to umadoshi, but since we still don't trust ourselves to read manga in English without being overly critical, we don't know how that turned out.
Anyway, DN Angel is up to fifteen volumes now--the last one came out January 2011, and it ended at a GIANT CLIFFHANGER!! Meanwhile, Yukiru Sugisaki has started three new series. Ah well. We just finished reading volume three of Durarara!!, and Ryohgo Narita said he gets a lot of letters like, "This is a good stopping point, so forget about Durarara!! and just write my favorite series!" or, "Forget about your other serieses, just write Durarara!!" and his response is that dropping the other titles won't make their favorite series come out any faster, because the ideas will come at the same pace either way. So I guess it's the same way with Sugisaki-sensei.
Oh man, DN Angel. Such bittersweet memories. Mostly sweet, though.
Today I'm thankful for fond memories of DN Angel, getting our Random T-shirts of Surprising Awesomeness, those shirts not having anything to do with zombies (at least not obviously), still having Poptarts so we don't have to go without snacktime, and getting to work on Kingdom Hearts today.