Reviews: Translation

Skies of Blue, Clouds of White

Iruka Shiomiya
Kino's Journey: the Beautiful World, book 1

Iruka Shiomiya’s manga Kino’s Journey: the Beautiful World is based on Keiichi Sigsawa’s light novel series of the same name.

Kino wanders her world in the company of her talking motorcycle, Hermes. The pair visit community after community, never staying more than three days.

Volume one covers three incidents in Kino’s journey.

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The Ghosts That Haunt Me

Yellow Tanabe
Kekkaishi, book 1

Kekkaishi, Volume 1 includes the first seven chapters of Yellow Tanabe’s manga of the same name.

Young Yoshimori Sumimura is in training to become the 22nd demon-fighting kekkaishi of the Sumimura lineage. His neighbour Tokine Yukimura is also in training to become a kekkaishi for her own family lineage. The two opposed branches of the Hazama clan have lived side by side for 400 years and for most of that time the two families have been bitter rivals, a tradition Yoshimori’s grandfather and Tokine’s grandmother maintain to the modern day. Consequently, Yoshimori and Tokine have kept their friendship secret.

Tokine is two years older, weaker, more studious, and far more skilled than Yoshimori. Yoshimori compensates for his lack of diligence with raw power. Yoshimori’s carelessness allows a demon Ayakashi to gravely injure Tokine, an event that that forever changes the repentant Yoshimori.

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Come Out and Play

Miki Yoshikawa
Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches, book 1

Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches, Volume One collects the first five issues (of 243!) of Miki Yoshikawa’s eponymous manga series. The series ran from 2012 to 2017. The English translation was released in 2015.

Ryu Yamada is an outcast at school, a delinquent whose marks are as unimpressive as his attendance record. He regards Urara Shiraishi as exactly the sort of overachieving student he loathes, so he makes a point of cutting in front on her while ascending the school stairs.

One tumble down the stairs later and he is a delinquent transformed.

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Keep On Playing

Automatic Eve — Rokuro Inui

Rokuro Inui’s 2014 Automatic Eve is a standalone steampunk novel. The 2019 English translation is by Matt Treyvaud.

A generation ago, tragedy struck when the Empress died in childbirth. Fortunately for the strictly matrilineal imperial family, her infant daughter survived. Better an infant empress and a regent than no empress at all!

Struck by a mysterious malady as a teen, the Empress is a recluse. The Shogunate is not displeased by this, as her seclusion leaves the administration of the nation up to the Shogun and his subordinates. They have no reason to fear that the Empress might actually attempt to rule. As far as the common folk know, the nation is ticking along just as it should.

Behind the scenes, however…

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Dinner Bell

Kaiu Shira & Posuka Demizu
The Promised Neverland, book 1

The Promised Neverland, Volume 1 collects the first seven issues of author Kaiu Shira and illustrator Posuka Demizu’s manga.

Emma, Norman, and Ray grew up in Grace Field House, an orphanage run by kindly Isabella. Life at Grace Field House is almost luxurious. It is that rare orphanage whose inhabitants would remember it fondly. In later years. If there were later years. To be explained.

Sometime between the ages of six and twelve, the orphans will be fostered out. Emma, Norman, and Ray are the oldest orphans still remaining at the House. Their twelfth birthdays are looming, so they expect that they will soon be sent on their way to new homes.

When fellow orphan Connie forgets her stuffed animal in her haste to leave the House for her new home, Emma and Norman hurry after the six-year-old to return the beloved toy. They find Connie, but not in time.

It seems there is the orphans haven’t been told the truth about their new homes: they have been raised as food for demons.

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When They Look at Me

Spica Aoki
Kaiju Girl Caramelise, book 1

Kaiju Girl Caramelise, Vol. 1 is the first collection of Spica Aoki’s eponymous Shoujo manga.

Kuroe Akaishi suffers from a rare (probably unique) medical condition so embarrassing that she hides it from her schoolmates. The condition is exacerbated by strong emotion, so she tries to avoid drama. She’s aloof and detached … or at least as detached as she can be given that her schoolmates mock and torment her.

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Wind Beneath My Wings

Naoko Takeuchi
Sailor Moon, book 1

1992’s Sailor Moon, Volume One collects the stories that kicked off Naoko Takeuchi’s insanely popular Sailor Moon franchise.

Fourteen-year-old Usagi Tsukino is a seemingly unremarkable student without any obvious talent. As far as the world can tell, she is a clumsy, spoiled crybaby whose grades make her mother despair. She does have good points: she’s pretty and she’s friendly.

Then Usagi accidentally steps on a cat named Luna

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Who Planted Thorns

Yuki Urushibara
Mushishi, book 1

Mushishi, Volume One collects the first five issues of Yuki Urushibara’s manga of the same title.

Ginko’s Japan hosts all the familiar life Kingdoms: plants, animals, and fungi. Alongside these familiar lifeforms there exists a much older, more primitive biota that human senses are ill suited to detect. These lifeforms are collectively known as the mushi. Ginko is one of the few people who can detect mushi. He has used this to become an expert in their ways, a mushi-shi.

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Serve Someone

Yana Toboso
Black Butler, book 1

Yana Toboso’s ongoing manga Black Butler (Kuroshitsuji) debuted in 2006. Volume One collects the first four issues.

Gloomy twelve-year-old Ceil Phantomhive is an orphan and a tween. He is also a canny businessman: he has guided the family business, Funtom Company, towards domination of the game and candy industries.

Business success has not lifted his profound depression. He never smiles. Nonetheless his fiancée Elizabeth Midford (a fiancée at twelve?) and his servants adore him.

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I Guess This Time I’m The Villain

Tadashi Kawashima & Adachitoka
Alive: The Final Evolution , book 1

The manga series Alive: The Final Evolution (Saishū Shinkateki Shōnen) was written by Tadashi Kawashima and illustrated by Adachitoka. It ran from 2003 to 2010; the final instalment was published shortly before Kawashima’s death. The first volume covers the first three instalments.

Small and timid, Yuichi Hirose is a natural target for his school’s bullies. His only defense is provided by his friend Taisuke Kanou. Taisuke is an orphan, which would likely make him a target too … if it weren’t for Taisuke’s determined pugnaciousness. Taisuke never hesitates to step between Hirose and his tormentors, despite the fact that Taisuke always loses the scuffles that follow.

It turns out that all Hirose needs to do to end his torment is to tap new potential.

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Foolish Love

Rumiko Takahashi
Urusei Yatsura, book 1

Rumiko Takahashi’s Urusei Yatsura romantic harem-parody manga ran from 1978 to 1989. Other popular manga followed, making Takahashi one of the more influential (and affluent) manga authors.

In volume one, Ataru Moroboshi learns the importance of precise phrasing.

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Run Run Run

Sorata Akizuki
Snow White with the Red Hair , book 1

Sorata Akizuki’s Snow White with the Red Hair (Akagami no Shirayukihime) is an ongoing shoujo manga. It is very, very, very loosely based on the folktale of Snow White.

Prince Raji of Tabarun decides to take herbalist Shirayuki as his next concubine. Why? Because her hair is the colour of red ripe apples. It does not occur to him that Shirayuki might have her own thoughts about the matter. He dispatches a summons and awaits his new red-haired lover.

Rather than submit to being a spoiled prince’s momentary pastime, Shirayuki cuts off her long red hair, leaving it for the prince who valued it so much, then decamps for the neighbouring kingdom of Clarines. Along the way she takes shelter in an abandoned mansion, one that is not so empty as it appears.

Enter another prince.

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March of the Volunteers

The Wandering Earth — Frant Gwo

2019’s The Wandering Earth (Chinese: 流浪地球) is a 2019 Chinese film adaptation of Liu Cixin’s novella of the same name (which I have not read). It is directed by Frant Gwo and stars Qu Chuxiao, Li Guangjie, Ng Man-tat, Zhao Jinmai, Wu Jing, and Qu Jingjing. A major hit in China, it was stealth-released on Netflix on May 6, 2019.

Bad news for Earth! The Sun is transitioning from a main sequence star to a red giant five billion years ahead of schedule. Life within the Solar System will soon become impossible.

There’s an alternative to extinction, at least for humanity. Simply move the Earth to the Alpha Centauri system.

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All Night Long

Kim Eun-hee & Kim Seong-hun
Kingdom, book 3

Kingdom is a 2019 South Korean television series. It was written by Kim Eun-hee and directed by Kim Seong-hun. There are six episodes in season one, of which this is the third. The primary cast are (from Wikipedia):

Prince Yi Chang, crown prince of Great Joseon, is trying to discover just what is going on with his father, the king, who is secluded in his palace. The prince is opposed by his stepmother and her Haewon Cho clan. As a result, the prince is now a wanted man. Oh, and the kingdom is threatened with zombie apocalypse.

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Numb to Pain

Gangsta, book 1

Gangsta, Volume 1 collects the first five issues of Kohske’s eponymous SF crime manga. First published in 2011, the English language edition came out in 2014.

Ergastulum is a hive of scum and villainy, populated by monsters and victims. The cops are crooked, the criminals are in charge, and life is for the most part unpleasant.

Worick Arcangelo and Nicolas Brown are handymen. They handle problems the other people of Ergastulum are unwilling or unable to face.

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Break The Lock If It Don’t Fit

Yusuke Murata & ONE
One-Punch Man, book 3

Yes, this is very late. I keep over-scheduling myself. I have only myself to blame.

One-Punch Man Volume Three collects Punches (issues) 16 through 20 (plus some bonus material) of ONE and Yusuke Murata’s ongoing manga.

Saitama is super-fast, super-strong, and super-invulnerable. He is also super-obscure because neither Saitama nor Saitama’s acolyte Genos have ever bothered to register with the Hero Association. Time to fix that.

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She’s Got Me So Confused

FLCL — Yōji Enokido & Kazuya Tsurumaki

FLCL is a six-part anime series written by Yōji Enokido, and directed by Kazuya Tsurumaki. It was released in 2000 and 2001.

Twelve-year-old Naota Nandaba lives with his father and grandfather in backwater Mabase. He grudgingly tolerates the uninvited attentions of high-schooler Mamimi Samejima.

It’s a humdrum life. To quote Naota,

“Nothing amazing happens here. Everything is ordinary.”

Enter attractive maniac Haruko Haruhara, who

  • runs Naota down with her Vespa;

  • gives him CPR;

  • wallops him in the head with her guitar.

It’s not madness, although Haruko is dubiously sane. She has a plan….

Soon after finding himself lip-locked with the madcap Haruko, Haoto finds himself struggling with ill-timed protrusions.

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And The Wind Blows Free

Xia Da
Choukakou, book 3

Choukakou, which is also known as Chang Ge Xing, Chang Ge’s Journey, or Song of the Long March, is an ongoing manhua (Chinese comic) series by Xia Da. Volume Three collects issues twelve through eighteen.

Princess Li Chang Ge survived the Turkish conquest of Shuo by transferring her allegiance from the doomed governor of Shuo to General Sun of the Turks. Sun accepted Li Chang Ge as a subordinate. Sun is unaware that:

  • Li Chang Ge is a woman;

  • she is the niece of the Chinese emperor Taizong;

  • Taizong ordered Li Chang Ge’s father and his entire family executed;

  • Li Chang Ge is a wanted fugitive.

Sun habitually distrusts women and he certainly does not need to be drawn into Chinese dynastic disputes. He has Turkish dynastic disputes to concern him.

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Somewhere Beyond the Barricade

Kim Eun-hee & Kim Seong-hun
Kingdom, book 2

Kingdom is a 2019 South Korean television series. It was written by Kim Eun-hee and directed by Kim Seong-hun. There are six episodes in season one, of which this is the second.

Primary cast:

Supporting cast:

The Haewon Cho clan has unjustly framed Crown Prince Yi Chang. They accuse him — correctly, as it happens, although innocence would not have stopped the clan from trying to remove the Prince — of conspiring against his own father, the King of Great Joseon. The Crown Prince has serendipitously left the capital before he could be arrested.

Great Joseon has problems much larger than mere dynastic conflicts.

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Life’s Little Day

Girls' Last Tour, book 6

Tsukumizu’s Girl’s Last Tour, volume six was first published in 2017. The Yen Press translation into English was published in 2019. It collects chapters 41 to 47 of Tsukumizu’s ongoing tale of two girls, Yuuri and Chito, wandering a desolate, doomed Earth. It is the final volume.

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Have You Seen the Way?

Noragami, book 11

Adachitoka’s Noragami Volume 11 collects issues 40 to 43 of the adventures of the stray god Yato. The manga was first published in 2014; the English translation was published in 2016. Included in the volume are

  • 40. “We Not-So-Humbly Pray” (恐み恐みも白さず “Kashikomi mo Mōsazu”)

  • 41. “A Picture Together” (一緒に写真を “Issho ni Shashin wo”)

  • 42. “Causes Nothing but Disaster” (厄災しか起こせない “Yakusai Shika Okosenai”)

  • 43. “Secrets” (秘め事 “Himegoto”)

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Ain’t Gonna Drown in the Water

Mi-kyung Yun
Bride of the Water God, book 1

Bride of the Water God, Volume One collects the first seven issues of Mi-kyung Yun’s manhwa (manga, comic).

Faced with a long, punishing drought, Soah’s fellow villagers do the only thing they think will work. They send a bride to Habaek the Water God in the hope that the god will be pleased and send rain again.

By “bride”, they mean “human sacrifice.” Soah is cast adrift in a small boat to face a watery doom.

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Read All About Their Schemes and Adventuring

Kim Eun-hee & Kim Seong-hun
Kingdom, book 1

Kingdom is a 2019 South Korean television series. It was written by Kim Eun-hee and directed by Kim Seong-hun. There are six episodes in season one, of which this is the first. The primary cast are (from Wikipedia):

Ju Ji-hoon as Crown Prince Yi Chang


Prince Yi Chang, crown prince of the Kingdom of Great Joseon, would seem to have an enviable lot. Not so. His father’s new bride, Queen Consort Yo, is pregnant with a child who might well take Yi Chang’s place. Queen Consort Yo’s clan, the Haewon Cho, have seized control of the nation’s bureaucracies.

Ten days earlier, the King fell ill. Try as he might, Yi Chang cannot get past the wall of Haewon-paid courtiers clustering around his father. What is the true state of the King’s health? The courtiers lie. He cannot tell.

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Earth’s Vain Shadows Flee

Girls' Last Tour, book 5

Tsukumizu’s Girl’s Last Tour, volume five was first published in 2017. The Yen Press English translation was published in late 2018. It collects chapters 33 to 40 of Tsukumizu’s ongoing tale of two girls, Yuuri and Chito, wandering a desolate, doomed Earth.

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Tailor Made

Noragami, book 10

Adachitoka’s Noragami Volume 10 collects issues 35 to 39 of the adventures of the stray god Yato. The manga was first published in 2014; the English translation was published in 2016. Included in the volume are

  • 36. “Binding Curse” (呪縛 “Jubaku”)

  • 37. “The Sound of You Calling My Name” (君の呼ぶ声 “Kimi no Yobu Koe”)

  • 38. “Because I Promised” (約束したから “Yakusoku Shitakara”)

  • 39. “Until Now and From Now On” (コレマデとコレカラ “Koremade to Korekara”)

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