But now, time for another installment of our commemorative multi-part series!
I seem to remember yesterday I had a little rambling tangent about how I almost typed it as "Negima new" and how they mean the same thing. Basically, the series is another telling of Negima!: Magister Negi Magi, the story of a ten-year-old wizard who is sent to Japan to finish his wizard training by teaching a class of middle school girls. Mad-capped mayhem ensues.
Despite having an awareness of the Negima! series, we were pretty happy to get this job offer. If I remember correctly, Del Rey Boss told us that since it was so closely tied to their most popular title, they wanted somebody they trusted on it--trusted to do a good job as well as meet deadlines. And so we were happy to know that we had sufficiently proven ourselves to be assigned such an important title. Or potentially important, because you never know how fans will take to something.
For familiarization purposes, we were sent English copies of all the volumes of Negima! that Del Rey had published up to that point (seventeen...or eighteen volumes), minus...um...a couple in the middle. Neither of us can remember exactly which volumes. Athena thinks it was six and fifteen. Anyway, we got the missing volumes in Japanese to fill in the gaps. And then we had a marathon of reading Negima!, which had us going, "Aww, why didn't we get to translate this?" Well, because they started publishing it before we started working for them, that's why. It wasn't necessarily because we liked the series so much that we wanted to do it, but that we were thoroughly aggravated with the translation. We've said it before and we'll say it again: all translators have their own opinion on how something should have been translated. But more on that in another entry.
The point is, we had a Negima! manga marathon. We also rented some of the anime via Netflix, but we decided we didn't really have time to watch all of it before we should get to work, especially because we were getting the physical discs instead of streaming the series. I'm not sure it was even available for streaming back then.
And while we were looking through old LJ posts to see if we could figure out which volumes of Negima! we were missing, we found this handy description of how Negima!? neo relates to Negima! proper:
"Since I last posted about Negima, we've learned a lot more about the Negima universe. Most importantly, we figured out exactly what "Negima!? neo" is. First, there was the "Mahou Sensei Negima (Magister Negi Magi)" manga. Then there was the anime of the same title that was based off of it. Then there was a new anime, "Negima!?" that's like Negima starting over with a slightly different storyline. And with "Negima!?" came "Negima!? neo," the manga based off of the anime. It's all pretty complicated. And "Negima!? neo" is the manga that we've been translating."
We were pretty happy to translate volume one and discover that there wasn't nearly as much fan service in this series as in the original Negima!...and disappointed later when it looked like the artist's editor had gotten on his case for not having more underwear shots (not sure that's how it actually happened; we tend to make up stories in our heads), and suddenly it almost seemed worse. I don't think it was, but it almost seemed that way.
The series posed a special challenge because of things like the magic spells and Setsuna's Shinmei sword attacks. We wanted to make the translations match Negima! Proper, and we had the manga with which to do so...but especially with the Shinmei stuff, there were a lot of attack names that were in a volume that we were missing. And there were so many different translators and adapters on Negima! that they weren't always consistent within the series. I have a vague memory of getting an email from Del Rey Boss saying that we translated something differently than it ended up in Negima! Proper, but she liked our way better so they were going to stick with that going forward. When verifying with Athena, she says what really happened was that we emailed Del Rey Boss first, saying (in regard to the term Shinmei Ougi) that we'd seen it rendered as X and Y, but our personal preference was Z (our new translation of it), what should we do? And she agreed with our opinion and said yeah let's go with that.
...It occurs to me that we could check our emails and find out the facts. Hmm. Anyway, the point is there was a lot of back and forth about what do you want us to do with this attack name.
Oh I just remembered! One of the fun different things about Negima!? neo, as opposed to Negima! Proper, is the pactio system. In both versions, it involved a cool transformation, but in Neo, the transformation could be messed up somehow, and so the transformer in question would turn into a cute little animal. I kind of wish they'd done more of that. Maybe we should watch the anime...hmm... nah. (But we did find something that told us what the anime translation called it when that happened, so we could use the same term. We wouldn't have if we thought it was stupid, but it was really good, so we took it.) Actually, in the notes for Negiho, the artist talks about how originally instead of preschoolers, all the girls were going to be little animals. That could have been cute, too.
I should probably stop rambling about things that only make sense to people who are familiar with all the different Negima! mangas.
It was pretty easy to translate except for the spell names, especially when they created new spells. The spells were all just in Japanese, which meant instead of just letting the Latin stay Latin, we had to actually translate it, and make it sound like a cool magic spell. We're not sure we succeeded with that. Also, this is one of the series that I remember associating with sinus pressure. There are a few series that we seemed to always work on on days when I felt a little lightheaded because (we can only assume) the changing weather was creating air pressure changes that were affecting my sinuses.
There was also an incident with volume seven, in that it seemed to get trapped in limbo while Del Rey became Kodansha USA, but that was all so confusing we didn't even bother to remember.
I think ultimately the favorite character is Fate. The thing about all incarnations of Negima! is that there are about a million characters, and all of them have some pretty awesome traits. But in Negima!? neo, Fate was the Prince Charming character, and he did an excellent job playing the part.
Today I'm thankful for getting to go to PetSmart, Page now having something to scratch up other than the expensive Turkish rug, getting to play Ace Attorney last night, finally remembering what Setsuna's sword techniques are called (it didn't take that long...), and that particular chapter of Ace Attorney.