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View Poll Results: Shin Sekai Yori - Episode 15 Rating
Perfect 10 9 20.00%
9 out of 10 : Excellent 19 42.22%
8 out of 10 : Very Good 12 26.67%
7 out of 10 : Good 5 11.11%
6 out of 10 : Average 0 0%
5 out of 10 : Below Average 0 0%
4 out of 10 : Poor 0 0%
3 out of 10 : Bad 0 0%
2 out of 10 : Very Bad 0 0%
1 out of 10 : Painful 0 0%
Voters: 45. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 2013-01-14, 16:48   Link #81
kuromitsu
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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
Well, I guess given the whole bonobos thing, and heavy mental manipulation at play, yeah, it's more like Huxley's Brave New World.
Also there's the fact that it's a deconstruction of a utopia, instead of a straight-up dystopia... It's not like in Shinsekai yori the control exists to keep the ruling regime in power. It exists for a much more fundamental reason. it's definitely not control for its own sake.
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Old 2013-01-14, 16:57   Link #82
Random32
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Fun fact: bakenezumi have a canon scientific name (well, a suggestion, anyway).
I would have preferred said name starts with genus Homo. I personally think, with my 15/25th understanding of how things are going to go, a lot more interesting. Anyways, moles are cool.

Quote:
You mean Huxley's Brave New World, right? :3 Shinsekai yori's world doesn't have a lot to do with that of 1984...
I don't think it's that close to either. I can see points from both.

One of the big differences from BNW I think is that a lot of the people feel oppressed. Kids are scared of the cats, parents get unnerved when their kids violate rules, etc.

Quote:
If anything, the human society of Shin Sekai Yori is pragmatic to a fault. It makes moral compromises to the point that it will kill its own young over the slightest of concerns or "red flags". If someone was to make an argument in favor of moral absolutes, "It's wrong to kill children" wouldn't be a bad place to start. I can only think of a small handful of moral values that are more commonly held than that one is. The human society of Shin Sekai Yori is hardly one based on the importance of morality. If anything, it's about putting the safety and security and sustainability of "the whole" first, above any and all other concerns, including moral ones.
What is morality though? What if you hold the moral absolute "safety first?" Or "what is best of the continuation and well being of the group?" Morality is an incredibly malleable thing.

What about "respect authority?" Saki was a lot more horrified by children killing their mother than the other way around.
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Old 2013-01-14, 16:57   Link #83
Solace
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Originally Posted by kuromitsu View Post
Mamoru is not any worse than the others, what makes you think he is? It's just that his speciality is less obvious than Maria's levitating or Satoru's mirrors. But look at those pictures he "draws."


Tomiko had her eyes on Saki pretty much from the start, though, because of her personality and mental fortitude, not because of her power or how she uses it.
I meant weaker in comparison to his friends, not that he himself was weak. He's not defenseless, that's for sure, but his mental fortitude leaves him a step behind the others, imo.

As for Tomiko, one thing I noticed was that each student is given tasks. I always thought it was odd that they always seemed to be doing the same things in each class scene. Maria levitated, Saki put broken stuff together, Mamoru did art, etc. It reminded me of those aptitude tests I took when I was a kid, where I was given certain tasks and judged on my ability to complete them. In my case though, it was because I was um....different...than the rest of my peers.

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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
On the whole, I'd say the four are fairly close, with slightly different aptitudes. Going just by "feats", I'd feel more comfortable taking on entire army with Satoru at my side, since he's "proven" in that regard. OTOH, Saki and/or Mamoru might be better at one-on-one combat judging by their own feats. I'd probably prefer Saki as an ally if the threat was one very powerful guy.
I think this is a good way of putting it. Well, like I said, comparing this all straight up power level style isn't really useful. I do appreciate that you guys decided to weigh the pros and cons instead of just arguing about who had more mental muscles though.
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Old 2013-01-14, 18:30   Link #84
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Originally Posted by Random32 View Post
What is morality though? What if you hold the moral absolute "safety first?" Or "what is best of the continuation and well being of the group?" Morality is an incredibly malleable thing.

What about "respect authority?" Saki was a lot more horrified by children killing their mother than the other way around.
Actually, Saki was the one that was showing doubt over how horrific such an action ("children killing their mother") was given the circumstances. I suspect this is because Saki realizes that human society has little right to judge here since humanity has taken at least equally morally questionable actions. So your description of Saki's response to what happened to the Queerat's Queen is simply off. It was Satoru, not Saki, that was the one completely horrified by it.


There are things that people do because they serve basic selfish desires, and/or they serve a basic need to simply survive. Everything you've referred to here can be easily justified that way. There's no need to appeal to morality, however you care to define "morality".

If this society was truly that concerned with morality, we wouldn't see people so ready and willing to kill mere children, which most advanced societies consider an extremely immoral act. No, this world is pragmatic to the extreme, arguably amoral in nature.
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Old 2013-01-14, 18:47   Link #85
mangamuscle
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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
If this society was truly that concerned with morality, we wouldn't see people so ready and willing to kill mere children, which most advanced societies consider an extremely immoral act. No, this world is pragmatic to the extreme, arguably amoral in nature.
All societies are pragmatic by nature and saying that humans in shin sekai yori are amoral is going a bit far, if that was true killing thy neighbor just because his tree throws dead leaves in your property would be ok.

I have not read the light novel or the summaries, but I think the morale of the story is that the time of men has already passed, humanity has always had a knack for destruction (as the extinction of several giant mammals that shared an ecosystem with early men testifies) and with the development of pk humans became just too good at destruction.

Mind you, that is not the first time something like that has happened, there are evidences that in prehistoric times there were giant octopus that were atop of the food chain (on the deep sea, obviously), had long life expectancy and brain capacity that dwarfed ours exponentially. Where are they now? Well, octopus (like spiders) tend to eat their young. The solution evolution provided? Smaller octopus that live little after copulating (male) or that die at childbirth (female).
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Old 2013-01-14, 19:40   Link #86
kuromitsu
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Originally Posted by Solace View Post
As for Tomiko, one thing I noticed was that each student is given tasks. I always thought it was odd that they always seemed to be doing the same things in each class scene. Maria levitated, Saki put broken stuff together, Mamoru did art, etc. It reminded me of those aptitude tests I took when I was a kid, where I was given certain tasks and judged on my ability to complete them. In my case though, it was because I was um....different...than the rest of my peers.
It's kind of like that. Btw, Satoru's mirror is essentially light manipulation, and it's supposed to be one of the most difficult tasks. (Obviously Shun has the most difficult project.)

Again, I think it's not really about who can hit the biggest with their power. Their "battle potential" if we can call it that mostly depends on personality, and frankly, I'd want Satoru to back me up (because from the four, five if Shun is included, he's the one who is the least "docile" when it comes to stuff like this).

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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
Actually, Saki was the one that was showing doubt over how horrific such an action ("children killing their mother") was given the circumstances. I suspect this is because Saki realizes that human society has little right to judge here since humanity has taken at least equally morally questionable actions. So your description of Saki's response to what happened to the Queerat's Queen is simply off. It was Satoru, not Saki, that was the one completely horrified by it.
Saki was also horrified, though. She just tried to rationalize it. Btw this was cut due to time and talking heads, but in the novel she's clearly jugding it as something that seems horrible to humans but is pretty common among animals. She explains that humans have a tendency to antropomorphize animals and expect them to have the same values they have. But nature doesn't work like that. She brings up kangaroo mothers throwing their young out of their pouch to distract predators, or hippos eating their own dead. So, she and Satoru may think that what happened to the queen is just plain wrong and sick, but it's just them unreasonably expecting bakenezumi to think the same way as humans.

It's also quite important to realize that Saki and Satoru are not like "us." They come from a society that has a built-in, genetically supported taboo on in-species aggression. So what the bakenezumi do is completely alien to them. Also, remember when, during the first bakenezumi adventure, Satoru got a little too much into fighting? For us it would be completely natural, but Saki saw it as something very alien and frightening.

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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
If this society was truly that concerned with morality, we wouldn't see people so ready and willing to kill mere children, which most advanced societies consider an extremely immoral act. No, this world is pragmatic to the extreme, arguably amoral in nature.
Ah, but would it be better to let the poor children live and thus endanger an entire community and maybe other communities as well? Tomiko has already explained how incredibly dangerous akki and gouma are, we've seen what they can do. It's not like the village is killing children for the lulz or any shallow reasons. They place the needs of the community first. The rights of the individual come second. (Hell, this is why their children don't have human rights to begin with.) I'm not sure you can call this amorality. Yes, it's quite horrible, especially for those closely involved (re: the children themselves), but on the other hand, it's their only solution to a very serious issue that concerns their survival.

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Originally Posted by ogon_bat View Post
I have not read the light novel or the summaries,
It's not a light novel... ._.)

Last edited by kuromitsu; 2013-01-14 at 20:05.
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Old 2013-01-14, 20:37   Link #87
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It's worth pointing out that for most of human history, human children barely had any rights at all. It's actually a relatively newer thing for us to grant children some rights before "adulthood". In America, things like child labor laws, public school systems, and the rise of the middle class are largely responsible for the social shift. This is true for many industrialized countries, to varying degrees, but there are still many parts of the world where children have no rights at all. And honestly, even in "progressive" nations like the US, it's barely perfect. It's easy to make the argument that children are spoiled thanks to Dr. Phil and such, but child abuse is very common.

I'll even stretch this a bit with some supposition: the only reason women are treated equally in the Cantus society is because of the Cantus. Physical strength no longer becomes the determining factor of rule as one might expect in a society that has regressed to a more primitive way of life.
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Old 2013-01-14, 22:50   Link #88
Random32
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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
Actually, Saki was the one that was showing doubt over how horrific such an action ("children killing their mother") was given the circumstances. I suspect this is because Saki realizes that human society has little right to judge here since humanity has taken at least equally morally questionable actions. So your description of Saki's response to what happened to the Queerat's Queen is simply off. It was Satoru, not Saki, that was the one completely horrified by it.
Sorry, my bad.

Quote:
If this society was truly that concerned with morality, we wouldn't see people so ready and willing to kill mere children, which most advanced societies consider an extremely immoral act. No, this world is pragmatic to the extreme, arguably amoral in nature.
Again, what does that society consider moral? Is killing one to save millions a moral act? Basically, if you had the opportunity to kill baby Hitler, would you?

This society obviously would, since that's what they do, and they don't seem to have many qualms about doing so. They test for baby Hitlers, and kill all of them, before they go around killing many more. Sure, their test might not be 100% accurate, hell, they probably kill more innocent people than they do baby Hitlers, but statistically, they are saving more lives by doing so than by not. Considering how the Education Board acts, they obviously think this is the right thing (because, it minimizes suffering). Saki thinks not (because, innocent people are being murdered).

Depends all on how you define morality.

So taking it back to Saki and the Queerats, now that I have been corrected. Also bringing the novel info in:
-Saki justifies the actions of the queerats "they aren't human, that is perfectly reasonable for them to do."
-Saki connects the moral scheme of humanity, "oh yeah we're the same." It's not just killing risky children, a lot of the "good" acts in their society like casual sex/etc are specifically engineered for "optimal outcome," i.e. utilitarianism.
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Old 2013-01-14, 23:54   Link #89
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I don't mean to derail the discussion or anything, but did anyone else find it funny that after expanding their territory, creating concrete buildings, and wearing metal(?) armor, Squealer and his colony are STILL using the same old sharpened bamboo sticks/bows/arrows?

Just something that's been nagging at me for a while considering all the other colonies we've seen have at least stone weapons.
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Old 2013-01-15, 00:55   Link #90
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Originally Posted by Raviel View Post
I don't mean to derail the discussion or anything, but did anyone else find it funny that after expanding their territory, creating concrete buildings, and wearing metal(?) armor, Squealer and his colony are STILL using the same old sharpened bamboo sticks/bows/arrows?

Just something that's been nagging at me for a while considering all the other colonies we've seen have at least stone weapons.
They might be unaware of the art of smelting yet....
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Old 2013-01-15, 06:52   Link #91
kuromitsu
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It's worth pointing out that for most of human history, human children barely had any rights at all. It's actually a relatively newer thing for us to grant children some rights before "adulthood".
Yep - and back in the good old days children died all the time due to illness, war, famine, the occasional wolf/bear/large cat, etc., so people in general were more calloused when it came to child deaths (and death in general). Sure, it was sad but you could always have more children if you weren't too old. Of course it's different from what we have in Shinsekai yori in that nobody actually went out of their way to kill children (most of the time, anyway), but the basic idea is similar. And in Shinsekai yori they at least have memory manipulation which makes it hurt less (unless you happen to be in the know).

Obviously nothing makes the practice of culling children good or anything other than horrible. But they're bound by a dilemma.

(Random note: I so wish that the fansubbers hadn't made up "Cantus" as a translation of "juryoku." It makes no sense and it's so annoying to see people use it as if it was the canon name for their power. -_-)

Last edited by kuromitsu; 2013-01-15 at 07:18.
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Old 2013-01-15, 17:11   Link #92
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All societies are pragmatic by nature...
Most societies try to balance pragmatic concerns with moral ones. A pragmatic concern is about strengthening a society in a fairly objective sense - For example, making society safer, period. Or achieving higher productivity. Or achieving a higher GDP. Or achieving better infrastructure as that can lead to many economic benefits for a society.

Everything done in the world of Shin Sekai Yori is rooted in such pragmatic concerns.

A moral concern is about shaping society in a certain way because you have certain moral preferences, regardless of what's most pragmatic. For example, many people in America would like to outlaw abortion, because they have moral qualms with the killing of unborn children, as they see it. However, outlawing abortion would actually cause many new, and arguably severe, pragmatic problems for America. It's very difficult to support the outlawing of abortion from a purely, or even largely, pragmatic perspective.

Laws banning certain sexual practices are similarly more of a moral matter (for those in favor of such laws, anyway) than a practical one. Something like Affirmative Action is a law based more on morality (i.e. standing up against racism) than anything else. Some societies do take "pragmatic hits" (i.e. actually make their society more costly, or their governments less efficient/cost-effective) for what is widely held as moral causes. Shin Sekai Yori does not strike me as a society that ever takes "pragmatic hits" for the sake of moral principles. In my opinion, their society is heavily rooted in pragmatism, moreso than many societies are.

At the very least, I think it's completely baseless to argue that the society of Shin Sekai Yori is particularly concerned about morality.


Quote:
...and saying that humans in shin sekai yori are amoral is going a bit far,
I said this world is amoral. The world of Shin Sekai Yori is amoral. In other words, its society is functionally amoral. Some of its people have moral values, yes. I'm certainly not denying that. But the way the society of Shin Sekai Yori operates is very Darwinian. It's very "Survival of the Fittest". We saw what happened to Reiko. And if any kid poses a threat to the collective, they get eliminated.

Now I'm not saying it's wrong pragmatically. Pragmatically-speaking, I don't see a better alternative. But it's not a society that cares much about morality, imo.


Quote:
if that was true killing thy neighbor just because his tree throws dead leaves in your property would be ok.
Death Feedback would get in the way of that, wouldn't it?


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Originally Posted by kuromitsu View Post
Saki was also horrified, though. She just tried to rationalize it.
Well, that's more than Satoru did.


Quote:
Btw this was cut due to time and talking heads, but in the novel she's clearly jugding it as something that seems horrible to humans but is pretty common among animals. She explains that humans have a tendency to antropomorphize animals and expect them to have the same values they have. But nature doesn't work like that. She brings up kangaroo mothers throwing their young out of their pouch to distract predators, or hippos eating their own dead. So, she and Satoru may think that what happened to the queen is just plain wrong and sick, but it's just them unreasonably expecting bakenezumi to think the same way as humans.
There is an argument to be made that all sentient (or at least sapient) lifeforms should have certain rights, regardless of what species they are a part of. Star Trek has explored this concept at great length. The Queerats don't appear that far off from humans to me. So I don't think that Saki and Satoru were necessarily being "unreasonable" here.


Quote:
Ah, but would it be better to let the poor children live and thus endanger an entire community and maybe other communities as well? Tomiko has already explained how incredibly dangerous akki and gouma are, we've seen what they can do. It's not like the village is killing children for the lulz or any shallow reasons. They place the needs of the community first. The rights of the individual come second. (Hell, this is why their children don't have human rights to begin with.) I'm not sure you can call this amorality. Yes, it's quite horrible, especially for those closely involved (re: the children themselves), but on the other hand, it's their only solution to a very serious issue that concerns their survival.
Yes, but it shows that when pragmatism runs up against morality, pragmatism wins in this society, consistently. "The Ends Justify The Means" in this society. Not every society is like that.


Also, there's a world of difference between actively going out of your way to kill your own young, and leaving them to their own devices. The killing of children has been widely viewed as a morally abhorrent act for thousands of years in most societies.
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Old 2013-01-15, 22:02   Link #93
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The humans in SSY are definitely aiming for pragmatism, but I'm not sure they're achieved it. They've set things up so that one mistake can knock the entire civilisation down. One pair of people run away, maybe sheltered by the Queerats? Bam, it could all be over. Their way of thinking is likely that someone without PK, like the rats, isn't a threat at all.

Speaking of the Queerats...Did someone mention earlier that the humans had developed PK through experimentation and so forth? If the Queerats had sufficient information, they could always give that process a try themselves, even if they're not descended from humans themselves. It seems they're an adaptable race which can change form to some extent. (Presumably that's down to the queens breeding different types of workers?)

We've been hearing all about how children in the human society aren't considered people and can just be zapped on any basis, but I wonder what happens when the person who's displaying potentially dangerous behaviour is an adult? Do they really treat them as people with full legal rights whom they can't harm? I have a hard time believing that a society which would kill of loads and loads of kids in order to keep the peace would not have some way of dealing with adults too, and it would be strange if the story was telling us that potentially dangerous people will always show signs of that in their childhood.
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Old 2013-01-16, 04:57   Link #94
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Well, that's more than Satoru did.
Er, so what? Is this now a competition? If yes: they were both horrified, but Saki rationalized their decision as them being just animals, and Satoru was the one who pointed out how humanlike they are. 1-1.

By the way, I rewatched the ep yesterday and realized that they didn't even cut that whole part I wrote about above, just the examples with the kangaroo, hippo, etc. So it was pretty clear, I think...

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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
Yes, but it shows that when pragmatism runs up against morality, pragmatism wins in this society, consistently. "The Ends Justify The Means" in this society. Not every society is like that.
Well, not every society is made up of walking WMDs that are nigh unstoppable once they go off.

It will be fun to go back to these threads after the series ends...

Btw, since I mentioned translations: does "queerat" come from the fansubs as well?
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Old 2013-01-16, 05:50   Link #95
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Originally Posted by kuromitsu View Post
(Random note: I so wish that the fansubbers hadn't made up "Cantus" as a translation of "juryoku." It makes no sense and it's so annoying to see people use it as if it was the canon name for their power. -_-)
I agree, I have no idea what singing has to do with PK and it's always extremely annoying when people think fan translations are better than official ones.

However, here's their explanation for their choice of translation:

Quote:
It seems people are wondering about our translation for “Cantus”, so I figured I’d give a brief explanation of the term.

The original Japanese for Cantus is 呪力, literally “incantation/spell power”, and is the psychokinetic/magic power the people in this world use. Our translation for the term is derived from the incantation part of the word (interestingly, while 呪 can mean “curse”, it would be wrong here because the power isn’t a curse/bad thing, nor does it curse things. It’s one of those “a word can have multiple meanings but it means this in context” kinds of things). It’s not exactly a self-apparent translation, but it preserves the spirit of the original term and sounds fancy too.
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Old 2013-01-16, 08:04   Link #96
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Originally Posted by kuromitsu View Post
Er, so what? Is this now a competition? If yes: they were both horrified, but Saki rationalized their decision as them being just animals, and Satoru was the one who pointed out how humanlike they are. 1-1.

By the way, I rewatched the ep yesterday and realized that they didn't even cut that whole part I wrote about above, just the examples with the kangaroo, hippo, etc. So it was pretty clear, I think...


Well, not every society is made up of walking WMDs that are nigh unstoppable once they go off.

It will be fun to go back to these threads after the series ends...

Btw, since I mentioned translations: does "queerat" come from the fansubs as well?
At least Bakenezumi as queerat makes sense...kinda....given the link between bakemono and strangeness

How 呪力 becomes "cantus" I also don't know...would have just translated it as PK or simply "power"
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Old 2013-01-16, 09:00   Link #97
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I agree, I have no idea what singing has to do with PK and it's always extremely annoying when people think fan translations are better than official ones.
It's not just people thinking it's better, it seems most people don't even realize it's not an expression used in canon, let alone an official translation... :/ I tend not to mind this when the translation is actually good and accurate, but here it's not the case.

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However, here's their explanation for their choice of translation:
[etc]
But... that barely makes sense. 呪力 "juryoku" is not a word the author of the novel made up, it's an existing word which means magical/mystical/supernatural power. So "Cantus" is not even a translation per se, they went ahead and gave the power a name. Anyway, even if you want to make the word be the literal sum of its parts, choosing "incantation" as the translation of 呪 and going with "incantation power" for 呪力 doesn't make a lot of sense if you ask me, especially in the context of this story (as is obvious from ep 1 already).

But my main beef with it is that it sticks out like a sore thumb. Even if we assume it's just translation convention, it's still a word that is alien to its context. For one, as you said, "cantus" is also an existing word with a meaning that has nothing to do with psychokinesis/any supernatural power. And really, why would a bunch of Japanese people 1000 years into the future who live a mostly isolated life, and have their own words for pretty much everything in their environment, use a foreign word to refer to their innate power that's pretty much the center of their universe?

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Originally Posted by Cosmic Eagle View Post
At least Bakenezumi as queerat makes sense...kinda....given the link between bakemono and strangeness
Yeah, at least that makes sense and fits the naming patterns. But I think it's a bit too "smart" for its own good - it will be awkward when we get to the part where Saki muses about the etymology of "bakenezumi"... (It's kanji etymology so it's problematic anyway, but the more straightforward "monster rat" which is another translation I saw, will work much better in the context.)

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Originally Posted by Cosmic Eagle View Post
How 呪力 becomes "cantus" I also don't know...would have just translated it as PK or simply "power"
Yeah... or something else but, you know, in English.

Last edited by kuromitsu; 2013-01-16 at 09:38.
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Old 2013-01-16, 09:20   Link #98
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It seems people are wondering about our translation for “Cantus”, so I figured I’d give a brief explanation of the term.

The original Japanese for Cantus is 呪力, literally “incantation/spell power”, and is the psychokinetic/magic power the people in this world use. Our translation for the term is derived from the incantation part of the word (interestingly, while 呪 can mean “curse”, it would be wrong here because the power isn’t a curse/bad thing, nor does it curse things. It’s one of those “a word can have multiple meanings but it means this in context” kinds of things). It’s not exactly a self-apparent translation, but it preserves the spirit of the original term and sounds fancy too.
Considering the bent of the people in this world (and the author) for meticulously naming everything with meanings, perhaps the word is intended to have literally dual senses, "magical power" and "cursed power." It's an irony.
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Old 2013-01-16, 09:36   Link #99
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Originally Posted by momonae View Post
Considering the bent of the people in this world (and the author) for meticulously naming everything with meanings, perhaps the word is intended to have literally dual senses, "magical power" and "cursed power." It's an irony.
Yeah, there's that, too. There's even an allusion to this duality toward the end. There's a hidden meaning in almost every important word here so it's not very wise to discard a meaning (which is actually one of the primary meanings of the kanji in question) right away... it's understandable, though, if they had no background information, but it makes the whole "cantus" situation more awkward.
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Old 2013-01-16, 10:16   Link #100
Solace
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I don't mind translations that try to deal with quirks like this. It's not canon, but at the same time, it works for the intended purpose. Literal translations may be preferred by some, but sometimes it's better to preserve flow/meaning than accuracy.
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