This review will be the first one to feature Review Notes(tm). Probably a stupid thing to trademark, all it really means is that we took notes, while we were translating, of all the stuff we wanted to mention in the review. Depending on how I write this thing, you may not even notice!
Especially because first I want to talk about the title. We translated this volume after Yen Press announced the license, and at the time (and maybe still) they were calling it "Reaper of the Icy Blade." We totally understand why they'd want to call it that, and in fact I think when we first started translating the game we might have translated Kurasame's nickname to something very similar if not that exactly. But anyway, when they made the announcement, we were like, "Oh. I guess they don't know we were on the translation team for the game," because otherwise they probably would have trusted our judgment on the title.
And that brings up a very interesting concern that I may or may not have already talked about on LiveJournal by now. Since it was so long between us translating the game, and they didn't bother to say anything to us when they decided they were going to release the game after all, and we're always afraid of rejection, we were worried that maybe they got someone else to redo it. We've seen trailers for the US release and checked the subtitles against the script we...probably shouldn't still have...and it looks like they mostly used the translation from when we worked on it, but we're still not sure because one of Ace's key lines is different! Aaaaaahhh! Hopefully we'll know by the time this gets posted. We don't have a PS4 yet, though, so there's no telling. [Note: Nope, still don't know. We keep spending our money on non-PS4 things.]
And that leads to another interesting point, which I'm more likely to have already talked about except that I'm writing about it here, and that is the fact that this game was so highly anticipated that when the fans realized they weren't going to get it, they translated it themselves. That might be where "Reaper of the Icy Blade" came from, for all we know (we could check for a Type-0 wiki, but why should we?). And now all the terms are going to be different than what the fans are used to and there will be chaos! And they'll be all, "Ew, the fan translation was so much better."
Anyway, as for this volume...oh, where to begin? First of all, the Concordians. In the game, they have a distinctive speech pattern that is not showing up in the manga. That's good for us, because we don't have to worry about how to deal with it, but it's a little sad. On the other hand, I'm not sure their speech pattern comes across in the English translation of the game, so it might not make a difference anyway. What it did to us as we translated it, though, was it made us think, "These aren't real Concordians!" We don't trust anyone in this manga, so we're constantly looking for clues as to why somebody might turn out to be the enemy.
It's like we said in the review for volume one: we're pretty sure the game said something about a betrayal among the Four Champions. So we mostly keep waiting for Kotetsu to betray the other three. Why Kotetsu?
Well, according to someone in the game, the one girl of the champions sacrificed her life to save Kurasame. So I guess we trust her. (But not 100%.) And Guren just seems like such a nice guy. Kotetsu seems nice, too, but in a sneaky way. Like maybe his kindness isn't genuine. On the other hand, we somehow got the impression that the mysterious cactuar lurking around Akademeia belonged to the traitor. I don't think there was anything in the game dialogue (that we translated) that led us to this conclusion, just the fact that Tonberry hangs out with Kurasame, so if there's a cactuar running around and not visiting Kurasame (maybe it is, for all we know), it must have a guilty conscience. Plus the idea we got was that if you catch it, it can tell you what happened. But we didn't translate the cactuar capture scene, and we didn't get to it in the game, so we don't know.
So it could be Guren or Kotetsu that betrays everyone, but we still think it's Kotetsu, because he claimed to need to talk to the Cadetmaster and we don't know what was really going on there.
As an unrelated sidenote, we deliberately spell his name as Guren and not Glen, even though it's kind of a western-style fantasy, because most of the names in Rubrum are Japanese (the exceptions being Class Zero, the Consortium, and Carla). Also the word "guren" seems to be associated with fire, and Guren is the hot-blooded fiery one who uses fire magic.
As another interesting sidenote, there are two characters that we trust: Kazusa, and, ironically, Emina.
We especially don't trust Aoi. Not entirely sure why, but it might have something to do with the fact that her name means blue, when they're in the Vermilion Bird crystal state. At least her name doesn't mean white. Then we'd know she can't be trusted. Incidentally, we like to translate Kurasame's name as "angsty rain." (Also known as "pathetic fallacy.") It really means "dark rain"...actually we don't really know what it means because they only use kanji for Concordian names, but anyway the word for dark is the same word Translator Girl used for angsty at Anime Expo. So.
But speaking of Aoi. It's very faint, but we kind of get the idea that Miwa's always had a thing for Kurasame (there was one, maybe two flags, in volume one, and one or two more in volume two, and of course there's the legend from the game), so we feel kind of bad for her. Athena was all, "It's okay; they're all gonna die." This whole franchise has a lot of death. Like, a LOT of death. Like, seriously, don't get attached to anybody.
There was something else I was going to say. I don't remember. But I just checked my notes...and oh right! (moving away from the notes) When the other champions were teasing Kurasame about Aoi it was the cutest thing ever. The whole, "Do you really think she likes me?" thing. So many hearts.
Back to the notes. I have one that mentions when Miwa shows up and names the party the Four Champions. Either Guren or Kotetsu makes a comment about Kurasame being an add-on, or however that ended up (I don't remember how we had it, and it might get changed for all we know). We were tempted to translate it to, "What are you, the bayleaf?" But we weren't tempted very much because absolutely no one would have gotten that reference. So let me explain.
In Hercules the Animated Series, there was an episode where Hercules went to the island of the Amazons and his Amazon classmate had to do some kind of really dangerous trial thing or something (we haven't seen it in years; the details are a little fuzzy). He wanted to help but she insisted she didn't need it. So he was moping when Tempest(that's the Amazon's name)'s father comes along and gives him some advice. He was the homemaker of the family and was voiced by Emeril Lagassi. I don't know if I spelled that right, but it's the chef guy that goes, "BAM!" He makes an analogy about some dish we assume is Greek (plocky? that's what it sounded like; we don't know food words), and he said, "Some people would say, 'that plocky doesn't need any bayleaf.' But that doesn't mean it couldn't use a little bayleaf." Which means that help might not be necessary but that doesn't mean it would hurt. So Hercules decides to help Tempest anyway, and then her mom says something mean about him or he ends up being useless or something (we really don't remember, but I do remember that her mother was voiced by Katherine Janeway), and he goes, "But...but I was the bayleaf!" And that's how we remembered that analogy for years to come.
And now that you all know where it comes from, you can imagine Guren saying, "So what are you, like the bayleaf or something?" and laugh along with us. Or not. I guess you hadda be there.
And I think that covers it for our review of volume two! Tadah!
Today I'm thankful for getting to work on another fun chapter of UQ Holder!, making not the worst progress on Noragami, happy reminiscences of the Hercules animated series, at least one of us (the cat) having a sure way to stay warm in these cold