Book review: 青春ブタ野郎はバニーガール先輩の夢を見ない (Rascal does not dream of Bunny Girl Senpai)

This is one of those titles that’s enough to make me rule out the series at first blush, which is almost exactly what happened a couple of years ago when the anime first launched. I don’t remember what changed my mind about it, but it ended up being one of my favorite shows and I’ve been wanting to continue with the novels for some time now. Since Kate recently watched it (for the first time) I took the opportunity to rewatch it (without subtitles this time), and once I finished the anime I decided this was as good a time as any to pick vol. 1 as my next book this year.

As good as the anime is, honestly the old adage “the book is always better” still holds very true here. All the key scenes and plot beats are present in both, but the writing feels sharper and the dialogues always have a few extra lines which, while it makes sense to cut them in order to fit an episode’s runtime, are often delightful and hilarious and I frequently found myself grateful that I decided to read the books from the beginning rather than starting at vol. 6 (which picks up immediately after the end of the show). The anime does a great job of conveying the two leads’ chemistry, but it feels extra charming here for some reason, and the side characters feel even more well-developed. Specifically, I felt that the (still ridiculous) “Schrodinger’s cat” explanation was a bit better justified in the book, and that the stakes of the final arc felt higher and the payoff more satisfying.

I’ll definitely be continuing the series pretty soon and would highly recommend it (the first five books have been translated into English as well).

Japanese reading report

I started the week with BLUE LOCK vol. 1, since there’s an anime coming out soon and the teaser intrigued me. It’s a pretty wild concept, basically a fusion of sports and battle royale. Pretty funny at times and it has good action. I got vol. 2 for free a while back as well so I’ll at least read that at some point. It’s hard for me to imagine following a sports series, but it had me hooked enough to read the whole thing in one sitting so who knows.

The rest of the week was a bit of a disaster thanks to the release of Deathloop. I didn’t manage to stay on track with 京都寺町三条のホームズ vol. 4; I’m about 20 pages behind right now so I’ll have to crank up the pace a bit over the next two weeks. It doesn’t help that this first chapter has been quite painful so far…it’s literally Aoi asking for help designing an itinerary for her friends, and then pages and pages of difficult temple names and history. Really hoping it picks up soon.

Yesterday I read 呪術廻戦 vol. 3, which is actually my 52nd volume of manga this year, completing my goal over three months early. Not as good as last year but I deliberately set a low number because I wanted to focus on other things as well (to mixed results). Anyway, this volume was fun. I can’t believe I didn’t realize that Nanami’s name is a reference to his 7:3 ratio technique when I was watching the anime.

Japanese reading report

I started the week with 無能なナナ vol. 4, and like, what the heck. The cliffhangers keep on coming I guess. The anime apparently ended exactly with the last chapter in this volume and I bet it would feel pretty bad to be an anime-only for this series. Really good, gonna be continuing it next week.

I was bullied into reading 呪術廻戦 vol. 1, so I did that too. (along with vol. 2 at the end of the week). I’ve been getting a lot of new words here for some reason, not just made-up curse stuff but also normal, very slightly sciency words. I’ve already seen the show so I’ll be in review mode for a while but my sister is hassling me to catch up so she can talk about it with me, so I’ll probably be prioritizing it for the next few weeks.

I surprised myself by finishing バニーガール先輩 on Friday, one week and one day ahead of schedule. I had originally set a more leisurely pace since the page count was higher than what I’d been reading previously, but apparently I didn’t need to worry. The second half of the book was as good as the first and there were a bunch of little details that got lost in the adaptation. Once again glad I decided to reread the whole series instead of skipping to book five or whatever.

I think I played a bit more of monhun stories 2 this week? It might have been last week and I forgot to mention it. In any case I’m probably getting close to the end of the demo now, hoping to get my full copy sooner than the estimate. I haven’t clicked with the series in the past but I’m enjoying this one quite a lot.

Last up, I rewatched all of 衛宮さんちの今日のごはん. Each episode is only 10 minutes so it doesn’t really count as a full series but I’ve been thinking a lot about that LDK setup they have and missing the days when I would have people over to cook for. I already know all the food terms and I think that’s probably the most difficult part so, so nothing really to report here. I should probably grab the game now that it’s finally out.

Oh, I totally forgot: the wanikani absolute beginners book club is reading 大海原と大海原 (wadanohara and the great blue sea). Coincidentally vol. 1 was free on cmoa so I read the whole thing in one day thinking I could help out with some grammar questions and whatnot. Honestly I’m not sure if it’s a great beginner manga? there’s a lot of grammar that I expect people to have trouble with (it uses ぬ in the very first sentence and people were talking about whether they could afford to just…not learn what ぬ meant). In terms of the story and subject matter though it’s basically a manga for babies so I don’t see myself continuing it even though there’s only one more book in the series. I did learn the word 大海原 though so hey, I guess it works out.

Book review: 京都寺町三条のホームズ 3 (Holmes of Kyoto)

Three books in, and I’m starting to feel like writing individual reviews for each entry in a long series might not be all that sustainable, especially considering 1) the consistent quality of each entry and 2) the fact that as my reading speed continues to improve, the number of books I can read in a short amount of time will also continue to increase. Perhaps the main factor is that I’m still in review mode, and even though I thought I would be in uncharted waters with the end of this book, apparently I actually need to finish the first four books in order to completely catch up with the anime. (It seems I did know this at one point but must have forgotten).

For now, I’ll at least say that this volume was as good as ever; the parts that were adapted for the anime were even better in the source material, and of course the parts that didn’t make the cut were were a welcome surprise whenever they appeared.

Translating Moyase with Deepl

I recently added localization support to Moyase and wrote a Japanese locale file to test it with. Just for fun, I thought I would take the translation strings and run them through a machine translation service to see how it fared. The results are not dramatically bad, but they definitely aren’t good.

Moyase’s localization files are available on Github. The Deepl translation I made for this video is available in my recycle bin.

Year Month Date

5…4…3…2…1…Happy New Year!

It’s midnight, January 1st, 2021. The ceremonial ball has dropped in Times Square and 2020 has just come to a close. As the festivities begin to wind down, your phone buzzes. It’s a text from your friend in Los Angeles.

“My wife just delivered our baby! It’s a boy!”

What is the baby’s birthday?

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Japanese reading report

This week I read 無能なナナ vol. 3 and had to immediately buy vol. 4 as well (which I started but only read a tiny bit of). Some of the questions I’ve had were answered in vol. 3 but then surprise! that was actually a misdirection too. The resolution of the cliffhanger from vol. 2 was great and this current one seems like it’s getting pretty serious.

I read up to the halfway point in バニーガール先輩 (99pg on ereader, ~180 physical). I’ve heard people say this would be a good novel for beginners and I’m not really sure I agree with that, but for me at least it’s nice and smooth and I’ve been able to easily read ahead of my quota each day so far. 咲太 is a really great protagonist and I very much enjoy reading from his perspective. He has a good dynamic with all the characters and the conversations have a nice back-and-forth rhythm. The LN also has a bunch of extra stuff that wasn’t adapted to the anime; nothing major, but some good character moments and jokes that were trimmed. I can already tell I’m going to want to keep reading the series once I finish this book.

Japanese reading report

This week I finished 京都寺町三条のホームズ vol. 3 two days ahead of schedule, and imagine my surprise when I realized the anime actually covers the first four books, not three. Oh well. The ending felt like a bit of a tease but the ongoing character development is still good.

I started reading 青春ブタ野郎 vol. 1 (バニーガール先輩) the day after, with the goal of finishing it by September 18, a nice leisurely 8(16) pages per day. I finished rewatching the anime this week and would like to read ahead eventually. Haven’t read enough of it so far to make much of a report but I’m mentioning it for posterity.

Since I’m finally caught up on my novels goal for the year (again), my manga ban is lifted, so I read 無能なナナ vol. 2 yesterday. It’s just introduced a new character who’s just a complete cinnamon roll and I’m wondering how exactly that’ll be handled. It occurred to me that this is kind of a battle royale series? I’m not too familiar with the genre but I imagine they typically involve some kind of team being formed — which seems antithetical here. The last chapter pulled an amazing twist and I’m itching to read the next volume.

Today I also read 古見さん. 22. The whole thing was full of great moments, but when I got to the end I kind of felt like nothing really happened? The teaser seems to indicate that something really will go down in the next volume, so I guess I just have to wait two more months. Oh well.

Japanese reading report

This week I pretty much just read 京都寺町三条のホームズ vol. 3. I’m 60% through it now, quite happy with my pace and feeling good about finishing it by the end of next week. So far this volume has been almost entirely material that was cut from the anime, including some really good stuff! Holmes comes over to Aoi’s house and they get into deep talks in her room, and somehow they simply didn’t see fit to adapt it. I’m also realizing that Rikyu was either invented for the anime or introduced much later and backported in, which is wild. I’m getting the feeling that the goal of the anime was to cover as much of the master forger stuff as possible, but it’s crazy to me that they skipped over so much character development. Oh well.

I also (re)watched ep. 1 of 青春ブタ野郎 and found it much easier than I expected. It’s been a while since I watched it for the first time and I was definitely anticipating some trouble from the 中2 pseudoscience stuff, but it’s not that bad so far. Will be continuing the series next week.

Translation Work – LA FOI 10

I’ve had the privilege of being able to translate another manga for Komugi; however, this time is a bit special — it’s a full-length fanbook that was originally published at Summer Comiket 2021 in print form before being made available for sale online. The translation of doujin works is overwhelmingly done without the consent of the original creators, so to be responsible for an official translation is a rare opportunity.

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