The Name of the Flower
This is another one of those titles that doesn't have a lot of backstory with us. It gets to a point where that tends to happen a lot, because you get into a cycle of, "Hey, we got this thing. You wanna translate it?" "Yes!" Maybe if we had subscriptions to Hana to Yume...but that wouldn't work anymore, because the only way we're going to translate Hana to Yume stuff is if we get Viz's attention. So I guess we just need to watch more anime based on Kodansha and Square-Enix manga, and hope the anime stream came before the manga got licensed.
So yeah, that's pretty much what happened with this one. We got an email from our boss at CMX that basically went, "Hey, we got this thing. You wanna translate it?" And we said yes. Tadah!
There was a very slightly unusual aspect to this one, in that we were asked to translate half a chapter for a sampler. I think we did that for I Hate You More Than Anyone, too, so even that wasn't particularly unusual for CMX. The main difference is that usually we'd translate the whole book, and CMX Boss would say, "Pick ten pages to be used for a sampler," but for Name of the Flower, we read the book, then picked ten pages and translated them. I think it had something to do with time constraints, and needing the sampler a lot sooner than the whole translation. I also remember having a very difficult time coming up with a way to translate the last lines of the sampler in a way that made sense, partly because we weren't exactly sure what Chouko was referring to.
I had to stop and think to remember Chouko's name. At least, I think that's her name. Athena says I'm right. I'm having a much harder time remembering anyone else's. I remembered that the main guy's name was Kei, which Athena confirms, adding that his editor's name was Akiyama. It's not that we didn't like the series--we loved it. We're just bad at remembering names.
This is the story of a girl who was traumatized by the death of her parents (in a car accident...we think? it's so often a car accident that we sometimes stop and wonder, "Wait, are you sure it wasn't something else this time?"), and after bouncing around the families of different relatives, she's ultimately taken in by her...uncle? Is that how they're related? No, it was her dad's cousin. He referred to her father as Onii-san, and we can't remember if we translated that to Cousin or not. It doesn't mean cousin, but we call our cousins Cousin Jonathan, for example. Anyway, his name was Kei, and he was dealing with his own inner demons, but he took Chouko in on kind of a whim, and ultimately they rescue each other from themselves. Tadah!
Okay, maybe it sounds like I gave the whole story away, but really that was just the first chapter. That being the case, I can see where the summary sounds like exactly the type of thing so many members of the manga blog community are attracted to, but after that chapter, it really seems like your typical shoujo manga fare. That's certainly not a complaint--we love typical shoujo manga--but it does leave us a little confused about why it seemed so highly sought after (apparently right after CMX shut down, Name of the Flower 1 caught quite the high price on eBay; now we can find it for $7.50). We've just gotten used to the idea that the kind of stuff we like isn't Serious enough for the critics.
On the translation difficulty scale...wow, I really have no idea. It doesn't stand out as having been that hard, but neither of us thinks of it as being especially easy, either. So maybe a seven? Or a six. Something like that.
Our favorite character is probably Akiyama. Sometimes you just need someone in your life who refuses to leave you alone, and we really liked that he wanted to be Kei's friend badly enough not to be deterred. Sometimes we feel like people are afraid to talk to us for reasons that may or may not be silly ("I can't tell them apart! How will I know who I'm talking to!?" Simple--you're talking to Alethea and Athena), so it's nice to see people, even if they're fictional, who don't give up so easily.
Today I'm thankful for being introduced to Ken Saito's work, having Freschetta pizza for lunch, not passing out after failing to feed ourselves properly yesterday, getting to do some reading today, and getting to watch some anime.