Saturday, December 31, 2005


As before, there's nothing huge, but there are subtle changes in emotional tone, which make a difference in a series like Fruits Basket. Also as before, the page numbers refer to the Tokyopop edition (if you own the Japanese edition and want to follow along there, you'll have to subtract four). TP stands for Tokyopop's translation, JP for the original Japanese, and my own translations are given without prefaratory symbols. (See the sidebar for earlier posts in this series.)

p. 14, panel 4
TP: "Why don't you stop forcing yourself on him and calling it love?"
JP: "Tsujitsumaawase no koi wa mou yametara"

The expression "tsujitsuma o awaseru" means "make (one's story) consistent" or "make (something) look plausible." A reasonable translation might be: "Why don't you stop this pretense at love?"

p. 18, panel 5
TP: "...was lost in my own thoughts."
JP: "hasete imashita"

"haseru" means "run, drive, gallop, sail." In context, this doesn't seem to make much sense at first, but the word is written in kanji so presumably it's not a typo. Perhaps the meaning is something like "my thoughts were racing."

p. 36, panel 1
TP: "But ... I couldn't possibly forget! I admit that I didn't understand everything you were saying..."
JP: "Sonna ... wasureru nante ... hen da nante..."

The problem with TP is that "wasureru," meaning (here) "I will forget," and "hen da," meaning "it's strange," are parallel in the JP, so they should be treated alike in the translation, but instead they're treated in opposite ways. But finding a replacement which sounds natural in English is difficult. "Sonna" here is an abbreviation for "sonna koto nai," which means approximately "it's nothing like that." "Nante" means "anything like" or "something like." Perhaps something like "Saying that I'll forget ... that it's strange ..." would work.

p. 40, panels 4 & 5
TP: Kyou: "Who the hell do you think you are?!" Yuki: "I'm me."
JP: Kyou: "Nanisama no tsumori da!!?" Yuki: "Oresama."

This isn't a case of TP making a mistake in translation, but of something that's pretty much untranslatable. "-sama" is an honorific: it's added on to people's names, like "-san," which is the approximate equivalent of Mr., Mrs., or Ms. But "-sama" is only used in referring to one's social superiors, when one wants to show extreme respect for them. When Kyou asks Yuki "Nani-sama [literally what-sama] do you think you are?" he's of course being sarcastic, in response to Yuki's "talking down" to him. Yuki replies "oresama," or "me-sama," throwing Kyou's sarcasm back in his face. You're not supposed to apply any honorific to yourself, still less "-sama," which as I said above is only used of one's social superiors. So when Yuki says "oresama," he's deliberately being incredibly arrogant. It's no wonder that Kyou, on the next page, threatens to kill him.

p. 46, panel 2
TP: "That woman doesn't belong with us, after all."
JP: "Shosen ano onna wa aka no tanin nanda kara."
"After all, that woman is a complete stranger."

p. 46, panel 3
TP: "I'd be quite justified in exterminating her."
JP: "Kujo sareru beki ka mo."

"Kujo suru" ("sareru" is the passive) can mean "exterminate," but also "get rid of" or "drive away." I think that latter alternatives are more likely here: Akito is cruel, but probably wouldn't go so far as to seriously consider "exterminating" Tohru. Also, "beki ka mo" simply means "perhaps [somebody] should," not "I'd be quite justified in." So, "perhaps I should get rid of her."

p. 47, panel 1
TP: "I worry about you because you're inferior."
JP: "Kimi wa ototte iru kara shinpai da yo."

"Otosu" can mean "inferior," but also "fall short." Given what we will eventually learn about Kureno, the latter is the better translation. In fact, the meaning of this and the previous sentence won't become clear until vol. 17.

p. 84, panel 5-6
TP: "He needs to realize"
JP: "Omoishiru beki nanda"

The subject is not given in JP, and I think it's more likely in the context that the subject is Shigure, to whom Yuki is speaking. So: "You should realize".

p. 85, panel 1
TP: "That in the end that's all we are."
JP: "...kekkyoku tada sore dake datte ... koto ni."
"That that's all there is to it, after all."

p. 86, panel 5
TP: "I wonder if, with Kyou-kun too, Akito-san has a special relationship...?"
JP: "Kyou-kun ni totte mo Akito-san wa yahari 'tokubetsu na sonzai' de ..."
"[I wonder if] for Kyou-kun also, Akito-san is after all a 'special existence'..."

p. 91, panel 3:
TP: "You would tell me that which I don't know?"
JP: "...mada wakaranai no wa dotchi da yo...?"
"...who is it who still doesn't understand...?"

(There are several possibilities here, but this is the one I like best in context.)

p. 97, panel 2:
TP: "She's a freak, just like you."
JP: "Kanpekisugiru 'bakemono' da yo."
"She's a too-perfect 'monster.'"

p. 97, panel 3
TP: "I mean, if any sensible person saw you in that form..."
JP: "Datte futsuu omae no ano sugata o mitara"

"Futsuu" means "normal, usual," so "Normally if someone saw that form of yours".

p. 100, panel 2
TP: "I might never have trusted anyone ever again"
JP: "Mou dare no moto e mo modoranakatta kamoshirenai koto"
"I might never have returned to anyone's house"

p. 100, panel 4
TP: "I couldn't expect her to 'fix' me."
This is an invention of TP; the JP text doesn't say anything like this.

p. 101, panel 1
TP: "...she's not afraid to be by my side."
JP: "issho ni ite kureru nda"
There's no "afraid to be" in the JP. It should be just "she's with me".

p. 101, panel 3
TP: "...and be happy when we're together."
JP: "nandaka shiawase sou ni waratte"
"somehow smiling happily"

p. 104, panel 2
TP: "I love you...the way you are."
JP: "Suki da yo sonna omae ga"

TP is literally correct, but implies that somebody wants Tohru to change, an implication which I don't think is present in the JP.

p. 109, panel 3
TP: "That would be perfect!"
JP: "...dattara kessaku"
"That would be a big mistake" or "That would be a blunder".

p. 112, panel 3
TP: "You despicable monster!"
JP: "Bakemono no kuse ni"
"Though you're a monster"

p. 113, panel 5
TP: "Who is the one responsible for putting you in this awkward position?"
JP: "Ichiban ano onna o makikonde iru no wa ... dare?"
"The one who did the most to drag that woman into it is ... who?"

The JP text is clear, so I don't know why TP changed it as they did. My best guess is that they misread "onna," meaning "woman," as "otoko," meaning "man."

p. 116, panel 3
TP: "If you drag in that woman or Kazuma or anyone else, any further, it would only end up hurting them."
JP: "Kore ijou ano onna ya Kazuma ya hoka no ningen o makikondara kawaisou da yo."

"Kawaisou," which corresponds to "it would only end up hurting them" in TP, means "miserable" or "pitiful." Akito isn't explicitly making a threat, though there's probably one implied. Also, a subtle point: "hoka no ningen," which TP translates as "anyone else," literally means "another human being": is Akito implying that Kyou isn't human?

p. 116, panel 6
TP: "But...you can't stand me..."
JP: "...ore o sagesunderu kuse ni..."
"...even though you despise me..."

Though in TP Kyou appears to be speaking, I think that Akito is speaking here. In JP, the final balloon in the previous panel (which is definitely spoken by Akito, ends with an ellipsis, suggesting that the speech in this panel continues that in the last panel.

p. 123, panel 1
TP: "You know what they say about me! 'An existence made up of others' sacrifices and others' lives.'"
JP: "...tanin no gisei no ue ni tanin no inochi no ue ni naritatsu sonzai tte nanda yo..."

Literally, this would be "What is an existence made up of others' sacrifices and others' lives?" More idiomatically, it might be translated as "What sort of existence is built from other people's sacrifices and other people's lives?" understood as a rhetorical question. (Thanks to Susumu Oh-ishi, who explained this construction when I asked about it on the Yahoo jpnforum group; any mistakes are of course my responsibility.)

p. 161, panel 1
TP: "Do you want to know what I have to deal with?"
JP: "Boku o shiritai no?"
"Do you want to know me?"

p. 184, panel 4
TP: "Compared to him, those young people..."
JP: "Sore ni kurabete wakamonotachi wa..."
"Compared to that, young people..." Shigure is probably ironically quoting a stereotypical denunciation of the younger generation, not referring to any of the "young people" among the Sohmas, as it appears from TP.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2005


Yesterday I finished watching the fourth and final volume of the anime (Japanese animation) series Elfen Lied, which has nothing to do with elves. Elfen Lied is far from being the best-written anime I've watched; but taken as a whole, it's probably the most disturbing thing I've ever watched, anime or no.

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Thursday, December 08, 2005


On Telophase, three very interesting recent discussions on manga art and page design. (I'm referring to both Telophase's original posts and the comment threads they spawned.) The first asks what exactly makes a very simple page from Fruits Basket work, when pages this simple in OEL webmanga generally don't work. The second compares a page from Full Metal Alchemist with one from Saiyuki. And the third goes back to shoujo, juxtaposing pages from several shoujo manga with pages from several OEL shoujo-style manga, and asking what the differences are between the two groups. The discussions get deep into the nitty-gritty of analyzing how small details can make a big difference in how a page of comic art is perceived, something I don't know that much about, but would like to see discussed more frequently.

Via The Literary Saloon, a group of scholars at the University of Chicago has placed online the complete, searchable French-language text of "the longest novel in French Literature, Madeleine de Scudery's Artamene ou le Grand Cyrus (1649-1653) - 13,095 pages in its original edition, 7,443 in this online edition." (There should be a couple of accents in there, but I don't know how to do them on blogger.)

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Tuesday, December 06, 2005


A few days ago, there was a screening on campus of the film Quintet, by Robert Altman. I've only seen two other Altman films, Nashville and Gosford Park, neither of which I was wild about, but from what info I could gather about Quintet, it sounded intriguing, and the screening was free, so I decided to give it a shot.

It was a very strange film, one which seems more like something that would be excerpted on Lost and Found Video Night than like a film, even a critically panned one, from a major director: from the transparently "symbolic" setting, to the bad portentous dialogue badly delivered, to the costumes which made everyone look like characters from a sixteenth-century costume drama. Add that I felt no emotional connection whatever to the hero -- or to any of the other characters, for that matter -- owing both to the bad dialogue mentioned before and to the lack of emotion displayed by Paul Newman who plays him, and you have the makings of a cinematic train wreck. Still, it was interesting to watch, not just for the oddity value but for the ingenious science-fictional sets. The highly dissonant soundtrack by Tom Pierson was also interesting.

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Friday, December 02, 2005


I've raved before about the manga A*su and Hinshi no esseisuto (Dying Essayist) by Kotobuki Shiriagari. In fact, I placed both of these on a list of my ten favorite comics of any origin. I was up in the Chicago area yesterday, and the Japanese used book store JBC in Arlington Heights has copies of both of these for sale, for only a few dollars each. They also have three other books by Shiriagari, which I didn't buy only because I already owned them.

If you're interested in the potentialities of comics, I highly recommend buying these. A*su, in particular, I think is worth picking up even if you don't read Japanese: its art is amazingly expressive, and doesn't look like any other comic I've seen, aside from Shiriagari's other works. The books are on the shelves of manga opposite the entrance: walk in, and keep going straight until you run into a wall. For more help in locating the books, they were near to vols. 7 and 8 of Yaji Kita in Deep, two of the other Shiriagari books I mentioned, and those two volumes have "in DEEP" written clearly on their spines in English. And the dust jacket of A*su has holes punched in its spine.

The store itself is a bit tricky to locate. Here are the simplest directions I can come up with:
Exit I-90 at Arlington Heights Rd. and go north.
Turn right on Seegers (the first side street after Algonquin).
Turn right on Tonne (the first street off Seegers)
Turn right at the first driveway on your right.
The store is in Building 2035, which will be the first building on your left; it's in suite 103.

The store is closed Mondays. Don't confuse it with the JBC in the Mitsuwa shopping center, which is nearby: that one doesn't sell books, just rents videos (but there is an Asahiya in the Mitsuwa shopping center which sells manga, though they're all shrink-wrapped).

*A note on how I've written Shiriagari's name: when Japanese write their names in Japanese characters, they write the surname first and the given name second. However, when they write their names in romaji (our alphabet), the generally write the surname second, even in contexts that are purely for Japanese consumption. Hence that's the way I write them in this blog. However, there are exceptions to this, and often (though not always) when Shiraigari's name is written in romaji, it's written with the surname, "Shiriagari," first. In particular, that's how it's written on the copyright pages of A*su and Hinshi no esseisuto. Nevertheless, I've written the name with "Shiriagari" second for consistency's sake; but I'm open to correction. In any case, when the name is written in Japanese "Shiriagari" will always come first.

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