El Calvados Part 2: The Royal Spanish Academy has a Fit

Hajime and Meguru arrive in El Calvados only to find Miguel Fernando has already rescued Yura.  Yura tells the Japanese dudes to put together some equipment while she goes into the other room with Miguel.  Meguru puts all the parts he’s been given and ends up with a laser gun.  Without knowing, he starts shooting the gun in various directions and a naked woman runs out of a bathtub.  The woman starts yelling at the Japanese guys, then she yells even more at Miguel (who’s come out of another room naked with Yura) and it turns out this lady is none other than Miguel’s wife!!

Leiji gives us the Calvadorean woman’s rant printed in perfect Spanish, but he adds very interesting katakana underneath.  Usually the katakana would give us a phonetic rendering of the Spanish but  here they sound more like what Japanese people ignorant of Spanish would hear.  And there’s more to it.  I will go through the whole rant and show how Leiji uses puns, Japanese dialects and random Spanish words (real and fake) to make the episode funny and still convey to his readers the gist of the Spanish without having to provide a straightforward translation.

 

 

LET = my literal English translation

JK = The Japanese katakana Leiji provides for fun.  The katakana don’t sound at all like the Spanish, and only sometimes do they match the meaning of the Spanish.

1. ¿Qué clase de broma es ésta?

LET: What kind of a joke is this?

JK: Eru, ochokuruntosu.

eru – Very possibly standing for “el” in Spanish.  “el” and “él” (pronounced exactly the same) are extremely common words in Spanish, and here Leiji makes them into some sort of exclamation.

ochokurun – in Kansai/Kyushu dialect this means “to make fun of, to make a fool of”.

tosu – Might be an imitation of the commonly found ending “-tos” in Spanish, or it could be short for “to suru” which means “to make”.

In this case, the katakana phrase resembles the Spanish quite closely.

2. ¡¡Perforaron de repente la tina del baño!!

LET: You’ve suddenly made a hole in the bathtub!!

JK: Tamaramonzetsu.

tamaramonzetsu – “tamara” is likely short for  “tamaranai” – “irresistible, intolerable” (either one, sometimes both meanings).  Leiji has a childish obsession with puns involving “tama” (= “balls” in Japanese) and so words like “tamaranai”, “tamageta” and “tama-ni” crop up all the time in his works.  By cutting off the word at “tamara” Leiji might also be suggesting the old slang word for penis (“mara”).  “monzetsu” means “to faint in agony”.

This phrase has nothing to do with the Spanish, but it can relate to the scene in the sense that the Japanese guys are so stunned by the naked lady that they cannot but faint in agony at the sight.

3. ¡¡Qué japoneses tan cabrones!!

What fuckers these Japanese are!!

De, ra, dosukebenyoore.

de – “de” in Spanish, a common word.

ra – “la” in Spanish, another common word.  Again, Matsumoto is throwing out words that a Japanese speaker visiting Latin America would hear over and over and come to associate closely with the language.

“dosukebenyoore” – “dosukebe” means “pervert/s” in Japanese, and the “-nyoore” ending is an imitation of Spanish “señor” and “señores”, with a possible influence from Italian “signore”.

4. ¡¡Estabas haciendo el amor eh!!

LET: You were making love, right?!

JK: Netemuuchosu sumashitaruuna.

netemuuchosu – “nete” is  “to sleep, sleeping” and “muuchosu” is obviously the Spanish “muchos” (=”lots”)

sumashitaruuna – “sumasu” means “to finish off, get done”, “-taru” in some Kansai dialects denotes the progressive tense and “na” is something of a confirmation particle, so the whole thing comes out as “You’re getting lots of fucking done, aren’t ya!” which is very much what the Spanish says.

5. ¡¡Me estabas engañando otra vez!!

LET: You were cheating on me again!!

JK: Antamada!!  Uwakintosu.

antamada – “anta” is an aggressive version of the standard 2nd. person singular pronoun “anata” and “mada” means “still”.

uwakintosu – “uwaki” is an “extra-marital affair”.  For the “tosu” look under no. (1).

The whole sentence comes out as “You’re still cheating on me!!”  Interestingly enough, if the katakana read “antamata” instead of “antamada” then the the meaning would be a perfect match: “You’re still cheating on me!!”  Anyway, one must admit “antamada” sounds very Spanish-y.

6. ¡¡No te lo voy a permitir!!

LET: I won’t allow it!!

JK: A, yurusahendosu.

a – “ah” is a common expression of intensity in Spanish, and it works in Japanese as well.

yurusahendosu – “yurusahen” is the Kansai dialect version of “yurusanai” (= “do not allow”) and “dosu” is the polite ending for the Kansai dialect as spoken specifically in Kyoto.  The meaning of the sentence is then the same as the Spanish.

I should stress the Spanish as printed in the manga is perfect, smooth and idiomatic.  This has got to have been the work of a native speaker or a person of practically native capability.

***

If you’re wondering how come Yura, the good girl in the Yura/Mio combo, has ended up sleeping with Col. Miguel, well, the answer is that she didn’t.  The woman kidnapped and taken to El Calvados was Mio all along, pretending to be her big sister!  Apparently the Japanese reckoned the scientist Yura would be a target and that she would be too scrupulous to spy on her enemies and endure her captivity, so they set up Mio as bait.  It takes a while for Meguru and Hajime ( and us readers!) to figure this out because of course this being a Matsumoto work Mio and Yura look practically the same.

Dr. Takeuchi, Yura’s science lab boss, points out some locations in El Calvados so we can see some more examples of Leiji’s Spanish.  El Calvados’ capital is “Dosutiko”, there is an avenue called “Serubessa”  and a bay called “Besamemupanchos”.  “Dosutiko” is the only really odd one.  I guess Leiji is aiming at Dos Tico, with the word “dos” (=”two”) plus the common Spanish diminutive “-tico”.  “Serubessa” is obviously Cerveza (=”beer”) and the bay is Bésame Mupanchos, a compound form of the song “Bésame Mucho” and the trio that sang it Los Panchos (and this compound form alone would make the Real Academia Española collectively faint or at the very least shiver with terror).

So what did Mio find out?  Nothing less than a global conspiracy to take over Japan and split it into various occupation zones.  In other words, this is a rehash of the Kamiyo Plan in Sexaroid (see my post on Vol. I of that manga for details).  As she delivers the shocking news to our heroes, Tokyo begins to be invaded by an international tank force.  The people in Ginza stare in dismay as the first tank (which one of the observers identifies as the West German Leopard II) rolls in.  Soviet, American and Israeli tanks follow.

Leiji loves the Leopard II.  Not only is Leiji’s contemporary manga V2 Panzer full of them, but during Yura’s rescue in El Calvados you can see a couple of tanks which clearly belong to the same model!!

Our heroes leave El Calvados and board a ship for Japan.  They start in waters supposedly off of the coast of Guatemala.  Since El Salvador is Guatemala’s neighbor, here is another argument in favor of the identification of El Salvador and El Calvados.

~ by Haloed Bane on August 30, 2011.

4 Responses to “El Calvados Part 2: The Royal Spanish Academy has a Fit”

  1. Most enjoyable 😀 It looks like Leiji has intuitive sense of foreign languages, so he can play upon words so freely. What do you think about it?

    • Well, I agree with that. One of the most important duties of a fiction writer (especially fantasy and SF) is to give good names to his creations. Leiji’s great at naming people, planets, things…and so it makes sense that he’s good at this kind of thing. What impresses me in this particular instance is the fact they evidently had an excellent Spanish-speaker collaborate here. You’d think this would be the norm in manga/anime, but it isn’t. Every language from English on down is mangled horribly through sheer laziness or cost-cutting (probably the former, since I bet tons of foreigners in Japan would be happy to contribute their knowledge to these projects for free or for nominal fees).

  2. This post make my the day (or the night) I´m for México and I´m very impressed with this manga and the extraordinary spanish use of Leiji (sure a spanish speaker collabor with him), except for “musho” and for this example: ¡Perforaron de repente la tina del baño! That could be !De repente perforaron la tina de baño!. Sure I agree with you in the aspect of “El Calvados” is “El Salvador” because on “Dos Tico” the diminutive -tico is only use in central america and in countries with “voceo” In spain and méxico the commonly diminutive is -tito/ito. I´m really impressed with the use of “acentos” because a similar word with and without it change the meaning by example: el lápiz es de él (the pencil property of him) or esta/está (esta: this/está : refers to a thing/person position)

    • That’s great!! You’re right about the “de repente” there. It also doesn’t help that the whole sentence sounds like a description of the event, not something that the person would actually say when she was in the shower!!

      This “tico/tito” thing is very interesting. In Puerto Rico “tito” is standard, but in Cuba “tico” is standard (or at least it used to be, I don’t know if it’s changed). I think that most Cuban exiles in Puerto Rico eventually just use “tito” all the time, but I have heard some of the older ones use “tico” among themselves (especially “chiquitico”).

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