And now for more manga talk.
We first read Bus Gamer soon after AX 2004. We had known of its existence for a long time before that, but for some reason it wasn't until then that we got a hold of it. There was a lull in our work schedule, so we used that time to translate it, because, it being a Kazuya Minekura work, we didn't want to have to take turns reading it. After we translated and fell in love with it comes the story that I know I've posted on LJ before, so those of you who already know it, feel free to skip ahead.
We were actually a little ambitious about this one--comes with our delusions of grandeur. Bus Gamer was originally published in an Enix magazine that had gone out of print. One volume was published in book form, and there were a few chapters that were lost in the ether until Ichijinsha came along and printed the Pilot Edition, which is what most people know today. At the end of the Pilot Edition, Kazuya Minekura said she loves the story and the characters, and was waiting eagerly for a chance to start it up again. As it so happens, she got to start Bus Gamer over again from the beginning when Ichijinsha started up their shounen magazine, Rex, but at the time, there was no sign of a continuation.
Also, we had just been shot down in our attempts to get in on translating Lagoon Engine Einsatz for Newtype USA (*shakes fist*). Maybe that had something to do with our idea that TokyoPop could license Bus Gamer, and then it would be popular enough in the States that we could continue it here (Lagoon Engine Einsatz was published in America before it was in Japan).
So, since we were still bugging our boss (original boss) about more work, we suggested TokyoPop look into it, and we would love to translate it for them. To our shock and dismay, we were told that TokyoPop was looking into it, but she had already promised it to another translator. ガーーーーン!!!, is really the best way to express how we felt. (That day turned out to suck even more, but that's not work related, so we'll leave it out of this story.)
Until about a year later. Now we're dealing with new boss, and one day we get an e-mail asking if we'd like to translate Bus Gamer. We're like, "Wha? Yes yes yes yes yes!!! But! wha...?" We wanted to jump on it and never let go, but we had been told that it had been promised to someone else. To be honest, there were some prayers asking that whoever that other translator was would become unable to do Bus Gamer in a good way--like they got rich enough that they didn't need the money or something.
So we sent new boss an e-mail saying, "We'd love to translate it, and we're afraid to ask, but wasn't Bus Gamer promised to someone else?" New boss sent an e-mail back saying that it was very honorable of us to ask, but before original boss left, we were the ones she told new boss to give Bus Gamer to. There were many exclamation points in our next e-mail agreeing to do it. And I posted about the whole thing on LJ, but I couldn't say which series all the excitement was about, so hopefully this version was a little less confusing.
Bus Gamer is a totally awesome series--we like it at least as much as we like Saiyuki, sometimes a little more. Our favorite character is Saito, and yes he's the cute one. But he's also the one that likes video games and Gundam models. Athena also has a thing for older twins, so she likes Toki a lot. I like him too--how can we not like any of them, really? Toki's like Sanzo and Hakkai combined, since there's only three guys in this one. That makes Nakajyo Gojyo, and he really is. Not that the characters are exactly the same. I don't think they are, anyway. For example, Nakajyo teaches Shogi. That's different. Right?
The interesting thing we noticed about Bus Gamer is that Nakajyo has the same birthday (and blood type, depending on which profile you're looking at) and smokes the same cigarettes as Kazuya Minekura. Toki has the same birthday (and blood type, depending on which profile you're looking at) as Jiro Suzuki, a long time assistant of Minekura-sensei, who was highly commended for drawing the piles of toys in the Kamisama arc of Saiyuki. It makes us very curious as to who Saito got his birthday from. (Included in the piles of toys were some dolls of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. Incidentally, Jiro Suzuki also drew an arc of Higurashi manga (Curse Killing, for the curious).)
On the translation difficulty scale... hm... we liked it, so it must not have been too difficult. I think it's true that a lot of the time a series becomes someone's favorite because it's on the same wave length as that person, and so when translating a favorite series, it becomes a lot easier to understand and come up with good translations because of that. So even though Saiyuki volume 1 was incredibly hard to translate the first time through, now Saiyuki is one of the easiest titles for us to work on. And I figure Bus Gamer must have been pretty easy for that same reason, because it's by the same author.
I guess we can't leave without mentioning what we've heard about the final English version. Well, we probably could, actually. It's one of those things where I'm worried that if I warn people, they'll stay away from it, but if we don't they won't notice. It's rated mature, and it's probably all for language, because there's nothing in it that worse than anything in Saiyuki, which, last we checked, was rated older teen. Maybe it's because of all the guns? Eh, probably not. Guns aren't on the check list. (I don't know if anybody remembers the check list. At some point, TokyoPop devised a new manga rating system, and that involved having everyone involved in the translation process check items off of a list such as mild language, moderate language, partial nudity, etc. If anyone's interested in reading about it, ask us and we might do an entry, but I think I just wrote up most of what we have to say about it, so you'd have to ask questions.)
Speaking of guns! Kazuya Minekura recently posted a picture of all the model guns she uses as, well, models when she's drawing manga. It's pretty neat.
Oh, Bus Gamer. First, I want to point out that it's pronounced Biz Gamer. We suggested to TokyoPop that they change the title for the more accurate pronunciation, but for whatever reason that didn't happen. "Bus," in this case, is short for "business," which explains the spelling, but growing up near Hollywood, it doesn't take long to learn about "the (show) biz," which, as you can see, is spelled "biz." It's about the Business Game.
The Business Game is one of those crazy rich people games, where the leaders of huge corporations put their companies best kept secrets on a disc, and then have teams of three guys who have no idea what's going on play a very elaborate version of Capture the Flag to steal the discs from each other. The big twist that our favorite team (the three guys on Team No Name--Toki, Nakajyo, and Saito) learned before the series went on hiatus the first time is that the losing team is killed by its sponsor. It's a reasonably interesting premise on its own, but with Kazuya Minekura characters, it's super awesome.
The reboot of the series got far enough for one volume to be published, and we have it and it's awesome, but then Minekura-sensei started having her health problems, so it will be a long time before we ever see more of it. That's okay, though. We'd rather have her be healthy. Besides, we still have a volume of Saiyuki Ibun to look into.
Today I'm thankful for the pretty hawk that visited Mom's backyard, getting to play Gyakuten Saiban 5, making really good progress on work today, Page and Storm not actually getting in a fight, and the Pizza Hut Express at the nearby Target.