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I apologize in advance for the humongous source I am about to link but I feel like it's important to understand the context here to get a clear picture. Nonetheless I'll try to filter out the important bits to keep it as short and simple as just possible (if somebody feels adventurous I'd appreciate a quick skim; if there's anything you can't read, let me know).

https://i.imgur.com/Sp81DiY.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/JUfzrrF.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/tFupcuH.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/kq0jdFs.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/c4YWDUj.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/qWkZacB.jpg

As per the title, I'm confused on the ambiguity on the given phrase. To give the scene, our main character 歩{あゆむ} is facing off against the vampire ninja セラ who has the power to manipulate leaves and turn them into sharp blades (swords, shuriken, etc.). At the beginning of the battle it says「セラが両手を広げると、どこからか緑色の葉っぱが落ちてきた。」She then charges at Ayumu at which point he remembers her favorite phrase「燕返し」which is exactly what happens: Two consecutive diagonal strikes, executed twice.

At this point I'm imagining her holding a single sword with both hands as that is how I've seen an actual 燕返し executed. Not sure if there's a 二刀流-variant and how that'd exactly work but maybe my imagination is lacking.

The next important bit is once Sera got knocked down by Ayumu once, she gets up again and charges at him. Now Ayumu is ascertaining her holding a weapon and describes it:「彼女の両手には、刃物のようなものがある。剣――――と言っていいのか。それは葉っぱだった。細長く伸びた一枚の巨大な葉っぱ。極端に細長くなった葉っぱは、剣に似ていなくもない。」

Then there's a part where she attacks him from above executing her special「秘剣、燕返し。――八連」attacking from eight sides at once using other blade-turned leaves around him in addition to her sword. After Ayumu gets torn into pieces (he's a zombie so he's still alive here) he looks at her and thinks「目の前に降り立った黒マントの天使は、その赤い瞳を俺に向ける。両手に持った緑色の剣と、長い髪。どっかで似たようなものを見たな。確かあれは、両手に長細いものと、長い髪。俺が覚えている、『俺を殺した奴』」(his killer is described pages before as「両手に長細いものを持った、長い髪の人間」)

His thoughts then go on:「二刀流で切り刻むなんてよほどの達人でも難しいぞ。」This is where I got confused. So was Sera wielding two swords all along? After some more fighting we get more exposition from Ayumu:「翼に使った葉が全部だったのか、あれだけ辺りを飛んでいた葉っぱがなくなっている。両手にある二枚のみだ。」This should be a clear indicator that she was using two swords all along, no?

After the fight is over:「セラはなぜか剣から手を離した。それは小さな葉へと戻り、ハラリと地に落ちる。」Shouldn't it be それら here since it's two leaves? Or can それ be used as a plural as well? So now I'm still confused on whether she was using two swords or just one.

Again huge apologies for the mess of a post and the huge source but I'm not sure how else to get my point across. ;) Obviously easier to follow my question if you could quickly read through the six pages but I don't expect you to. In any case, input is as always much appreciated!

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I'm a native speaker and was also confused at the 二刀流 part. (I have no prior knowledge about this work.)

  • 秘剣・燕返し (p. 83): Okay, 燕返し usually refers to something like this
  • 両手には刃物のようなもの (snip) 一枚の巨大な葉っぱ (p. 84): So she's holding one huge leaf as a two-handed sword
  • セラは剣を持った両手を広げる (p. 86): Huh? How can she do this while holding a big sword?
  • 二刀流で切り刻む (p. 87): Why 二刀流? But he seems to be referring to someone else here...
  • 両手にある二枚 (p. 88): Oh, so she is clearly holding two swords at this point. Did I miss something? Did she switch to duel wielding at some point?

Then I read everything again and concluded she was probably holding two blades from the beginning. (EDIT: Or maybe she switched the two styles silently because there are many floating leaves to serve as swords, shields, ranged weapons or wings.)

The Japanese language does not distinguish between singular and plural forms. 両手に持った剣 in isolation is ambiguous, and it can refer to one two-handed sword or two swords. それ can refer to plural objects, too. Still, in this case, I think the author's writing style is unclear, and 一枚の巨大な葉っぱ is particularly misleading; maybe the author somehow failed to add それぞれ(の腕) here?

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  • セラは剣を持った両手を広げる... Maybe she "両手を広げ" to break a leaf into two pieces? Well, if that's the case, it would be easier to understand if it's written as "両を広げ..."...
    – Skye-AT
    Sep 15 at 1:36
  • @Skye-AT 剣を引き裂くのはかなり特殊な行動なので、流石にそれならそうと書くのでは…
    – naruto
    Sep 15 at 1:44
  • 1
    私もそう思いますが可能性としてはほぼそれぐらいしか考えられないような...元々二枚持ってたとは思えないし。宙に浮かせてる(?)葉っぱから2本目を取ったにしたってそう書くでしょうし、単純にこの作者の日本語力というかがハチャメチャなだけな気がしてきました
    – Skye-AT
    Sep 15 at 1:50
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    @Skye-AT 剣を引き裂くのは考えませんでしたが、葉っぱを自在に飛ばせるみたいなので、剣が重力に逆らって浮いてるのかな、とは一瞬考えました。まあ「誰が見たって分かりづらい」というのが正しい答え方なのかなと…。
    – naruto
    Sep 15 at 1:59
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    タイトルが画像中で出てたので一応アニメも見てみましたが、どうも小説で読んだ感覚とは全く違う(主人公と思われる人物を刺すシーン以外片手で剣を扱ってるし、2本目が出て来るようなシーンも一切ない)様ですね。何がなんだか・・・。「誰が見たって分かりづらい」で良さげですね...
    – Skye-AT
    Sep 15 at 2:06
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It is very confusing.

I’m guessing from the following part that she grabbed one of the leaves that fell off her wings during the last series of attacks and she was still holding one when it was over.

彼女の持つ剣だけじゃない。俺の周りにある葉も剣になっているからできる攻撃だ。

I don’t know how she spread out her arms when she was still holding one big sword with her both hands, though.

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The word 両手【りょうて】 specifically refers to "both hands" as a single unit. This makes it more likely, in my non-native-speaker understanding, that this is a single sword held in "both hands".

Later in the text, we get further confirmation that this is one sword held in "both hands", when we get a description of what Sera is holding (emphasis mine):

それは葉っぱだった。細長く伸びた[一]{●}[枚]{●}の巨大な葉っぱ。

If she's holding [一]{●}[枚]{●}の...葉っぱ in 両手【りょうて】, we can be pretty sure that the author does not intend for this to be two swords, each held in one hand.

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  • But as the OP quoted, later on there are 両手にある「二枚」のみだ (emphasis mine). There are also references to 二刀流, which according to Wikipedia is 両手(右手と左手)にそれぞれ刀もしくは剣を持って、攻守をおこなう技術の総称. How does that make sense if there is only one sword? The only guess I have is that it goes from sword at the beginning to two at the end.
    – Ringil
    Sep 14 at 23:13
  • That's the only way I could explain it myself too. I was hoping it was just something small I missed but I don't seem to be the only one confused here. If you check this for example dic.nicovideo.jp/a/%E4%BA%8C%E5%88%80%E6%B5%81, it says 二刀流とは両手に剣を構える剣術のことである。, a similar phrasing with 両手 like used above stating two swords in each hand.
    – Boolicious
    Sep 14 at 23:26

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