Amongst everything else going on, I found the show’s views on idols to be some of the more interesting parts here, and how Nazuna reflects those points. While she’s shown to act somewhat naive or ignorant, especially compared to Michiru, it also shows how sincerely Nazuna actually cares for the wellbeing of others. Even if she does things that are wrong, it’s because she believes them to be done for good. And that’s something I can appreciate.
There was a sign that showed up for about two seconds in the middle with references to two German Lutheran hymns, altered to replace man with beastman. You can find them here and here, but they don’t come up again; this is just for posterity and if you were curious.
Only one episode left to go, and having seen it, I can already tell that many viewers will have a lot to say about it, including me. But that’ll be for next time.
I have yet to bless Marie the mink with an image yet. She’s so good
This episode will let you know how good your observational skills were up until now. And I love the parallels in what the characters say directed at each other with previous episodes. It does a great job of both showing character growth as well as the lack of differences between humans, beastmen, and deities.
I’ll try to keep my extra notes simple. Engel Maschines should be clear even to English only speakers: it’s Angel Machines in German. Then there’s how DNA actually works, and what a “switch” in DNA is. DNA is the basis for how everything is made in your body, and when cells differentiate it’s because signals cause different locations on the DNA to be expressed in the form of proteins. The easy way to envision it is that DNA is the manual, the signals or neurotransmitters tell you what page to look at, and the proteins are the actual physical objects that are built. By “flipping a switch”, it means that your body is now reading a different page of the DNA.
We’re visually shown BDNA “transforming” when the beastmen go into a rampage, but this would essentially require a rewrite of every strand in your body, which is effectively impossible. Also, if you were to “degrade” all the BDNA, you wouldn’t be left with DNA, but nothing, which would cause you to die. However, the exception would be if beastmen had double chromosomes, both DNA and BDNA. Humans already have two copies of our 23 chromosomes, but plants for instance have four or more copies. I think this world would make more sense if beastmen had both DNA and BDNA, and by “activating” one or the other they would transform normally (you can look up epigenetics if you’re interested in how these changes can become permanent and heritable). And then if the DNA would fully deactivate, they would rampage. You could even say that one half of their 23 chromosomes are BDNA and the other half are DNA, which is why they can only transform into one parent’s beast form.
There’s some nicely subtle development between characters this episode, but more importantly, I’ve got some serious notes to mention. It would be best to watch the episode and come back after.
First is the coin Jackie found, the giza-juu, or “jaggy tenner”, meaning a ten yen coin with rigged edges. If you’re American, this is roughly equivalent in rarity and interest as a Buffalo nickel. Basically just a rare coin from the early 20th century.
Next is the phrase “Beastfolk, be good”. In an earlier episode you heard this word “kemonobito” in place of “juujin”, which we translate as beastfolk and beastman respectively. In Japanese, they both use identical kanji of 獣人. The phrase itself, to the best of my knowledge, is taken from a Marcus Aurelius quotation from Meditations: “Do not act as if you were going to live ten thousand years. Death hangs over you. While you live, while it is in your power, be good.” The only part of this that was used was the very end, and while in English you might wonder how we could possibly know this, but the Japanese translation of Meditations almost exactly matches the words used here in the episode. Hence, using the official translation of “be good”.
Then there’s the “MRI” that we saw. Yes, I know it’s just anime and it’s supposed to look cool, but this is a good opportunity to give a short lesson. An MRI machine will always be in a very isolated, very shielded room, because it’s generating extremely high permanent magnetic fields about 100,000 times the strength of the Earth’s field at ground level. They are extremely loud, will completely destroy all non-specialized electronics that come close by sucking them towards it, and need a constant pool of liquid helium to keep the superconductivity going. Assuming at the very least that they figured out room temperature superconductors, I will say that the three rings have some semblance of reality, since something similar is used for the magnetic pulses. However, I have a theory. That was most likely not an MRI, but an MEG (magnetoencephalography). These are also highly sensitive measurement devices, but allow the subject to be seated upright instead of supine, and rather than destroying electronics, they are very sensitive to any outside interference. A cell phone in an MRI room would be destroyed, but a cell phone in an MEG room would ruin the readings entirely. Either way it doesn’t matter, but I wanted to share.
Finally, the so-called “activated BDNA reagents”. At first glance, this makes intuitive sense to me. They might be an activated protein of some sort that synthesizes BDNA. The issue is that DNA reagent is entirely different. That’s what’s used in assays to extract and process the DNA code, not to inject it into someone or something. You also can’t “activate” it. What they probably meant to say was something like reverse transcriptase, which turns RNA into DNA. It depends on how exactly they envisioned the mechanics of the change that happened to Michiru and Nazuna. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and say they got close enough.
I am genuinely impressed with the lengths Trigger has gone to for visual accuracy of the inhumane experimentation that has gone on over the last century of human history. As a sometimes-teacher of bioethics, I’m glad they didn’t show the worst of it, because it gets far more disturbing than what was animated. There are also some really subtle clues about the truth to come scattered throughout the episode that I didn’t pick out until after several watches, but maybe you’ll be more observant than me.
Look at that perfect idol smile. Akasaka Aka would be proud
And yet again, there is just that one reference that is crazy to do. A certain character quotes the name of the movie The Spirit of St.Louis in Japanese, but the title is entirely different, translating to literally “My wings, those are the lights of Paris!” This is in reference to the legendary trans-Atlantic flight of Charles Lindbergh from New York to Paris, specifically the 1957 movie about him. But of course, what this means is that to accurately translate the line, I had to read through the actual movie script to find if the Japanese title was in the original English one. And of course, it wasn’t. As usual, the Japanese made up their own quote for a legendary foreigner. So in the end, to properly match the line, I ended up using the English title of the movie. So now you know what that random-sounding line means.
Do not doubt my ability to make everything I sub into an idol anime
This was a very satisfying and vindicating episode in terms of content, as it reflected talks I’ve given in the past about certain connections in logic that aren’t obvious at first glance, but are screamingly obvious in retrospect once pointed out. Yes, I’m being intentionally vague so as not to spoil you if you’re reading this first, but it’s at the end of the episode. No, my talk isn’t available, but I’d be glad to induct new followers into the Church of Idol.
Good lord this episode was hard to do. I’m not even going to explain every last little thing we had to do to make it work, but there are a couple of points worth mentioning. First is the eponymous story of the tanuki and Mount Kachi-Kachi (details here on wiki). The summary is that kachikachi-yama isn’t a real place, it’s the sound of crackling wood on fire. This is also where the boat of mud comes from, and how it melts in the water.
Second is the relation between tanuki, sometimes called raccoon dogs in English, and their etymology. Something I only learned through research for this script was that actual raccoons, called literally “washing bears” in Japanese and several other languages, probably got that name from the original taxonomist Carl Linnaeus, who named them Ursus lotor for “washing bear”. It was only later when raccoons were separated into their own genus. The point of all this is for a joke that tanuki can be mistaken for raccoons, which are called bears in Japanese.
And finally, the more astute of you will notice that Trigger screwed up left and right field positions. A native English speaker would never do this due to the commonality of the phrase “out in left field” meaning in the middle of nowhere, but whoever wrote the line was confused.
Finally, I can put my biomedical background to good use subbing. It’s rare that I can translate things related to my actual field. We’re starting to see where BNA may be going from here on out, setting up for some later reveals, and exploring more of the world from inside and outside Michiru’s perspective. Also, Nina is cute.
They’re going hard with the beast wordplay, which we have done our best to turn into understandable and equivalent English. For example, the word for a resident of a city is 住民 (juumin), but here they change the first kanji to 獣 for beast, and it’s pronounced exactly the same. You can only see the difference when it’s written out. This happens a few other times, but your viewing experience should be exactly the same as a native speaker.