Alethea & Athena (double_dear) wrote,
Alethea & Athena

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The Sohma family secret

Now that Grawp is determined to complete his Pokedex and get shiny Pokemon, he's calling us more frequently, and we turn on Pokemon with a Purpose. So we spent a lot of time trying to fill our own Pokedex, especially with Shield exclusives.

But in addition to that, we took some time to watch the latest episode of Fruits Basket, and that reminded me of something that I really want to tell to the entire English-speaking world (of Fruits Basket fans, and especially people in charge of translated versions). But it involves the big spoiler about the head of the Sohma family, so I'll have to put it under a cut.

So if you're reading this, hopefully you already know that Akito is actually a woman. And if you didn't know, you can't say I didn't warn you about spoilers. But anyway, here's the thing: now that everyone knows Akito is a woman, all the translators and even all the fanfic writers have been making sure to dance around pronouns unless they're working on something where the secret is already out. And it drives us bonkers.

I admit that when we first got to the reveal in the manga, back when we were translating it, lo these many years hence, we got to the first part where the manga's all, "He's actually a she!" and we were like, "Dangit dangit dangit!" Had we been misinterpreting things? Had they actually never used gendered pronouns for Akito all along and we picked the wrong one? Did the anime lead us that far astray? We already knew by that point that Akito's voice actor was an onna-gata, but we did not put two and two together, and we were very upset.

But then we went on with the manga, and they revealed, "And nobody knew!" and we were like, "Oh. Well, in that case, it's fine!" Even behind the scenes, in conversations between people who did know the whole time, they would have used masculine pronouns, and here is why: the Sohmas, of all people, know how to keep a secret. It's not possible to dance around pronouns your whole life (just try it), and since there's no telling who might be listening in, for their own safety and Akito's, the Mabudachi Trio and Kureno would have been using masculine pronouns, if for no other reason than to not develop a bad habit that might result in a slip-up.

"But!" you might say, "If I use masculine pronouns, the fans who know the truth will think I don't know the truth!" To which our honest response is, "So?" Serve the story, not your ego. But if you can do it in a way that doesn't sound too unnatural (maybe check Land of the Lustrous for tips), it's not like I can stop you, so knock yourself out.

But I do have to leave you with this thought: Because of the rise in gender fluidity, is it not more polite these days to use the pronoun that people prefer? Akito's personal pronouns are male--not because she wants them, which is the sad thing, but because her life will literally be in danger if anybody uses anything else. So until the truth is revealed, and Akito changes her mind, the best thing would be to use masculine pronouns, because the more Ren hears "him/him/his," the more secure she's going to feel, and the less she'll need to lash out at Akito. At least, this is my argument when it comes to Shigure and the others who are "in the know."

As for Yuki and the others who are not in the know, they don't know! So stop having them talk as if they're trying to prevent a secret from coming out, and start having them talk as if they're talking about some guy they know. Akito has been presented to them as a man, so they're going to use masculine pronouns. That's just how English works.

And that is my little Fruits Basket soapbox.

Today I'm thankful for finally getting a Passimian (thanks to Mom this time), getting to watch a pretty good episode of Fruits Basket, having a lovely afternoon playing Pokemon with Grawp, having a lovely chat with Mom on the phone, and meeting our work quota in time to play a lot of Pokemon.
Tags: fruits basket, language geekiness

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