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Alethea & Athena
Noragami: Stray Stories 
10th-Dec-2015 05:28 pm
Well, we're finally back from our shenanigans and have resumed a more or less normal schedule. We had a good time, and I will talk about that later, but! the one thing we realized we missed out on due to our shenanigans is Review Rednesdays! So today, we will Rewind to Review Rednesdays, and post a review anyway! Why? Because we like to! And, because we were planning to skip ahead anyway, we're going to skip ahead to Noragami: Stray Stories! Woohoo! (It's a side thing, so it's all out of order anyway, and that means it should be okay to review it out of order, too, right? Sorry, My Little Monster! We'll get back to you soon!) Spoiler warning level: mild.

Oh my gosh, you guys, this books was so much fun! I really hope everybody reads it because it's awesome! I wrote down some of the comments we made while we were translating, so that will make this review a little extra fun, too!

But I'm including them in this review out of order. The first one up came when we finished the first draft. I looked at the script and said, "Hey, only 44 pages," to which Athena replied, "44 pages of DOOM!" Why? Because this is Noragami. The edit is always significantly worse than the first draft, and to make it worse, it's extra zany Noragami. Which means it's hilarious, but we need to do that much more research to make sure it's hilarious in the right ways.

Speaking of such things, we did sometimes take a few liberties with the script. For example, Yato didn't actually say Yukine has no rights. He says rights gots nothin' to do with it. But we felt like no rights went along better with Yato being the law, and it was funny (or so we thought anyway), and it flowed better than the other one. We thought it still worked, because technically Daikoku said it was about Yukine's human rights, and human rights would have nothing to do with it because he's not a human he's a shinki, ergo he has no human rights.

Which brings us to the next comment: Where did they get the cement mixer? I guess Daikoku just owns one?

And the following comment: Is Yukine deliberately dressed like a Hogwarts student? Maybe they found an abandoned Harry Potter costume... And in that vein, Yato has an awful lot of Capyper apparel. We couldn't help but notice that he has at least two different pairs of Capyper boxers. I find it endearing, because Capyper is the Noragami version of Mickey Mouse, but did they just find those clothes, or what?

Maybe I should start addressing these stories in the order they showed up. It's fun, because you can tell approximately when each story is published based on the characters' attitudes and interactions, and little visual clues. For the first one, we thought, "This one took place before the ablution, because Yukine's still wearing the jacket he bought with filthy lucre." And the chapter about Kazuma was probably published before the rest of the Lucky Seven were introduced, because Bishamon gave more exposition than necessary when she mentioned Okuninushi. (We took that part out because we couldn't make it sound like normal dialogue (as opposed to an info dump), but she says, "Okuninushi from Izumo.")

But back to the first story. Our main thought about it was, "Oh, so THAT's where they got that episode of the anime." When we watched the anime a second time, we thought it was odd that they would make something up like that, because it wasn't in the manga, but the silliness matched Noragami so well. Apparently it was in the manga after all! And it's just great how Yato and Yusuke are so serious about the whole thing, and Hiyori is like, "Why aren't we helping him!?" and Yukine is just being a sulky little punk. Oh man, it's so great. And Yato's shock at the Capyper story! Oh, Yato. You're the best.

The shinki survey was also the best. Especially when Yukine starts to read the magazine and Yato shows up out of nowhere to take it away and then Daikoku shows up out of nowhere to beat up Yato.

The one with the guy trying to kill Yato was the best best. Just everything about it. "That was just practice!" Aaaaah ha ha ha ha! Also, it brings up a good point about books selling because of an idol's fame. You think it's so unfair, and then you realize hey, it's not like anybody can just be a pop star.

Oh, but Mr. F! That was the worst! He showed up out of nowhere and said NOTHING! There were no clues as to what this guy was possibly doing there! Why, Adachitoka!? Whyyyyyy!?

It took us some recapping to each other to remember how we found out who the guy was. Actually, fortunately, the clue came while we were looking up information on Hikaru Genshi (bwa ha ha!!). We were pretty lost about that, too, so we did a Google search on Noragami Shuuishuu (the Japanese title of the book), with the title of the chapter, and we found a blog that reviewed the book. And thankfully, the reviewer mentioned the random appearance of Funakoshi-san. We were like, "We have won the internet!!!" We even did a Google Image search on Funakoshi-san, and all the pictures that came up looked JUST LIKE HIM. "That's him!!! We've won the internet!!!!"

...But we still didn't know who he was. And believe it or not, Funakoshi is not that uncommon a name. So we went to Wikipedia and typed Funakoshi in the search box, and we tried the first autocomplete suggestion, which was Eiichiro. But there wasn't a picture! That's okay, it links to his official website...where he doesn't post any clear pictures of himself! His profile has a silhouette!!! We were like, "It's a conspiracy!!" (Not in such concise terms, but it's that sort of frustration.)

So we just Googled the full name, and the pictures matched, and we won. Only not completely, because we're still not entirely sure his appearance was that random. We think the connection is that he was in a lot of detective dramas, and it was a murder mystery thing, but I don't know, maybe there was some series where he was like the TV host and appeared to give commentary or something. So, we're sorry, Noragami readers, that we couldn't give a complete report on that particular gag. Maybe one day we'll find out.

Maybe if we could ask Kiki, we'd find out. That story was the best, too. (I haven't mentioned the fortune teller story yet, but that was the best, too.)

And finally, there's the Lucky Seven audition. Oh my goodness, Yato. Yato, Yato, Yato. Yukine's such a good manager, though, isn't he? He's such a cute kid.

I want to point out, for the record, even though the only people this will ever affect are the two of us, lyschan, and our editor, that when Yato was possessing Hiyori, and I credited those lines in the script as being said by "Yatori", I came up with that before Yato called himself Yatorin. I just want everyone to know that.

And speaking of Yatori, the final comment that we had written before coming to write this review, that was a real time reaction as we translated this book, came when Yatori made her introduction at the audition...and ended her sentences with "nari". The comment was this: "Nari? It's funny, but NOOOOOOO!"

Cute sentence enders are the bane of a translator's existence! The easy thing is to just keep it and leave it as-is, and a lot of fans will just accept it, but then you have the intellectuals who are all, "What, you can't come up with an English equivalent? What a weeaboo." As a matter of fact, no, I cannot come up with an English equivalent, because Japanese grammar works differently from English grammar, okay!? (Actually, there is a translator who came up with the idea of using those kinds of things like they use the word "pony" in My Little Pony, which almost works, but not really. Pony serves a different purpose.)

Anyway, we also happen to be of the opinion that ending English sentences with random Japanese words sounds really off, so we do actually want to come up with an English equivalent, or an English stand-in, anyway. As a matter of fact, one of the naris in Japanese was added as a hasty correction when Yatori almost said "desu" instead, which would have been breaking character. We couldn't really translate that, so we're hoping the ellipsis does a good enough job serving that purpose. If you're curious to know what we used, go ahead and read the book!

I almost forgot! Bishamon and Inaba! So cute! Bishamon looked so happy to have a rabbit! Speaking of Bishamon, you might have noticed that we didn't try too hard to have her sound old-timey at Yato's audition. We figured it was okay because she was actually speaking differently than normal--more businesslike, and using teineigo, which she never does otherwise. Inaba gave us some trouble, too, because we don't know if Inaba is a he or a she! We asked our editor to see if he could find out, but if not, you'll find that we used both! Read the volume and see if you can figure out our method!

I think that's everything. We had a hard time deciding what to go with when Yato punches people and calls them stupid, but ultimately we took from Yosemite Sam. We had a lot of fun translating this volume, so we hope everyone has a lot of fun reading it!

Today I'm thankful for having a lovely time with our Disneyland associates, feeling less doomful about getting back to Noragami 12, having a much better idea of what our work schedule will be like for the near future, getting to translate Noragami: Stray Stories, and getting to post our review of it.
11th-Dec-2015 01:18 pm (UTC)
She's right, they did come up with Yatori first!! So clever, these translators :D

Thank you for reminding me of so many delightful wonderful things from this volume. Like that now Hikaru Genshi and roller skates will forever be hilarious to me. (I mean they already were because of volume 7 but now I can expect them to keep showing up at (in)appropriate times to cause me to lose my head laughing.) And Yato's deliriously happy reactions to Capyper Land. And the recurring jokes like the cement mixer and his punching catchphrase.

I think your liberty with "got no rights" is totally acceptable! It does flow better and sound both natural and super-funny, and the point is that Yato is being outrageous and terrible and that conveys it well :D

Oh! I was flipping through and came to the page with shinki responses to the survey (thanks, From Ama) and saw Daikoku's!! Awww! I spent kind of a lot of time getting that one just right because the fonts I had didn't quite fit what I wanted (and also were hard to fit legibly in the space I had) and I wanted to use the exclamation points from the Japanese writing, so I rewrote the English and found a brush in photoshop to give it the right texture to match... it was one of those things that I fussed over probably unnecessarily, but it was for love. I couldn't help it. Those two panels make me so happy♥

...I forgot the fortune teller chapter was also the first appearance of Toya. Ugh, Toya. (and Kazuma's accompanying downfall... *shakes head*)

I too was happy when the first chapter solved the mystery of that one episode! It was too perfect a match to be filler made up by the anime staff! (and why would they bother with filler for such a short show?)

Did you know? The bit that was redacted on the sketch page of Yukine was actually under a shape object that could be moved aside to reveal the Japanese writing. Gah!! But (maybe for the best) I don't know enough Japanese to read what it said, so it remains a mystery. I'm sure it will be revealed when the time is right.

It was good to replace the "nari" sentence ending! The replacement you chose was great :D

This is even more disordered than your post. Oh well, you'll know what I'm talking about :) I hope the rest of volume 12 is not doomful!
11th-Dec-2015 05:07 pm (UTC)

It's so true! This volume was full of the best! And yes! Hikaru Genshi! (Actually, we noticed later that it's actually "gesoshi", but since the point is parody, we think it's okay maybe? We didn't notice until after Stray Stories was already printed, and not a lot of American readers would know that the so looks so much like n, right?) But yeah, it was funny enough in volume seven, and then! Oh man, it's so great.

The way you did Daikoku's comment was beautiful! Oh man, the things we do for love...

Yeah, Toya... This might be a spoiler for volume eleven, but the sample of his stories... Oh man, it was so stupid. Oh, Kazuma... Stay good! (There was something in the Aragoto anime that was making fun of Yato's drawings for being bad, and we were like, "But you established in the first anime that Yato is an amazing artist!") "Some things you just can't put a price on." Bwa ha ha!

Seriously! Why would they bother with filler? Especially since they were clearly rushing the story to get to the ablution scene. (Although they did seem to add more stuff, like to raise some Yukine/Hiyori flags or something...it was weird. It's hard to take the anime seriously after reading the manga, which is ironic, because part of what's wrong with it is that Yato is so much more serious...but then, maybe that's why it's the opposite of ironic. Knowing that Yato is a goof makes it impossible to take him seriously in the anime.)

Oh my goodness, we did NOT know that about the redaction! (Of course, we only had the printed book, and not digital files.) I would have been so torn about it, because the fact that it was redacted means they're going to go into it at some point, but oh the curiosity!

We're glad you liked our translation of nari!

We made it past the Ultimate Doom of volume 12 (we think we did a fair job on it), and now we're faced with average Noragami doom. Neither of us can think of anything that would be as doomful as the Ultimate Doom, but since we kind of blocked Noragami from our minds for a while, there's no telling what we might come up against. Thanks for the support!
11th-Dec-2015 08:20 pm (UTC)
I never noticed that about Hikaru Ge(n/so)shi! Well, aside from it being too late to take that back now, I say it was the right choice anyway, because Genshi and Genji sound similar enough but ン and ソ is a visual pun that would be lost on English readers (and the text is all replaced with Eng lettering so there'd be no trace of the original unless we turned the n/N into a similar-looking roman letter).

What Yato-artistry was in the first season that I forgot (or didn't get around to watching)? And yeah, why would he be a bad artist in Aragoto?! I mean bad in a different sense, for sure, but...

Ohhhhh I actually forgot about Yato being less of a creep and a goof in the anime (so content am I in my manga-only bubble). How sad for people who don't know the true wonder of Yato's Yato-ness.
11th-Dec-2015 10:35 pm (UTC)
It was SO subtle! And agreed--Gesoshi just would have made no sense whatsoever. We decided that we just localized it to Genshi instead.

I don't remember exactly, but I do know that Yato and Yukine drew pictures to help Hiyori remember them after the stray stole her memories. (We started rewatching the first season a while ago, but we lost interest after the ablution.)

I know, right? Our only hope is that one day they will all be so starved for more Noragami that they'll pick up the manga and read it. It's sad, though, because we're sure Hiroshi Kamiya could easily pull off a stupid-whiny Yato. Maybe we should see about getting a DVD of that event where they did a live reading of the scene in Stray Stories where Hiyori is visiting Bishamon's shrine...
11th-Dec-2015 11:30 pm (UTC)
Hiyori's memories got stolen? By the stray...? Whaaaaa... what is this Noragami that I don't know anything about?! (guess I'm showing where I stopped watching.) The making her remember scene does sound kind of adorable though.

(getting off topic a little, I have SUCH a hard time reading the reviews and forum posts on ANN about the show (maybe it happens elsewhere too) because it's Nora this and Nora that and I'm like aaaagh that's NOT her name! Phew, I'm so glad we (you) didn't do that.)

Is the current season expected to end with the Uncle Ebi stuff, then? Cuz if they got to v11 I can't see how they could NOT have stupid whiny adorable Yato. But it's probably running out of time and that wouldn't be a sensible place to end a serious, dramatic series, like Noragami totally is (when it's not falling into crevasses of delightful absurdity).
12th-Dec-2015 12:21 am (UTC)
Yeah, she was working with an anime-original guy named Rabo(u). It's weird, though, because it seems like things shouldn't work that way in this series. But the anime is kind of whatever sometimes.

(We have a hard time reading the reviews at ANN because we're just not fans of the reviewer's writing style or her know-it-all-ness. But yeah! the fact that they didn't translate nora makes no sense whatever. It's like the one thing in the whole series that they didn't translate. They don't even leave Yatogami as Yatogami; they call him Yato God, which just...ugh. We, too, are glad Kodansha USA didn't go that route. XD)

Based on where they are now, it seems like they'll end it with the Uncle Ebi stuff...although on the other hand, it's possible that they'll cram all of that into one episode and then do something else for the finale. We'll have a better idea after we watch this week's episode. They did add a little bit of Yato absurdity, because he still stalked Hiyori for a while, and they had to make him annoying when she started high school. But they couldn't do the divine possession thing, because they already did that in an OAD, so instead they had him going off about forming a Yato Club, which is totally in character, but all he did was repeat the word "Yato-bu" at her ad nauseum, and we were like, "Come on, Yato's more creative in his demands." If he wanted her to form a Yato Club, he would find a way to make it happen other than whininess. Unless Yukine stopped him, which he didn't. They just all rolled their eyes at him.
12th-Dec-2015 01:09 am (UTC)
("Yato God"?! What?!! I mostly only look at the forum and not the reviews, but the reviewer did a feature recently on some of the mythology stuff, and oh I had such a hard time not running into the comment section and going "Read the manga! it's also got translation notes and they're so informative and fun! even if they don't have animated gifs! (or especially because they don't have animated gifs...)" But I didn't do that because that would be unprofessional. One of the Japanese ANN-forum-posters wrote a (slightly condescending?) comment mentioning a few points she got wrong, but now that comment has mysteriously vanished so I wonder if they thought better of it later.)

Someday I'll watch the rest of the anime. I am curious about it, and I'm sure visually and audibly it would be enjoyable. Maybe we three can watch it together, and merrily critique away at all its shortcomings to the manga :)
13th-Dec-2015 03:14 am (UTC)
(Sometimes with a "the", as in "the Yato god". We noticed that feature! And we started to read it, but for some reason we couldn't keep reading it. We do think that reviewer is a little bit uninformed, like when Izanami showed up, she said, "We're finally getting to the big gods of Japanese mythology," and we were like, "Umm... Ebisu and Okuninushi and Bishamon are all pretty big, not to mention we noticed characters going to a Tenjin shrine in a completely unrelated manga..." But I should probably not point out so many things because you're right, it is unprofessional.)

That would be awesome! Watching the anime together... Oh man, we haven't watched anime with friends in ages. (Unless you count the two episodes of Hetalia we watched with Gaston, but they were dubbed... (and only three minutes long))
15th-Dec-2015 07:02 pm (UTC)
Thank you for this review. It's fun to read and search for the part you mention in the book. This book is so much fun! The characters are cute. Yukine is so cool, he has a level head, that kid :) Kazuma is too goofy!
15th-Dec-2015 09:24 pm (UTC)
We're so glad you enjoyed it! (The review and the book!) Yukine just gets better and better as the story goes on, so of course we recommend reading the main series, too! (This might be bad, but I love to see when he goes homicidal...)
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