Hello, Kyra here! This is Onamae wa? #60, our weekly encounter where we pick Anime character’s names and look for anything interesting in them.
Our guest today is 澤村(sawa.mura) スペンサー(supensaa) 英梨々(e.ri.ri), one of the three main heroines of Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata, an Ecchi Harem Anime having its second season currently airing on Spring 2017. This post considers both Season 1 and 2, so watch out for heavily illustrated spoilers!
澤村(sawa.mura) スペンサー(supensaa) 英梨々(e.ri.ri)
澤村(sawa.mura) スペンサー(supensaa) 英梨々(e.ri.ri) plays the role of the “cute, popular, rich and tsundere” girl in Saekano. Add being blonde and half Japanese, half British and you get a classic template for comic relief and dozens of meme faces spread all over the series. Oh, right, she is also a 幼馴染み(osana.na.ji.mi; childhood friend), a setting that heavily contributed to her participation in Tomoya’s project. Let’s check her name out before we go any further. お名前は？
Japanese Family Name: 澤村(sawa.mura)
澤村(sawa.mura) is the second most popular variation of ‘sawamura’ names, all carrying the same idea of Swamp Village, but using different kanji. In order of relevance, the first five of them are 沢村, 澤村, 沢邑, 澤邑 and 沢邨, with the first two making up for over 99% of the cases, being respectively 1228th and 2146th most used surnames in Japan. (Source)
The first idea that comes to mind when seeing swamp and Eriri is a link to her recurring slump over the series. We have also seen 澤 here when talking about Ruby and Dia from Love Live! Sunshine on [Onamae wa #22] and [Onamae wa #33]. From there I quote:
澤 is a very uncommon kanji if you put names aside, although it is not a name exclusive kanji, as it appears as alternative for the much more popular character, 沢, which is present in daily life words like 沢山(taku.san; a lot, enough) and 贅沢(zei.taku; luxury, extravagance). One possible take in 澤 could be deconstructing it in three parts: 氵(water), 目 (eye) and 幸 (happiness, blessing), where we could also stretch it to some fancy meaning of tears of joy, but I don’t think this is the case here. Further investigation brought up that back in China, this kanji could also mean grace or blessing.
Hmm. Isn’t it interesting how a kanji that carries the idea of a swamp can also bring the meaning of grace or blessing? Under the risk of going astray here, we can relate this to how Eriri being constantly stuck in a swamp ended up being a blessing to her career as she realized the need to move forward.
村 is a very basic kanji with a very concrete idea behind it. Nothing much to see here.
Put both together and you get 澤村(sawa.mura), a swamp town. Things that come to mind: hard to escape; hard to move on; sticky; attachment; a city surrounded by swamp and thus unable to grow. All of these tie in one way or another to Eriri’s background in Saekano, thus intentionally or not I think this is very fitting name.
Others 澤村(sawa.mura) in Anime:
- 澤村(sawa.mura) 大地(dai.chi) from Haikyuu!! (Spring 2014)
- 沢村(sawa.mura) 智紀(tomo.mi) from Saki (Spring 2009)
- 沢村(sawa.mura) from Yuu☆Yuu☆Hakusho (Fall 1992)
Holy s***, almost 15 years since Yuu Yuu Hakusho premiered. Time sure flies!
British Family Name: スペンサー (supensaa, Spencer)
The surname Spencer originates from the court title dispenser or steward. Court Titles were names that designated someone who held a position or occupation that served under a royal or aristocratic court. Thus you had a steward named John, he would be known as John le Dispenser, which eventually led to the name Spencer. Not getting into much detail here, as this is actually not relevant to Eriri.
Given Name: 英梨々(e.ri.ri)
英梨々(e.ri.ri) is rather cute name, isn’t? I couldn’t find a single instance of this kanji combination being used outside Saekano, but the reading ‘Eriri’ isn’t exactly exclusive. A few of them include 恵莉里, 恵李梨 and 愛李梨. Seeing 恵(megumi; blessing) appearing here makes me want to draw all sort of conspiracy theories, but I’ll hold back this time. The pattern of all these names are very similar. The latter two kanjis are some sort of plant, as in 梨(pear tree), 莉(jasmine) and 李(plum), while the first one features some abstract idea like 英(wisdom, intellect, heroic), 恵(blessing) and 愛(love).
As mentioned above, 英 brings a lot of “great” ideas, as in the words 英雄(ei.yuu; hero) and 英知(ei.chi; wisdom, intelligence). Nowadays it is mostly related to 英国(ei.koku; Great Britain) and derivated words like 英語(ei.go) and 英訳(ei.waku; English Translation). 英国(ei.koku) is a short form for 英吉利, a word that nowadays is read as イギリス(igirisu; Great Britain). I point this out because kanji in country names are usually attributed based only in phonetics, but there is no ‘i’ reading for 英. The only reason it appears as this now is because the pronunciation back in Meiji/Edo Periods was originally 英吉利(e.ge.resu), apparently from the Portuguese word for English, Inglês. As the kanji 英 had been deeply associated with Great Britain, they kept it even after the reading changed to イギリス(igirisu). That was a lot of infodump, sorry. Back to Eriri, 英 has the obvious link to her British lineage, but also brings this aura of greatness that is rightfully connected to her talent as an illustrator.
梨 is the kanji for pear fruits, more specifically the Asian variation, Pyrus pyrifolia (Google Images), also known as Japanese Pear, Chinese Pear, Korean Pear or whatever-the-country-in-southeast-Asia-that-grow-this-freaking-fruit. The important part here is that here we have a kanji that is directly connect to the idea of Far East Asia.
Last week on [Onamae wa #59] we went over the special character 々 when talking about Utaha-senpai, so if you missed it, head over there.
Put everything together and you get 英梨々(e.ri.ri), an English Pear. There is some really symbolic meaning here. In 英 we have this English Hero who eat from an Asian Fruit and then Eriri was born, carrying both Britain and Asia both in her genes and her name. This was obviously intentional by the author, picking up a name that existed and swapping kanjis in order to accommodate his idea. The concept of greatness from 英 and the common setting of “Europe being superior” ties very nice into the idea that I mentioned when talking about Utaha being outshone by Eriri on last week post.
No others 英梨々(e.ri.ri) in Anime but…
- 喜多村(ki.ta.mura) 英梨(e.ri), active seiyuu since 2003, featuring very important roles as Sayaka from Madoka, Karen from Monogatari and lovely Shizuku from New Game (WHICH I ONLY MENTIONED TO SAY SEASON 2 HYPE).
Thinking now… Sawamura Eriri. Kitamura Eri. Hmmmmmmmm. Nah, let’s stop it right now.
Bonus: Mr. Unethical
Alright, we all went OMG during this scene but I was literally dying because of some intrinsic and possibly unintended pun. Utaha-senpai said the following:
倫理くん… 倫理くん… いいえ、今からあなたが不倫理くんよ。
rinrikun… rinrikun… iie, ima kara anata ga furinrikunyo.
So yeah, as we have seen on [Onamae wa #58] when talking about Tomoya, 倫理(rin.ri) means Ethics, Morals, which was officially translated into Mr. Ethical. On the scene above Utaha-senpai adds the prefix 不(fu-) to negate the sentence, similar to how in English we have the prefix im- or un-, as in impossible and unbelievable. Now… if you have a good memory you might remember about this quote here from the above mentioned post:
倫 is almost solely used to bring the idea of 倫理(rin.ri; Ethics), featured in fancy words such as 倫理学(rin.ri.gaku; ethics, moral philosophy) and 生命倫理(sei.mei.rin.ri; bioethics). It is also present in the thing that makes the world go round, 不倫(fu.rin; adultery. Lit. ‘lack of morality’).
HAH! By adding 不, not only Utaha-senpai creates the obvious Non-Ethical or Unethical that was present on the official translation, but also clearly denotes the adultery aspect of that kiss considering the (yet to be) relationship of Tomoya x Kato. Brilliant!
澤村(sawa.mura) スペンサー(supensaa) 英梨々(e.ri.ri), the half-breed pear tree that couldn’t bear any fruits while rooted in a swamp.
Thanks for your time, hope you guys enjoyed your reading. I planned the posts around Saekano having 12 episodes, so unfortunately I will not talk about Megum… JUST KIDDING, CALM DOWN. Next week we will close Spring 2017 talking about the Goddess. See you all then!