I’ve finally found the time to write down my (almost grown distant) thoughts on the official translation of DanMachi volume 3.
The first thing that will probably strike you is the sudden change of vocabulary and literary style. It’s still the same translator (if memory serves right) but the sentence structure’s grown more complicated as has his choice of words. Is this a bad thing? It can be, but it’s not in this case. I’ve heard of people who were rather disgusted with the simple and plain wording in the first two volumes and judged it as “grade school level.” So this is a trend working in favor for you if you felt the same. On the other hand, a literary style that’s complicated more than necessary can deprive the story of warmth and let it feel “heavy,” as it kinda happened with “HataMaou,” in my opinion. Personally, I found the maturing to be juuust about right, it’s on the upper limits of “just about right” and about to step into the “too much” territory, meaning: It feels good and fits. So the DanMachi translation has grown up.
Sadly, this comes with a few coward-ish decisions regarding English-fication: The cat characters are now completely stuck with “meow” instead of “nyas” which get worked into the sentence like they did in volume 1. That’ll probably make your eyelid twitch if you’re close to anime culture.
Taking a step back and talking about the right- or awkwardness of the sentences, or the feeling to them, they vary in quality – between genius and insanity. You’ll get a bunch of awkward or plain wrong sentences and you’ll get your fair share of genius structures which really put the spice into the flow, of course there’s a lot of average in between. The amount of genius is higher than in volume 2, but volume 2 was far from having the amount of awkward sentences volume 3 has, a bunch of typos strengthen my impression. The translator didn’t have or didn’t take the time to think twice about how to deal with the sentences; it should be clear by now that you can’t expect anything from the editing department, anyway.
If I am to put the pieces together, it’s a solid to good volume (just English-wise, I’m not judging the story – I wouldn’t read it if I didn’t love it) which leaves me with the impression that a lot of potential’s been wasted nonetheless. I wouldn’t point my finger at the translator though, he’s shown with volume 1 that he’s ready and able if you give him the chance. Should you be lost whether to buy this or not: Be lost no more, you can buy it and won’t be disappointed; you won’t be stoked about it either, though. It’ll get a 7/10 from me, just like the last volume, but it’s not on the upper 7 scale this time around. After all, it’s still one of the best official translations I’ve read, to be honest.