進撃の単語

It’s been a really really long time since I’ve been this obsessed with an anime series.  Last month I started watching Shingeki no Kyojin on a whim and… well, my life hasn’t been the same since.  Heh.

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その日 人類は思い出した、 ヤツらに支配されていた恐怖を。 鳥籠の中に囚われていた屈辱を。
On that day, humanity remembered the terror of being ruled by them, the humiliation of being held captive in cage.

Thus started the first episode of arguably the most epic anime of 2013.

SNK is so hyped these days that even I somehow came to know about it, even though I have been totally out of loop with anime/manga since high school.  I watched it with no prior knowledge of the plot and, let me tell you, that first episode sucked me in so fast that I spent 6 straight hours watching all the episodes that had aired in one day.  I resisted reading the manga for a couple weeks before caving and spending 2 sleepless days catching up on all the chapters.  I now spend a considerable amount of my free time sobbing over fan art, watching interviews with the seiyuuswriting fan fiction, agonizing over cosplay, and listening to every rendition of “Guren no Yumiya” I can find.  This anime has one of the best OSTs I’ve ever heard, in addition to gorgeous animation and a gripping story.

In a line, the plot is about humanity fighting to survive in a world populated by strange, man-eating giants called titans (kyojin).

And it’s so good to hear Japanese again.

Honestly, I never focused my efforts enough in Japanese to progress past the beginning level.  That, and I just find Japanese very difficult.  Mad respect for my fellow language learners who are studying Japanese.

But I am starting to realize that I can recognize more and more grammar patterns and I can pick up more and more nouns/adjectives/verbs quickly.  I can recognize words that sound similar to their Korean counterparts.  Radio dramas are getting slightly easier to understand too.

When I’m watching a show and hear a string of dialogue, I can more often than not figure out the meaning of single words using the subtitles.  Then I’d jot them down and later use a dictionary to make sure I got the definitions right.

This isn’t exactly exciting news except that it occurred to me today that I remember doing this exact same thing with Korean.  I’d make vocabulary lists in the middle of watching a drama and, depending on the drama, the more specialized the vocabulary would be (i.e. a detective drama would teach me words like ‘murder’, ‘detective,’ etc.)

I don’t do this anymore with Korean (though I should) but doing this for Japanese, especially with this anime, makes me feel accomplished.  I think my listening skills have improved a lot!  It also helps that SNK has a number of memorable lines.

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あいつらを駆逐してやる……この世から……一匹、残らず!
I will exterminate them… from this world… every single one!

One thing you miss out on if you use subtitles, is the derisive language Eren uses to talk about the titans, despite how fearsome they are.  Take the line above for example.

  • あいつら is a plural pronoun that has a very informal, almost contemptuous nuance to it.
  • VERB + てやる:  Doing a favor for someone lower than yourself; can sound insulting
  • 一匹「いっぴき」:  counter used for small animals

I think the use of 一匹 is pretty interesting, considering that the titans are gigantic.  You would think 一頭「いっとう」 would be more appropriate… but then again 一匹 is used also for demons and monsters so maybe titans fall under that category too.

There’s more vocab I picked up from SNK under the cut.  These are words that I heard repeated so many times, they just stuck.  Most of them are specific to the story, but still kinda fun to know.  If you’re at all into anime, I HIGHLY recommend this series.

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