Well, apparently we needed time off more than we thought, because we're starting to develop a physiological aversion to work. The universe is helping us out, though, because after the blackout yesterday, we never reset our alarm clock, and the default setting is noon. So at 8:30, when we usually get up, we were still blissfully asleep. Of course that meant a late start to the day, but that turned out to be fine, because there was a project we thought was done that wasn't done after all, so we ended up spending all our time on that, finishing just in time to leave for Wednesdays with Walt.
Anyway, it looks like two books that we translated hit bookstore shelves last week, and we have a review for one of them, but not the other. The editor on Say I Love You. is exceptionally efficient (at least as far as making sure he has a good stockpile of translations to edit), so we finished translating volume seven before we started writing reviews. The first review of Say I Love You. will be with volume eight, which also happens to be the first of these reviews that we wrote.
So this week, we bring you a review of Noragami volume four. I don't think we've said this in public yet, but Noragami is the series that we (half-jokingly) decided that people should read if they want to continue to be our friends. On the other hand, I realize that making demands like that is a good way to get people to say, "Who needs your friendship anyway?" But seriously, if you're a fan of anime and manga and you haven't read Noragami, you're really missing out.
Anyway, here's a review. Spoiler level: moderate.
Noragami 4. We had to go and put Chaika between finishing the translation and writing this review, so we'll see if we remember everything we wanted to talk about.
This is the first volume after the ablution, and the ablution is the almost last thing that happens in the manga and the anime before the anime goes in a different direction, so it's almost all new material! Noragami and Spiral: watch about the first ten episodes for pretty voices and colors, then just read the manga.
I'm not sure if I should talk about the story or the translation challenges first. First! I think I want to talk about the "3D experience" that Mayu talked about. Oh my goodness, just three words, why did it have to be so hard? We figured that Tenjin was referring to a real Japanese thing, so first we came up with translations for the words provided in the manga, with the intent to look it up afterward for the translation note. The first part was hard enough to deal with--finding three words that all start with the same letter and mean the things that the three Japanese words mean. Finally we came up with something, so we looked it up and discovered that 3K is a real Japanese thing...that has already been given a real English-language equivalent. Siiiiiiiigh. I think we spent about half an hour to an hour on that.
As for the story, oh my goodness! Yukine made a friend! Awwwwwwwwww!!! We were so happy for both of them. Suzuha's thing about getting him an autograph was the best. So we were pretty ticked off at Kugaha for making Suzuha die, the stupid jerk (Kugaha, not Suzuha).
It does bring up some really interesting points about relationships and family, though. Suzuha's part of this huge family but he feels really alone, while Yukine only has Yato really, but Suzuha envies the relationship between them, even if Yukine doesn't see the value in it. But what I think is more important is how Bishamon's shinki act with her, as opposed to how Yato demands Yukine act with him. Whenever anything happens to one of Bishamon's shinki, they all smile and pretend they're okay with it. On the other hand, Yukine (being a punk teenager) tried to keep his feelings to himself but Yato makes him talk about what's bothering him, and that ends up being better for both of them. We recently had a friend on Facebook talk about how he started getting professional help for his depression, and he and his other friends on Facebook were all, "Talking about your problems helps! Who knew?" It's amazing how helpful a little thing like that can be, and I love to see stories illustrate that.
Meanwhile, you also have the stuff about Hiyori and her memories and whether or not Yukine and Yato will always be in her memories. I don't think I have anything to say about that, but it makes for great drama. Why? Because again, it's something people wonder about in real life, only with characters who are in a situation where the issue is exaggerated. Or I guess amplified would be a more appropriate word.
And of course there's the comedy. We love Adachitoka's bonus manga at the end. I still think volume three had the best ones ("They're watching..." bwa ha ha ha), but the one where Yukine tries to get Yato to be dark and edgy is hilarious. So many times, we've watched an anime where they emphasize the creepiness of a villain by having him or her lick a blade, and we always had to wonder...
Speaking of that gag! The pro-wrestling terms! I'm starting to get the feeling that Hiyori is modeled after one or both of Adachitoka, because they keep throwing pro wrestling terms around. I mean, it makes sense from Hiyori, but so far the terms have come from Daikoku and Yukine. Of course, based on our conversation with Yasuhiro Nightow at Anime Expo Meet the Guests Reception in 2009, most anime fans go through a wrestling phase when they're in middle school. Unfortunately for us (or for the translation), we did not go through such a phase, so we end up looking the terms up on the internet and hoping we're using them appropriately. I can just see a wrestling fan reading Noragami and thinking, "You know, we actually would have worded that sentence more like..." (where "we" is "people who know about wrestling").
Back to Kugaha. I just wanted to point out that Athena pointed out that the jingle bells he wears on his ankle and headband are just like the jingle bells that inspired Baymax's face. It's appropriate because they're both in healthcare. Also, there's a bit that we decided not to write a note on because it's not at all important to understanding the story, but we had to do a little research when Kugaha was collecting sap for his medicine. Apparently birch sap is good for stuff, but only if you get it in early spring, because if you get it too late in the season, it turns bitter. In other words, that stuff he was saying to the tree was all based on real stuff. That's pretty neat!
Today I'm thankful for being at a point mentally and emotionally where I can mostly just ignore the fact that we're totally swamped with work, getting to try the new Avengers-themed food offerings at Disneyland, chocolate chips, getting to revisit volume four of Noragami, and getting extra sleep this morning.