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Consider this panel:

Transcription: 主役【しゅやく】はやっぱり   魔女【まじょ】のベフォーナよね   ビ   シッ   (from Aria Navigation 47)

What do ビ and シッ represent? I'm conjecturing ビ is the mimesis for the raised finger, and シッ is the mimesis for the scarf as she turns around.

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

It is not ビ and シッ but a single word ビシッ. It is a 擬態語 signifying firmness of an action. From びしっと in Daijirin:

[2] 厳しいさま。ぴしゃりと。
びしっと断る (my translation: reject flatly)

In your example, both ビシッ and the raised finger have the effect of showing that the character in the panel is stating her opinion firmly as if it were an objective fact.

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Thanks! I couldn't figure it out at all. Because I was reading from right to left (as in how we should for Japanese text/Manga), I actually read シッ then ビ and never thought that they should be considered as a whole. – Flaw Jan 1 '12 at 16:56
@Flaw: Agreed, especially since the text "bubbles" go from right-to-left, it seems super counter-intuitive that the ビ and シッ would be left-to-right. – istrasci Jan 2 '12 at 0:46
@istrasci: Well, in modern Japanese, horizontal text is read left-to-right. (Otherwise it would be “ッシ” in the first place.) The point here is that you have to notice that “ビシッ” is a single horizontal text to understand it, even though the character is drawn in the middle of the text. – Tsuyoshi Ito Jan 2 '12 at 2:33
@TsuyoshiIto: yes, of course horizontal text is read left-to-right, but because of the position of the character, it's hard to see “ビシッ” as one word (if you don't know the meaning) as Flaw said. – istrasci Jan 2 '12 at 4:17
@istrasci: What I said is that your understanding of the source of the apparent “super counter-intuitiveness” is incorrect. You seem to be thinking that the mixture of right-to-left and left-to-right directions is the source for difficulty, but you processed this mixture without problem (because you read it as シッ instead of ッシ). The only problem is that you have to realize that “ビシッ” is one word. Even if the horizontal text were written right-to-left, you would have trouble understanding it unless you know that “ビシッ” is one word. In other words, the directionality is irrelevant here. – Tsuyoshi Ito Jan 2 '12 at 20:31

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