Eventing in 2018 Part 4! Yuri!!! on MUSEUM

(In which I realise to my horror that I didn’t actually tweet much about this one!)

I guess it shouldn’t surprise anyone that YOI is the first series to repeat on this list. But to be honest, other than the first post, for which I wanted something pretty impactful, the other non-AOTY entries are all in chronological order! So since we’ve had a bit of a dearth in terms of YOI events in the second half of 2018, it’s time for Yuri!!! on MUSEUM!

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Everyone probably knows that I went to the Tokyo one, if only because I’ve been living here all year. But…I actually made a trip to Osaka in January precisely BECAUSE I wanted to catch the museum there. At that point, IIRC, we didn’t even know that they’d be bringing it back to Tokyo, much less with all that additional content — I only wish we could have taken more photos there, but I guess they were trying to make sure that we’d want to get these!

Eventing in 2018 Part 1! Yuri!!! on CONCERT

Well, I’d debated about doing this for various reasons. But since 2018 was the first full year in my current stint in Japan, I realised that I could cover something that I’d never really done before: events!

And of course, being Christmas, I have to start with a celebration worthy of the birthday boy!

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Yup, like thousands of other YOI fans in Japan, I made my way south on July 1st, for Yuri!!! on CONCERT Osaka. I still remember all the shocks from that weekend — Daisuke announcing that he was coming back, the craziness that was Alma Vivo performed live, realising that we weren’t getting a sequel but a prequel…

When they dropped that special teaser on us, and my friend and I were like “Cool! OMG So looking forward to this!” But walking out, we sensed that a lot of people around us seemed to be going “‘Adolescence’? What’s that?” And then we later learned that a lot of people overseas had been going “‘Roadshow’? What’s that???” (wwwww)

But my favourite moment from that day was most definitely this:

I honestly wish I could have taken a photo, but it doesn’t matter, for it’s been burned into my memory for all eternity.

p.s. Happy Birthday, Victor! I’m really looking forward to seeing you again this year!

Remembering 2017 Part 2: Getting Lost in Translation

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As most of my regular readers and friends would know, this last year has been a little crazy for me on the translation front. First of all, I seem to have started a little side-job. Over the past year, around half of my work has appeared on other websites, commissioned by others in the fandom. I know that I probably can’t make a career out of this, and to be frank, I’m not entirely sure I want to. Nevertheless, I’ve learned A LOT with this experience. Not only have I become more careful about double-checking that I’ve gotten the meaning correct, I also push myself to find the right words to convey it. The staff and cast of the shows we love are people too, and I really hope that their personalities come through in my work!

Speaking of which, here’s the latest interview I’ve done: Kajiura Yuki and Takahashi Ryo talking the music of Princess Principal, commissioned by Nachi and co-funded by Canipa, the Pauseandselect community, and JackUTS!

And for the record:
1. Rakugo Shinjuu: Ishida Akira x Hayashibara Megumi, from Febri (one, two)
2. Yuri!!! on ICE: choreographer Kenji Miyamoto
3. Yuri!!! on ICE: Kubo Mitsurou from Spoon.2Di vol.18
4. Yuri!!! on ICE: Kato Taihei, the Bento announcer!
5. Rakugo Shinjuu: mangaka Kumota Haruko
6. Yuri!!! on ICE: Otsuka Manabu from Mantan-web
7. Yuri!!! on ICE: Real-life skaters on the show (one, two)
8. Fujiko Mine: Yamamoto Sayo x Kikuchi Naruyoshi
9. Kizumonogatari: The Making of Kizumonogatari
10. Yuri!!! on ICE: Aria 《Stammi vicino, non te ne andare》

Unfortunately, there was also a downside to my slightly increased presence in the fandom this year. I’ve gotten pushback before, with Macross Frontier and Chihayafuru coming to mind as a comparison. But I can say that this past year has been far more frustrating that either of those other two experiences were. There’s a lot I could say about some of the ‘feedback’ I’ve received or comments I’ve seen about translations I’ve either done or made statements about, but I honestly do not want to revisit any of it. All that matters is that the people whose opinions I care about would back me most of the time; when they don’t, then theirs is the feedback that I take on board. I won’t name them, lest they become targets (they should know who they are), but I am truly grateful to them.

Let me also take the opportunity to thank a few people specifically. Thank you to Josh for starting me down the freelance path back in 2016. Thank you also to Nachi, Canipa, and anyone else who’s ever commissioned something from me, or otherwise contributed to funding an interview I’ve translated. I’m indebted to Frog-kun, Tora and the two offline-only friends who helped me with the interview snippets that I wasn’t 100% sure about. And thank you also to the three translators whose work I checked and edited—whilst you might feel that you gained more from the experience, let me assure you that it was invaluable to me too.

But most importantly, thank you to one of my oldest friends, who believed in me and invited me to be part of something that I will never forget. Interpreting at that event was challenging, and there were definitely moments where I feel I could have done better. But no joke, I’d do it all over again, in a heartbeat.

Remembering 2017 part 1: Merry Christmas from the YOI Hotel!

As many Yuri!!! on ICE fans would already know, the Prince Hotel Sunshine City has been running a Yuri!!! on ICE collaboration since the middle of the year. Basically, they decorated a number of rooms up with a whole range of related merchandise, including cusions, bed throws and hugging pillow covers. If you were able to come with two to three people, then you could have tried to get the larger room, featuring the hugging pillow covers for all three mains (IIRC from pictures!) and even some standees and whatnot. And yup, I applied to the lottery, though only for the smaller room…and was lucky enough to score one of the dates over Christmas! Granted, I’d have preferred to get a ticket to Japanese Nationals…but given what happened over this year’s Grand Prix series, this did end up being a bit of a pick-me-up ^^

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So yes, Merry Christmas from the YOI hotel!!!

And Happy Birthday, Victor! With some incredibly good fortune, a friend of mine found a place that still had tickets for this kuji! And somewhat unbelievably, we just kept pulling Victor!! (Along with a few Yuuri’s!)

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So I’m happy, and fortunately, I was able to give my friend this in return for one of these Victors ^^

Summer 2017! Well, sort of…

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If I’m honest…I have to confess that I completely skipped the summer season. I watched just one episode of Welcome to the Ballroom and five episodes of Saiyuki Reload Blast, but I have yet to finish either of them. I also watched two older series, which I’ll comment briefly on below. In the end, the only ‘new’ anime I watched during the summer season were actually the three films that were screened, for free, at AnimeFest in August. But those were their debuts in the West, so they count, right? Read more of this post

Lost in Translation: YOI characters’ handwriting!

Well, turns out that another of those “Lost in Translation” pieces found its way into my head this week, courtesy of Twitter and tumblr. But hopefully, this one’s just going to amuse you as much as it did me.

Early on Wednesday morning, Yuri!!! on ICE animator Itou Noriko posted the following image on twitter:

It reads: “It is said that your handwriting can reveal your personality and traits,” with the tweet noting that this was “Yuuri’s writing.” I think we’ve heard about this before, but Itou-san is the person responsible for all of his writing, not only on the famous “love” placard at the the TV Asahi Grand Prix series opening press conference, but also on all the chalk board explanations throughout the series.

Of course, this tweet has gone viral. In fact, it hit the English-speaking fandom within a few hours, on Twitter and on Tumblr, with both translators pointing out one of Itou-san’s subsequent comments about Yuuri’s writing looking like a/his mother’s (お母さんみたい).

Read more of this post

Yuri!!! on ICE, one year on…

It’s hard to believe that it’s already been a year since that first episode dropped on us. Whilst I have yet to make it to an actual skating competition or ice show (it WILL happen!), Yuri!!! on ICE certainly changed my life. One year ago, I would never have thought I’d go to another anime convention, much less one in the US. I wouldn’t have encountered many of the people that I met there, whom I now consider my friends. And I may have gone many more years before discovering Yamamoto Sayo and the “relationship without a name” theme that runs through so much of her work, a theme that means a lot to me personally.

Hence, to celebrate this anniversary, I bring you another translation. But I’ve put aside my rule of “full interviews only” for a day, in order to focus on the few minutes in episode one that captured so many of our hearts. I present, thus, a collection of translations on Victor’s free skating program, Aria 《Stammi vicino, non te ne andare》.

Read more of this post

Where I’ve been, Summer edition

Not a very big update this time, because I’ve already written about the major event that dominated my summer (well, winter, technically)! Actually, I also thought that I’d only have one thing to report, but looking back through WMC, it turns out that I’d built up a bit of a backlog of contributions there. I should really do a better job of crossposting them here ^^; In any case, here are four more behind-the-scenes pieces I’ve touched that came out this last quarter.

First up is another of those editorials on anime writing. When megax began putting together a series of posts on anime pre-production, I figured that it was time for the posts I’ve first envisioned when I began this project in April last year: From Story to Script.

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Featuring Aldnoah.Zero, Yuri!!! on ICE, SHIROBAKO and more!

The second and final piece in this series has been completed — I really don’t know when it’ll be published, but I’ll post it here as well as on twitter.

Following on from that, WMC ran a Lupin month, which you should all check out if you like any of the works in that long-running franchise. With help from Nachi-san, here’s an interview on the musical soundscape of Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine, with Director Yamamoto Sayo and the Jazz maverick Kikuchi Naruyoshi whom she invited to do the music.

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A bit later that month, Josh published the first snippets of the Kizumonogatari work I’d been doing for him. It’s basically a glimpse of how words from a script make it to the final product that we see on the screen, so do check it out if you’re curious about how anime are made!

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And finally, I also helped frog-kun check the second part of an interview with Shinbo Akiyuki, on Le Portrait de Petit Cossette. It was quite a while back, actually, but it is a pretty interesting discussion between the famed director and the best anime journalist in the business: Oguro Yuuichirou. (And yes, that’s a nudge for you to follow him on twitter!)

What’s next?

That’s it for now. I was going to write that there wouldn’t be a Reflections on Summer post, as I didn’t actually pick up any of the season’s shows. But then I remembered that I have seen several anime films that did make their first appearances in the West this summer, so look out for that, along with a brief Ghibli retrospective!

I also have about 5 other translations at various stages of completion, though I have yet to decide where and when they’ll be posted. But just a little teaser: there will be a little Yuri!!! on ICE special next week, celebrating the first anniversary of the first episode that blew us all away! So do look forward to that (^_-)≡★

AnimeFest: the Yuri!!! on ICE experience

Rushing headlong now into the main course of AnimeFest: the Yuri!!! on ICE content. There were three panels in total, and as we weren’t allowed to record anything (as usual), I spent most of the time taking notes. Here are some of my favourite moments:

The three Yuri!!! on ICE creator panels

Panel 1, on Thursday afternoon, was “Meet the Creators.” Yamamoto started by saying that they’d agreed to come to AnimeFest because they were keen to visit the figure skating club in Dallas! She also noted that she created Yuri!!! because she wanted to talk about figure skating, and that’s precisely what Yamamoto and Kubo got into—as they’ve done at several other cons now. I was a little disappointed that they only talked about the American men (Nathan, Adam, Jason and Max)—I’d hoped to hear them talk about the ice dancers as well, as North America is most definitely where most of the talent in this discipline is concentrated at present. Still, it was fantastic hearing about their love and respect for Jason and Max in particular. Yamamoto noted how Max really left her with the impression of his drive to win, evident in how willing he is to change his programs even during the season/during a performance!1

But it worked out well, for what they covered in the next section was GOLD. Read more of this post

AnimeFest: Autographs and Sato Dai on Anime Writing

Tip for having a relaxing holiday: do not organise to give a lecture two days after you return. Especially if you have to write it from scratch. In any case, 10 days after AnimeFest in Dallas ended, I’ve finally found the time to finish this little overview.

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artwork by Christina Chang

Like just about every other Yuri!!! on ICE fan who could afford it, I decided to go to AnimeFest months ago, after we heard that the show’s creators would be there. They’ve since appeared at numerous other conventions, but this relatively small convention with a surprisingly big guest roster was the first to announce that they’d secured Yamamoto Sayo and Kubo Mitsurou. And once anime character designer Hiramatsu Tadashi was added to the mix, it was impossible to pass up. Thankfully, a friend of mine had already booked her place at the con, and on August 16, 2017, the four of us roomies landed in Dallas and met for the first time, excited (and nervous) for what AnimeFest had in store. Four days later, we all agreed that we’d had a blast: here are some of my personal highlights.

The autograph lines

Given the massive demand at all other conventions that Yamamoto and Kubo had been at, my friends and I were prepared for the possibility that we’d miss out. We were also concerned that con staff were trying to ask the guests to do something that we were sure Kubo would not agree to do: refrain from doodling. But on Thursday, we were ecstatic to find that both Kubo and Hiramatsu were answering fan requests. And I still thank my lucky stars that we made it to the front of the lines on that first day—the AnimeFest staff cut it off about 10 people after me.

That first day, the set-up also meant that many of the other guests just ended up sitting there waiting for fans to come along. So as we passed them, I ducked out of the line briefly to speak with screenwriter Sato Dai and musician/composer Tsuchie. Read more of this post