Sorry for the vague title, not sure what else I could have put there.

I'm reading a light novel at the moment and came across a part where I'm a little unsure on who exactly is doing the action. To set the scene, the main character is being attacked by a bear who knows Chinese martial arts. Here's the excerpt:


This is how I understand this section:

Taking a deep breath the bear lowered his body and while exhaling purple miasma in one breath just like he did before, he kicked himself off the ground and moved towards me at a high speed. A backhand blow, that's what I'll counter with. A magnificent attack where you make full use of your body weight. Then I'll follow that up with a roundhouse kick, a triple kick starting from the bottom and finish it off with a shoulder bash. ―――― No, I can't possibly dodge that bear. Easily blown away I hit the tombstone the girl was hiding behind, the tombstone breaking into pieces in the process.

Notice how I've incorporated を流れるように繰り出す。into the description of the sequence of the attacks.

Am I right in assuming that the backhand blow and the sequence of the attacks described are what the main character intends to carry out? And the part where it says ――――かわせねえよ、そんなの。無理無理。refers back to the bear who is flying towards the main character at high speeds? That is, the bear is doing none of those attacks described in that section, right? I'm a bit unsure on whether the そんなの refers to the bear flying towards the main character at high speeds or the sequence of attacks described just before. The sequence of the attacks sounds martial arts-y so having the bear do those wouldn't seem out of place but the way the section reads doesn't lead me to believe that is the case so I'm a little confused.

Also 上がってくる三段蹴り to me reads like the action was directed towards the main character (seen from his point of view), so maybe it is the bear doing these attacks after all?

Thanks for any help!

  • 3
    Did you read the それ in それを俺は裏拳で受ける as meaning the bear, too? You might be able to defend a backhand blow with another, but it seems a weird choice of defense to stop a bear that dashes towards you.
    – aguijonazo
    Commented Aug 7, 2021 at 1:00
  • That's exactly how I read it. The way I envisioned the scene was the MC seeing the bear charge at him and so the MC was trying to think of a way to defend himself: 「一体どうすればいいだろう。えーっと・・・裏拳!裏拳で受けよう!」Now I know nothing about martial arts and looking up what a backhand blow actually is I got the impression that it was more of a defensive action and trying to stop the bear with that seemed perfectly reasonable to me. Kind of like trying to catch him off-guard or something?
    – Boolicious
    Commented Aug 7, 2021 at 12:08
  • In English we'd say something like "So I've countered with a backhand blow of my own." I guess I expected the Japanese here to do the same, making clear who is backhand blowing who, maybe with something like 自分も裏拳で攻撃するとしよう or similar.
    – Boolicious
    Commented Aug 7, 2021 at 12:12
  • The practicality of defending against a bear with a backhand blow aside, it is unlikely for それ or そんなの to reference the bear itself. The main character is facing the bear right now and speaking in the present tense. He would reference it as これ, こいつ, or こんなの.
    – aguijonazo
    Commented Aug 7, 2021 at 12:35
  • I was actually thinking of それ refering to the action of the bear charging towards the main character à la クマが攻撃してくるのを裏拳で受ける (if that even is valid Japanese), though I'm not sure if you can extrapolate that much from 距離を詰めてきた.
    – Boolicious
    Commented Aug 7, 2021 at 14:08

2 Answers 2


The sequence of attacks is done by the bear.

As suggested by aguijonazo in the comment, your misreading stems from identifying the two 裏拳. Also the entire scene looks like kind of following typical '格闘ゲーム/格闘マンガ' expression, that might be a source of difficulty too. Yet another difficulty is that the subject changes almost line by line in the 2nd paragraph.

In the first paragraph it is just the bear coming in front of 俺, no attack at this stage. Then the first 裏拳 given by the bear; それを裏拳で受ける, where それ = the bear's 裏拳, so the sentence means I defended with (my own) 裏拳 against the bear's. The subject of 繰り出す is the bear - so all the sequence 回し蹴り to 体当たり is the bear's attack.

Now そんなの generally refers to the attacks made by the bear. Thus かわせねえよ、そんなの means I cannot dodge that.

I guess what the author has in mind is something like 空中コンボ in fighting games. The main character is hit by 回し蹴り and then helplessly kicked up in the air by the bear's three kicks, and finally got tackled and blown away. Never mind if these are physically possible - a real bear wouldn't be able to kick anyway :)

  • Yeah exactly, as I've written in my previous comment to aguijonazo, the way the sentences flowed it made sense to me that both 裏拳s refered to the MC's, trying to put his exact thoughts onto paper. "Hmm, what could I do? Wait a minute... backhand blow. I'll counter with a backhand blow." It's often difficult for me to discern who a certain action is attributed to in Japanese because grammatically there's often too much information left out (usually pronouns) where I could safely say "yep, this action is definitely done by this person."
    – Boolicious
    Commented Aug 7, 2021 at 12:20
  • Much appreciate your insight by the way! Considering that the bear was described as somebody apparently well-versed in Chinese martial arts, I should have guessed from the context but grammar-wise it just didn't want to click.
    – Boolicious
    Commented Aug 7, 2021 at 12:22

I think the narrator (俺) is only trying to defend himself throughout this scene. 回し蹴り, 三段蹴り and 体当たり are all from the bear, and 俺 is not attacking at all.

くる could have been used (~を繰り出してくる), and the sentence would have been much easier to read with it. But the author seems to have preferred shorter sentences to make them look more dramatic.

  • That's what I was thinking too, if it said 繰り出してくる instead of just 繰り出す, I would have attributed the attacks to the bear instantly but as it is without くる, it was too ambiguous for me to be able to 100% tell.
    – Boolicious
    Commented Aug 7, 2021 at 12:23

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