[GUIS & H-S] Kakuranger 19-25 DVD released! May 18, 2013Posted by sgtkira in Kakuranger.
Okay, to make a long story short (and to not bore you guys), I have been very, very busy over the last 2 months. Thankfully, the semester has ended, and other than finals next week, I’m up for subbing and updating the site as much as I can. Now, I have still been able to work on things like Kaku and Gyro (save for the last 2 eps of Gyro), I just haven’t been able to sit here and post things. But, after next week, things will be changing. Summer will be here, and there will be more free time. So weekly releases of something that isn’t Kaku or Gyro will be coming out. Of what, you might ask? Well that, you’ll have to stay tuned to find out!
And the links to Kaku, as well as Lynx’s notes, are going to be under the cut, as always!
Kakuranger 19 notes
The yokai tsuchigumo, in folklore, was said to have the face of an ogre, the body of a tiger, and the arms and legs of a spider. It’s true, as the Storyteller says, that Tsuchigumo lived in the mountains and devoured travelers they captured. Tsuchigumo is a typical name for spider-themed monsters in Japanese video games.
Tsuchigumo, like the Shuten-Doji, has the distinction of being one of the yokai vanquished by the folk hero Minamoto no Yorimitsu. There are many different versions of the tale, written at different points in history. The most famous are the Tsuchigumo Souchi and a Noh play derived from the Heike Monogatari, simply called Tsuchigumo. There is likewise a great deal of folk art that depicts the different versions of the battle.
Many yokai are inspired by real-life events or persons, and the tsuchigumo is no exception. The term ‘tsuchigumo’ originally described aboriginal clans that lived in Japan in the 7th century, and refused to swear allegiance to the emperor. These people lived in remote areas at the foot of the Japanese Alps, which perhaps lead to the yokai tsuchigumo being associated with mountains.
Episode 20 Notes
[19:23.91] Ku No Ichi = Woman
While there’s no yokai of the week in this episode, the Storyteller’s trivia answer leaves us with something to explain. The “actual” answer to the Storyteller’s pun lies in the shapes of the Japanese characters in the box (and that we typeset in the subs, just to make it clearer). Each of the complex characters used by the Japanese written language, or kanji, is drawn with a series of brush strokes. Learning the stroke order of various kanji is a major part of learning written Japanese.
What the Storyteller’s question points out is that the brush strokes used to write the characters used to write the sounds “ku” “no” and “ichi” in “kunochi” are very similar to the ones used to write the more complex character “onna,” which means “woman.” This answer is probably going to be very confusing and unclear to foreign viewers who attempt to parse the answer in real-time, but if you study the characters more closely, then it’s a bit easier to see how it works. Since this “joke” is just about the shapes of various kanji, a literal translation seemed best.
There are two different creatures from Japanese folklore known by the single name Sarugami (which translates roughly as “monkey god”). One is a benevolent diety, and the other is a wicked yokai. If you just plug “sarugami” into Google, most of your hits (that aren’t for anime or manga) will describe the deity, and won’t be relevant to what’s going on in this episode. That said, the stories of the yokai Sarugami trade on the great plethora of monkey gods that appear in Japanese folk religion.
The yokai sarugami originates from early Japanese folklore, as recorded in the Konjaku Monogatarishu (“Anthology of Tales from the Past”) and Uji Shui Monogatari (“Selections from the Uji Dainagon Monogatari”). The more important of the two tales is the one from the Konjaku Monogatarishu, sometimes called Sarugami Taiji (or “Destroying the Monkey Gods”). In this tale, a hunter comes upon a rural community that must sacrifice a beautiful young woman once a year to appease its local deity, who takes the form of an enormous monkey.
The hunter falls in love with the girl, and decides to save her. When the girl is to be sent off as a sacrifice, the hunter substitutes himself and his dogs. He attacks Sarugami and his monkey followers once he’s brought to them, who have conned the villagers into thinking they’re gods. When the hunter has sarugami on the verge of death, the yokai speaks through one of his “priests,” promising he’ll never do this again, and that he’ll offer protection to the hunter and girl’s family in the future. The hunter agrees, and in the future, only boars and deer were sacrificed.
In a similar story from the Uji Shui Monogatari, a Buddhist monk is fattened up as a “guest,” over a period of several months, so he can be sacrificed to a similar group of fraudulent sarugami posing as monkey gods. In this tale, the monk overwhelms the “gods” himself, then shows the people that they’re merely marauding monkeys, not deities. The monk stays on with the people he saved, and brings puppies to their village, so they’ll grow up into monkey-hunting dogs. (There’s a recurring Japanese idea that dogs are the natural enemies of monkeys.)
The folklore probably records stories people told to explain why a possibly ancient practice of human sacrifice was stopped, and perhaps why the worship of monkey gods declined at some period in history. As sometimes happens, the bloodthirsty “old” god is transformed over time into a malevolent figure as folklore evolves, and so we end up with both the god and the yokai sarugami.
Kakuranger plays on the deceptive nature of this yokai by giving him the power to impersonate the sort of victim-of-the-week that the Kakurangers are all too happy to help. Also, as in the folklore, he is defeated when the humans he’s tormenting think of a way to deceive him. Sarugami’s scheme involving mimicking the Kakuranger ball move seems to originate from the “monkey see, monkey do” saying, which has a Japanese counterpart.
[09:08:33] Sarugami is the boss of all transforming monkeys.
The term we’re translating as “transforming monkey” is “bakezaru.” It uses the “bake” part of “obake,” and “zaru” would just be monkey. Obake is the Japanese term for any monster that transforms or changes in weird ways. Presumably any magical shapeshifting animal would be known as a “bake” version of itself, such as the bakeneko (shapeshifting cat). Bakezaru themselves aren’t especially famous as a form of obake. While the yokai Sarugami does command legions of monkeys in both of his original folktales, they’re not given magic powers like shapeshifting. In the version with the monk, they’re literally just clever but evil monkeys. This is clearly something that Kakuranger just thought would be a cool idea, to play up the monster’s shapeshifting power.
[09:11.54] He’s a very curious yokai who used to kidnap women, then prance around in their clothing!
The Storyteller’s having a bit of fun at Sarugami’s expense here. He’s playing on the “hunter” version of Sarugami’s tale, where the yokai devoured women as human sacrifices. Well, you know, he would have a lot of women’s clothing lying around, after all that…
[09:28.19] They really fell for you monkeyshines, didn’t they?
You may think we’re being loose with the translation here, but this is pretty much exactly what Junior is saying. He refers to Sarugami’s deception as “sarushibai.” This combines “shibai,” which means a play or performance, with “saru,” which of course, means monkey. A monkeyshine is an old-fashioned slang term for any deceptive prank or trick, which conveniently includes the word “monkey.” This means the word can be used comfortably in a later line, when Sarugami expresses annoyance with all the monkey puns.
[10:49.24] That’s! What we like! About you!
Jiraiya’s been watching too much TV again. The little jingle he’s singing is from a series of Suntory Beer commercials that, at the time, were a popular target of parody. You could compare it to the fun Americans had mocking memorable but goofy 90s commercial jingles for products like Chicken Tonight, Mentos, or Kit-Kat Bars. If you like, you can check out one of the original Suntory commercials on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5587jD92Zl0
[13:01.68] Kazu Dance!
Here’s another 90s Japanese pop culture reference. This one refers to the soccer player Kazuyoshi Miura, also known as “King Kazu.” Kazuyoshi became famous for doing the “Kazu Dance” seen in this episode to celebrate after he scored goals. You can check out a video of one such performance here, via YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1ycsu27vFg.
[18:21.34] What was my favorite class in school?
This week’s riddle is a terrible old man joke, and not the sort that’s easy to translate well. He’s actually punning on the idea that he’s a jii, or “old man.” His original question is “Bread is bread (pan), but what is my (jii-san’s) favorite bread?” The answer supplied for this riddle is Jii-pan, which translates as… jeans, as in “blue jeans.” In this case we just changed it to a similar type of joke that puns off of his translated name, the Storyteller.
Episode 22 notes
This episode is written by Sentai vet Soda Hirohisa and falls after Takatera Shigenori joined Kakuranger staff as an assistant producer. This is significant because this episode prototypes a lot of the ideas that would define Racing Sentai Carranger a few years later, where Takatera Shigenori would be head producer and Soda Hirohisa would write many memorable episodes. Prototyping of this sort is very common in Sentai of this vintage, particularly in filler episodes. An idea used for just one filler plot (say, Zyuranger’s episode about one of the characters becoming a ninja) can later come back and define an entire series (such as Kakuranger being a full-on ninja series).
In this episode, the yokai has a flamboyant speech pattern related to his powers. Carranger later reuses this idea, giving every single Monster of the Week a different speech gimmick. To emphasize this, the yokai’s dialogue has been translated in the style used for Carranger MotWs in Haorrangers’s recent releases. There’s also the general idea of doing a Sentai plot that’s entirely about cars, and how that aspect of the plot is depicted as absurd and played for comedy. Finally, Seikai’s depiction in this episode, as a well-meaning buffoon who’s just a bit incompetent, is very similar to the way Soda would later write basically all of the male Carrangers.
Prototyping of this sort has generally fallen out of use in modern Sentai, in part due to changes in how the shows are made. Back in the 90s, you’d have more continuity from series to series, with writers and producers often staying on for several continuous years. In modern Sentai, most major production staff positions change completely from year to year. It’s thought this is so one series can be in pre-production while another is airing. It’s also thought this is a measure meant to prevent staff from burning out on the material, by giving them breaks between major projects.
[04:06.63] Allow me to introgas myself! I’m the yokai Enra-Enra!
This yokai is known more commonly, in English writing, by the name enenra. In Japanese writing, both “enenra” and “enra-enra” are used. Both names translate roughly as “Lightweight-Fabric Smoke.” The name likewise emphasizes the light and immaterial nature of enenra’s body. As the monster explains in this episode, he’s a yokai made of smoke, though he dwelled in bonfires as often as in hearth fires. When an enenra left its fire, it often took on the form of a human. Only someone pure-hearted can distinguish a disguised enenra from a real numan.
In the episode, the yokai’s speech pattern involved ending his sentences with the particle “de gasu.” This is a double joke, both referring to Enra-Enra’s smoky nature and to the speech particle “de gowasu,” which a Japanese audience would associate with sumo wrestlers. The speech tic is called a copula, though it’s a corruption of proper copulas (in this case “de gozaimasu”).
Generally, copulas in Japanese sentence perform the same function as English connecting verbs like “is” and “was”. Enra-Enra essentially substitutes his speech tic phrase for the proper couplas the audience would expect to hear at the end of given sentences. To translate this, we’ve opted to substitute the word “gas” into various parts of his sentences in English. To us, this seems to be the closest English equivalent to his speech pattern. The various Carranger monsters of the week are handled the same way, as their tics are usually of the same type.
[05:35.15] The exhaust here in Sangyodoro is the best there is!
Sangyodoro is also known as Kanagawa Prefectural Road #6, a specific location in Kawasaki. This place is famous for the incredibly bad quality of its air, due to car exhaust. In America, a story like this might have cited LA’s infamous smog, or in Europe, Milan’s smog problem.
[11:15.16] If duty were weighed against compassion…
The righteously manly song playing over Seikai’s departure is called Karajishi Botan, or “Lion Amidst the Peonies”. The song is sung by Takakura Ken, and is a typical example of the Japanese musical genre called enka. This genre is thought to be the modern form of traditional Japanese music, usually sentimental ballads about love and loss. You can listen to the full version of the song here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=noNXR2n_GKU.
Episode 23 notes
[03:15.93] Promise ring!
I know what at least some of you are thinking. “Dangit, Jiraiya! That’s a friendship bracelet!” Well, it’s what we were thinking at first, anyway. It turned out we were kind of wrong, though. So between Jiraiya being a special character (in translation terms) and the episode explaining what the things are, we left the original term in here where maybe usually we wouldn’t.
What Jiraiya calls a “promise ring” here is typically called a ‘misanga’ in English. It’s a type of bracelet that originated in India, and became a fad in Japan in the 90s. The “friendship bracelets” that became popular in the US in the 90s are a similar type of bracelet. “Promise ring” was a slang term used for them, but they’re also known by the name “misanga” in Japanese.
Where a friendship bracelet is typically made using half-hitch knots, a misanga can incorporate different types of knots or be woven. That said, the two types of bracelet look so similar they’re often confused, or the terms used interchangeably. A misanga technically represents good luck more than friendship, but is often treated as having the same symbolism as the friendship bracelet.
This week’s yokai is, as the episode explains, an ocean spirit who is thought to capsize ships. His name roughly translates as “sea monk,” and in folk art, he’s depicted with a round head similar to the shaved head of a Buddhist monk. That said, Umi-Bouzu was often depicted with a watery, amorphous body and sometimes thought to be a shape-changer.
In some stories, Umi-Bouzu is simply the malevolence of the sea, while in others he’s the angry spirit of a drowned monk or priest. Like a lot of the more famous yokai featured in Kakuranger, there’s a lot of other games, anime, and films that feature their own takes on Umi-Bouzu. Most Umi-Bouzo stories originate from coastal areas and date back to the Edo period.
The most famous story about Umi-Bouzu originates from the Usou Kanwa, a collection of stories dating back to the Edo period. In this story, a lone sailor manages to break a taboo while out at sea, either going out too far or going out at the wrong time of month. A ten-foot tall Umi-Bouzu rises out of the sea to threaten the fisherman, by asking him if he has ever seen anything so frightening before. The fisherman replies that nothing frightens him more than having to make a living. The Umi-Bouzu, stunned by the fisherman’s reply, vanished instantly. You can watch a short film that relates a variation on this tale here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pz64iwUwIs.
The -maru part of this robot’s name works exactly like Nekomaru’s, and the “tsubasa” part means “wing.” The name has been left untranslated basically to keep consistency with Nekomaru’s name.
Another big surprise this episode is finding out Junior’s yokai identity, and it’s a doozy. In folklore, gashadokuro is a enormous skeleton, roughly ninety feet tall. A gashadokuro is formed from the bones of humans who died in wars, or of starvation. The anger and hatred of the dead seeps into the bones, and gives the gashadokuro an unsatiable thirst for human blood.
A gashadokuro will stalk humans it finds traveling alone, hoping to seize them and bite their heads off. The gashadokuro will take the headless body and suck all of the blood out of it. No matter how many victims a gashadokuro claims, it will never be satisfied. Gashadokuro can move completely silently despite their enormous size. They prefer to stalk humans at night, where their gigantic size won’t give them away. If one is closing in on you, your ears will ring with the loud clanging of bells, regardless of where you are. When you hear the sound, you should run as quickly as you can, for as long as you can.
Gashadokuro is another yokai that has become very popular as a basis for creatures in Japanese video games. He shows up with particular regularity in the Castlevania series.
Episode 24 notes
[02:20.86] Infernal King
This also comes up in episode 23, but this seemed like a better place to go into it. The term we’re translating as “Infernal King” or “Infernal Majesty” (depending on context) is “Daimaoh” in Japanese. More directly, it translates as “Great Demon King.” That said, Kakuranger’s dialogue tend to use it more as a title than as a name, a bit similar to how the yokai Gashadokuro goes by the title Young Prince Junior. We decided to translate it in a similar style, so it would sound appropriately like an ominous noble title.
[09:53.80] The Heavenly Triad that reigns over this world.
Here’s a plot beat that should be familiar to Zyuranger fans– we find out the robots are actually deities. In this case, Sandayuu calls them the “san shinsho” or “Three Protective Deities.” The “shinshou” term is usually used in folklore to describe the “juni shinsho” or Twelve Heavenly Generals, a group of deities that work in the service of a particular Buddha. To riff on this common title, and to emphasize how they stand in opposition to the Infernal King, we opted to call them the Heavenly Triad.
[10:02.74] Great Kakure Shogun
This robot’s name is Kakure Daishogun in Japanese. Typically we don’t translate “Kakure” in this show (which means “hidden”), since its use tends to just reference the team’s name. “Daishogun” can be read two ways, either as combining “Big” and “Shogun,” or as the Japanese name for mythic figures otherwise known in English as the Eight Taoist Immortals. After some back and forth, we decided to go with “Great Kakure Shogun,” to preserve the vague military rank theming in the names. If you want to call him the Kakure Immortal or whatever else in your subs, feel free. There doesn’t seem to be any sort of clear theming behind the name scheme of the various robots, though it’s been suggested that they reflect different samurai or military ranks.
[16:43.42] … is built on heart, technique, and body.
What Sandayuu is talking about here is a martial arts principle called “shin-gi-tai” in Japanese. While there’s a lot of different accepted ways to translate this phrase into English, we opted to go with one that Sentai fans seemed likely to be familiar with already. The shin-gi-tai that Sandayuu is talking about here is absolutely the same one that a lot of Gekiranger fans will recognize.
[18:00.48] With this, Ninja Squad Kakuranger Part 1 comes to an end!
This is not really a translation note, so much as a footnote about the show. The idea of episode 24 being the end of “Part 1” came as a big surprise at the time, and lead to speculation that the show had been retooled. This was a fairly reasonable conclusion to draw at the time, as Kakuranger’s ratings had begun to sag consistently after episode 12. Members of Kakuranger’s production staff have denied that this was the case, and said that it was always the plan to break the show up into different “chapters” that would be written in slightly different styles. We tend to think the creators are being truthful on the matter, but feel free to draw your own conclusions. Regardless, the “Youth Battle Saga” that comprises Part 2 of Kakuranger will be in some ways a different show than what came before it, and in other ways, not very different at all.
Episode 25 Notes
Ittan-Momen is another tsukomogami-type yokai, a yokai born from an object that reached its 100th birtday. In Ittan-Momen’s case, the object would be a strip or roll of cotton cloth. The yokai’s name literally means “one bolt of cotton cloth.”
Once the cloth becomes an Ittan-Momen, it flies through the skies at night by riding the wind, strangling any humans who crossed its path with its winding cloth body. In some folklore, Ittan-Momen can be slain by cutting through the cloth, which will spill blood. There are also tales of friendly Ittan-Momen that enjoy being worn by humans they’ve chosen to trust.
The biker motif Kakuranger uses for the monster is probably meant to show how, with modern technology, an Ittan-Momen could make its own wind. Ittan-Momen’s voice and speech pattern may be very familiar to fans of Dairanger. Ittan-Momen in this episode is played by Hiyama Noboyuki, who played recurring villain General Kamikaze.
[15:16.50] Art of the High Ninjuu!
“Ninjuu” combines the “Nin” from “ninja” with the “Juu” from “Juushou.” Literally translated, it would mean something like “Ninja Beast.” Since we typically transliterate “Juushou,” we decided that it would be consistent to do the same with “Ninjuu.”
The word we’re translating as “High” is “chou,” which is more conventionally translated as “super.” In the case of Kakuranger, though, the show is already using the English word “super” in robot combinations (Super Muteki Shogun). It seemed best not to invite confusion by translating a wholly separate Japanese word with the same meaning, as regards the show’s robots.