January 02, 2016
Is "chi" an honorific? It's not listed in the Wikipedia page about honorifics. And as I was looking at that, I suddenly realized that I had heard it several times, but only in various parts of the Nanoha canon.
In the second episode of Strikers, when the aces are helping to fight the fire at the airport, at one point Hayate is going to put out the fire in a big section by using her magic to freeze it all. Obviously she can't do that if there's anyone in it, so she recruits a couple of guys who are in her unit to make sure it's clear. One of them calls to her, "Yagami-chi, onegaishimasu!"
In the Vivid manga, during the investigation in the Infinity Library, it gets used twice that I noticed: once for Corona and once for Vivio. Both times, the girls are being treated with respect.
Which makes me wonder if it's a variation on "chan" which is more respectful. And it also makes me wonder if it's something the author invented.
So is it a real thing, or is it unique to the Nanoha canon?
November 17, 2015
There are two peculiar things about the dialog in Yozakura Quartet I've been curious about.
First, a lot of the characters (and particularly Hime) greet each other with something that sounds like maidou instead of something like konichiwa. "Maidou" isn't a word but "Maido" means "thank you for your continuing patronage". It's something a clerk in a store would say to a customer. Is that really what she's saying?
Second is more complicated to explain. One of the youkai in the show is named Rin. She works for a ramen shop and does deliveries. She is a zombie.
She doesn't stagger around and say brainz brainz and in fact if you weren't told she was a yousei you wouldn't know it. Regardless, Akine calls her Rinoji. In the show's wiki, that means "Rin-shaped person".
OK, so I got that "ji" means "person". But how do you get "shaped" out of that? Is it Rin no ji that he's saying?
August 19, 2015
This is part of the cover of a doujinshi, offered without comment:
UPDATE: I can't resist: "Close but no cigal."
July 07, 2015
I've got everything else in that balloon but I can't figure out the first character (i.e. the upper right). It says
...I think... But I can't make any sense of it without knowing what that first word is. I keep running into this character in the Japanese version of the Vivid manga, and it's always a roadblock.
June 07, 2015
English needs a word like あの人 anohito (pronounced "a-noh-shtoh"). It means "that person" and it's a completely neutral way to refer to someone. Anything can be offensive, of course, depending on how it's used, but as far as I can tell in normal usage anohito is not considered offensive.
The advantage of the word is that it doesn't imply anything at all about the one being referenced. It doesn't even imply a sex; you can use it for men or for women. It doesn't imply any kind of age; you can use it for kids or for adults. It works for people you know, people you don't know, people you like, people you don't like, and anyone else.
Reason I need that word is to refer to the person whose surname is "Jenner" who is in the news right now. I don't feel comfortable right now using either "he" or "she" for anohito, and picking either "Bruce" or "Caitlyn" forces me to decide on one or the other.
If I refer to Jenner as "him" the PC Police will arrest me. If I refer to Jenner as "her" it makes me feel like barfing. Powerline says Jenner hasn't gone under the knife yet. Photos indicate that Jenner has been undergoing hormone treatment, though, and has grown breasts. If Powerline is right, it means that at the moment Jenner is a hermaphrodite and we English speakers don't actually have an appropriate pronoun for hermaphrodites.
If I used the English phrase "that person" it wouldn't be neutral. In English that's a little rude, and it also makes clear my discomfort with other ways of referring to that person.
So I need to borrow anohito for this instance.
April 22, 2015
When I was plundering Dog Days S3 last night, I was going through the [FBI] sub that I just downloaded. Previously I had been watching HorribleSubs (i.e. stolen from Funimation or Crunchyroll) with which I have not been totally satisfied. Anyway, I started jotting down notes, and here they are:
In episode 5, HorribleSubs translated moribito as "Forest People", which is a literal translation. FBI translated that as "dryads", which I like better even though it's less precise.
In episode 6, HorribleSubs translated omiai as "arranged marriage meeting". FBI had it as "engagement meeting" which is a lot better.
FBI translated shin ryu as "Divinegon", which is weird, instead of as "true dragon". (But they weren't consistent about it.)
Ep 6, during his period of anonymity, Horriblesubs translated all references to Lief as "they". That's a little too politically correct to me since it was blatantly obvious that the challenger was male. FBI uses "he" and "him".
Ep 6, Horriblesubs makes his name "Leaf Lang du Sha Halver". FBI says "Lief Langue de Chat Halver" -- which is at least more classy.
Ep 7, The Genoise call Godwin o-chan which is difficult to translate. The chan honorific is very familiar and can be taken as insulting depending on circumstances. One place you'll run into it is tou-chan referring to one's father, which is best translated as "Daddy". In this case, with the Genoise using it for Godwin, it is a bit too familiar and is just a touch mocking. The reason they can get away with it is that they're not under his command, and none of them give anything away to him in combat ability or magic, and he knows it. As Gaul's personal guard, the Genoise arguably rank him in terms of status, so they're talking "down", as it were. HorribleSubs made it "old man"; which at least conveys the familiarity and a degree of rudeness. FBI dodged the whole issue and just used "Godwin" instead.
Ep 7, when Godwin announces the duel, he uses Kisamara to refer to his soldiers. FBI makes that "Soldiers". Horriblesubs didn't translate it. So? Kisamara is the plural of kisama which is one of the word that means "you". It's also extremely rude and hostile; often it's fighting words. It's also thug-speak; it's something you'd hear more often from someone using ore than from boku. Most of the characters in DBZ use it to each other, for instance. It's just about the strongest in the language and it's worse than temee.
Ep 7, when Nanami gets MCSA'ed, and Noir announces it. Horriblesubs says, "Nice fanservice from Prince Leaf to the Galette Knights." FBI says, "Prince Lief, the Galettian Knights are grateful for your performance!" She actually used the word "sabisu", which has always meant "fan service" in this show, so FBI is dodging another one.
Jaune's accent drives me nuts. I think it's Kansai-ben. It's the same dialect as Hayate speaks in Nanoha Strikers. (Which doesn't make any sense since she grew up in the same city as Nanoha and Nanoha speaks with a vanilla Tokyo accent.) As to Jaune, TVTropes says, "Osaka-ben is generally used to indicate a fun loving, impatient, loud, boisterous personality" -- which perfectly describes Jaune.
Ep 9, sorabito. Horriblesub took that one literally, too, thus "sky people". FBI used "sylphs", which is classier.
In case you're interested, the disease is 病魔 byouma.
Horriblesubs calls the miniature Farine's "avatars". FBI calls them "sprites", which again I think is better.
Horriblesubs "songstress" -> FBI "diva". Dunno about that one.
Horriblesubs "disciple" -> FBI "apostle".
March 20, 2015
There's a word kenjuu they use all the time in this series which gets translated as "familiar". Normal vampires have the ability to summon one of these. Kojou will eventually have 12 of them, but at the beginning they exist but don't acknowledge his mastery. It's a plot point in the series that he is gradually gaining control over more and more of them as time goes on. (Actually it's a deus ex machina; every time he gets in a bind he gets a new one and it has exactly the power he needs to get out of it.)
Anyway, FFF translates it as "familiar", which usually means tsukaima.
Kenjuu isn't in the dictionary, so I assume it's two words. I've got it that 獣 juu is "beast", because most of the kenjuu have the form of animals. Kojou's first one is "Regulus Aurum" and it looks like a tiger, for instance. Vatler's all look like snakes, gaining him the nickname hebi tsukai "snake user".
Is it this 権 ken, meaning "authority" or "right (to do something)"? Nothing else looks reasonable.
Also, I could be wrong; it might be 呪 ju meaning "spell" or "curse".
January 17, 2015
I've heard two examples recently of how the Japanese think English speakers pronounce Japanese names.
In theory every mora in Japanese except ん is what we English speakers would call a consonant followed by a vowel. However, there are three major exceptions to that: す su, つ tsu, and し shi often drop the vowel sound and get pronounced respectively as s, ts, and sh.
Anyway, in the first episode of season 3 of Dog Days, there's a segment of Nanami and Shinku competing in the Iron Athletics competition in London, and the announcer (I think he's supposed to be English but he sounds Australian to me) pronounces Nanami's surname "takatsuki" as tah-kah-tsoo-kee. The Japanese pronounce it as tah-kats-kee.
The other is in the last episode of Arpeggio of Blue Steel. The US Navy in San Diego transmits a message to Japan informing them that the sub arrived safely. It's addressed to Yokosuka. The Japanese pronounce that yo-ko-ska but the American (and it was an American this time) says yo-ko-soo-ka.
Neither case was played for laughs; there was no feeling of "laughing at the gaijin". But I have a feeling that this kind of error is kind of a brand for English speakers, just like mixing up "L" and "R" is a brand for Japanese trying to speak English.
October 01, 2014
In Hyperdimension Neptune, there's a word they keep using to describe Noire that sounds to me like bochi. The subs translate it as "loner" and from context the implication is "someone who has no friends".
It isn't bochi, which means 墓地 "graveyard" (or 点 "dot"). And bouchi, bocchi, and boucchi aren't words, so I'm stumped. What word is it?
May 28, 2014
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