Yotsuba& vol. 1 (Azuma Kiyohiko/Yen Press)
Bought this out of curiosity. ADV’s old translation had their usual problems, like occasionally being wildly wrong and misspelling random names. The new one is fine, but comes with all kinds of localization decisions that just annoy me. Everything written (SFX, signs, etc.) is left untranslated and put in notes, even though nothing at all is interesting about the original, all the honorifics are used (with more notes), and there are extra cutesy misspellings that are only funny sometimes. That being said, there’s nothing really wrong with it, except for the horrible filth:
…I think I’m bored of Yotsuba now. Actually reading this again just made me want to get the new Azumanga chapters.
The Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya (Nagaru Tanigawa/Yen Press again)
Kind of boring. The early stories are all better in the anime, though some later chapters are better, I’ve heard. Also the entire translation is written like this. I was going to make up something here about fansub translators not knowing how to write paragraphs, but I guess it’s light novel style after all. The anime episodes are better but are still boring.
The Summer of the Ubume (Natsuhiko Kyogoku/Vertical)
kransom told me to buy this before it came out here, and so I did. Unfortunately, not only is this a real novel, but it’s actually good and well-written, which left me totally unqualified to say anything about it. I will instead note that most people seem to have called it a “supernatural horror”, which it isn’t, and insist on comparing Kyogoku to nerdshoe authors like Neil Gaiman/Stephenson.
Personally, I thought the mystery solved through a very long history lecture at the end reminded me more of Umberto Eco, but there’s no reason to go around reducing things to comparisons like that. Just go read it, okay.
(I read the subtitles, you see.)
There wasn’t really enough plot to sustain this. The individual episodes were mostly good, but none of them actually led into each other at all, and you just had to pretend that the weird serious drama in episode 2 merited it suddenly coming back at the end of the show.
Maybe if the author had written more of the plot out it could’ve been interesting, since it was at least more leftist than Kamichu, but instead some completely different series about maid cafes got stuck in the middle. Yamakan’s director power somehow made this and Kanon watchable, but I end up regretting it afterwards…
Umineko no naku koro ni, episode 6
I can’t mention any plot details until it’s been translated, but after reading it I don’t think I got any clearer picture of the mystery. It looks like episode 7 will reveal a large part of that, so it’s just a little more waiting either way, but it made reading such a long episode seem a little pointless.
There were a few great scenes, but overall the whole thing is by design stuck until the actual end, and I think he’s just padding it out now. Watch out if you start reading it (e.g. if someone translates the prologue), because the first few scenes will just confuse you until you get to the end 15 chapters later.