Anyway, four things we translated came out this week, so let's have a review! We'll go with Chaika 1, because we're not sure anyone was planning on reading it, so here's a chance to learn more about it. There might be some stuff in this review that doesn't make sense, so feel free to ask about it. The spoiler level is extremely low.
Chaika: The Coffin Princess volume 1
[I'm editing this review to add a brief summary of what the series is about. Toru Acura has lost the will to do anything but lie around and be a deadbeat until one day he meets the mysterious Chaika, a girl who carries a coffin on her back. She asks for his help and the rest is history in the making. Or something. And by the way, Chaika comes from a country that doesn't speak the standard language that Toru speaks, so she talks funny.]
Oh man, we've let this go on too long! We turned in our translation of Chaika: The Coffin Princess volume 1 a whole week ago! Too much time has passed! We might have forgotten everything!
Let's see...well, when we agreed to do it, we knew nothing about it, although we had seen the anime listed at Crunchyroll. And I think we knew it was based on light novels, or we just assumed it was, because almost everything Yen Press publishes is. Somehow we got it into our heads that it was about vampires, which is a fair assumption, based on the coffin thing. We didn't necessarily think it was about vampires, but we had vampires on the brain or something.
So when Akari mentioned that she's been using her favorite weapon for more than ten years, we figured she looks pretty young, so she and Toru must be vampires. I'm still not convinced that they're not, as of reading volume one. According to the Chaika Wiki, which we visited in a failed attempt at getting some help spelling the incantations, Toru is 20, and Akari is his younger sister, so she would have been younger than 10 when she started using that weapon...unless they're vampires! Toru was getting ready to tell Chaika about his past at the end of the volume, so we'll know soon enough. We could just read the next volume, but that will spoil the fun of...about two weeks from now.
And then Toru had the whole blood-and-iron inversion thing, and vampires do stuff with blood, so...
Speaking of the blood-and-iron inversion, that's our own original translation of tekketsu tenka, and I'd say we were only maybe 2% motivated by our desire to not use the boring translation of it we saw at the Chaika Wiki, which also happened to be our working translation, which we thought was boring even as we were using it. (The translation is "iron blood transformation," for the curious.) But we looked up the word tenka--a novel idea for translators, we know--and it actually gave us "inversion" instead of "transformation" as a translation. So we looked up "inversion" and we looked up "tenka" in the Japanese language dictionary, and we thought, "Yup, that about sums it up." And tekketsu means "iron and blood," and is generally referring to a soldier and his/her weapon together. Like you fight a war with blood and iron, or something like that. And then, since the soldier (blood) becomes a weapon (iron), it's an inversion. Yup, that about sums it up.
Let's see...we talked about all the incantation business on LiveJournal already. That was a major hassle. We hope it turned out well. It's one of those things where you do a lot of work and nothing really pans out, so you just pick something and hope for the best. Not nearly as satisfying as when you realize, "Oh wow, it's actually this whole sentence that makes perfect sense in this other language!" We told Gaston about it, because we had plans to go to Disneyland and they kind of depended on whether or not we could finish these incantations. So after we explained the problem, he goes, "Why can't you just ask the author?" and all we could do was shrug and shake our heads. We did leave a note for the editors, so hopefully they'll ask the author.
Anyway, we were dying to know who played Toru, so we did watch an episode of the anime. And it was so...why? It was so "why?". They took out the whole heart of the series! The point is, it's about Toru and how he's basically a NEET now because the war ended so he's lost all purpose in life. It's like a huge major thing, and one of the selling points listed in ads for the novels. But you don't get any of that in the first episode of the anime. They totally skip over it--the only tiny hint they give of it is when Akari comments that it's weird that he's actually talking about work.
And Chaika! They make it seem like she just doesn't know how words work at all, as opposed to someone who speaks another language. I can understand a little for that one, though, because in the manga, to represent her native tongue, they use a weird glyph font thing, but for an anime, they'd have to come up with actual audible words. But anyway, Chaika is a fun character to work with, because we always think it's so cute to hear non-native English speakers speak English and not get it right. So we try to make her sound cute.
Oh, and by the way, if anyone is wondering, it was Junji Mashima. We think he played the teacher in Shugo Chara!, and I know he played the main guy in ToraDora. In fact, the only voice actor we were really familiar with at all was Gillet, voiced by Masayoshi Hosoya, who played Arata in Chihayafuru. But more importantly, he plays Loki in Kamigami no Asobi (the anime is kind of dumb, but the game is super awesome, and Loki is so adorable!).
But the most fun to translate is Akari. Something about her attitude. She's so matter-of-fact about wanting to stuff Toru. (Personally, I think that lends credence to the vampire theory, even though there's no real connection.)
Oh! Right, speaking of vampires. We found out that all the characters' last names come from car manufacturers, so we had to change our working spelling of Toru and Akari's last name to Acura. We wanted it to be Acula, because that would be hilarious if they did turn out to be vampires. So I'm just going to put it right here: Acura, Acula, it's all the same in katakana.
What else? It's been a long time since we've done a fantasy series...except for Noragami, but that's urban fantasy...and UQ Holder!, but that's...different. It takes place in Japan still. Chaika is a European-style fantasy, and it's been a long time since we've translated one of those. Fantasy manga and anime are great for cosplay, so we're on the lookout! Not that it matters, considering how much time we have for making costumes.
Today I'm thankful for getting to go to a bunch of lovely Wednesdays with Walt, winning bingo at an online Jamberry party (speaking of such things, if we were to host an online Jamberry party on Facebook, would anyone be willing to attend? or at least be willing to not unfriend us if you were invited?), getting introduced to fun new manga titles through work, having cookies, and getting an adorable fox blanket.