I’ve been thinking of starting a little series on this blog which I’m tentatively calling the Weekly Pokedex.
What this means, basically, is that each week, I will use the random number generator to pick a number from 1 to 721 (which is the total number of Pokemon that exist as of right now – though that’s going to change soon) Whichever number I get, I’ll take a close look at this Pokemon’s Japanese Pokedex entry and analyze it, for the purpose of, perhaps, learning a little bit of Japanese grammar and vocab.
Note that this series might require at least some very basic understanding of how Japanese works, or these posts might not make a whole lot of sense. I also won’t be using any romaji!
For our first Pokemon of the Week, the number I got was 210, which is… *drumroll*
…Granbull! Let’s see what the Pokedex has to say about this one.
I’d take a look at the Pokemon’s name first, but Granbull’s Japanese name is identical to the English one, so nothing to talk about here!
Granbull is classified as a ようせいポケモン. 妖精 means fairy. Before the GenVI games it was a Normal type, but now, fittingly it is a フェアリー (fairy) type.
Now, let’s break down the Pokedex entry (which is the one from Gold/Leaf Green, btw)
(Note: mouse-over words in kanji to see their readings!)
The first part of this entry begins with 本当は, 本当 meaning truth, reality, and は, which is the topic particle.
…Yeah, this probably isn’t the greatest first example to demonstrate the use of this particle. After all “truth” isn’t really the topic of this sentence, Granbull is! You might also notice that this sentence lacks the subject, but we can safely assume it’s talking about the Pokemon.
Anyway, for the purpose of this sentence, let’s just say that 本当は means in truth, in reality, or better yet, actually.
Then, we have 臆病でこわがり – two adjectives, or, er… nouns, actually? They can sorta be the same thing in Japanese sometimes. They both mean more or less the same thing. 臆病 (a na-adjective) means cowardly or timid and こわがり which is a coward.
The で particle in the middle here is used to join two na-adjective or nouns together, so it can be translated to mean “and” (this is not the only way to say “and” in Japanese, so watch out.)
All together, this sentence would translate to: “It’s actually cowardly and timid.”
This is the face of a coward.
Moving on to the next part of the Pokedex entry – 襲われると必死に手足を振って敵を追い払おうとする。
襲われる comes from 襲う – to attack, to assault. Here, it is used in the passive form, meaning it’s not the Granbull that’s doing the attacking, but that it is the one being attacked.
と is a particle which, like most particles, can have several different meanings, but here it is used to create a conditional (if-then) sentence. So, in this particular case it basically has the meaning of if.
This would make the first part of the sentence: “if attacked…” The sentence also lacks a subject, but we can pretty much safely assume it’s still talking about Granbull.
So, let’s see what happens if a Granbull is attacked!
First, let’s take a look at 手足を振って. 振って is the te-form of 振る – to shake, to swing. The te-form here is used to indicate a sequence of events, which means something else happens after the shaking. We’ll look at what that is in just a bit. There’s also the issue of what is being swung or shaken. The を particle indicates the object, which in this case is 手足. If you know the kanji, this word becomes very easy to parse, as they’re simply the kanji for hand and leg, respectively. Or, limbs for short.
Then, there’s the 必死に in front of all this. 必死 means desperate, and while the に particle can also have various uses, here it changes this word into an adverb: desperately.
So the whole 必死に手足を振って would mean: “desperately swings its limbs”. But, as I’ve mentioned, since 振る is in the te-form, there’s still more to come after that.
First, let’s look at the verb. At the end we have 追い払おう, which is the volitional form of 追い払う – to drive away. While the volitional form usually means “let’s *verb*”, if joined with とする, it means “to try to *verb*”. And what is Granbull trying to drive away? The noun before を, 敵, means enemy or enemies. We don’t know for sure, since nouns, generally, don’t have plural forms in Japanese.
This way, now we can translate the whole Pokedex entry:
“It’s actually cowardly and timid. If attacked, it desperately swings its limbs, trying to drive away the enemy.”
Let’s see what the official translation is like:
“It is actually timid and easily spooked. If attacked, it flails about to fend off its attacker. “
Close enough, I’d say 😀
That’s all for this week~ If you liked what you read here, another Weekly Pokedex should be up next Saturday, so see ya then.
- 本当（ほんとう） – truth; fact; reality
- 臆病（おくびょう）- cowardice
- こわがり – timid person; coward
- 襲う（おそう）- to attack; to assail
- 必死（ひっし）- desperate (it can also mean inevitable death, FYI)
- 手足（てあし） – hands and legs; limbs
- 振る（ふる） – to wave; to shake; to swing
- 敵（てき） – enemy
- 追い払う（おいはらう） – to drive away; to fight off