Authors: Aya Nishitani
Reincarnation of the Goddess
by Aya Nishitani
Translated by Masakado
Recently I got a hold of the original
Digital Devil Story
trilogy by Nishitani Aya. It's a horror-scifi book written in the 1980s that has a cult following, and spawned one of the largest Japanese RPG series around,
. (Which is also the title of the first book) I've always liked that series and was glad to get a chance to read where the whole thing spawned from.
However, I noticed there's not a lot of information about the original book in English; almost all the information is on the series of video games. It's not surprising that the book never made it over here as it's a niche title even in Japan, and —it needs to be said— somewhat trashy fiction.
So, I've decided to start translating the book. I've translated lots of stuff before, but never a novel, so I thought I'd just try my hand at it; also this will hopefully be good practice for the Kentei exam I'm planning on taking in December. I'm not the world's most fantastic translator, so if you have the original and have any suggestions for improvement, let me know. My ultimate goal is to translate all three of the
Digital Devil Story
Reincarnation of the Goddess
Warrior of the Demon City
Demise of the Reincarnation
. Realistically it'll be a miracle if I even get through the first book without losing interest, but you never know.
So, for those that are interested, this blog is a place to put my translations. Hopefully doing so doesn't violate any copyrights. (If you can demonstrate otherwise, let me know and I'll take the translations down... maybe replace them with plot summaries or something) And of course, in the (very unlikely) event that an official translation comes out, this entire blog will be pulled immediately. My translations are going to come out slowly, whenever I have free time, so don't get too pissed if you want the next chapter immediately —though you can feel free to nag. :)
Note that this is not stellar fiction. It's very beer-and-pretzels horror, and there is some awkward writing in some parts, though it gets better the further you progress. This is not terribly surprising though, as apparently this novel started as a random story posted on a BBS. However just because the writing is not great doesn't mean it's not entertaining. :)
This translation is from the Favorite Edition, which was re-released in the past few years. If you're interested you can buy it
at Amazon Japan. It's all in Japanese, of course, but if you enjoy this translation please consider buying it to show your support to the publisher. I've never seen the original edition, but from the first sentence of the book I can tell that it's been updated somewhat. Plus, it's got pictures. :)
This story takes place eighteen years ago, when most people did not even know of the existence of the Internet, and personal computers were normally thought of as standalone devices.
In the town called Kuniritsu, a suburb of Tokyo, there was a school known as Jusho High. Everything began in this school one day when a tall student burst into the classroom, as if he was just waiting for class to end.
The tall student stormed over to the seat of Nakajima Akemi, a handsome young man who stood out amongst the rest of his class, and slammed the top of the desk as if to threaten him.
"Yes, that's me..."
Ignoring the sudden vibration that the desk sent through his body, Nakajima stood up resolutely and looked the student in the eye. It was Kondo Hiroyuki, the captain of the karate club and the unofficial "boss" of Jusho High among the students. In the past he had forced more than one student that had dared to oppose him to change schools--usually through violent means. But Nakajima had never even interacted with Kondo before; he certainly couldn't think of anything that he might have done to make him this angry.
What gives? I haven't done anything.
Nakajima gulped and started to open his parched mouth to speak. At that moment, he heard a suppressed giggle from behind him. Turning his head, Nakajima saw a bewitchingly charming girl, one that almost seemed too old to be a student, staring at him like a cat with a gaze that was alluring and at the same time full of malice. It was Takamizawa Kyoko, one of his classmates. All of a sudden, Nakajima understood everything.
"Hold on a minute!"
The same instant Nakajima spoke, a fist went flying into his solar plexus. Without even a chance to cry out, Nakajima spun to the floor, as Kondo followed up his punch with a low kick. That was followed by two kicks to both the chest and the lower stomach--carefully placed with enough force to hurt badly, but not knock their target out. Nakajima's classmates, afraid of getting involved, started to leave the classroom one by one.
"Hear me out...." Nakajima tried hard to protest, but his voice was silenced as Kondo's foot went flying into his mouth, and his tears and saliva spilled out all over the floor.
"I don't wanna hear your excuses. You gotta learn what happens to people who come on to Kyoko."
Kondo kicked Nakajima in the back, knocking him onto his stomach on the ground. Kyoko, who all the meantime was gleefully watching him get pummeled, kneeled down in front of him and flicked his upper lip with her fingers.
"He's got a face like a woman, yet he dared to try and kiss me!"
In actuality, it was Kyoko who tried to kiss him, and Nakajima had just pushed her away. After having her pride hurt, Kyoko used Kondo--who had a large crush on her--to get her revenge. But Nakajima didn't have a single friend to corroborate his story. Only his classmate Takai Ken'ichi remained in the room, and even he just stood there looking worriedly at Nakajima through dark green-rimmed glasses, apparently not having the courage to stop Kondo.
Pulling Nakajima up from the floor easily with just his left hand, Kondo thrust his right fist into Nakajima's solar plexus again. The pain felt almost as if his heart was being torn out, and Nakajima tried to cry out. But with the wind knocked out out of him, he could neither inhale nor exhale, and all that left his injured lips was a pathetic little moan.
Nakajima had always been something of an independent maverick, not wanting to hurt anyone or get hurt himself, so he had never been beaten like this before. And to think that it was over some stupid reason like rejecting a girl! The combined sensations of pain, anger, and humiliation overwhelmed Nakajima, and the wound in his psyche started to bleed a drop at a time. Seeing him like this, Kyoko watched Nakajima with a look of pure ecstasy in her eyes, and laughed out loud. The sound of her high-pitched laugh reverberating throughout the classroom pierced Nakajima's eardrums and echoed in his skull, awakening an emotion he had never experienced before deep within him.
Damn you...I'll get you...you won't get away with this...
Nakajima's eyes lit up with a fierce, violent look he had never shown before.
"What's with that look?"
Kondo was taken aback for a second by Nakajima's expression, and as if mad at himself for faltering, he punched Nakajima hard in the face. As the crunch of Nakajima's tooth cracking sounded, Kyoko said "Hey, don't you think that's enough?" as if she had lost interest in the whole thing. It was the voice of a dirty, cowardly woman, worried only about protecting herself; if Nakajima was beaten any harder, there would be a real danger of her being held responsible.
"Hey, lucky you! Looks like you've gotten a reprieve. I've gotta say I'm surprised at what a weak little runt you are. Beating you up was just a waste of energy." Twisting his mouth into a smile, Kondo unceremoniously dumped Nakajima's body on the floor like a rag doll.
An hour later, after finally being able to move, Nakajima reached the Chuo-sen Kunitachi train station, supported by Takai Ken'ichi.
"Why don't we sit down?" While propping up Nakajima, Takai cocked his head in the direction of two open seats next to each other nearby.
Nakajima collapsed onto the seat and stared forward resolutely, all the while regretting he had ever applied to his school.
Jusho Private High was a famous and prestigious school, and every year more than twenty of its students were admitted to Tokyo University. However, anyone that was familiar with the way the school worked would have to acknowledge the extreme stratification amongst the students. The school was divided into two classes; the general class, and the "gifted" class, which received better facilities, a better curriculum, better teaching materials, and in general were favored much more highly. The "gifted" class, which comprised only about twenty percent of the student body, was always the target of constant jealousy and disgruntlement from the general class. With such a gulf between the classes, the violent incidents that came about from this jealousy were to an extent unavoidable.
Both Nakajima and Takai were part of the gifted class. With his slender frame and delicate looks, if Nakajima swapped his uniform for a girl's sailor suit, he might very well be able to pass for a beautiful teenage girl. Takai's appearance on the other hand was almost the polar opposite. He had a rugged body and thick fingers built up from judo practice, which he had started in junior high. But his personality was not as tough as his exterior, and when he put on his dark green-rimmed glasses, he looked almost like a child.
"That Kondo, he seemed even worse than usual today." Takai spoke almost as if making excuses; he felt a little guilty for not stepping in to help Nakajima.
Nakajima raised an eyebrow and responded half-heartedly. "His energy doubles whenever he's near a woman."
"What the heck is someone like Kyoko doing in the gifted class anyway? Besides, you'd never come on to her in the first place."
"Actually...it was the other way around."
"So it was Kyoko that got rejected then." Takai nodded as if everything suddenly made sense. Lots of girls were interested in Nakajima, but none of them so far had been able to strike his fancy. Seeing his indifference, Takai always guessed that Nakajima must have extremely finicky tastes when it came to women.
The two sat next to each other in silence as the train passed through Musashi-Sakai station. Takai took a sidelong glance at Nakajima's profile. Among the students of the gifted class, Nakajima's grades were not particularly high. In contrast to Takai, who got good grades in just about everything, Nakajima was really only good at math and science. In the more liberal arts, the only subject he showed real strength in was world history. He wasn't much of an athlete either. However, when it came to computers, nobody in school came even close to being as good as Nakajima--not even the teachers. Takai thought that you probably wouldn't be able to find someone who was as good as Nakajima in that arena if you searched all of Japan, let alone the school. The games that Nakajima would whip up in a matter of days were fantastic. No matter how popular they were, commercial games just seemed boring after playing one of Nakajima's. Sometimes Nakajima's expression looked positively mad as he hunched over one of the terminals writing programs in the school's CAI (Computer Aided Instruction) room, his fingers flying across the keyboard.
If I'm a prodigy, then Nakajima must be a bona-fide genius.
Takai nodded to himself as his gaze turned back to the scenery passing by outside the window.
"Demons, eh...?" The words tumbled out of Nakajima's mouth suddenly.
"No, never mind."
"Did you just..."
Just as Takai pursed his lips as if to say something, the train arrived at Nishi-Ogikubo station.
Nakajima started to walk down the station stairs with his shoulders hunched and a brooding expression on his face.
"Geez, what is he thinking?"
Turning away from Nakajima, Takai plopped himself down on the two now-empty seats of the train.
Behind the shopping district, a banner reading "Lots for Sale" hung from a newly-built apartment building. Nakamjima walked ahead, looking downwards while continuously moving his lips. To any passerby, he might have appeared like an ordinary high school student, deep in concentration trying to memorize something for a test. But those few people that caught a fragment of the words he was speaking turned around and gave him suspicious looks. That was because they sounded like the low and hostile muttering of a dark spell, and not at all something that you would expect to hear from a high school student. A cherry blossom fell from the nearby concrete wall and hit Nakajima's cheek, but he ignored it and kept walking, his eyes cast down to the ground. When he finally looked up, he was standing in front of a conspicuously tall apartment building. Placing his electronic key into the keyhole, the solid plate-glass automatic doors slid open with a heavy sound. The entrance to the building was made from extravagant imported Canadian marble, but still seemed somewhat artificial. Stepping inside, Nakajima took a deep breath and straightened up.