Yuri Manga: GIRL FRIENDS, The Complete Collection Volume 2 (English)

March 10th, 2013

Morinaga Milk’s GIRL FRIENDS, The Complete Collection, Volume 2, begins with an ending which segues into a new beginning for both Mari and Akiko.

As I noted in my review of the original volumes, after we’ve fully tasted the situation from Mari’s side – which is to say, plumbed the confusion, mortification, attraction and tension from the perspective of an introvert – we turn to Akiko the extrovert, who is no less confused, ecstatic, hurt, and out of her mind.

After plot complications that are realistic and some that are not so, the two find a moment to air out their mutual issues and, for a moment, are as one.

In re-reading this book I am once again reminded that, for all the manga tropes and plot complications, this is a fairly realistic story. Happily-ever-after does not begin with the moment of mutual confession. Life can never be that simple – and indeed it is not, even at the end of the series. But we can know, with every fiber of our being that Akiko and Mari have an excellent shot at building a life together because, as Mari says, “Regardless of what may lie ahead, I will never give up on you.”

Seven Seas’ volume was once again very decent. (There was one repeated typographical error -the music notes in reverse color – that should be fixed for any second printings, as it is actively distracting.) I notice that Macmillian is distributing the books, so I guess they managed to shift their contract from Tor into the larger group – for which I’m glad, that was never a great fit, and it allows them the distribution that direct sales and Amazon cannot provide. It also explains why GIRL FRIENDS is able to make the NY Times best-seller list. I’m pleased for Seven Seas and Morinaga-sensei all around.

Ratings:

Art – 9 (The art definitely improved over the course of this series)
Story – 8
Characters – 9
Yuri – 10
Service – 6

Overall – 9

For those readers who worried that the first volume ended in a bad place – have patience and read the whole story. ^_^

CONTEST RESULTS:

I would like to thank everyone who entered in the Complete Collection Give-a-Way. We have a winner!

Kathryn (who writes the Contemporary Japanese Literature blog, which is absolutely worth your time) your message inspired me and, I hope, many others! You are the winner of this contest. Please email me at yuricon at gmail dot com with your address and a complete set of Morinaga Milk’s GIRL FRIENDS will be on its way to you!

I want to thank all of you who entered with your messages of love and acceptance. And I especially want to thank Ana Moreno, translator of GIRL FRIENDS, the Complete Collection, for her generous provision of books for this contest!  Your generosity is greatly appreciated.

AND I want to thank Okazu Superhero Amanda M. for her sponsorship of today’s review! I could not do it without you!

We’ve got a pile of new contests coming up here, so keep your antenna tuned to Okazu in days ahead. (So many things to give away…) ^_^

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10 Responses

  1. Ichigo69 says:

    Also a bad translation in the omake with Tamamin cosplaying as Cure Dream, but Adam Arnold told me that would be fixed for subsequent editions as well. ^__^

    • Ichigo69 says:

      On that note (sorry for the double post, but I can’t edit my post orz), it’s refreshing to see a company that’s open to correcting mistakes that are brought to their attention by readers. TWITTER, HO! www

      • I have to disagree so strongly with this. It is not useful for fans to be poking or picking at every little perceived mistake – Especially when it is not a mistake, but a conscious decision based on information the reader does not have, like copyright info. If Seven Seas “fixes” this, they could be sued by Toei. How would that have helped?

    • To be fair, if I were him, I would not “fix” that, since it uses the name of a copyrighted character. In fact, I presumed it was changed so that there would be no violation. It seems unlikely to me that Seven Seas has anyone securing the right to use names and while in Japan that’s not a huge issue, if a company has an American legal dept, it absolutely would be. (This hold true for any brand names in the text, as well. Publishing companies and authors have to apply for and get permission to use brand names or be subject to legal action.)

  2. Ichigo69 says:

    I really don’t think it’s gonna matter, since it’s 2 words and Pretty Cure isn’t exactly a hugely popular thing over here, but then again, you and I disagree about lots of things. ( ´・‿-) ~ ♥

  3. Donald Simmons says:

    I still can’t believe I have the whole series in English. Now if only they can do an anime of it (and the rest of Aoi Hana as well) my life would be complete.

  4. Ana says:

    Translator for Girl Friends checking in…

    Regarding the reference to Cure Dream, I got it and translated it as is. I live in Japan and watch Precure almost religiously. (^^;

    What I mean by “as is”… Japanese manga artists tend to replace a letter/syllable in the phrase with a special character, such as a circle, star, etc. as a way to avoid copyright, trademark, and other legal issues. In this case, I recall “Cure Dream” being spelled “C*re Dream” or something (my memory is a bit fuzzy.) So I submitted the translation with the “u” replaced with a circle or asterisk.

    What might have happened after that is 1) the rewriter/editor might not have caught the original reference (in the English translation) and did their best to come up with a reasonable name/phrase, or 2) caught the original reference and made an editorial decision to rename it to avoid any legal issues. Translators can only recommend, but it’s up to the publishers make any final decisions before print.

    In this case, it may have the the first situation, and since a meticulous reader pointed it out, the publisher decided to include the reference in subsequent printings.

    Please understand I’m not trying to defend myself or throw the publisher under the bus. I’m just trying to describe the possibilities of certain references not making the final cut before print.

    My personal preference is in line with the Japanese artists — to replace a syllable or two with a special symbol so savvy otaku readers “get” it, while those who don’t get it won’t feel left out.

    I think references are “bonus” finds which can add extra fun to your reading experience but not an essential piece of the main storyline. If you get it, that’s great, but it doesn’t mean other readers who might not get it should be punished or called out. Same goes for translators, rewriters, editors, etc. We’re not gods, so please give readers and publishing side some slack.

    Sorry for the long rant.

    And congrats to the contest winner! I’m glad to help in the proliferation of Yuri manga in English! (^_^)

    • Thanks for weighing in, Ana. Anime fans have seen this many times with copyrighted names – “Yomoho” instead of “Yamaha,” for instance. As you and I know, there’s a kind of “First!” mentality in pointing out mistakes in translation whether they are there or no and it’s apparent that many readers really have no idea that a creator can’t just use copyrighted/trademarked bands and names in commercial text. Publishers have legal departments who have to pay for pemission to use those.

      Which was exactly my point – that Seven Seas needs to leave that “mistake” (which it is not) unaltered unless they plan on getting the legal right to use Cure anything in the text. The only mistake I pointed out is a typography mistake that was not incorrect in all panels, but where it was wrong, it was distracting.

      As I’ve said and will continue to say, pointing out translation “mistakes” and typos is the least useful thing one can do on the internet. ^_^ Ideally, i they go to second printing, Seven Seas will pay for an editor to go back over the text to find and fix issues not caught the first time (and perhaps write a note about the brand name issue.)

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