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The sentence is from a manga in which the character, after saying this :

オレの細胞がてめえみたいなみにくいバケモノに使われているなんてショックだぜ。

What a shock that my cells were used for an ugly monster like you.

Says this :

もうすこしなんとかならんかったもんかね...

The translations I have are along the line of "It could have become something better." "I wish a better job had been done."

I know that もうすこし can mean "a bit more" or "a bit longer", can it mean "a bit better" too?

From what I know ものか is used to strongly state the opposite of what precedes it like :

知るもんか!

How the hell would I know? ; No idea! ; I don't care!

Assuming I'm right, I don't get how ならんなかったもんか can be translated as "could become"...

EDIT :

Or is it along the line of :

There is no way (もんか) that somehow (なんとか) it did not become (ならなかった) a bit better (もうすこし).

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1 Answer 1

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Your first translation, "It could have become something better." is very good translation.

Literally, reading just one phrase ならなかった, it means "did not become".

(これは)もっと[安]{やす}くならなかった。
(It didn't become more cheaper.)

In other cases - connected with ものか(もんか) for example - the meaning of ならなかった will change.

(これは)もっと[安]{やす}くならなかったものか。
(This could have become more cheaper. / I wish it could be more cheaper.)

Meanwhile, as you say, もうすこし can have a meaning "a bit better" in this case. But, it's not enough to mean "a bit better" with just this phrase.

It can be understood that もうすこし means "a bit better" because a word なんとか is connected after that.

これはもう[少]{すこ}しなんとかならないのか。 -> これは (it)|もう少し (a bit)|なんとか (better)|ならないのか (couldn't be)|。

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Thank you, that was helpful indeed. I didn't know about なんとかなる and wasn't sure about もんか. –  Alox May 16 at 14:05

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