Hello, Kyra here! This is Onamae wa? #19, our weekly encounter where we pick Anime character’s names and look for anything interesting in them.
Given how I skipped last week due to Comiket related posts even though this is a blog dedicated to exploring names, I’m considering changing its title. Hmm. What about このブログには問題がある(kono burogu ni wa mondai ga aru)！Uh? What do you mean by originality?
Our guest today is 宇佐美(u.sa.mi)みずき(mizuki), protagonist of Kono Bijutsubu ni wa Mondai ga Aru!, a love-comedy currently airing in Summer 2016. Due to the nature of this club, it is recommended to have watched up to Episode 7 to avoid being painted by… oh, 嚙みました(ka.mimashita). To avoid being tainted by spoilers.
宇佐美(u.sa.mi)みずき(mizuki) is a middle-school student member of an Art Club, loves to draw apples and even more than that, loves Uchimaki. Through daily life activities we get to explore the peculiar members of this club and see her relationship with Uchimaki developing, a weekly delightful experience so far. Let’s check her name out. お名前は？
Family Name: 宇佐美(u.sa.mi)
A really fitting name, especially with Episode 7 still fresh in our minds. We already explored two of those kanji over other posts: 宇 in Canaria Utara – onamae wa? and here it brings the idea of something above or more than, like Heaven or the figurative idea that a house is something above us; and 美 in Mikumo Guynemer – onamae wa?, which now on top of representing Usami’s beauty, it also plays nicely into 美術(bi.jutsu; Fine Arts).
Usami’s middle kanji, 佐, deserves some more attention, as it is the big star here. Most common use for this kanji is in commissioned military ranks like 大佐(tai.sa; colonel), 少佐(shou.sa; lieutenant) and 中佐(chuu.sa; lieutenant colonel). We briefly mentioned this last one on Spring 2016 wrapping up – onamae wa? when talking about Lieutenant Colonel Yuuki from Joker Game. Now, bad news is that if you have watched Konobi, you realize that it seems fairly unlikely that Usami-chan might be joining the army anytime soon, which means that there has to be something else here. Good news, that is! 佐 can be used as an alternative kanji for 助ける(tasu.keru; to help, to aid, to assist), mainly focusing on the idea of being an assistant, which ties greatly into the role that Usami performed on Part A of Episode 7. 佐 is a very interesting kanji, so we will go deep on it:
A kanji is usually formed by many smaller parts. In this case we have three main parts here, first being a variation of 人(hito; person), second a variation of 手(te; hand) and third one being 工(kou; crafting). So 佐 depicts a person who lends a hand into to craft related activities. Another way to view this is looking at two parts only: 亻+ 左(hidari; left), which would lead to person on the left side. For most people (85%+ after a quick google search), the right hand is the one that works, while the left one is the one that assists. Thus the person on your left is the one that assists you in your assignment.
Speaking of which, I was checking Episode 7 original material, chapters 18 and 19 of Konobi’s manga, and Uchimaki is wearing a different T-shirt there. It is written 萌え人。(mo.e.hito or mo.e.jin; not sure), which could be someone that likes or moe or someone that is moe. I wonder why they changed that?
Back to 宇佐美(u.sa.mi), put all kanji together and you get something like the beautiful assistant supervisor or fine arts assistant. Usami is also very close to 兎(usagi; rabbit), which she openly adores. This is not the first time that this Usami x Usagi relation appears in Anime. 宇佐見(u.sa.mi)羽仁(ha.ni) from Sket Dance has a second personality named Bunny and 宇佐見(u.sa.mi)秋彦(aki.hiko) from Junjou Romantica is called Usagi as a nickname.
- 宇佐見(u.sa.mi)羽仁(ha.ni) from Sket Dance (2011)
- 宇佐見(u.sa.mi)秋彦(aki.hiko) from Junjou Romantica (2008)
- 宇佐美(u.sa.mi)育絵(iku.e) from Momokuri (2015 as ONA, currently reairing as TV series)
Given Name: みずき(mizuki)
Most characters in Konobi have their given names written in hiragana only. First word that comes to mind would be 水木(mizu.ki; dogwood, a type of wood), but it doesn’t really add anything to Usami-chan character. It is also tempting to bring in 水樹(mizu.ki) from our goddess 水樹(mizu.ki)奈々(na.na), who blessed us with Konobi’s opening theme STARTING NOW! and also voices Yumeko sensei. A very crude option would be 美好き(mi.zuki; the one who loves beauty or arts). That being said, I’ll leave this open today and won’t go deep.
The mistakes done by Yumeko-sensei over the course of Episode 7 are hard to translate. I admire CR for coming up with some interesting ones like G-gobble the goobers! from above, so I’ll cover here what she was trying to say and some of what she ended up saying. The verb used to describe fumbling with words is 嚙む(ka.mu) and this might ring a bell from Bakemonogatari where Mayoi-chan would go and say 失礼、嚙みました(shitsurei, kamimashita) upon mispronouncing Araragi’s name.
Yumeko’s intention was to say 取りに行きましょう！(to.ri ni i.kimashou!; let’s grab it!), formed by the verb 取る(to.ru; to take) and 行く(i.ku; to go). Without going very deep into Japanese language techies, by modifying the first verb and adding a に(ni) and then 行く(i.ku) you express the idea of “going somewhere to do something”, as in 食べに行く(ta.be ni i.ku; to go somewhere to eat). 行きましょう(i.kimashou) here is the verb 行く(i.ku) modified to display an invitation or suggestion, as Yumeko here is hyping up her students to grab the first place in the upcoming art contest. If you want to suggest/invite someone to drink, you could use 飲みに行きましょう！(no.mi ni i.kimashou; let’s go have a drink!).
Of course, our clumsy and lovely Yumeko-sensei made a series of mistakes while trying to say that, a few of which I list below:
- とりにいくましょう(toriniikumashou), forgot to change iku into iki.
- とりにしましょう(torinishimashou), totally different meaning. Here it sounds like let’s eat chicken!
- とりましょう(torimashou), grammatically wrong but I won’t go deep into why.
- とりにっとましょう(torinittomashou), what?
- とまっくましょう(tomakkumashou), once again, what?
Let’s review our guest today!
宇佐美(u.sa.mi)みずき(mizuki), the beautiful Art assistant.
Thanks for your time, hope you enjoyed your reading. Konobi has been a certain weekly fun time so far and I recommend it! And I’ll not even draw the NANA WILLS IT! card, as this show is good enough. See you all next weekend!