Hi all, JMF here.
(Skip to Prologue)
I am a beginner translator, but not a beginner writer. I love words and have a large interest in the Japanese language.
I have been translating The Guin Saga to practice my Japanese reading skills.
In 2008, when Guin Saga books 1-5 were first officially licensed to English language Publisher VERTICAL, I read the Alexander O. Smith translations and got hooked. It wasn’t until later that I realized books 6-125 were never coming out.
Fast forward to 9 years later. An anime, and some manga have already been released in English, but still, to this day, from book 6 onward no one has come forward and officially taken up translating the series. Using a variety of resources, I finally decided enough was enough, and began learning the Japanese kana, and kanji, as well as translating The Guin Saga starting from Book 6 (thanks @canaria23 for providing links to the raws).
If you are not familiar with the first 5 books, and don’t want to go through the time to read them just to start reading this, don’t fret! Here is a brief summary, with the first book’s summary taken from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guin_Saga:
Book 1: (Sem are small, monkey-like humanoids) The kingdom of Parros is attacked by the army of Mongaul, and so Rinda and Remus, the princess and prince of Parros are teleported away by a magic mechanism. They wake up far away from Parros in the Roodwood, which is filled with dangerous spirits and the Mongauli army. They are almost captured by the Mongauli army when a mysterious warrior with the head of a leopard saves them. They give him water, and learn his name – Guin. (This is not in the Wikipedia entry, but Guin knows two words, “Aurra”, and “Randoch”. He also doesn’t know why he knows them. Occasionally, he’ll spout off information about the world, without being able to explain where he got the knowledge). Night falls and they fight off evil spirits, but are captured in the morning by the Mongauli army, who take them to the Black Count’s castle. The Black Count threatens Rinda to get her to reveal the secrets of Parros, though she knows nothing of them, and throws Guin and Remus into the dungeons. There, Guin and Remus meet Istavan, who is trying to escape. He tricks Remus into giving him his bedsheets for rope. Rinda meets and befriends Suni, another captive of the Black Count. The Black Count makes Guin fight a vicious ape, and a soldier throws a sword to him, enabling Guin to kill the ape. The soldier is lowered into the arena, but Guin leaps up to the Black Count and takes him hostage. The Black Count threatens to take off his mask and spread his plague, and Guin is recaptured. Meanwhile, Istavan escapes. Rinda and Suni are menaced by the Black Count, and the Sem attack the castle. The knights are caught by surprise, and open Remus and Guin’s cell to keep Remus safe, but they are killed by the Sem. The Sem then attack Guin and Remus, but they outrun the Sem and find Rinda and Suni. The Sem warriors are from an enemy tribe to Suni’s and so she cannot tell them to stop. They find a secret door and land in an empty dungeon, which should have been full. Suni is separated from the group, they find her tied up, with the Black Count Vanon ready to kill her to use her blood to treat his rotting disease. Guin reveals the Black Count to be a wraith, and banishes it, and the ghost of the true Count Vanon. Guin carries the twins and Suni out of the dungeon, and to escape the burning castle, jump into the river Kes.
Books 2-5: (My extremely brief summary) Guin and the twins end up on the shores of the river Kes, using a raft to cut across the river and back to civilization in the Middle Country. However, they get caught by Lady Amnelis, the daughter to the Archduke of Mongaul, Vlad. Mongaul is one of the three kingdoms of Gohra, the others being Yulania, and Kumn. Archduke Vlad wants to find a magic stone in Nospherus, because he has heard it is extremely powerful, so he sent his daughter, Amnelis, and a series of knights to try and search the Nospherus desert. The twins of Parros present another advantage to Amnelis and her army, as she wants to know how they were able to get all the way from Parros to the Roodwood without being captured. She believes that they used some sort of teleportation mechanism, and needs the twins to learn where the mechanism is. While Guin and Co are interrogated, Suni, who avoided capture along with Istavan, brings her tribe of Sem to attack the soldiers and save the heroes. Guin befriends the Raku tribe of Sem, learning of the 5 different tribes (Raku, Rasa, Tubai, Guro, and Karoi).
Meanwhile, Amnelis army grows. 15,000 troops, made up of the blue, red, white, and black knights are now in Nospherus, trying to get further into the desert in order to find the legendary stone that destroys all who touch it. Cal Moru, a fortune teller with no skin, explains that this stone is not of this world, and exists in what seems to be another dimension of sorts. He doesn’t know how he got there, but he stumbled upon it while he was deep in Nospherus.
Now, Guin along with Istavan and the Sem have small skirmishes with the Mongauli knights. Guin teaches the Sem, who are much smaller in number than the 15,000 knights, strategies to help them slowly dwindle down the enemy’s troops. During these battles, Astrias (second in command of the red knights) is introduced. He is madly in love with Amnelis, but constantly seems to fail her, and she sees him as the weakest of her commanders. He also has a one-way rivalry with Guin, who could care less about his existence and constantly embarrases him in the skirmishes. Meanwhile, two semi-important soldiers die: Leegan, commander of the red knights, who dies by being engulfed in yidoh, gelatinous glob-creatures and Tangaurd, captain of the black knights, who fell into a sand pit (he doesn’t die, but is extremely injured). Eventually, Guin realizes that sooner or later, the enemy would learn that the number of Sem was far less than they had originally thought, and would increase their opposition, essentially killing all the Sem of Nospherus. Therefore, he decides to find the Lagon, a group of giants that measure about two full grown men in height. He asks that his allies hold out for at least 4 days for him to get back with the new army.
Istavan sneaks into the enemy camp, kills a soldier of the blue knights, and takes his place. He befriends the commander, Marus, and becomes his liaison for rumors about the Sem and their hiding places. During one of the skirmishes, Istavan leads Marus and his team of blue knights to a Sem village in a deep valley, where it turns out the Sem have all retreated. Once Marus realizes he has been deceived, it is already too late, and the Karoi tribe of Sem roll large boulders into cratered village, crushing the knights. Too add insult to injury, the Karoi, a brutal tribe, also burn the town, and Marus, cursing Istavan, burns alive.
Meanwhile, Guin goes through one dangerous trial after another. First, it’s a sandstorm, which conveniently throws him closer to the Dog’s Head mountain, his destination. Then, on the mountain itself, he battles desert wolves, and is ultimately saved by the leader of the pack, a white wolf. He doesn’t know why, because the wolf can’t speak, but he is able to follow it to a high part of the mountain with loads of salt crystals. Within the crystals, he finds a shiny coin, which becomes important later. Finally, he finds the Lagon near the salt crystals, and unfortunately gets captured because he is carrying salt in his pocket, seen as stealing by the reclusive giants. He gets a chance to prove himself in a battle with Dodok the Brave, one of the two chiefs of the Lagon (the other being Kah, the Wise). As Guin is about to lose, he pulls out anything he can find that may help stop the rampaging Dodok, and accidentally pulls out the coin he picked up earlier. The coin turns out to be the Lagon’s god, and they vow to follow him wherever he leads until they reach ‘the promised land’. Guin is unsure why the coin appeared where it did, but Kah, the Wise tells him that their god takes many forms, and this time, Guin was chosen as it’s vessel. Now, with the Lagon, Guin prepares to leave.
Astrias, finding the dwindling Sem’s hidden encampment at a Nospherus oasis, runs to tell Amnelis their location, and finally gets the recognition from her he so desperately wanted. The Mongauli soldiers, already sore from so many defeats, become vengeful, and after reaching the Sem encampment, begin brutally slaughtering all they can find. The twins get captured by Astrias, who is desperate to reverse his tally of failed missions by handing them to Amnelis, but Istavan saves them. The Sem begin retreating further and further into the desert, toward Dog’s Head mountain, until it seems they cannot retreat any farther. However, Guin shows up with an army of Lagon, who butcher the army until they retreat back to the river Kes.