Debora Aoki

Debora Aoki

As an offbeat adaptation of The Little Prince, egg star is a quirky manga in that it starts off like Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s original story, but switches gears midway when the Prince finds himself in modern-day urban Japan, and has to deal with things like automobiles, pawn shops, and apartment rental agencies who are reluctant to rent to someone from “another planet.”
Thomas and Alex’s translation rose above the rest because they were able to capture the differences between the innocent, simplicity of the Prince’s world and mindset before he went to Earth, and how modern-day Japanese city dwellers perceive him. Thomas and Alex’s attention to details, like the short, child-like sentences that the alien prince speaks, translating the words on a passing truck (“Space Movers”), and the landlady’s whimsical decision to give him a Japanese name “Hoshino Ouji” (Prince of the Stars) help English readers enjoy this whimsical fantasy tale almost as much as readers of the original Japanese version.

Egg Star is a deceptively simple text that is filled with little bits to trip up unwary translators. Chief among them the sound effects, which are one of the most difficult to render aspects of Japanese manga in translation. Alex's ability to deploy natural-sounding equivalents was one of the biggest reasons I felt his was the best translation out of the three candidates, and his little flourishes (such as using "ta-da" to render the set phrase "o-matase," usually "thanks for waiting") were fun.
He earned extra points in my book for his adept job at characterizing the speech of the snake. Some of his turns of phrase were a little unnatural-sounding, but this is something that can be fixed with a little more reading aloud of the text before finalizing it. Well done!

Matt Alt

Matt Alt

Tomoko Kimura

Tomoko Kimura

The prince's character came out well in Thomas and Alex's translation, successfully highlighting the difference between the prince and the humans he encounters.
The two were also the only finalist who included the US dollar equivalent as a footnote when a dialog mentioned 2 million yen. Numbers like currency and temperatures do need to be converted to units that US readers can understand.
I would've liked to see more creativity with the English sound effects, as too many of them were simply translated as verbs.

The characterization is what really stood out for this translation. I especially enjoyed all the lines of dialog for the snake. Other aspects I appreciated were the gutter note for the pawnshop symbol and how most of the signs were translated. Natural-sounding dialog is a must for translation, this team pretty much had that down. As an editor, I would make a few changes such as change, “alright” to the more universally accepted, “all right” (unless characterization demanded it), and change, “There’s no stars,” so that the subject and verb match. But those are nitpicks to what was overall a fine translation.

William Flanagan

William Flanagan

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