Quality Check: Twittering Birds Never Fly V02

Originally posted on the now defunct blog, The Licensing of Saezuru.

The following are some comments regarding June’s official digital license release (PDF).

  • As with the first volume, there is noise around the text and the edges of the artwork.
  • Honorifics have been maintained! Well, the basic ones like san and chan. The hierarchical terms have been translated to boss and chief and so on. I really like the sound and look of the word Wakagashira and lots of things ending in -chou, so I’m a little sad about that. We’ll see how that translation choice plays out.

Chapter 4

yoneda-kou-twittering-birds-never-fly-c04Page 22

I’m going to take Bro home.

Bro just doesn’t carry the same weight as Aniki, which is what I assume was used in the original. In this sense it just comes off as if Sugimoto is talking about a peer, but Nanahara is his senior and that matters. Same goes for localizing titles to Boss or Chief. It will usually work when someone is addressing someone else as either, but the localization fails when someone uses the term to describe or label someone else. If it’s translated that someone is the boss of the xyz-gumi, you may miss that he’s actually the wakagashira and not the top dog or just one of the many underbosses. Occasionally “second in command” has been used, but depending on the context, that still may not fully convey the gravity of the title.

Chapter 5

yoneda-kou-twittering-birds-never-fly-c05Page 54

R: …What the hell? Back off or I’ll kill you.
D: I will… If you don’t get away from him.
R: Him?!

I think on a cursory read, this might seem okay, but it doesn’t flow well as far as conversations go. Ryuuzaki tells Doumeki to back off or he’ll kill him. Doumeki says that he will… and this is where the breakdown begins. “I will…” seems like it should be followed by “if you back off first” with the “…” just serving as a protracted pause. However, when it’s followed by “if you don’t get away from him” the “…” feels insufficient and fails to convey the words that should be said in order to make this exchange make sense. On the other hand, if “I will…” was instead “I will…” the whole thing would make more sense. With that, Doumeki would be dismissing Ryuuzaki’s threat and delivering his own. But “if” would not need to be italicized. So where does the true emphasis lie?

The second issue is Ryuuzaki’s “Him?!” In English, there’s nothing about Doumeki’s statement that makes “him” seem like something for Ryuuzaki to take further offense at. But in the following panel, Ryuuzaki acts like he’s caught onto something. I’m going to assume that the word used in Japanese has a specific connotation that the English him is not deep enough to convey.

anonimjeden offered:

Regarding Ryuuzaki and “him”, here’s Blue Spring Scans (scanlating team) note of chapter 5:Doumeki refers to Yashiro with the words その 人 (sono hito) which mean “that person”. Normally, as Yashiro’s subordinate, Doumeki should refer to Yashiro as 頭-kashira (boss), to show respect and sound professional. But here, without thinking, he calls him “that person”, which in Japanese sounds very emotional and special, and implies that Yashiro holds a special meaning for Doumeki, not only as his boss but as a person. Ryuuzaki realized that upon hearing these words, and assumed that Yashiro has already slept with Doumeki, thus his following remarks.

OK, this makes sense. The way it is in June’s makes it seem like Ryuuzaki says him about Yashiro as opposed to some other person; for example, “him, why him? Why not the other (nonexistent) guy?” Or as if he’s emphasizing him because Doumeki is making it his fault when it’s clearly Yashiro who’s at fault. Like that, while Ryuuzaki’s agitated accusation about Yashiro fits with his already hysterical conduct, there’s no connection between the dialogue in the two panels.

It’s a bit frustrating that the significance is lost.

Chapter 6

yoneda-kou-twittering-birds-never-fly-c06Page 83

K: Thanks for everything the other day Roku… What was the rest of it?
N: Nanahara!

I guess from context clues you might get that Kuga’s screwing up Nanahara’s name and if you include the previous statement in that context you’ll know that he’s doing it on purpose. However, Juné doesn’t explain that Roku is one way to say six in Japanese and that theNana in Nanahara is one way to say seven. It’s rather cute, so it’s a shame that they don’t make it clear.

Chapter 8

yoneda-kou-twittering-birds-never-fly-c08Pages 139-40

These pages contain the flashback to Yashiro’s rape by his stepfather. I understand the need for a certain level of discretion, but I don’t get how what Juné did makes any difference. Out of the six panels that show the act from one angle or another, they partially darkened three. Of the three that they didn’t, one is rather explicit even out of context. So, I’m not sure what regulations they’re trying to adhere to because there doesn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason to the areas they chose to obscure.

Page 149

…I’ll do anything… If he tells me to take a bullet, I’ll do it.

I think I remember there being something about this line in the unofficial translation, but I’m not sure what. Either way, it seems off to me. Doumeki says he’ll take a bullet, but he’s a bodyguard, so that’s already in his job description, which makes it strange that he says it in this moment after he cuts off his pinkie. Or am I just digging too deep here?

moran125 offered:

As it has already been pointed out many times, Doumeki’s line about a bullet means that he “will become the «bullet»” which is a yakuza slang for low-rank members doing dangerous tasks and often dying in the process. Basically, it’s something along the lines of saying, that Doumeki would sacrifice even his life as long as he can stay close to Yashiro, protect him and be of use to him. I think the Japanese word for “bullet” in the yakuza meaning was tepoudama ? but my Japanese sucks, so I may be terribly wrong.

Thanx for noting this! I think this is what I was unsure of. In an effort to remain as unbiased as possible, I’ve continued to avoid discussions about the story and opted not to reread the unofficial translations. So, thanx again for this. It was an important notion in that moment; the connotation is completely different from just taking a bullet or even just being a bodyguard. It would have been great if Juné made that clear.

Chapter 10

yoneda-kou-twittering-birds-never-fly-c10Page 189

I’m so grateful that Misumi-san… thoughtfully gave him to me.

Yashiro is saying this about Hirata. This was before he officially became a yakuza, so that’s obviously wrong. Misumi put Yashiro under Hirata’s command, not the other way around, so it would be wrong for Yashiro to say that Hirata was given to him.

Page 211

Y: There were days you didn’t come back.
M: That’s because I’m surrounded by ten women

“I’m surrounded by ten women” doesn’t make any sense. It is written in present tense which would suggest that Misumi is presently surrounded by 10 women or he is habitually surrounded by ten women, neither of which is true. And as a stand alone statement or a figurative one, it’s weird. It’s not until you read Amou’s aside, “just two,” that you get the idea that Misumi is basically saying something like he has 10 girlfriends.

Page 214

Like the bottom of your feet, for example.

This is a strange statement, especially since the following pages don’t pick up this train of thought. Juné doesn’t make it clear at all, but I believe Misumi was talking about pride in a sense similar to the way people talk about chakras and their location in the body.

Page 228

Don’t tell Yashiro. He’s not perfect.

What does “he’s not perfect” mean? Is he talking about Yashiro or Ryuuzaki? For this I used Google translate to get an idea of the the synonyms/uses of what would directly translate toperfect in English. I found one that would work for Yashiro (無傷 (mukizu); unwounded, unhurt, uninjured), one that would be a stretch for Yashiro (全き (zen ki); intact), and none for Ryuuzaki. So, let’s say Hirata is referring to Yashiro and the original word was 無傷, considering the situation, I suppose he’s saying that Yashiro hasn’t fully recovered yet. If that’s the case–and I’m almost certain it is–why would the translator use perfect? It doesn’t sound natural at all.

Page 239

D: …Am I really that bad a fit for this life?
?: The boss probably thinks the same thing.
N: Who knows?

Reading in order, the second line seems like it would be spoken by Nanahara, however, the third line is spoken by him, but it does not match the tone of the line before it. So, the second line must be spoken by Doumeki, but as is, it sounds strange. It would make more sense if it was a question or another statement entirely.

Throughout the volume

The use of the word pretty as a word Doumeki would use to describe Yashiro, doesn’t fit; it’s too superficial. He’s not just referring to Yashiro’s appearance, he’s talking about Yashiro as a person, his heart and soul. No one describes another person’s soul as pretty. Beautiful is the word that should have been used.



This was quite a different reading experience from volume 1. I actually felt like I was reading a story and not just stumbling through an endless stream of awkward translations. This volume was outfitted with a new translator, letterer, and editor and it shows. As you can see from the above comments, it’s not without its issues, but this is a major improvement over the first volume, especially considering that I had nothing to report for chapters 7 and 9–which I included the title pages for because, why not?


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