Vetus

October 2, 2013

UQ Holder 006 observations

Filed under: Updates — CanonRap @ 1:43 am

Ah, here we go…

—–

1. the route

It’s a bit hard to make out, but the 6-lane road the three were travelling on after the hot spring is the Meishin Expressway. The sign on the right points to Kyoto and Osaka.

The sign on the left is too blurry, so I have no idea. It LOOKS kind of like ‘Tokyo Harbor Bypass’? …Yeah, screw that. Ask someone who lives near the expressway.

PS: I guess Shinobu does have a chance of reappearing at some point if Akamatsu is still bringing her up.

—–

2. the UQ Holders and Yukihime

So, it’s been properly revealed that ‘UQ Holder’ refers to a family of undying that Eva and ‘someone’ created. Said someone thought to use immortality for the sake of the world… given the lack of options at this point, Negi is a pretty solid choice, I guess?

The Fate-alike called Yukihime ミストレル which I am going to assume is a typo of ミストレス. I haven’t been able to find anything on the former which links it to the Japanese 女主人, or ‘Mistress’ (which is what I’ll go with). Unless Akamatsu specifically notes elsewhere that there’s an actual meaning, or he really meant to call her a ‘mistral/maestrale’…

3. Different forms of immortality
Of course, the details that Yuki gives on different immortals are the big draw here.

—– a.「吸血鬼、なかでも貴族」

Vampires, especially the ‘Nobles’ among them

Obviously. As for ‘Nobles’, probably somewhere along of lines of Dead Apostle Ancestors, Red Court/White Court, the Masquerade, etc.

—– b.「吸血鬼に並ぶ不死性を有する神魔妖怪の類」

Divine, demonic and phantasmal ones that possess the same level of undeath as vampires

Another easy one… other creatures as indestructible as vampires. Negima had several (shown and mentioned) that couldn’t be physically destroyed and needed soul-killing spells to off completely.

—– c.「神酒、霊薬、賢者の石などの不死グッズの使用者」

Users of the drinks of gods, miracle drugs, philosophers’ stones, etc.

The first one, 神酒 miki means ‘wine of gods’ but apparently refers to the word ‘nectar’ as well, itself derived from the Greek nektar, meaning ‘drink of the Gods’… or, more literally, ‘that which overcomes death’. We might be looking at a new lexicon entry here…

The second one, 霊薬 reiyaku might be a familiar term for those of you who play Japanese games, but it basically refers to any sort of divine substance taken to become ageless and undying. Funnily enough, both an example of this (al-iksir/elixir) and the next item (philosophers’ stone) have been mentioned in Negima, though the ‘elixir’ lexicon entry did not mention immortality.

—– d.「電脳化・ロボット化、科学による不死」

Computerized brains and robotization – undeath that comes from science

Chachamaru. Ghost in the Shell. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a ‘cyberbrain’ reference later.

—– e.「命のストック、残機制」

A stock of lives, a lives system

A living video game character? As Yuki says, ‘iunno’. Presumably something like Herakles and God Hand from Fate, but with visible damage counters.

—– f.「因果の捻じ曲げ、死なずの呪い」

A twist of causality, a curse of undeath

You have to admit, this is starting to sound more Nasu than Akamatsu. For those not familiar, there is a character in Nasu’s verse who is immortal because she was the former host of a baddie who can reincarnate, except said baddie reincarnated when she wasn’t really-totally-absolutely dead, so now the world itself refuses to let her die because she is technically still ‘him’ and thus alive. Or something, it’s been a long time since I’ve read Tsukihime.

—– g. 「死ぬと転生、セーブポイントの設置」

Rebirth from death at a set save-point

Another game-like mechanic… this time, a respawn point.

—– h. 「人体改造」

Corporeal modifications

This is pointedly in reference to Kuroumaru, but it’s hard to say what it means. And this is a wild stab in the dark, but I wonder if this might also be referring to High Daylight Walkers, as they are mages who became immortal through some sort of secret technique (or techniques). Back during the battle in the Gravekeeper’s Palace, Eva did mention that the Life-Maker was ‘some old mage’ who used her to research immortality.

But I’m probably just grasping at straws here.

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September 24, 2013

UQ Holder 005 observations

Filed under: Updates — CanonRap @ 9:12 pm

All in all, a pretty interesting chapter.

1. The opening caption

旅は道連れ、世は情け (Tabi wa michidure, yo wa nasake.)

I don’t think this completely maps 1-to-1 to an English saying, so I’d tentatively go with:

Fellowship does for a lonely road, what compassion does for the journey of life.

Basically:

“Just as one would feel heartened by friendly fellow travellers on a trip, one should conduct oneself to be charitable and agreeable in regular life as well.”

Or to reduce it to its simplest message, “be glad for others’ companionship”.

(I’m not sure if I’ve seen this proverb before but apparently it’s used in karuta – ie. the card game where two people try to grab a card before the other, after someone else reads the first half of a saying or whatnot.)

2. Eva’s new spell

集え、氷の精霊。槍もて迅雨となりて、敵を貫け。
“Gather, spirits of ice. Become a deluge and pierce the enemy with spears.”

Eva never actually says the spell name. From the wording, though, it sounds a bit like Jaculatio Grandinis 氷槍弾雨, “Hail of Spears”.

Then again, this Japanese incantation sounds nothing like the Japanese incantation of the lightning version, Jaculatio Fulgoris.

So, until Akamatsu throws us a bone, who knows?

September 19, 2013

UQ Holder 004 Observations

Filed under: Updates — CanonRap @ 12:36 am

Chapter has been out for a long time (to an anomalous degree) so I’m guessing the content’s been talked over several times already. Anyway…

1. Kurourmaru and his clan
So, Kuro was more or less deliberately sent on a suicide mission against Evangeline. His body is ‘accursed’, though whether that refers to his deathlessness as well as/or something else is up to debate. Setsuna was considered ‘taboo’ just for being born white, so again, another possible parallel.

(On another note: Yes, I’m sticking with ‘he’. The ‘Story So Far’ explicitly calls him a ‘boy’, something that did not happen with Shinobu. So unless Akamatsu retcons it… it’s a man, baby.)

As for why those guys were wearing masks… well, who knows, really. They sort of look like theatre masks and some brief Googling told me that there IS a kind of vaguely bird-shaped mask used in traditional dances and variously referred to as ‘bird-helm’ or ‘crow-head’. But that’s looking waaaaaay too deeply into something Akamatsu probably just put in to avoid having to come up with faces for background characters nobody care about.

Finally, Kuro calls the guy ‘Nii-sama’. Again, it’s hard to say if he’s really an older brother or not.

2. Yukihime’s retort
When Touta panics and calls Yuki ‘Grandma’, she responds by calling him ジャリ or 砂利 jari – literally ‘pebble(s)’ and a term I’ve never seen used this way before. This is apparently a stage jargon (and insult), used to refer to the kids in the audience. It’s saying that, looking down from the stage, the kids are so tiny they look like pebbles.

…Nice to see the jibes getting more sophisticated while still carrying the same general meaning. Poor Touta.

3. Kuroumaru’s Shinmei
So… Zanmaken Ni-No-Tachi. That was a bit unexpected. As I remember, Ni-No-Tachi techniques are supposed to be taught only to those related to the founding family of Shinmei (ie. Aoyama). Is Kuro’s clan Aoyama, after all?

As has been noted elsewhere, ‘Ni-No-Tachi’ is now 弐乃太刀 instead of 弐の太刀 from Love Hina and Negima (the ‘No’ is now more archaic). I doubt it actually means anything, though. Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a typo.

By the way, it doesn’t actually say ‘Achievement Unlocked’ – that would be 実績解除 in Japanese.* Still, that’s a very funny way to put it!

* What do you know, you do learn stuff watching NND game commentaries!

September 10, 2013

UQ Holder 003 observations

Filed under: Updates — CanonRap @ 11:27 pm

1. Touta and Yuki’s trip, and the situation in Japan

Judging from the map on the first page, they started from Kyushu and are moving towards New Tokyo/Amanomihashira, which looks like it is sitting right on top of Tokyo. So, why is it ‘New’ Tokyo?

According to Touta, ‘most’ Japanese now live in (this part is a bit vague) either the city – as in the Capital – or in cities. So either Akamatsu is showing the logical conclusion of urbanisation, or implying that the majority of popularity is now concentrated in one metropolis. I doubt it’s the latter but the possibility is there.

Personally, the thing I find most odd is how Touta describes the countryside: full of ghost towns and inhabited only by people who choose to live off the land and provide for themselves. He makes it sound kind of like city-dwellers have even abandoned agriculture. What…?

2. on Kurou and Shinmei

So, another character of rather ambiguous gender… he looks masculine in one frame and feminine in the next, so it’s hard to tell, really. Like Shinobu, Kurou uses ‘boku’.

Interestingly, he says he is not allowed to set foot upon his homeland until he completes his task of hunting down Eva – except he says he comes from above the tower and isn’t familiar with Japan. He also seemed confused for a split-second when Touta excitedly asked if he is from ‘the sky’ (Touta’s way of referring to space). I can’t quite say what this and the above point all add up to but something does feel out of place.

Also, while Shinmei isn’t exactly closed to outsiders, everyone who has used it so far has either lived in Japan, or learned it from someone else whom lived there. Something else to consider.

Finally, Kurou mentions that he comes from a clan of exorcists. As I recall, Shinmei originated from the Aoyama family, which is also a demon-hunting family. So we could be looking at a relative or at least, someone from a subordinate family/clan.

(To be honest, I’m not too looking forward to Kurou turning undead. Seems like a lot of potential for wangst, much like Setsuna and her initial setup in Negima.)

September 6, 2013

UQ Holder 002 Observations

Filed under: Updates — CanonRap @ 1:18 am

I won’t touch on any of the ‘dreaaaaaaams’ stuff because it’s all in dorky, sappy fun.

1. As I mentioned elsewhere, it doesn’t seem like the whole immortal-invulnerable thing actually matters that much, at least not in this chapter. Both the synopsis and dialogue refers to Touta having both. Possibly, it’s because ‘invulnerability’ is a sort of upgrade to ‘immortality’, ie:

不老不死 – ageless and deathless – ‘immortality’ (won’t age or die until killed)

↓ upgrades to ↓

不死身 – undying – ‘invulnerability’ (can’t age and can’t die even if killed)

Just a theory, of course.

2. Personally, I don’t think Eva has been de-fanged too much. What was in the last chapter was an ambush in who-knows-how-long and in this chapter, she still blows Touta away using just her shield. Remember that having a shield deployed 24-7 is considered ‘normal’ for magic-users … Eva is sending Touta flying basically by sneezing at him.

In any case, Eva/Yuki offered to teach him Shundou but he didn’t really care. Let’s see how many chapters it’ll take before it turns relevant again.

Also, yes, Eva is confirmed to be using age-deceiving pills to turn into ‘Yuki’.

3. The new girl is Yuuki Shinobu. I don’t recall ever seeing that last name before in an Akamatsu work … maybe someone who’s read AI Love You or Itsudatte can confirm?

It’s also pretty funny how Shinobu’s gender was never once mentioned in the entire chapter. I don’t doubt that she’s a girl, but still.

4. The idea of a ‘Solar Olympics’ (and especially a ‘Solar System Grand Prix’) is pretty incredible to me, seeing as it’s been 80 years at most since the beginning of space development and possibly only 60 years since the tower was opened to the public. Then again, this is a world where even country bumpkins can fix hover bikes.

August 27, 2013

UQ Holder 001 Observations

Filed under: Updates — CanonRap @ 10:03 pm

It’s been a really long time.

***

OK, since it’s been out for a while I thought I’ll just keep a running tab on the more interesting stuff to come out of that first chapter …

1. Some people have already picked up on this, but the ‘UQ’ in the title is a play on ‘yuukyuu’ 悠久, meaning more or less ‘eternal’. Basically, the title refers to ‘Holders of eternity’. By the way, Ala Rubra was also known as 悠久の風 yuukyuu no kaze, Austro-Africus Aeternalis (the eternal south wind).

2. There are a couple of terms being thrown around related to 1:

不老不死 furoufushi – ‘ageless and deathless’, this is what they used to refer to the immortal jellyfish. This was also the term used to describe the vampiric immortality that Negi gained after his rebirth via Magia Erebea. Shiraishi (the Fate lookalike) defined this as ‘having no life span’, ie. immortality.

不死身 fujimi – ‘deathless body’, this is what Touta apparently gained by sucking Yuki/Eva’s blood. Shiraishi defined this as ‘not dying no matter what’, ie. invulnerability.

For comparison, the Mage of the Beginning was described by Albireo as 不滅 fumetsu, which I rendered as ‘ceaseless’ though more literally it would be ‘without destruction, suppression, annihilation’.

3. As for why the ‘new’ spells are all in English, the in-story may be that they are using the ‘Physical Apps’ Yuki mentioned which allows commoners to use magic without training. Basically, imagine your smartphone is a wand and you can buy, download and install magic spells.

… The meta reason is because Akamatsu probably doesn’t have a foreign language consultant on his team any more.

4. Touta wears two different T-shirts with stuff written on them. Here’s my take on what they mean:

(1) When he ambushes Yuki from he ceiling, his shirt says 塩味。 which is literally ‘salty’. The connotation here is probably that he’s being ‘weak’ or ‘cowardly’. This comes from sumo, where salt is tossed on the ring to ritualistically purify it. So, if one side is constantly on the ground or forced down by his opponent, he would be constantly touching the salt. Hence the connotation of ‘salty’ or ‘salted’ with weakness, disappointment, cowardice, etc.

(2) During the flashback when Yuki first adopted him, his shirt said 人間五十年。 which literally means ‘fifty human years’ and refers to a line in an old play … and is way, way too complex to explain in detail here. But it boils down to ‘life is ephemeral’ which is pretty fitting given what just happened.

5. The name of the Japanese Orbital Elevator, ‘Amanomihashira’ is the ‘Pillar of Heaven’. It’s actually mentioned here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onogoro_Island) so you can read that and decide if the naming is purely because it sounded fitting or if there is some other meaning.

March 10, 2012

Looking back

Filed under: Updates — CanonRap @ 5:40 pm

Has it really been 9 years, 38 volumes and 355 chapters?

I have been translating this story since November 2010, 47 chapters ago. Vetus has been open for business since October 2008. Negima first became known to me in 2005, three years after I finished reading Love Hina. This has been the only weekly series I have followed every week without fail. And now, I have read its last chapter.

No doubt most readers have found the recent chapters lacking in depth. “How the mighty have fallen,” I saw more than once. And truly, the plot leading up to the finale is notable by its absence. What happened to his quest to find his father? His plan to save two worlds? The identity of his one true love? They were all confined to a meandering epilogue, all build-up and foreshadowing left behind, all conclusions left by the wayside as the story rushed towards its ultimately happy ending.

But I doubt anyone will forget the battle in Kyoto. The memory of that snowy night. The tournament. The siege of Mahora. The whole new world. The crescendo of an epic in the making. And then, the realization that the entire story had become a titanic struggle between two central players, where the magic of friendship had no place and comrades were nothing more than pieces on a board.

Though to be honest, this was not a change I was entirely upset by. Yes, I did miss the mood of the older chapters, but I also enjoyed the new-found seriousness and intensity of the story. It was taking itself in a new direction, evolving into another form. And of all the things I enjoyed about Negima, I think its evolution and growth was the biggest and most crucial pull factor to me as a reader. I would continue to enjoy the development because I could not entirely guess where the story was going.

In the end, it was likely this escalation that brought the series down to its knees, crushed by the weight of its own myth, the complexity of its characters, the intricacy of its plots. The stakes were raised too high and too quickly. No matter how many quirky characters were brought in, how many ridiculous adventures were had, how many jokes were told and gags were used, somewhere the innocence had been lost. But it was never ‘too late’.

A choice could have been made, to let the characters continue with their progression and deal with what they will soon become: serious figures in a serious world. But Akamatsu tried to go back, and that I think was one of the major failings of Negima. Elements of the old status quo were forced to remain. Lesser characters stood in standstill, unable to progress further, and all attempts at past routines feel contrived against the spectacular moral clashes of the primary cast.

What actually went wrong in the course of the story — whether that be its ‘serious’ finale, its true finale, or sometime between or before these — depends on your view. I don’t think I need to bother convincing anyone here, and it’s too soon to tell what exactly reined in the series to its abrupt end. But at this point, what’s done is done. Negima as we know it is complete. I will not hesitate to say that translating the final chapters of this manga has left a bitter taste, but I certainly will not renounce the past 7 years of steady readership just for the last, rocky one-tenth of the story.

To me, it will likely remain one of the greatest manga experiences I have ever had. Negima was the reason I learned Japanese. The first Japanese book I bought was a volume of Negima. Negima and Akamatsu made me the anime fan I am today. It deserves that much, I think.

PS: As for Vetus, I doubt I need to say this, but I have no plans on closing down this site or stopping its updates (assuming we ever get new information, like the next Bible).

Just a note about 355

Filed under: Updates — CanonRap @ 7:33 am

Seeing some weird (fake) rumours and spoilers going around.

* Who Negi ends up with is NOT known.

* The “Where Are They Now” sequence is all real.

March 4, 2012

Negima Volume 37

Filed under: Updates — CanonRap @ 12:58 am

Well, it's here.

Still a little bitter after 354 and its… unfortunate treatment of my favourite character, but anyway. Personally, the main reason I bought this was for the Pactio Cards, and I’m fairly certain that was the motive for a lot of us.

That said, the only real changes are the signatures on the back and the FABULOUS sparkly coat on the front (on this, I’ve already expressed my apathy elsewhere when it was first announced) so…

No actual difference, no.

Though I did like the signatures on the back, since Negima does have several of my favourite female voice actors.

Clockwise from top left: Kuwatani Natsuko, Itou Shizuka, Asumin, Aipon, NotoMami, Matsuoka Yuki, Shiraishi Ryouko, Yu

I haven’t touched the DVD yet, and to be honest, I’m not sure I ever will.

Now, for the extras: the Nazenani in this volume is rather frivolous, but here it is in all its laconic glory:

Is Negima going to end?
It will end in the next volume.

The Affinities has been massively updated with all the new information from the Pactio Cards. Some of the new information is very interesting – the extra celestial affinity from the Bible finally get used (well, one, at least) and there’s also stuff that is completely new and not seen anywhere else before.

And as usual, new Spells that had been in Japanese got their Latin and Greek. Mainly, Anthos Pagetou Khilion Eton [Ανθοσ Παγετου Χιλιων Ετων] and Krustalline Basileia [Κρυσταλλινη Βασιλεια], both Eva’s.

February 17, 2012

Won’t be posting about final chapters

Filed under: Updates — CanonRap @ 8:56 pm

Because I’d prefer not to colour anyone’s perceptions ahead of time based on the short spoilers I write, seeing as this is the ending.

PS: And to be honest, I’m not really sure about how I feel about the current development.

January 28, 2012

Period 351

Filed under: Updates — CanonRap @ 10:57 pm

One of the most severe single-chapter whiplashes I’ve ever seen…

* Why is Setsuna groping Asun– oh god what are her fingers doing (lol pajama party)

* The last day dawns for Asuna, who goes around meeting her classmates one last time. She bumps into Negi by the river, who is looking at his roster again.

* There’s a TON of new stuff written down, and very interesting things at that (like the power balance between Konoka and Setsuna, the ‘Do not anger’ beside Chizuru, which of the classmates are going to help in Negi’s project, Zazie being a princess of the Demon Realm, etc.) so wait for that.

* 5 pages of alone time with Asuna and Negi. Enjoy.

* Eva is of course correct in pointing out that Asuna most likely won’t be waking up again as ‘Kagurazaka Asuna’, but damn it, don’t hurt Konoka like that.

Asuna… T_T

January 22, 2012

Period 350

Filed under: Updates — CanonRap @ 2:10 pm

Dawww.

* So yeah, now Hakase says (in private) that it’s a fake. So there’s that. But now everyone’s even more determined to get Negi, so it ended all right, I guess. Yeah, let’s just move on and never speak of these last few chapters again.

* Also, Yue and Ayaka fight. lol

* Asuna gets a private little graduation ceremony with Negi and Takamichi. Takamichi beats himself up for not being able to help Asuna in the end, but Asuna half-jokingly tells Takamichi to get married. So she can have his great-grandkid in the future.

* The last few pages are wonderful, so I won’t spoil it by commenting. See for yourself.

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