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I've been reading 魔法使いの夜 and stuck with this sentence -「体幹の見切りと筋肉の凝固弛緩その隙間。」. I completely cannot grasp the meaning from it, so I'll try to break it into parts and translate them.

「体幹の見切り」 - the weak(見切り) part of torso

「筋肉の凝固弛緩」 - solidification and relaxation of the muscles

「その隙間」 - their weak point(opening)

Can you please tell me where I'm mistaken, and help me with translating it. Thank you!


Full scene: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fU-27H4XNAc (This part starts at 1:23)

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「体幹の見切りと筋肉の凝固弛緩その隙間。」 is NOT a sentence. – l'électeur Nov 28 '13 at 21:47
Well it is copied verbatim from the video, so the mystery deepens – ssb Nov 29 '13 at 6:56
@ssb I read the comment above as pointing out that it's a noun phrase rather than a complete sentence--there's no predicate. (I edited the title to say "phrase" instead of "sentence".) – snailplane Nov 29 '13 at 12:44
@TokyoNagoya I'd very much like it if you could weigh in on this phrase. "AとBその隙間" reads to me like "the gap between A and B" but B isn't a location here. Is this even well-written Japanese? Is it a coherent thought? What exactly is 見切り? (Dictionaries aren't helping -- I found 見切り線 but it appears to be a specialist term.) ken_a's answer is too airy for me, giving a sense of "appreciate the feel and pretend like you understand". – Hyperworm Nov 30 '13 at 17:13
@Hyperworm As far as I can understand 見切り here is kotobank.jp/word/%E8%A6%8B%E5%88%87%E3%82%8A - 大辞林 3rd one. Also I would like learn more about "AとBその隙間 phrase too, so if it's fine, I'll leave the question open for now. – DarkAkira Nov 30 '13 at 18:19
up vote 6 down vote accepted

To repeat what I stated in the comment, 「体幹の見切りと筋肉の凝固弛緩その隙間」 is NOT a sentence by any standard. It is only a noun phrase in which everything else will eventually end up modifying the last noun 隙間. I repeated it because so many members here call little phrases "sentences".

隙間 is a key word here. If one thinks of a "spatial gap" just because a dictionary says so, one will be left in the dark with the whole phrase. The word is being used to refer to a "temporal gap" here. I shall return to this point.

体幹の見切り might be a difficult phrase to comprehend because 見切り is being used as a technical martial art term here rather than for a usual dictionary meaning. It means pulling back one's upper body to parry an attack.

筋肉の凝固弛緩 means what OP stated without a twist.

Now, in order to pull back one's upper body, 筋肉の凝固 naturally must occur, followed immediately by 筋肉の弛緩. That split second between the two sets of muscle activities is what the author refers to as その隙間. He is saying that that is the ultimate moment for an effective attack because that is the only moment that the opponent is defenseless.

If it helps the Japanese-learner, try inserting a 「それに伴う」 between 「体幹の見切りと」and「筋肉の凝固弛緩」with それ referring to 体幹の見切り. It MIGHT become a little easier to understand the phrase.

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"That split second between the two sets of muscle activities is what the author refers to as その隙間." >Aaaahhhhh. Thank you :) – Hyperworm Dec 2 '13 at 1:28

What difficult Japanese you are reading!

I think your understanding is correct. 「体幹の見切りと筋肉の凝固弛緩その隙間。」is the point 彼 has been thinking to strike to defeat the enemy 人狼. 「体幹の見切りと筋肉の凝固弛緩その隙間。」is not a full sentence, but a looong noun, more description of その点 introduced in the first sentence.

Perhaps 彼 has not found the exact point to strike yet. 彼 has to syncronize his mind with that of the enemy, has to syncronize his breathing with the enemy to completely capture the right place and the right moment. Even has to watch how enemy's body moves, how its muscle tightens and untightens. There must be opening in his body. That's the only place he strikes. 彼 well recognizes how weak people are before 人狼, so 彼 has been thinking to find out the right place to hit, he's been thinking only about it from the beginning and nothing else. If he misses, that means his immediate death.

This is my version of understanding when I read the paragraph, not verbatim translation (sorry!) Your translation of parts of 「体幹の見切りと筋肉の凝固弛緩その隙間。」is correct, you are not mistaken.

Hope this helps you understand the paragraph!

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Thank you very much for your reply, I think I understand the meaning now. – DarkAkira Nov 29 '13 at 19:26
@ken_a How could you say "Your translation of parts of 「体幹の見切りと筋肉の凝固弛緩その隙間。」is correct, you are not mistaken."??? OP syas "「体幹の見切り」 - the weak(見切り) part of torso" and "「その隙間」 - their weak point(opening)". Are you calling those correct? I DO NOT see where "weak" o "weak point" even comes from. Frankly I do not see "weak" even once but you and OP see it twice in the phrase. – l'électeur Dec 1 '13 at 22:11

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