Thursday, February 15, 2007

Mushishi volume 1

'Tis an odd thing to read a different translation of the same material. It makes one think one is an authority on something one really isn't. You see, in spite of not actually being able to read the language, I can now pick and choose which one I like best and claim it's the right one! Unfortunately, I think I like the amateur one best. There is... a little more flavor to it, or something. But this clouds the viewpoint on the professional work.

That work is still quite wonderful. Come May 1st there will be stories out that I haven't already seen translated by some English teacher in Japan for the love of the book.

I go and spoil it a little below, but it's still a great book that everyone should have the fun of reading.

Although there is one spot in particular I could nitpick... and the people translating the anime also went the way the amateur translated it (but they were more amateurs and had the amateur manga translator's notes to help them out.)

It might have been (errantly) smoothed out. In the last story, The Traveling Bog, we see from a piece of the girl's memory (which she doesn't seem to be telling Ginko) how it really was that she met the swamp. In being thrown into the flood to appease some god, she is told her mother will be cared for (amateur) or that she will save everyone including her mother (professional). The fact that she's being tossed into a turbulent river in flood can't be adjusted to modern sensibilities, besides it being set in the past so why should it need to be, but assuring the audience that everyone will be saved doesn't help. At least if her mother will be ensured care in the coming years, she gets something out of it.

Anyway, it's all in the details. The brew seems a little less spicy than it did before and I do like my spice.

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