Still happily playing through GyakuSai games in Japanese. I only get to do these things in fits and starts, and can't play games and fix my lingerie at the same time, sadly. I only have so many hands. Two, to be precise. Although I do tend to cache pins and needles in my mouth when those are insufficient -- you clamp the pin in place using the bottom edge of your top incisors, pushing up with the tip of your tongue and letting the part outside your mouth push against your bottom lip, but apparently if you don't sew you don't know this. The cringing the first time David saw me do it was rather funny.

The middle two cases in the first game, the ones that are Ryuuichi vs Mitsurugi, are enlightening. There's a noticeable sliding scale in the way Edgeworth speaks in English, going from "delivering opening statement to the Judge" to "hammering on the desk demanding that the witness give their name and profession for the third time", but the difference is much starker in Japanese, where there is also a substantial vocabulary change. It's quite obvious that when he gets to arguing with Ryuuichi, Mitsurugi has forgotten that he's in court. When addressing the court, his grammar is very polished and precise, the kind they teach you in school. He sounds like a textbook, and a particularly stuffy one at that. When he's arguing with Ryuuichi, he sounds like he's arguing with Ryuuichi. He uses sentence fragments (more so than ordinarily occur in Japanese), swaps phrases for emphasis, and generally sounds more like a normal person.

(You would think, from the English, that the shouty bits would remind him that he's in a court of law, but no. "Objection!" in that context, in English, is court-specific language. If you shouted it anywhere else, it would immediately itself summon up a mental image of court, as that's it's proper context. In Japanese, they shout "Igiari!" instead. Igi is literally 'different opinion', and the context is such that it means more like, "I disagree!" or "I beg to differ!" He does sometimes remember rather belatedly when the Judge talks to him, and sort of gets stuck halfway, which results in such weirdnesses as asking the Court's indulgence with itadakou, which is the first time I have ever seen that verb in any form but the formal polite -masu inflection.)

Maya's/Mayoi's confusion on exactly what the defense thinks of the prosecution also comes off somewhat differently in Japanese. The client at the end of 1-3 asks what the deal is after Mitsurugi/Edgeworth walks into the defense lobby to talk at you. The English is a direct translation of what happens here: Mitsurugi/Edgeworth says it would be ideal if Ryuuichi/Phoenix never showed up in his courtroom again, Niboshi Saburou/Will Powers asks 'um, what's the deal with you two?', and Mayoi/Maya asserts very loudly that he's an enemy prosecutor! and is very startled when Ryuuichi/Phoenix sounds rather uncertain about that. Both attorneys are yobisute with each other all the way through this case -- they call one another "Wright" and "Edgeworth" in English, and "Naruhodou" and "Mitsurugi" in Japanese, without any titles. It's ambiguous in both languages, sort of, but in slightly different ways.

In English, surname-only is a typically journalistic usage, and Maya has been assuming Phoenix uses it because Edgeworth is well-known and fairly unfamiliar, and being the unpleasant opposition, is not someone they'd be getting to know on a first-name basis. Her reaction is more or less 'wtf, you just started this lawyering gig, how do you know the famous guy who seems to hate us?' and surprise that Phoenix doesn't automatically view a tough prosecutor as The Enemy. In Japanese, the yobisute address automatically implies a sort of familiarity -- by using it, Ryuuichi implies that either the two of them are good friends, or that Mitsurugi is such a disreputable bad guy that he doesn't feel the need to be polite. Having seen some pretty vicious back-and-forth in court by that point, Mayoi assumes that the yobisute is out of contempt and general growliness, and is surprised to learn that Ryuuichi apparently hasn't been doing it to be insulting.

It also makes the beginning of 1-4 spool out a little differently. The dialogue is all pretty much the same, but in English, Maya seems to assume Phoenix insists on defending Edgeworth out of an over-developed sense of justice, and Edgeworth accuses them of visiting him in jail so they can gloat. The truth only begins to dawn on her when she realizes that Edgeworth is trying to make it all about a professional rival's downfall because he sees himself as a man with no friends. In Japanese, it's also the first time Mayoi sees Ryuuichi and Mitsurugi speak to each other at any real length without also dealing with witnesses and evidence, and catches the kind of grammar and language they use with one another in an actual conversation. The language and the words are running in such opposite directions that she realizes Mitsurugi is refusing their offer to defend him because he thinks of himself as a man who shouldn't have any friends, and is trying to push Ryuuichi away despite himself. Mitsurugi spends quite a lot of time telling Ryuuichi to go away in a strangely familiar fashion, making it more obvious that Ryuuichi is not the only one who thinks they have some kind of connection -- just the only one who doesn't consider it a terrifying thing to be run away from.

He does eventually quit running. There's a comment in 3-5, where in the English version Edgeworth hands Phoenix back some items lent to him for investigation purposes, and wishes him luck with the trial, calling him "partner". TV Tropes gleefully informs me that "even in the Japanese, the term used was ambiguous". I haven't even remotely gotten there yet, but I'd be very surprised if the word in question isn't 相手, aite. Aite is 'partner' as in 'acting together in some venture'. The person you're starting a business with is aite. In ballroom dancing, your partner is aite. In those godawful school projects where you have to pair up and do something stupid, it's you and your aite in competition with all the other duos.

Aite is also 'companion' in a personal sense. The connotation is not specifically romantic or platonic, but it does generally imply that the two people are on equal footing, so it's not usually used for the kind of relationships based on toadying or other power imbalances. It's something you say of people who are stapled together so firmly that, if you were to run into just one of them, the first thing out of your mouth is likely to be, "Where's the other one?" The mischievous-teenage-friends version of this is sometimes snarkily referred to in English as 'partners in crime'.

It's also used in sports and other contests of skill that are one-on-one, where it generally means 'opponent'. The two competitors in a chess match are aite; so are sparring partners in martial arts. In this case, as in the other two, it suggests that the person so described is someone whose head-interior you know quite well, either because you work together seamlessly, or because you need to be able to read his intentions in order to more easily beat the snot out of him. It also implies some respect for the other person as a worthy opponent. It's someone you actually have to try to defeat, rather than someone you just steamroller over.

All three meanings are appropriate for the two of them by that point in the story -- much of Edgeworth's character development is based on his realization that friends are not a terrifying weakness, really. A lot in the series rests on recognizing that speech, actions, and evidence can often be interpreted in two or more completely different and equally valid ways, so I'd be kind of surprised if the writers didn't take advantage of it.

Comments

  1. I hope you and yours are doing OK after the bombings today. Please take care.

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