Konosuba Ep 3 notes

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You’ve probably seen these leaf umbrellas before. They are inspired by irl butterbur leaves (or rather, a specific, large subspecies of it that is native to northern Japan), which are fuggin huge and have long, thick (veiny) stems you can hold them with, and as such can be used as a makeshift umbrella. It’s same species of plant that they made tempura out of in noted Good-Anime-Set-In-Northern-Japan, Flying Witch.

They have an association with Koropukkur, which are kind of like fairy/dwarf/elves in Ainu folklore—their name basically translates to “the people under the [butterbur] leaves”—who are often depicted holding them.

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If you hadn’t noticed, all the episode names (excluding s1e1) follow the same pattern as the series title: “Kono ______ ni _______ wo”. Kono means “this,” –ni is a particle that indicates indirect object status (among several other things, it’s quite versatile), and –wo is a particle that indicates direct object status (grammatically, like subject/object/verb). So you’ve got no subject or verb, just the direct and indirect objects, which is Japanese as fuck.

As a comparatively high context language, you’re free to drop many more parts of the sentence in Japanese than you can in English. This is why you get stuff like one-word lines turning into a whole sentence in the subs sometimes. It’s also the source of a lot of Japanese humor and drama. When you’re able to leave out the subject, object, and/or verb in a sentence, it’s easy to write a dialogue where the characters think they’re talking about the same thing, but aren’t (as an example).

This also makes it hell to translate sometimes, as this is often used as a tool to keep information away from characters or the audience. It’s a lot easier to write cryptic conversations when, again, you don’t need subjects or objects.

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Warning Feel free to skip this entry, it’s long and boring. Warning

The words used to refer to different types of employment are actually fairly well defined in Japan. The two used here are naishoku and (aru)baito, but there’s also part-time, keiyaku-shain, and sei-shain. All these are common words you’ll see when looking through job ads:

Naishoku is work you do at home, and generally pays per task done, not an hourly wage or salary. When Aqua says “I’m being paid more” she specifically says the amount she gets paid per carton has gone up.

Baito (short for arubaito, which comes from the German word for work, arbeit) is work done “on the side” of some other thing that’s your main focus. Most often, that thing is high school or college, though it can also be another job that doesn’t pay as much as you’d like or doesn’t give you enough hours, like a lot of artsy work (indie band, new/unpopular seiyuu/mangaka/animators/authors, etc.), or even just “looking for a ‘real’ job.” It was originally used as a code word by students, who were often forbidden from having a job. If you’ve heard the word “freeter,” it comes from “freelance arbeiter.”

Part-time (or part-timer, or just part), is basically the same thing as it is in English, except it’s almost always used to refer to women, particularly housewives who want to make a little money on the side. It doesn’t have to, but the connotation is strong enough to the point you see a lot of people online asking “I’m a man, can I apply to this job that says it’s looking for part-timers?”

Keiyaku-shain (contract employees) are usually full time employees but with a distinct duration to their employment contract and usually lacking in a lot of the legal protections afforded normal employees. This style of employment has become all the rage lately, as it allows employers to skirt a bunch of labor laws, and they can just renew your contract as long as they want to keep you on. It’s said this trend is the cause of a lot of the job insecurity that people say they feel when asked about why they aren’t getting married or having kids. Good luck on raising that birth rate, Japan!

Sei-shain (full employees) are just that, regular employees with all the associated legal protections, of which Japan technically has a lot of. This is a pretty highly sought-after status nowadays.

This list was ordered by “generally lowest paying” to “generally highest paying.”

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As you may have noticed, he says the same thing both times in the Japanese: うつなよ (utsunayo). Utsu is the verb for “to shoot/fire,” sticking “-na” at the end turns it into a strong command to not shoot, and the yo is for flavor; also just “utsuna” by itself sounds a little harsh.

Ironically, adding –na to a different conjugation of the verb instead turns it into a command TO do the thing, instead of not do it. E.g. if he’d said uchinayo instead of utsunayo it would completely reverse the meaning.

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The Japanese here doesn’t actually make it clear the person is male (not that it particularly matters here). For such a gendered language, it’s interesting there are so many ways to avoid bringing up the gender of whoever you’re talking about. Megumin specifically uses the word “soitsu,” which in addition to being pretty gender neutral also doesn’t show any respect, which is indicative of how she feels about this guy despite his supposed greatness.

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“Foresight” here in the Japanese is 千里眼 (senrigan), which is basically “thousand-ri eyes” (a ri is roughly 4 kilometres*). It seems to have originated in ancient China, as things often do, when a particular general(?) had a particularly good spy network; it was said “his eyes see for a thousand ri.” It sounds hella cool so it gets used in games/anime/manga/etc. and shit a lot as a skill name, generally for “clairvoyance” type skills.

*Amount varies by country and time period. Also it’s typically written with an L when referring to the Chinese version.

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Minor detail, but he specifies “on your few strengths” here too, though using a different word from the one that was translated as “few” in the previous line. There’s a long-running Japanese meme of “[it’s] important so [I/you] said it twice” (大事なことなので二回言いました) that might apply here. Given the, the uh, the circumstances.

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Bit of foreshadowing/punning here. The word for “the living” is 生者, alternatively pronounced seisha, shouja, or seija. She uses seija. Seija, when using these kanji: 聖者, instead means saint/holy person.

And we see what kind of person the undead actually chase after.

Specifically he’s making the ふーん (fu-n) sound here, which when used in real life sounds like hmmm, but with more of an ‘n’ sound. It’s the sound people make when being told some sort of fact; depending on the tone used it either indicates “huh, that’s an interesting fact!” or “cool story bro.” All this to say I cracked up at how clearly he enunciated the f/h at the start of his ふーん.

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What’s translated as “keen eyes” is actually a bit more poetic sounding: “kumori-naki manako” (曇りなき眼). It uses a fancy word for eyes (which is usually just “me” 目), and a mildly fancy way of saying “unclouded”: kumori (clouded) naki (not).

It’s also a phrase famously used in Princess Mononoke, which they are undoubtedly referencing.


Here she says “プー、クスクス” (puu, kusu kusu), which is the manga-sound-effect-laugh equivalent of “lol at u” (you’ll see it in Japanese emoji a lot, when laughing at somebody for being bad/screwing up/etc.). Much like Kazuma’s “fu-n,” hearing the sound actively said instead of made had me doing some lolling of my own.

She did a similar thing earlier in the episode as well, if you noticed!

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He’s saying “sensei” here, which is traditionally what (generally wealthy) people would call their bodyguards back in like the Edo period. Or, more importantly, it’s what the bad rich guy says to call his strong, mercenary bodyguard after the heroes have defeated his cannon fodder lackeys in all those TV shows set in the Edo period. You’ll hear this usage in anime/manga a fair bit when the one kid loses a fight and then calls in their older, stronger (often yakuza- or gang-involved) friend.

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Not that it matters, but since I’m here…: the catnip part of this was added in translation.

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The last sentence of this is written like it was taken from the back of a box of medicine, and in fact the whole thing does generally sound like a drug ad.

Episode 2 notes link.