Sunday, October 02, 2005


Maybe I should just change this blog's name to "The FuruBa Blog" and be done with it...

Anyway, this is just a note for anyone who's curious about what the one-page gag at the end of volume one looked like in the original Japanese. In Tokyopop's version, Tohru is asking Yuki to explain the proverb "you can't see the forest for the trees." In the original, there is the same basic idea of Tohru misunderstanding a proverb by taking it literally, but the proverb itself is different. The original's proverb is "okame hachimoku," literally "an onlooker has eight eyes," which Takaya glosses as meaning "a third party understands the situation better than the parties involved." And the question Tohru asks is "if an onlooker has eight eyes, then if her sight goes bad, what does she do about glasses?" While I agree with the decision to substitute an English-language proverb -- nobody likes a joke which requires footnotes to be understood -- it would have been nice if the translation had kept the absurdity of Tohru's question, rather than just having her be literal-minded.

Incidentally, Fruits Basket vol. 1 was originally published in Japan in January 1999. The copy I have was printed in September 2002, and is already the fortieth printing. I don't know how many copies that translates to, but it's some indication of how popular successful series can be in Japan.

UPDATE: Well, now I feel dumb. It didn't occur to me until just now that the original Japanese proverb describes Tohru's own role. She is herself an onlooker to the Sohmas, who often understands the emotional dynamics among the Sohmas better than do the parties involved: for instance, the relationship between Yuki and Kyou. Now I'm no longer sure that the decision to change the proverb was correct.

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