Reviews: Translation

Where the winds of limbo roar

Shin Sekai Yori — Yusuke Kishi

I was so annoyed by last week’s Translation Review selection (the Shin Sekai Yori manga) that I hunted down a fan translation of the novel on which the manga was based. Should a North American publisher ever print this or another translation, I will review that as well, with an appropriate link. Hint, hint.

Yusuke Kishi’s 2008 Nihon SF Taisho Award-winning Shin Sekai Yori is a standalone SF novel.

A thousand years from now, Saki Watanabe and her schoolmates, Satoru Asahina, Maria Akizuki, Mamoru Itou, Shun Aonuma, and Reiko Amano think that they live in a kindly world, one in which they are protected from danger. Fiends and karma demons cannot be current dangers; they are merely the stuff of summertime ghost stories.

Poor coddled teens! They are not safe. Fiends and demons are very real. However, the biggest dangers the children will face will be those created by their own society and their own choices.

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Beautiful Futures

Kozue Amano
Aria, book 12

Finally we reach volume twelve of Kozue Amano’s Utopian manga Aria. The end.

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Not Long Before the End

Kozue Amano
Aria, book 11

[Due to a technical problem, this is an early draft only]

Volume 11 of Kozue Amano’s Utopian manga Aria! The penultimate volume! Will Akari graduate? I cannot say. But someone will….

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Fifteen Feet of Pure White Snow

Kozue Amano
Aria, book 10

Volume 10 of Kozue Amano’s manga Aria is very nearly the final volume of the series. With only a handful of volumes to go, will Akari ever graduate? And will she be upset if she does not?

Not graduating is, it seems, a very real possibility.

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And the Dream Was Just the Same

Kozue Amano
Aria, book 9

Once more into the Aria archive. This time is volume 9 of Kozue Amano’s utopia: melancholy, longing and deathtraps await!

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Stars when you shine, you know how I feel

Invisible Planets: An Anthology of Contemporary Chinese SF in Translation — Ken Liu

Ken Liu’s 2016 anthology Invisible Planets: An Anthology of Contemporary Chinese SF in Translation is exactly what it says on the tin: an anthology of contemporary Chinese SF in translation.

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Fallen for the fear

Kozue Amano
Aria, book 7

Volume seven of Kozue Amano’s Aria brings the calendar around to spring once more. With warm weather come unexpected revelations, not least of which is that a surprising number of Aquans struggle with doubt and paranoia.

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And the seasons they go round and round

Kozue Amano
Aria, book 6

Another volume of Kozue Amano’s Aria; another season of the year. By book six, Akari is passing her second winter on Aqua (formerly Mars), but she is no closer to becoming a full Undine.

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The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night

Kozue Amano
Aria, book 5

Volume 5 of Kozue Amano’s Utopian manga Aria sees Akari into her second autumn on Aqua, the water-covered world once known as Mars. She seems no closer to graduating from apprentice Undine to full Undine than she was in the last few volumes; the delay has consequences in this volume.


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Time Goes Rushing By

Kozue Amano
Aria, book 4

Volume 4 of Kozue Amano’s Aria continues the series’ steady progression through the years. It is summer once again in the city of Neo-Venezia. Aria’s training will lead her to unexpected destinations and she will discover an elemental acquaintance she had heretofore overlooked.

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Here comes the sun

Kozue Amano
Aria, book 3

Aria does not speed through the years as quickly as did YKK. Still, by the time volume three of Kozue Amano’s Aria opens, a full (Martian) year has passed since Akari first arrived on the no-longer-Red Planet. It is Aquan spring once more. What grim sights and anguished travails await our unfortunate heroine?

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Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

Kozue Amano
Aria, book 2

Aqua’s year is twice as long as Earth’s, but it too has its seasons. In the previous volume, winter was looming. In this one, it arrives. What grim fate awaits poor Akari in this, the second volume of Kozue Amano’s Aria?

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Give me a boat that can carry two

Kozue Amano
Aria, book 1

2002’s Volume One of Kozue Amano’s Aria picks up where Volume Two of her Aqua left off. Akari Mizunashi is still a would-be Undine on Aqua (a renamed Mars, after human terraforming efforts tapped unsuspected reserves of water). She is still recounting her adventures in a series of letters sent back to a friend on distant Earth.

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A Path to Happiness

Kozue Amano
Aqua, book 2

The second collected volume of Kozue Amano’s Aqua was also the second and final volume under that title. In 2002, the series moved from Monthly Stencil to Comic Blade and the title became Aria.

Unfortunately, the only versions of volume two I can access leave out two of the six chapters. James has a sad.

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I’ve got a feeling you could use a little smile

Kozue Amano
Aqua, book 1

Now for a change of pace from scenery-porn science fiction manga about airplanes. Time for Kozue Amano’s scenery-porn science fiction manga about gondolas: Aqua! Specifically, 2001’s Volume One.

By the opening years of the 24 th century, humans had terraformed Mars. Owing to a slight miscalculation re the amount of ice present, 90% of Mars is ocean-covered. The colonists have renamed Mars “Aqua” and embraced the possibilities of a largely ocean-covered world.

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Beyond This Horizon

Hitoshi Ashinano
Kabu no Isaki, book 2

Onwards to volume two of Hitoshi Ashinano’s Kabu no Isaki , first published in 2009. The world is big, the planes are small, and Kajika may have lost her shot at Isaki.

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If the sky that we look upon should tumble and fall or the mountain should crumble to the sea

Patema Inverted — Yasuhiro Yoshiura

I stumbled across Yasuhiro Yoshiura 2013’s animated film Patema Inverted by accident. An image search for something else turned up Patema Inverted ’s eyecatching cover. As has been well-established, I am a sucker for a pretty cover.

Patema yearns to find a world beyond the tunnels and corridors she grew up in. One careless step later, and she plummets down into an endless abyss. Luckily for Patema, high school student Age is in the right place at the right time to prevent Patema from falling up into the endless sky.

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Embrace transience the way the grave will eventually embrace you

Children Who Chase Lost Voices — Makoto Shinkai

I decided to review Makoto Shinkai’s 2011 fantasy film The Children Who Chase Lost Voices for two reasons: the first was that I had just tried and failed to watch Age of Ultron. This DVD’s bright cover made me hope that Shinkai’s animated work was not filmed in what I have come to think of as Macular Degeneration-Vision (unlike Age of Ultron) . The second reason: the last few pieces I have reviewed have been pretty death-heavy (as has real life, for that matter). Since I had heard this was a particularly Studio Ghibli-esque work, I was hoping for something upbeat.

I was snookered. Sure the film was Studio Ghibli-esque, in the same way that Grave of the Fireflies is Ghibli-esque.

While still a girl, Asuna had to learn how to take care of herself. Her father is dead and her mother works long shifts to support the two of them. Asuna spends hours in the countryside by herself, listening to an archaic radio set, one of the few mementos left by her late father.

One day, she is attacked by a monster.

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The places where long ago people used to linger

Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō — Hitoshi Ashinano
Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō, book 14

It has taken me four months, but I have finally arrived at the 14 th (final) volume in Hitoshi Ashinano’s Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō. Like the golden age of humans, the series has come to an end.

Cherry blossoms fall

A YKKless night looms
Weasels rip my flesh

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The End is Nigh

Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō — Hitoshi Ashinano
Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō, book 13

Welcome to the thirteenth review of Hitoshi Ashinano’s Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō. How happy I am to have read thirteen volumes of this manga! And how sad, because that means after this one there is only one left.

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One Life Isn’t Enough

Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō — Hitoshi Ashinano
Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō, book 12

Once more into Hitoshi Ashinano’s Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō! But at a cost; at my present rate I will finished the whole series well before August is over. I should have picked some lengthier manga series on which to fixate.

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This dewdrop world

Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō — Hitoshi Ashinano
Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō, book 11

Volume 11 of Hitoshi Ashinano’s Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō is much like the previous ten volumes: quiet moments, mysteries, and not much in the way of answers.

Well, one answer: Ojisan is still among the living, at least for now.

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After a while, the sunflower wilted and died without thinking of our feelings.

Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō — Hitoshi Ashinano
Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō, book 10

You may have been concerned when I skipped a week but never fear! I do intend to finish reading all of Hitoshi AshinanoYokohama Kaidashi Kikō. Which brings us to volume ten. It is a very … Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō volume of Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō.

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Home Again, Home Again

Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō — Hitoshi Ashinano
Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō, book 9

I had an interesting experience as a result of last week’s review of Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō, volume eight. Someone attending an event I was co-hosting showed up on a scooter much like the one Alpha rides, specifically because I reviewed YKK. That’s awesome! And now I am a little worried about how people will commemorate the MilSF and Cosmic Horror books I review.

Ahem. Back to Volume Nine of Ashinano’s Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō.

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