I know that many fans are not content with the manga ending. While the novel doesn’t offer much in terms of providing fans with the story continuation, as Mizuki stressed repeatedly it wasn’t a sequel, it does give a peek into the future, that to an extent, it continues the story from where it was left off in the manga. Granted it’s presented in an epistolary format ala Jean Webster’s Daddy Long Legs rather than in a conventional narrative style.
There are two versions of the novel. The first one was published around the same time the manga was running in late 1970s, and the second one, which is the revision of the first novel and re-titled as Candy Candy Final Story, was released in 2010. Both versions were only available in Japan, until recently when Mizuki gave consent to an Italian publishing company, Kappalab, to publish the Candy Candy Final Story in Italian.
- The original Candy Candy novel, 小説 キャンディ・キャンディ, was released three times. The first two editions, which were published in 1978 and early 1990s respectively, as you can see below, showcase Igarashi’s beautiful illustrations in their covers, but Mizuki’s short poems that accompany Igarashi’s colored spreads can only be found in volume 1 and 2 of the hardcover edition from the 1978 publication. The third edition, published in early 2000, takes on a completely different appearance with its plain-looking, purple checkered cover. Another distinction is that, unlike the earlier editions which are comprised of three books, each book representing one volume, the third edition of the novel is presented as a single book. Moreover, all the manga images that originally adorned nearly every single page of the first and second editions of the novels are glaringly absent, decidedly severing any links/references to the manga. The missing images is undoubtedly attributed to the growing animosity between Mizuki and Igarashi that had sparked into an ugly court battle.
Despite the differences among the 3 editions of the novel, there are no changes in the content. The texts are identical word per word and the organization of the chapters is kept the same. However, all these have been significantly altered in the latest version of the novel, which was given a more definite title: Candy Candy Final Story (CCFS). Mizuki claimed CCFS was a revision, a rewrite of the original novel that was originally written for younger readers. Although the main context is the same as the original novel, the writing style and structure have changed, casting melancholy over the tone of the story. And there are also additional details incorporated into CCFS that reveal a few major events that occur in the future.
小説 キャンディ・キャンディ (Candy Candy Novel)
First Edition (1978-1979)
Second Edition (1990)
Third Edition (2003-2004)
小説キャンディ･キャンディ FINAL STORY (Candy Candy Final Story)
The 500+ pages novel (both the original and CCFS) is divided into 3 volumes/sections; the last of which is composed of a collection of letters. In CCFS, the last volume is specifically designated as an epilogue, but unlike its predecessor, the volume only contains Albert and Candy’s correspondence and Candy’s letter to Anthony. A scene depicting a contented Candy running into her beloved arms, similar to an overjoyed Candy running toward Albert’s wide opened arms in the manga, ends the novel.
In the original novel, Albert and Candy’s letters can be found in the last chapter of the last volume/section, chapter 7. Candy’s letter to Anthony is not in this chapter. In fact, the title of this chapter is “The Correspondence of Albert and Candy”.
A total of 11 letters, including one postcard, were written between them in their correspondence. The last letter, a letter Candy addressed to Albert, occupies the last pages of the novel. Yes, it concludes the story, and it does so on a very high note.
I won’t deny that as a devoted Albert-Candy fan I found these letters to be quite precious. They mark the beginning of a new phase between Albert and Candy, resuming the story from where it was left off in the manga. But instead of Candy’s story, it now becomes Albert and Candy’s story, their story. The exchanges between them though revolving around ordinary topics are extremely candid and intimate that at times I felt like I had walked in on their private moments. Their true feelings are reflected in the words they wrote. So… Yes. Every Albert-Candy fan (and any avid neutral fan of the series who is still curious about the ending) should definitely read these letters.
I’m aware that these letters have been translated by other fans previously. Nevertheless, I decided to translate them anyway. We all know that the context of a translation can differ from one translator to another depending on their preferences just like how two readers can interpret one story differently. Plus I’m not so sure about the accuracy either–and from what I’ve observed of the various manga translations, I have every reason to be skeptical about it. So I don’t think I’d ever be satisfied until I translate the letters myself.
Please note that I only plan to translate the letters from the original novel.
Why? There are few reasons, other than the main, obvious one that the letters from the original novel is just that – the original.
The original novel was written with the author’s pure intention to entertain readers while CCFS? Not so much. I actually think CCFS was born out of spite, amid the ugly strife between Mizuki and her former collaborator, Igarashi. By publishing CCFS, Mizuki announced to the world and Igarashi that she’s the rightful and sole owner of Candy Candy. Yet to me it reveals how desperate she was. I’m not saying that Igarashi is an angel–they both are at fault–but at least Igarashi didn’t string along her fans and turning them against each other.
So yeah… I have no interest to translate such a controversial work that has fueled fierce squabbles among the fans.
Besides, various translations of CCFS are available in the net and can be accessed easily. In fact, a kind, dedicated Japanese fan had done an excellent work with this particular translation of the letters, that I’ve frequently used as a reference when I was writing CC fanfic, so there’s really nothing I should do anymore. In addition, just very recently I came across another version of the English translation that has the potential to be the new standard in the fandom, as the translator, locksleyu, pledged “to preserve the original work’s meaning” to the best of his ability.
On the contrary, a quality, accurate translation of the letters from the original novel is much harder to find and requires more than a simple google search.
Then there’s also my own personal reason of how I don’t think CCFS is a well-crafted piece of writing even though it surely strove to be one with its ample use of literary devices. Mizuki’s blatant pandering to both fan bases (Albertfans and Terryfans) ruined what could’ve been a true masterpiece. Instead of giving the story a definite ending it so deserved, she succumbed to the fear of losing her fans and used ambiguity to conceal the truth.
Although, I must admit I adore Albert and Candy’s correspondence, be it in CCFS or the original novel. I’m after all a faithful (not quite obsessed yet but close) Albert and Candy supporter, and nothing and no one can take that away from me, not even a disgruntled author/artist. But… between the CCFS and the original novel version, my preference lies on the letters from the original novel. You’ll see why this is the case when you read my translation and ramblings.
Having said that, please enjoy 🙂
Note that this is an ongoing side project that will take some time to complete, so please bear with me.