photo: snyder

Buffy in Japanese - When She was Bad - Giles and Snyder
(Plus Jenny)

This is the first conversation that Snyder and Giles have in Season 2′s When She was Bad. In this scene they are talking about the new school year.

Snyder - We start the clip off with Snyder. In this clip you don’t hear anything that really stands out about the way Snyder talks, but in the later scene with Snyder and Giles (when they talk about Buffy and Giles thinking she is a good kid), Snyder is shown to use Old Man Speech. He slurs his speech a bit, but not to the same extent that Jenny’s uncle did. He uses kane at the end of the sentence when he is saying how “some people have classes”) and also uses n to negate a word (rather than nai, the n is a way of shortening and slurring the Japanese being used). He also refers to Giles as kimi, which shows that he is in a higher position than Giles (and just adds to that Old Man Speech feel).

The words Snyder uses aren’t quite as harsh as they are in English, but that has more to due with how the Japanese language works within its culture. While there are slurs and other types of taboo words, they aren’t really used all that much, with people showing disdain for more through improper politeness (using plain speech with someone with whom you should be using polite speech) and so forth. So the combination of Snyder’s voice, tone, and Old Man Speech patterns give off that same sense of disdain that he has for the students (and even Giles - in the subtitles he refers to Giles as a henjinme, henjin means “an eccentric,” while the me suffix indicates that it is an insult) more so than the actual words that he says.

In that later scene we also hear Snyder refer to Buffy by her full name (”Buffy Summers”). Even though in Japan using someone’s full name can show respect, with teachers and students it is uncommon and shows a distance and can come off as disrespectful. Usually teachers refer to their students by their last name + san or kun (which equate to our Ms. and Mr.). This shows both closeness and politeness. Now, Giles doesn’t use that pattern with Buffy and the others either, but he also just refers to them by their first names, which shows extreme closeness. Jenny does the same as well.

Voice-wise, the VA does a good job of capturing Snyder’s unpleasantness and the sound of the voice is very similar to the English VA.

Giles - When it came to Snyder we saw that he spoke in Old Man Speech to Giles, which isn’t necessarily rude, but I know plenty of Japanese principle’s that don’t use the power of their age and authority to use such kind of plain and blunt speech patterns with the other teachers (who are under them). Usually in Japanese schools, the principles are retired businessmen (and on some rare occasions women), who are usually out and about doing more business related stuff between schools, BoEs, and whatnot. The vice principle is usually the one who is at the school and interacts with the teachers more. This is a bit different in American schools, as is shown here, but Snyder really does fit that image of a stuffy old businessman who is totally disconnected from the students - especially due to the combination of the voice they gave him and his Old Man Speech patterns.

And Giles’ grammar shows his obligated respect towards Snyder (in the audio clip above). In Giles’ conversation with Jenny we can hear him using very plain Japanese. It is familiar and comfortable, though there is a level of politeness between the two of them (they both refer to each other by last name + sensei, which is the title given to teachers, doctors, and etc.). Even though there is some politeness, Giles mumbles and never really finishes any of his sentences fully and they aren’t using polite grammar, which makes sense, because they are co-workers…Though in the subtitles they do have Jenny refer to Giles as Giles-san, rather than Giles-sensei, like she says in the dub, which could indicates that she is higher than Giles on the teacher ladder, so to speak. But in the actual spoken Japanese she refers to Giles as -sensei. This is likely due to even librarians being referred to as sensei (teacher) in Japanese.

When Giles is talking to Snyder, however, he often uses basic level polite language. For example, with one of his sentences he ends with arimasen ka, which is him asking “is (are) there?” If Giles was talking to Jenny or the Scoobies he would likely use nai ka instead, which is plain speech. He uses the -masu form for all of his verb endings, which is common in basic polite speech.

Giles also refers to Snyder as kouchou-sensei, which means “principle.” In Japanese it is quite common for people to be referred to as their title alone. I, myself, have gotten used to responding to a students call of sensei, just as much as I have gotten used to them saying my name + sensei

More commentary on the Japanese dub work in When She was Bad.
Commentary on the Japanese dub work in Surprise.


Newsie Fandom PSA

Jack Kelly is a dark skinned Chinese bisexual man who illegally immigrated to America with an abusive false family at the age of 7, lived with a father who pressured him into assimilating in Manhattan Chinatown, was abandoned by his bigoted Irish stepmother with a baby brother, forced to abandon that said brother due to lack of resources, put in the Refuge by Snyder, escaped and began working for Medda Larkins, started hawking papes and rose to become leader, was caught smuggling provisions for starving inmates at Refuge and imprisoned again, escaped by riding out in Teddy Roosevelt’s carriage, led the Newsboy Strike of 1899, broke the law to marry a white Jewish woman in 1900, and remained active in his community for the rest of his life.

It is cannon now.