Archive for December 6th, 2012

AO~いつだってすぐ側に~ // Itsudatte Sugu Soba ni

Aoki Lapis (lia-sama)

I haven’t touched Vocaloid songs in forever, and this is my first of the Vocaloid-3 group… but it’s EastNewSound, so. (For those who haven’t met me, I end approximately 30% of my sentences with “so”, which is incredibly ungrammatical, but I guess I just want to leave it up to the listener to guess what I’m thinking.)

I believe any part of the dialogue can easily be imagined as the “I” or the “You”.

(You’re allowed to tell me to get my act together if I don’t translate for this long again ^^;)

A little belated, but: THANK YOU FOR 750K VIEWS!!!!!!!! – Time to man up and get my 1000th post out, or else I won’t feel like I deserve 1 million views (if that ever happens).

AO~いつだってすぐ側に~
 Itsudatte Sugu Soba ni
 Always By Your Side
Vocals: Vocaloid3 i-style Project AOKI LAPIS
Composition: きりん Lyrics: 海兎
Circle: EastNewSound NicoNico ID: sm17402177

いつか聞かせてくれたおはなしの続きを
もっと知りたくなって 旅をしてゆく

itsuka kikasetekureta ohanashi no tsudzuki wo
motto shiritaku natte tabi wo shiteyuku

I wanted to know more of your story, the one you once
Let me listen to, so now I’m off on a journey…

いつもすぐ側にある 当たり前は何処かで
絵空事みたいだと一人泣いてた

itsumo sugu soba ni aru atarimae wa dokoka de
esoragoto mitai da to hitori naiteta

“Whatever happened to everything I was so used to having right next to me?
“Where did it go? Was it all a dream?” alone, I cried.

「不安だらけ、分からないの、右も左も…」

“fuan darake, wakaranai no, migi mo hidari mo…”

“I’ve become so insecure, I can hardly tell left from right…”

上手く出来ないことも君は君でいいと伝えたい
何も知らずに笑い合えたならすれ違ってゆく
今はまだ知らなくて

umaku dekinai koto mo kimi wa kimi de ii to tsutaetai
nani mo shirazu ni waraiaeta nara surechigatteyuku
ima wa mada shiranakute

I want to tell you your faults are just another part of you, you’re okay just the way you are.
Though we once laughed together, without knowing each other, we just pass each other by.
Even now, there is so much I do not know.

想(こえ)を聞かせて欲しい その手ほら伸ばして教えてよ
言葉を辿るお話の続き 二人で歌えば
始まるよ すぐ側で

koe wo kikasetehoshii sono te hora nobashite oshiete yo
kotoba wo tadoru ohanashi no tsudzuki futari de utaeba
hajimaru yo sugu soba de

I want to hear your true voice, your emotions… Reach out with your hands and tell me…
If we can only sing together, tracing our words the next part of our story
Will start here, right beside us.

綺麗な空の色をずっと眺めていた
飛べない願い事を風に乗せたら

kirei na sora no iro wo zutto nagameteita
tobenai negaigoto wo kaze ni nosetara

I’ve always stared at the beautiful colors of the sky…
Though my wishes cannot take flight, if I set them on the wind…

ほんの少し悩んで 目を閉じ歌い出した
泣いて笑った夢を君の隣で

hon’no sukoshi nayan’de me wo toji utaudashita
naite waratta yume wo kimi no tonari de

Faltering a little, I closed my eyes and began to sing
Of the dreams where we laughed and we cried, by your side

「足りてないの、私の中、少しの勇気」

“taritenai no, watashi no naka, sukoshi no yuuki”

“Though I have some courage, it is not enough.”

蒼い空流れてく 聞こえてきた想(こえ)は小さくて
分からなくても君を知りたくて もっと聞かせてと
いつだってすぐ側で

aoi sora nagareteku kikoetekita koe wa chiisakute
wakaranakutemo kimi wo shiritakute motto kikasete to
itsudatte sugu soba ni

Across the flowing blue sky I hear a faint voice
Though too faint to understand, I ask you to tell me more
Always by your side

「不安だらけだよ。未来なんて見えやしなくて…でも、それでも」

“fuan darake yo, mirai nan’te mieyashinakute … demo, sore demo”

“I don’t know what I’ll do, I have no idea what the future brings… but… still…”

上手く出来ないことも君は君でいいと伝えたい
何も知らずに笑い合えたならすれ違ってゆく 今はまだ…

umaku dekinai koto mo kimi wa kimi de ii to tsutaetai
nani mo shirazu ni waraiaeta nara surechigatteyuku ima wa mada…

I want to tell you your faults are just another part of you, you’re okay just the way you are.
Though we once laughed together, without knowing each other, we just pass each other by. Even now…

分からなくても君を知りたくて もっと聞かせてといつだって
言葉を辿るお話の続き 二人で歌えば始まるよ 今此処で

wakaranakutemo kimi wo shiritakute motto kikasete to itsudatte
kotoba wo tadoru ohanashi no tsudzuki futari de utaeba hajimaru you ima koko de

Though too faint to understand, I ask you to tell me more, always…
If we can only sing together, tracing our words the next part of our story, will start… right here.

Aoki Lapis (chu (cryla))

葵 // “Aoi” – ヒカルが地球にいたころ…… “Hikaru ga Chikyuu ni Ita Koro” [1]

葵 "Aoi" (Takeoka Miho)

^The moment I realized that this picture was (albeit loosely) based off one of the early woodblock prints of 葵の上 it blew my mind so hard I pretty much fell over.

Well, it’s been weeks since I’ve even logged into my WordPress account, so I’ll go ahead and apologize for that… Sorry. Apart from being a combination of busy, exhausted, and lazy – … – I wanted to finish reading this book before I did anything else, and now that I’ve finished it’s 久しぶりの (‘a long time since last time’s’) review time~!

葵 – ヒカルが地球にいたころ……①
 ”Aoi” Hikaru ga Chikyuu ni Ita Koro…… (1)
 ”Aoi” When Hikaru was on the Earth…… (Official-Off-Cover-Translation)

著:野村美月 (Author: Nomura Mizuki)
画:竹岡美穂 (Illustrator: Takeoka Miho)
ファミ通文庫 (Famitsu Bunko)
ISBN-13: 978-4047272811
発売日:2011/06/10

Introduction:

I actually bought this book, and the next two in the series, a long time ago… (so I’ve got all first editions – Yeah!!!) and now I’ve finally got around to jumping into this new “Hikaru” series. Part of the reason I didn’t get to it earlier was because when I first got it there were only two books in total, I had -just- finished the Bungaku Shoujo series and thought I probably needed a break from Nomura Mizuki (no matter how much I like her writing), and I had heard rumors that it wasn’t quite as heart-rending as the Bungaku Shoujo series (but that’s what I liked best about it!!) and so forth. So I read Dantalian no Shoka, Another, almost died, finished up the Bungaku Shoujo short stories, read Spice and Wolf, Kokoro Connect, and then found myself wanting to read more Nomura Mizuki again.

I had also been learning a lot more classical Japanese/bungo, and had read more of the Tale of Genji (this time – Yuugao), which “Hikaru” is based on. Up until this point I have read fragments of “Aoi”, all of “Yuugao”, and three scenes from “Wakamurasaki” (one, basically a rape scene ^^;;) – which very coincidentally are the first three books in the series: “Aoi”, “Yuugao”, “Wakamurasaki”.

Now, what I remember of the impressions that I got from reading Aoi and Wakamurasaki in college are in order: “Wow, this is incredibly over-complicated.” “Is this ironic, this has got to be ironic right?” “Wait, so it’s incest, but not really incest?” “…This is total pedophilia…” “Goddammit women are scary.” I guess I grew up in the meantime because after I read “Yuugao” it was more, “Why is this so beautiful?” “Why am I crying?” “Why am I sympathizing with this total womanizer, who has his head screwed on a little too tight?” “Why do I feel a bond with this Koremitsu, despite the fact that he’s hardly even a character?” Then I thought back to what fragments I remembered of Aoi and Wakamurasaki and thought things were less complicated in a bad way and more in a good way.

Then, I had to read Aoi. It was time for me to go back to Nomura Mizuki.

Akagi Koremitsu and Shikibu Honoka (Takeoka Miho)

^I can’t tell you how much I love this illustration. Your protagonist, Akagi Koremitsu on the left and Shikibu Honoka on the right.

Main Characters:

赤城是光  Akagi Koremitsu [Protagonist / Living]

Originally planned to be a delinquent, but “NOT A DELINQUENT” according to the author. Based off of Koremitsu from “The Tale of Genji” – Hikaru Genji’s assistant. Has “looks like a delinquent” syndrome and a past that gives him a blanket level of scorn for all women. His writing script is stunningly high class and beautiful.

帝門ヒカル Mikado Hikaru “Hikaru no Kimi” [Protagonist-II / Deceased]

Based off of Hikaru Genji from “The Tale of Genji”. Has “sexiest man alive” syndrome, as well as “looks like a woman” syndrome, and has what Koremitsu calls “a flower fetish”. An incredible womanizer. The story begins at his funeral.

左乙女葵  Saotome Aoi “Aoi no Ue” [“Heroine”]

Based off of Aoi no Ue from “The Tale of Genji”. Hikaru’s Fiancee.

齋賀朝衣  Saiga Asai “Asa no Miya”

Probably based off a character from the “Tale of Genji”/”Asagao”. Hikaru’s cousin, older by one year. Cool and calculating. Looks after Aoi. Head of Student Council.

式部帆夏  Shikibu Honoka “Nioi-Murasaki/Purple-Hime”

Based off of the author of “The Tale of Genji”. Relatively violent and isolated, but not completely anti-social. Writes cellphone romance “novels”. Has a past that makes it hard for her to get along with men.

近江 ひいな  Oumi Hiina [Radical Unknown]

Member of the newspaper club. Will do anything to get a scoop. Advertises in her self-introductions.

Story:

After a somewhat creepy disconnected introduction (you should be familiar with these if you’ve read any Bungaku Shoujo), Koremitsu, the focus of our limited third-person narrator, attends a funeral – a funeral attended by hordes of crying women, not another man in sight. There are girls with various high school uniforms, women in their twenties and thirties, and even a few girls that look like they’re still in elementary school!

Koremitsu saw a notice at school that Mikado Hikaru had died in an accident over the Golden Week vacation, but really didn’t know why he had come. He and Hikaru had hardly exchanged two sentences together, on Koremitsu’s (delayed) first day of school, just one day before Golden Week. But just what was Hikaru talking about, when he said he wanted to ask Koremitsu for help with something the next time they met?

On his way back from the funeral, Koremitsu starts hearing voices, and then…

“I have regrets…”

“Listen to me! Saotome Aoi!!!”

“I need you to help me open her heart.”

“You liar!!!!!!!”

“Aoi was my hope.”

“I won’t believe that he cared even one bit for me! The stars are more likely to fall from the sky!”

“If you can hear me… if you can hear me at all, just please…”

“Don’t worry, if she tries anything – I’ll protect you.”

“Are you sure it really was an accident…? Are you sure someone didn’t -kill- him?”

“Not even death can redeem you of your sins.”

Evaluation / Rating:

I really liked this one. Hikaru and Aoi reminded me a lot of the original characters as I remembered them (which is very interesting when you think about it, pairing modern-age characters with those set in a time over a thousand years ago). Comparing it to Bungaku Shoujo, my heart felt less like it was getting stabbed with an emotional exacto knife and more of a fluffy sort of sense of feeling. There’s less serious or rather, life threatening drama to be had – a lot of the plot is light-humor driven until we get used to Hikaru enough (just as Koremitsu is) to feel the pain behind his ever glimmering smile.

My favorite aspect of this first volume, to tell you the truth, was the narration. It is all done in an abstract third person, limited to one character’s thoughts and perceptions at a time. While “Aoi” carries over the secondary letter/diary narration from Bungaku Shoujo, the rest is an entirely new dynamic. When the narration is focused on Koremitsu, it becomes a dual narration that involves both Koremitsu and Hikaru. If the narration shifts from Koremitsu to another character, Hikaru completely disappears. Also, the narration that shifts from Koremitsu to Honoka to Asai to Aoi gives much better psychological insight than anything else could. I guess that’s a must when you’re trying to tackle an adaptation of the “world’s first psychological novel”.

I have to admit that I almost immediately fell in love with Shikibu Honoka. Sure, on the surface she might seem like Kotobuki Nanase (Bungaku Shoujo), whom I didn’t really like all that much – but one volume and she’s already more interesting to me. I like her and Koremitsu’s dynamic, which started up such a quick “friendship” that it felt unnatural enough to feel actually – completely natural – if that makes any sense.

There are a couple sub-plots going on, and Nomura has said that she’s working off of another plotline besides just “The Tale of Genji” (literally, ‘go ahead and smirk if you know what it is!’) so I guess if there’s any fault in that, “Aoi” seems like more of an introductory volume and less of a standalone story than say… Bungaku Shoujo’s first volume did.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention. This story definitely feels a lot more directed at female audiences. Male fanservice and budding male friendships and all that jazz.

Another note, the ages (~16-17) for all the characters are eeriely fitting. Hikaru Genji marries Aoi (16) at age 12, and is known for sleeping around with many women by ~14-15 in the original tale. ^^;

Now for all the numbers that don’t really matter all that much.

Overall: 9.0

I feel like 9.0 is a good starting point for the series ^^;

Concept: 9.2

I’ll start with a cautious 9.2 – I feel complexity, but I haven’t seen enough to rate it higher.

Pacing: 9.0

While the beginning might have been a little slow, it never felt slow. I can see people getting tired of the comedy before they get to the drama though.

Plot: 8.0

The plot is simple, but works as a good vehicle for … less character development, but character unveiling. Nothing crazy, especially because it’s an introductory volume. I’ll expect increasingly more with each new volume.

Characters: 9.0

We haven’t really gotten into character development yet, but the characters are like slowly opening flowers, the more you see, the more you want to see more. Again, I love Shikibu Honoka’s characterization. Even if actions/dialogues feel a little too silly, you can still relate to some characters and definitely feel for others.

Writing Style/Flavor: 9.4

You can never fault Nomura Mizuki. I don’t think she could ever fall below a 9.0 in this stat.

Illustrations: 9.8

Beautiful. Especially the cover image, the last picture of Aoi (reserved for readers), and the cat paraphernalia picture featured above. I mean, she was even tasked with drawing the most beautiful man that ever lived, and I think she pulled it off well.

(Left to Right) Oumi Hiina, Saiga Asai, Shikibu Honoka, Saotome Aoi