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Reviews in Project: Translation (254)

Back to Haunt You

Jujutsu Kaisen, book 1

By Gege Akutami  

5 May, 2021



Jujutsu Kaisen, Vol. 1, by Gege Akutami

Gege Akutami’s Jujutsu Kaisen is an on-going Japanese horror manga; it’s been serialized in Shueisha’s Weekly Shōnen Jump since March 2018. Volume one collects the first seven issues.

Exemplary athlete Yuji Itadori declines to join any of his high school’s sports teams. After all, this would mean leaving the Occult Research Club. Itadori isn’t especially interested in the occult, but the club (at least one club is a mandatory activity) doesn’t insist on actual attendance, which gives him time to spend with his dying grandfather. As well, the club has but three members — Iguchi, Sasaki, and Itadori — and without him, it would dip below the minimum membership threshold for a school club and be subject to summary disbanding. 

Which, as it turns out, would have been a good thing for Iguchi and Sasaki.

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Take Me Home

Yokohama Station SF

By Yuba Isukari  (Translated by Stephen Paul)

28 Apr, 2021


1 comment

Yuba Isukari’s 2016 Yokohama Station SF was originally published as Yokohama Eki SF, with illustrations by Tatsuyuki Tanaka. The 2021 translation is by Stephen Paul.

Replicating endlessly, Yokohama Station has spread across Honshu. Life for Insiders — children under six and people over six who have implanted Suika chips — is tolerable. Necessities of life are provided as long as the Insiders do not violate the automated turnstile’s inflexible rules. It’s no utopia but life could be much worse. 

Just ask anyone from the Ninety-Nine Steps.

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Sweet as Cherry Wine

Don’t Toy with Me, Miss Nagatoro

By Nanashi  

21 Apr, 2021



Don’t Toy with Me, Miss Nagatoro (Japanese: イジらないで、長瀞さん, Hepburn: Ijiranaide, Nagatoro-san) is a Japanese web manga series written and illustrated by Nanashi. It has been serialized online since 2017. Some translations of the title replace toy” with bully,” for good reason. 

Although it is in many ways a slice-of-life manga, there is a definite direction to the plot. 

Painfully introverted second-year high schooler Nao-kun avoids social interaction whenever possible, burying himself in art, preferably alone in the art club’s clubroom. Given that he has a metaphoric brightly lit easily bullied victim” sign floating over him, this is for the best. To interact with other people is to court abuse. 

Unfortunately for Nao-kun’s equanimity, first year high-school student Hayase ““Hayacchi” Nagatoro has noticed Nao-kun. She has a use for her Senpai,” as she calls him.

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A Cunning Plan

Daughter of a Soldier, Volume 2

By Miya Kazuki  

14 Apr, 2021



Miya Kazuki’s Daughter of a Soldier, Volume 2 is the second of three Daughter of a Soldier instalments, which in turn form the first arc of Miya Kazuki’s Ascendance of a Bookworm series. The manga was illustrated by You Shiina; the 2019 edition was translated into English by Quof.

Fanatical bookworm Urano Motosu eluded the homicidal embrace of Truck-Kun, only to be crushed by her own books during a minor earthquake. To her surprise, Urano woke in the body of five-year-old Myne, a sickly child born to an honest but very poor peasant family. Her new society is sufficiently pre-literate that the language in which Urano is now fluent (as Myne) does not have a word for book.

Urano has been working as hard as her frail body will allow to drag society into literacy. This has born fruit, although not quite the fruit she intended.

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Sweet Mystery of Life

My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!, book 1

By Satoru Yamaguchi  (Translated by Shirley Yeung)

31 Mar, 2021



2015’s My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! Volume 1 is the first of eight volumes in Satoru Yamaguchi’s light novel series. The Illustrator is Nami Hidaka. The 2020 English translation is by Shirley Yeung.

A tomboyish Japanese girl, unnamed save for the nickname monkey girl,” sleepy thanks to her obsession with late-night computer gaming, jumps on her bicycle and races off towards her school, through what turns out to be busier intersection than she expected. Exit unnamed Japanese schoolgirl, having squandered her seventeen years on Earth.

Eight-year-old Katarina Claes recovers consciousness, imbued with the memories of the dead school girl. Her new memories grant her new perspective. Specifically, they assure her that she is very much doomed.

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Tower of Song

Carole & Tuesday, book 1

By Morito Yamataka, Bones & Shinichiro Watanabe  

24 Mar, 2021


1 comment

2019’s Carole & Tuesday is the manga adaptation of a science fiction anime of the same name (authors: Morito Yamataka, BONES, and Shinichiro Watanabe). I have not seen the anime. Volume 1 covers the first four episodes1.

Wealthy Tuesday Simmons flees her isolated family mansion, hoping to find her destiny in Mars’ Alba City. Armed with the streetwise worldliness of a day-old chick, she loses her luggage almost immediately. 

Also in Alba: orphan Carole Stanley is an illegally busker. Although Alba’s police seem peculiarly diligent where illegal busking is concerned, Carole manages to evade the law long enough for Tuesday to hear Carole sing. Fleeing the anti-busking police together, the pair become immediate besties.

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Everything I Wanted

Dead Dead Demon’s Dededede Destruction

By Inio Asano  

17 Mar, 2021



Inio Asano’s Dead Dead Demon’s Dededede Destruction (Japanese: Deddo Deddo Dēmonzu Dededededesutorakushon) is a science fiction manga. It has been serialized in Shogakukan’s seinen manga magazine Big Comic Spirits since April 2014

High schoolers Koyama Kadode and Nakagawa Ontan” Ouran are best friends. Being a high schooler cramming for university entrance exams is troublesome at the best of times, so the whole alien invasion thing is an unnecessary complication to already problematic adolescence. 

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Bloom and Fade Away

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

By Hayao Miyazaki  

10 Mar, 2021



Hayao Miyazaki’s manga Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (Kaze no Tani no Naushika) is a post-apocalyptic science fantasy. It was serialized in Animagefrom February 1982 to March 1994.

A thousand years after the Seven Days of Fire, declining human populations cling to existence in those few regions that are still habitable for humans. Much of the Earth’s land surface is covered in thriving ecosystems, but … all these systems — the so-called Sea of Corruption — feature miasma,” a toxic fog lethal to unprotected humans. 

The Valley of the Wind is lucky. Continual winds keep the miasma at bay, protecting the Valley’s inhabitants. Life is still harsh and short but compared to elsewhere, it is paradise. 

Unfortunately for the Valley of the Wind, it is a vassal state of the Vai Emperor of the Torumekians. 

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Winner Takes It All

Fruits Basket Another

By Natsuki Takaya  

3 Mar, 2021



Natsuki Takaya’s Fruits Basket Another is a spin-off from Fruits Basket. It was serialized from 2017 to 2020, initially in HanaLaLaOnline and then in Manga Park. This review is brought to you by a request and the power of James Not Reading Titles Closely Enough. It is set a generation after Fruits Basket. The whole story fits into three volumes.

Aware that she is a terrible person who is a burden to those around her, Sawa Mitoma tries her hardest to avoid interacting with other students. Late for class on her very first day (because she was detained by her mother’s landlord), she faces inevitable punishment from Takei-sensei for her tardiness… until a handsome prince in the form of Mutsuki Sohma intervenes and she is allowed to go her way without punishment.

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The Trail We Blaze

Planetes Omnibus Volume 2

By Makoto Yukimura  

24 Feb, 2021


1 comment

Makoto Yukimura’s Planetes (Japanese: プラネテス, Hepburn: Puranetesu, Ancient Greek: Πλάνητες Planētes) is a Japanese hard SF manga. 2016’s Planetes Omnibus Volume 2 collects all of the Planetes material that was not included in Volume 1 (reviewed here). Some of this is bonus backstory, some of it tells readers what came next for the protagonists. 

In Volume 1, the crew of the DS-12 Toy Box—Hachirota Hachimaki” Hoshino, Fee Carmichael, Ai Tanabe, and Yuri Mihairokov — took a break from scouring the skies for deadly orbital debris in order to save the day from the Space Defence Front1. That adventure over, all that remains is getting on with the rest of their lives. 

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