Note that what I’m probably going to do is split the notes this week into two sections – a section for stuff that’s specifically relevant to the Fourze episode, and then do a bumper double post of notes for stuff relating to Kyoto, that’ll cover both Fourze 33 and Smile 13, which sounds more sensible than talking about Kyoto twice in two seperate posts.
Sound like a plan? Excellent. Fourze notes after the jump, then, which will leap right into the spoilers.
First of all, if you’re wondering who these “Foundation X” guys are, they turned out to be the final villains in Kamen Rider W. They’ve poked their heads in in the movies occasionally too, and are generally an attempt to tie the various shows together with an overarching shadowy organization. OOO didn’t really make use of them because one of its chief staff members was kind of against the idea of continuity, but Fourze obviously has no such issues.
Alright then, actual notes! First of all, let’s talk about Leo Zodiart’s user – Tatsugami. We don’t get his first name, but his surname is – if you know Japanese – enough to work out what Zodiart he is. The Japanese for ‘mane’ – as in a lion’s mane – is “Tategami.” Tate is also the commanding form of the verb “to stand”, the base form of which is? Yup, “tatsu.” Note that tategami does not actually literally mean “standing hair” as it would appear to be comprised of – it has its own kanji, though there is a ‘tategami’ written with the kanji for “standing hair” that refers to a human hairstyle.
There’s a couple of things that may be really obvious to people with familiarity with Japan and Japanese culture in the Rabbit Hatch scene that I’ll explain for those who were unaware. In Japanese culture, it’s said that sneezing is a sign that somewhere out there in the world, someone is badmouthing you, which is often used as a way of doing a transition between the person talking and the person being talked about. The other one is geographical and pretty obvious from context, but when Nozama is talking about “trouble in the west”, she is referring to Kyoto, which is to the west of the country.
Now, next up is kind of a Kyoto thing, but is specifically tied in to the plot thread of this arc. Kyoto has long been regarded as an ideal dwelling place for the four Taoist gods – each side of the city faces onto a very different terrain which, the people invisaged, would each be suitable for habitation by a different god. There’s a special term for this – “shijinsouou” that gets brought up in this episode, that literally refers to this concept – an ideal habitat for the gods. I translated this as “Eden Pantheon” to keep it short and snappy, which I hope works, and I hope my bizarre way of wording the line gets across decently that it’s modelled after Kyoto.
The “science” of Onmyou also gets brought up in this episode – it’s specifically a system of divination based around the ideas of yin and yang and all that spiritual jazz – finding patterns or signs that shaped people’s lives. Why bring this up in a discussion about astronomy? Because in the time period being discussed – the two had become inseparable, as it tends to do in a lot of cultures, where the stars through their mystique become intrinsically attached to divination. This is clear in our culture too, with our star signs and horoscopes based off them, and the idea of spiritual divination becoming attached to astronomy is really quite a natural one based on the progression of science at that point in human history.
As a side note, go watch the anime Onmyou Taisenki, it kind of fucking owns.
When Kengo finally decides to join the party in full regal costume, he does so as a “Hitsuke Touzoku Aratame”. This was a special position in law enforcement back in ancient Japan, specifically instituted to go around catching arsonists and those ordering and colluding with arson attacks – which was a much bigger deal back when your cities were basically made of wood. The fact that he was dressed up as this specific type of ‘police officer’ (de jour) was irrelevant to the scene, however, as well as being basically impossible to explain the significance of in the time alotted, so I went with a generic kind of “lol i’m a policeman” line. Apologies for the cultural whitewashing.
Finally, a personal bitch – I really hate the word “kanbu”. It means ‘commander’, literally, and comes up at the end of the show when Kengo refers to Leo as the “shishi-za no kanbu” – the “commander based on Leo”. It’s a terrible word, because in this show it’s basically used completely interchangably with “Horoscope” with a ratio of kanbu being used about once out of every ten possible times one of the two words is required. As such I try and translate around it rather than leaving it in, because it only serves to complicate the already ridiculous number of terms used to refer to the Horoscopes (“caped guys”, “heralds”, “Horoscopes”) without really doing anything to clarify their position – they don’t tend to do much commanding except when Libra is trying to command his goddamn equals.
Anyway, a lot of notes, and more to come once Smile’s out! Enjoy!