This week’s roll is #598, which is another Gen V Mon – Ferrothorn! If you’ve battled online recently, chances are you see this thing all the dang time. On the other hand, I imagine it doesn’t see too much use in-game, since that 20 base speed is painful. But, I mean, who expects a metal-covered plant to be fast?
Anyway, I decided to take a look at its Pokemon White Pokedex entry!
I’m actually not 100% sure where Ferrothorn’s Japanese name comes from. I mean, the ナット part obviously just means “nut,” but the レイ part? No clue.
Ferrothorn is classified as a とげだま (spiky ball) Pokemon.
(Mouse-over kanji to see their readings!)
Let’s start out with 洞穴の天井にはりつき. はりつき is the stem of はりつく – to stick/cling to (a combination of 貼る – to stick, to paste – and 付く, to attach, etc.) Using the verb in its stem allows to “stick it” together with another verb that’ll come after it.
As for what this Pokemon sticks to – 洞穴 is cave, 天井 is ceiling. In between then we have the particle の, which works like this:
The noun before the の is the attribute of the noun after the の.
What this means is, in essence, what comes before the particle describes what comes after. In this case, the whole phrase would mean “cave ceiling.”
You might’ve already seen the の particle being compared to the Saxon genitive (eg. サシャの猫 – Sasha‘s cat) or “of” (ゼルダの伝説 – legend of Zelda), but as you can see here の isn’t used only in these cases.
Just keep in mind that in Japanese the attribute always comes first. Otherwise, the Zelda example might seem confusing.
Anyway, we’ve established that Ferrothorn sticks to cave ceilings (which explains the rather odd Gen V sprite) and that something happens besides that.
下 simply means below or under. 通る means to pass by, to pass through. The use of the を particle might seem a little confusing at first, since it marks the location where the action of “passing through” happens. So why not で or に? And what the hell, I thought 通る was intransitive and を usually marks the direct object of a transitive verb?
See, this is where Japanese gets a little bit weird. Actually it’s perfectly fine to use を with certain motion verbs (and, indeed, a mistake not to use it.) In these cases を shows that the movement happened through an area. Like 川を渡る (cross the river) or 空を飛ぶ (fly in/through the sky)
And, finally, the whole verb phrase describes the noun 獲物 (prey). All in all: “The prey passing below”
All of this is followed by the に向かって part, the entire phrase meaning towards. Towards whatever comes before the に, of course, so, the prey.
As for what the Ferrothorn does to its prey, well, I guess you can imagine from its (spiky) appearance, but let’s take a look at the verbs at the end of the sentence.
打ち込み is the stem of 打ち込む, to drive into, to shoot into. Once again, the stem is used to connect multiple verbs together. The 襲う at the very end might look familiar if you’ve already read the Granbull entry and it just means to attack. So, it attacks its prey by shooting something at it.
And what does it shoot? Though I’m pretty sure you might have an idea.
鉄のトゲ showcase another use of the の particle. トゲ is thorn/barb or thorns/barbs (once again – no plural in Japanese, though it’s probably safe to assume they mean multiple thorns here, lol.) And the attribute describing the thorns – 鉄 – simply means iron.
Funnily enough, Iron Barbs is actual Ability in Pokemon and its Japanese name is, you guessed it, てつのトゲ.
Oh, and Ferrothorn and its pre-evolution, Ferroseed are the only two Pokemon with this Ability.
Ok, let’s translate the whole thing now.
“It sticks to cave ceilings, shooting the prey that passes below it with iron barbs.”
“They attach themselves to cave ceilings, firing steel spikes at targets passing beneath them.”
The general idea here is the same, I’d say, though the official version made some different choices, like using “they” rather than “it” (it’s not specified in Japanese, so you can go either way.) Had I give it more thought, I probably would’ve gone with the plural as well.
So, that’s all for this week, see you next Saturday!
- 洞穴 （どうけつ）- cave
- 天井（てんじょう）- ceiling
- はりつく – to stick to; to cling to
- 下（した） – down; under; below
- 通る（とおる）- to pass through
- 獲物（えもの）- prey; spoils
- に向かって（にむかって）- towards
- 鉄（てつ）- iron
- とげ – barb; thorn
- 打ち込む（うちこむ）- to drive in; to fire into
- 襲う（おそう）- to attack