Buffy in Japanese - Surprise - Jenny and Her Uncle
A brief clip of audio from the Japanese dub of BTVS. It is the scene with Jenny and her uncle in Season Two’s Surprise.
Some interesting information about the Japanese used here:
Jenny - Like all of the other female characters on the show thus far, she uses feminine speech patterns such as no for question endings, wa at the end of sentences for emotional emphasis, and she even says atashi, though the Japanese subtitles have her use watashi (which I think is more fitting, tbh).
When she brings up Angel she says kare ni wa (”About him…”) and then her uncle asks nananda (”What about him?”) she replies koibito ga (”He has a lover.”). You can also translate koibito to “sweetheart” or “significant other.” Finally, she refers to her uncle as oji-san, which is a bit more formal than ji-san/ji-chan, or etc. and shows how there is a level of respect there.
Jenny’s VA does a good job of expressing Jenny’s strong personality, while also showing us her respect/fear of her uncle.
Jenny’s Uncle - He uses what is referred to as Oji-san Speech, or “Old Man Speech.” This is a type of speech pattern that, well, old men characters in TV shows, films, and books use (Dumbledore from Harry Potter uses this speech pattern too - for the most part). Jenny’s uncle speaks very slurred Japanese, everything kinda runs into each other. Other indicators of this speech pattern are:
1. his use of jyane instead of dane (this kind of means something like “isn’t that right?”).
2. He uses omae for “you,” when he addresses Jenny. Omae can be very rude when used in certain situations. It used to be an honorific, but is now seen as derogatory, especially if it is being used by someone young to some old or from someone in a lower position to someone in a higher position. Given Jenny’s uncle’s age, him being a man, and him being her uncle - it doesn’t necessarily come off as rude, but it does show a level of power he has over her.
3. He uses zo, once again this is a very masculine sentence ending particle. It indicates emphasis.
4. He uses wareware for “we.” Wareware is what you usually hear when a business man is referring to the people of his company or something more formal like that, but it also gives the listener an image of something “community” like. In this instance he uses wareware in reference to them as Romani and being part of a Romani clan.
5. The kane combo that he uses at the end of one of his sentences ( is used to express doubt and is really only ever used by old men in entertainment.
6. Finally, his use of naran at the end of one of his sentences is a far more forceful and direct version of naranai (not become/be). It is a way of shortening the nai (negative) form and is a form of slurring speech.
When he talks about their people, he refers to them as romakazoku (Romani family) - or, at least, that is what they have written in the Japanese subtitles. I think I can make out him saying roma though. This was nice to hear rather than in the English were they keep using the ethnic slur of g*psy. So, kudos to you for that Japan.
Her uncle also explains Angel’s curse as being “One moment of love’s happiness (koi (love) no (of) shiawase (happiness)).” That is what is used in the Japanese subtitles, anyway, what he actually says though is the same as in the English.The love that is used in the Japanese subtitles is koi, which is not as strong as ai. Koi is more of an “I” kind of love rather than a “we” type of love like ai is. In other words, koi is more about the feeling of falling in love, having a crush, and those other kinds of “highs” that you experience with a new and fresh love, while ai is more of a super deep and profound love between two people (or between family members or like the love between God or Christ and faithful followers, etc.). In other words, koi is like the Greek eros and ai is like the Greek agape or philia (in some cases).
The voice for Jenny’s uncle is so intimidating. They really put a lot of effort into such a one-off character. I appreciate that though. The speech patterns and delivery here really work to show the anger, fear, and intimidation that is present in this scene.
This is the last audio scene that I have for Surprise. Sadly, the Japanese dub and subs are only for Seasons 1 & 2, Seasons 3-7 don’t have anything in Japanese. However, I’m probably going to take a look at some popular scenes and favorite episodes (like Passions, School Hard, and Becoming 1&2, and etc.) and see what other interesting moments there are in the translation and VA work. :)
Introverted Thinking (Ti): Jenny is matter-of-fact and bluntly honest in her criticisms of others. She’s very teasing and playful, frequently making wry jokes and plays-on-words. She has a large amount of information at her fingertips and frequently uses that knowledge of computers and the occult to help save the day. She’s often rational and cautious and keeps her cards close to the vest. She’s highly analytical and critical in general, using her rational critiques of hte situation around her to her advantage.
Extroverted Intuition (Ne): She’s very playful and joking in conversation, frequently making puns and entertaining crazy ideas. She likes the new and novel, the modern and the potential, frequently pointing out that Giles seems stuck in the past and refuses to move. She’s quick to jump to conclusions and make connections. She comes up with weird ideas for things to do, like taking Giles to monster trucks for their date.
Introverted Sensing (Si): She still keeps to the traditions of her people, and basic terms of her mission. She refers to how things were in the past but also tries to move on from them, to rebel against traditions, showing her lower Si. She has a strong command of details and uses them to her advantage in battle. She follows directions from her superiors despite her rebellious spirit.
Extroverted Feeling (Fe): Jenny is pretty honest with how she feels about things; she puts it all out there with no reservations. She needs space, she tells Giles she needs space. She’s interested, she lets Giles know that she is. She’s emotionally a little awkward at times, and doesn’t seem to sense much of what other people would like or be interested in.