So we have like a million things to talk about. I think I'll save the Disneyland report for tomorrow, because we're late to the party on the other thing we wanted to talk about. We were a little sad when we discovered we'd be out of town on the day of the big Crunchyroll Manga launch.
See, we have a confession to make. When Kodansha USA announced that they had UQ Holder!, it was suggested that we lobby to be assigned as translators, and we said if it's already been announced, it was possible they already had a translator on it. What we said was not untrue, and in actuality we had very good reason to believe that it was not only possible a translator had been assigned--it was a fact. But what we said was misleading, and therefore dishonest. We figured it would be okay, though, because we would be coming clean as soon as confidentiality wasn't a thing anymore.
Like I said, we believed that Kodansha USA had already assigned a translator: us. But technically, it wasn't Kodansha USA who made the assignment. A few weeks ago, we got an email from someone we didn't know before. She was working for a translation agency, and she tracked us down to ask us to translate UQ Holder!. She also said that Kodansha (Japan) and Ken Akamatsu wanted us specifically, which would be, like, the awesomest thing ever. We're not entirely sure why she would say that if it weren't true, but in the interest of not getting overconfident, we have to tell ourselves that it may have been a communication error, or that maybe she was trying to appeal to our translator egos to get us to agree to take the assignment.
But how cool would that be? I mean, in all our ten years of translating manga, we kind of had the feeling that manga artists never really knew who exactly translated their work--like manga artists and manga translators lived in two separate worlds, never to be combined, so we could translate all of an author's work and they could be our favorite author of all time, but they would never know, and therefore never care, about us. Come to find out, maybe a manga artist does have an idea that we exist, and that we're desirable as translators. That's huge. To us, anyway. Especially because, from all the tweets and blog posts and bonus manga pages we've read, it seems like if any manga artist was paying attention to the quality of every language version of his manga, it would be Ken Akamatsu.
But anyway, the point is, we've been translating UQ Holder!, and we're enjoying it a bunch. It's not nearly as fan-servicey as Ken Akamatsu is known for, and in fact, one of the very first blurbs indicates that it's not going to be. We translated the...it's called "aori" in Japanese, and I'm not sure it's a blurb exactly, but it's the tagline type things they put on the title pages of manga when it's published in the magazine (they get taken out when the chapters are published in tankobon form). We translated the aori as "hotter than hawt," which was our meager attempt at conveying 萌より燃える！ in English. It's a play on words--"moeru" as in "red hot (action)," over "moe" as in "fan service." In other words, this series is going to be more actiony exciting than fan servicey exciting.
Not to say that there isn't fan service, because this is an Akamatsu series, and so there always will be a little fan service, but there's not nearly as much. Like, in the last few chapters, there's been nothing.
Of course, we're also excited to be working on a simulpub! We've been wanting to for sooooo long, and we always figured it would happen with a Ken Akamatsu series, because he's been trying to come up with ways to fight piracy and give the fans what they want at the same time for ages now. But then UQ Holder! got announced and we didn't hear anything about it, so we kind of forgot about the whole thing (including the title, until we were offered the project). We really hope this simulpub thing helps with the "getting manga from legal sources" thing. Crunchyroll even offers the manga for free (with ads)!
And I think I might have had more to talk about with this series, but today has been a distracted sort of day, so it's hard to remember. Anyway, anyone who's been to Crunchyroll Manga to check it out will realize that UQ Holder! isn't exactly at "simulpub" status yet--we still have some chapters to catch up on. But we're working on it, and we should catch up to Shonen Magazine very soon!
Today I'm thankful for getting to translate UQ Holder! (it's a great series so far!), getting back safely from Disneyland, Page still liking us, being tracked down for a translation assignment (possibly at the request of the manga artist!), and having lots and lots and lots of chocolate.