β · Lachesis Awakes

A couple of things.  Taking my cue from Nagano, I’m not going to hold back on any spoilers when I write about Five Star Stories.  I myself am actively looking into spoilerific facts as I go along!!  Also, what I’m doing in this post is unusual but there’s a reason for it.  The first two pages of the first real chapter (after the prologue) of FSS are very mysterious and seemingly important.  The U.S. version’s English translation is superb, but looking over the Japanese I’m struck by how useful a literal, even if ugly translation of this passage can be to supplement our understanding of the whole.

the good (?) doctor

the good (?) doctor

So I’ve placed each of the 14 speech bubbles with the official Toys Press translation and then my own when there’s a significant change [and highlighting what’s changed or inserting <> when the original Japanese lacks something appearing in the American version].  I’m not concerned about style, so I’ll be really just following the official translation unless the original text is significantly different.  My comments in green.

1

Toys: Can you hear me, double Epsilon…Lachesis.

AK: Can you hear me, double Epsilon…No, Lachesis.

The extra “no” adds emotive power to Ballanche’s statement.  He feels he’s wronged Lachesis by calling her “double Epsilon”, the names aren’t simply interchangable.  I’ve read that technically Lachesis is not a Fatima, or if she is then she’s a special advanced type, and this type is called “double Epsilon”.  The tone is set for Ballanche’s feelings of guilt throughout this enigmatic affair.

2

Toys: This is the last time you will ever sleep again.

AK: The last one to wake up.

The Japanese is fuzzy and IMO full of possibilities.  The official translation reckons the last “one” means “the last time” and this is totally acceptable, but I actually think Ballanche might mean, in essence, “you are the last one [of the three sisters] to wake up” and this would link up better with what he says immediately following.

3

Toys: And you’re probably going to curse and haunt me just like Atropos.

AK: I wonder if you’ll curse and haunt me just like Atropos.

Essentially the same, although the English version makes Ballanche seem more certain of the result.

4

Toys: It’s now time for you to begin a new journey down an eternal path of misery and suffering.

AK: Are the thoughts of him <> still embedded in your memory <>?

The official translation transposes lines 4 and 5.  See my comment after 5.

5

Toys: Are the thoughts of him and the promises he made still imbedded [sic] in your memory…in your prayers?

AK: If they are, then it’s now time for you to undergo a journey down an eternal path of misery and suffering.

More important than the transposition is the fact that the official translation has severed the link between the two statements.  Ballanche is saying that if “he” (and we will very soon know “he”is Amaterasu) is still in Lachesis’ mind then she will have to undergo a terrible journey.  This doesn’t necessarily mean that Amaterasu being absent she wouldn’t have to go through it, but possibly that her pining for him will make the (inevitable) journey all the more woeful.

awakening

6

Toys: …Wait.  It’s still not time…  I have to turn the amnio supply off.

AK: <SAME>

7

Toys: It’s going to take a little time before your body motion and facial expresions stabilize.

AK: It’s going to take a little time before your body motion and facial expressions return to normal.

For me this is change is huge.  “Stabilize” doesn’t tell us anything about how the new post-procedure Lachesis will or won’t resemble the pre-procedure Lachesis.  The original Japanese is clear: Lachesis has been transformed, but at least superficially she will return back to her original form.  Then what’s the purpose of the procedure??

8

Toys: My daughter…

AK: <SAME>

9

Toys: What have I done to you?

AK: Forgive me…for turning your body into this monstrous thing.

Wow!  Well, we know it wasn’t an accident…  He meant to do this.

10

Toys: No father…  It’s everything I’ve hoped for.

AK: <SAME>

11

Toys: We have to erase those body markings.

AK: <SAME>

12

Toys: And I have a million things to tell you.

AK: <SAME>

13

Toys: Before prince charming comes.

AK: Before that man comes.

“Prince charming” is a great translation, actually.  Ballance stresses “that man” in the Japanese (thus my italics) and it’s clear he is jealous of Amaterasu. “Prince charming” conveys that neatly.

lachesis

14

Toys: Yes, sir.

AK: <SAME>

Literally the same, in fact, as Lachesis says “Yes, sir” in English and not in Japanese.

***

Two pages, followed then by a third one featuring Aisha Codante deciding to go after all (Go where?  why?  Heck, who is Aisha Codante anyway?) and after that we plunge straight in with Ladios Sopp in Bastogne, but that’s already for the next post.

There’s some seriously twisted stuff going on with Ballanche at this point.  If we take the heading “Addler 2988” as applying to this couple of pages as well as the actual debut of Lachesis immediately following in the manga, then the conclusion is that the meight is secretly and speedily doing some heavy modifications on his daughter right before her debut.

If Lachesis is some sort of goddess, along with her two sisters Clotho and Atropos, what does that make Chrome Ballanche?  His presence is overwhelming early in the tale.  It is his Teata that beats Est and the Black Knight, and now his Lachesis is poised to do what???  Not sure, but certainly something of awesome consequence.

[covered VOLUME 1: from page 35 to page 39]

~ by Haloed Bane on September 9, 2009.

3 Responses to “β · Lachesis Awakes”

  1. Wow, these are really helpful. The literal translations here capture a lot of nuances, which I think is a lot more important in a slightly more static format like manga. In the animated film version of these events, Ballanche does exhibit some body language – we see uncertainty and potentially regret even without necessarily getting the exact translation of the words.

    As for Ballanche himself, his characterization i think evokes the famous “dollmasters” of mythology and literature: Pinnochio’s Gepetto, Pygmalion the sculptor, or Shelley’s Dr. Frankenstein; and I think much like these examples Ballanche’s motives are meant to be open to interpretation – is he a father creating something that can love and be loved? Is he simply pushing the limits of science and good sense to see how far his abilities can go? Or perhaps a bit of both?

  2. Wow, this is great stuff. Now I wish I can really read the original language T_T

    Some of the changes do make a big difference, but you’re right that the ‘Prince Charming’ reference is a very good decision.

    Aisha, you’ll love her more and more. She’s my favorite Mirage Knight by far.

    Clotho still confuses me, as the resolution of her story is incomplete I think (or even untold!?), though the actual events are clear based on the timeline published.

    Chrome Ballanche is worth a lot of scrutiny IMO.

  3. @vendredi

    a bit of both, probably!! all in all, the English translation is superb, but i’m still checking out the Japanese original, and in this case i was struck by these little tiny differences..in general, if i see something significant missing in the english i’ll point it out in my commentary.

    @ghostlightning

    Clotho. Nagano says somewhere she’s his favorite, and that must count for something. Just from the initial setup I guess my tendency would be to prefer Atropos over the others, but that’s because i like endings and destruction and stuff!

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