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Alethea & Athena
Stray Stories 
29th-Aug-2015 05:37 pm
happyday
Those of you who are following the news out of Waku Waku NYC (a convention we didn't even know existed until Kodansha USA mentioned it on Facebook yesterday) may have figured out that the Edit of Doom that had us so scared last week was Noragami Stray Stories. Tadah! We weren't really that scared; we just happen to know that Noragami edits are usually much harder than translating it the first time. So many things to look up...

But anyway, we're super excited that they announced it, because it was super fun to work on! We complain about all the research, but only because it's time-consuming, and time isn't exactly something we have in abundance lately. But we learn a lot of really cool stuff! Just the cover is jam-packed with fascinating cultural elements...and now I'm afraid to talk about it because I don't know if it's Orientalist.

But I'm going to anyway! But not much, because I don't want to give it all away, for goodness' sake. It was just extra neat, because we did a bunch of research on the stuff that shows up on the cover to Noragami Stray Stories, and then we were able to take that knowledge and apply it to some stuff in Your Lie in April, because they went to a festival, so we could look at things that we didn't know before (and never looked up because they weren't integral to the story) and say to ourselves, "I know what that is now!" And this is more an overall Noragami thing than a Stray Stories thing, but we were also able to identify the shrine as one dedicated to Tenjin. Learning stuff is so much fun!

Anyway, back to Stray Stories. When they reported the announcement on Tumblr, they said it was full of "more light-hearted stories", as if to say that the series itself was so very serious. ...Only it actually kinda is, and when we stopped to think about it, we were like, "Yeah, the main story can get pretty dark." The truly amusing part of that description is not how it compares to the main series, but the fact that "more light-hearted" is a huge understatement. The stories in Stray Stories are completely ridiculous. It's like...you know the four-panel comics at the end? Imagine those in short story format. But I can't tell you any more than that, because I want you to read it, and I want it to be a surprise! ...Oh, but now I'm thinking about it and I can't stop smiling. It's so great.

Today I'm thankful for having a good time at the ward party last night, the super delicious orange cake somebody brought, Kodansha announcing Stray Stories (we didn't decide on the title translation, but it fits perfectly, in a happy translation coincidence kind of way, so it makes us happy), getting to work on Stray Stories, and getting to learn new things.
Comments 
30th-Aug-2015 04:18 pm (UTC)
Whoa, I had no idea about this convention or Stray Stories. Some obsessed-fan/series-letterer I am. (well, I was aware there was some kind of side-volume of the series because I'd seen the cover on Amazon JP) Um, and it's coming out in November, just like the volume I happen to be currently working on. Okay. :)

I don't think that it's Orientalist to talk/be excited about fascinating cultural elements for a series like this, because it is so much about Japanese culture and religion and that's the whole point (or one of the whole points). So we should be celebrating it for what it is, right?

Can't wait to read it!! Your description makes it sound delightful, and if I know Noragami I know it will be :D
31st-Aug-2015 02:41 am (UTC)
That's funny that you didn't know; we were sure you would have already known that's what the Edit of Doom was because it would already be in your list of upcoming projects. On the other hand, our editor asked us to write another translation note (there were reasons we hadn't already), and we said sure but can it wait, and he said yeah, lys only just got started on volume eight, so it'll be a while before she gets to it anyway. Which made us think even more that he was probably talking to you about it... We usually just chalk it up to him being overworked.

I think all the recent talk about Orientalism has us paranoid. We read an article that says if you like Asian things because they're "cool" or "edgy", then you're an Orientalist! And we thought, "But isn't that the starting point? Isn't an anime being cool or edgy what gets people started on it to begin with?" And then we have this book that has a ton of Shinto stuff on the cover, and we think it's super awesome, but we feel like talking about it will make people think, "Typical white Orientalist..." because we're all, "We're so into Asian stuff," and it's just a big ball of confusion. We think the Shinto stuff is interesting, and we think Noragami is interesting, and also cool and edgy, but fortunately not too edgy, because too much edginess makes us roll our eyes. But you're right! If it's something that promotes mutual understanding, it should be celebrated!

Oh my goodness, it's amazing. Just...oh man. Some of the stories. We hope you enjoy it!
31st-Aug-2015 10:05 am (UTC)
I don't actually have a proper "list of upcoming projects" for them, maybe because I only do one series? I just start working on the next volume whenever he tells me (or occasionally I ask after it myself if it seems to be getting close and I haven't heard anything). I wouldn't doubt he is overworked: seems like that's the way for all of us.

I think one can carry one's love of Asian things too far and be considered Orientalist... but at the same time I think Japan is one of those countries that loves itself and its own specialness enough that it WANTS people outside to think "Wow, so cool!" (this is a generalization of course and wouldn't be true for every individual.) As long as we keep some balance in our perspectives: no country is the one and only perfect, most-special One. But it's going too far in the other direction to say "There's nothing special about this place, it's just another country, you're not allowed to be interested in it."
31st-Aug-2015 07:29 pm (UTC)
I can see that--if you only have one series, it's really just a matter of, "Here, do this one now." I dream of a day when we can all take the vacations we need...

We definitely agree that Japan seems to want to share their awesomeness with the world. In fact, Big Hero 6 got brought up with a Japanese penpal, and he said he loves that they included so many Japanese elements. I think we've just been reading too many articles lately. Sigh.
31st-Aug-2015 03:10 am (UTC) - Well
I knew about this convention as a born and raised New York City person...last month. I wish I did know about it so I could've taken time off and covered it. There's not a lot of anime/manga cons in NY. Will plan on going next year if it happens.

But congrats on more work. I think!
31st-Aug-2015 07:30 pm (UTC) - Re: Well
NYC's anime community's best kept secret? Here's hoping you can go next year!

Thanks!
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