Knowing the Nuance is Critical (A Fugou Keiji Post)

…but what’s not so straightforward is the nuance hidden in Japanese, which often doesn’t get conveyed even if the translation is what could be called “accurate”.

Phone wallpapers sometimes make for great banners, don’tcha think? (Original image source)

For example, take the title of the anime. It’s literally translated as “wealthy detective” because fugou doesn’t actually indicate Daisuke is a millionaire. “Millionaire” implies the guy is worth a million yen or more, but when the cheapest episode still involves about 60000 yen (which, if you do the math, is already a bit over half a million)…you can tell he’s worth much more than that.

Another example is when Haru discovers Suzue’s involvement in Daisuke’s life while the latter is having his version of a hissy fit about natto (long story, that…), Daisuke calls Suzue a 親戚 (shinseki). This is correct in a translation sense, but the loophole is that shinseki doesn’t actually include one’s 家族 (kazoku), which is the term used for close family (namely, father, mother, sister/s, brother/s, what would be known as “blood relations”). Shinseki is used for cousins and the like. (I don’t want to get into it too much here, but there’s this entire uchi/soto system I’ve discussed before that plays into why there are different words for these groups…and there is, rest assured, a word for when you want to refer to both groups at once.) Therefore, by using shinseki, Daisuke implies that there is a certain distance between them…(?) (It’s hard to tell when Daisuke doesn’t have reactions that show on his face very much, as proven by how he “vents his Suzue-related anger”.)

If Suzue is Daisuke’s sister or twin (which is not yet confirmed, but would be annoying if it were the case), then it seems the distance would have been mostly made by his language use to not-quite-lie about the situation. However, if she’s a cousin or something who happens to dote like one of those onii-chan-obsessed little sisters, then…I kinda get why Daisuke would want to establish the distance.

Sidebar: In an effort to check what the relationship between Suzue and Daisuke was, I went to Japanese Wikipedia (as I do). Turns out Suzue Hamada was, in the source novel, a capable woman and secretary to Daisuke’s rich-as-all-get-out dad who, prior to having that post, graduated from a women’s college. Suzue Kambe is clearly based on this character, but I shall reiterate that exactly what relationship she and Daisuke have, outside of being a kick-butt rich crimefighting duo who live in the same mansion, is not yet clear as of episode 6, and this “secretary” detail may have little to no bearing on her.

The reason I made the post about fansubs being the be-all and end-all a while back was for reasons like this – digging into the narrow alleyways of another language can sometimes hint at dimensions that you wouldn’t get with just one.

So, how are people enjoying Fugou Keiji? Are there any hints that would lead to the truth on Suzue out there, do you think?

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