While we were in Japan, we kept seeing reviews of My Monster Secret, so I thought we'd hop on the bandwagon and post our review of it, too! (The reviews were all positive, but one of them posted scans of a few pages, which we couldn't help reading, to see what the adapter did with it. There were a couple of lines that had us go, "You went with that?" and then we reminded ourselves that it was possible that we put it there to begin with.) So here it is! Spoiler warning: Very mild (unless you don't even want to know the premise before you go in, and then it's moderate?).
Wow, so much is going on right now (it's the week before Anime Expo and we're distracted with Noragami when we have a Say I Love You deadline coming up soon) that My Monster Secret is falling into the cracks. I'm sorry My Monster Secret! We love you! We do not love the format we've been asked to translate you in, but that's not your fault. I do wish we didn't have to use this format on such talky titles, though.
I just posted a review of Chaika: The Coffin Princess volume one last night that didn't give any hint of what the series was actually about, and that prompted me to make a policy of giving a brief summary of a series premise with each volume one review. We'll see how long I remember that. (We don't have any volume ones on the horizon currently. Or do we? Only our editors know for sure...only they probably don't know for sure, because we still have the option of saying no.)
My Monster Secret is the story of Asahi Kuromine (I know Seven Seas' policy is to leave the names in Japanese order, and we honor that in the translation, but our own habit is to reverse them, so that's what I'm doing here), also known as the Holey Sieve, short for "Sieve with a Hole in It," because of his utter inability to keep anything a secret. Of course, now that he has a manga about him, this means he's going to come into possession of several outrageous secrets, the first of which being that the girl he has a crush on is actually a vampire. Dun dun DUN!
Mad-capped hilarity ensues.
I think it's a harem comedy, but so far there are only two girls (three if you count Mikan, but...). Maybe that's a good amount, but we worked on Negima, so you'll understand if our perspective is a little skewed. Anyway, it's a lot of fun, but it's hard for me to really immerse myself in the story when using this translation format, so it all kind of feels like it was a dream...
So now I'm trying to remember what all happened worth writing about. Thinking about it reminds me, Asahi might not be a Holey Sieve in the final English version. Hm. It's been a very long time since we've worked on a series that had an English adaptation writer on it. But editors change stuff, too, so...
Anyway, there's another thing that might be drastically different! Youko, the beloved vampire, speaks with a Kansai dialect, but only when she's being herself, and not trying to hide her vampireness, so there needs to be a noticeable change. We thought about going with the default (American Southern), but somehow we got it into our heads that it would be funny to make her a valley girl, probably because we'd just been working on First Love Monster, in which we'd made Jouji a surfer dude. Lately I guess we're wanting to represent our home state more? I don't know. We have reasons that it works.
In the case of Youko, we feel like valley girl works because it's an easy way to get a noticeable difference, and it will give her a bit of a dumb blonde vibe, which totally fits with her personality. Incidentally, we checked our dialect book, and Osakans are seen as being very open and not having any hidden sides to them, which may be a big part of the humor in giving her the dialect to begin with.
As of volume one, the series seems to focus more on keeping secrets than on Youko being a vampire, which I think is a good thing 1)because it's not what you'd expect, and 2)because the vampire thing has been done to death. Still, the vampires in My Monster Secret are a little different than your average vampire, so that will be something to look out for!
So far all the characters are pretty fun. I think I like translating Nagisa the best. She's just the type of character we like writing. Not that any of her dialogue will stay the way it is.
I'm not sure I have much else to say, except that one of the great things about harem comedies is that the creators have to make sure there's a good reason that ALL the girls love the guy, and it makes for some pretty darn likable heroes. And it's cute to see Asahi trying to help the girl he likes.
[EDIT: Based on some of the reviews we read, it looks like the adapter decided to stick with the Valley Girl dialect.]
And there you have it! Not a very in-depth review (we just wrote a Noragami review...which I also felt was a little less in-depth than usual for Noragami, but I think was still longer than this one), but at least I gave a summary of the story's premise! ...And nothing else that happens. Maybe I should have talked about Nagisa more...
Today I'm thankful for distance (from the format) helping me remember My Monster Secret more fondly, lemon pudding ring cake, Girl Scout Cookie booth sales, Reese's hearts being on sale, and this very special edition of Review Rednesdays.