Athena says, "I think my first memory of Maid Sama! came when we were at Comic Con, in the dealers' room, and TokyoPop was giving away manga." One of the titles they were giving away was Maid Sama!, and the art was pretty, and we both thought, "Aww, why didn't they let us translate that one?" I'm pretty sure we'd also seen it at Hakusensha's website and been intrigued.
Well, nothing TokyoPop got from Hakusensha stayed out of our hands for long, it seemed, and sure enough, eventually (approximately volume five), the project was reassigned to us. It also happened to be the last new series we got from TokyoPop.
Of course, we had to read up to where we'd be starting, and at first we really liked it. We do tend to think that the "girl who kicks butt and rescues all the girls around her" is a bit more cliched than people seem to realize (every time a new series comes out with a girl like that, it seems like everyone's all like, "Finally, a girl who can take care of herself!"), but she had some interesting psychology going on and I was really interested in learning more about it. But then the series got pretty repetitive and relied on gimmicks way too much, so we just got bored with it. We think it was starting to pick up in volume ten...which is the volume we were in the middle of translating when we found out about TokyoPop shutting down. We still have our copy of it, all marked up (for lettering purposes) until the page where we stopped.
Later, we bought the anime and started watching it, but we still just couldn't get into it. Finally we made it part of our workout routine--something to have on in the background while we pedaled on our pedal-machines--and then our apartment complex burned down, so we're still in the middle of watching it. But the point is, while we were watching, I realized another part of why I actually dislike the series. (No offense to people who like it.) It was the episode where Misaki meets the band Sakura is obsessed with. They were all together, and the band started verbally abusing Sakura. It went on and on, with Misaki wondering if she should put a stop to it or not, which eventually she does, but a)why did it take her so long to do that? and more importantly, b)why couldn't Sakura stand up for herself? Seriously, it's like Misaki--the role model heroine who's supposed to show girls that they can be strong--is the only strong female character, while every single other girl is helpless.
To be fair, after Misaki puts a stop to the verbal abuse, Sakura then gets all defiant in defense of Misaki (because of course the band turned on her next), so she's not completely helpless, but man. Incidentally, we didn't much care for Sakura as a character until we watched the anime, because Kana Hanazawa is amazing. She makes the character one of the best in the series.
Aaanyway, this wasn't supposed to be a rant about the series. (I just get ranty about stuff that draws too much attention to its "strong female characters," because usually if you look closely, the women are pretty weak. "Their bark is worse than their bite" kind of thing. Maid Sama! is no exception.)
You could say that the real reason we disliked it so much is that it took so very long to translate. One book took forever. It probably wasn't quite as bad as Portrait of M&N, but it came close a few times. The worst was when they were doing student body elections. Oh my goodness, it was awful. The signage, the posters, the headbands, the t-shirts. If there was anything that could have writing on it, it did. And it was awful. But on the other hand, it also turned out to be a lot of copying and pasting, so it wasn't like we had to work hard to translate every bit of text. But back to the first hand, boring text is boring. But back to the other hand, it had a good message about how you should get out and vote!
I don't think any of the text was really difficult to translate. It does become more difficult the more there is, though, because of, like, fatigue or something.
If I were to discuss any particular translation challenges, it would probably be Hentiger (what was his real name...?) and his use of Kansai dialect, but that's not something we dealt with much. Neither of us is very happy with the way it turned out when it was a big thing, but that can be chalked up to artistic differences. We probably wouldn't even know how it turned out in the end if we hadn't read the English volumes for background before starting volume five.
...or did we start on volume six? Athena says she remembers we started on volume six, but we had to buy our own copy of volume five, because the managing editor didn't have a spare copy to give us. She may be right. That would mean we only translated four and a half volumes. It feels like so many more than that... (Guess it just goes to show how much time it took to translate one volume. We're never really surprised that a translator gave up a series after we've translated a volume of it ourselves.)
So on the translation difficult scale, I'm going to give it a nine, just based on that last parenthetical.
The favorite character...well, at first it was Usui, of course. He jumped off a building for Misaki. That's devotion. And he survived with minimal injuries, which makes him even more awesome. But as the series went on, he started to get kind of creepy, which I think was kind of the point, so that was a successful portrayal. And in that case, the favorite character becomes Hinata, because it takes a lot of self control to lose all that weight when eating is practically the only thing you enjoy doing. And we tend to admire people who can exercise self control.
...Once again, I feel like I should have more to say. But as usual, questions are welcome!
Today I'm thankful for finishing everything on our (admittedly short but somehow extra complex) to-do list, getting to watch more Attack on Titan (we've seen ten episodes now), the lovely hazy weather, having a chance to practice the piano today, and it maybe being time to eat some Color Bombs.