Monday, November 14, 2011

Tenma Chapter 3

Okay, massive delay, here. In case you haven't been keeping up with my twitter posts, a lot of stuff happened this month: My computer broke, my grades are on life support, the internet cable snapped for a whole weekend, and I had a bunch of choir commitments as well. I've gotten things pretty well back in shape now, but I'm afraid I'll still be slowing down significantly until this semester is over.

And now, it's a Halloween installment of Atsuize Tenma!! Wait, what day is it? The 14th of November? Dang, I'm late. Thanks to Biggums for the cleaning, as always!

'kay, let me just say right now that I LOVED this chapter; it was fun to work on and I would've easily had it up on November 1st if it weren't for my computer troubles. It's just such a nice little twist on the normal Tenma formula.

Akachi is such an enigmatic character. He seems like Washizu in that he has a ton of followers and is extremely experienced in the world of Mahjong, but he seems like more of a cult leader than anything else. And a strange cult at that; he seems like a reneissance Monk of some kind, with a christian necklace and all, but it seems like his beliefs are more Satanic in nature. I'd be interested in learning more about him, but that's not likely at all with a series this short and unknown. But I sure as hell had fun with his dialogue; I had him use "thee" and "thou", since his pronouns in the original Japanese are very archaic and sound like they're out of an old movie, which would translate into Elizabethian English. And I even went a step FURTHER, by having him speak and think in Iambic Pentameter, which is the rhythmic pattern used by Shakespeare in all of his plays. Each phrase has 10 syllables, and the syllables alternate in inflection (as an example, "defeating me is naught more than a dream"). Why did I do that? Because it was fun, and I'll probably never get a chance to have a character speak that way ever again.

Now, as we've come to expect from these chapters, there's a couple things that I had a hard time figuring out how to translate into English. The first and most glaring was the "Rod of Death" that Akachi uses. In the original, he calls it the "Shuranen Bou", which translates loosely into "Stick of Carnage". I considered keeping it as "Shuranen Bou", but eventually figured that would be confusing. I considered using "Hateful Stick" or "Stick of the Dead", but eventually settled on "Rod of Death", which sounded fairly cool and also worked with Akachi's Iambic Pentameter.

There were a few other things I changed, but they were mostly minor, except for the end of the chapter and what Tenma says. What he actually says in the last panel is "Those skills are weak when the opponent is hot!", which doesn't make much sense in English. But "hot" is intended here to mean something like how "on fire" is used in English, sort of implying that they're on a winning streak. It shows up from time to time in Akagi, and I usually translate it as having the "momentum", but I couldn't do that here. In fact, the word is also used in the title, "Atsuize Tenma!" meaning something like "You're on fire, Tenma!". If I'd translated the title that way instead of keeping it as Atsuize, the last panel of this chapter would make sense, and I could just say that Tenma is on fire. But I couldn't figure out a way to quickly wrap it up without resorting to a long explaination in the margins that would disrupt the mood of the chapter, so I just went a different route and went back to Akachi's speech about Dark vs Light.

As for Tenma's tactic, he really caught me by surprise. I never would have thought of marking the face of the tiles to mess up the finger-reading. It was a bit risky, though... if Akachi noticed the marks in the South Third Round, he wouldn't have called riichi in the Fourth, and even so, there was still the chance that Akachi might actually draw the 2-man that wasn't in Tenma's hand. But it all worked out, and tenma got a nice chance to turn the tables on Akachi.


  1. I liked this chapter a lot as well. Thank you for the brillant translations, I can really see that you like working on it and don't see translating as a nuisance.
    I am often vexed about how the translators are too literal and the language becomes too 'stiff'. There are times when you should go with the Japanese terms, like most Mahjong terms, and there are times when it's just better to find a conventional English equivalent. For me you have found the perfect mixture. Keep up the good work :)

  2. Awesome, awesome, awesome! I am glad you are enjoying translating these, it comes across in your work. And it's so much fun to read!