Let’s talk about color.

After School Days, I needed another cute school romance show that maybe didn’t end with any decapitations.  I decided I’d go with Akaneiro no Somaru Saka, which was recommended in Chris Swett’s anime podcast a few months ago.  I figured I was probably pretty safe with it, I’ve known Chris since the early 90s and he’s yet to make a recommendation I really disliked.

Now, then, it always kind of confuses me when translators take care to translate every little bit of dialogue in a show but for some reason never translate the title, and it was a simple enough title, so I figured I could just look it all up in a dictionary and be done with it.

Starting with “akaneiro”… “iro” was using the kanji for “color” and “somaru saka” meant “dyed hills” or “dyed slopes”, so obviously it means the “xxx color-dyed hills”, and that’s when I got into trouble.

See, I’m a guy, and guys have like, oh, 10 or 12 colors.  We’re good with colors if you’re talking about “red” and “blue” and if you were a guy that grew up with a Commodore computer in the 1980s, you even know what “cyan” is, but when you get out of our comfort range we get confused.

“Taupe”, for example.  I never quite got “taupe”.  Eventually a woman explained to me that it simply meant “beige”, and I knew “beige” meant “light brown” and I don’t get why people don’t say “light brown” when they mean “light brown” and stop inventing words for no reason other than to confuse men, because lord knows we’re generally confused enough.

Ahem.

Anyway.  “akaneiro”, according to the first dictionary I picked up – the venerable (my copy dates from 1985) Kodansha Japanese-English Dictionary, means “rose madder”

Rose madder.

Huh?

That’s not a color name.  I mean, “Rose” is a color.  It means red.  Well, not red.  It means a color that men describe as “kinda red”

But madder?

I looked through a few more dictionaries.  It turned out that I made a good choice going with the Kodansha dictionary to start, because it’s not a common word.  It wasn’t in the next four dictionaries I looked in.

I was starting to think that they’d made up the word.  I mean, Rose Madder?

I threw it at WWWJDIC and it came back with “Madder red”, so at least we had “red”, which is a recognizable color.  Things were looking up.

Finally, I went to my DS dictionary, kanji sonomama rakubiku jiten or something like that, and it defined it for me as such:

“madder; dark red”

I breathed a small sigh of relief.  “Dark red” is a color I understand, so the title of the show is simply “The Dark Red Dyed Hills”

I’m going to file that away in my list of Japanese colors with “aoi”, which means “sorta blue, unless it means green”

Oh, there was a show, too, attached to the title.  It wasn’t bad.  It had an over-the-top rich princess girl type, which is just about my least favorite character stereotype of all time, so that was a major down point, and the love dodecahedron resolved itself in a way that I didn’t entirely approve of, but it didn’t have any really painfully over the top episodes and absolutely nobody got gruesomely murdered, so it delivered everything I really wanted: A goofy romantic comedy with a host of cute girls fighting over a clueless guy.

Well, it could have done with more girls with glasses, I guess.

Still, pretty good.

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