Final box! What a lovely show. I’ll try to spare you from all of my thoughts (not the least as I’ve forgotten most of them, having finished it myself months ago), but it’s one of those quiet gems that are always the best in their seasons (unless you count Sunshine 2, yeah boiii). The whole post-apocalyptic aesthetic, the slice-of-life format until the last two episodes, the military setting… It’s more than a little depressing, but in an optimistic way? It should all remind you of the best anime ever made, and it’s a great show for similar reasons. Go out there and find some joy and meaning in your life, even if there isn’t any. Fun things are fun, but terrible things are fine too.
What I’m trying to say is that cute girl shows are a pure expression of the Dao. And the still water in this pool is bright and clear.
Anyway, for acknowledgements, I’m indebted to the Amazon subs, terrible as they are. A thank you also to whoever produced this reference to the stylized kana, which saved me a lot of time in deciphering the signs. The biggest thanks to tkmiz and White Fox, of course. Do do your part to support the creators of the work, and why not check out the manga, which wasn’t totally adapted? And of course to joletb, who foolishly agreed to this project (a year and a half ago!) and did the other half of the work.
Speaking of manga, there’s a bonus chapter that came with the BDs, which we’ve translated and put up as well. It’s really a lovely addition to the show that captures its essence pretty well (unlike the shorts…), so do give it a read (thanks also to eli, who typeset it). There’s one small note about it (mentioned also in a TL note on the manga itself), which is that the poem referenced is by one Hermann Hesse, titled Auf Wanderung (Dem Andenken Knulps). I think tkmiz did an original translation into Japanese, and I used that Japanese (not the German) as the base for the English. Poetry does tend to be harder to translate, and so I took even more liberties there. As always, @ me with your complaints, I’m game.
On a personal note, this is my (tsuru’s! Not joletb’s or Akatsukin’s or Asenshi as a whole’s or anyone else’s!) last project for the foreseeable future, so good news for you if you hate lengthy noteposts (bad news if you like cute girl shows!). It’s been a real privilege to be able to work on the shows I’ve done with the people I have, and I really do appreciate all, like, thousand of you that actually watch my stuff (and all ten of you what read my posts). It’s been a wild ride. I’ll probably miss it.
Please do continue to support the group, and thanks as always for watching Asenshi.
Edit: It’s just me, tsuru, what’s retiring! Asenshi is more than one person! Yagate will get done soon, probably, and Violet is up to the whims of Vivid, and with neither of those shows was I even involved to begin with! I was out here doing Yuru Camp and Yama no Susume and such. Those might still eventually get batched. That’s a big might. And don’t act like I’m dead!
Translation (Shorts, Songs)/Translation Checking/Editing/Timing/QC: tsuru
Notes: Nuko. This is, of course, the most visible, and probably most controversial, choice of translation in this show. I generally try not to dogmatically claim that my choices are correct (except in the case of romanization, where I actually am totally 100% correct, guys), but on this one especially, there are issues. I’ll go over some of the reasoning for you. To begin with, the Japanese is ヌコ (‘Nuko’), which is a corruption of ネコ (‘neko’; surely you know what this is). It’s corrupted because Nuko itself (side note: I’m not sure on the gender here, so as another aside I just left most references to Nuko as ‘it’. Cats are generally considered feminine (though this is true to a lesser extent in the West as well) and Nuko’s especially cute voice suggests as such, but it’s not firm enough for me to bank on.) doesn’t speak too well.
As usual, we have two main choices. The first, ‘conservative’ choice is to just leave it as ‘Nuko’ in English. This is really the degenerate null translation of not translating. This is totally appropriate in a number of circumstances (food more oft than not; honorifics as in this very series; itadakimasu if your power is maximum; etc.) but when it can be avoided it’s usually better (and almost always more interesting) to do so. The usually safe ‘Nuko’ choice, though, has an interesting obstacle in this series. Since it’s fundamentally a corruption of a real word, and this plays out in the series (Nuko repeating ねこ incorrectly) very obviously, it requires the original word to be referenced as well. Cat -> Nuko makes absolutely no sense, so then we’d be forced into having Chito and Yuuri say ‘neko’. That’s obviously problematic and kind of dumb. Some more powerful scriptwriting might have overcome a problem like that, but the natural way forward seemed to be to go with option B.
Option B is to localize the sequence. That means starting with ‘cat’ (or something like it) and corrupting down to something else. The official Amazon subs (which, full disclosure, served as a reference on this project) used ‘Cut’. The logic appears to have been that ‘nuko’ is just ‘neko’ with a ‘u’, so obviously one should just put a ‘u’ into ‘cat’ to get ‘cut’. This is awful for a number of reasons, foremost that ‘cut’ is an actual word. As a result, I wanted to find a more appropriate translation (or ‘localization’, depending on how strongly you feel about this). To begin with, what’s going on here? Is it just a simple corruption, or does ヌコ carry more meaning?
It absolutely carries more meaning. It is, in fact, more or less the Japanese Internet’s stupid word for 猫. It’s an internetism. A meme. And you see how Nuko speaks, right? In its cute, garbled, not quite all there grammatically way? Nuko is a lolcat. ‘Lolcat’ is obviously a bit too much of a stretch given the circumstances of the naming, so that’s out. But a simple shift goes from ‘kitten’ to ‘kitteh’, which is your well-established Internet term. Thence ‘Kitteh’, and so that’s the term/name used in these subs.
Yes, I’m memeing it up. So was tkmiz.
With that aside, some more information on a nittier, grittier pun and terminology. In Episode 10, something about dead men. In Japanese it’s 死人に口無し (‘the dead have no mouths’). This is often interpreted (and some dictionaries, like Jisho, will tell you this) as ‘dead men tell no tales’; i.e., per Merriam-Webster, that ‘someone who has been killed cannot reveal secret information’. This is perhaps common modern usage, but from a prescriptivist standpoint it’s incorrect. The original meaning is that ‘dead men have no mouths [with which to defend themselves from criticism]’, i.e. that a dead man cannot argue on his own behalf. That is, the meaning is much more ‘speak no ill of the dead’ than it is ‘dead men tell no tales’. That said, I still used the latter because it enables the pun in English. You should be aware that it’s wrong, though.
Yuu messes this up and thinks it’s 死人に武器無し (‘the dead have no weapons‘; the Japanese going from ‘kuchi’ to ‘buki’ and the English correspondingly from ‘tales’ to ‘flails’), and thus there’s no need to be afraid of them. Zombies are freaky nonetheless, though.
In Episode 12, Yuu’s referencing Mallory’s ‘Because it’s there.’. Chi doesn’t know what she’s talking about.
Oh, and the title of Episode 12 is the legendary 仲間. I sure am glad I finally managed to run into this, and I’m equally pleased that I was, in true fansubbing fashion, able to not use ‘friend’.
And here’s the full text of Amadare, for the whole set. I spent a really long time translating these songs, so do at least once them over, yeah?
Right now, our world is turning, spinning round and round Each step in sync with every note and every beat Before I even knew it, well, it really seemed Like yes, this was the way it’d always be As the rain came down, its graceful melody Even into the distance echoed clearly All the way up past the edge of a road without an end Yes, it must have sounded even there Near or far, no matter where we’re going I’ll keep your hand in mine until we get there So that when we make it we’ll be laughing as a pair Just like it’s always been with you and me We’ll be lying awake outside again tonight The thousand sounds the raindrops made all counted up Gazing upon the same night sky up overhead Like both our hearts were joined as one And then at dawn the morning sun will rise Another day begun and ended just like that Cycling forever on, the same days pass us by Like a familiar song’s lovely reprise I had always thought that that old axiom Would be forever true whatever happened ’If a start comes by, my friend, by and by comes too the end’ But I now know I’ll see you once again Evermore, these moments will continue These precious days we spend out here together Even when it seems we might split up, we never will I feel inside my heart that’s how it is We’ll be lying awake outside again tonight Counting our way through every sparkle in the sky Knowing however long we’re there to count them up We’ll never come upon their end The rippling waves of those incessant raindrops’ sounds Expanding outwards, continued on Near or far, no matter where we’re going I’ll keep your hand in mine until we get there So that when we make it we’ll be laughing as a pair Just like it’s always been with you and me We’ll be lying awake outside again tonight The thousand sounds the raindrops made all counted up Gazing upon the same night sky up overhead Like both our hearts were joined as one