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Reviews in Project: Translation (215)

The Wind is My Kin

The Beast Player  (Beast Player, book 1)

By Nahoko Uehashi  

4 Jul, 2020

Translation

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Nahoko Uehashi’s 2006 The Beast Player, published as Kemono no Sōja Ichi: Tōda hen, is the first volume of her Beast Player series. Cathy Hirano provided the 2018 English translation.

Despite entrenched distrust between the Ao-Loh and the Aluhan, two peoples of the same land, Elin’s Ao-Loh mother and her Aluhan father fell in love and married. Elin was the result. Elin could have been a barely tolerated freak, grudgingly accepted by the Aluhan thanks to her mother’s job tending the Toda (the great lizards the Aluhan ride into battle, serving1 Lyoza’s spiritual leader, the Yojeh). Instead, her life takes an altogether different direction.

It begins with mass death among the Toda. 


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Feed Them on Your Dreams

Deadman Wonderland

By Jinsei Kataoka & Kazuma Kondou  

13 Jun, 2020

Translation

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Jinsei Kataoka’s Deadman Wonderland (Japanese: Deddoman Wandārando), with art by Kazuma Kondou, was serialized in Shōnen Ace from May 2007 to August 2013. It has since been published in thirteen volumes.

Ten years after a catastrophic earthquake leveled much of Tokyo, Ganta Igarashi is enjoying what starts out to be a perfectly normal school day with his chums. A red-clad figure floats in through the third-floor window and massacres everyone in the classroom save for Ganta. The killer implants Ganta with a mysterious jewel, then leaves the boy to explain to authorities what happened to his classmates.

Ganta’s story is rather implausible. The authorities have a better explanation for the carnage. It’s clearly the case that diminutive, traumatized Ganta slaughtered the other kids. Ganta is sentenced to death.

That would be that for our young hero, were it not that Japan’s death penalty takes a baroque form.


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Homeward Bound

Vagabonds

By Hao Jingfang  

3 Jun, 2020

Translation

1 comment

Hao Jingfang’s 2011 Liúlàng Cāngqióng was translated into English by Ken Liu and published under the title Vagabonds in 2020.

The Mercury Group, a cohort of Martian teenagers, returns to Mars after a five-year stay on Earth. Their visit was the latest stage in an effort to gradually warm relations between Earth and its breakaway community on Mars. The teens discover that relations are slow to warm … if they are warming at all.


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One Very Special Person

Dorohedoro, book 1

By Q. Hayashida  

30 May, 2020

Translation

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Q Hayashida’s manga Dorohedoro was serialized in a number of publications1 from 2000 to 2018. Volume One collects the first seven chapters, which for reasons that will become clear are called curses.”

Tourists are often troublesome. The Hole is troubled by some nasty ones: sorcerers from the universe next door. They pop over to the Hole to practice their magic on humans, leaving dead and deformed victims in their wake. 

Kaiman (spelled Caiman in the Viz translation) is one such victim. 


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Dear Ole Golden Rule Days

Witchcraft Works, book 1

By Ryū Mizunagi  

21 May, 2020

Translation

1 comment

Ryū Mizunagi’s contemporary fantasy manga Witchcraft Works (Witchikurafuto Wākusu) has been serialized in Kodansha’s good! Afternoon magazine since March 2010. Volume one of the tankōbon series collects the first four installments.

Honoka Takamiya is an unremarkable high school student. His otherwise normal life is subject to ongoing disruption thanks to … propinquity [1]. The statuesque Ayaka Kagari not only has the desk next to Honoka, she takes the same route to school. Her legion of adoring fans sees Honoka’s uninvited (and unwilling) proximity to their idol as an affront to be punished whenever possible.

One day the school’s clock tower is dropped onto Honoka and his life changes forever.


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To the Place I Belong

Guardian of the Darkness  (Moribito, book 2)

By Nahoko Uehashi  

6 May, 2020

Translation

2 comments

1999’s Guardian of the Darkness (translated by Cathy Hirano) is the second volume of Nahoko Uehashi’s Moribito series of secondary-universe fantasy novels. It’s the most recent of the lengthy series to be translated into English and also a demonstration of how poorly I defer gratification. I just reviewed the first book in the series and I could not wait …. 

Twenty-five years ago, Balsa fled Kanbal with her foster father, Jiguro. The malevolent king whom the pair were fleeing, is long dead, as is Jiguro himself. With the adventures of the first volume behind her, Balsa decides that the time has come to return to her homeland.

Balsa retraces the subterranean route she and her foster father used to escape Kanbal. It’s an unnecessarily difficult route that has an unintended benefit: she happens upon fourteen-year-old Kassa and his nine-year-old sister Gina, just in time to save them from a hyohlu. Exploring the caves is a well-established test of courage for Kanbalese youths. The siblings barely survive. But at least they have had a salutary lesson in prudence. 

It just so happens that the pair belong to the Musa clan, as did Jiguro1.


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For Service and Devotion

Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit  (Moribito, book 1)

By Nahoko Uehashi  

29 Apr, 2020

Translation

2 comments

Nahoko Uehashi’s 1996 novel Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit (Seirei no Moribito ) is the first of twelve Moribito young-adult secondary-world-fantasy volumes.

Wandering bodyguard Balsa has no desire to become entangled in the affairs of royalty. Despite this, when she sees the carriage conveying Second Prince Chagum tumble from Yamakage Bridge, she dives into the raging river and saves the young boy. 

There are consequences.


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Freeze This Moment a Little Longer

Kokkoku: Moment by Moment, book 1

By Seita Horio  

22 Apr, 2020

Translation

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Seita Horio’s manga Kokkoku: Moment by Moment (Kokkoku) is a fantasy noir manga series. It was serialized in Kodansha’s Morning Two magazine from August 21, 2009 to October 23, 2014. Volume one contains the first five issues.

Juri Yukawa hopes to find a job, just like her sister Sanae and her mother. After nineteen failed job interviews, it begins to seem that this may not be her destiny. It may be that fortune intends her to join her NEET brother Tsubasa and father Takafumi, who are useless layabouts (but nice ones). 

The Yukawas are by no means wealthy; they’re not an obvious target for criminals. Notwithstanding, gangsters ambush and kidnap Tsubasa and his nephew. The Yukawas are told that they have thirty minutes to deliver a five-million-yen ransom. If they fail, Tsubasa will be murdered. 

The only way the Yukawas could scrape together five million yen is to raid Grandfather’s retirement funds. But there’s no way to do this in the time allotted. Or so it seems. Grandfather has resources of which his family is unaware; for Grandfather, thirty minutes is all the time in the world. 


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Oh, Can’t You See?

Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun, book 1

By Iro Aida  

15 Apr, 2020

Translation

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Iro Aida’s ongoing Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun (Jibaku Shōnen Hanako-kun) is a Japanese fantasy manga series; it has been serialized in Square Enix’s Monthly G Fantasy since 2014. Volume 1 collects the first five issues.

Hopelessly romantic first-year-student Nene Yashiro spent three years reshaping herself into the sort of girl she thought her crush would prefer before confessing her love to him. Result: a brusk, rude rejection. Desperate for a boyfriend, Nene appeals to Hanako, the powerful supernatural entity who is said to live in the Kamome Academy High School’s girl’s washroom. She will ask Hanako to force the attractive Minamoto-sensei to fall in love with her.

To her surprise, Hanako is real. Even more surprisingly, Hanako is a he, not a she. The final surprise? He’s reluctant to use magic when mundane means could serve. 


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