Looks like I didn't have to wait long for my novels after all... Look what the postman dropped off this morning. EMS is expensive but you have to admit it really is quick - Quicker than air mail. Dispatched from HMV Japan and arrives in the UK the next day.
I knew FFVII On the Way to a Smile is in hardback but, I didn't know the Beast Player Erin novels were too! They're nicely shrink wrapped complete with the publisher's paper tabs inside them.
Final Fantasy VII On the Way to a Smile (Hardback)
We'll have a look inside the 263 page OTWS book first since FFVII is what a lot of people who arrive at my blog are most interested in. Here it is "dissected". The book itself has a black shiny cover re-using the same character CG renders Square-Enix has used for its other Advent Children related books. Then covering that is a transparent plastic cover with the book's title.
If you take a closer look, you can make out the wolf emblem on the cover.
Some colour upon flipping open the book. Very FFVII isn't it?
Square-Enix doing their usual marketing research. One of the questions ask, "What other game titles do you want to see novelised?"
I can't really think of any to be honest. I'd rather they picked up after the heroes saved the world and showed their "normal lives" which was what attracted me to these short stories in the first place.
And here are the contents. For some odd reason they've decided to change the "Case of" to "Episode" instead.
I've already translated the first two stories "Episode Denzel" and "Episode Tifa" about 4 years ago so that's a good chunk of the book done. Time flies eh? It's sad to see my work's been very much been plagiarised around all the FFVII fansites. A link back to my site would have been nice. Makes me hesitate if I want to translate the new stories.
Anyway, moving on... Episode Barret was given an official English translation and came with the US limited edition DVD release of Advent Children so that doesn't need any translating.
What remains now are Episode Nanaki, Yuffie and "Shin-ra". The short one page "Life Stream" stories that take place in between each episode alternates between Black and White versions, focusing on (as you may have guessed) Sephiroth and Aerith even though they're only referred to as "the man" and "the woman". You'll be glad to know Hitoshura has translated them over at The Lifestream.net.
If I do come round to translating the stories, I plan to do them in order which means it will be Episode Nanaki first but for now, lets take a peek at Episode Yuffie (or Case of Yuffie) since most FFVII fans want to read about her than Nanaki ^^;
Note the following is just a rough temporary translation for this little peek.
Case of Yuffie
The Forgotten City. A small lake where Aerith had lost her life and saw everyone off. Yuffie and the others had returned there once again to let her know that the fight against Sephiroth was over. They all stood silently around the lake's altar. None of them spoke but each of them were speaking to Aerith with their own words.
It was Vincent's low voice. By the time Yuffie turned round to face him, his red mantle was already flailing behind him. What was with him, thought Yuffie. Is that the way he was going to part with us?
"Hold it- Hooold it!!"
She cried out hurrying after him.
"How can you part with us like that? We're all war buddies you know."
Her protesting didn't stop him. She ran ahead of him and was face to face. He looked as if he was staring at a point far into the distance. Yuffie didn't know what he was thinking or what was going through his mind but his gaze was a powerful. She stepped back immediately knowing that she couldn't stop him.
"Take care," Vincent said as he passed her. Yuffie never expected such words from him and let what just happened pass as she felt touched by his heart for the first time.
Cloud, Tifa, Barret, Cid and Red XIII were watching them.
"Looks like he has somewhere to go," reported Yuffie as she returned to her comrades.
"To his woman probably. Time I got going too," said Cid.
"Yeah, you're right. Same for me," agreed Barret.
Everyone has someone they want to go see, thought Yuffie. She knew it but couldn't hold the thought in.
"You know... You guys sure are taking this lightly."
"That just means we know we can always meet again," said Cid as he started to walk off. Cloud and Tifa nodded. Even Red XIII agreed too. Red XIII's just forcing it on himself , thought Yuffie.
As she began to feel the same way they did, she accepted what was about to happen.
Cloud and Tifa began to walk off. Yeah. Once we leave this place, it really is goodbye for us all, thought Yuffie. But that' fine. I'll enjoy our parting with all the energy I have.
Pretty fun start!
But as you can see, there's no pictures at all or any furigana to help anyone just starting out in the Japanese language unfortunately.
And it looks like I indeed got a second print copy.
And that ends our little peek into the OTWS novel for now! Keep a look out at my FFVII Novels website for updates on any further translations.
Beast Player Erin Novels
Onto the next two fantasy novels from Japan - Kemono no Souja Erin or otherwise known as "Beast Player Erin" as its official English title, written by Nahoko Uehashi in 2006 and only adapted into an Anime show this year. She also happens to be the author of "Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit" which was also adapted into an Anime. Funny someone mentioned that show while discussing one of the episodes.
The two volume story tells of a little girl named "Erin" whose mother is a vet that looks after beasts of war known as "Toudahs". One day, many of those prized Toudahs of the kingdom die and her mother is held responsible. She is executed leaving Erin alone as an orphan. Later saved by a bee keeper named John, Erin starts a new life where she catches sight of another mysterious beast known as the "King Beasts". Determined to become a vet just like her mother, Erin sets off to learn everything she can about them. Never had she thought, that the path she chose was going to determine the fate of the kingdom.
Each book costs 100 yen more than the OTWS novel but both the paper quality and cover feels much better.
I got interested in reading the original two novels after watching the current ongoing Anime show and needless to say, I won't be reading the them until the show ends! Well, maybe just the "Toudah Arc" because the show's nearing the end of it with Erin at Kazalm.
It looks like the episode titles are the same as those used in the book but are ordered differently.
It's even got a character guide.
As expected, the Toudah Arc starts off quite differently from the show, similar to how all the Manga to Anime transitions are fairly much always different in terms of scenarios. It starts off with a darker atmosphere here than the first episode of the show.
Chapter 1, The Mourning Whistle of Toudahs.
As the door opened, Erin woke up. There was still some time before sunrise and the sound of the rain pattering against the thinly tiled roof she could hear in the dark didn't seem as if it will cease soon.
She could just barely make out her mother washing her hands in the waterhole in the floor. As her mother quietly tiptoed her way into their bedding, the smell of the rain and Toudahs drifted by. She was covered in the unique scent that came from the hard scales of the giant amphibious Toudahs warriors rode and it smelled similar to musk. It was so strong, you could tell where their riders were in battle.
Erin's mother, who took care of the Toudahs, always smelled like that. To Erin who grew up with the smell, the scent was like that of her mother.
"...Mother. Was that thunder?"
"It's far away. The thunder clouds are on the other side of the mountains so don't worry. Go to sleep."
Erin breathed a sigh of relief and closed her eyes.
If you've been watching the show, I'm sure you know which episode I'm thinking of here.
Maybe Scholastic will end up publishing these two novels in English too.
In the show, there is the use of Korean Hangul-like characters being used which reminded me of the different scripts such as The Angerthas that JRR Tolkien created in Lord of the Rings. It made me wonder if Uehashi went that far in creating the fantasy world in this story but unfortunately, there are no signs of them in this book so I guess either someone else did it or, Uehashi was asked to create some for the show.
Right, time to finish off some other stuff before I start reading these!