Site anniversary, new art, and sequel due for May 2011!

A lot of great things with this new update!

It has been a year since, the latest reincarnation of my DSWC fan sites, went online. Kaytseki, a good friend, painter, and fellow Ogiwara fan, has been so gracious as to paint Saya and Chihaya for the background of the website. See the original, full image in the Fanart section!

It appears that this summer a new round of covers were issued with the latest Japanese paperbacks of the Magatama trilogy. The covers of summer 2010 are minimalist, pastoral photo-manipulations that would appeal more to the casual reader (my opinion :]). Be sure to check out the new additions on the page for each book!

And saving the best for last…

Dragon Sword and Wind Child‘s sequel Hakuchou Iden is slated to come out next year on May 17th with the English title Mirror Sword and Shadow Prince. The book itself is in the final editing stages as I type. Keep your fingers crossed! And remember to buy the paperback of Dragon Sword and Wind Child in a couple weeks to support the release of sequels.

More news will be appended as I find it! Meanwhile, watch the original Hakuchou Iden page.

Source: Simon and Schuster
Amazon link:

Overenthusiastic spam filter

This is more a site-thing than it is Magatama trilogy news, but I felt I should mention it. Yes, this site gets a load of spam, and I am grateful for the powerful Akismet filter that I use. But it also just so happens that I can’t always find the time to read everything that’s in the spam queue, and often, I just end up deleting the whole list. There are times when Akismet catches real comments and mistakes them as spam. I’m faced with the possibility that I may have unintentionally deleted actual correspondence this way. I guess an apology can’t fix what’s already been done, but it’s better now that I’m aware of it and will make more of an effort to scan through the spam.

What prompted this was an extremely helpful comment that was wrongly marked as spam this morning. Luckily, I was able to fish it out and reply to it.

For the future, make a note of this: I always try to respond to comments, especially if they are inquiries. So if I haven’t replied to your comment, likely it was mistaken for spam. Comment again and hopefully it’ll go through, or I’ll notice it in the spam queue!

The old “Color of the Sky” website

It’s a little trip down memory lane for me. For anyone new to Tales of Magatama who wonders how this website used to look like, I guess I unintentionally left a few pages of the old site “The Color of the Sky” still online and intact, here:

NOTE: I would suggest using a pop-up blocker or a browser (i.e., Google Chrome) that automatically blocks pop-ups. My old free host loved to spring those ads on you. A major motivating factor behind why I made the move.

The old site was 100% HTML-based and constructed almost exclusively out of images. Where would I be without you, Photoshop? ♥

Kind of have to admit I’m still rather fond of the old layout, haha :]

SWET interviews award-winning translator Cathy Hirano

Cathy Hirano, translator of Dragon Sword and Wind Child, has twice garnered the prestigious Batchelder Award for her translated novels. The Society of Writers, Editors, & Translators (SWET) interviewed her about Moribito and DSWC in July.

“SWET member Cathy Hirano is a Japanese-English translator living in Shikoku. Her translation of the young adult (YA) novel The Friends by Kazumi Yumoto (Natsu no niwa; Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1996) won the Mildred L. Batchelder Award for children’s literature in translation and the Boston Globe–Horn Book award for children’s fiction (both in 1997). Misa Dikengil interviewed Hirano via email about two recent YA publications: a translation of Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit by Nahoko Uehashi (Seirei no moribito; Scholastic, 2008) and a revised reissue of her 1993 translation of Dragon Sword and Wind Child by Noriko Ogiwara (Sorairo magatama; VIZ Media, 2007). Shortly after the interview, Hirano’s translation of Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit received the 2009 Mildred L. Batchelder Award for Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic.”

Read the full interview here:
Young Adult Fantasy in Translation (SWET)

Backdated readers’ reviews (collected 2010.08.29)

A lovely in-depth feature for Dragon Sword and Wind Child on Episode 83 of Anime Today. Aired on December 31, 2008. Spotlight by Marie:

“Way back in middle school and high school, before I had ever even heard of manga, I was a big fan of my local library’s young adult book section. It never ceased to amaze me the sheer variety of settings and characters all grouped together by dint of demographic – much like manga today, come to think of it. One of those books that I checked out time and again was Dragon Sword and Wind Child …

“If you’d asked me when I was younger why I liked Dragon Sword and Wind Child, I’d have cited its combination of all sorts of things – an adventurous quest in a far-off place, a strong heroine, a convincing romantic subplot – and then promptly complained about having to write a book report. While all of those elements are still there (except for the book report – oh wait), rereading the book again I find there’s whole new reasons to applaud my early taste.

“One of the very first things to come up when you mention reading a novel originally written in another language is the quality of the translation. You can get away with some things in manga as, after all, pictures tell most of the story. But in novels, the translation really makes or breaks the book. I am pleased to report that Dragon Sword and Wind Child’s translation, done by Cathy Hirano, is fantastic. If it didn’t explicitly say that it had been translated on the cover I never would have guessed, and I certainly didn’t when I first read it. …

“Also completely lost on me when I was 12 was that Dragon Sword and Wind Child is utterly steeped in Japanese storytelling traditions. It only makes sense considering its origin, but for an American kid – or even an American adult who thinks she’s pretty up on Japanese culture by now – it’s a beautifully exotic tale. The interstitial but epic layout of the story, the opulent imagery conjured, the perfectly organized imperial bureaucracy, the gods the villagers take almost for granted, and the discarding of traditional good versus evil for a complex mix of duty, fate, and love… In the same way Princess Mononoke was a whole new kind of animated movie fantasy, Dragon Sword and Wind Child is a wholly different kind of fantasy novel.”

Read or listen to the full review at:
ANIME TODAY Explores ANIME VICE With Managing Editor Gia Manry


More from individual readers on different websites:

From Firekeeper via

“If I were to choose one thing I liked best about this book, I would probably choose the way that Ogiwara takes a bucket of fantasy tropes (magical swords, Chosen One types, Light and Darkness, etc.) and dumps it upside down. At first glance it seems like a rather cliché story, but read it and you will discover something strikingly original and beautiful. …

“The writing–not just the translator’s writing–is vivid, filled with strong imagery and emotion, and the characters are all very strong and unique. I truly enjoyed this book and hope that the sequels are published, and soon.”


From Marian Eccaber via

“[T]his book … belongs with the other classics of high fantasy and allegory that have been reprinted thousands of times throughout the years.

“The subtlety of the descriptions and development in this book is pure magic, the best I have ever seen. Everything moves so fluidly –the plot, the scenes, and the characters develop gradually but smoothly and completely– that I can only think that if a beautiful water-color painting could have a written form, this would be it. This book must have been very skillfully translated from its original Japanese, because never in the English language have I found such images before. While this book does entertain as well, and ends, against all odds, happily, it transcends many other books because it does not simply touch the mind or emotions. There is something spiritual about it, something that touches that part of each of us that is truly alive and connected to the life all around us. Not only does it touch it, but it opens our eyes to that connection. That alone makes this book worth reading. I wish there were more books like it.”


From Jess via CBC Kids

“I read the book Dragon Sword and Wind Child and found it to be one the most wonderful and fatasiciful[sic] books I have ever read. I read it over and over and was very sad when I had to return it to the library.

“This book shares the joy of family, love, adventure, and the fine line between the daemon and heavenly realms. It is a book of a girl trying to find her simple past, but finding so much more.”


From Julie via Manga Maniac Cafe

“I rediscovered the reward of a book without pictures over the last few days … While Dragon Sword and Wind Child didn’t grab my imagination in the beginning, by the middle of the book I was hooked. My sleep pattern was disrupted as I spent precious sleep hours reading instead of getting some needed shut-eye. … I was reluctant to put the book down.

“I thought the contrast between the God and Goddess was very clever … Chihuya[sic] was my favorite character…

“Despite its slow start, Dragon Sword and Wind Child soon told an absorbing tale about love and hope, with imperious gods interfering in the lives of ordinary humans. The story finished with a satisfying conclusion, neatly wrapping up all of the threads that had been woven throughout the chapters.”