I’ve been meaning to post this (it’s a gorgeous cover!). The first volume is out in a couple of weeks and I love working on this series so much, it’s chilled out and sweet… Get your copy here!
I do love seeing the covers for manga I adapt. I’ve got quite a few on the roster for 2019 and Now Loading…! is first on the list. It’s a one-shot yuri title (female/female) set in the gaming industry. It’s a kouhai/sempai dynamic, with Takagi (our adorable protagonist) starting her new job maintaining a mobile game and forced to deal with her brash boss, Sakurazuki Kaori (who drinks more than I do), and also happens to be her professional idol.
The e-book/printed editions will be out on January 29th and can be obtained from all your favourite vendors by clicking here. Go check it out!!!!
I’ve not been around much for the last year mainly because of Life. You know Real Life. I dated (and am now single again), I got to know Tate (she says hi!) and I’ve been otherwise occupied adapting manga for the English-speaking market, notably some soft yuri (girl x girl) titles and the Saint Seiya spin-off magical girl series, Saintia Sho.
It doesn’t rely on me knowing or being fluent Japanese but those ten years of writing for anime magazines sure has helped. I can read Japanese (probably to JLTP 5/4), I just have shitty speaking skills (which is my project for the next twelve months or so).
The good thing is adapting isn’t translation, it’s editing.
Editing I can do. I enjoy it in this context. I work off scans or the original manga (frankly, given I’m still need a proper work machine, this is my next big purchase). I like using both. Each has their own perks: like double page spreads in print or being able to enlarge a panel to be able to make out the kanji. There’s a script, house rules, and at the end of it I get two author copies (one for my Shelf of Stuff with My Name On It, a second for reference).
Boy, are author copies shiny.
This is my part-time side-hustle and it’s fun. I get to geek out on [subject], I’m fast but thorough, I’ve got cultural knowledge (knowing what a mimikaki (耳かき) is and their role in Japanese culture came in handy recently). My autism superpower kicks in when it involves Latin and astronomy. I’ve also done battle with my deadly nemesis, the ellipse (That’s this: …).
I’m going to update this site eventually and add in my adaptations to my bibliography. Rest assured, it’s awesome when you go into Waterstones and see your titles on the shelves. I’d like to freelance a little more widely but, for now, I’ve got plenty on my plate.
I’ve not been around much due to infections, Christmas, winter and the whole guide dog aftercare thing (Tate says ‘Hi!’). Let’s proceed with the annual bullet-proof list:
- I need to update/overhaul the site, redo my bibliography etc. I’m also anaemic so I can’t be arsed to do much right now.
- Ditto my Patreon.
- The weather sucks today.
- Tate has a box so she’s all good. We taught her to pee, y’all! Like on command, or just letting us know when she needs to go. Woot!
- Tate is also an officially trained escalator guide dog. This is super important as she finds it So. Much. Fun.
- We’re going to London next month to do the tube … and buy manga at JP Books 😀
- I got my ‘author’ copies of Saint Seiya: Santia Sho Vol. 1. I’m actually the localiser for the English edition of the series, which is really quite cool. It basically involves lots of editing and polishing of the script so that it flows but still retains the nuances of the original. This is the #sekitthing I’ve not been talking about on social media.
- I’ve seen so many movies. Black Panther is awesome.
- I’ve spent the winter mastering my slow cooker. I rock. So does stewed pork belly in gravy.
- The cats are all good: Isis is in most of the day now, Ceri is still obsessively stalking Tate and D just wants to boop her with his claws. This is not allowed.
- I am writing, it’s just slow going.
- More to come, etc.
I spent the weekend in London with Shannon eating a vast amount of cheap Japanese food and visiting all the shops, from Muji in Covent Garden to JP Books next to the Japan Centre.
Seriously, JP Books is an awesome little shop I’d totally forgotten about and look at all the amazing Midori/Traveler’s Company stuff they have! SQUEEEE! I was actually rather restrained; I bought a load of cheap Muji Passport notebooks the previous day which were much cheaper than Midori ones. I bought a single insert, an unmarked diary, to use as a bullet journal/to do list. Oh and a copy of the first volume of the Your Name. manga.
Muji was actually a chance encounter; I’ve seen them but hadn’t actually gone into one. It’s very minimalist, very chic and kind of like a mix of a department store and a 100円 store (except nothing costs 100円). They had a massive range of stationary and I did buy some cool scissors which are going to be great when it comes to saving space.
I met Shannon in Leicester Square and we went back to Chinatown for dinner, eventually settling on the Tokyo Diner for dinner (karaage, yum) and also picked up tickets to see the sub of Ghost in the Shell that happened to be showing on Saturday night. I’ve not actually seen much anime on the big screen and this is a classic. The seats were cheap (because my CEA card is FTW) and actually really comfortable considering the size of the Prince Charles Cinema.
We ended up passing the theatre showing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child a lot. Shannon’s been trying to teach me how to use the London buses thanks to the power of Google Maps and her local knowledge. But, on my own, I still tend to use the tube which is a whole other blog post re my continuing quest for a new guide dog. It’s sometimes faster, though I did quite enjoy the forty-five minute bus ride to and from Shannon’s as it gave me lots of time to look out upon London and, also, read.
Shannon’s learning Japanese and it’s kinda prompted me that I need to brush up my own skills. While in the Japan Centre, I picked up a copy of にんぎょうひめ（人魚姫）aka The Little Mermaid from the picture book stand and started reading. It’s kinda nice to know I can read kids books without much of an issue but that’s a long way from, for example, light novels or manga which doesn’t have furigana.
So I have a goal … that’s good.
Wandering the Japanese sections of London has made me want to go back to Kyoto, to Sendai and to other places. It’s a nice dream to have in mind and plausible even if it won’t be for quite some time. I do want to improve my Japanese however, as I’m woefully lacking in certain areas (grammar and verbs, for example) even though I can translate Japanese to English quite well.
So reading this is going to be a fun challenge:
This actually started out from a very specific question relating to a rewatch of Sailor Moon Crystal (apologies for the anime screengrabs) and re-reading the manga in Japanese to help make my language skills not so rusty. Sailor Moon was how I learned Japanese, because I was eighteen and magical girls were cool. Plus the manga’s simple language and furigana helped, as did the size. I used to work in a kitchen and had an apron with two pockets. I’d keep the English Tokyopop translation (hahahahah!) in my left and the original Japanese edition in my right.
Yes the translation was crap but the idea basically survived and it did help (now I’ve switched to Japanese computer game streams, Dark Souls and Bloodborne, mostly). The early 2000’s were, however, a much more analogue age and there were two Japanese books stores in London that would accept my Student Loan money to feed my burgeoning addiction.
But, anyway, back to the question. Excuse the long, rambling, fangirlish and roundabout way we get to it.
Usagi (the main character) was Princess Serenity in a past life, heir to the moon kingdom known as the Silver Millennium, who fell in love with the heir to the Earth, Endymion (yes it is based on the Greek myth of moon deity, Selene, and human shepherd, Endymion). With the second arc, we’re introduced to her future self Neo-Queen Serenity, monarch of Earth who kicks arse and is awesome. I adore both princess and queen forms of Usagi’s alter-ego but NQS literally performs miracles and has all the grace, age and power Usagi lacks.
Within the mythology of the manga, Usagi gets her throne because of her past life (though this makes little logical sense as she’s reincarnated as a human, Tsukino Usagi, not a White Moon princess). As part of the storyline Usagi, Sailor Venus and Chibiusa—who has the full and surprising name of Usagi Small Lady Serenity, ChibiUsa literally meaning ‘Little Usa(gi)’—travel to the future, 3oth Century Crystal Tokyo.
There Usagi is informed that she became Queen after giving birth to ChibiUsa around the age of 22. ChibiUsa is like 904 years old and all the humans of Earth are now functionally immortal upon reaching adulthood because of a mystical crystal which serves as the series’ McGuffin/awesome-looking magical power source.
Unsurprisingly Usagi is like ‘OMG I got to have SEX with Mamoru!!!!!!!!’ (Her reincarnated, destined-to-be husband).
My question was not ‘Cool, Usagi got to be Queen’ but how. I mean like, literally.
Did she have ChibiUsa and then declare, to her civilian family (who are never mentioned outside of 20th century Tokyo) that she was now ruler of the planet? Was there a coup? Did the other senshi forcibly help her take over? Did the UN just go: ‘Sure random Tokyo woman, go nuts, the Earth is all yours’. Did she use the Silver Crystal and perform miracles/brainwashed the planet’s population? Did all the Japanese TV/newspaper coverage and the Guardians’ wins against Queen Beryl, Metalia, the Black Moon Clan, Wiseman and Black Lady, Pharaoh 90 and Mistress 9, the Dead Moon Circus and Sailor Galaxia, finally teach all of Earth’s governments that Sailor Moon’s ultimate self could keep the Earth safe?
(Though, in the manga, NQS admits she lost most of her power as a Guardian when she ascended the throne.)
How has rankled me. I’d love to think given NQS’s benevolence and her posse of planetary guardians, plus cats, that it was a peaceful transition but the writer in me much prefers some kind of coup d’etat. Not bloodshed but not compliance either.
So I started writing my own magical girl story about a Latina girl in a US school who becomes the saviour of a planet (complete with merchandising and hard-core PTSD). Tara Morreno is a kid in high school who also happens to be an old enough soul that the Fates have co-opted her into serving as saviour of the planet against a succession of more powerful foes.
Except this is a story in the vein of Madoka Magica, not Sailor Moon, meaning when Tara turns up to school with bruises and a black eye, her best friend Esme thinks she’s being beaten by a family member, her dead-beat father who left when she was small.
She certainly doesn’t think her best friend is fighting against a Dementor-like monster that is leeching the life from a parallel dimension in order to digest the Earth in chunks. Esme has her own role to play in the story because Tara is also, in her civilian life, a gay teen who has deep, unspoken feelings for her best friend. Esme is the one thing that keeps Tara going even when she’s so close to walking away from her life as Infinity Girl or dying in the middle of battle because she’s just not strong enough.
And that’s where I kinda forgot the question and this story became about Tara and Esme, being a magical girl where those wounds leave a mark. This is definitely an origin story and the start of a series of tales focusing on Tara’s adventures and the various creatures trying to take over the planet.
This is going to be fun.