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「攻殻機動隊」のタイトル

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「攻殻機動隊」のタイトル

Postby Daruqe » Tue 09.10.2013 5:45 pm

Okay, so we know that the English title of the anime is 「GHOST IN THE SHELL」—the original title Shirow Masamune wanted, I recently learned—but the Japanese title is "攻殻機動隊" (こうかくきどうたい). Wikipedia gives the translation "Mobile Armored Riot Police"—which I think is a dumb title if anyone cares—but I don't see where they got this translation from.


"機動隊" (きどうたい) means "riot police," of course, but I don't know what to make of "攻殻" (こうかく). It doesn't appear to be an "actual" word, as I can't find it anywhere. I'm guessing that the pronunciation just comes from sticking the two 音読み together. It's really frustrating, because I actually know the two kanji—"攻" means "aggression" or "fight," and "殻" means "husk" or "shell"—which is interesting. I thought maybe "殻" could relate to the "armor" in the "Mobile Armored Riot Police" translation, but that doesn't appear to be the case. I then began to hope that the Japanese title might have some pun or double-meaning in it relating to the English title, 「GHOST IN THE SHELL」, but it's impossible to know because I can't figure out what "攻殻" even means. The closest thing to a literal translation I can come to is "Combat Shell(s) Riot Police" (not very elegant, I know), but I can't trust my own translation on this one.

All of this is particularly bothersome, given the fact that Wikipedia says that "攻殻機動隊" "literally" means "Mobile Armored Riot Police," and I don't see how this could be even close to true at this point.
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Re: 「攻殻機動隊」のタイトル

Postby SomeCallMeChris » Sat 09.14.2013 12:03 am

Okay, so, 攻殻 is in fact a made-up word that is generally taken to mean 'combat armor'. It is just the kanji for 'attack' and 'shell' put together, and the second kanji is where the 'shell' in 'Ghost in the Shell' comes from.

機動 does mean 'mobile', and 機動隊 usually matches up with 'mobile infantry', but if it's referring to police, it usually means 'riot police' or possibly 'SWAT'. 'mobile riot police' is a little bit of a double-dip, trying to put both the literal translation ('mobile police') and the cultural translation ('riot police') all into one translation. 隊 of course is 'squad' or 'division' or 'unit'.

So, -literally- I'd say it's 'Mobile Combat-Armored Unit'. Since we know from the plot that it's a police unit, 'Combat Armored Riot Police' isn't a bad interpretation. There is, of course, no 'ghost' or 'spirit' in the title, that's a title-invention taken from the plot.
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