Japanese reading report

This week it felt like I didn’t have much time to read, but I actually got a lot more done than I usually feel I do. I read vol. 1 of 被虐のノエル, a manga adaptation of a free web game that’s being serialized on 電ファミニコゲーマー (the same site as 殺戮の天使, if that rings any bells). I found out about it through a friend of mine; there’s an English translation of the first 8 episodes on Steam (no longer for free), but it smells badly of a quick machine translation job. I’ve been working on tools to help her give the game an editing pass, but up to this point I actually didn’t know much about the story at all and I figured reading the manga would be a good way to go about that!

The basic plot is that the main character, Noel, decides to make a highly illegal contract with a demon in order to get revenge against someone she’s been lead to believe has wronged her. In actuality, Noel is just being used by a crooked politician who’s been able to rise to power by manipulating other people into making contracts that ultimately benefit him, all without getting his hands dirty. The contract’s cost ends up being the loss of all her limbs, and she nearly dies before being saved by the demon himself as he interprets her 「た。。。 たすけ。。。」 as a second contract. It sort of becomes a “girl and her monster” story in the vein of とつくにの少女 or 魔法使いの嫁. Caron, the demon, is a great character with a lot of flowery archaic language and his dialogue is fun to read (even if it’s kind of hard to understand).

I probably won’t continue reading the manga — the writing style is interesting and the art is very creative and expressive, but the pacing feels a little bit too much like a video game and I think it detracts from the experience. Since the company in charge of translation has evidently abandoned the game, I might try doing a fan translation of Episode 9 on my own.

I also read half of Flying Witch vol. 2, which is still pretty easy. I did have a few stumbles last night though; I was on a flight that had to make an unplanned fuel stop and my brain was just barely crawling along. I misread a few easy words and got stuck for a little bit, but besides that it was pretty smooth. There was one point where I seriously doubted my comprehension because nothing seemed to make sense, but it turned out that it was all a dream sequence anyway and it was supposed to be nonsensical.

Finally in the audio immersion category, I listened to another couple of episodes of きくドラ on my ride to and from work one day. My comprehension here was pretty low but I did hear a few N2 grammar points that should hopefully review better now that I have a concrete use for them. I also listened to the first…episode? of the Persona 4: Golden Drama CD, which is a totally new scenario that doesn’t appear in the game. My comprehension for this was was honestly surprisingly high. I only missed a handful of lines and it was a lot of fun to listen to. I’ve got another episode (each one is about an hour long) and I’ll probably listen to each one a few times over for reinforcement.