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[GUIS & H-S] Kakuranger 8 DVD released! January 23, 2013

Posted by sgtkira in Kakuranger.
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This week’s episode is pure cat drugs. That’s the only way that both groups can describe this episode. Is it amazing? Yes. Will it make you laugh, cry, and wtf? Oh hell yes. And I loved working on it. Whelp, hope you guys enjoy it, and Lynxara’s notes are up next!

Episode 8 Notes

[02:02.84] Sorcery: Kamikakushi!

The word we’re translating as “sorcery” is “yojutsu” in Japanese. It’s written with the “yo” from “yokai” and the “jutsu” from ninjutsu. Remarkably, it’s not a word made up for this particular series. That’s just how you write about references to black magic, witchcraft, sorcery, and similar things in Japanese. We went back and forth on how to deal with this one and ultimately just decided to translate it.

Now, as for kamikakushi, that’s untranslated because the Storyteller actually explains it a few lines later. Kamikakushi literally means ‘spirited away’ (like the Studio Ghibli movie) and is a word used to refer to someone who has disappeared under mysterious circumstances. It’s often used for children who go missing, which leads to how it’s used in the monster’s spell. We do translate it a few times in the episode, when characters are using it in a more conventional sense, but here it seemed like we needed to leave it in for the Storyteller’s spiel to make sense.

[02:19.86] “Kamikakushi is a great sushi place on 34th street…”

Storyteller’s joke here was originally a super-terrible Japanese kanji pun. What he says is, “Kamikakushi is when you hide the toilet paper!” It plays on the fact that “kami” can mean either god or paper, depending on how you write it. So instead of someone being “hidden by the gods,” someone is “hiding the paper.” We opted to change this into a “sounds like” joke, since that’s probably the closest English equivalent to groan-worthy kanji puns.

[02:37.35] The Bakeneko Shop

As you might guess from the title, this week’s yokai is based on the bakeneko. A bakeneko is an ordinary housecat that has met one of the conditions for transformation into a supernatural creature. Conditions included living for over 100 years, weighing more than roughly 8 pounds, or having an extremely long or forked tail. After the transformation, the cats would begin menacing their household. It might be minor mischief, like drinking up the lamp oil, or more serious stuff like creating zombies, murdering members of the household, or shape-shifting to trick their victims.

A ridiculous number of supernatural powers are ascribed to bakeneko in fiction. Among many other things, they could be gigantic, devour humans in their sleep, fly, talk, shoot fireballs, transform into humans, eat poison, and enter dreams. There are also some “magical bride” stories where some poor schmuck marries a beautiful girl, fathers children with her, and then years later finds out she’s just a transformed bakeneko.

While most bakeneko tales depict the creature as a monster, there are some where the the bakeneko is a more benevolent creature. One major variant has the bakeneko as a pet cat that transforms into human guise to visit its owners during some crisis, using its powers to bring them wealth, happiness, and good fortune. The sheer breadth of bakeneko folklore means there’s a lot of stories about them translated into English, and they’re not too hard to track down if you’re curious about learning more.

[03:41.25] Are you having even a license?!

If you listen really closely to Jiraiya’s line here, you can hear him using the English word “you” as a substitute for its Japanese equivalent in a sentence that is otherwise decent if odd-sounding Japanese. We felt like the best way to render this without being confusing was to mess around with his grammar a bit. This is a really typical dialogue tic used to indicate that a character’s native language is English, and their Japanese is awkward. It’s usually done with characters who are supposed to be American, for whatever reason.

[03:56.82] Neko, huh? The heck is this thing?

“Neko” in Japanese just means “cat,” and the idea of not translating this word in subtitles is usually the sort of thing people mock. That said, in this episode’s script, it’s really important that viewers realize that the “neko” that means “cat” is the same “neko” that appears in both Bakeneko and Nekomaru’s names. Leaving some of the references in Japanese seemed to make this a lot clearer. Sort of like kamikakushi, we translated it in other instances where it was being used more conventionally.

Incidentally, the “cat shrine” that Nekomaru rams into is not an uncommon thing in Japan. The most famous of the cat shrines is located on Tashiro-jima or “Cat Island,” a small island off the coast of Japan inhabited entirely by stray cats. People in Cat Island’s prefecture, Miyagi, tend to believe that cats are lucky. As a result, the locals around Cat Island have spent generations feeding the island cats and visiting the island’s shrine to them. The island has become famous and even a popular tourist destination. People from all over Japan will come to feed, pet, and pay homage to the friendly Tashiro-jima cats.

[06:39.00] Hustler

Around now, or maybe in one of the later fight scenes, you may notice that Bakeneko’s monster form is inexplicably wearing pants with “hustler” written down the leg. This is because the woman voicing Bakeneko and playing her human form wasn’t an actress, but instead a celebrity famous primarily for her skill at playing pool.

[10:31.24] The Bakeneko Shop’s specialty is human children, fresh off the block!

What she actually says here is, “The Bakeneko Shop specializes in ikizukuri!” This term usually refers to a particularly controversial type of sashimi, one prepared and eaten while the animal is still alive. This is thought to enhance the flavor of the meat, which can be consumed at peak freshness. A typical preparation involves placing the sashimi slices on a cold platter, alongside the still-twitching body of the unlucky fish.

Since The Bakeneko Shop serves the flesh of human children… well, you can probably imagine the rest. If ikizukuri was better-known in English-speaking countries, we would’ve left the reference alone. Instead, we decided to translate around the reference and let the image of Bakeneko menacing children with a cleaver speak for itself.

[12:27.69] We’re getting the pot ready for the boil.

Originally, her line references “kamayude,” which is how the Japanese refer to any dish prepared by boiling it in a special cast-iron pot. This can include noodle soups or heartier fare. “Kamayude” is also the name of a particular execution method, which involved… uh, boiling someone alive in an enormous, special cast-iron pot. Perhaps the most famous victim of this was the folk hero Ishikawa Goemon, which caused his name to be lent to a particular type of pot-shaped bathtub called a goemonburo. That’s some rough chuckles, Japan.

[18:25.01] Now, let’s centipede into next week!

This line is pretty strange, all things considered. The Japanese is “Ashita ni gejigeji!” which literally means “And tomorrow, centipedes!” Which– as far as we can tell– is just meant as a silly non-sequitur. We think maybe it’s meant to be part of the “fall” in the Storyteller’s routine this week, so we just tried to translate it so that it made sense in context.

Comments»

1. awesomejayrobin - January 24, 2013

is there plans to have the Kakuranger Movie’s done aswell

sgtkira - January 26, 2013

We’re still on the fence about that. As of right now, it’s a no.

2. Chika - January 24, 2013

Yes! Just finished 1-7 and came here to feed my newfound Kaku-addiction.

After this, I go into withdrawal until 9. 😦

sgtkira - January 26, 2013

We all do, man. We all do D:

3. 鋏ジャガー - January 28, 2013

This episode was a real hoot. Also, it makes me wonder if perhaps Kakuranger was meant to be a crossover show, to bring girl viewers from the Toei Fushigi series over to Super Sentai. When you consider that Satomi Hirose(Tsuruhime) is essentially the same character as she was on Shushutorian, and that her two “sisters” show up later on in Kakuranger, it really makes me think this might have been the intention. When you compare Kakuranger to shows like Poitrine and Shushutorian, the only real difference is that the fight scenes are a bit more action-intensive, whereas the Fushigi shows are primarily sorcery-based. Shigenori Takatera was a producer on both Kakuranger and Poitrine, so I’m guessing he’s the reason for this(not that it’s a bad thing).


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