Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Volume 2

Can I just start by saying that I love how colorful these reprints are?  The Japanese versions look great all lined up on my shelf, and I'm excited that the English versions are going to look just as good.  Volume 2's color:  Mercury's bubbly blue!

I hope to present my highlights from this volume in a more organized fashion.


Page 15

This correct grammar is "What should I do?"

Page 189

The correct grammar is, "it stopped when we returned from the Moon..."


I don't know which aspect of this is worse: the fact that the Japanese never uses the word "Princess" and even presents her name as "Kuin Beriru" in katakana, the fact that Flanagan (the translator) didn't think it odd that she's introducing herself as both a princess and a queen in the same sentence, or the fact that it's on the last freakin' page so that it leaves me with a "WTF?" feeling after I close the book. It's like tripping and falling right before the finish line.

I'm not sure if Flanagan is just mistaken about the definition of the word "exorcize" or if he made a spelling error when trying to write "exercise". Neither of them is a good excuse, and neither word is appropriate. There aren't any demons or ghosts being exorcised here, and choosing the phrase "exercised your power" is plain unnatural. "Exerted" would be the better choice, if we wanted to stick with an "ex-" word.

Perhaps some folks will disagree with me, but even though Minako is literally saying "borrowed form" in Japanese ("kari no sugata"), I don't think it works in English. It makes me think that that form is not actually hers, and that she took it from someone else, a poor Earth girl who was susceptible to having her body snatched. We know that the Sailor Senshi's "true forms" are those of soldiers from other planets (who conveniently look exactly the same as Earth humans), but they were reborn on Earth and have lived their lives as mostly normal girls. Their civilian forms are as much a part of their individual identity as their senshi forms. Using the terms "borrowed form" in English emphasizes that Minako's civilian form is not hers at all. So in the end, I prefer Mixx's take on this, although the best choice might be something like, "this is my civilian form" or "alternate identity".

Later in the chapter (page 69), Usagi declares to her father that, "The Usagi that you have known up until now has been just a borrowed form!" To which he replies, "Oh? Then what's your 'true form'?" I feel like one of the suggestions I made above could also fit well here, but I'd like to hear other people's thoughts.

OK, so this one actually makes me go "LOL" rather than "huh?"  I know hardly anyone has VHS players anymore, but I am certain that mine never said, "SHPOON!" when it ejected a tape.  All kidding aside, we see that two different sound effects were translated in two different ways on the same page.  "Shpoon" (lol) is an attempt at a phonetic transcription of the Japanese sounds; "bzzt bzzt" is an attempt to insert an equivalent English onomatopoeia (the phonetic would be "bachi bachi").  I expect that we will continue to see this inconsistency in handling sound effects for the entire series.


This emotionally charged scene has been ruined, and I am so disappointed about it. The wording in both the Japanese and Mixx's translation is dramatic. You can feel Tuxedo Kamen's determination to finally protect Sailor Moon after failing to do so earlier on. This time, THIS TIME, I will protect her! It sends a shiver down the spine! Not so in Kodansha's version. When he says, "this time, I will!" what is he talking about? We haven't been introduced to what he "will" do yet. No one says, "I will" as an utterance unless the action has been introduced. The proper response to someone saying, "I will" out of context is, "Will what?" Oh, he'll PROTECT her! Why did he tell us that afterwards??  Isn't it the more important piece of info??  His dramatic timing has been squashed under the urge to spew fragmented thoughts. If Flanagan is so bent on being literal, why wasn't he literal here? The Japanese is, (1)"Ore ga mamoru!" ("I'll protect her!") (2) "Kondo koso!" ("THIS time!") You can't get any simpler than that, and yet we get a weird, fused mess in English.

This scene, where Kunzite finds his fellow Shitennou as nothing but rocks, is virtually incomprehensible in Kodansha's English translation. There's some text in a panel above that says "What does it mean?" (JP = "nante koto da", Mixx = "how could this happen?") Kunzite is wondering why his friends were temporarily revived and given back their memories, only to be turned into stone minutes later. But what the heck is he even saying in Kodansha? He never completes a sentence. Who's "awakening in this form", him or the rest of them?  JUST SPIT IT OUT, MAN!  It's a super literal translation, and it seems Flanagan couldn't discern the subject, so he just left it out. Too bad that doesn't work in English! At least Mixx understood that much (The "I" is cut off from "I finally awoke").

This is just an example of another literal translation that's ridiculously unnatural in English. Naru walks into a video store and says, "Hey, Yumi, Kari!" In response to her greeting, Yumi says the above. Indeed, this is how I greet people all the time! In fact, it just happened this morning at the breakfast table:

BOYFRIEND: Good morning.
ME: Oh, you too, David?
BOYFRIEND: ....what?
ME: You're eating breakfast, too?
BOYFRIEND: ....yes?
ME: I love breakfast!

Now that I think about it....maybe that's why my boyfriend and I have so many communication problems. NAAAAAH, Kodansha / Flanagan say that this is how English pragmatics work, so it must be so!  They are a big name company and a guy with 20 years experience, after all.


I've complained enough, so here are some positive examples of the new translation capturing the spirit and content that Mixx missed over and over again.

Luna rightly remarks that Umino's behavior has changed. The point of this scene is that Umino is not normally this aggressive, and he has become so because of the Dark Kingdom's brainwashing VHS tapes (thank God nobody uses VHS anymore!). Mixx decided to interpret it differently and say that this is just business as usual for our "devious" friend.

This is two panels below the previous scene. I know Naru does get left in the dust as the series progresses, but Mixx is just being harsh. It's only Act 7, for cryin' out loud!  Naru actually is still on the radar.  Usagi does not say that she forgot about Naru in Japanese. I would speculate that this is a tongue-in-cheek foreshadowing of Naru's fate as a supporting character, but I don't think Mixx was ever that clever.

I apologize if you can't read the text of the Mixx version--this page proved particular difficult for me to photograph with my camera phone. The text on the left says, "Once again, Queen Metallia just vanishes before my very eyes." Of course, this isn't what Beryl says at all. In the prior panel, she is shown shivering in dread of Metallia's ever-expanding power. Yet Mixx, knowing the intent of the scene better than us all, decided to make Metallia a vanishing ghost who is "powerless now". Maybe to make her less scary for all the kiddies out there.

More fun with Beryl. She's talking about how she plans to take over the world. Mixx adds to her plan, "and maybe even the Moon Kingdom..." as if the Moon Kingdom isn't already a pile of rubble. This utterance is about a completely different topic; the fact that the Sailor Senshi are inheritors of the Moon Kingdom.

Mixx decided that the people of Earth were jealous of the Moon people's long lives, perhaps projecting their own inferiority complex towards a fictional race.  This entire page is an excellent example of how much richer the Kodansha translation is, but I didn't include the whole page because the image was pretty big. The discrepancy in Queen Serenity's dialogue where she calls Metallia "The Evil One" in Tokyopop but not in Kodansha is actually a result of a dialogue change made in the Japanese reprint.  The original Japanese Sailor Moon manga had her use the word "Satan" 「サタン」 to describe the evil force.  This was changed in the reprint into something more vague--a wise decision, if you ask me.

In the end, I was a bit more critical of this volume than the first, probably because my initial giddiness has had some time to be tapered by reason.  Good or bad, it seems these new editions will provide me and other fans with plenty to talk about!


  1. Hey! I'd love to affiliate Miss Dream with your site. Really enjoying this project!

  2. FANTASTIC CONTENT!!! Keep up the great work!!!

  3. The formatting for the second entry made it really easy to read and understand, great job!

  4. The section about the borrowed form might not make as much sense in English, but at least it's consistant with what Minako says in Sailor V volume 2. I quote "To carry out my true duty I was given a borrowed form, a disguise and that disguise has been my entire being until now... Until I awakened." Though this sentance should not finish with ...

    Princess Beryl is really odd. She should just say "I am Beryl" in that bubble. It's actually a bit sad that, forgeting revisions to phrases, you could make it flow better simply by erasing some unneeded words.

    Awesome as always.

    Are you going to do Codename Sailor V?