In which we learn more about Lock Seeds, how not to do one’s job, and transforming: with style~
A thing we took a bit of flak for on the first episode was our handling of the word “hanamichi”. When Gaim transforms into Orange Arms, the belt announces this by shouting “Hanamichi On Stage!”, which is what we translated in episode 1 as “The Path of Blossoms to the Stage.” Hanamichi is a term in Japanese kabuki theatre, used to refer to the path by which actors enter and exit the stage – but also to the act of them doing so. The trick with hanamichi is that it’s written with the kanji for “flowers” and “path”, and… Gaim is a show about fruits and flowers.
So, we’ve chosen to go for a translation that balances these aspects of the phrase. “Hanamichi on stage” we can take to mean “To go on stage” as a sentence, and we can translate “hana michi” as “the path of blossoms” because, well, it’s Orange Arms and oranges have blossoms
But, in doing the line the way we did, it kind of underemphasized the kabuki aspects of the line in a way people were unhappy with. And in this episode there’s a bit more kabuki-ish stuff going on, which I’m sure will make that decision seem more questionable.
The problem with kabuki stuff though is that all kabuki terminology survives into English intact. A hanamichi is still called a hanamichi in English, and when Kouta does an ebizori in this episode, well, that has no name but an ebizori, and “prawn bend” just sounds confusing. But when push comes to shove, we’re translating a show about fruit samurai, and if paying due heed to the kabuki aspects of the show is going to confuse people trying to watch pineapple men kick monsters, then I think that’s doing John Everyviewer a disservice.
Ultimately, we translated it the way we did as insurance. In a show about flowers, it seems likely that the word hanamichi’s etymology will be important later down the road. Japan has lots of metaphors involving flowers and paths – and we have the horrible feeling this aspect of hanamichi will tie in later down the road. If it doesn’t, well, we’ve wasted four words every time he transforms. But I think it’s better to be in that situation than to purely translate hanamichi as a theatrical analogy when, thirty episodes down the line, a character talks about walking the ~floral path~ and it’s meant to be symbolic and… we have nothing to hook it into.
But! What we have done is changed the way we handle the phrase. It was a massive block of text before, so we’ve broken the “[fruit] Arms” and their respective catchphrases up into two lines. We’ve also changed the Hanamichi line’s punctuation so it’s “The Path of Blossoms! To The Stage!”. Our thought is that “To The Stage!” adequately sums up the kabuki meaning of Hanamichi, so we can still evoke flowers without worrying about ruining people’s kabuki boners.
Let’s get our terms right first. Warring States = 戦国. Warring States Period = 戦国時代.
The name of the belt is 戦極ドライバー. That’s something different. It’s still “Sengoku,” but instead of koku (“nation”), it’s goku (“extreme”). That’s wham bam extreme with a capital X. So what we settled on is “Wärring Driver.”
The reason is that what we’re looking at is a word that’s supposed to remind you of “Warring States,” but instead of actually being that, it’s “Warring Awesome.” This makes sense because what the show is referring to is a) the war scene at the very beginning b) the competition for turf on the streets of Zawame, and then obliquely to the actual Warring States Period. Saying “states” doesn’t even make sense in this context. In light of all that and the need to choose a single English word for the name of the machine, we deemed the word “states” superfluous and dropped it.
“Warring” is enough of a slightly weird word that it still references the word “Warring States” specifically if you recognize it and more or less fits the show’s theme if you don’t. Basically, we think that the name “Wärring Driver” has about as much to do with the Warring States Period as the word 戦極 itself.
As for the ümlaut, that’s because 極 just has that effect. For clarification, here’s what that means. Basically the way they write ‘goku’ is like Mortal Kombat being spelt with a K or ‘Xtreme’ starting X
There’s no space in ‘Warring’ to put an X or a K or a Z or something like that in so… umlaut.