Finally gotten to Case 1-4 in Gyakuten Saiban. You know, the interesting case.

Lotta's name in Japanese is Natsumi, mercifully in katakana. She has one of the heaviest Kansai-ben accents I've ever tripped across. If you've ever seen Meitantei Conan in Japanese -- she's worse than Hattori, who is hamming it up at least half the time. It's not incomprehensible, but I'm guessing at a lot of slang based on context and vague impressions.

Manfred von Karma is Karuma Goh. He is equally creepy. His speech is distinctive. It's common in Japanese to double up on imitative noises and non-word sorts of descriptions; a heartbeat, for instance, is dokidoki, and zuruzuru, zuruzuru is the equivalent of "dilly-dally". Karuma uses a lot of them, especially with -o endings, which in Japanese tend to be considered evocative of rolling or booming noises. (The "Goron" in Zelda games is from gorogoro, the noise of an avalanche or rock fall.) A lot of his dialogue is extraordinarily grandiose and rolls like thunder. He also uses wagahai as his first-person pronoun, which I think hits the absolute physical limit for pomposity possible in the Japanese language. He calls everyone else, including the Judge, kisama, which frankly ought to get him hucked in jail for contempt, but doesn't, because the Judge is terrified of him.

There are also some interesting bits when Ryuuichi and Mayoi go about investigating DL6号事件, "DL-6 Incident", the case where Mitsurugi's father was the victim. Mayoi refers to her mother, who has been missing and hoped-not-dead for almost as long, as okaasan, which is a perfectly reasonable way to refer to your own mother when you're a teenager, particularly when your mother was the matriarch of a large clan of spirit mediums. When she asks about Miturugi's father, she uses otousan, which is also a perfectly reasonable way to refer to the father of someone you're on respectful and friendly terms with. Mitsurugi, when he's done what little talking about it that he has so far, uses chichi to refer to his own father when explaining what happened -- technically, this form, without the prefix o- and without the honorific -san, is the proper way to refer to one's own family members when talking to people outside the family. (It omits anything that might suggest that you're informing your listener of how high-falutin' awesome your family is, which can be construed to suggest that you think their family isn't, and is considered rude.) Most young people talk the way Mayoi does, and using it makes Mitsurugi sound about twenty years older than he actually is, but when Ryuuichi quotes him in the flashbacks he also sounds like he's nine-going-on-forty, so it's not unreasonable.

Ryuuichi, on the other hand, starts out with otou- and then uses a suffix I've never seen before. It's not -sama, unless it's an alternate kanji for that; I can't seem to find what it is by eye in the dictionary, but if I've never run into it before it's almost certainly exceedingly respectful. It's not an impersonal suffix like -shi; he and Yahari and Mitsurugi were pretty close when they were kids, and he certainly would have spent enough time with his friends' fathers around to say that he knew them.

As mentioned, Ryuuichi is really picky about his honorifics. His use of them, or choice not to use them, is mostly conscious, and always significant. The only thing I can give as a guess is that he's using -dono, which would be both weird and completely appropriate. The honorific tono, read -dono when attached to names, is "sir", sort of -- it was traditionally used by people like samurai about someone who was socially of the same standing as the speaker, but for whom the speaker wished to show great respect or admiration. Mitsurugi père was also a defense attorney, of no small repute, and is universally regarded by the other characters as both a scrupulously honest lawyer, and a good man.

It's also interesting to watch Ryuuichi and Mitsurugi interact during the brief recesses. As Phoenix does in English, Ryuuichi keeps a running log of observations and sometimes snarkery about other people in his head, but rarely acts on them or says anything aloud unless he has more solid corroboration. But with Mitsurugi, he both reacts verbally to, and reacts to Mitsurugi with, non-verbal cues. He reacts to a change in Mitsurugi's sprite animation by poking him and noting that he's zoned out; since Ryuuichi is your POV character and you can't see what he's doing, his pertinent non-verbals are represented in the dialogue panel by textless punctuation. The translation has these too, but the effect is more pronounced in the original. Japanese is more elliptical than English is, and you can get away with omitting more references before your sentences become untenably thin. They omit a lot with each other, and yet the conversation flows fine.