Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou – Box 3


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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: Sentai
Translation (Shorts, Songs)/Translation Checking/Editing/Timing/QC: tsuru
Typesetting/Encoding/Timing/Styling/QC: joletb

Torrent | MagnetManga

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

13 thoughts on “Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou – Box 3

  1. colosson

    Sad news indeed. Sorry for the incomplete projects left behind (Bloom into you BD, Violet Evergarden OVA & batch). Thanks for the work and best of luck.

    Reply
  2. Assassin

    Thank you for all the work you did along those months and I am glad to see the completion of this great show from you,
    on another note it’s sad so see you go inactive, best of luck 🙂

    Reply
  3. Pikminiman

    Many thanks for all the projects you worked on, tsuru! Your taste in shows is impeccable.
    Thanks especially for Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou.

    Reply
  4. Ponty

    I was actually checking this website almost daily for the last box release… Thanks a lot tsuru, now i can stall my rewatch with all the bd boxes archived on my HDD. Sad to see you retiring, but alas that’s life. Thanks to everyone else who worked on this release, of course.

    Reply
  5. ToumeKpop

    I’ll be sad to see an end to your translations and lengthy posts, reading them was always very enjoyable to me and helped me get a lot more out of the shows. I wish you all the best with your future endeavours, tsuru. Thank you.

    [No complaints here, only suggestions, in case that needed to be said. German text below for reference and fun.] In the poem by Hesse, ‘someday’ is much rather ‘soon’ (bald) in the original, so it does not imply an option but an inevitable certainty which is feel is very important and conveys a definite sense of hope. In the same sentence the word ‘though’ and the change of tone it brings has no equivalent in the original. It also obscures that there are two stanzas marked by identical beginnings. The wayside is not ‘white’ but ‘bright’ (hell), which may be only a small difference in wording, but unambiguously refers to the presence of daylight, and not for example the presence of moonlit snow on the ground as the word ‘white’ would suggest. This is of utmost importance considering that the first stanza, through the presence of the moon, is expressly associated with the night. So while night will soon fall it too will not last forever and then another day will come. And the moon does not smile silently but laughs surreptitiously (lacht heimlich) which again I feel is somewhat important.
    The perspective (first person plural) is retained well, the original is present tense throughout though. It is almost like two wanderers before dusk standing next to each other on a small hill with a long road stretching ahead of them, and one of them takes the other by the hand, points into the distance and begins speaking the words of this poem as if to console the other and give hope that all this too shall pass as has the road already traveled that now lies behind them and that peace may come at last.
    Given that you translated from a translation though, tkmz’s must be pretty good as yours is.

    Sei nicht traurig, bald ist es Nacht,
    Da sehn wir über dem bleichen Land,
    Den kühlen Mond, wie er heimlich lacht,
    Und ruhen Hand in Hand.

    Sei nicht traurig, bald kommt die Zeit,
    Da haben wir Ruh. Unsre Kreuzlein stehen
    Am hellen Straßenrande zu zweit,
    Und es regnet und schneit
    Und die Winde kommen und gehen.

    Reply
    1. tsuru Post author

      Hi, thanks for commenting! The poem is definitely something I kind of struggled with, and your criticisms are fair. A lot of it stems from a reliance on the Japanese and not the German (both because I only found out about the German original after the fact and because I don’t speak German), but not all of it does. And I did once over with a rough look at the German, so I’m not really totally absolved of that. I’ll say that as a decision in principle, though, where Japanese and German differed I went with the Japanese. I am, after all, translating tkmiz’s work foremost, and one way of looking at is is that what the original was is of no relevance. That’s a bit of an extreme position though, and I’ll try to explain my rather softer reasoning as much as I can.

      With respect to ‘bald’, the Japanese is ‘yagate’. This could be ‘soon’, or it could be ‘eventually’ (the etymology here is unclear to me, as it’s a character the Japanese made up and doesn’t have roots in Chinese). In any case ‘soon’ seemed a little too fast for the pace of SSR as it goes (my interpretation of the poem being based on SSR’s aesthetic, whatever it originally was aside), and ‘someday’ (which is still inevitable, in my view) seemed closer to the kind of gradual, slow death that the SSR world is experiencing.

      For ‘hellen’, the Japanese is ‘shiroppoi’ (‘whitish’, in a very literal sense). I don’t think this refers to anything but the colour (i.e. it doesn’t mean ‘bright’) and I get no sense of ‘daylight’ from it. In fact, I don’t really read much of a night/day structure at all. I interpret the poem (in Japanese, anyway) as taking place entirely at night. This might be from differing base texts, but I don’t read a ‘coming day’, or any end to the night. Rather, I see it as the night being eternal (imperishable, if you would?). The hope is not that eventually day will come: it is that night itself is a time of rest for which we can be grateful. SSR, I think, is very much about being accepting of the end of things (some of tkmiz’s comments on this matter make this kind of clear. I don’t have the source right now, but I believe I saw something like ‘I am glad that there is an end to things. I would hate for them to go on forever.’), and so I interpreted the poem as being glad for the night, not hoping for day.

      ‘Lacht heimlich’ is ‘hisoka ni warau’, which is literally ‘laugh in secret’ under one reading. But ‘warau’ could also be ‘smile’, and ‘laugh’ seemed too strong and explicit a term for a pretty subdued poem. I switched between ‘secret’ and ‘silent’ a couple times and don’t really recall why; if you pressed me on it now I might call ‘silent’ a mistake, since ‘secret’ implies it being hidden from the observers, which ‘silent’ doesn’t really. It’s possible I originally had ‘laugh silently’, which does indicate secrecy (being that you can’t hear or otherwise notice the laugh), but this was lost when I transitioned from ‘laugh’ to ‘smile’.

      ‘Though’ is an interesting one, and I’ve got a lot of words about that. You’re right about ‘though’ (and later, ‘for’) not being in the German original. They’re not in the Japanese either. But as an English speaker, and a grouchy editor besides, I couldn’t bring myself to hit a comma splice as strong as ‘Do not mourn, someday night will come.” would have been. And I was unwilling to use a colon or semicolon, or worse still, a period, in its stead. So this one was kind of my hangup. Especially, it’s not really spliced in the Japanese (which is famously ambiguous), so I wanted to keep it… that way? The actual choice of the conjunctions used, though, is again a matter of my interpretation of the poem. I read it as advocating for acceptance of the end (or the ‘night’, as it is here). One unused to the dark might be afraid, and we thus start with ‘though’ (‘Do not fear, even -though- [the night, which is something scary] is coming’.) Later, as the position is sort of more well-established or further explained, it shifts to ‘for’ (‘Do not fear, -because- [the night, which is actually something good] is coming’). This is whole-cloth made up on my part, but it’s kind of additional bracketing structure that I thought was necessary for the English.

      Corrupting the repetition of the first lines of each stanza is, I think, not a huge issue. Their beginnings are only identical as far as ‘Sei nicht traurig’ (‘kanashimuna’), which is preserved as ‘Do not mourn’. The second halves of those starting lines are different, and that gives me license enough to introduce a couple extra differences.

      I can’t comment on the tenses because my German isn’t really good enough to do so, but Japanese of course makes no distinction between present and future tense. It seemed reasonable to me to think of most of the events described as future events, though, that would take place once night came.

      In sum, I think we kind of had different interpretations of the poem. If you’re correct about ‘hellen’ that probably changes things, but the Japanese doesn’t preserve that connotation. It’s great to hear from someone who understands the German, though.

      As a final sidenote, the crosses in Japanese are described as being ‘tomo ni narande’, ‘lined up together’. In German I see that it is ‘zu zweit’, in -pairs-, which is a bit of extra poignancy that maybe didn’t make it through. Or, that isn’t specifically denoted in Japanese (or resultantly English).

      And of course neither the Japanese (well, at an almost accidental scale, this) nor the English rhyme. If the Japanese had made a concerted effort to, I might have as well (as I did with the three songs), but…

      Reply
  6. TeruMoko

    Thank you so much for working on this series. It’s very meaningful to me, in part for its intrinsic beauty, but also because of what I was going through at the time it came out. That aside, I’m horrified (to put it mildly) that there will be no one left on the team willing to work on “cute girl” shows!!!
    Nevertheless, I wish you the best.

    Reply

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