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Some Japanese comic book titles are a challenge to translate to English, and this one might be the most challenging title I have come across so far.

I looked around on the Internet in the hopes of finding something that would explain what it means. This is what I found.

乱飛乱外 (Reading) らんぴらんがい

Carefully selected edition Japan National Language Unabridged Dictionary’s explanation

らんぴ-らんがい…ラングヮイ【乱飛乱外】

[[N.]] (Adjectival Noun) (also “らんびらんがい”) The act of flying around in confusion. The state of moving around here and there. Incidentally, the state of being disorderly. Moreover, the state of being lawless. The state of being violent. らっぴらんがい. らっぴらんごく. らんごく. [Vocabvlario da Lingoa de Iapam (1603-04)]

Source: https://kotobank.jp/word/%E4%B9%B1%E9%A3%9B%E4%B9%B1%E5%A4%96-2092323#E7.B2.BE.E9.81.B8.E7.89.88.20.E6.97.A5.E6.9C.AC.E5.9B.BD.E8.AA.9E.E5.A4.A7.E8.BE.9E.E5.85.B8

らっぴ乱外 (Reading) らっぴらんがい

Carefully selected edition Japan National Language Unabridged Dictionary’s explanation

らっぴ‐らんがい ‥ラングヮイ【らっぴ乱外】

[[N.]] (Adjectival Noun) A corrupted word for “らんぴらんがい (乱飛乱外)”....

Source: https://kotobank.jp/word/%E3%82%89%E3%81%A3%E3%81%B4%E4%B9%B1%E5%A4%96-2092202

らっぴらんごく

Carefully selected edition Japan National Language Unabridged Dictionary’s explanation

らっぴ‐らんごく

[[N.]] (Adjectival Noun) = らんぴらんがい (乱飛乱外)....

Source: https://kotobank.jp/word/%E3%82%89%E3%81%A3%E3%81%B4%E3%82%89%E3%82%93%E3%81%94%E3%81%8F-2092203

らんごく

Carefully selected edition Japan National Language Unabridged Dictionary’s explanation

らん‐ごく

[[N.]] (Adjectival Noun) (abbreviation of “らっぴらんごく”) = らんぴらんがい (乱飛乱外)....

Source: https://kotobank.jp/word/%E3%82%89%E3%82%93%E3%81%94%E3%81%8F-2092259

It turns out that Weblio does not even have an entry on “乱飛乱外” (らんぴらんがい/らっぴらんがい). Still, thanks to Kotobank, I was able to find out what the word is supposed to mean. Not only that, but I found out that らっぴらんがい, which is the reading of the comic book title, is a corrupted form of らんぴらんがい.

For those of you who have not read this comic book, please allow me to summarize the plot. It takes place during Japan's Warring States Period (or Sengoku Period, if you prefer). A young boy named Raizou is an outcast due to the horn on his head. One day, he finds an unconscious young lady in a river and nurses her back to health. She is a female ninja named Kagari, and she has been searching for him. Raizou is the heir of a fallen clan and she is his servant. After that, they meet two more female ninjas (well, one of the two is actually a young man dressing as a young lady...long story) and work to restore his clan. The plot focuses on them travelling to various parts of the country and try to get Raizou married to more than one princess. Oh, and they fight against a group of people who are trying to take over the other clans.

Like I said, I am trying to translate “乱飛乱外” to English. Right now, I think the title might be something like “The State of Being Lawless and Violent”.

I hope native Japanese speakers can help me with this. I look forward to your help!

  • If the boy is an outcast you could call it The Scarlet Letter lol – OtheJared Jan 18 at 2:39
  • Thank you for your comment! I have to admit that a horn on your forehead does sound like the scarlet letter. Then again, considering that it also makes the boy the heir to a clan/feudal domain, you would think he would get more respect than that. But I guess no one respects a clan/feudal domain when it has fallen. – Micheal Gignac Jan 18 at 13:56
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While my English is not as good to propose a translation phrase, I hope I can give some clues on what a Japanese reader would think of on this title.

  1. It's archaic; I must confess that this is the first time I have ever seen the word, and it's not a common word at all today. As the dictionary cites 日葡辞書, which was compiled near the end of the Sengoku period, we can see that the author probably chooses it on purpose for a word reminiscent of that time. FYI The latter half of the Sengoku period is about the same time when Shakespeare lived.

  2. It's playful; it may look like a big Chinese word at first sight, but actually sounds rather vivid and light-hearted due to its alliteration. It reminds me, in a sense, such English morphology like willy-nilly, or otherwise flabbergast, which is made of a chain of syllables not directly linked to the meaning.

  3. Possible reference to ninja; since many ninjas figure in the plot, I suspect the word form らっぴらんがい is intended to have some connection with 乱破(らっぱ), one of synonyms of ninja.

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  • Oh, thank you for your answer! I would like to add that らんごく is also written as 乱国, which according to Weblio means “a country disturbed by civil war”. Since the story takes place during the Sengoku Period, I suppose that would make sense. – Micheal Gignac Jan 18 at 23:55

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