In the meantime, we have an important(?) announcement! Once again, we have made it to the finals of the Manga Translation Battle! Tadah! We used a gimmick this time, so we think we stand a slightly better chance, but since there's a different judge this year, who can say? Anyway, voting is up for the audience award, so go vote! You don't have to vote for ours--of course we want the best to win.
Looking at the current voting situation, there is one thing I would like to say. I'm pretty sure you can vote more than once, so we know you all want to read Crown of Thorn, but don't worry! I'm also pretty sure that all four series will be translated regardless of how many votes anything gets. It's okay to check out the other titles, too. We read all four of them ourselves, when we were choosing which series to translate for the contest, and they're all pretty interesting. But I do also get the feeling that the series we translated is either going to be kind of low-key, or it will get more mysterious (and therefore more interesting) later on.
But I'm going to change the subject back to Noragami because I have an important question. In volume four, there's a reference to another character who hasn't shown up yet (or whose true identity hasn't been revealed), and the only thing we know for sure about this character is that s/he is a jutsushi, or one who uses jutsu (techniques/spells). Jutsushi can be translated a few different ways depending on the category of jutsu being used, but we only know of one technique/spell being used, and it could be fit into a few different categories. So the question is this: should we go with the generic "caster" (with a translation note), as in "spellcaster," or should we read ahead to get more information?
Usually I'm all for getting as much information as possible, but there are a few reasons we're not super excited about reading ahead. First, it's more fun to read it together! And in our case, that means "when we translate it." Second, and more importantly for our schedule, we don't know how far we have to go to find the information we need, and time is not something we have in great abundance right now. That goes double if we decide, for example, to just do a rough translation of later volumes to be fixed up later when deadlines approach.
The spell/technique we do know about involves putting special masks on ayakashi to control them with. The mask only answers to the jutsushi (who is not the person you see with the controlled ayakashi). So there's also the possibility of going with "master," but it would be a different kind of master than the master/shinki thing that's so prevalent in the series, so we'd prefer to use a different word. Maybe "artist" like martial artist, performing artist, magical...artist...
Or we could just use the cop-out option of jutsushi, but that's way too hard to say.
On a side note, speaking of Japanese words with that specific kanji for "shi" and our trying to get more information about characters that have been mentioned but not introduced...
Back when we were translating volume one or two or three of Fruits Basket, we came across a reference to Kyo's "shisho." We didn't know if this person was male or female, and you can only dance around pronouns for so long. We were still interning at TokyoPop at the time, and another intern there was a huge Fruits Basket fan, and had (unlike us) actually seen all of the anime (and read ahead in the manga, which of course she liked much better). (We did ask her if perhaps we should step down and let her translate it, since she clearly cared very deeply about it, but she said no.) So we asked her if Kyo's master ever shows up in the series--all we wanted was a gender, nothing more than that, because we wanted to see for ourselves. But she goes, "Oh, Kazuma?" and started to go on a fan rave about him before we stopped her. ...And that just brings us back to Noragami because it's always Kazuma giving us trouble. Maybe he's the jutsushi! (Probably not.) But that does make a pretty good argument for reading ahead. Hrrrrrrrrrrm.
Today I'm thankful for having a bag of Reese's trees, our decorative Christmas gifts looking lovely on our shelves, making good progress on Noragami today, making it to the finals of the Manga Translation Battle, and the turbo heat option on our heater.