May 17, 2007

Scary-cute, that is

Don's new site motto is "There's a fine line between kawaii and kowai."

Kawaii means "cute", more or less. (Depends on who the target is.) Kowai means "scary". The obvious similarity between the words contrasted with the radical difference in meaning is one that stands out to the dilettante in Japanese. But apparently it's also obvious to the Japanese themselves. In episode 7 of Petite Princess Yucie (probably my most favorite in the series) Glenda and Yucie are sent to Makai, the demon world, to retrieve a crystal flower. It's a bit jarring:

Yucie says, "This is the demon world? How should I put it? Kind of kawaii (cute), kind of kowai (scary)..." And then Glenda gets very defensive. It's my dad, the king of the demons! He wants to make the demon world more friendly for tourists, so he's trying to make it more cute! This is stupid! We're demons! We're supposed to be scary! and so on, all at a very high rate of speed.

That's one of two major revelations about Glenda in that episode, and after them both, the audience and Yucie never look at Glenda that same way again.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in People at 08:18 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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1 Of course, I should try a comment, too.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at May 17, 2007 08:40 PM (+rSRq)

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