A History of MangaGamer’s Final Secret Project

A Kiss For The Petals – Maidens of Michael was revealed as one MangaGamer’s license announcements for Otakon 2017 on 11 August 2017. At the presentation, it was labeled as “Secret Project #1,” one of six such projects listed in their convention schedule and project status in February 2017. Projects 2 through 6 were fully revealed throughout the year at previous events, but it was number one that was the most mysterious.

Listed as 100% translated and edited since its revelation in February, some have asked why it would be kept a secret even after such progress had been made already. In truth, though the translation had already been completed, work started only this year in all other aspects of the project, including programming and graphic processing. In addition, the translation and editing work were in progress for over four years.

In May 2013, six months after the Japanese release of Maidens of Michael on 30 November 2012, unofficial translations of the visual novels were still in development. At my request, series translator Ralen began work on Maidens of Michael after it became clear that only he was willing to undertake such a tremendous endeavor. He would do this even without a guarantee that his work would be later be used for an officially licensed product—at the time, licenses for any A Kiss For The Petals products were a lofty vision, though they have always been the end goal of the unofficial translations.

The translation project started as a community effort at Yuri Project, who had collaborated on fan translations of previous visual novels. A number of individuals contributed to this translation in various ways, but it was led largely by Ralen’s own ambition. In July 2015, the decision was made to discontinue the public side of the translation in order to focus on our new project with localization company MangaGamer, which would become A Kiss For The Petals – Remembering How We Met. With MangaGamer now responsible for English localizations of A Kiss For The Petals visual novels, we were no longer able to justify publicly supporting works which we are not licensed to work on.

However, Ralen and I were committed to finishing our work on Maidens of Michael in secret, without the aid of the community, as we agreed in 2013 that we would do so even if a license for it would never materialize. There were a few hiatuses throughout the four-year period—thank you for supporting us via Remembering How We Met and The New Generation!—and by early 2017, we were able to present our finished work to MangaGamer for consideration.

There were some challenges that pushed this reveal into one of the final announcements of the year.  However, three keys made this a reality: the existence of a complete, high-quality translation, created over four years on an entirely voluntary basis; the results of the previous two MangaGamer English license surveys, placing A Kiss For The Petals in the top five in 2016 and 2017; and MangaGamer’s continuous efforts behind the scenes to surpass all other obstacles. The existence of Secret Project #1 was made known at the start of this year, and at MangaGamer’s presentation at Otakon last week, I had the privilege of unveiling this secret to the live audience.

The onus now falls on me and the rest of the team at MangaGamer to bring four years of work to its conclusion. This will be my largest translation project to date officially or otherwise, larger even than The New Generation. There are many more characters, routes, and images to process for the English version compared to our previous work. I am honored to have the responsibility of bringing the most hotly demanded title in the series to Western audiences at last, and I thank you all for your support which made this a reality.

A Kiss For The Petals – Remembering How We Met: Editor’s Corner Unabridged

On 25 September 2015, I announced my involvement as overseer of the English localization of A Kiss For The Petals – Remembering How We Met on the MangaGamer staff blog. Prior to that date, I withheld information about my work on the project due to my own belief that my history with the fan translations would have caused a conflict of interest. I used the skills I developed over many years working on fan translations to develop the English-language version in secret. However, I later learned that my presence in fact encouraged St. Michael Girls’ School to move forward with the license. With that assurance, I wrote the above article detailing my views and history with the franchise, and I will be able to discuss them much more openly in the future.

Due to the nature of the partnership between MangaGamer and St. Michael Girls’ School, details on previous releases from Fuguriya and Yurin Yurin, as well as the fan translation efforts, cannot be discussed in an official capacity. This is an unabridged version of my Editor’s Corner post with information on those topics. A complete listing of individuals who worked on the translation patches is located at the bottom of this article.

The following is the opinion of the author and does not reflect the views of MangaGamer or any other third party.

Continue reading “A Kiss For The Petals – Remembering How We Met: Editor’s Corner Unabridged”

Statement on the Visual Novel Translations on Petals’ Garden

The partnership between MangaGamer and St. Michael Girls’ School represents a significant step forward in the business plan of St. Michael Girls’ School. In light of this, I have deemed it necessary to make significant changes to the administration of Petals’ Garden. Effective immediately, Petals’ Garden will no longer host content of questionable legality and will take greater measures to respect the copyrights of Fuguriya, Yurin Yurin, and St. Michael Girls’ School. Only the visual novel translations are affected as they contained images and code copyrighted by at least one of those companies. The light novel translations contain cover images freely available on Fuguriya’s website and entirely original text. The web page and video content are labeled free to redistribute. Other parties may continue translations of the visual novels, but they will not be endorsed by Petals’ Garden.

Update 10 July 2015: Petals’ Garden will also no longer support the translations on Yuri Project, but the translations posted there remain the property of their authors and can be continued at their discretion.

The goal of the visual novel translations was to raise awareness of the series as a whole and demonstrate interest in official Western releases. The partnership between St. Michael Girls’ School and a major Western publisher of visual novels signifies that they have succeeded. However, Petals’ Garden was created strictly to promote A Kiss For The Petals, and the responsibility of visual novel translation and distribution now belongs to MangaGamer, the official partner of St. Michael Girls’ School. As I have written in the past, the creators of A Kiss For The Petals have been aware of the fan translation efforts since their inception, but such efforts are now subject to greater scrutiny by all companies involved. For the reasons above, there is no longer any legal justification to continue to distribute them. I apologize for any inconvenience this causes, but as Petals’ Garden is recognized as a major English news source for A Kiss For The Petals developments, this change is necessary to ensure that the partnership will be a success and maximize the chances of future English licenses. I thank you for your understanding of this decision in this crucial time for these two companies.

Unread Letter to Reo-ppoi Radio

On 20 November 2013, I submitted this letter to Reo-ppoi Radio in response to a query from Anzu Hana regarding yuri couples in American media. Episode 75 was released on 7 March 2014, and my letter has not yet been read four months after submission, so I have concluded that they have decided not to feature it on the show. Should this change, this letter will be posted to Petals’ Garden. The letter has been translated to Japanese by Kuma Ichigoh.


 

杏花さん、ぽいちゃ! またクレイグ・ドンソンです。
数か月前に、理想的なアメリカの百合カップルがどのようなものだろうかに関して尋ねられましたね。
私の意見を書きます。

「百合」は「日本製品」です。したがって、それを模倣するどんな国も日本のカップルが模範になるでしょう。アメリカのファンは、日本の百合の好きなところを取り入れます。したがって、アメリカの百合カップルは日本のものに非常に似ているでしょう。

私は、理想的なアメリカの百合カップルがどのように見えるか知りません。友達とこの問題について議論してみました。私たちは、それが恐らく麻衣と玲緒に似ているだろうと結論を下しました。麻衣は強く、独立して、有能で、自信を持っています。それらはすべてアメリカで重視される特質です。玲緒の、社会的地位または礼儀に関して、アメリカ人は日本の人ほどには考慮しません。これら二人の性格の間の緊張はアメリカのファンを非常に楽しませています。したがって、理想的なカップルは同様の差異を持つでしょう。

これがあなたの質問の答えになっていることを望みます。私は、玲緒王国を海外へ拡張することに、ずっと熱心に取り組んでいます。また、杏花さんが応援し続けてくださることを高く評価します。

最後に、未瑛さんの英語が非常に優れているのを聞いて、私はたいへんに驚きました! 私は、その花のキャストの誰かが英語を話せればいいなあと思っていました。ですが、それが雫 (外国語がダメダメという設定で知られる) とは思いもよりませんでした……。

署名
クレイグ・ドンソン


 

Anzu Hana-san, ぽいちゃ! It’s Craig Donson again.

A few months ago, you asked about what the ideal American yuri couple would be like. This is what I found.

Yuri is a Japanese product, so any country that would imitate it would be inspired by Japanese couples. American fans adopt parts of Japanese yuri that they like, so American yuri couples would be very similar to Japanese ones.

I don’t know what the ideal American yuri couple would look like, but I discussed your question with a friend and we concluded that it would probably be similar to Mai and Reo. Mai is strong, independent, capable, and confident, which are all qualities prized in America. Reo doesn’t give as much consideration to social status or politeness as most Japanese people, which Americans also find relatable. The tension between these qualities is very entertaining to American audiences, so an ideal couple would have a similar contrast.

I hope this answers your question. I’m still working hard on expanding your kingdom overseas, and I appreciate your continued support.

Lastly, I was very surprised to hear that Mi Ei-san is very good at English! I had hoped that someone in the Sonohana cast would be able to speak English, but I didn’t guess it would be Shizuku, who is known to be very bad at foreign languages…

Signed,
Craig Donson

Regarding Personal Opinions

In the extended period that Cray’s Notes and Petals’ Garden was offline, I considered the purpose of this site and its relative disuse compared to the latter. I opened this blog as a personal site initially for me to share personal posts, but I also intended to use it to share my opinions of A Kiss For The Petals outside of Petals’ Garden, which I aim to keep a portal for news, and to that end, mostly free of my opinions on the series itself. To date, I’ve yet to actually do this.

As the sole writer for Petals’ Garden and an editor on most of the English translations, I am aware that I have an elevated position in the A Kiss For The Petals fanbase. Because of this, I’ve kept my opinions to myself, such as which couple is my favorite, in the interest of neutrality. While I have posted speculation and commentary on product announcements and comments directed to me on Reo-ppoi Radio, I have hesitated on making any statements that could be taken as endorsement or disapproval of any particular character, product, or individual, for fear that I would be influencing the fanbase in a way I would like to avoid. I do have my preferences, as all fans do, but I don’t want readers to take away any kind of bias from my posts on Petals’ Garden, as I believe all parts of the franchise deserve equal representation insofar as Fuguriya and Yurin Yurin give it themselves.

However, I feel that it is already clear that Petals’ Garden is fully independent on Cray’s Notes, even though the reverse is not true and both are written by me. In the near future, I will begin to share my own commentary on A Kiss For The Petals here without regard for bias. I may also begin writing supplementary posts for those posted to Petals’ Garden with my own comments. These posts will be even more subjective in nature than, for example, the character analysis I posted in January 2012, and some of these posts will include non-worksafe images, but they will be hidden under well-labeled links. Petals’ Garden will remain work-safe for all viewers as always, but as this is a personal blog (and a self-hosted one), I feel that the same restriction needs not apply here. Having worked on translations for this franchise for more than three years, I have formed what I feel are some radical opinions on it, and I look forward to the response to them on this safe haven.

A Kiss For The Petals Logo Redesign

At the suggestion of Virus123 during work on the final version of Risa-Miya Theater, I have decided to remake the English logo for A Kiss For The Petals translations. The first version of the logo used the font in the Japanese text, which, while faithful, had some issues. The gaps between letters made for unclean borders and aliasing which I have not been able to fully eliminate, and readability is reduced at lower resolutions. Virus123 suggested a different font with a similar look, but overall thinner shapes for greater readability.

The gallery below shows each iteration of the redesign. The first image is the original logo, first used in the My Dear Prince translation released in January 2011. The redesign is a work in progress; the final result will be used in all future versions of the visual novel translation patches.

 

Original logo. The font used is DFGLeiGaSo.
Original logo. The font used is DFGLeiGaSo.
Redesign, stage 1. The new font is FOT-MatisseMinoriPro-En-B.
Redesign, stage 1. The new font is FOT-MatisseMinoriPro-En-B. Thin gaps between letters that would cause the purple outline to collide with itself have been filled in manually in all below stages.
Redesign, stage 2. The font size was increased slightly and the space between words adjusted accordingly.
Redesign, stage 2. The font size was increased slightly and the space between words adjusted accordingly.
Redesign, stage 3. The kerning between letters "K" and "i" in "Kiss" and "F" and "o" in "For" were adjusted manually.
Redesign, stage 3. The kerning between letters “K” and “i” in “Kiss” and “F” and “o” in “For” were adjusted manually.
Redesign, stage 4. The kerning between letters "F" and "o" were adjusted again, and the kerning between letters "T" and "h" in "The" adjusted as well. The spacing between words was also changed.
Redesign, stage 4. The kerning between letters “F” and “o” were adjusted again, and the kerning between letters “T” and “h” in “The” adjusted as well. The spacing between words was also changed.
Redesign, stage 5. A bolder version of the same font is used in an attempt to reach a middle ground between the old and new fonts.
Redesign, stage 5. A bolder version of the same font is used in an attempt to reach a middle ground between the old and new fonts. Compare the purple outlines in the “P” and “o” letters.

Changed Lines in A Kiss For The Petals

This is a listing of the lines that were changed in the remake edition of A Kiss For The Petals, released on 12 August 2011. Each line alternates with the original line with its current translation in CountPacula’s patch followed by the changed line. Some very minor changes (mostly typo corrections and missing or erroneous particles) are not included. As with the rest of my releases, I would like to have the entire script revised at some point in the near future after these new lines are retranslated, largely to package the CountPacula translation into one of my patchers.
Continue reading “Changed Lines in A Kiss For The Petals”

Changed Lines in My Dear Prince

This is a listing of the lines that were changed in the remake edition of My Dear Prince, released on 12 August 2011. Each line alternates with the original line with its current translation in version 3.1 followed by the changed line. Some very minor changes (mostly typo corrections and missing or erroneous particles) are not included. I am planning to revise the entire script at some point in the near future after these new lines are retranslated.
Continue reading “Changed Lines in My Dear Prince”