March 14, 2009

I think too much

If Raising Heart can understand spoken Japanese, why can't she speak it?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Engineer's Disease at 11:29 PM | Comments (17) | Add Comment
Post contains 16 words, total size 1 kb.

1 Same reason Signum's sword speaks German, right? ;p

We don't ever find out how that works exactly. The weapons speak whatever they want, and everyone can understand them anyway.

Maybe "if everyone can understand them when they're talking, they don't need to speak Japanese"? Or maybe they've just got a hell of an accent and it'd be embarrassing? (But Lindy's Japanese is perfect, even though her grasp of Japanese custom is... hit and miss.)

What I want to know is, won't Nanoha, Fate, and Hayate get full marks at school? They're networked together telepathically along with multiple sentient computers. The opportunities for cheating on tests are endless. (We see a little bit with school after A's in the manga. Fate's got crappy grades in kanji but college-level math; Nanoha's pretty high everywhere, going against magical girl type.)

Actually, that's an interesting question now that I think about it. They've essentially got to master the basic curriculum of Mid - enough that it doesn't hold them back from officer positions at a young age - at the same time as keeping up with the Japanese curriculum enough to keep people from wondering, even if they're not exactly worried about getting into college, or high school for that matter. And both of them while on active duty... maybe it's not so bad if they cheat some.

Posted by: Avatar_exADV at March 15, 2009 02:25 AM (7TgBH)

2 I was wondering why I was awakened by the piteous mewls of dying catgirls...

Posted by: Wonderduck at March 15, 2009 07:03 AM (tMdKd)

3 Actually, I like that touch.  It's obviously a nod to the Language of Magic trope, which has been around at least since Slayers in anime, and a heck of a lot longer in Hollywood (latin).  I'd say that the language is hardwired into them, as a part of their basic OS and functionality.  There's probably a whole list of reasons for it dating back to the Old Days, but so much has been lost that these days they're not entirely sure how gadgets *do* work.

Does anybody ever have any trouble understanding them, though?  I'm assuming it's less because everybody is multilingual and more because the gadgets also broadcast their messages telepathically...

Posted by: BigD at March 15, 2009 09:36 AM (LjWr8)


I think I could live with this explanation: the true communications channel between weapon and owner is indeed telepathy. The weapon voices are the equivalent of blinkenlights, redundant readouts mainly intended for diagnostics.

One reason I say that is because I don't think I believe a 3rd grader in Japan will have learned enough English to permit her to understand the kinds of things that Raising Heart says, even as short as they are.

There does seem to be a different, better, and much broader communications link between them, as evidenced by the fact that Nanoha seems able to learn what attacks Raising Heart can perform in each of its forms, and to use them properly, without being briefed.

(Shaddup, Mr. Duck....)

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at March 15, 2009 09:51 AM (+rSRq)

5 I came to the same conclusion based on the fact that within minutes of being introduced to Raising Heart (measured by how much she uses it, not calendar time) Nanoha is performing spells that Yuuno either didn't know existed or wouldn't even dream of performing due to power requirements, and either way Yuuno certainly wasn't telling her about them. (I'm particularly thinking the area search.)

Otherwise you could rationalize it as some off-screen training, but clearly the only off-screen trainer theoretically available was stunned at Nanoha's proficiency.

Posted by: Jeremy Bowers at March 15, 2009 10:28 AM (7LWnd)

6 The only problem is that it's clear that the "language of magic" is also, at least to some extent, Mid's written language. At the least, the English-with-funny-doogers is used in their military insignia and at least some of their displays. (On the ID cards too, I think...) So either Nanoha and friends had to actually learn it, or RH and friends are also in the instantaneous translation business. Or both - they can lean on the devices when they're handy, but eventually they pick up on it.

Jeremy, we know that RH is busy training Nanoha off-screen, from the manga. Supposedly it's not just telepathy but can go all the way into virtual combat training. At the same time, it's clear that RH can just "do" something without much input from Nanoha, to show her how (or to keep her from getting hit, heh).

I don't buy the "they don't understand how devices work" theory. All the newbies in Strikers get custom devices, and they're brand new, and get a lot of technical work on them, and one of 'em is a Belkan device too. So these things aren't in the "lost technology, black box" category.

I'm in favor of the "languages issues completely elided except for flavor purposes" argument. It never becomes important to the story, so it's something that's been glossed over in favor of more ass-kicking or moe.

Posted by: Avatar_exADV at March 15, 2009 11:15 AM (7TgBH)


It isn't an unknown technology, because at the beginning of A's

That means it's off-the-shelf tech for the Bureau, standard stock.

Not just that. They aren't just repaired, they're substantially upgraded. Both units are pretty much redesigned and rebuilt to higher performance standards. That kind of field upgrade isn't possible if no one understands how the unit works.

And afterwards Amy knew what had been done to them, and how their new modes worked.

True, a lot of that came from Bardiche and Raising Heart themselves, but it remains the case that they were ordering replacement parts which were standard stock. If it had been custom parts that had to be fabricated to order, repair time would have been months or years, not days.

And if it had all been mysterious lost knowledge, how would Amy be able to brief Nanoha and Fate on the new modes?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at March 15, 2009 11:46 AM (+rSRq)


I hate asking questions like this and knowing that, in my head, these are things the writers didn't have an answer for.

Posted by: Avatar_exADV at March 15, 2009 02:01 PM (7TgBH)


I've assumed that the transformation from jewel to staff was something along the lines of the DBZ "capsule" technology, which was never described but looks to be some sort of dimensional tuck.

On the other hand, that wouldn't explain

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at March 15, 2009 02:34 PM (+rSRq)

10 I don't mean that the technology is lost as in "lostech", so much as that some of the theory behind it has been lost.  Strikers makes it clear that they know how to make more of them, but I believe there was also an offhand reference at one point during that series where somebody mentioned that nobody fully understood how gadgets worked, particularly regarding their quasi-sentience.

Posted by: BigD at March 15, 2009 06:54 PM (LjWr8)

11 Careful. Gadgets aren't devices. (And mind yer spoilers... ;p)

Posted by: Avatar_exADV at March 15, 2009 08:34 PM (7TgBH)

12 In A's,

I'm in favor of telepathy with a vocal backup, as well. I haven't seen any of StrikerS, but are people other than the devices' owners ever spoken to directly? The only instance I can recall in either season one or A's is one fight where the combatants compliment each other's weapons, and the weapons answer "thanks," but since both combatants are mages, the telepathy thing could still explain it.

Posted by: Mikeski at March 15, 2009 09:13 PM (GbSQF)


There is at least circumstantial evidence that Bardiche and Raising Heart can communicate directly.

In A's, when they were being repaired, there's the business of them both demanding the cartridge system. That could be a case of "great minds think alike", of course. But I don't think so. They were listening to the conversation in the room, and I think that after everyone left they had a discussion with each other looking for ways of making sure their masters didn't lose again next time. And I think that they collectively came to the conclusion that only the cartridge system would do it.

By the way, in the last episode of A's, Reinforce speaks directly to Bardiche and Raising Heart. And both of them respond.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at March 15, 2009 09:33 PM (+rSRq)

14 Accepted.  But do they ever talk to another human besides their wielder, or just to each other?

Possibly related:

Posted by: Mikeski at March 15, 2009 10:06 PM (GbSQF)

15 One possibility is that speaking channels and organizes your thoughts, making telepathy easier. Eh?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at March 15, 2009 10:53 PM (+rSRq)

16 Avatar:

Mikeski: (vague spoilers for Strikers)

My assumption is that devices use a low-level telepathic signal that has about the same strength and distance as their internal "speakers" (which probably involve vibrating parts of their surfaces in such a manner as to produce speech... "but that's another show").

Among other things, this would allow a device to serve as a universal communicator, at least for anybody with a mind similar enough to a human's that it can understand the "words" in the telepathic signal.  Makes you wonder how they handle idioms, though.

Posted by: BigD at March 15, 2009 11:03 PM (LjWr8)

17 Darn you guys, I promised myself I wouldn't watch Strikers until I finished the Lucky Star OVA subtitles. (In about an hour...)

Posted by: Avatar_exADV at March 15, 2009 11:12 PM (7TgBH)

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