In the meantime, why don't we talk about Happy Cafe?
This is the series that made us start to think maybe we'd never translate another volume one again. We still don't know why we didn't get volume one of this one. I remember reading another TokyoPop employee talking about how she got assigned a volume one as a test, and since she passed, she got to do the rest of the series, so maybe somebody else got it as a test and didn't pass. Or maybe they got it, realized it was incredibly time-consuming, and asked for it to be reassigned, because it was ridiculously time-consuming.
The premise of the series doesn't really do it justice. It's about a girl who works part-time at a cafe. Tadah! It's really the characters that make the series, but even describing them doesn't make it sound especially interesting, except maybe Ichiro, who is either eating or sleeping at all times. Again, that in and of itself does not promise interestingness. And the art isn't that great, which certainly doesn't help in the "trying to promote this series" thing. But the character interaction and the comedy more than make up for everything. And! the author is also really good with the heartwarming scenes, too. In other words, it's a feel-good comedy. Awwwwww!
As mentioned earlier, this series was ridiculously time-consuming. I think it was one of the titles that was really disorienting, because it felt like we were making a lot of progress, but then we'd check what page we were on, and it was like we'd gotten nowhere. This is probably due to the fact that there was so. much. text on every page (and a lot of it was Uru saying, "!?" followed by Shindo saying, "......").
One of the most memorable things about this series is that, while we were working on it, we found a review that said, "Ugh, it is so cliched and wrong to translate a Kansai dialect into an American southern accent," which set off (I believe) a series of posts about why the American southern dialect is, in fact, one of the best ways to translate Kansai dialect. Maybe I should link to them... Okay, so there was only one, but it covers the topic well enough. Tadah!
And an excerpt:
"The way we deal with this criticism, since (as I said) there's nothing we can do to fix it, darn it!, is to convince ourselves that we were right after all. And in fact, we actually did have a logical line of reasoning leading up to our decision to use a Southern accent, which we actually did consider (we think) at the time we were first translating that volume. See, the Abekawa brothers (the characters with the dialect in question) make traditional Japanese confections. And so, since they're more traditional, we thought an accent that sounds more traditional would be appropriate. And maybe Southern isn't really a traditional dialect in America, but since we grew up with a mom from the south and watching Disney movies (I will cite Trusty from Lady and the Tramp as a kind of character who seems to keep with old traditions and uses a Southern accent), we thought it worked."
We also remember being sad because every review cited favorite lines...that were obviously not the ones we had written. That's great news for the adaptation writer, and not even that bad news for us, because the reason the lines stood out to us at all is that the manga artist had used English in highly amusing ways, like "sexy dynamite" and "love happenings." It was the "love happenings" line that got changed and quoted so often...or at least once where we saw it. (We obviously get very hung up on some things.) One time we complained about it and a friend tried to comfort us by saying, "That's okay! You can use 'love happenings' somewhere else!" But it wouldn't have been the same, because it was only really funny because that's how it was in the Japanese version...which is why we should stop grumbling, because that means it probably wasn't as funny in translation anyway. Still...
The other thing we remember about Happy Cafe reviews is that every one we read called it a "cookie cutter shoujo manga," which was hilarious because that made all the reviews look like they'd come from the same mold (get it?). It also made us want to punch things.
Happy Cafe is another of the series I associate with sinus pressure.
It's really, really hard to choose a favorite character from Happy Cafe. They're all so amazing! I think that the winner by a very small margin is Jiro. The "I'm six years old" thing was just way too cute. And the way he talked to Sakura. And the Jewelry Five! They get mentioned again in Kou Matsuzuki's next series...which we still need to buy the latest volume of! Argh! Other than that, the main three--Uru, Shindo, and Ichiro--are the favorites.
On the translation difficult scale, this series gets a four, but it's only that high because of the ridiculous amounts of text. Fortunately, the text was fairly easy to translate.
Today I'm thankful for having pictures to share (eventually), finding out that the thing we thought wasn't originally in the Kingdom Hearts Days game script actually was before turning in the translation of the manga, the Jewelry Five, the fuzzy socks Mom lent us, and getting to have pizza for lunch.