Lucky Star Manga, Volume 2 (English)

December 8th, 2009

Okay, I think I got it. (I’d say “correct me if I’m wrong,” but when have you ever hesitated to do that?!)

Everything that comes out of a tsundere character’s mouth in tsun mode is treated as if it’s “Opposite Day.” If he whines that he doesn’t wanna do it, it really means he’s going to save the world in a second or two and if she says he’s annoying, it means she likes him. Am I close?

So, in Lucky Star, Volume 2, we’re specifically told that Kagami is tsundere so, when she protests that the chocolates she’s giving Konata are just out of obligation, you’re all “wink-wink-nudge-nudge,” right?

Of course, we are also told that Yu is a cop on a rampage, free and easy, but kind of hyper and in her own world, which in my book is four completely different personalities, but hey, whatever works for you.

The single outstanding quality of this manga is the translation – but not in a good way. This volume has an editor credited – some part of me expected to see “Alan Smithee” on that page, but no, someone actually took credit for the job he didn’t do at all, even a little.

I’m not tsundere, btw. When I say mean things, I mean them. If I tell you, “You bore me, go away” it does not mean I think you’re really cute and I want you to stick around. It is never “Opposite Day” in my house. But with tortured and abused sentences more common than simple, clear ones I don’t think I’m overstating the problem. The translation here is *bad*. Bad as in, “we don’t really have anyone here who is even a good enough writer/editor to see how bad it is.”

Once you get past the translation, what’s left is a series made from very typical Japanese comic strip humor, in which Konata takes the role of the audience. It’s cute when she says she played games all night – it’s creepy when the creepy guy next to you in class says it.

So, after reading Volume 2, which deals with more calendrical hijinks – New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, College Exams, etc., I’ve developed this theory: Kagami cannot *stand* Konata. She finds her exasperating and hopes she crashes and burns horribly.

You can have your Kagami and I’ll have mine. :-)

Ratings:

Art – 3
Story – 3
Characters – 6 Now that I’ve reinterpreted Kagami to suit myself, I like her more. Why not – you did it.
Yuri – .5
Otaku – 7 Gaming and CompAce/Comptiq in-jokes

Overall – 3

My sincere thanks to Okazu Hero Amanda M for sponsoring today’s review and giving me the chance to apply my very own of Fan Delusion to this series! ^_^

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14 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    No, Kagami tries to mold Konata into a suitable partner using some very catty bickering and nagging techniques. I can’t see her wanting to see Konata actually fail beside any Yuri-vision though. There are times Kagami goes out of her way to help Konata out and if you look closely, it’s usually the sister tagging along while Kagami and Konata are hanging out.

  2. ramiya says:

    I totally agree on the editing on these books (makes me wonder how the other Bandai publications are that I’m not reading…). I’ve read some sub-scanlation quality “professionally” published manga and novel translations with whole teams of editors that have left me wondering what exactly they were actually doing since clearly no one with any proper understanding of the English language picked up the book before it was printed.

    It’s interesting the translator of the series is Rika Takahashi. She’s a veteran who’s been doing pro and fan translations for decades now that I’ve seen credited in many a fine production in the past: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/people.php?id=5141

    Clearly she’s doing all the work on this one, though. As she is going it alone, she’s also missing some of the references in her notes, such as one strip’s title refering to Kona-chan’s dad as an “ookina tomodachi” (“A Big Friend”)–that’s actually recent slang for annoying LFBs that crash costumed hero performances for children and the like (which suddenly makes that particular strip make more sense once you realize what was being referred to)–for one example.

    The tsundere angle is played up more in this volume, but really the series gets a bit more open about the nature of the “relationship” later on, probably as the artist further realized they could milk it for more gags. The Yuri goggles need less magnification power over time. “Opposite Day” is a good way to sum it up. Generally tsunderes will also blush heavily, get flustered, and protest heavily when being dishonest about their feelings. Tsundere fans will jump on these signs as evidence, whether it really is the case or not. It’s “Oh, she’s *saying* no but she REALLY means yes…” all over again.

    Aika in Aria is a good example of a proper tsundere without the LFB baggage.

  3. DezoPenguin says:

    That…is actually the best definition of “tsundere” that I’ve ever seen.

  4. Matthew says:

    Watch the anime instead, Erica.

    The manga of Lucky Star is indeed “meh” at best. But if you get past the first four episodes of the anime, then you’re in for a surprisingly entertaining little treat.

    The canon-maker is in the OVA, but there are hints sprinkled throughout the series. If you’re looking for Yuri in Lucky Star, don’t bother with the manga yet–all tributes and nods to the Yuri fanatics are largely anime-only.

    Try K-on! too. It’s not definitively Yuri either, but I think you’d like Mugi and Ritsu for quickly obvious reasons.

    Happy viewing!

  5. @Matthew – I liked K-ON, yes. I found the Lucky Star anime to be unwatchable. That’s why Sean Gaffney reviewed it for us.

  6. Aokubi-daikon says:

    Lol! Your take on Kagami is awesome. That totally made my day.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Haha, just wanted to say your little bit about ‘I interpret Kagami this way, you intepret her that way’ made me laugh. I mean hell, why not, it’s only fiction, see them however you like, right?

  8. @anonymous – You are absolutely correct. :-)

  9. Anonymous says:

    @Erica – The difference between your critical analysis and a fan’s is that, as a supplement to your publishing, your interpretations are shared from a professional context. Yes, your frank attitudes are part of the brand that helps sell your product, but it doesn’t make for the most level playing field when you make, “If you can do it, why shouldn’t I?” statements.

    I also have to wonder who is this “you” that you enjoy directing so much antagonism towards. From this and past posts, I can only assume “you” is not part of the GLBT community, “you” is far more prone to the goofy fandom predilections that you consider yourself above, “you” has no literary experience of any worth and “you” is happy to read their plebeian English translations because they are too lazy to learn Japanese. Erica, I suggest that you rethink some of your generalizations and who they are directed towards and I suggest your readers do the same.

  10. @Anonymous. Well, that wins as the most absurd comment. I am a human, no more, no less. Just like my readers. I was not born reading Japanese – I taught to myself because I am a fan. Just like my readers are. I did not spring from my mother’s womb in the industry. I worked and researched and talked to folks to build my little niche. To say that all that
    means I should not have the utterly silly opinion that I prefer a bitter and exasperated Kagami is bizarre in the extreme. It’s a comic book, anyone can have an opinion. Perhaps you missed it but, I read this in English.

  11. ajshepherd says:

    Having just read this, it looks to me like they tried to shove translation and reference notes into the middle of the speech bubbles rather than putting them as side notes in the margins like any sensible person would have done. It breaks up the flow of the dialogue in an often nonsensical manner.

  12. Anonymous says:

    @Erica – Sorry, but the comment wasn’t at all absurd, I simply pointed out that self-professed elitism has a different dynamic for a publisher than for a consumer. Also, when every single one of your readers is assumed as lacking in your own perceived elite qualities, that isn’t elitism, that’s self-absorption. Go back over your posts and tally up how often you level some ‘elitist’ antagonism towards your audience.

    If you want to straddle the line between publisher and fan and cherry-pick between both to better argue with and talk down to your own readers, at least admit that for what it is.

  13. @Anonymous – you must be skipping all the bits where I admit to being an elitist and saying that this is *my* opinion and all that other stuff.

    I’m a publisher AND a fan AND and con chair AND a writer AND an editor AND I’m highly opinionated AND frequently crack myself up. If this doesn’t match your expectations, oh well, can’t really help you.

  14. Ramiya says:

    Volume 3 just came out, and there’s a strip in it that rather directly vindicates Erica!

    Kagami tells Konata that she looked up the meanings of tsundere and found that the two common definitions have pretty much zero application to her. Konata directly retorts that fans will essentially keep moving the goalposts in order to keep a character within their preconceived perception of them! Possibly the the most insightful thing she’s ever said.

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