The Candidate for Goddess
Or Megami Kouhosei, or Pilot Candidate, if you want to go with the crazy Bandai American title.
Our first encounter with Megami Kouhosei (I use it because it's shorter) was when we were first downloading anime and saw the series available at several different places. But we didn't really get to know much about the series until we had been obsessed with DN Angel for a while. At some point the thought occurred to me that, before we got into DN Angel, I seemed to remember having seen the books at Kinokuniya, and also seeing Megami Kouhosei and thinking the art style was very similar. It was kind of random and obscure, so I think it may have been inspiration.
So we downloaded an episode, and sure enough, it too was created by Yukiru Sugisaki. By that time, the anime had been licensed, though, so we didn't download anymore. But I think it was Anime Gamers in conjunction with Akadot News that had a contest giving away copies of the first DVD. We didn't have a DVD player, but we thought it might be fun to enter. You had to fill out a GOA (the academy in the series) application form, basically, filling in your bloodtype, your name, what planet (or colony, would have worked better; maybe that was it) you're from, and why you want to attend GOA. We're not always very creative and this was one of those times, so we decided to think about it. The next morning, though, I had come up with everything, including one of the top five best reasons (Oooooooh... Giant robots.........), and we won ourselves a copy.
As it turned out, we actually didn't much care for the anime, though it was really well cast and the music is great, but we bought the rest of the DVDs to support a series by our favorite manga artist. We also started to get the manga, because it's almost a guarantee that the manga will be better than the anime, and in this case, boy were we right.
We decided to translate it instead of taking turns reading it, because that's how we did things with DN Angel. And it wasn't long before we learned that this series is FREAKIN' HARD to translate. Lots of technical stuff about the mecha, and the academy, and all the stuff about EX abilities and atmic and blah blah blah blah blah. But the characters were way awesome, and whenever Zero, the main character, showed up and started talking, everything magically got easier! (Zero's not that bright, you see.) There were times, though, when we were so lost as to what was trying to be said that we would just stare at the page in confusion. As it turns out, if you do that long enough, eventually, you will actually figure out what's being said. Just by staring at it! (True story.)
So naturally when we found out that TokyoPop had the rights to the manga, we asked that we be allowed to translate it. We did have the whole thing already translated, after all.
A while later, I was walking along the hall by a meeting room with one of those window-y things that looks out into the hall. I saw the guy we knew would be the senior editor on Megami Kouhosei talking to another man, who was holding something, I realized after I'd walked a few steps past them, that looked suspiciously like the manga in question. So I backed up and started staring inside. The editor noticed me and so decided to introduce Athena and me to this man, who turned out to be the English adaptation writer for the series.
We were still sore over what had happened to ADV's Saiyuki dub, so the first thing we did was beg him not to ruin the series. He was pretty nice about it, and was like, "Well, I can't guarantee that you won't be appalled..." But he did ask us to send him our original (non-TokyoPop formatted) translations right away so he could get a feel for the characters. He gave us his card with his e-mail address and website, and as it turned out he was Marv Wolfman, who we later found out was the creator of The New Teen Titans, upon which the animated series is based. Dude.
A while later, the senior editor came and asked us if it would be okay for them to change the name of the alien thingies they fight in the series, because Victim just isn't that fear-inspiring. We like being asked questions like that, because if they have to change it, it's better to make a more informed change. So if you pick up the manga, you'll see that the aliens are now called "giseisha," which is the Japanese word for "victim," and the kanji that always went with the katakana spelling out "victim." Tadah!
We actually haven't read through the English version of the manga, though. We poked at it a little one time at Media Play, but that's about it. But from what we saw, it looked pretty good.
Favorite characters in Megami Kouhosei are, first and foremost, Ernest. This actually started because in the anime he's played by Tsutomu Kashiwakura, who played our very favorite character in SailorMoon R, Saffir, or Saphiel, or Sapphire (with a French accent), or however it ended up being spelled. But he ended up being a pretty awesome character. Other favorites are Zero, of course, and Erts, and Hiead even though he's creepy and evil and psychotic and scary (one time we found a bunch of Megami Kouhosei icons somebody made, and there was one with a picture of Hiead that said, "Yes. I am plotting your demise."). Azuma's really awesome, too. I always like the scary teacher characters. Aracd is really fun in the manga, but they made him kind of boring in the anime. Akira Ishida tried to stay true, though! You can tell.
Of course I have to give credit to Clay, because not only is he a really neat character, but he's the namesake of our Japanese pen pal, whom we met through his Megami Kouhosei fansite.
On the translation difficulty scale, Megami Kouhosei gets... hm, it's been a long time since we've translated it, but I think I'll give it a nine. The dramatic parts get easier, of course, so it's not completely insane. But! hard to translate doesn't mean hard to read! So check it out!
Oh! I should mention! There's a One Night Magic in volume 4 of DN Angel that we don't think made it to the English release, but Zero and Kizna come to visit Daisuke! And Zero asks Daisuke if he's a girl or not. Daisuke was very sad.
I've been having a hard time, like, thinking lately, so I'm not sure if I have anything more to say on this that wouldn't be completely incoherent, but I kind of want to try, because we like this series a lot. Sometimes (usually times like this when it gets brought up again) I think about reading it again. Athena just pointed out that we never mentioned the lack of furigana, which of course makes it harder to translate, especially when they're talking about technical stuff.
Anyway, one of the things we really liked about this series is that it's about a kid who has a nearly impossible dream, made even more impossible by his fear of zero-gravity (you want to pilot a space robot, and you're afraid of zero-gravity? good luck with that), but he's confident that he's going to do it anyway. We had similar dreams in college--we wanted to go to Japan and be voice actresses, but all we eat is bread, and we're afraid of traveling and talking to people. I think in the case of Zero, if the series ever continues (ha!), he probably will go on to achieve his piloting dream, but in our case...I really just don't know. I'm going to have to think about this. But the point is Zero's a fun kid, and it's nice to see people follow their dreams, even if they are fictional.
Today I'm thankful for finally getting our package from CD Japan, having plans to go to the Relief Society activity tonight (we're supposed to be learning how to can fruit, but that's not why we want to go), getting to meet the creator of Teen Titans, getting to wear our new shirts (even if we don't understand just how awesome they really are...we're such fake geek girls), and being done with work for today.