Monday, July 30, 2012

Volume 6

O K !

Let’s skip me apologizing for the obnoxious delay on this review and just jump right into the delightful newest volume of Seeeraaaa Muuuun.

I absolutely love this cover.  It exemplifies the sweet, sparkly charm and cheer that makes Sailor Moon so appealing to millions of fans of all ages.  You wouldn’t dare call this Chibi Moon “the Scrappy Doo of Sailor Moon,” would you?  Scrappy Doo never looked this cute.  By the way, get your fill of those sexy boots, because the only other full-body cover picture we’ll get is on volume 11.

As far as what comes after the cover, I’m pretty happy.  I didn’t find any typos, misspellings, or grammatical errors.  The translation is accurate and, by and large, more natural-sounding.  Reading Tokyopop and Kodansha side by side, I saw many sloppy Tokyopop errors that were, by the grace of the Ginzuishou, not repeated in Kodansha, including 5(!!) instances where dialog is attributed to the wrong person.

Other general comments before we dive into the nitty-gritty:

Mugen – So, I really don’t care if “mugen” is left as-is or if it’s translated as “infinity”, but I like consistency, and saying Mugen Academy is located in the Infinity District isn’t consistent.  I don’t
understand why the academy is the only place in a whole island of places named Infinity Whatever that uses Mugen instead.

Ten'ô, Kaiô, Meiô – These romanizations are perfectly acceptable, but seem overly complicated to me, especially in the case of Haruka’s name, which has been invaded by an apostrophe.  What’s wrong with Tenou?  It’s nice and easy and doesn’t require me to find that stupid O with a hat.

Haruka being referred to as “she” before she is officially revealed to be female - Usagi and everyone else refer to Haruka as a "he" because they believe she's a man.  In Tokyopop, no one starts referring to her as a "she" until she reveals herself as Sailor Uranus and starts dressing as a woman.  In Kodansha, however, Usagi uses the feminine pronoun before she's certain of Haruka's gender.  Haruka doesn't make an appearance in womanly garb until later in the act, and her identity as Sailor Uranus doesn't come to light until the next act, so why would Usagi suddenly use "she" here?

Unlike English, Japanese doesn't require a subject in every sentence, and it uses the 3rd person pronouns for he (kare) and she 彼女 (kanojo) sparingly.  It's easy to talk about someone in Japanese without revealing their gender, whereas in English, you have no choice unless you want to sound a bit weird and use they and their for a singular subject.  Thus, the translators must decide which pronouns to insert.  "He" is the most logical option based on what the characters know at this point in the story.

One the other hand, Usagi is experiencing some serious confusion about Haruka's identity right around now, and just had a pretty kinky dream about him / her, so I could accept that as an argument for why she might say "she" at this very moment.  Furthermore, to quote Haruka herself: "Man?  Woman?  Does it really matter that much?"

I've decided to start commenting more on the story itself, rather than just the differences in translation and adaptation.  Those comments will appear at the end of this post.  I wish I could make a separate jump cut for them, but that doesn't seem to be possible.  I considered making a separate post for story comments, but decided against it.  If anyone has any feedback on how I should format everything, I'd love to hear it.

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Announcement of the Century

Today, there was a special event in Roppongi commemorating Sailor Moon's 20th anniversary.  The promotional materials spoke of an "announcement" that had the fandom trembling with excitement.  I, however, didn't give it much thought.  Not much has been going on with Sailor Moon in Japan, and I figured the announcement would be something novel but not groundbreaking, like a blu-ray release or Sailor Moon noodle cups up for sale exclusively at Lawson's convenience stores.

How could I have guessed the announcement would fulfill one of my greatest wishes?  We are getting a brand new Sailor Moon anime next summer.  That's right, in a year's time, we will have a freshly animated series based more closely on the manga, and set a simultaneous global release, meaning fans all over the world will get to take part.

I'm caught between speechlessness and screaming ecstasy.  It sounds too good to be true.  I...I just....I have to make a numbered list about why this is going to be soooooo awesome!!

  1. There will likely be new content.  Even if there isn't, and it ends up following the manga panel-by-panel like Dragonball Z often did, how incredible will it be to see Princess Serenity's tragic suicide, Black Lady return to her true self after Pluto's sacrifice, and Saturn swing her glaive down in color, sound, and motion?  It'll be, like, staring into an eclipse incredible.
  2. The Sailor Moon anime is 20 years old, and it looks its age.  That doesn't mean it isn't still beautiful and charming; it certainly is.  But there are times when I watch Sailor Moon and I just think, "Damn.  This is an old show.  And why did they choose the shitty animator who makes Ami's hair look like plastic to draw this pivotal episode??"  Now we'll get to see all our beloved characters come to life in the hands of modern animation that will (theoretically) be consistent, fluid, and vibrant.  When the first image leaks....oh my gaaaahhhd.  I'm gonna print it out and paste it my fiance's face.
  3. At the live event, Osabu expressed his wish to see fans who grew up with Sailor Moon enjoy this production.  This might carry the implication that the new anime will be geared a bit more to older fans.  I love Sailor Moon for what it is, but let's have some real talk for a sec.  There are plenty of times when some stupid little kid shenanigans happen, including half-baked plot points:  so anime Chibiusa turned against all of humanity because she thought her friends forgot to celebrate her birthday once, and her parents didn't pick her up from a puddle that one time?  Ok.  It's a bit disappointing because I'd like to see some more plot threads that remain slightly more complex, mature, or innovative than "the Ginzuishou saves the day all day errday and we're all <3 friends <3 except for that pile of corpses made up of Monsters of the Day and certain mid-boss villains who fucking deserved it(^0^)/ ."
  4. NEW MERCHANDISE.  Dolls.  Figures.  Gashapon.  Plushies oh my God.
  5. It's set for a simultaneous worldwide release--not sure how exactly how that's going to play out yet, but we'll see--meaning old fans, new fans, and everyone in between will share in this new Sailor Moon experience.
  6. The year leading up to this release is going to be the best ever.  Every once in a while, a new detail will emerge, and the excitement will build.  We'll be checking news sites, blogs, and forums to find and discuss each new piece of information.  It will be like a really, really long Hannukah with gifts being delivered to us at intervals, and we are gonna shake the shit out of those gifts and try and guess what's inside, and then we're gonna rip them open and scream and jump up and down when we see what we got.  YES.
So I'm excited.  You?

The other thing I want to address is something said on Kotono Mitsuishi's blog.  It sounds like she's going to reprise her role as Sailor Moon, but there has been no "official" confirmation of this yet.  Moreso than that, a potential spoiler she released about the anime needs to be addressed, because it caused some intial confusion.

My translation:
I'm itching to hurry up and play this role again!
But this time, the enemy isn't the Dark Kingdom.
It's my reckless past self.

The second line was construed as a revelation about the new anime--that the Dark Kingdom won't be the villain.  This assumes that the second line and the third line aren't connected thoughts, but they actually are.  She's making a more personal statement.  When she played Sailor Moon before, she poured her heart into it.  Now, her challenge is to surpass that prior performance.  Her use of ano koro (that time) and  gamushara datta (was reckless) to modify jibun (myself) proves this.

Links / references:
Anime News Network's summary of the announcement
Kotono Mitsuishi's blog post
Full video of the event on Miss Dream.  Miss Dream will also be subtitling this video.