Kobayashi – onamae wa #44

Hello, Kyra here! This is Onamae wa? #44, our weekly encounter where we pick Anime character’s names and look for anything interesting in them.

“majiyabakune”. (Kanna-chan, Episode 4)

Our guest today is 小林(ko.bayashi) from Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon, a comedy and comfy slice of life Anime currently airing in Winter 2017. We’ll also go over some interesting expressions used so far in the series. This post considers events up to episode 5, although there isn’t really much to be spoiled.

小林(ko.bayashi)

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小林(ko.bayashi) is a computer programming office lady, a regular human. Her usual very calm and kind aura hides a wild side that only goes free upon heavy alcohol ingestion. I think it is safe to assume that Kobayashi is only her Family Name and there is probably no intention to reveal whatever is her Given one. Well, this is all we get so let’s move on. お名前は?


Family Name (?): 小林(ko.bayashi)

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Woah! This is one of the Top 10 Most Used Surnames in Japan (you can check the others here, as of 2013), occupying the 9th position. Among the names covered in this blog so far, it is only behind 田中(ta.naka), which we have seen in Tanaka-kun from Tanakeda on [Onamae wa? #12] and also in Asuka from Euphonium on [Onamae wa? #35]. According to the above linked source (and also this one, updated to 2016), there are around 1 million bearers in Japan, a resounding number. Picking the two names recently covered so far from Kuzu no Honkai, Minagawa has around 40.000 people and Yasuraoka doesn’t even reach 300 people. Yup. 300. And Kobayashi has over 1.000.000. So yes, it is a big deal. Let’s check each kanji before go any further.

小 has been seen multiple times here, most recently on Hikari-chan from Demi-chan on [Onamae wa? #40]. It is rather intuitive to associate it to our protagonist’s petite figure and flat chest. Some relatable words include 小柄(ko.gara; petite figure) and 小屋(ko.ya; temporary shelter or house, but also a way to politely refer to one’s own home). The idea here is created by the use of 小 as a prefix to 屋, a kanji that is often associated with Stores, but can also carry the idea of Roof, both concrete or abstract, as a home. Hold on to this, as we will get back to it later.

We haven’t properly checked 林 yet, but it was the Surname of Kaguya-san from Fune wo Amu, which we have briefly seen on [Onamae wa? #32]. 林(hayashi) can be used to describe a forest or thicket. An interesting words is 林立(rin.ritsu; to stand close together).

小林(ko.bayashi) often refers to a specific kind of woods, namely the ones near the base of a mountain, or 山里の林(yama.zato.no.rin). Coincidentally, Tooru and Kobayashi first met exactly in a forest in the mountains, as shown below in a scene from Episode 1. What are the odds?

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Given the above mentioned, there is a lot of nice material here. First, Tooru left the woods near a mountain (小林) to live with 小林(ko.bayashi). No wonder she feels at home! Following the idea of 小 as a prefix in 小屋(ko.ya), seen above, 小林(ko.bayashi)’s home can not only be seen as temporary shelter/home for those dragons, but also growing into being their own place. Something like their own safe small forest near a mountain.

When I first checked the character names of this show I was rather disappointed because it would probably not create enough material for a post, but I’m surprised by how a simple and common name like Kobayashi could be tied so much into the story. Ah, right. Almost forgot. The only reason I could think of ‘Why Kobayashi?’ was arguing that such common name further emphasizes the human x dragon disparity between our characters. Luckily we found way more than that!

Others 小林(ko.bayashi):


Bonus Material!

Now I’ll cover a few interesting words and expressions that came up so far in this show.

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Half-way into Episode 1 (and again in early Episode 3)

After using some dubious logic to easily convince Tooru into doing her will, Kobayashi used the term ちょろゴン(chorogon), formed by ちょろい(choroi; easy, simple, lax) + ドラゴン(doragon; Dragon). Edit: As noted by @Fioda, the Ending Theme is performed by a fictional group called Chorogons. (Not sure how I missed that. Thanks!)

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Later half of Episode 1

Tooru was doing the laundry in this scene and upon noticing that humans soil their clothes with waste product (as in sweat), she said the rather strong word 劣等種(ret.tou.shu), a Japanese term equivalent to what that was often used during Nazism discourse when talking about inferior races.

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Beginning of Episode 2

On this scene, Kobayashi is curious about Tooru’s past but decides to not ask anything fearing it would lead to a troublesome development. The Japanese term used was 藪蛇(yabu.hebi), which literally means snake in a bush, acting in a similar fashion to the English expression ‘to stir up a hornet’s nest’.

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Kanna may look cute, but in her first contact with Kobayashi in Episode 2, she used two fancy words to describe what she understood as Tooru being taken away from her. Although officially translated as Cuckold by Crunchyroll, ねとられ or 寝取られ(ne.to.rare; lit. to have something taken away while you sleep) in this case would be better understood as “Wife robber!” or something like that. By proposing Cuckold as a valid translation here, it doesn’t make much sense for Kanna to say that towards Kobayashi, as Kanna herself would be the cuckold party here. I believe the second word was 淫なメガネ(in.na.megane), with メガネ being Glasses or (informally) those who wear them and 淫 being a kanji that describe lewdness in general as in 淫ら(mida.ra; lewd), 淫売(in.bai; prostitute) and 淫声(in.sei; screams and moans produced during sex).

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Later on Episode 2, Tooru takes Kanna-chan around in a small tour around the human world. Following Tooru suggestion, she remembers the slang マジやばくねぇ?(majiyabakunee?), officially translated by Crunchyroll as ‘That’s wicked!’. Later on Episode 4 we see an interesting case of how Kanna, who is idolized by her friends, is able to quickly spread a slang around the class. マジやばくね can be separated into three parts, マジ(maji), やばく(yabaku), ね(ne). ね is just a particle that indicates emphasis or request for confirmation, but the other two require a bit more of explanation.

マジ(maji) comes from 真面目(ma.ji.me), which means serious, grave, earnest. Think of マジ as the serious that when among friends we say ‘That pizza is seriously divine!’.

やばく(yabaku) is a inflexion of やばい(yabai), an adjective which originally (way before WWII) was used to describe robbers and conmen. After falling in disuse, it was revived in 80s by Japanese youngsters to say that something was uncool or boorish, while in the 90s it started also being used to say that something was amazing or cool. Nowadays it is used both ways, depending on the speaker’s intention, though still being a very informal slang. Choosing ‘wicked’ for a translation is very interesting, as this word also shares a similar double-sided usage in English.

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Half-way into Episode 3

After moving to their new home on Episode 3, Kobayashi had a few beers late at night, only to wake up with a hangover maximized by noise issues with the neighbours. The Japanese term for hangover is 二日酔い(futsuka.yo.i) which means Second-day Drunkenness. A less common term is 宿酔(shu.yoi) and there is also the dreadful 三日酔い(mikka.yo.i), Third-Day Drunkenness, for those ones so strong that they last two days. An interesting related term is 迎い酒(muka.i.zake), something like the welcome drink, the practice of drinking in the morning after a night out in order to get rid of a hangover.

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On Episode 5, Tooru gets Fafnir everything he needs to be a recognized citizen, including a name, 大山(oo.yama) 猛(takeshi). 大山 means large mountain and 猛(takeshi) means ferocious, violent or severe.


Wrapping up!

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小林(ko.bayashi), the one who provides a safe place to call home.

Some recommended posts on the Interwebz:

  • kVin has been covering Maidragon technical aspects. Always a good read.
  • ajthefourth did an interesting write up on shots in Nichijou x Maidragon.
  • Weekend Otaku is doing weekly reviews. Episode 5 is here.
  • Remy is also doing reviews! Episode 5 is here. Lolis <3.

Thanks for your time, hope you enjoyed your reading. This show greatly surpassed my expectations. After the (subjective) beauty that was Euphonium Season 2, I thought that Maidragon would be a mere filler slice of life but, so far, it has delivered an incredible amount of healing while touching relevant topics like love, respect for those who are different from you and the importance of both helping and accepting help. See you all next weekend!

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4 thoughts on “Kobayashi – onamae wa #44

  1. Hello Kyra! Thanks for the shout-out!

    Wow, it really seems like these SoL shows really like putting in wordplay. The writers probably put a lot of thought into these sort of punchlines and set-ups.

    I was also pleasantly surprised with Kobayashi. It’s really shaping up to handle difficult topics without neglecting the comfortable moments associated with SoL. KyoAni is off to a great start this year, right after a powerful showing with Hibike S2!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Another great article Kyra, and thanks for the mention!

    I wonder about the reason for not revealing Kobayashi’s given name as yet. Maybe by the end of the series we’ll learn it if she warms up to Tohru enough to request they go on a first name basis.

    I was also really wondering about the “wicked” term. I figured it was a slang she picked up (I didn’t recall when Tohru used it before) and started spreading around as kids often do. Thanks for clearing it up! Seems you had a lot of fun analyzing some of the translations too, despite what little you had to work with regarding the character’s name.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey there!

      At first I thought that no one would have Surnames, but his otaku co-worker has on. And this ‘first name basis’ event is such a commonplace that it will be indeed weird if it doesn’t happen, though in the end I’d imagine that, even it it did happen, Tooru would stick with “Kobayashi-san” for , just so it wouldn’t feel weird because of the Title. Although maybe it would also play well into the whole Maid-Master premise to keep this ‘distance’.

      Thanks as always for insightful comments!

      Liked by 1 person

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