Thursday, 3 January 2013

Vamp! I - Colour Pages

(Download the updated version in PDF/epub format here.)

Ladies and gentlemen! Here is the first update of Vamp, a story about vampires written by the excellent Ryogo Narita.

Unfortunately, I could not get a hold of decent scans for a good majority of the illustrations in this book. This is why the illustrations that were not included in the Baccano art book have been unskilfully scanned by yours truly from the Korean volumes in my possession. If anyone could provide me with a full set of illustration scans, I would appreciate it very much. Problem solved! Thanks everyone for the links!

On another note, I know absolutely nothing about German and other related languages. Which can be quite the obstacle when you're trying to figure out (pseudo-)German names from Japanese. When I am having problems with figuring out name spellings, I will set aside a section at the end of the update asking for help from the readers. In fact, there's one such section at the end of this very update.

Thank you, and I hope you enjoy this new series!


Colour Pages


[Who am I, you ask?]

[So, in an attempt to understand what in the world I may be, and in order to confirm your suspicions about what kind of a creature I am, you have taken it upon yourself to ask me in person!]

[Then allow me to answer your question with the utmost sincerity! My name is Gerhardt von Waldstein. I was granted the noble title of 'viscount' and bestowed lordship over this island of Growerth by His Imperial Majesty the Emperor.]

[Let me begin by introducing to you my family. Ah, they say that one glance at a child will tell you a thousand facts about the parent, do they not?]

[Let us start with Relic--my adopted son, and one who could not be any closer to pureblood status. A pure-blooded what, you ask? Now, what was it that you called those like myself and my son? Masters of the Night, Nosferatu, Night Flyer, et cetera… Ah, of course! I've left out the most recognizable of our names.]

[Perhaps it would be most accurate to call us 'Vampires'.]

[How do you feel about these beings known as vampires? Fear? Hatred? Or perhaps a sense of curiosity or reverence you might reserve for creatures of legend. But if you expect such legendary exploits of my son, I'm afraid you will be rather disappointed. After all, Relic is much too gentle a boy to become anything but himself.]

[My daughter Ferret is Relic's younger sister and twin. I do not mean to boast, but she has grown into quite the beauty. But recently she's become rather strangely proud--or stubborn, perhaps. Of course, it is not vanity I speak of, but her pride in her family and vampiric nature. In fact, I doubt even she is aware of her own beauty yet, but perhaps I would come across as too doting a father if I claimed that is one of the many things that endear her to me so.]

[What I am trying to say is, I can boast proudly about my children--which, at the same time, means that I am boasting proudly about their father, myself, in a very roundabout fashion. Your praises, I beseech you!]

[…That was a joke. I would like to claim that I am not so low as to use my beloved children in order to honour myself.]


[I say that I am lord over this island, but it has been a long time indeed since aristocrats have had any power in this country. In other words, the human side of this island is under the jurisdiction of someone other than myself.]

[The man's name is Watt Stalf. Never mind the circumstances, but he is a powerful figure on this island--and a man who considers me his worst enemy.]

[He is a man who has a sincerely optimistic outlook on his own ambitions. Others born of a union between the opposing worlds of Night and Day might bemoan their circumstances and believe themselves to be neither here nor there. But this man used his double heritage to his advantage--during the day, as a clever human using his wits. And during the night, violently going about working all kinds of wrongdoing as a man of vampiric descent.]

[…I suppose 'wrongdoing' is not necessarily the correct word to use. After all, this man is not swayed by good or evil, acting only as his desires propel him.]

[This is why his actions sometimes look rather mindless, and his plans shoddy and haphazard. Even if his plan was to be carried ninety percent of the way to perfection, he is the kind of man who would abandon it without a second thought if it didn't achieve his desired outcome. And even in this incident I am about to disclose to you, he behaved in extremely irrational ways--all for the sake of handing me humiliation. Although I suppose those who are caught up in his whims might be terribly inconvenienced, I am personally quite fond of this man's pettiness. In fact, I would even go so far as to say I respect this about him.]

[This petty villain is the kind of man who grows and matures. He is a match for most heroes in his will to see through everything he does to the end, but he could never become anyone so great as they. And this is why I believe his underlings have a soft spot for him, deep down in their hearts--fondness for this most noble of petty villains, the man who will never give up on his ideals.]


[It would not be an exaggeration to say that dinner is a microcosm of life itself. You favourite foods, your table manners, and even the conversation in which you engage at the table say something about your beliefs. And speaking of which, I've recently encountered a young lady who was particularly passionate about the art of eating.]

[Her name is Shizune Kijima.]

[How to explain, now? She partakes in certain kinds of food with uncommon drive. After all, she must stake her life on the procuring of her every meal. She is at once a self-serving hunter, a culinary artist, and a gourmand.]

[Hm? You say you wish to try her menu as well, my friends? Though I have no right to stop you, I will warn you first. To eat as she does is not a matter of putting your money or tastebuds on the line--it is a way of life that will haunt you for the rest of your days. The raw ingredients she seeks are--]


[Am I a conscious being, you ask? But of course! In the end, we are creatures beyond the logic of humanity. His Imperial Majesty had a rather cutting sense of humour, bestowing a title that does not exist in his country to myself, a vampire. Is it not pure serendipity? Of course, I hold this title of viscount with pride, as I do with my identity.]

[I protect this island with a noble title that should not exist, yet at the same time, I receive help from the people of this land.]

[To show you an example, do you see those two over there? That energetic boy on the right is young Mihail, and next to him is his younger sister Miss Hilda.]

[Those two are excellent friends of my children--or, I suppose Relic and Miss Hilda are as good as lovers. And as for Ferret and young Mihail… Let us say for now that they have a strong bond of their own. Ah, though I find it rather simple to acknowledge my son's romantic affairs, it is rather difficult to do the same for my daughter.]

[I do not mean that I have anything against young Mihail. In fact, I could never thank those siblings enough for brightening up my children. Their joy compels my children to smile, which in turn brings me pure bliss.]

[These siblings are the kind of people for whom I live. After all, their happiness gives me happiness. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Does it really matter if both are delicious in their own way?]

[Hm? You say you're through with introductions, my friends? You wish to see me in person? Hah, it seems you have not yet noticed. I have already shown you my true form some time ago, dear friends! All this time. Yes, right before your eyes. After all, I--]


On Names and Lores
This section contains a list of names I could not settle on spelling for, as well as vampire terms that I could not place or figure out. It's also your chance to correct me without mercy. Any names and terms detailed below are open for debate. Have your say in the comments!

1. Waldstein (バルシュタイン)[barushutain]: I struggled a lot with this one. The Seven Seas translation went with 'Balstein', and I chose to use 'Valstein' in an earlier draft, as you can see from my sneak preview post. I spent hours looking up the name, and came up with nothing but Vamp! and a Japanese game I'd never heard of. The latter spelt the name 'Balstein', but I didn't know if I could place so much trust in the spelling from another Japanese work.

So I looked up the possible English spellings online as well. 'Balstein' and 'Valstein' are both legit names, but the latter is used much more frequently. This is when I came across the even more common name of 'Waldstein' and presumptuously assumed that this might be the most likely way to spell this wonky family name. German speakers, correct me if I'm wrong!

Choices: 'Balstein' vs. 'Valstein' vs. 'Waldstein'

2. Ferret (フェレット)[feretto]: This one was less a matter of difficulty and more one of 'could anyone take this name seriously?' (I suppose it couldn't be worse than Jacuzzi Splot, but still...). フェレット is the Japanese spelling of the word 'ferret' (as in the small animal), but I didn't know if I should alter it to make it more dignified.

Choices: Stick with 'Ferret', or go with the more name-y sounding 'Felette'

3. Wat (ヴォッド)[voddo]: Another tough one. The name 'Wat' seems to actually exist, but because I don't know how to pronounce it properly, I have no idea if this spelling is a good fit for the name.

Choices: 'Wat' vs. 'Your suggestion'

4. Michael (ミヒャエル)[mihyaeru]: As is clear in the Japanese spelling, the 'c' in 'Michael' is silent. But can 'Michael' be pronounced 'Mihail' in German with that spelling? You tell me.

Choices: 'Michael' vs. 'Mihail'


  1. I don't know any more about the accuracy of the names than you do so I won't comment on that, but I just want to say thanks for translating this. It looks interesting!

  2. I'll pass on the german debate, but I prefer Ferret over Felette and Wat seems like a good fit. Just an opinion !

  3. Definitely go with "Ferret". Felette is a little too close in sound to... another word.
    Can't help with Germanic names though!

  4. Can't help with the Germanic names either, good luck with that lol. Other than that, thanks and good job with the colour pages thus far. Anxious to see how this is connected with his other writings and if there will be any passing statement of a character from either of them.

  5. As far as the names go, as a person who speaks some German, the only things I would change are 1.)To add a second 't' to Wat, making it 'Watt'. and 2.) to change Micheal to Mikkel. It's purely an aesthetic choice, as the pronunciations are the same. But if you want to go with authentic German, that's about as Authentic as you can get without a native speaker helping you.

    1. Thanks for the suggestion! The one things I'd like to note is that Michael's name is pronounced closer to 'Mihail' (there is no 'k' sound), which I'm not sure is a valid German spelling of the name.

  6. Thank you so much for the translation! I've been waiting for this ever since SS announced it.
    As for the names Waldstein is really good and actually makes sense :) I would say "Beilstein" would be a good option too, but seeing the romaji I don't think this one would fit.
    The German version of Michael is simply Michel, it contains no "k" but a softer sound. (Like a hard h.)

    1. Awesome! Thanks so much for the info. I've made the correction to his name.

    2. I am not going to be killed now for saying that the most common way to spell it, and the most logical with katakana like that would be Michael, am I? I might be from Denmark, but I took German for 5 years, and never once have I seen it spelled like Michel. In Germany the name Michael is pronounced closer to Mihael as indicated in the kana, so my bet would be on that being the accurate spelling. Just my two-cents.

  7. Interesting start. Thanks for translating. As for the name thing, maybe Furet, Furionem, or Furis. All three are believed to be related to the origins of the English term ferret but sound a little more...dignified (? not sure how to put that). Ferret literally means thief so not sure if the author means anything by it or not.

    1. Ah another odd thing is ferret isn't a German origin word, it's Latin and French origins (furet is old French,Furionem is late Latin, furis is classical Latin). Maybe someone who speaks German knows a German equivalent term? I'm just an amateur etymology buff.

  8. thanks for all your hard work, I can't wait to read this book. I plan to start the last Baccano you translated pretty soon

  9. Hello, German native speaker here.

    Waldstein sounds good. I don't know offhand, but it probably exists for real.

    Can't help you with Ferret. There's no German word even remotely similar. Sounds more like a nickname to me, maybe for her looks or her nature? Since it's a woman, maybe Felette wouldn't be so bad? Sounds more like French to me, though.

    Watt works, but is more commonly a last name, but that's the Japanese for you. (That one character from some game named Sieg Wahrheit makes me cringe everytime.)

    Now for Michael, my name as coincidence would have it.
    The normal pronounciation would be Mi-sha-ehl in High German (with lots of mangling of it in the regional dialects). In romaji it would look like Mi-sha-eru, I guess?
    Michel is the common French version of the name (for men).
    Mihail probably exists, too, but is not German. Sounds to me more like something from Eastern Europe, countries closer to Russia than to Germany.

    You could pair up Felette and Michel as French-inspired names, since the two characters are pretty much a couple it would work - for me at least.

    Hope this helps you a little bit.

  10. Thanks for your hard work!

    Mihail - Russian version of the name. In German - Michael, in France - Michel.

  11. Thank you for the translation on the novel!!
    on the other hand Waldstein and Mihail definitely sounds better

  12. Hey, don't know if you still read this, since it's been a while since you posted it, but I'll try anyways :D
    First of all, thanks for the great work. After reading every baccano light novel I could find, I finally got around to vamp and just finished the first volume. The plot felt kind of weird and not all the way up to par with baccano, but I think you mentioned somewhere, that the later novels will get better, so I'll definitely continue reading them.

    Now about the German names. As a native German speaker, I spent some time wondering, if Mihail and Ferret were eastern European, probably Russian, because of the name "Mihail". The most common spelling of the name would be Michael (although it's not pronounced the same as in English) and I think even the French Michel has a more German "feeling" to it than Mihail and it's probably more common in Germany, too. Actually, I believe it's a common name in southern Germany, so I guess the best spelling would be Michael, since the characters seem to live in the north.
    Waldstein is a great choice and I like it much better than the other spellings you had to choose from and I'm not sure about Ferret. I've never heard a German name that sounded anything close to that, but it feels alright, so I guess it's fine.

    One more question though. You spelled the name of the island as "Growerth". Was that the only option you had, when translating it? I'm not even sure how to pronounce it in German, because the th is usually used in words deriving from other languages or in really, really old German, so I'm kinda confused on whether to read it like an English "th" or just like a "t", as it's usually pronounced in current high German (The "th" sound that's used in English doesn't exist in our language at all).

    That's all I can think of for now, so I guess I'll get started on vamp II.
    Thanks again!

    1. Wow! Thanks for all the advice. Let me just respond to all that in order.

      Mihail: I knew this would come back to bite me in the ass. I was struggling because if I spelled his name 'Michael', people would definitely read his name with the English pronunciation, and I wanted to avoid that at all costs. It's a bit late to change the spelling right now, but once I finish volume V of Vamp!, I'm going to go back to clean up the series--sort of like a second edition. At that point, Mihail's name spelling will be changed and given a proper pronunciation footnote.

      As for Ferret, I honestly have no idea what Narita was thinking. But I noticed in volume IV that Mihail wears a shirt with a ferret design, of all things, so I'm just going to stick with that spelling.

      And finally, Growerth: I got lazy at the end. It's a lot harder to look up place names than it is to look up people names, and I knew I'd lose too much time if I tried to comb through atlases and language textbooks. Here's the katakana for the island's name: グローワース (pronounced gurōwāsu). If you could suggest a more authentic alternative, I'd really appreciate it!

      And out of curiosity, what's your take on Watt's name? Is it a good approximation, or is there another spelling I could go for?

    2. Hmm I'm really lost with the island's name. If you sound it out in German, it would be Growas, which is neither the name of any island (did a quick search on wikipedia) nor is it an actual word.. The only thing that makes some kind of sense would be the fact that the German word for water is Wasser, so at least the second half of the word is somehow linked to the ocean (or I may be over-interpreting things). So maybe it's Growass, which doesn't look much better.
      Ok, so I'm pretty sure that it should be either "s", "ss" or "ß" (sharp s) at the end of the word, since we usually pronounce the "th" like a regular t.
      The vowel sound before that could either be the "er" you used, or a regular "a", but since it's not at the end of the word, I'd lean towards "a".
      Can't think of anything that'd look better than "Grow" for the first part of the word. "oo" and "oh" are both pronounced the same and are also possible instead of "o". In some north-eastern dialects even "ow" is pronounced that way (oog actually means island in certain German dialects, so maybe he wanted an "oo" in the name?? It also looks kinda funny though..).
      Well, there are tons of possible ways to spell it. Growerth sounds great as long as you use English pronunciation and I've really gotten used to it.
      Other spellings that I think look ok are: Growas, Growass, Growaß, Growers, Grohwas, but I'm not really happy with any of them. Maybe one day some northern German person will find a good spelling :D many people up there still speak a very different dialect from the one we use where I live, so I don't really know what looks normal to them. Anyways, I'm totally lost with that word.

      Now about Ferret. Relic's name is not really much of an actual name, so I guess that Ferret doesn't have to make much sense either. Maybe their parents weren't even German (if the book said that they are, then I probably forgot..). The German word for relic would be Reliquie, which sounds awful, especially as a guy's name (it's actually a feminine word), so maybe they were both intended to be English words.

      Watt seems perfect to me. Couldn't really think of any way to improve the spelling. We pronounce the "W" the same as "V", but Vatt/Vat doesn't look right at all and Wott/Wot doesn't look like a name either. Oh and Watt is the German word for the part of the coast that you can walk on when the tide recedes (don't know the proper English word, if there even is one), so it kinda fits the whole island theme.

    3. Haha, thank you. I'll probably stick with 'Growerth' until someone decides to correct me with an alternate spelling.

      And as for Relic and Ferret, their parents were from the Organization, so they might not have been German to begin with.

      Thank you again for all your help!