I'm a librarian who loves anime, manga, and reading a wide variety of genres.
I'm finally getting around to reading Eugene Woodbury's fan translations of the Twelve Kingdoms novels (To any publishing company folks that might see this: if you license the Twelve Kingdoms novels, I'll happily buy/rebuy everything I've already read). He translated three more books in the series than Tokyopop managed, but he also skipped Sea of Wind, my favorite of the ones that Tokyopop translated. Too bad, because I'd have loved to see how he'd have translated the being Tokyopop called a "lamia."
I'm not planning on reviewing this book's story, since I've already done that a couple times, but I may write a post about Woodbury's translation. So far, I'm enjoying it, although there are occasional sentences that seem odd coming from a Japanese teenager.
Originally, I thought I'd compare a few passages from Woodbury's translation to the Tokyopop release, but that might not be as simple as I'd expected. I've already checked out one passage, and instead of the relatively minor differences in phrasing that I'd expected, the translations were vastly different. Tokyopop had one sentence italicized, as though Yoko ("Youko" in Woodbury's version) were thinking it, while Woodbury's translation had her saying it out loud. Some of Yoko's actions in Woodbury's translation were, at best, implied in Tokyopop's. And the tone of that passage in the two translations was subtly different. In general, Yoko seems to be slightly less annoying in Woodbury's translation than I remember her being in Tokyopop's.
I had thought Woodbury was some random fan translator, but after looking at his site I realized I'd read a couple of his professional translations before, under the name Kelly Quine. Interesting.