We got an email today about a series that seems to be flying low under everyone's radar, because suddenly we all realized that the next volume needs to be translated, and fast. Ideally it will be finished by June 6, but it can potentially wait until June 10, and it may have to. We would probably just start working harder and say what will be will be, but it's a little hard, because we're pretty darn sure the first book won't actually be needed for another month or two, but the last time we tried to ask for an extension from that publisher, all we got was, "How about you turn it in before the next workday, instead of at the end of that Friday?" So not only is the sooner deadline one we think can be put off, but it's for a publisher we don't like as much and we suspect they won't even look at it until days after we turn it in (which is understandable; everybody's busy). But we don't </i>know</i> how urgent it is, which is why we tend to prioritize based on deadline generally. So we're trying to decide if we want to put it off in favor of titles that we're pretty sure are more urgent, and we're kind of at a loss.
But in the meantime, it's Review Rednesday! And a volume of Noragami came out last week! I'm pretty sure we have a backlog of non-Noragami reviews to post, but since Noragami is still on a monthly release schedule, I think we'll go ahead and post the review now. Spoiler level: pretty high.
We should maybe be working right now, because we may actually need to finish three translations this week instead of the two we originally thought. But the last several days have been so hectic that the only method of survival is strict compartmentalization, and I'm already afraid we don't care about what happened in this volume as much as maybe we normally would if we hadn't been rushed and stressed and distracted beyond reason.
So anyway, what DID happen in this volume? Oh yeah. Tsuguha! Of course that's the main thing, but it doesn't happen until the last chapter, so let's talk about the other stuff first. Actually, I think what caught my attention the most was Hiyori's brother! When she first started telling Yato that he was back, my question was, "Is he worshiping the same god that possessed the real Koto? Because something's fishy here." The timing just seemed too perfect. On the other hand, it was a pretty major crisis for his family, and he's not heartless after all, so maybe he really did go back out of the kindness of his heart. Also, he didn't seem as easily moved to tears as Hiyori led us to believe in volume nine. Or was it eight? The one where she runs off to Yomi.
Oh, but speaking of the chapter where Hiyori tells Yato about her brother being back, I just want to say that I'm not entirely in agreement with Ebisu's philosophy about religion. He does make a good point about people saving each other, and I think that often the divine helps people by sending other people, but it's not because ONLY people can save people, but because we're all learning to be like Christ, and if we want to do that, we have to learn to save people, too. But I digress.
That chapter was just a bunch of Yato angst, and I kind of think he was being a bit of a baby, but they've been saying all along that he hasn't really grown up, and who of us has, really? And when he found out about Hiyori's birthday, that was awesome.
As for Hiyori's brother! I kind of suspected that maybe this mysterious Kai'i Sera was related to Hiyori somehow, especially when he started talking about not wanting to take over the family business, but I was still suspicious of Hiyori's actual brother, and this artist guy didn't seem that bad. I will say that it was an interesting challenge figuring out how to get him to tell his story about his friend without giving the whole thing away. Why did the painter and the ghost have to be different genders? I think we did a pretty good job of not making it obvious that we were avoiding pronouns, so hopefully what will happen is that the readers will get to the plot twist and think, "They're helping the her!? But Sera said... *flipflipflip* *reread* ...Oh." Of course, I'm betting that some astute readers will be like, "Aha! I knew it was going to be the ghost when they refused to use any pronouns!" I think the "this person" might be a bit of a giveaway. Fortunately, though, Sera is a new character, so it could just be that he talks funny. (We also considered the possibility of letting the reader assume that Ryoichi Uno is a trans woman, which would make "she" a completely acceptable pronoun, but I don't know how many readers would assume that before thinking, "Oh, they must be talking about somebody else.")
Then at the end of that chapter, Adachitoka subtly reveals that GASP! he really is Hiyori's brother...and I forgot where I was going with this, because I interrupted myself to add something to an earlier paragraph. ...Oh right! That was when we realized that Adachitoka also subtly revealed that Hiyori's family has been able to talk to ghosts and stuff all along. I was like, "Do you realize, they just confirmed that Hiyori's family CAN see ghosts?" and we were like, "Whoa." Because in the last volume, their mother was talking to Hiyori's spirit form. I think I mentioned in that review that we weren't sure if it was because she could see the supernatural or if it was because she was possessed by an ayakashi, but now I think we know for sure. Still not sure why she would have charged into the mob with a knife (or broken glass or whatever it was), though. It really doesn't seem like the best way to defuse such a dangerous situation, especially one taking place in a hospital. Oh well.
Anyway, the next chapter engendered a typo which has been giving me more amusement than I would normally expect. Maybe I'm just that tired. But Yato tells Hiyori that the black thing is like a grim reaper, and for some reason, I typed "grim reader," which we decided to define as a reader of very disturbing literature, and now it makes me smile inside every time I think of it. Hiyori's grandmother seems like a nice lady. It looks like she's lived a good, long life, too, so we weren't too shaken up by the news of the grim reaper. It was pretty awesome when she pulled that bow and arrow on Yato, though.
And then, there was the last chapter. Of course, they were building up to it the whole time, and man, I really hoped they were going to find a way to fix it, because Tsuguha gets all the rotten luck. I was pretty disappointed when Kazuma killed her anyway, but I guess I was just in too much of a rush to let it get me down. Or maybe I was with Kazuma, "It was the right thing. It was the right thing." That's just how the stories go sometimes. I do think that it didn't feel like some stories do when they just go around killing off characters for the dramatic effect--it feels like this really is an important part of what's going to happen all around. But man, poor Tsuguha! She gets all the rotten luck, as indicated by the way she died. That was pretty awful.
But the scariest part! Oh man, poor Kazuma, trying so hard to do the right thing. When that image of Tsuguha's head flashed across his mind, I was like, "Oh no! Is he gonna turn!?" Not to mention the fact that Yukine's name has been nicked, too! Aaaaah! But the scariest part! Was when Kazuma cast that spell on Yukine. I don't know if that scary monster thing showed up because it was Kazuma's most powerful use of that spell yet, or if it was just because, since it was Yukine, we got to see what it looked/felt like from the perspective of the victim, but either way, it was intense. And the best part! was when Yukine broke free of it. Awww, that's our little Blessedito (<--not sure I'm attached to that term, but I'm kind of digging it here). But it was also so sad, because he trusted Kazuma! And I love it all, because I guess I'm a sadist, but they're both trying their best to do the best that they can with the information and the goals and the loyalties that they have. But oh man, how is this going to play out in the next volume!?
Then there was the Godfathers. It was pretty funny, but we hated it. All the yakuza terms! But it was called the Godfathers, so we wanted to use American mafia terms as much as we could, and wouldn't ya know it, the yakuza and the mafia don't actually have quite the same organizational structure? I think we managed to get it all close enough, but it was really hard to pin Kofuku's role in the family. The term was motojime, which refers either to the person supplying all the money for something, OR the boss, like of a gambling establishment. Either one kind of worked, so we went with underboss...but then Ebisu's role (wakagashira) turned out to be more of the underboss role, so we had to change it. The list of mafia terms that Wikipedia gave us didn't seem to have anything that matched for Kofuku, so we just went with racketeer. But once we got all the terms out of the way, the whole story really is pretty good. I'm also happy to see a reference to multi-level marketing schemes, in a twisted kind of way, because that's what Jamberries are! ...Which reminds me, we need to order some more.
I think that covers it. Kind of a rushed review for a rushed translation. Hopefully we'll have more yoyuu for the next volume.
Whew, that was a fun review. What a nice pick-me-up before we dive into the scheduling madness.
Today I'm thankful for managing to finish that chapter of My Dear Cramer (it was so hard! it took so long!), making a little bit of progress on another book (which we may or may not set aside), having plans to see the fam, getting to be amused at The Godfathers now that there's some distance between us, and it still being cool enough for Page to burrow under blankets.