That’s what she said?! Kubo Mitsurou and the kiss(?)

Today, I’m going to look at what Kubo Mitsurou has said about the scene at the end of episode 7, where Victor had a surprise greeting for Yuuri as he came off the ice after his Cup of China free skate. Well, I’m stepping right into a minefield here, so I might as well just take the plunge:

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Personally, I believe it was a kiss, for reasons I’ll go into below. That being said, I fully support anyone who believes otherwise, which brings me to my next point.

What I’m really concerned about is the view that “Kubo implied that it was obvious”—especially when this is used to bash fans whose interpretation of Yuuri and Victor’s relationship is not the same as the dominant one. Read more of this post

Kubo Mitsurou on Yuri!!! on ICE: an early interview

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And here’s my ‘Anime Writing’ post for this week! This interview, from Spoon.2Di vol.18 (published September 30, 2016) is one of the earliest interviews that Kubo Mitsurou did for Yuri!!! on ICE. If I’m not mistaken, it’s her second magazine interview, after the short one in the October edition of Pash!1 In it, Kubo expands on the way all the stars lined up such that, in the summer of 2014, she embarked on a journey to help Director Yamamoto Sayo create the figure skating anime that the latter had long been dreaming about. If you prefer to read the Japanese original for yourself, aliasanonyme has shared the scans here.

This is the full translation of the interview that I discussed in this editorial. As I mentioned there, I originally intended to post it back in January, until frog-kun advised me to write a more in-depth piece about the mistranslations and misinterpretations we found. I only addressed one of them in the editorial, but if you’re curious about the other major mistakes, you can take a look at them here.

But if you’re only interested in what Kubo herself said about Yuri!!! on ICE just before it started its broadcast, you can find it right here, just under the cut.

Read more of this post

That’s what she said?! Kubo Mitsurou and Yuri!!! on ICE

If you’re a member of the hard-core Yuri!!! on ICE fandom, what has happened over the past few weeks can hardly have escaped your attention. On February 7, the March issue of CREA saw Kubo Mitsurou—who’s credited for the original story and the scripts—indicate that Victor and Yuuri can be thought of as “soulmates,” inciting cheers and celebrations in various places around the web. Then on February 10, her comments in Pash! about the rings being akin to items worn by “members of the same circle” created a fair amount of consternation amongst fans who believe Yuuri and Victor to be engaged.

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(Thank you to @3A3T_ for passing me this scan from CREA!)

The fallout was immediate. Some fans started criticising Kubo for again leaving mixed messages over what she really stood for. In response, others pointed out that what she said did not negate “just how much Yuuri and Victor truly love each other,” an interpretation that the show itself amply supports. But the order of the day seems to have been confusion—one person even asked a major YOI translator not to translate what Kubo said about the rings so as “to keep everyone in YOI fandom happy.”

toraonice responded as I would have, Read more of this post

Kenji Miyamoto on skating as the characters of Yuri!!! on ICE

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Kenji Miyamoto with Japanese junior skater Koshiro Shimada (source)

My plans for blogging and translating have been all over the place these last few weeks. I’ve actually been sitting on an early interview with Kubo Mitsurou, but the editorial that I’m drafting to accompany it is still in the works. The skating songs and Rakugo Shinjuu interview that I highlighted last week are also in various states of progress, and one of them should be finished by early next week. But then I started reading this interview…and got to a point where I couldn’t stop laughing for about a minute. Imagining Yuuri and Yurio as those animals…oh, Kenji-sensei!

In any case, this is the last interview from the “Miracle on ICE” special that came with the Jan 2017 issue of Animage. After I translated Kubo-sensei’s long interview back in December, Toraonice has slowly been working through the rest. If you’ve missed them, you’ll be able to find all the links in the masterpost.

I honestly wish I’d found time to translate this interview back in December. Being a former figure skater himself, Kenji-sensei has always been the one best able to share just how realistic Yuri!!! on ICE has been, and he goes into far more detail here than in any other interview I’ve read so far. The wrap-up posts I’m planning will be dominated by just how much I love this show as a figure skating fan, but I’m tempted to just let Kenji-sensei do all the talking for me! So please enjoy this interview, and let me know what you think of it in the comments!

I skated the choreography as if I were playing the characters themselves.

Read more of this post

A little update on where I’ve been…

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If you’re wondering where I’ve been the last few weeks…well, the picture above just about sums up how I’m feeling at the moment. I usually take a one or two week break from posting after finishing up my 12 Days of Anime posts…but the start to this year has been crazy. The immediate reason, of course, was the Rakugo Shinjuu interview that I translated—and in some ways, it’s kind of fitting that I’m talking about it again this week, given what happened in episode 5.

I had been looking forward to having a rest after that, to recoup and catch up on a long backlog of anime and translations. But then Lauren Orsini published a piece arguing that screenwriter Okada Mari’s work on the latest Gundam is entirely in keeping with what we’ve seen in the franchise so far. And that’s how my 15th post on Anime ‘Writing’ came to be. I had to do a fair amount of research for the piece—Iron-Blooded Orphans is NOT “Mari Okada’s Gundam”—but it worked out, since I was long overdue for another editorial on screenwriting in this medium!

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But putting aside the Okada interruption, I’d actually planned to have the Ishida x Hayashibara interview translated before starting on my 12 Days posts. So why did I find myself still wrestling with it on the night before the second season started? Well, if you follow me on twitter, you’d know the answer to that. For those of you that don’t, however, here’s what else I’ve been doing over the last few months: Read more of this post

Celebrating the Sexiest Female Voice in Anime Today

When a certain seiyuu special aired two weeks ago as part of the ongoing celebration of 100 years of Japanese animation,1 I suspect that the initial reaction in the West would have been “Who…??” Whilst older fans—and anyone watching this season’s best show, Rakugo Shinjuu—would undoubtedly recognise the names of Yamadera Kouichi (Sukeroku), Seki Tomokazu (Yotarō) and Hayashibara Megumi (Miyokichi; also Rei in Evangelion), I suspect that many of the younger crowd would have drawn a blank even on these talents.

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Once you know how this ranking was created, however, the results shouldn’t be a surprise. Read more of this post

Rakugo Shinju: Ishida Akira x Hayashibara Megumi on the challenges they faced

And here’s the second half of the interview from Febri vol.34. Once again, please do not copy and paste more than a sentence or two elsewhere, though feel free to link to it if you wish. And if you happen to spot any careless mistakes i have made, please let me know! Otherwise, please enjoy!

Interview and text: Maeda Hisashi

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—Thinking back over the entire show now, are there any scenes that have left a deep impression on you?

Ishida: In the end, the most daunting and difficult scenes were the rakugo ones. Having to perform famous stories like “Shinigami” and “Kajika-zawa1 right from the start, and do them well, no less…I was like “These aren’t stories that an amateur can pull off just like that!” Read more of this post

Rakugo Shinju: Ishida Akira x Hayashibara Megumi on our tragic trio

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This two-person interview appeared in Febri vol.34, which was released in April of last year, after the first season of the show. I had originally planned to have the entire interview translated and checked before the second season started, but unfortunately, a certain anime about figure skating derailed just about all of my translation plans in the fall season. Hence, this is just the first half of the interview; it is also the more controversial half. Since these two seiyuu are people that I’ve never translated or even read interviews with before, and haven’t had the chance to ask anyone else to check it, there may be a few mistakes here and there, which I hope you will forgive me for (if you happen to have read the interview in Japanese and spot any, please let me know!). As usual, please do not copy and paste more than a sentence or two elsewhere, though feel free to link to it if you wish. And even if it suggests something that goes against your interpretation of the show, I hope you’ll find it as interesting as I did.

Ishida Akira (Yakumo/Kikuhiko) x Hayashibara Megumi (Miyokichi)

A fateful bond1 is a strange thing… Ungoverned by logic and reason, such are the relations between men and women. The relationship between Kikuhiko and Miyokichi, too, is filled with incomprehensible matters. How did the actors behind these characters portray such an afflicted relationship? In this discussion, we ask the two of them to share the depth of their feelings towards the show and their characters.

Interview and text: Maeda Hisashi Read more of this post

A Love Letter to 2016, postscript: the list…and a brief look at what’s in store for 2017!

And so, that was my 2016 in Anime. I definitely have not enjoyed a year in anime this much since at least 2010—and to be honest, I’m not even sure I enjoyed that year as much as I did this one. I should probably admit that most of it comes down to one anime, and one anime alone. When I started following figure skating a couple of years back, and dove even deeper into it over the 2015-2016 season, I honestly did not expect that I’d be able to marry these two hobbies of mine so soon. So Yuri!!! on ICE was a huge revelation for me, even though I soon found myself in the tiny group within the fandom that loved it primarily as a show about the sport. Despite the production issues that ultimately prevented the show from surpassing Rakugo Shinju as my top TV pick, I will never stop praising Yamamoto-san and Kubo-sensei for the story they set out to tell. But I’ll spare you any more gushing at this point—in exchange for the warning that there’ll be several more thousands of words over the next few months!

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Looking back now, I think I definitely spent quite a few more hours on this hobby this past year compared to the previous one. Although I cut down a lot on my forum participation—the frustrations I started feeling in 2015 only got worse in 2016, though that’s a rant for another day—it wasn’t difficult for me to fill that space. Besides my two trips to Japan, I also found myself translating a whole lot more, what with the On ‘Anime Writing’ project that I launched in April and, more recently, all the Yuri!!! on ICE stuff has been posted both here and elsewhere. I hope you’ve found them useful and, in some cases, fun and amusing!

Many thanks to those of you who’ve read my stuff and left comments and feedback! This kind of effort would not be worth it if you were not around, and I hope you’ve found my posts useful or interesting in some way or other. Thank you especially to the other bloggers and translators I’ve been working with (you know who you are). Translating behind-the-scenes material to share is something that I’ve loved doing ever since I started back in 2010/2011, and I’m incredibly grateful that you’ve helped me get even better translations out there this year. And thank you also to everyone else who’s interacted with me on Twitter and Tumblr, where I’ve had many an interesting discussion. I’m still something of a small fry in this little corner of the fandom, so I’m a bit stunned at how many people followed me…especially since I have some rather unpopular interpretations of a number of popular or critically acclaimed shows! But if you don’t mind that, then I hope to see you around in the coming year as well!

Looking ahead, I do have some rather ambitious plans on the translation and blogging front, including several more editorials about how screenwriting ‘fits’ into the anime production process. Some of it will have to wait until I’ve sorted the non-anime side of my life out over the next few months. But in the meantime, you can expect more YOI stuff…as well as an interview with a pair of veteran voice actors about a show that’s returning to our screens tonight!

And of course, as usual, the list is under the cut! Read more of this post

A Love Letter to 2016, part 12: can you hear A Silent Voice?

Finally, it comes to this. My Anime of the Year is one that I can’t really talk about because so few people in the English-speaking fandom have seen it! It’s been three months already, but each passing day only increases my desire to see A Silent Voice once again.

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Of course, I don’t know if it will have the same impact the second (third, fourth etc etc) time around. I’m also a little wary of building up expectations too high, as you know that there are always going to be people, especially fans of the original manga, who’ll want to see justice done to the parts they liked. To me, however, this film was just about perfect.

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And that’s why my final love letter of 2016 goes to A Silent Voice.