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Black Lagoon, vol. 5 (Rei Hiroe)

Revy and Rock's Japan experience continues as they ally with Ginji, the sword-wielding yakuza enforcer, to rescue Yukio, the young leader-apparent of the Washimine-gumi, from the hands of the thugs associated with a rival family. Later, Rock's feelings about Yukio's situation lead him to a terrifying confrontation with Balalaika. The arc ends - as one might expect from a yakuza story - in tragedy, but not until there have been a couple of really incredible fight scenes, and some surprising ... well, given who's involved, I can't call it tenderness. But it got me where I live.

 

Black Lagoon vol. 5 (review)

Revy really is Onime-no-Kyo's long-lost little sister.

The scene where she and Ginji take out the kidnappers was just great. Of course she's not going to bother giving that creepy punk Chaka the gunfight he wants. I love her trash-talking as she hands him over to Ginji. And that smile of hers ... yeah. Kyo's little sister. Or possibly Manji's.

Balalaika has not yet passed the Moral Event Horizon. In her awesomeness, she's managing to strut along the edge without falling over. Rock is amusing her, and she values Revy. And I love when Balalaika sneers at the guns the Kosa Kai have brought, and then later in the same scene, uses one of them in the shootout: "Hmmm ... this gun wasn't actually too bad."

I don't know whether Viz should have translated anego, which is what I presume Revy is calling Balalaika, as "sister." That's usually slightly disrespectful in English, unless you're talking to a nun or your actual sister. I'm not sure what they should have used instead - maybe "ma'am."

The fight between Revy and Ginji was sad and awesome at the same time. The double-page spread that had them facing off, with Rock and Yukio looking on - each in their own frame - reminded me very much of a noire version of similar face-offs in SDK.

And smilla, I'm not sure Yukio cut her throat with Ginji's sword. It really looks like she stabbed it right up through the soft spot underneath her jaw (or allowed herself to fall onto it in that position). Look at the scene at the bottom of the page where she's collapsing onto Ginji's body ... the blade is coming out just below the base of her skull, with her hair flowing on each side. (Although I don't see the sword at all in the last scene in that chapter, where Rock and Revy are looking at the bodies.)

And Revy's standing up for Rock against Balalaika? And fretting that watching Yukio's suicide would scar him? And Rock's pulling the sword out of her leg, and half-carrying her afterward? >melts ... !<

(And yeah, artillie was right - the omake is kind of tasteless, given what's just happened.)

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
smillaraaq
Apr. 18th, 2009 03:57 am (UTC)
I don't know whether Viz should have translated anego, which is what I presume Revy is calling Balalaika, as "sister." That's usually slightly disrespectful in English, unless you're talking to a nun or your actual sister.

Eh, that depends very much on the English dialect involved, there are some where the usage isn't quite parallel to the Japanese fictive-kinship terms, but it's still meant to be affectionate or polite/respectful. The inauguration souvenir vendor on the Yellow Line who concluded our transaction with "Thank you, sister" wasn't being rude, we weren't related, and I wasn't dressed remotely like a nun... ;)

I'm not sure what they should have used instead - maybe "ma'am."

I think they'd be best off here going with the original term and throwing in a footnote or endnote, or else going with something a bit slangy and non-gendered but more obviously hierarchical like "boss" -- "sir/ma'am" and "big brother/sister" in the yakuza sense just don't quite feel like good equivalents to me (sir/ma'am in modern American English seem closer to a token "san"). And I really really need to check out the anime for this too, because looking at the scanlation page Red linked, the kids seem to be calling Revy "big sis/aunty" like you'd expect them to, instead of the more Americanized "that girl" from the official translation.

And smilla, I'm not sure Yukio cut her throat with Ginji's sword. It really looks like she stabbed it right up through the soft spot underneath her jaw (or allowed herself to fall onto it in that position).

Mmm, it's definitely possible, but either way she's going for the neck rather than the abdomen. She's not doing jigai in the most ritualized premeditated style -- wrong weapon, her legs aren't tied, etc. -- any more than Kanan's suicide was note-perfect classic seppuku, since she stabbed rather than slashed and dragged it out. But I think the locations targeted and the wealth of cultural associations with each wound site is rather interesting to contemplate. I had a feeling it was going to all end that way from that chapter-opening panel where Ginji opens the door to see her kneeling in kimono with her back to the door -- foreshadowing ahoy!

And Revy's standing up for Rock against Balalaika? And fretting that watching Yukio's suicide would scar him? And Rock's pulling the sword out of her leg, and half-carrying her afterward? >melts ... !<

Ohhhhhh yes. I am such a happy little puddle of fangirl goo over those two. *sighs*

chomiji
Apr. 18th, 2009 04:15 am (UTC)

Those cultural assumptions will get me every time ... I was distinctly hearing a Noo Yawk noire-ish voice saying "Don't gimme that, sister!" when I wrote that.

Yeah, they probably should have left it. That's one of the few good things the SDK translators did - they left aniki as what Yuan's brothers and sisters called him. He's their martial arts master as well as their older brother, and they're depicted as a rough-and-ready but friendly and generous bunch.

You're right, "boss" would have worked, or even "boss lady."

(I liked Balalaika telling her not to bark in that scene, too ... the boss lady is totally unterrified by the twitchy youngster with the Berettas.)

I seem to recall someone quoting a bit from a Minekura interview, saying that Kanan was actually rather bossy and un-feminine by normal standards. That always puzzled me a bit because she always looks so sweet and soft in the pictures, especially the one where she's deshabille in Hakkai's shirt.

smillaraaq
Apr. 18th, 2009 05:26 am (UTC)
Heee! That's almost your mental Gojyo voice kicking in, isn't it? :) And Revy *is* a rough NYC kid, so depending on the demographics of her neighborhood it might have been the ruder sort of "sister" rather than the more respectful/affectionate sort in her base English dialect, neither of which would quite match up with the Japanese dialogue. For me, since the English dialects I grew up around mostly used fictive kinship in ways closer to the Japanese or BVE models, but I got exposed to more Mainland dialects in media or from malihini folks, I think I'm used to just automatically looking for tone and context clues to try to figure out how to parse things -- knowing that BL is being translated from the Japanese, even when the characters speaking are American, I'm going to look at use of terms like "sister" a bit more closely and wonder how faithful or not the translators are being.

(And this reminds me, I keep forgetting to hook you up with some music samples from Sistah Robi Kahakalau, who I think might appeal to your love for bouncy upbeat music. *grins*)

I seem to recall someone quoting a bit from a Minekura interview, saying that Kanan was actually rather bossy and un-feminine by normal standards.

Yeah, that's one of the bits I was remembering, though I'd have to do some serious digging to find all the quotes I've got bookmarked or memoried somewhere. The impression I got from all of them was that she wasn't mannish in the sense of looking butch or anything (she looks like a perfect little yamato nadeshiko type, after all), but it was more a matter of personality and behavior, that she was the bold and forthright and undomestic (remember her terrible cooking?) while Hakkai in turn had some of the more stereotypically "feminine" traits -- the mild-mannered politeness, caretaking, etc.: this is how he described her in "Knockout Drops":

As for personality, it also was what others call strong antitheses.

... what sort of person?

It's like this, although she appeared to be a warm/gentle/kind female, she really had strong masculine tendencies... um, wait, it's actually a 100% manly man that'd be described like that.
Whatever she wanted to say, she'd say it without any reservations, and if she thought she was in the right she'd never back down, really an untidy person... ah, the chore of cooking was always left to me. Thanks to her, my cooking skills improved.

She could confront cockroaches without batting an eye. Yelling "come on!" and then randomly grabbing a book and whacking away. The one responsible for cleaning up was, of course, me. Just that sort of "hai!" feeling.

... her manner of speaking was like a heroic onee-san. Oh, I'm not joking about this, either.

Her personality is the sort that can't help but hold out a helping hand to other people in trouble. "Gonou, this way of helping him isn't going to work, it's not going to do that person any good!" she'd say to me, but she wouldn't be able to stand aloof anyways and would take all the bother onto herself. At those times, I was the one who was coldly indifferent about others, feeling that "it's you who is too thin-skinned". Oh, she's just like that...

But, about me, she finally accepted it.

redbrunja
Apr. 20th, 2009 08:01 am (UTC)
*wails*

Oh, man, that just makes me even sorrier about Kanan dying!

For me, since the English dialects I grew up around mostly used fictive kinship in ways closer to the Japanese or BVE models, but I got exposed to more Mainland dialects in media or from malihini folks, I think I'm used to just automatically looking for tone and context clues to try to figure out how to parse things

I think it was closer to the Japanese 'sister'. In a later chapter in the scanlations she explictly refers to Balaika(sic) as her 'big sis' as in, 'my big sister almost killed me.' Ah, Black Lagoon, how I love you.
redbrunja
Apr. 20th, 2009 08:04 am (UTC)
And I really really need to check out the anime for this too, because looking at the scanlation page Red linked, the kids seem to be calling Revy "big sis/aunty" like you'd expect them to

They are. And it gives the whole scene a much sweeter tone than I think 'that lady' would - the kids clearly like Revy.

And I agree that just WHERE women are stabbing to kill themselves is very symbolic and worthy of note.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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