[Revised Edition] Review: I Think I Turned My Childhood Friend Into a Girl – Volume 1

    English cover of volume 1, featuring Mido Kenshiro (left) and Hiura Mihate (right)

    Review of the First Edition (June 5, 2022) | Review of the Revised Edition (January 17, 2023)

    The first volume of I Think I Turned My Childhood Friend Into a Girl by Azusa Banjo was officially released in English by Seven Seas Entertainment on May 31, 2022. The revised edition was translated by the Childhood Friend Translation Team and lettered by Elena Pizarro, and is available now on digital platforms including Amazon, BookWalker, and Google Play. As of writing, the release date for the revised edition in print has not been announced, but hopefully it’ll be in stores by the time the second volume comes out on February 21, 2023.

    Originally published as Koisuru (Otome) no Tsukurikata by Ichijinsha under their comic POOL imprint on pixiv COMIC beginning in February 2020, the series currently has five volumes released in Japan. It features Mido Kenshiro, a boy who loves cosmetics, and Hiura Mihate, his (male) childhood friend, and what happens after Mido tries putting makeup on Hiura for the first time.

    Today, I’ll be comparing selected portions of the first printing and the revised edition of the official English adaptation of the first volume. (Note: I worked on a fan translation into English of the manga beginning with episode 5.③ until the official English version was announced. I make no claim that the fan translation is free of mistakes.)

    Checking which edition you have

    The easiest way to check which edition you’re looking at is to flip to the back of the book and check the copyright page. The first edition will have “First Printing: May 2022”, while the revised one will have “Revised Edition: February 2023”. Note that both editions have the same ISBN, so you can’t use that to check which edition you have.

    The copyright page of both editions, with the first edition on the left and the revised edition on the right

    If you’re checking a sample of the beginning of the book that doesn’t include the last page, you can look at page 3, the first page after the table of contents. The text box for Mido’s narration in the bottom-right corner will have the words “You see…” written on one line in the first edition and on two lines in the revised edition.

    p. 3, 1st ed. (left) / 2nd ed. (right)

    Regarding pronoun usage

    The revised edition consistently uses masculine pronouns (he/him) for Hiura throughout the entire book. The teacher in ep1.①, Mido, and the omniscient narrator on p. 38 and p. 84 all refer to Hiura using masculine pronouns where feminine pronouns (she/her) were used in the first edition.

    p. 38, 1st ed. (left) / 2nd ed. (right)


    The “Anjo” and “Tenka” typos are fixed:

    p. 4 (left), p. 5 (right)
    • p. 4
      • The new Anjo lipstick just dropped yesterday!! (1st ed.)
      • That’s the new Anju lipstick that dropped yesterday!! (2nd ed.)
    • p. 5
      • “Buy me…”
        “three ramens at Tenka.” (1st ed.)
      • “Buy me…”
        “three bowls of Tenya ramen.” (2nd ed.)

    Note that both of these lines have also been revised for flow. On p. 4, it’s been rewritten to make it explicit that Mido noticed the lipstick on a girl passing by, rather than just suddenly remembering that it came out yesterday. On p. 5, the plural “ramens” has been replaced by “bowls of ramen”.


    Let’s take a look at a scene that was completely revised:

    (p. 15, Hiura aside/Mido narrating)
    JapaneseRomanizationEnglish (1st ed.)English (2nd ed.)
    Hō…kore ga uwasa no
    shin sakuhin…!!
    Oooh…a legendary
    new snack!!
    Oooh…the new
    snack everyone’s
    talking about!!
    Hayari no fuku de wa
    aru shi,
    niawanai koto mo
    nai kedo
    Pretty trendy!
    I can’t say it
    looks bad…
    Pretty trendy!
    I can’t say it
    looks bad on him.
    なんだろう…Nandarō…but something’s missing.But it just…
    Hiura no kawaisa ga
    mattaku ikasarete
    Hiura’s cuteness
    is going to waste
    in that sack!!
    It doesn’t
    show off how cute
    Hiura really is!!
    Konna kōkyū sozai o
    konna ni zatsu ni
    atsukau nante
    nēchan-tachi wa
    nani yattenda!
    Such luxe materials!
    What were
    my sisters thinking?!
    What were
    my sisters thinking
    putting something
    so perfect
    in a sack like this?!
    …Iya, somosomo,
    koitsu no kawaisa tte
    nan nandatte hanashi
    And why am I
    still fixated on
    his overpowering
    And why am I
    so fixated on
    his cuteness,

    Overall, this scene flows much better in the revised edition compared to the first edition. These are the sorts of changes that are present throughout the entire volume in the new edition.

    In the first edition, こんな高級素材 Konna kōkyū sozai is translated as “Such luxe materials!”. In isolation, this is a perfectly fine translation. Reading the English text, you might assume that this is referring to how the clothes are made of high-quality materials, but since those clothes were just described as a sack, it might feel a bit off. Is Hiura’s cuteness going to waste because the materials are too luxurious? The revised edition translates it as “[putting] something so perfect [in a sack like this]”, which shows how Hiura is actually the “luxe material” in question, not the clothes.


    (p. 21, Hiura speaking)
    JapaneseRomanizationEnglish (1st ed.)English (2nd ed.)
    kotchi no sugata no hō ga
    hontō no jibun kana tte
    ki ga shi hajimete…
    I’m starting
    to feel like this
    is who I am.
    I’m starting to
    wonder if this
    look’s maybe
    more who I am.
    Betsu ni Midō no
    sei toka ja
    nai tte ba
    It’s got nothing
    to do with you.
    It’s not your fault.

    In the first line, the Japanese line has some equivocation with the words なんか nanka and かな kana, which the revised edition gets across using “wonder” and “maybe”. Additionally, the word 姿 sugata “appearance” is kept in the revised edition by using “this look” rather than merely “this”.

    In the second line, the first edition interprets it as Hiura saying that his wearing of the sailor suit uniform has nothing to do with Mido. The second edition is more direct and says that it isn’t Mido’s fault. While the first edition’s line has better flow and more characterization, special 1 and later chapters show that Hiura’s decision to wear feminine clothing does have something to do with Mido.


    (p. 26, Hiura narrating)
    • Ever since I came out as a girl… / my childhood friend’s been super weird. (1st ed.)
    • Ever since I started the whole girly thing … / my childhood friend’s been super weird. (2nd ed.)

    This line has been rewritten to no longer mention “coming out“. Personally, I think the line in the revised edition is kind of awkward, but at least it doesn’t give a misleading impression like the original line did. Also, it looks like a space got left behind before the ellipsis during the editing process.

    (p. 29, Hiura narrating)
    • And just like that, I decided to become a girl. (1st ed.)
    • And just like that, I decided to become a “girl.” (2nd ed.)

    Quotes have been added around “girl”. I think while this is the easiest way to indicate that 『女の子』 is not necessarily meant literally, scare quotes do come with some negative connotations in English.


    (p. 31)

    The revised edition correctly conveys that Mido was named using the author’s intuition, rather than the name meaning “intuition”.


    (p. 35, teacher speaking/Hiura speaking)
    • TEACHER: Before we begin…
      Starting today, this is how Hiura will be presenting.
      Make sure she feels welcome.
      HIURA: Nice to meet everyone… again. (1st ed.)
    • TEACHER: Before we begin…
      Hiura will be coming to school like this from now on.
      So be nice, everyone.
      HIURA: Hey, everyone… (2nd ed.)

    The revised edition is a more straightforward translation of the original Japanese, which doesn’t carry as many of the implications as the first edition.


    (p. 44, Hiura speaking/Mido speaking)
    JapaneseRomanizationEnglish (1st ed.)English (2nd ed.)
    Kinō no
    rajio de sā
    So, on yesterday’s
    Okay, on the radio
    last night–
    お前 また
    Omae, mata
    osoku made
    okiteta no ka yo
    That’s why you
    woke up late again?
    Wait. You were
    up late again?
    urusai na,
    okan ka yo
    Shut up!
    You’re not
    my mom.
    Shut up!
    You’re not
    my mom.

    Let’s take a deeper look at two things in this scene:

    1. How did “yesterday’s podcast” become “the radio last night”?
    2. How did “you woke up late” become “you were up late”?

    First things first, ラジオ rajio is the katakana-ized form of the word “radio”. If you look it up in a dictionary, you’ll find that it does actually mean “radio”. However, in Japan, anime- or game-related radio programs have largely moved from being broadcast over AM or FM to being broadcast over satellite or the internet, while still retaining the “radio” name. Some of these programs are even pre-recorded and available on demand, which sounds much more like a “podcast” than a “radio” program to Western ears. (They also get released on CD.)

    However, on Hiura’s character profile (p. 30), it mentions that Hiura specifically likes 深夜ラジオ shin’ya rajio “late-night radio”. In the first edition, this was also translated as “podcasts”. Since Hiura likes late-night radio specifically, it would be more natural to say that it aired “last night” rather than “yesterday”, especially if it was past midnight.

    Now let’s look at the second question. The adverb 遅く osoku can mean “late”, and the verb 起きる okiru can mean “to wake up” or “to stay awake”. So far, either of these might make sense here. But the key word here is まで made, which roughly means “until”. While 遅く起きる osoku okiru does mean “to sleep in”, 遅くまで起きる osoku made okiru means “to stay up late”. Additionally, 起きて(い)た okite(i)ta is in the past progressive tense (roughly “was staying [up late]”), rather than 起きた okita for the simple past tense (roughly “woke [up late]”).

    (p. 45, Mido narrating)
    • But…
      My clique changed in junior high.
      He distanced himself from everybody in school.
      Even if everyone was the same as always back home. (1st ed.)
    • But…
      I started hanging out with different people in junior high.
      And he started keeping his distance from me at school.
      He was the same as always at home, though. (2nd ed.)

    The revised version flows more naturally and has the correct implied indirect object of “me” instead of “everybody” and the subject of “he” rather than “everyone”.


    (p. 74, Hiura speaking/Mido speaking/aside)
    • I still feel weird mixed in with a bunch of girls.
      Keep trying your best.
      You just can’t beat us guys, Hiura! (1st ed.)
    • I just feel kinda awkward joining the girls.
      Okay. Yeah, I get that…
      Go to girls’ side. It’s too hard for the other guys to play with you. (2nd ed.)

    The aside is rewritten to be dialogue from a teacher or someone similar telling Hiura to go to the girls’ side of the gym, rather than a taunt from the other guys. The aside really needs a “the” though.

    (p. 77, Mido speaking)
    • You can s-see right through your shirt!
      If you’re gonna be a girl, try acting like one! (1st ed.)
    • I can s-see right through to your skin!
      If you’re gonna dress like a girl, you gotta pay attention to this stuff! (2nd ed.)

    The revised edition has Mido say that Hiura is “dressing like a girl” rather than “being a girl”.


    (p. 106, Mido narrating)
    JapaneseRomanizationEnglish (1st ed.)English (2nd ed.)
    Mada kana~
    Hiura no yatsu…
    What’s taking
    her so long…?
    Where is
    Hiura already?
    …Demo nande
    genchi shūgō…?
    Why’d she want
    to meet here?
    Why’d he want
    to meet here?
    Itsumo mitai ni
    issho ni dete kurya
    yokatta no ni.
    I thought we’d
    walk over together.
    We could’ve headed out
    together the way we always do.

    Since they were heading into the city, they may not have walked directly to the station where they were planning to meet up, so the revised edition only states that they normally head out together.

    (p. 107-109, Hiura speaking/Mido speaking)
    JapaneseRomanizationEnglish (1st ed.)English (2nd ed.)
    Hanashi ga
    Nanna no
    They’re so
    Are they

    really hitting
    on me?!
    They’re not
    these guys
    チャラい…Charai…Sexist pigs…So flashy…
    ore no tsure nande.
    Excuse me.
    with me.
    Excuse me.
    This one…
    is taken.
    Ayauku henna shōzai toka
    tokoro datta yo…
    They almost
    roped me into
    buying some
    weird product.
    They were trying
    to push some
    pyramid scheme
    on me or something.
    futsū ni tada no
    nanpa to omou kedo…
    They were flirting
    with you.
    Uh. I think they
    were actually
    flirting with you.

    In the revised edition, Hiura does not realize that the guys are hitting on him, like in the original. By having him mistakenly identify them as “scammers”, this sets up the “pyramid scheme” comment that Hiura says to Mido.

    (p. 109, Hiura speaking/Mido narrating)
    JapaneseRomanizationEnglish (1st ed.)English (2nd ed.)
    えー だって
    Ē, datte,
    otoko da yo,
    But I’m
    a boy.
    But I’m
    a boy.
    …ていうか…Te iu ka,Speaking of which…Hunh…
    Kyō wa gattsuri
    josō tte wake ja
    nai no ni
    Her outfit isn’t that
    over-the-top girly.
    He’s not dressed super girly
    or anything today.
    itsumo yori
    kawaikunai ka…?
    But she still looks
    weirdly cuter
    than usual.
    But he looks
    weirdly cuter
    than usual?

    As mentioned previously, Mido uses masculine pronouns for Hiura in the revised edition. This is particularly noticeable here, where in the first edition, Mido uses feminine pronouns for Hiura immediately after Hiura states that he’s a boy.


    (p. 129, Hiura speaking)
    • Maybe going out all femme won’t be bad after all! (1st ed.)
    • Going out dressed like a girl might be better than I thought. (2nd ed.)

    This uses the more literal “dressed like a girl” rather than the term “femme“.

    special 1

    (p. 146-147, Hiura speaking)
    • Does he like me?!
      No way!!
      He really likes me?!
      What?! (1st ed.)
    • If I push, do I actually have a chance?
      For real?!
      This is seriously his type?!
      What?! (2nd ed.)

    The revised edition is closer to the original Japanese and conveys how Hiura realized that Mido likes how he currently looks and that if he were to push it further, Mido might fall in love with him.

    (p. 148, Hiura narrating)
    • But I’ve never seen Mido so flustered in front of me.
      And he didn’t seem creeped out. (1st ed.)
    • But I’ve never seen Mido so flustered in front of a “girl.”
      And he didn’t seem creeped out. (2nd ed.)

    The revised edition translates 女の子? onnanoko? as “girl”.

    special 2

    (p. 156, Mido speaking/Hiura speaking/Mido speaking)
    • MIDO: You might not know this…
      But–aside from me–
      adolescent boys are pigs!!
      HIURA: I’m pretty familiar with the concept–
      MIDO: Except me, of course!! (1st ed.)
    • MIDO: You have no idea!
      I’m one of the good ones…
      But teenaged boys are pigs!!
      HIURA: Uh, I know. I’m a boy, too–
      MIDO: I’m one of the good ones, though!! (1st ed.)

    In the revised edition, Hiura reiterates that he is a boy here, like in the original.


    (p. 165)
    • I’ve been slipping my debut story of a boy turned girl into weekly published comics for a while, but never dreamed I’d get to publish an actual collection.
      I’m so grateful to my editor, and to all my readers. Your combined support made this happen!
      I hope I can keep the series going until Hiura’s dream becomes a reality. (1st ed.)
    • I’ve been secretly plugging away at drawing boys (♀) ever since I made my debut with a oneshot, but I never dreamed that this work would ever be serialized.
      And it’s all thanks to the editor who reached out to me, and above all else, you readers who’ve been cheering me on!
      I hope I get to keep going with the series until Hiura’s love is realized. (2nd ed.)

    In the revised edition, 男の娘 otokonoko is translated here as “boy (♀)”, like in one of the earlier extras. The revised edition correctly refers to Banjo’s debut oneshot and this series’ serialization.


    The entire volume has undergone numerous revisions, whether to make dialogue flow better or to better fit the text in the bubbles and boxes. All of the rough edges present in the first edition have been smoothed out, and the revised edition is much more faithful and accurate to the original work. What I’ve covered here is not at all comprehensive, and I think comparing these two editions further would definitely make a good case study for anyone studying translation. All of my concerns with the first edition have been resolved, and I can wholeheartedly recommend picking up the revised edition. I’m hopeful that future volumes will receive the same quality of treatment as well.

    As a matter of course, companies want their products to be successful. To do that, you should avoid offending as many people as you can, since every potential customer you offend is a lost sale. It makes no business sense not to use respectful and inclusive language. If you think a certain segment of your target audience is particularly important, then consulting with them and making sure to use the appropriate vocabulary would be good things to do. If you don’t handle a delicate subject carefully enough, it’s liable to blow up in your face.

    Based on what’s come out since my initial review, it seems that the staff who worked on this made an honest mistake and believed that they were dealing with a transgender or trans-coded character. There’s enough ambiguity in the original to support a trans-coded reading. Even though it wasn’t deliberate, that lens then colored the whole translation process. For example, translation choices that used LGBT+ terminology might have come to mind first, or were consciously picked over other alternatives. But apart from this initial misunderstanding and some rough edges, the overall quality of the translation is still decent.

    I’m happy to see media with trans characters, but as someone who’s read the original Japanese chapters, readers looking for a trans narrative in this particular work will end up being disappointed. While there’s definitely enough ambiguity to find some trans themes and subtext in the original text, especially in the first volume, there’s not enough there to justify it being the primary interpretation. I think the use of phrasing such as “came out as a girl” in Hiura’s narration makes it so that a plain reading of the English first edition would conclude that Hiura is implied to be trans. Had it gone unaddressed, the English version would have written itself into a corner. Later developments that contradicted this new premise would have forced them to either walk back the original translation or deviate even further from the original story.

    Ultimately though, that misjudgment ended up overshadowing everything else, and snowballed into the situation that it is now. Ideally, it would have been resolved civilly, with measured debate focused on how to best convey the work itself. But because it’s marred by this issue in particular, even people who haven’t read the series and wouldn’t normally have been interested in it took notice. Of course, everyone has their own motivations, shaped by their opinions and subconscious biases which affect how they view and respond to a situation. But if I had thought there was a more effective course of action to have the issues addressed than posting about it, I would honestly rather have done that instead.

    Even if the genesis was one person’s mistake, the buck stops with the publisher, who is ultimately the one who takes responsibility for their product. If the translators found something unclear and needed something clarified, they should have been able to contact the original author. If there had been more people with knowledge of Japanese and the original work in the loop, then the misunderstanding might have been caught before it went to print. It’s unfortunate that this wasn’t the case, but I hope that the changes Seven Seas has put in place prevent something like this from happening again, both for this series and for their other series.

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