Hello, Kyra here! This is Onamae wa? #17, our weekly encounter where we pick Anime character’s names and look for anything interesting in them.
Alright, before we start, let’s check our project requisites:
- Cute Girl ✓
- Being Cute ✓
- While doing normal things ✓
There we go, all set. Uh? What do you mean by only this? This is all we need!
Our guest today is 涼風(suzu.kaze)青葉(ao.ba), main protagonist of New Game!, a comedy slice of life show currently airing in Summer 2016. For the sake of this assignment, it is recommended to have watched up to Episode 4 to avoid conflict with our new release, Faeries Spoilers 3.
涼風(suzu.kaze)青葉(ao.ba) is the newest member of Eagle Jump, a game design company. Aoba-chan is a true 新米(shin.mai; literary newly harvested/fresh rice. Also used to describe newcomers). Not only is she a recent high school graduate and still retains a childish appearance, but this is also her first job. In spite of that, Aoba-chan is very dedicated and motivated, as long as she gets to sleep wearing more than just パンツ(pantsu; underwear). お名前は？
Family Name: 涼風(suzu.kaze)
涼風(suzu.kaze) is a very fitting name for our girl. As pointed above, 涼 is associated with words that describe a refreshing feeling, including 涼しい(suzu.shii) which gives the direct idea of something cool and refreshing, but also extending to abstract meanings like unconcerned, pure and upright. Other words carry similar concepts, like 涼み台(suzu.mi.dai; outdoor benches) and 涼み客(suzu.mi.kyaku; people out enjoying cool breezes). As for 風, it is branched in two main ideas. First is wind or air related words, as in 旋風(sen.puu; whirlwind), 台風(tai.fuu; typhoon) and 暴風(bou.fuu; windstorm, gale). Second one is a way to describe manner, behavior or style, as in 風(fuu; method, manner, appearance), 風習(fuu.shuu; custom, tradition) and 風刺(fuu.shi; satire, irony, sarcasm).
On the scene above, Aoba had just been introduced to Shizuku, director of the current project. As a newcomer to both company and the industry itself, she is still getting used to how things work. The word 偉い(era.i) used here could be interpreted in two ways: first one, used in the above subtitle choice, where 偉い(era.i) means important, often used when talking about high-ranked people. The idea here is conflicting with the fact that the meeting itself hadn’t started because the director wasn’t there, so she has to be relevant. Another common use for 偉い(era.i) is to describe someone (or their actions) as admirable or remarkable. In this sense, Aoba would be inferring from the situation that Shizuku might not be a very dedicated director. For this later idea to be correctly portrayed, a more suitable translation would be something along the lines of “Maybe the director’s not very diligent…”. That being said, as Aoba used “director” instead of a name, the former idea might be indeed more appropriate.
Back to 涼風, these kanji together form the word 涼風(ryou.fuu; refreshing breeze), a different reading from Aoba’s family name. Indeed, Suzukaze reading is mostly reserved for naming purposes. Other possible reading is 涼風(suzu.ka). Given her background as a newcomer and her 頑張ろう(gan.ba.rou; let’s give our best！) mentality, this name is very fitting. The image above is an example of many moments in both Opening and Anime in general where a blowing wind is used to emphasize this refreshing breeze idea.
- スズカゼ(suzukaze)リン(rin) from Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince (2013)
- スズカゼ(suzukaze) from Fire Emblem Fates (2015)
- 涼風(suzu.kaze) from Kancolle franchise.
Given Name: 青葉(ao.ba)
青葉(ao.ba) is a fairly simple name and once again very fitting for our character, further pushing the idea of freshness that we saw in 涼風(suzu.kaze). 青 usually stands for blue or green, sometimes pale and freshness. It appeared with a peculiar meaning in Kennosuke Tokisada Ouma – onamae wa? and we covered its interaction with 緑(midori; green) in Izuku Midoriya – onamae wa?, so I suggest you look there for more info. A few relevant words for Aoba-chan include 青少年(sei.shou.nen; youth, young person) and 青い(aoi; blue, green, unripe, inexperienced). 葉 appeared in Hikari Kohinata and Futaba Ooki – onamae wa? and Futaba, Youko and Teru – onamae wa?. Once again we can make fun of its “counter for flat things” meaning.
On the scene above Hifumi (AKA BEST GIRL) used the word ラフ(rafu; rough) to describe the overall environment in Eagle Jump. This is a very good case of how a foreign word imported into Japanese changed or acquired additional meanings. Upon hearing みんな結構ラフだから、問題ないと思うよ(minna kekkou rafu dakara, mondai nai to omou yo; everyone here is pretty rough so I don’t think there is a problem!), I doubt a common reader would ever think about ラフ as friendly. While in Japanese ラフ(rafu; rough) still keeps its original meaning of something being rough (as either hard or irregular), it can also be used to describe something casual or friendly, the idea here being that in a rough state, untouched by society rules, people are friendly.
Together, 青葉 means fresh leaves, once again a befitting word for Aoba-chan. A few other ways to write Aoba include 安大葉(a.o.ba; literary peaceful large leaf), 蒼羽(ao.ba; blue feathers) and 青波(ao.ba; blue waves).
- 黒沼(kuro.numa)青葉(ao.ba) from Durarara!!x2 series (2015)
- 渡瀬(wata.se)青葉(ao.ba) from Buddy Complex (2014)
- 青葉(ao.ba)シゲル(shigeru) from Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995)
Let’s review our guest today!
涼風(suzu.kaze)青葉(ao.ba), the unripe newcomer who exhales a cool and refreshing behavior.
Thanks for your time, hope you enjoyed your reading. New Game! is so far another great adaptation of Kirara works. Give it a try if you enjoy cute girls doing cute things! Also huge props for SAKURAスキップ, its contagious Opening Theme. See you all next weekend!