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From a manga: two people are talking about a music video. Person A says that it's horrible (すさまじい), to which person B replies

いやーよくやるよな

So - does B agree or disagree with A's opinion? The いやー sounds like "I don't think so" (?), but my impression after googling よくやるよな is that it could also be meant in a sarcastic way?

  • 2
    いや can be an interjection or filler, like "well..." japanese.stackexchange.com/a/24975/9831 – Chocolate Jul 16 '18 at 15:21
  • I don't think「すさまじい」 there means "horrible". It's probably closer in sense to "extreme", "awe-inspiring" or "astounding", and「よくやるよな」is likely a comment about the extreme nature of the MV (or some specific performance therein). My guess is that the dialogue is more along the lines of: A:"That MV by [band name here] is wicked!" B:"Man, they are insane!", but I'm not entirely sure without enough contextual information. – goldbrick Jul 17 '18 at 14:36
  • It's a video of a live performance and the story establishes that the band didn't sell very well. This conversation here is followed by more comments along the line of "they're not very good" and of ridiculing the group. Hence I think that すさまじい is meant negatively. – Prune Jul 17 '18 at 14:51
  • hmm, then person A might have said "すさまじい" in reference to the video's badness, to mean "extreme(ly bad)". – goldbrick Jul 18 '18 at 9:59
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いやーよくやるよな

That is like a combo of two of the most-often misinterpreted phrases.

I will skip an explanation of 「いやー」 in this context because I have already talked at length about it in the Q&A @Choclate has linked to above. It does not mean "I don't think so."; moreover, it does not mean anything negative.

「よくやるよな」 can be used in two opposite ways, which is probably why it gets misinterpreted all the time. The word 「よく」 can also be tricky.

1) Positive: Said when one is impressed. ("Well done!")

2) Negative: Said when one is disgusted. ("Dang, how would they even want to do that?")

The intonations will differ between the two usages if spoken.

If A actually said "It's horrible!", then B's reply 「よくやるよな」 would have to be the negative version of the two above.

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