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Translation Notes


Chapter 1 … Eventually, the seasons change, and the snow melts away.

1 “It was the day the world called Valentine’s Day, or Dried Sardine Day…” February 14 was designated “Dried Sardine Day” in 1994 by the National Dried Sardine Association, as a play on the word niboshi (dried sardine), which sounds like the numbers two, one, and four. It’s sometimes used cheekily to suggest that “Valentine’s Day is canceled.”

2 “Somebody said that—Peter or Cheater or Carrousel or whatever.” Peter is the stage name of Shinnosuke Ikehata, a singer, actor, and TV celebrity. Maki Carrousel is another actress and TV personality. Cheater is just Hachiman coming up with a similar-sounding English word.

3 “Chii is learning.” This is a Chobits reference—a quote from Chii the robot—that Hachiman has made many times before.

4 “…I suppose you would call that sort of thing a waste of effort.” The original wordplay here uses the idiom meaning “a waste of bone-breaking effort,” to which Hachiman corrects her, “I didn’t break any bones, I just hurt my back,” and Yukinoshita says, “It’s a figure of speech. And what’s the point of interrupting me?” She uses the idiom “break the back of the conversation,” which means “to interrupt.”

Chapter 2 … Despite appearances, Haruno Yukinoshita is not drunk.

1 “This was way too ‘final dungeon’ for me, and I think it’s wrong to pick up girls in a place like that.” This is a reference to the light-novel series Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?

2 “If I were Basho, I’d even be seeping into stone. What’s with this guy Basho—is he Angelo or what?” Matsuo Basho is a famous poet from the seventeenth century, and this is a reference to the poem “Hushed serenity / and the cries of cicadas / seeping into stone.” Angelo is a character from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure who gets turned into a weird-looking rock.

3 “…Muh-heh! like the protagonist from a Mitsuru Adachi manga…” This refers to a scene from H2 where the protagonist is holding up a pair of panties and smiling while making the lewd chuckle mufu.

4 “…then I’ll wind up with the same face as Tatsuya and Hiro!” Hiro is the protagonist of H2. Tatsuya is the protagonist of Touch. They both have very similar faces…

5 “Even if both count as ‘waiting,’ they’re as different as Aming and Yuming.” Aming is the name of a pop-folk duo—their debut song in 1982 is titled “I’ll Wait.” Yuming is the stage name for Yumi Matsutouya, a singer with a long career stretching back to the 1970s. This is a reference to her 1996 single “Ambush.” “I’ll Wait” is a straightforward “even if you love another, I’ll wait for you” song, while “Ambush” is about a woman who plays at waiting while she’s manipulating the situation to get a man to turn her way.

6 “I have to go lie down. And then I’ll even lie about. And then I’ll even lie down on the job.” The Japanese gag here is a fairly nonsensical one on “lie down” (lit: become horizontal) moving next to “do what you want” (lit: become vertical) and finishing with “freely and as one pleases” (lit: unlimited, horizontally or vertically).

7 “…she works on sudden fevers, heart palpitations, and shortness of breath— Wait, is she some kind of heart remedy?” He’s specifically referring to Kyushin, the flagship drug of Kyushin Pharmaceutical Co., a natural remedy / Chinese medicine company. It’s supposed to be a remedy for the heart.

8 “I mean, like, I totally thought Live TV Till Morning! was a sexy show.” It is not. It’s a late-night debate show mostly about politics.

9 It’s Morning! It’s Live Travel Salad is a travel show that runs in the mornings. This title sounds a touch sexier in Japanese, since nama (meaning “raw,” or “live broadcast”) is also slang for “unprotected sex.”

10 “Has the Weekly Hachiman dropped another explosive bombshell?!” The Weekly Bunshun is one of the most prominent news magazines in Japan and is known for investigative journalism. When they make a big exposé, people often say “The Weekly Bunshun’s cannon has fired again.”

11 “‘Oh, you’re sooo niiice. Wooow. What a gentleman!’ She smacked my shoulder like she was saying, So you’re the Gentleman Friend who’s good at being nice to women, huh?!” This gag is rather more noticeable in Japanese, but Haruno’s drawn-out sugoooi here is reminiscent of a line from Serval in Kemono Friends, to which Hachiman follows up with a meme line that doesn’t actually appear in the anime, “You’re the friend who’s good at [blank].”

Chapter 3 … Komachi Hikigaya takes him by surprise and gets formal.

1 “Moxie energy wakety” (yaruki genki neoki) is a quote from Yui Yumekawa, protagonist of Idol Time PriPara—her main catchphrase is “dreamy-cute.” Not to be confused with the original Prism Paradise series with the heroine Laala Manaka. She’s the one who says “Capisce!” with a peace sign by her head.

2 “She’s as calm as if she’s been told the end of the century’s coming. She’s so calm, you might even think she’s been made into a wax doll. Wait, that was Seikima-II, huh?” Hachiman has referenced both these songs before—“Nai Nai 16” from the 1980s boy band Shibugaki-tai, which features the line “Don’t freak out, the end of the century [seikimatsu] is coming,” and the song “House of Wax Dolls” by the 1980s metal band Seikima-II.

3 “…it’ll make both Aming and Yuming blanch. I’ll pretend to be cute, and I’ll do a good job at it.” This calls back to his earlier joke. “Pretending to be cute—she does a pretty good job of it” is a line from “Matsu wa” (I’ll wait) by Aming.

4 “…lying in wait behind a tree by the school, murmuring her name like Hyuuma Hoshi’s older sister…” Hyuuma Hoshi is the protagonist of the 1960s baseball manga Star of the Giants. His sister Akiko’s most iconic scenes are of tearfully watching him from behind a telephone pole or other objects.

5 Jizo is a bodhisattva who protects children, and these little statues are ubiquitous around temples, in woods, and on roadsides. They’re often dressed in red clothing with little hats or hoods as protection from evil.

6 “It’s a push-button quiz, fastest finger first! Get seven answers right, and you win! If you buzz too quickly three times, then you’re out!” Fastest Finger First is a manga about a quiz club—this reference is to the Japanese title, Seven Right, Three Wrong.

7 “…I wanted to call for help like the dude from the insurance ads. Someone help…!” The original is an explicit reference to Shinichi Tsutsumi, an actor who has been in a bunch of ads for the insurance company Axa Direct. A well-known one features him in a broken-down car in the middle of nowhere going, “Someone help…!”

8 “Here a hi, there a hi, everywhere a hi-hi.” As in Volume 11, this is from a tongue twister about frogs, although it’s more about hopping than greeting. Kaeru pyoko pyoko, mipyoko pyoko. Awasete pyoko pyoko, roppyoko pyoko.

9 “Aha! Then she’s a ‘hot stud,’ eh?” This is based on the Internet meme Hahan! Sate ha hizokusei da na (Aha! Then fire element, huh?) over a picture of a swimmer with a silly expression on her face. The meme is pulled up whenever coming up with guesses that are very apparently wrong. Hachiman uses this meme a second time for “Aha! Then she’s an eccentric, eh?”

10 “My special skills include impersonating a lightning rod and also l’Cie heroes. Though I’m not that pretty.” The original gag here (swapped to a FFXIII reference) was “impersonating a lightning rod [hiraishin] and also Hirai Ken [an actor]. Though my facial features aren’t as sharp as his.”

11 “Being that I also have experience with kids, I can recognize such feelings quite clearly. I’m the champion of children.” In Japanese, Hachiman says, “I am an okosamaister, so to speak,” smooshing together okosama (formal/restaurant word for “child”) and meister.

12 “…I’ll also emphasize my interest in politics to go after a collab on the next ‘vote at eighteen’ campaign. Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, are you watching?” The light-novel series Oreimo (“My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute”) did a cross-promotion encouraging young people to vote, distributing the free booklet titled, My Little Sister Can’t Become the Model for a Campaign to Vote at 18~Learning about Voting at Eighteen with Kousaka Kirino.

13 “Does she mean like my own personal Hikaru Genji plan of winning over Keika to try to raise her into a wonderful lady? Right now, I’m making progress to rave reviews like a frantic Columbus. ‘Welcome here’ or however that song goes…” Hikaru Genji is the titular character from the classic novel The Tale of Genji, in which he raises Lady Murasaki from girlhood to be his wife. Named after him was the 1980/1990s boy band Hikaru Genji. One of their songs, “Paradise Galaxy,” features a line that goes, “Welcome here / let’s play in paradise / peel the apple of your heart / adults can’t see it / a frantic Columbus / they can’t find the island of dreams.” The “frantic Columbus” line became famous at the time as people speculated what it meant.

14 “…but if I caused trouble for the neighbors’ children, it might be too much to bear. Maybe not for a bear, though.” The original gag here is a pun on shinobinai, which means “can’t bear.” He follows it up with “In English, no ninja.”

15 “…not knowing what to do, bow wow wow woooow…” This is a line from an NHK Minna no Uta children’s song called “Inu no Mawari-san” (The dog policeman).

16 Yan-mama (short for both “yanki mama” as well as “young mama”) was a slang term that was in for a brief time in the 1990s to describe young mothers (usually teen moms) who dressed in yanki fashion while caring for their kids.

17 “I didn’t even have to bother asking one last bombshell question to nail the perp like Mr. Ukyou.” Ukyou is a detective from the drama Aibou (Partners). “May I ask just one last thing?” pretty inevitably comes up when he’s questioning people and leads to clinching an interrogation.

18 “Perhaps thinking about something at the edge of a forbidden borderline, Kawasaki had a slightly pained expression.” “Ikenai Borderline” (Forbidden borderline) is an insert song in Macross Delta. One line goes, “Love at the edge of a forbidden borderline!”

19 “While preparing to hear Is the water good?! …” This is a reference to a video that became a meme of a minor idol drinking from a bottle onstage, and guys in the audience start yelling at her, “Is the water good?!”

20 Run-tatta is a nonsense word said by Mimi of the RPG Princess Connect! Re:Dive.

21 “And I came up with eel on the grill, with thyme.” The original Japanese pun here is himatsubushi (killing time) and hitsumabushi (eel fillets on rice).

22 “With a whistle of twoo~   like Cobra…” Hachiman is referencing the 1979 manga Cobra, an action/SF series with a number of anime adaptations, older and more recent.

23 “…the divine revelation came down on me. Mikooon!” “Mikooon!” is the catchphrase of Tamamo no Mae in Fate/Grand Order. She’s a miko (shrine maiden) / fox spirit.

24 “It’s in the bag, ga-ha-ha!” is a quote from the heroine of Girlish Number, which Wataru Watari also wrote.

25 A Got Nothing Fairy (sappari yousei) is from Magical Circle Guru-Guru. It appears every time someone says the word sappari or something like it.

26 “I’ve achieved ultimate victory” (kanzen shouri shita) refers to a meme involving a small monkey doing a victory pump in the air while playing the theme from Gundam Unicorn. The video is titled this.

Chapter 4 … Until today, he has never once touched that key.

1 “Aw, good grief! You teasing master Totsuka!” This is a reference to the manga Teasing Master Takagi-san.

2 “As I was firing off sixteen shots per second…” This is a reference to the old-school gaming legend Takahashi Meijin, who was famous for his sixteen shots per second trigger finger in the games Star Soldier and Star Force.

3 “Like that comedy duo who…did a hit-and-run that ended up putting them under house arrest.” Hachiman’s anecdote is certainly about Yuusuke Inoue of the manzai duo Non Style, who got into a hit-and-run in 2016 and made it into a routine.

4 “Did you know, Raiden…?” This is a line that comes up repeatedly in the 1980s martial arts manga Sakigake!! Otokojuku (Charge, boys’ school) whenever the bystanders need to explain things happening in a fight. It was one of the earliest manga that did that a lot, so it was a bit of a trope-setter.

5 “If I don’t say anything and five seconds pass, it’ll time out and count as a wrong answer, and I’ll get ‘bad communication’! …Not that a perfect will help your affection score.” Hachiman is definitely talking about some Idolmaster game here; multiple ones have this dating-sim-style mechanic.

6 “I see them about as frequently as the plates you get from the spring bread festival.” In March, Yamazaki Baking Company has an event where customers can collect stickers to get a free plate called the “white smile dish.”

7 “…and figurines having a wild party…” The Japanese line here, dottan battan oosawagi, is a reference to the OP of Kemono Friends, “Welcome to Japari Park.”

8 “Jumping abilityyy…I guess…” is a quote from Shinzaki-oniisan, a real person (a zoo caretaker) who appears in Kemono Friends, and in the first episode he explains the appeal of the Serval with some apparent lack of certainty, which became a meme among fans.

9 “Also, an unbelievably basic pick.” The term he uses here in Japanese is sabukaru kuso onna (subculture shit woman), which was popularized by Pop Team Epic. The meaning hovers somewhere in between “fake geek girl,” “basic bitch,” and “not like the other girls.”

10 “…so she could have herself the whole fancy chic-y set. ’Cause, y’know. She’s Isshiki…” The original pun here is on “one set” (isshiki) and Isshiki’s name.

11 “Some momo are sumomo…so some momo and some sumomo are sakuranbo?” “Miss Yuigahama has lost it, huh…? She’s gone bananas…or should I say gone peaches and plums?” What Yuigahama said here was originally sumomo mo momo…sumomo mo momo mo sakuranbo, which literally means “plums are peaches, and plums and peaches are both cherries.” It’s a riff on a well-known tongue twister. The original pun here was also on sakuran (deranged) and sakuranbo (cherries).

12 “As a guy, I get more excited about Gwazines than limousines, you know…” Instead of Gundam, this joke was originally about Virtual-On, a series of mecha-based dual-joystick fighting games originating in the arcade in 1995. Unfortunately, while Temujin (the flagship mecha in the series) sounds like limujin, Temjin (the English name) does not sound like limousine.

13 Jooshy polly yey, a slurred version of juicy party yeah, is a greeting coined by Chiaki Takahashi, a voice actor, singer, and gravure model. It has no particular deep meaning.

Chapter 5 … Unsurprisingly, Iroha Isshiki is the most powerful of underclassmen.

1 Kushiya Monogatari is a chain restaurant that sells skewers. The name of the restaurant literally means “skewer house story.”

2 “I…tried to twist my cracking, creaking, and popping back. My spine had so much to say, you could call it a backache monogatari.” This Bakemonogatari pun originally read, “I tried twisting [gurin gurin] it around. It was as gurin gurin as the day Papa and I talked together” (punning on the word green here). This references a children’s song—it’s actually an adaptation of a song called “Green Green” by the American folk band the New Christy Minstrels, with entirely different lyrics written by Kataoka Akira. The Japanese lyrics are about a kid speaking with their dad on a green hill, who after that day leaves and never comes back.

3 “Whoaaa, where’d you hear that I haven’t been getting enough sleep lately, huh? Where’d you hear that?” is another Jigoku no Misawa comic about annoying people.

4 “Fair play, fair duel” is a catchphrase from the title cards in the original Yu-Gi-Oh! anime.

5 “I’m getting really sleepy… I can even see angels in front of me.” This is a reference to the famous children’s anime Dog of Flanders, which ends with the boy Nello saying he’s very tired as he and his dog Patrasche die together, and then angels spiral down to them.

6 “…it would carve itself into my memory like a graphic war documentary.” Eizou no Seiki is an NHK documentary series that covers a lot of material, but it does have some fairly graphic war footage in it.

7 “I wasted so many seeds bumping her stats.” Seeds are permanent stat-raising items in the Dragon Quest series. The long-awaited Dragon Quest XI came out in early 2017, a few months before the Japanese release of this book.

8 “No way, that general dies?! I got spoiled for the taiga drama!” The taiga drama is the annual big-budget year-long historical drama aired on the NHK.

9 “The god of entrance exams once wrote: ‘If the eastern wind blows through / then let your fragrance ride them / O sweet blossoms’…” Toufuu fukaba / nioi wo okoseyo / ume no hana is a waka by Sugawara no Michizane, the god of academics Hachiman has mentioned his father has prayed to (at a Tenmangu shrine) for Komachi to pass her exams. The more explicit meaning of the poem is “Dear plum blossoms, if the spring winds blow, send your scent from Kyoto to Dazaifu (where I am). Don’t forget spring, even when I’m not at home in Kyoto.”

10 “So the plum trees have blossomed, but no cherry blossoms yet, huh?” “Cherry blossoms bloom” is old-fashioned telegram shorthand for young students sending word to their parents, telling them they’ve passed their university entrance exams. The converse message, saying they failed, is “cherry blossoms fall.”

11 “She was weeping like a heartbroken celebrity…” This is an explicit reference to an actor named Tatsuya Fujiwara, who bawled while reading the memorial address of the director who had been his mentor. It was big celebrity news about a year before this book was originally published.

12 “I almost expected her to cry, S-Straw Hats…” This is a reference to a 2ch copypasta about One Piece that goes, “Luffy: Whooo! Join our crew!! Me: S-Straw Hats… (sob sob).”

13 “Dear Mother / Cherry blossoms bloom / regards.” Zenryaku Ofukuro-sama is the name of a 1970s TV drama about a young man trying to make it in Tokyo, with the framing device of sending letters back to his mom. This bit is also formatted like an old-timey telegram, including sakurasaku (cherry blossoms bloom) written in katakana, an old-fashioned way of letting your parents know you passed your university entrance exams.

14 “But as they say, leaving things unsaid is a grace like a lily—er, wait, like a flower.” “Unspoken is a flower” is a Japanese idiom that means that being explicit about things left unsaid is boring. Hachiman misremembers it as “lily” (yuri), the cliché symbol of lesbian relationships.

15 A Sister’s All You Need. is another light-novel series under the same Japanese imprint as this series (Gagaga).

16 “This report was a shock to Hachiman.” This is another reference to Yokoyama’s Three Kingdoms manga, originally “This report was a shock to Kong Ming.” Many panels of this classic manga have been memeified.

17 “…call her Yukino Yukinoshita RX now. I was really starting to think, I guess we can just let her handle everything on her own, huh? Even Isshiki was nodding like, …Let’s leave this to RX.” This is a reference to a Kamen Rider: Black RX meme, “I guess we can just let them handle everything all on their own.” It’s used whenever some all-powerful character shows up. The original line from the show was “Let’s leave this to RX.”

18 “Rare but often happens” is another quote from the FF11 player / 2ch anon legend Buront of “With this, I can win” fame. Many quotes from him have become memes.

19 “Yee!” is the cry of the Shocker combatants in the Kamen Rider series. They’re basically mindless mooks for the villain.

20 “I want to know defeat” was a line often said by the professional competitive 2D fighting gamer Daigo Umehara and then popularized to a meme level by 2ch. He may have originally gotten the line from Keisuke Itagaki’s martial arts manga Grappler Baki, but it’s not certain.

21 “I have a lot of experience foiling other people’s fun, after all.” This was originally a pun on Hikigaya’s name, saying, “They don’t call me Hikitateyakun for nothing, after all.” Hikitateyaku is a foil and also a reference back to Volume 6, when Yukinoshita called him that.

Chapter 6 … Yui Yuigahama’s thoughts happen to turn to the future.

1 “You could practically live here if you ever got tired of home. Living space runaway Ikeon…” The original line here was “Kaguya-sama: Love Is War was interesting, too, huh,” a pun on kaguya (furniture store) and the name Kaguya. It was replaced with a Space Runaway Ideon reference.

2 “…an armchair that won’t break, even if you sit on it six million three hundred thousand times…?” This is a reference to a viral video clip from the variety show Hirunandesu! in which they display an IKEA chair that has gone through six million three hundred thousand durability tests…and they immediately break it.

3 The legendary Cure Patissière is a magical girl from the anime KiraKira Pretty Cure a la Mode.

4 Du Fu was a famous poet of the Tang dynasty, often paired with Li Bai (whom Hachiman quoted in Volume 11) as one of the greatest Chinese poets.

5 “…once, there was a recruiting ad for a certain company posted at a certain train station.” This story is probably referring to a fake recruiting ad made by the city of Hachioji in 2016, the year before this book was published in Japanese, which went viral on Twitter. It seemed like a recruitment ad, while in fact its purpose was to let people know that street solicitation was illegal in the city. It included catchy satirical lines like “Requirements: people who want to be arrested, no experience necessary!”

6 “I mean, it’s a public school, and you’ve worked at this school enough years.” Haruno is alluding to the fact that public school teachers are regularly rotated to different schools. Miss Hiratsuka probably will be gone next school year.

7 “…A good kid, a bad kid, and a normal kid? Is this the Imo-Kin Trio?” The Imo-Kin Trio was a group of three boys from a variety show that formed a pop combo, doing comic songs in the mid-1980s. Their theme was that one kid was a nerd/prep type, one was a delinquent, and one was very average.

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