Oh! My Brother
I know that when publishers change the titles of manga for domestic release, they can sound pretty silly, and this title is not really an exception, but! it's super fun to say. Try it! It's like, "Oh! My brother!" (The original Japanese title was "with!!", and we suspect (though of course we don't have any proof) that the change was made to facilitate Google searches. Can you imagine how hard it would be to find "with" as a title in an internet search?)
The first part of the premise of the series doesn't really reflect the super funness of the title, or the fact that it's a comedy series. It's about a girl whose brother died saving her from an oncoming truck, but she doesn't have to miss him for too long, because his spirit ends up sharing her body. It's by the creator of The Name of the Flower, so I think readers may have expected something a lot more serious, especially given how completely distraught Masago was over Shiro's death. That scene was a real tear-jerker.
In an interesting twist, we actually remember most of the names of the characters in this series! There's Masago and Shiro and Kurouma and Utamaro and Saruhiko and...Okay, so that's all I remember, but that's pretty good! It helps that most of the characters have animal names, much like in Gakuen Babysitters. It probably also helps that this was a favorite series of ours. Not that we didn't like all the series with characters whose names we forgot--just that we liked this a lot one more. It's one of those series about family caring for family that we like so much.
I don't remember anything in particular about translating the series. Obviously we would have had to be especially careful about making sure it was clear whether Masago or Shiro was talking, since they shared a body, but that was made easy by the content of what they said, body language, etc.
And I can also note that by this time, we had gotten into the habit of only using one letter for long vowels (Shiro as opposed to Shirou, for example). Aesthetically, it usually just looks nicer that way. But in this case, we kept both the O and the U in Kurouma, because one, it manages to not look too bad, and two (and more importantly), the name is kuro-uma, meaning "black horse," so the "ro" and the "u" are each part of a different kanji and are therefore separate.
Sadly, we only got to translate two volumes of this series before CMX closed its doors. We were able to get the rest of the series to read for ourselves, and it seems like the rest of the manga-reading public wasn't too broken up about it, except for one friend, for whose sake we came very close to translating the last two volumes. But then we got lots of work, and then there was a fire at our apartment, and now it's Packed. And we have lots of work to do. Or it seems like lots of work because it inexplicably takes forever and we seem to have less time lately. But I digress. We still have vague plans of translating it...someday.
On the translation difficulty scale...I really have no idea. So we'll give it a four. What the heck. And favorite characters are Shiro ("Don't you ever sparkle in front of my sister again.") and Kurouma. The latter wasn't as funny, but he was a good friend.
Today I'm thankful for having adorable pictures of Page helping us work, getting to read "with!!", reminders to buy Polar Bear Cafe CDs, finally having seen all the Harry Potter movies (part of why this entry was delayed), and finding what looks like it might be a pretty cool language learning app.