Blogging about Rare Iguras

I’ll take apart episode 11 later when I can get screenshots, but I want to get this out in writing and I feel like it could do with its own rant. I don’t really care who reads it or what they take away.

Obviously I have no hard rules as far as whether I trust official English spellings or not. In Star Driver, we rejected “Dashing Entrance!” (and I know a couple of people out there were mad about that) but took up “Vanishing Age.” In Sacred Seven I ignored the whole Alma/Arma debate on the grounds of seriously who gives a shit. To this day, in Aquarion Evol, I mess with the onscreen runes as I please.

So what reasons have I to discard my old “Reaigler” in favor of the Altairian “Rare Igura” spelling? If I didn’t have them, I’d change nothing and life would go on. These are some of the important things about the words in my mind.

1.”Reaigler” is really ugly

Prosaic, isn’t it?

Let me make no bones about the fact that the word “Reaigler” was less translated, or even coined, and more produced out of nothing as a way to cope with what seemed to be a big dumb anime fantasy word. But as the person writing the words, I think the word looks and kind of sounds ugly as sin. “Rare Igura” (I say it “igra”) looks and sounds a little less ugly, a little less like a vomit of letters in a bad attempt to make Japanese letters sound not awkward in English.

(I could write a complete essay on how Japanese maps to English and the fun artifacts you get in, say, Gundam, when you try to do a two or even three way double-back-translation. Maybe I will someday.)

2. “Official” does mean something

In addition to not liking the aesthetics of “Reaigler,” I’m not even really attached to it. It’s almost a transliteration. It doesn’t mean anything. In my book, “official” spelling may have a very low weight when it comes to translation, but it has a positive weight. “Reaigler” didn’t have any weight, except consistency, and honestly, that ship sailed with “Mithra Gniss.” However vanishingly weak I may consider the “but that’s what the real spelling is” argument (refer back to S7), I still didn’t have anything to bring to bear against it, even to myself.

But basically, everything I said so far has boiled down to “eh, I didn’t care for the old word anyway.” And yeah, that really was part of the reason. But I think even all that wouldn’t have gotten me to change. I really don’t care about officiality, you know. Here’s another angle, though.

3. It’s got a “rare” in it

Had the word on Izumo’s screen been “Reaigura” or “Leigra” or some other silly anime fantasy word, I’d have laughed it out. Such a word would have been no better than my own attempt of “Reaigler” and the “official” argument could screw off.

But the word “rare” is printed there. And that raises the slim possibility that maybe the word isn’t just a nonsense fantasy word. Someone went to all the trouble not just to throw a bunch of letters together that more or less worked, but to call it “rare” and then a bunch of letters that more or less worked. And it’s not like it’s easy to get “rare” out of the レア phonemes unless you really mean “rare.”

Paranoia? Gambling on a slim chance? Perhaps. Plausible, even. But it’s not like I have any better clues. Putting all that together – two little reasons the new word was legit, and no reasons the old word was important – I decided that we might as well take it.

After all, Aquarion Evol has already shown us that it’ll take a lot to be too paranoid about it.

Thanks for reading my self-indulgence.

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3 Responses to Blogging about Rare Iguras

  1. ANON2 says:

    I can see your reasons, but at the same time something about the “rare” in “rare igura” just sounds bad in English in a lot of places it’s used; I think it’s that in English using “rare X” tends to imply a contrastive element to the statement, but none of the places it’s used have any such contrastive meaning going on. This is a non-issue for (almost all of) the Japanese audience because they’d treat “rare Igura” as a block.

    I half-heartedly suggest using “rareigura” with a TN note, to give it that “semantic block” feel in English while still presenting the viewer with the term’s “true form”.

    In all other respects thank you for your hard work bringing this show to us fans.

  2. Japan is pretty bad at English as a whole, but even so, I’ve seen Japanese bloggers use both レアイグラー and レア・イグラー, so at least some of them have caught on. I’m not sure when the separation started or what reasons they had, but it is recognizable to someone.

    Whoever is behind the English ciphers we’ve seen so far haven’t been doing an awful job; there’s some Engrish, but pretty decent and legible Engrish (e.g. “optic fluoroscopic”). Now that I’ve seen it, I really can’t look at it and not think “rare” is there deliberately, or at least, that there’s a real possibility that “rare” is there deliberately.

    “Rareigura,” on the other hand, is more confusing. It looks like a straight romanization of a very different and more nonsensical word. If there’s to be a “rare” it should be separated, if only so it doesn’t jam into the other word and look wrong. (It’s the silent e’s fault, of course.)

    • ANON2 says:

      Yeah, that’s why my suggestion was half-hearted. Wish I had a better proposal for you.

      It’s just that some adjectives (like rare, exotic, unusual) have contrastive implications that’s inconsistent with the places “Rare Igura” is coming up. Jin’s dialog is a good example: every time he says something like “Whoa, Rare Iguras are dangerous!” or “I’ll never understand rare iguras” I find myself thinking “Are common iguras also dangerous?” or “What about understanding common iguras?”.

      Might just be me, but It’s that contrastive nuance that makes the “rare igura” just sound bad in English a lot of where it’s used; it warps what’s seemingly a comical stand-in for “women” into something that sounds like he’s only talking about a special case. I’ll stop because I don’t have an alternative I can get behind whole-heartedly, but thanks for indulging my indulgence in your indulgence.

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