Yuri Manga: Strawberry Marshmallow, Volume 2

December 20th, 2006

So, you see why I wanted Sean to get me that darn review already. ;-)

I’m an old Comparative Literature major (just like Satou Sei, lol) and I can’t help myself, so – for compare and contrast, here’s my review of the Japanese Ichigo Marshmallow Volume 2.

Because the content of Volume 2 remains the same, I don’t feel the need to go over the “what so much, but I do want to say a few things about the “how.”

The translation is…well, I’m not really sure what it is. There are moments of sheer brilliance, moments of complete incompetence, and in between I keep finding myself asking, “who is this translation for?” Let me attempt to explain:

None of the sound effects are translated, nor are there notes next to them. I don’t care personally – as I’ve said many times, I don’t see them, myself. And I can read them in Japanese, so it’s no loss to me. But I’ve been told that people *do* read them, and the standard these days is to either translate and replace them (which is a lot of work!) or to write translations next to or near them. Sometimes translated s/fx are put into a detailed glossary in the back. Doing none of the above assumes that *I* am the reading audience – people who can either read them, or who don’t care.

Second – Ana’s name. Her family name is the source of a large body of the gags in this volume. And nowhere is it explained *why* her name is such an issue. That seems really bizarre to me. (Ana Coppola in Japanese sounds really weird – something like ‘hole bone cave’. It’s not dirty, it’s just giggle-making strange.)

Third – about once a chapter Nobue turns British. Everytime it happens I do a double-take. “Dirty pool”? Who says that other than Gomez Adams?

And of course, nothing else is explained, either. Which, I like. Miu says Randolph instead of Rudolph, her Jinglish version of Randy Travis is transliterated, so it reads like Jinglish, and Ana, when she accidentally writes her name in Japanese on the blackboard reacts with a large Japanese hiragana “Da!”

But then, Sasazuka is told to stand in the corner, instead of the hall. Go figure.

In one sense, it’s maddeningly inconsistent. In another sense it fits right in with the sheer randomness of the story as a whole. I’d like to think they thought about it beforehand…but it seems unlikely.

As Sean said yesterday about Strawberry Marshmallow Volume 1, for us (that is, he and I) this series is really all about Miu and Nobue. I think the two scenes that encapsulate them – and their relationship are these: Miu, attempting to impress Nobue, does extreme stretching, then asks Nobue if that was amazing. Nobue responds, “Well, yeah…in a freak show kinda way.” Nobue hears how Miu told Ana’s class about her weird name. When questioned, Miu says, quite seriously that even *she* knows the difference between good and evil…and, she says happily, did it on purpose.

Ratings:

Art – Up from last volume – 6
Story – Crazed like a loon – 7
Characters – Ditto – 8
Yuri – Ditto – 4
Service – 6

Overall – 7

Ah, Evil Psychotic Lesbian-in-training Miu. You are the wind beneath my wings. ^_^

 

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