In the meantime(?), here's another installment of our commemorative series!
Kamichama Karin chu!
This title became a great example of the wonderfulness of Del Rey Boss. We got an email saying, basically, that since we were caught up on Hockey Club, minima! was being released very slowly, and Ace Attorney was on hold, she knew we had some time so here's some more work! I think Kodansha Boss might do that, too, but I guess there's just less work to go around, and he's not as obvious about it. But we do seem to always get something new right about when we're about run out of work.
We were really excited about this one, because it was magical girl, and because Karin gets her powers from Athena. At least, she did in the anime, and that was what we were familiar with. Turns out that, since this was the sequel series, Karin was done getting her powers from Athena and started getting them from Aphrodite instead. That was a bit of a bummer, but we liked the series well enough anyway.
This wasn't the first sequel series we'd translated without translating the series that came before it, but it was the first one we'd done without having actually read the first series. We had seen the anime, and I'm not sure if that helped or hindered, because the anime was a strange combination of both series...but mostly the first one, I think. And we hadn't seen it all the way to the end--that was around the time we gave up piracy.
The first series had been published by TokyoPop, so there's really no reason we couldn't have translated it, except that we just didn't get the assignment. That's just how things work sometimes. But anyway, Del Rey sent us an English copy of volume one (first series, of course) so we could get a feel for how they had done things. English manga makes us kind of twitchy, though (not necessarily through any fault of its own), so we didn't read it all the way through, but we did make note of Shii-chan(the cat character)'s unique speech pattern. I don't remember this, but Athena tells me the TokyoPop version had her drawing out her S's--hissing, as it were. We didn't think this was very catlike, so we asked Del Rey Boss if we could have her draw out her R's--as in purring--instead, and she said yes, do that.
(Shii-chan's original speech quirk (by which I mean "in the Japanese version") was that she would end her sentences with a long shii, like her name. That's not really a cat thing in Japanese, either (as far as we know), but "shi" at the end of a Japanese sentence actually means something, which is really only possible to translate in context. It kind of means "and the thing I just said is another thing to consider." Actually, depending on the context, it can be left out sometimes without really losing anything in translation, but of course that takes discretion. But the point is, we wanted Shii-chan's speech quirk to have some significance. Maybe a lishp would have worked? I don't know.)
Oh right, I guess "it's a magical girl" series doesn't quite work as a summary (though technically...). Basically, it's about a girl who gets magical powers from a ring, and there are other rings, and there's a power struggle, so she's fighting to protect herself and her friends from the bad guys who are trying to get her ring. I think. In the sequel, her son comes from the future to give her new powers and help her prevent the tragic future he had to live through. He's like, four, or something. I think this is the first series where we decided that it's okay to translate "papa" to "daddy" instead of just using it straight. "Papa" is pretty cute, too, but it sounds a little funny with an American accent. I mean, sure, Belle says papa, but she's French.
I should probably also point out that the author, Koge Donbo, doesn't even bother trying to hide the fact that this series was clearly influenced by Sailor Moon. In fact, Karin's friends who have powers were supposed to get the powers of Ouranos, Hades, and Poseidon, but since she had Sailor Moon on the brain because she was discussing the similarities with a friend, including the fact that the character with those powers was named Michiru, Poseidon became Neptune.
Speaking of Michiru, he was the first character that had us thinking about using British English as opposed to American English, because he's from England. There was a little game on Koge Donbo's official website where he says he has a hard time on the English tests because they're all based on American English. (I also thought it would have been cool (because he's from an English-speaking country) to have his nickname be Mitch, but the TokyoPop version already had it as Micchi.) Actually, because of his British thing, we made it a point to go to a bookstore and see how TokyoPop had dealt with him, and we noticed that they had him say "top of the morning," and we shook our heads, saying, "That's Irish, not English!" Maybe if we'd stop being so judgmental we would have been able to read the context and see that it worked better than we thought.
On the translation difficulty scale, this series definitely gets a one. Okay, maybe a two, because we spent a lot of time looking at lists of things that they say differently in British English as opposed to American English, but I don't know that we ended up using a lot of things. We were really nervous about it, because if we tried to use it and we ended up using it wrong, that could be even worse than not using a British phrase at all. So we tried to maintain a healthy balance.
Favorite characters...probably Michiru and Jin. Michiru had an unfair advantage because he was played by our favorite voice actor. But Jin was so cute, and he was played by the guy that sings one of our favorite anime theme songs (which worked especially well, because he was a singing idol).
Today I'm thankful for being just about finished with our Manga Battle entry, getting to translate a series that refers to Greek mythology, getting to watch Merlin last night, getting to snack on Pringles, and having a bit of extra time today.