So let's get back to our commemorative multi-part series, now with manga from CMX!
I Hate You More Than Anyone
Well, I already told the story leading up to our asking CMX for work, but here are some more details. It just so happened that the guy we talked to at Anime Expo was the...in-charge guy. I don't know if his official title was editor-in-chief, but I think it was? I really should be more informed about these things, but we have this habit of just doing what we're told and not worrying too much about the rest of it. We had been working for TokyoPop for years, and it wasn't until CMX Boss said something about "copy" that we found out that that's the industry term for...um...text? Obviously we didn't learn it very well. Did you know one of the top animators of the Disney Renaissance knows very little Disney trivia? He still animates gorgeously.
Anyway. We talked to the man who later became CMX Boss, and asked if we could translate for CMX. He asked if we could do our own adaptations, because he had learned that it's not usually very cost-effective to go to two different places to get one readable script. We said we'd never officially adapted before, but it was our opinion that if a translator can't deliver a readable script, that translator is not doing his/her job. CMX Boss was willing to give us a chance, so we sent him some samples, and about the same time as Del Rey assigned us Hockey Club, he was ready to give us some work.
However. CMX is a division of DC Comics is a division of Warner Bros., and Warner Bros. don't like getting sued. So they're very meticulous about contracts. For TokyoPop and Del Rey, we were able to say, "Just send us one check--it's going to the same bank account anyway, since we share everything." Did not fly with Warner Bros. They were like, "If there are two of you, we don't want you having a falling out later on and then suing each other or especially us. So you have to file for a fictitious business name." Actually, we don't know if that's what they said, because it all came through CMX Boss, who was very nice and diplomatic about the whole thing. So we're putting words in people's mouths, but I assure you we do it for dramatic purposes and not to make them sound more annoying than they actually were...even though it was kind of a stressful process, mostly because we hate paperwork. But who doesn't, am I right?
It turned out to all be worth it in the end, because CMX was amazing when it came to payment reliability. They became our insurance. CMX Boss had told us that there was no such thing as "too early" for turning in a translation, so even if we were waaaaay ahead of schedule, we knew that if finances started to get a little tight, we could just turn something in to CMX and we'd be able to pay our rent. The check always came within two weeks, and they were the one company that never asked us to fill out an invoice.
The other benefit of the whole annoying process was that we came up with a snazzy business name: Futago Translations.
And the other other benefit is that when it was all over, we got to translate what became one of our favorite titles, I Hate You More Than Anyone. That was an interesting experience, because the title was just old enough that they couldn't get us any copies of volume one. Well, they did get us copies--photocopies. Someone at CMX photocopied the entire book and sent it to us, and that's what we translated from. That being the case, it didn't quite feel real at the time, especially because it was a new client with a new format. It was, in fact, a little surreal. (We did get sent actual books for later volumes.)
There was also a little bit more pressure, partially because it was a new client, but also because we realized we weren't the only ones who were inconvenienced by the whole "fictitious business name" thing, and we wanted to prove to CMX Boss that all that hassle hadn't been in vain. And of course there was the whole "can we really do it?" lack of confidence that came with the whole "adapting our own translation" thing. The dialogue was a little more difficult than Hockey Club, and there was a heck of a lot more of it, so it was even scarier despite it being our second adaptation job. (It was possibly also scarier because whoa, we're working for DC Comics/Warner Bros.!)
And so, I Hate You♥ became the first title for which we actually read our translation a second time before turning it in. We used to just write up a script, highlight problem areas, and fix only the highlighted parts. We learned later just how big a mistake that had been all those years (well maybe not exactly how big a mistake it had been, but that it was a big mistake), but that's a story for another time. But for this one, by the time we got to the end of our volume one translation, we were really nervous--like, "Are we sure this is okay? We'd better check it!" And so we did, and hopefully that led to much better translations overall.
On the translation difficulty scale, I cannot remember what kind of a score it would get. It would probably be high, based on the last paragraph. Athena points out that it was a member of the Big Three--the three titles that gave us the most trouble. But on the other hand, sparkly shoujo manga. So let's go ahead and say it was a nine.
Oh, did I forget to say what this series is about? I guess I figured we talked about it so much, everybody who cared already knew. It's about Kazuha, who has a crush on this guy because she's always been a tomboy and he's the first person to have treated her like a girl. So she asks his best friend--whom she despises--for advice on how to make her crush like her back...and best friend--who adores Kazuha--shuts her down. "It's never gonna work, you don't really like him as much as you think you do," kind of thing. Then Kazuha finds out her crush is actually engaged, and then it's just about relationships and stuff. And hairdressing. Or more about being a hairdresser, because there isn't a whole lot of talk about hairstyles until, like, volume nine (out of thirteen). And it's a comedy. And Kazuha has five adorable younger siblings.
Our favorite character is the object of Kazuha's hatred, Maki! Yay♥ It's hard to resist the awesomeness that is Honjo, so he's a close second, but still second. Maki is just too sweet. Senko's pretty awesome, too. Actually, we think everybody's pretty awesome. The whole series is awesome. We love it to bits.
Sadly, however, it fell victim to the shutting down of CMX, and only nine (of thirteen) volumes were published in English. Fortunately, with the help of some friends, we were able to track down some used copies and translate the rest of it for them and ourselves. Of course, it was a little while after that that the whole series was reprinted in shiny new volumes, but all the sidebar chat columns were changed, so I'm glad we got the old ones, because Banri Hidaka is awesome.
Oh! Speaking of Banri Hidaka, fun trivia fact! There was a volume of Fruits Basket where Natsuki Takaya brags about getting to meet Banri Hidaka. She also mentioned Hidaka-sensei designing an outfit for Momiji. When we translated that volume of Fruits Basket, we made sure to look up the name of the manga artist in question, but when it came up again in the fanbook (because of the Momiji outfit design), we failed and got her name wrong. We're sorry, Hidaka-sensei!
Oh! And another thing I remembered! When communicating about work, CMX Boss liked to use the title of the series in question as the subject of his emails, but he was at a bit of a loss when it came to this series. I seem to remember him starting an email explaining that he felt awkward using I Hate You as a subject line.
Today I'm thankful for getting to watch MasterChef, getting a ripe kupo nut in Kingdom Hearts [chi], getting to look back on I Hate You♥, getting to buy chocolate covered pretzels and toffee peanuts, and getting to play Headbands.