Alethea & Athena (double_dear) wrote,
Alethea & Athena

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Lagoon Engine

Okay, we're back, and back to our commemorative multi-part series!

Next up,
Lagoon Engine

I'm not sure if I have a whole lot to say about Lagoon Engine. We don't even remember how we found out about it. I think the first time we heard about it was when chibidrunksanzo sent us a link to a bunch of DN Angel wallpapers, and there was a Lagoon Engine one in the mix. But around the time we were super into DN Angel, we were constantly checking the Asuka Magazine website, so I'm sure we would have seen something there, too. We did manage to get volume 1 almost immediately after it came out (the special edition version with the Christmas drama CD; Akira Ishida is awesome as Shintaro (and he actually sings! er, hums)).

Anyway, the winter break after our internship at TokyoPop, we went back to TokyoPop for a few days, where we found out they were looking into getting Lagoon Engine. And, since it was by our very favorite Yukiru Sugisaki, we went to our boss and begged her to let us translate it if they got it. She was a little worried that we had too much already, and school besides, but we assured her we could handle it, and eventually, we were allowed to translate it! Yay!

It was especially awesome when our boss told us we could take a little longer on it, because the editor (Paul Morrissey) had decided not to go with a rewriter. Paul, by the way, is totally awesome. While we were there once, he asked us to go through a manuscript and look for any errors. Later Jake asked us to look through a manuscript and tell him if it was any good. So when we came back and told Jake that it was good, Paul was like, "Hey, you didn't tell me if mine was good!" It was very cute.

Another anecdote we have about Paul is that they were trying to decide on a title for a series about adolescent boys, and they wanted something that went along with boys that age. Someone asked what adolescent boys do these days, and one of the other editors said, "Spend a lot of time in the bathroom." And Paul was like, "Guys! There's ...twins here!" It was very nice of him to stand up for us like that! (For the curious, the title in question was "Boys Be...", which we think ended up as "A Guys' Guide to Girls.")

So anyway, back to Lagoon Engine. Lagoon Engine was really hard to translate at first, because there's a lot of specialized vocabulary (we really ought to get some reference material on Noh and the like...) and explanation of how the whole plot works. That takes up about all of volume one, so volume one was tough, but later volumes are a lot easier. Plus, Jin, like Zero in Candidate for Goddess, has a habit of making things a lot easier to understand. So on the translation difficulty scale, I'd give it... maybe a four? Or a five. They keep introducing new vocabulary stuff.

At AnimeOnDVD, there's a review of Lagoon Engine that mentions a specific part of volume 1. Yen gets a very old-fashioned love letter, and when he finds it, he narrates, "I got a love letter," then reads it and corrects himself to say, "Or rather, a koibumi (using the Japanese word for love letter, instead of the more trendy English word)." We had left a note earlier in the translation explaining that Yen uses big words because while he's only twelve, he's a super genius and has read every book in his family's extensive library. So in the final English version, he says he got a "billet-doux." (Dude, the only reason I know what that means is that we translated the book.) The review says there's no way a twelve-year-old would know that term, but we beg to differ. We grew up in a very intellectual family, and just because we don't know that term doesn't mean no twelve-year-old could.

Another Lagoon Engine anecdote, that I think I've told here before (as well as perhaps the one I just told), is when we got our copy of the English version. We wanted it so when people ask us what we do, we could show them a copy of Lagoon Engine in Japanese and say, "We take this..." show the English version, "And make this!" So far, not a whole lot of people have asked. Sad.

(Actually, a few people have asked in the years since we posted this, but since we keep all the Japanese books Kodansha sends us, and they send us comp copies (two things that were not common with TokyoPop), we tend to use stuff we translated for them these days.)

Anyway, we were looking through it and saw that there's one part where Erei is talking about a ghost at the temple, and she says you get grabbed by a bazillion hands! We saw bazillion and were sad, because it was brilliant! and why couldn't we think of that? Then later we checked our translation script and apparently we had thought of it. *blush*

Favorite characters... Well, of course we have to say Kyo Toba (the eldest). You never see his face, but you just know it's very handsome. And sometimes, we really feel like him.

Jin's also up there, because he's just one of the cutest things ever ("maybe I should take a vow of silence..."). Hideaki's up there too, because we like fatherly characters. It's probably too early to say that Jun is a favorite character, because he only showed up in about one page. And of course there's Shintaro. I always like to see characters that you think of as being completely useless being responsible and helpful.

But really, I relate the most to Yen. Even down to the deciding someone's your rival just because. Although I don't read as much, and (as I have a difficult time typing the word "much" properly) I obviously can't type very well, either. But who knows, maybe Yen's a terrible typist, too.

Some people seem to think that Lagoon Engine is a lot darker than DN Angel. I never really thought of it as being all that dark, but after I read that somewhere, I guess it might be. What with them dealing with ghosts and things, since ghosts mean people died somewhere along the way.

Before anybody asks, we still have not read Lagoon Engine Einsatz. When we first found out about it, it was from the AnimeOnDVD forums, where the editor of Newtype USA said it was going to be released in English before it even came out in Japan. We immediately PMed him and asked if there was any possible way of our being allowed to translate it, and he said, no, they would use an in-house translator. But stay in touch. Punk. We didn't want to read it in English, and when it came out in Japanese we didn't have any money. Still haven't quite been able to spare enough for a big manga order.

(We have since bought our own special edition copy of Lagoon Engine Einsatz. It's gigantic--I'd say bigger than most artbooks we have. There's only ever been one volume of it, and most of it is spent on world-building, so, since we decide our enjoyment of a series based on the characters, there's really not enough material to tell if we like it or not. I think that and Ayato in Lagoon Engine proper are where Sugisaki-sensei started playing with the idea of a female character who has to become a man (it's just speculation with Ayato). She picked the idea up again in 1001 Nights. We'll have to get volume two to see if she finally managed to take it somewhere.)

Oh wow, Lagoon Engine. In retrospect, I really wish we had known earlier on that there wasn't going to be a rewriter, because there was a lot of Japanese wordplay that we left untouched because we were like, "Ugh, this is going to be a pain to deal with. Fortunately for us, it's not our job!" Later we found out it was. Back then we were inexperienced enough that I'm pretty sure whatever we did come up with wouldn't have been that great, but it might have been better than nothing.

On the other hand, somewhere down the line, they did start sending it to somebody between us and the final editor, because we heard a something (via Twitter, from the final editor) about the not quite final version saying, "Now shake hands," when the picture clearly had two children bowing to each other, with their hands nowhere near each other. We had left a note indicating that in Japan, bowing is like shaking hands, and that's probably what led to the change. We had provided an alternate of, "Now thank each other for a good game," which was probably deemed too long. We have a theory that rewriters are trained to whittle sentences down to be as short as possible, but of course we have no proof. (We think the letterer can just shrink the font, mostly because we've read Negima!.)

Speaking of that incident, Lagoon Engine also gave us our first encounter with the 100 Poets (Hyakunin Isshu) card game, also known as karuta, or as we like to spell it, carta. (The word comes from Portuguese. We also like calling live-action Japanese shows dramas instead of dorama.) It was kind of aggravating, actually, because the cards were everywhere, which meant we had to translate them. That, and to get a better understanding of the game, is why we bought a Hyakunin Isshu game for DS. We even started memorizing the poems...but of course we keep forgetting them. The game is pretty awesome, though, because it has the poem, the trick for remembering the first and second half card pairings, and a modern translation of the poem (because no one speaks Classical Japanese anymore). It also has a guide to Kyoto.

For Lagoon Engine, we translated the poems, but not too carefully, because it wasn't a huge part of the plot, and we didn't need to translate all of them. But one of these days, we think it would be neat to translate them so that they all still fit with the x-syllable rules and stuff. Y'know, in case somebody might need it for something.

Today I'm thankful for meeting our work quota for the day, the tasty kettle corn we had for a snack, getting to have a family history lesson with all the older Primary girls last night, getting a shipping confirmation from Play Asia (Ace Attorney 5!!!), and being at a point in Kingdom Hearts [chi] where it doesn't take all of our free time.
Tags: hyakunin isshu, lagoon engine, multi-part series 2

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