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I'm trying to understand the meaning of the first sentence:

刀の力で日本を牛耳らんとする玲爾{れいじ}たち。その企みを見抜いた晴馬{はるま}たちは...etc.

My translation would be "Reiji and his men are not trying to control Japan with the power of katana". But in the manga where it is taken from, Reiji and his men actually ARE the bad guys trying to control Japan with the power of the katana. Since in the next sentence the author is speaking of a 企み (a plot), I thought 〜とする could mean to pretend, to act as if. Is my guess correct? Thank you for your help!

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「刀{かたな}の力{ちから}で日本を牛耳{ぎゅうじ}らんとする玲爾{れいじ}​たち。その企{たくら}みを見抜{みぬ}いた​晴馬{はるま}​たちは...etc.」

Your translation of 「牛耳らんとする」 is way off, I am afraid to say. (And you have the right to say that it is mine that is way off, of course.)

Yours: "are not trying to control"

Mine: "are planning to control"

「Verb + んとする」 means "to intend to" or "to be about to"

Check here: んとする.

It is 「とする」 that you should be looking at, and not 「とする」, to begin with.

As it says in the dictionary above, 「とする」 is the colloquial form of 「とす」, which is classical Japanese. The meaning is the same for both.

"Reiji and the gang who plan to control Japan with the power of the sword. Haruma and his guys who saw through their plot...."

  • Thank you for your help! I guess my translation was clearly way off! I had never heard the verb 「んとする」 or 「むとす」, so I thought 「牛耳らん」 was the abbreviation of 「牛耳らない」. How does it work grammatically? The first verb takes 未然形 and is followed by 「んとする」 or 「むとす」? Example with 言う: 言わんとする/言わむとす. Is this correct? – Marco Nov 29 '16 at 2:34
  • It's a classical phrase that's equivalent to modern -おうとする, e.g. 言おうとする, 食べようとする, etc. – Kurausukun Jan 29 '17 at 8:52

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