Reviews: Translation

Saving The World From Solomon Grundy

ONE & Yusuke Murata
One Punch Man, book 1

One-Punch Man Volume One collects Punches 1 through 8 of ONE and Yusuke Murata’s ongoing manga.

Salaryman turned superhero Saitama wrestles every day with a terrible burden.

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Party in the Sun

The Thousand Year Beach — Tobi Hirotaka

2002’s The Thousand Year Beach is a standalone SF novel by Tobi Hirotaka. The 2018 Anglophone edition was translated by Matt Treyvaud.

The Realm of Summer is a pleasing simulation of perfect summer in a Southern European seaside town, an idealization of something that would no doubt prove sadly flawed in real life. This perfection has been unsullied by human tourists for a thousand years (at least by the inhabitants’ virtual clocks), leaving them free to enjoy their lives without the complications humans would inflict.

All things end.

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In Dreams I Talk To You

Voices of a Distant Star — Makoto Shinkai & Sumomo Yumeka

2002’s Voices of a Distant Star is a standalone original video animation by Makoto Shinkai. It was later the basis of a 2004 manga by Sumomo Yumeka.

Noboru Terao, obviously (although inarticulately) smitten with fellow student Mikako Nagamine, expects to spend his years in high school mooning after Mikako. Unbeknownst to Noboru, Mikako has volunteered to join the UN Space Army. Mikako will not be attending high school. She will be travelling across the solar system and beyond.

They are determined to remain in contact. Physics will not be their friend in this matter.

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Dream My Own Dreams

Noriko Ogiwara & Haruhiko Momokawa
Good Witch of the West, book 1

The Good Witch of the West, Volume 1, is the first installment of a manga adaptation of Noriko Ogiwara’s eponymous light novel series. Art is by Haruhiko Momokawa. translation is by Barbara Randall Kessell.

Firiel Dee was raised in rustic isolation by her widower father and his elderly retainers, with surly apprentice Rune as her main companion. Accompanied by a more outgoing friend, Firiel decides to attend a ball given by a local count. Just like Cinderella in the fairy tale. Matters develop in a non-Cinderella direction.

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The Garden of Earthly Delights

Samurai Gourmet — Michihito Fujii, Mamoru Hoshi, Masayuki Kusumi, Yoshihiro Taguchi, Kiyoto Wada

In Netflix’s 2017 Samurai Gourmet, Takeshi Kasumi faces a challenge for which he has no easy answer. Having retired at age sixty, what is he to do with all his time?

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No One Remembers Your Name

Adachitoka
Noragami, book 1

Adachitoka’s 2011 Noragami volume 1 is the first installment in the titular series. It was first published in English in 2014.

One day all Japan will bow to Yato, greatest of all the nation’s gods! Today, however, he is merely a minor kami, known to a very very few and worshiped by none. He lives by performing miracles for the desperate, five yen a wish.

It’s a living…

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Don’t Stand So Close to Me

Hiromu Arakawa & Yoshiki Tanaka
The Heroic Legend of Arslan, book 4

The Heroic Legend of Arslan, book 4 is the fourth collection of Hiromu Arakawa’s adaptation of Yoshiki Tanaka’s light novel series of the same name1. It contains issues 20 to 29.

Hundreds of thousands of Lusitanian soldiers are occupying Pars. Prince Arslan’s handful of companions will not be enough to free his land from foreign religious fanatics. Arslan needs an ally who commands an army.

Hodir commands Kashan Fortress’ troops and Hodir is eager to support Arslan. There are, however, two impediments.

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A Challenge Before The Whole Human Race

Mobilization — Yoshiki Tanaka
Legend of the Galactic Heroes, book 5

First published under the title Ginga Eiyu Densetsu volume 5, 1984’s Mobilization is the fifth volume in Yoshiki Tanaka’s Legend of the Galactic Heroes1. Tyran Grillo’s translation was published by Haikasoru in 2017.

Reinhard von Lohengramm has conquered the Phezzan Dominion for the Galactic Empire, which puts him one step closer to unifying all of humanity’s worlds under one Emperor. Currently, that Emperor is an Empress: young Katharin Katchen I. As soon as it suits his purposes, von Lohengramm will replace her with von Lohengramm.

There’s only one catch.

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Swift To Its Close Ebbs Out Life’s Little Day

Tsukumizu
Girls' Last Tour, book 4

2016’s Girls’ Last Tour Book 4 is yet another instalment of Tsukumizu’s post-apocalyptic wanderjahr. Amanda Hayley translated this volume.

It’s not at all clear where the automated train buried deep beneath the dying city will take Chito and Yuuri, but at least they will get there quickly.

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After The Garden Is Gone

Sisyphean — Dempow Torishima

2018’s Sisyphean is a standalone work of SF that hovers between a short story collection and a novel. The stories are connected by their setting. It was translated by Daniel Huddleston, written and illustrated by Dempow Torishima.

Welcome to the exciting world of tomorrow, where many of society’s institutions appear not to have changed, even if the beings that inhabit them are unfamiliar in form.

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School’s Out For Summer

Hiromu Arakawa & Yoshiki Tanaka
The Heroic Legend of Arslan, book 3

The Heroic Legend of Arslan book 3 collects issues 11 to 19 of Hiromu Arakawa’s manga adaptation of Yoshiki Tanaka’s Heroic Legend of Arslan light novel series.

Pars has fallen and its king has been imprisoned, but Prince Arslan is still free. Traitor Kharlan is determined to prove his worth by capturing Arslan. Kharlan has a small army at his command, whereas Arslan counts but four people in his force — and that only if he counts himself.

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Earth’s Joys Grow Dim

Tsukumizu
Girl's Last Tour, book 1

Girls’ Last Tour, Volume 1, is the first instalment in Tsukumizu’s Girls’ Last Tour series.

Lost in a vast, empty, decaying city complex, Chito (the smart one) and Yuuri (the other one) wander in search of supplies. Failure may be inevitable; if so, their ultimate fate will be to starve. But at least they will starve together.

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I Hear You Knocking

Hiromu Arakawa & Yoshiki Tanaka
The Heroic Legend of Arslan, book 2

The Heroic Legend of Arslan, Volume 2 is the second collection of Hiromu Arakawa’s manga adaptation of Yoshiki Tanaka’s light novel series.

In volume one, overconfidence and arrogance led King Andragoras and his vast Parsian army into ambush and defeat at the hands of the Lusitanian invaders. The King’s fate is unknown. Prince Arslan escaped, but it is unclear how long he can remain free.

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Fast Falls The Eventide

Tsukumizu
Girls' Last Tour, book 2

Girls’ Last Tour, Volume 2 is the second collection of Tsukumizu’s Girls’ Last Tour manga.

Just because the world has ended doesn’t mean the struggle to stay alive one more day is over. Just ask Yuuri and Chito. Driving through a vast, unnamed city after some event removed or killed most of the population, they live hand-to-mouth, salvaging supplies in an empty world.

Chito is the dark haired smart one. Yuuri is blonde and rarely burdened by excessive introspection.

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Sing, My Tongue, The Glorious Battle

Yoshiki Tanaka & Hiromu Arakawa
Heroic Legend of Arslan, book 1

Heroic Legend of Arslan, Volume 1 collects the first four issues of Yoshiki Tanaka and Hiromu Arakawa’s 2013 manga adaptation of Yoshi Tanaka’s light-novel series, The Heroic Legend of Arslan.

When we first meet young Arslan, he seems unlikely to figure in any legend, much less a heroic legend. Though he is the crown prince of Pars, he is timid and unsure of himself. He’s certainly not a self-assured, bold figure like his father, Andragoras III. As confident off the battlefield as he is on it, Andragoras III is the embodiment of Parsian virtue.

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Wicked Thrill

Blue Exorcist — Kazue Kato

Kazue Kato’s Blue Exorcist (Ao no Ekusoshisuto) is an on-going supernatural manga series.

Father Fugimoto does his best to keep his adoptive son Rin Okumura on the straight and narrow. Alas, Rin has a talent for self-sabotage. He is a stark contrast with his fraternal twin Yukio, who exemplifies self-control and diligence. If they are twins, how is that they are so different?

A supernatural encounter forces Father Fugimoto tell Rin what makes him special. Rin is the literal Son of Satan1, a potential gateway through which the evil lord could enter our world. Any other mortal host, even the purest of souls, would quickly be destroyed if Satan possessed them. Only Rin can provide a long-term home.

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Teach Your Children Well

Train to Busan — Yeon Sang-ho

Yeon Sang-ho’s 2016’s Train to Busan is a horror film1 starring Gong Yoo, Jung Yu-mi, and Ma Dong-seok.

Fund manager Seok-woo’s laudable work ethic has driven his wife away and alienated his young daughter Soo-an. No worries! It’s nothing that lavishing expensive presents on his daughter cannot fix. Except when he spaces out and buys her two identical presents. Seeing her hopeless expression as she receives his clumsy gifts, he begins to understand his neglect may have driven a wedge between them that no amount of last-minute, distracted gift-buying can fix.

He can at least give Soo-an the one gift she does want, which is to send her home to her mother on the other side of Korea. Although she would prefer to make the trip alone, he insists on accompanying the ten year old on the KTX [2]. It won’t be a happy trip but at least it should be a placid respite from his usual frantic, workaholic life.

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Smiled With The Morning Sun

Saiensu Fikushon 2016 — Nick Mamatas & Masumi Washington

Nick Mamatas and Masumi Washington’s Saiensu Fikushon 2016 is a science fiction anthology that collects three short pieces by TOBI Hirotaka, Toh Enjoe, and Taiyo Fujii respectively.

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A Maid Both Brave And Brawn

Bodacious Space Pirates: Abyss of Hyperspace — Saito Tatsuo

2014’s Mōretsu uchū kaizoku - Akū no shin’en (Bodacious Space Pirates: Abyss of Hyperspace) is the feature-length animated movie follow-up to the anime television adaptation of Saito Tatsuo’s Mōretsu Pairētsu (Bodacious Space Pirates) light novel series. Saito Tatsuo was the film’s writer/director.

Sole heir of the notorious space pirate Gonzaemon Kato, Marika Kato assumed her father’s role as captain of the Bentenmaru upon Gonzaemon’s death. The Bentenmaru isn’t the only pirate vessel in the Tau Ceti system, but it may be the only one whose captain has a curfew. Marika is, after all, only seventeen, still in high school, and she needs to maintain her grade point average.

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Like the Weave of a Spider

The City of Woven Streets — Emmi Itäranta

Emmi Itäranta’s 2015 standalone secondary world fantasy Kudottujen kujien kaupunki was published in 2016 as The City of Woven Streets. And also as The Weaver (for some reason I cannot comprehend).

The island on which Eliana lives is controlled by a Council much concerned with contamination by uncanny dreams and other such temptations to … well, if I told you more that would be a spoiler. Those deemed Tainted are isolated, a precaution to prevent the spread of Taint. This has not been working well. The island’s rulers do the only sensible thing: double down on enforcement. It’s a small, harsh world.

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This Is The End, My Friend

Hiromu Arakawa
Fullmetal Alchemist, book 9


Viz’ Fullmetal Alchemist (3-in-1 Edition), Volumes 25–27 includes Volumes 25, 26, and 27 of the original Japanese manga1. Story and art are by Hiromu Arakawa; English translation by Akira Watanabe; English adaptation by Jake Forbes; touch-up art and lettering by Wayne Truman. The original manga appeared in 2010.

The nice thing about series whose author has a destination in mind is the comparative absence of supporting characters who don’t actually support anything and subplots that don’t go anywhere. The less nice thing is that eventually the story reaches that destination. End of the line.

Which gets me to Fullmetal Alchemist (3-in-1 Edition), Volumes 25–27.

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Another Day, Another Destiny

Hiromu Arakawa
Fullmetal Alchemist, book 8

Viz’ Fullmetal Alchemist (3-in-1 Edition), Volumes 22–24 includes Volumes 22, 23, and 24 of the original Japanese manga1. Story and art are by Hiromu Arakawa; English translation by Akira Watanabe; English adaptation by Jake Forbes; touch-up art and lettering by Wayne Truman. The original manga appeared in 2009.

Adults are offered many opportunities to defer gratification, such as spacing out the last few volumes of a limited series instead of hoovering them up all at once. Adults can also say “screw delayed gratification; finish the series!” and get away with it. Guess which kind of adult I am.

Which brings us to the eighth, second-to-last, 3-in-1 omnibus of Fullmetal Alchemist. In this volume, plans come together. Sorta kinda.

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When The Night Has Come

Hiromu Arakawa
Fullmetal Alchemist, book 7

Viz’ Fullmetal Alchemist (3-in-1 Edition), Volumes 19–21 includes Volumes 19, 20, and 21 of the original Japanese manga [1]. Story and art are by Hiromu Arakawa; English translation by Akira Watanabe; English adaptation by Jake Forbes; touch-up art and lettering by Wayne Truman. The original manga appeared in 2008.

All seems lost!

  • Roy Mustang’s trusted subordinates have been scattered across Amestris;

  • Major General Olivier Mira Armstrong (formerly of Briggs Fortress) appears to have gone over to Team Evil, leaving her beloved Fortress in the hands of officers very definitely loyal to the malevolent Father;

  • the great transmutation circle needed for the sacrifice of an entire nation is almost finished;

and worst of all, Alphonse Elric’s soul is beginning to reject the armour that houses it.

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My Old Familiar Friend

The Kubishime Romanticist — NisiOisiN
Zaregoto, book 2

2002’s The Kubishime Romanticist is the second in NisiOisiN’s Zaregoto series.

Gloomy Ii-Chan has put crime-solving behind him and focused on being a jaded, unenthusiastic college student. Despite Ii-Chan’s best efforts to remain disconnected, he finds himself sparring with serial killer Zerozaki Hitoshiki. Worse yet, fellow student Aoii Mikoko insists on befriending him.

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