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Reviews in Project: Translation (246)

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


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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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Shed No Tears

Space Sweepers

By Jo Sung-Hee  

17 Feb, 2021



Jo Sung-hee’s 2021’s Space Sweepers (Korean: 승리호; Hanja: 勝利號; RR: Seungriho; lit. Spaceship Victory) is a Korean space-opera film. 

The Earth is polluted and surely doomed. At least, that is the case put forth by visionary UTS CEO James Sullivan (Richard Armitage). Sullivan is determined to save a chosen few of his friends, giving them refuge on a terraformed Mars. Vastly wealthy, and with his own private army, he seems sure to get his way. 

The Victory’s crew are not among the chosen. They are just blue-collar non-citizens on whose labour the wealthy’s lavish lifestyles depend. Victory’s crew – humans Kim Tae-ho (Song Joong-ki), Tiger Park (Jin Seon-kyu), and robot Bubs (Yoo Hae-jin), and Captain Jang (Kim Tae-ri) — salvage debris from heavily trafficked space lanes. In other words, garbagemen. 

Not people who could possibly impede someone like the great James Sullivan.

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Feel the Wind Blow

Fruits Basket, book 1

By Natsuki Takaya  

10 Feb, 2021



Natsuki Takaya’s Fruits Basket (Japanese: フルーツバスケット, Hepburn: Furūtsu Basuketto) is a modern fantasy manga. Serialized in the semi-monthly Japanese shōjo manga magazine Hana to Yume, it ran from 1998 to 2006. Volume One contains the first six issues.

High school student Tohru Honda will not let circumstances get her down. True, her father died a long time ago. True, her mother recently died. True, the girl appears to have no contact with her long-dead father’s relatives, while her mother’s kin mostly despise the girl. But at least Tohru’s grandfather is willing to offer her refuge! 

At least her grandfather was until his home needed renovating. Until the renovations are finished, Tohru will have to fend for herself. Tohru would never dream of inconveniencing a friend. Thus her tent in the woods.

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Doom Doom Doom

Mörk Borg

By Pelle Nilsson, Johan Nohr & Patrick Stuart  

2 Feb, 2021



2019’s Mörk Borg (Dark Fort) is a dark fantasy tabletop roleplaying game. Original text, ideas and game design are by Pelle Nilsson; graphic design and artwork by Johan Nohr; English writing and creative consultation are by Patrick Stuart. 

The world may have dwindled down to a gloomy island from which escape is impossible, but at least everyone is doomed. Unfortunately for the player characters, they have not died — yet. Although there is every chance they will. So, there is that to look forward to.

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Reading Books of Old

The Library War  (The Library War, book 1)

By Hiro Arikawa  

27 Jan, 2021



2006’s The Library War (Toshokan Sensō) is the first volume in Hiro Arikawa’s Seiun-winning Library War novel series. 

In the last year of the Shouwa period, the Media Improvement Act provided the Improvement Special Agencies of the Ministry of Justice with sweeping powers of censorship and confiscation. Since criticism of the Act fell within the scope of the Act, legal reform of the Act is unlikely. Protecting Japan’s literary world therefore fell to the nation’s libraries, who soon found legal pretexts both to claim the right to assemble inclusive archives and more importantly, to arm their Library Defense Force. There will be no repeat of the Nightmare at Nino! 

The libraries follow four core principles.

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Where Are You Going, My Little One, Little One

Kiki’s Delivery Service

By Eiko Kadono  (Translated by Emily Balistrieri)

19 Jan, 2021



Eiko Kadono 1985 Kiki’s Delivery Service is a coming-of-age fantasy novel, the first of a series featuring the eponymous Kiki. Illustrations are by Yuta Onoda. Translation is by Emily Balistrieri.

Kiki is half-witch: her mother Kokiri is a witch while her father, folklorist Okiro, is human. She has the choice of two heritages but can embrace only one. She chooses witch but … to her mother’s disappointment has mastered but a single witchy talent: flying her broom.

Nevertheless, Kiki is thirteen. For witches that means leaving home to find their destiny out in the world. Accompanied by her cat, Jiji, and her parents’ best wishes, Kiki flies away from her former home and heads off to her new one. 

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Fifty Ways

Talentless Nana, book 1

By Looseboy & Iori Furuya  

13 Jan, 2021



Looseboy’s Talentless Nana (Japanese: 無能なナナ, Hepburn: Munō na Nana) is a superhuman manga series. It is illustrated by Iori Furuya. Talentless Nana has been serialized in Square Enix’s shōnen manga magazine Monthly Shōnen Gangansince May 2016. Volume One covers the first four chapters. 

Plagued by the monstrous Enemies of Humanity, humanity elects to send children with special Talents — telekinesis, pyrokinesis, time travel, and more — to an elite teaching facility on an isolated island to prepare them for their role in humanity’s future. Alas, not all of the students are inherently heroic. Some of them are downright bullies, gleeful at the licence granted by their superhuman powers.

[spoilers abound]

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I See Them Bloom

Kase-san and Morning Glories  (Kase-san, book 1)

By Hiromi Takashima  

30 Dec, 2020



The collection Kase-san and Morning Glories includes the first five issues of Hiromi Takashima’s yuri manga Kase-san (Japanese: 加瀬さん). The series was serialized in Shinshokan’s Hirari magazine and also in the Flash Wings web publication between August 2010 and March 2017. The English edition of Kase-san and Morning Glories was published in 2017.

Dutifully attending to the morning glories she planted on school property, Yamada Yui is surprised to encounter track star Kase Tomoka watering the plants. The explanation is simple enough on the surface: the plants are near the team’s practice area and they caught Kase’s eye. 

Kase claims to have been mystified as to who planted the flowers. Having met the student gardener responsible, Kase is perfectly happy to befriend Yamada.

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