After a long silence, the latest volume is finally available outside Japan! Be sure to pick it up, as there is a bonus chapter and volume-exclusive strips you won’t find here. And, amazingly, Yamabuki Sketch is printed inside the covers for the very first time! Book Depository sells it worldwide with free shipping.

The good:

  • Once again, the translator (same as volume 8) demonstrates an excellent grasp of character voice and translation flow
  • Last volume’s strange issue where small text was frequently left untranslated or embarrassingly mistranslated has seemingly been resolved
  • Top-notch editing and sound effects, only one typo

The bad:

  • Translator was evidently baffled by several sentences that lacked a clear subject
  • A few bubbles were reworded to a point they no longer make sense
  • Strip titles are sometimes too literally translated

Now, let’s begin!

p06: For the first time ever in these translations, the Landlady is referred to by the same title two volumes in a row (simply “Landlady”). Up until volume 8, she’d been going by four different titles: Owner, Landlady-san, Manager, and Ms. Landlady!

p11: Error? “There’s no full-time [guidance] counselor.” – Kind of a wild interpretation of this line. Mashiko only says the room is usually unoccupied until student interview season rolls around.

p12: I suspect the translator missed the joke of the left strip entirely, seeing as the original reference is the kind of thing he usually writes a TL note for. If you were to localize this, you just need to make Miyako sound ecstatic to strip Yuno #2 of her “clothes”. Not marking this as an error because the punchline is all in the visual anyway.

p17: Nitpick. “Q2” – There’s really no need to keep abstract strip titles like this as-is. Although nothing will top the one they left in Japanese last volume.

p28 right: Speaker/subject error. “I know exactly who all the friends are in this class…!!!” – This bubble isn’t Yoshinoya’s thoughts, it’s the students mentally thanking her. Although, I can see how easy it is to make this mistake if you aren’t familiar with how Ume usually presents punchlines.

p28 left: This temple is so widely known in the English-speaking world as the Golden Pavilion I find it a bit silly its Japanese name was kept, especially seeing as other cultural references in this arc like Fujin & Raijin, Kongorikishi, and most foods were replaced with English whenever possible.

p33 Typo. Costa?

p39: Error. The strip title “Reflections” is a nonsensical direct dictionary translation of かみしめる, caught red-handed. Only “gritting/grinding her teeth” or “biting her tongue/lip” makes sense in context.

p43 Error. “Are you looking?” – Misread ちゃんと見れてる as ちゃんと見てる.

p46 Nitpick. “It has a rich flavor.” – This bubble should clarify Yuno has just noticed something unusual about the soup. The way it is now, Miyako responding with “I don’t know what it is” sounds like she can’t tell what kind of soup it is at all despite Yuno telling her a second ago.

p49a “Supple/subtle” – I almost used this pair of words too! Though in the end I went with shapely/stately.

p49b Critical error. “It’s [Yuno and Miyako’s] first time wearing yukatas together!” – Uh, she didn’t say that! And that’s not true at all?! How could we forget the legendary chapter where Miyako strides into a festival sporting a kiddy print micro yukata?! Looks like this was an attempt to smooth out the dialogue gone terribly wrong.

p49c Error. As if the above mistake wasn’t enough, Mami became “Miya” here.

p50 Disappointing. “Colla”/”Koraaa!” – Out of the dozens of pun translations I’ve done for this series, I feel this page (“Manip? YOU look like a manip!”) is my best work. I firmly believe my translation retains the same perceived rudeness and sharp humor of the original. I was so happy to see online commenters found it as funny as Japanese readers did. Unfortunately this translation made no attempt to make this page flow better.

p55 Error. “You can go in the pillar if you want.” – Technically true but nope, Nakayama states that those who can fit into the pillar will find themselves blessed (according to the real legend, you’ll be granted a little bit of enlightenment in your next life). Presumably the translator was confused by the vague-sounding expression いいことがある (lit. “there is something good”) that is used to imply good luck.

p56 I completely gave up on the Nara pun, I’m glad they came up with something that worked!

p58 Critical error. Mami isn’t lying about what’s written in the guidebook. The translator got confused because “it’s not written” and “haven’t drawn anything” have the same pronunciation in Japanese. However, you can tell which is correct here because Ume used the kanji that specifically means “draw” as opposed to “write”. The punchline is also obviously connected to the previous strip.

p63 Critical error. “Maybe they can teach me.” – When you don’t understand, just make something up! Nazuna, in her own little world as always, says もう一本できた (lit. “another one [thing] finished!”) quietly to herself. The “thing” in question is clearly the paper decoration she’s been working on, but looks like the translator didn’t catch on and tried to tie her line into Nori and Matsuri’s argument instead. Even if this was an intentional rewrite, there aren’t any “they”s that makes sense for this strip.

p64a Error. It’s Sae-san, not Sae-chan.

p64b Nuance. I’m not sure if “sad” is a good equivalent of しんみり here. At worst, it’s another dictionary translation. It’s a tough word with a number of different meanings, but context tells you it needs to be a word that can accurately describe Sae and Hiro’s school trip from volume 5. Their conversation at the end of the trip in the darkened room wasn’t outright “sad” but more “tender” or “reflective”, I’d say. Although “sad” makes the punchline a bit funnier, it might not be the best word to represent what Hiro wanted to hear about.

p71 Staying consistent with the previous two volumes, “Ama Art Academy” remains the translation of 亜麻美術大学 (Ama Art University). If this were any other manga, it would be perfectly acceptable to translate a school name in a stylistic way. However, I argue that this approach is inappropriate in Hidamari’s case when the school in question is explicitly a parody of a real life institution, Tama Art University.

p74 Nitpick. I think the “chan” in the “Hiro-chan!!” bubble should be emphasized somehow (using extra bold text, quotation marks, a question mark, etc.) to make it clear Yuno and Miyako are not just blurting out Hiro’s name, but instead reacting to Natsume’s unexpected manner of address.

p75 Error? “These days, Hiro-san eats everything, so her whole body wobbles like jelly.” – Not sure what happened here, but it reads rather suspiciously as if the translator didn’t notice it was worded as a question. Miyako is wondering what kind of food is available at the cafeteria that keeps Hiro as jiggly as ever, which is definitely a valid reason to go check it out. I feel my translation conveys the same thing far less clumsily: “What’s Hiro-san been pigging out on these days?”

p83 The nightmarish onomatopoeia chapter. The translator didn’t make any attempt to localize anything, but this is the kind of content you wouldn’t even assign your worst enemy to translate. YP gets a pass here.

p85 Error. Misread もこもこ as もさもさ and バシバシ as バンバン. The text is definitely written large enough to tell the difference, and both words are repeated later in the chapter, so there’s no excuse.

p86 Nitpick. The translator thought it would be helpful for Nori to translate “moko” in the same bubble she says it. Ordinarily, an adjustment like that would be fine. But then Nazuna asks what it means in the very same panel and Nori translates it a second time, making it redundant.

p103 West Asagi is properly recognized. Nishiasagi would’ve also been acceptable, I was wondering which they’d go with.

p105 Was a TL note for “mosaic” really necessary?

And that’s a wrap. Overall, the quality is what I expected: great flow but a lot of small misses that add up. Although I translated these chapters as early as three years ago, I thought mine held up pretty well despite wanting to reword some of them to death. There were two instances I’d accidentally written the opposite meaning (Sorry if anyone gained weight by following my version of Yoshinoya’s diet tip. She really says you shouldn’t fall asleep when lying down after eating), but nothing critical.