April 01, 2009

Negima!? -- Kaede, de gozaru

I'm rewatching Negima!? (haven't got anything better to do). Kaede has a really odd way of using language.

For one thing she uses -dono for nearly everyone. (Except Negi; she's one of the ones who can't resist the Negi-bozu pun.) She even uses -dono for Fuka and Fumika, her best friends. They call her Kaede-nee, which is a lot more familiar and intimate. But that's not what inspires this post.

I just noticed that Kaede uses de gozaru. Which is really rare. I don't think I've ever heard it before. Or at least didn't recognize it.

Usually if you want to be informal you'd just use desu or da. If you want to be polite you'd use de gozaimasu. Why use de gozaru? It's informal yet seems a bit flowery, almost like an affectation.

Is it a regionalism? Or, like her use of -dono, is it a way of differentiating her from the other characters?

Kaede seems rather more polite, deferential, and caring than you'd ordinarily expect from a ninja anyway. In principle, she is an assassin after all. But in fact it looks like her specialty is stealth and espionage, not so much the killing part.

UPDATE: While I'm on language, there's something I've wanted to get parsed so I could add it to my "next 100" page.

It occurs at the end of ep 7. Sayo says yoroshiku onegaishimasu to Negi. Negi responds kochiokoso or so it sounds to me.

I've got that 此方 kochi means "here" and it can be read as "me". こそ koso is an emphasis, loosely meaning "for sure". I think that the "o" is a particle indicating that what precedes it is a verb object. Is that right?

Anyway, loosely what the whole phrase means is "Same here". Right?

UPDATE: Pete is right: it's kochirakoso.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Japanese at 04:02 PM | Comments (13) | Add Comment
Post contains 307 words, total size 2 kb.

1 Samuraish Anachronism/Archaism

Posted by: PatBuckman at April 01, 2009 04:05 PM (h7HNv)

2 That only makes it weirder. The ninja weren't samurai; they were peasants. Setsuna is samurai, but Kaede isn't.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at April 01, 2009 04:14 PM (+rSRq)

3 There was a character in J2 (frozen for 300 years), who uses de gozaru after every sentence.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at April 01, 2009 04:32 PM (/ppBw)

4 I'll need to hear to be sure. Normal form is "kochirakoso" (if you use keigo at least). Informally, various variations are possible, I don't think I heard kochiwokoso, ever. J. may be able to fix this for you.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at April 01, 2009 05:02 PM (/ppBw)

5 Setsuna is I kind of doubt she is actually a Samurai caste in ancestry. However, she is trained in the monster killing style that translates, IIRC, as God's Cry School. This is the same style that Motoko uses in Love Hina, by the same mangaka. Setsuna considers herself in debt to Konoka's family and uses the retainer language as a result. I think the Konoe, Konoka's family, are high caste nobility descended from the Imperial family.

As for Kaede, we don't know about her background, and she may be copying old samurai flicks because she wants to talk like a retainer.

Posted by: PatBuckman at April 01, 2009 06:00 PM (h7HNv)

6 Manga Kaede is up with the heavyweights - I'd give her a victory versus anyone in the class except mayyyybe Mana, or Eva, going all-out, and even then it ain't a sure thing. Or Chao, but who can beat Chao?

"de gozaru" is not just anachronistic, it's specifically a samurai's speech pattern. Kenshin uses it in that series, and even then it's still archaic.

So yes, it's purely an affectation. It's not "oh, well, she's a ninja"; she's specifically playing a character. She's not just hiding the ninja part, she's overdoing it so much that it calls attention to it from the other way around.

Posted by: Avatar_exADV at April 01, 2009 07:29 PM (vGfoR)

7

Or Chao, but who can beat Chao?

I thought Ku Fei was supposed to be better than Chao. Way I heard it, the top four fighters in the class were Setsuna (blade), Mana (guns), Ku Fei (empty hand) and Kaede (whose weapon is a kunai). And Chao was fifth after those four.

But what do I know?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at April 01, 2009 08:12 PM (+rSRq)

8

So this is a reference to Rurouni Kenshin then?

Kaede uses it like a catch-phrase, ending nearly all her sentences with "de gozaru" or sometimes "de gozai" even when it isn't needed. It's like the way some female characters end nearly all their sentences with "desu wa".

I almost wish I hadn't become sensitized to it. Mostly when I run into characters with that kind of verbal affectation I soon come to find it tiresome and annoying.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at April 01, 2009 08:28 PM (+rSRq)

9 It may just be a reference to generic samurai entertainment. Kenshin might just be the most well known example ported over here. At least she doesn't go 'oro'. I liked RuroKen, but I read it in translation, so I don't really have much of a clue about irritating vocal mannerisms.

That power ranking was mentioned in the manga, just before As this involved plot, this does not neccessarily hold true for the versions you follow. Eva, in full vampire mode would also be a powerhouse, but normally she is purely restricted to skill. Of course, there have been quite a few power ups since.

As far as current power rankings go, Negi might be the most powerful, at least of the original Mahora group. Eva seems to have reached a plateau in her power level prior to the start of the series.

Posted by: PatBuckman at April 01, 2009 09:08 PM (h7HNv)

10 It could be worse. It could be "de arimasu".

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at April 01, 2009 09:20 PM (+rSRq)

11 Not a reference, strictly speaking. They're both pulling from the same historical speech pattern. I bring up Kenshin because it's probably the most famous show in the US for having that speech pattern, due to a plot element related to it.

With Kenshin, it's a bit of an affectation, but not too much of a stretch; it's wholly inappropriate and weird for Kaede. She does the whole package, too - referring to herself as "sessha" is from the same speech pattern.

It's tough to guesstimate power among the classmates - there's not a lot of head-to-head confrontation involved. Ku Fei and Mana have a match in the tournament, which Ku Fei wins by a hair... but Mana damn near killed her, even armed with nothing but a few rolls of coins, so a real encounter would have gone the other way. (Tourney rules prohibited guns.) ;p

Kaede wasn't in the tourney, but Kotaro was... and Kaede is far enough above Kotaro that she can take him down without breaking a sweat. (Possible beneficiary of chivalry on his part, but still.) That puts Kaede at least as good as Ku Fei, though maybe not as good as Mana full out.

Chao isn't as good as the others, if we're talking physical power, skill, or talent. She just cheats like mad.

Posted by: Avatar_exADV at April 01, 2009 09:23 PM (vGfoR)

12 You say that, but that's formal Japanese military speech, right? It's an affectation, but of the "sir yes sir" variety.

Posted by: Avatar_exADV at April 01, 2009 09:25 PM (vGfoR)

13 I dunno about the military. I don't recally anyone in Dai-Guard saying that (including enlisted men and junor officers, e.g. in Sapporo, in command center, etc.). They just speak normally.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at April 01, 2009 09:32 PM (/ppBw)

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