Yume no Hanashi – review and post-translation commentary

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It took one month, but I’ve finally translated Yume no Hanashi (Ranko’s collection of Touhou stories based on her lyrics) in both English and Italian. I consider it to be my most ambitious project, and one of the BUTAOTOME-related things I’m proud of. To celebrate it, here is a review!

The book is small, as you can see. There are also not a lot of illustrations inside. There are exactly three artworks, and two of them are for some of the cursed moments in the stories!

One thing I’ve noticed is that “dreams” are a recurring theme in the book, as expected from the title. Each story revolves around a dream in some way or another. Most of them involve the most basic way of “dream”, with characters waking up after dreaming something relevant to their tale, In some other is more subtle. But now, let’s talk about each one of the stories. Of course, there will be spoilers!

Kasho no Yume
The longest story, but not the hardest one to translate at all. It’s about the Shanghai doll and her beloved creator. Alice’s dream is to be able to create an autonomous doll, while Shanghai’s one is to become Alice’s autonomous doll. And so, the two wishes merge. This tale revolves around Shanghai’s brief time as a living doll, and her search for an answer about why she is in this state and a solution to save Alice, with the help of Marisa and Patchouli. The dream sequence we got once the viewpoint changes is probably the most tearjerking moment in the book.
I was also so invested in the translation that I even had a dream where I wanted Chibi Ranko to gain her own will. Luckily I didn’t dream anything about the other stories.

Kioku no Fuchi
The most unique one here, and probably my second favorite. It’s written in first-person, but Yuuka talks directly to the reader. Also, the subject of her having (and losing) a child is not exactly something I read often. The “dream” motif lies in the fact that Yuuka has some faint memories of that experience nowadays, and now it’s like a dream for her. Also, the original theme. Now I wonder if Yurikago no Naka de (the other Yuuka song with Ranko’s lyrics) can be read as an alternate path, where the child managed to live… I would like to read a story about it, now!

Yukuefumei no.
A story that tries to connect PC-98 and Windows canon in a… pretty peculiar way. The “dream” here serves more as a sort of warning. A thing I noticed is that this is one of the three stories with a *** separator, which denotes a POV change. In Kasho no Yume was for when the POV shifted from Shanghai to Alice. Here it might be to further emphasize that the Reimu in the final paragraph is a different person, as erasing memories is not so different from killing someone and replace them with someone else.

Mikan no Furusato
My personal favorite. Mainly because I had a lot of fun translating it, and it made me raise a lot of questions. I made a lot of searches about it, to be sure that I understood it. Why did Reisen leave the Moon? Apparently, this wasn’t explained in canon, so here is Ranko’s interpretation. Is it possible to be nostalgic for a place you have never been to? Yes, and there is a German word for it: fernweh. Was the title of the song incomplete (as the novelization added 郷) on purpose? Is this phrase/quote from the original song a quote from somewhere else? And other stuff… It was such a ride. The dream is pretty much Reisen’s past. This is also the third story to have the above-mentioned *** separator. Reisen got a new name when she went to Earth, and now she feels “complete”, and a different person.

Yousei no Yume
A story about Eternity, the fairy who is approaching godhood but moreover needs more attention. This is a tale of contrasts, opposites, and where the border between dreams and reality is thin. While in the East people were worshipping a caterpillar (the Tokoyo god), in the West bugs were considered horrible monsters.
The Tokoyo god wasn’t a real god, but perhaps Eternity can use the faith of its worshippers to become a goddess. Or maybe she should do fewer drugs before sleeping. Do fairies drug? Okay, I’m so sorry. By the way, I really loved Yuuka’s appearance here.

The author is a huge ReiMari fangirl, so here is a new sweet ReiMari story. Similarly to Yukuefumei no, this one is connected to the PC-98 lore, with also a reference to one of Marisa’s good endings from Lotus Land Story, where she and Reimu go out and wear some exclusive outfits. The dream is yet another past thing (basically LLS’s stage 4, where the original theme of the song plays). If we tie it with Yukuefumei no, perhaps Marisa gets replaced as well, but she is aware of that and completely fine with it. She is a being of dreams and sweets who exists for the sake of Reimu’s smile.

Mittsu Kazoero
It’s time for some Hifuu! This story is the only one written in third-person, to further tie with the Arikitari na Nouzui blabla one, written in third-person as well. For the Hifuu Club, Gensokyo is pretty much a “dream” world. The Neo-traditionalism of Japan’s influence is also pretty strong, with the implications that Merry has some multiple personality disorder/DID (yaaa, my favorite Sal- I mean, Pizuya’s Cell song), but also with Merry being able to share her visions with Renko by covering her eyes.
This story now conflicts with canon due to the introduction of Sumireko, but I always appreciate stories where Sanae and the Hifuu Club (whether is Sumireko or the RenMerry duo) interacts.

Yumeyuki + Negai
I’ve put these two together because Negai is extremely short and feels more like an extension to Yumeyuki rather than a standalone story, giving us Satori’s side of Koishi’s issues. Both of them are pretty much generic Komeiji sisters’ stuff, but Koishi’s interactions with Suwako were cute, and Negai’s finale made me shed a tear.
Yumeyuki has “yume” in its name, and it could refer to the snowy landscape and Koishi’s memory, which is now kind of like a dream for her, but where is the “dream” element in Negai? Satori’s hope to be able to read her sister’s heart again? Oh wow, a BUTAOTOME release where the Komeiji sisters don’t fit the concept, why am I not surprised?

I overall really enjoyed reading and translating this book. They also made me appreciate the songs more. Most of them were already favorites of mine, while a few others managed to rise up in the rankings. I always look forward to this kind of non-music releases from the Pig, and I truly hope there will be a Yume no Hanashi 2 in the future! (with the Utakata story everybody wants)

In case you liked the stories, and you were able to read them thanks to my translations, the best thing you can do is to support the original release. Order your copy on BUTAOTOME’s BOOTH!

Now, time for some NAQ.

Will you translate more stuff into Italian in the future?
I will translate more stuff from Japanese to Italian in the future, but not BUTAOTOME things/for this website, and they will be mainly private things I won’t publish. But if there will be a Yume no Hanashi 2, I may consider it.

Can I repost the stories somewhere?
Please ask me before copypasting the text in another source. A simple link to the TC page is fine, tho.

Can I translate the novels into another language?
If you have the original book and can read Japanese, then yes, you don’t need to ask me. I just don’t want my translations to be used as the base for another one.

Are there other Touhou fanfictions/novels written by Ranko?
– for other song-based stories, there are Yume janai Nanika and Ochita Koe. They come from the collage book released in 2011, and I’ve translated both of them.
– there is also Arikitari na Nouzui yo, Koyoi no Tsuki no Odore. This one is a visual novel you can read for free on the official website. I’ve translated the very first paragraph or so, and it will definitely get a full translation in the future. The real pain in the ass is to make all the screenshots.
– there is also Gengo to Shikou no Kyori (言語と思考の距離, the distance between words and thoughts), a ReiMari story Ranko wrote in 2014 for a book called Hakurei Reimu wa Soko ni iru by Waki Miko Ai. I got the book a couple of months ago, so it will be translated in the future.
– Last but not least we have Tegami no Katachi ni shita Yume (手紙の形をした夢, a dream in the shape of a letter), a novel enclosed in a letter that was exclusively sold in February 2015, along with Folie à Deux’s release. Unfortunately, I don’t have it, otherwise I would give it a top priority in my list. In case you have it, you can contact me. I will be eternally grateful to you.

And I think that’s all.

*insert something here*
Thank you for reading!