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From the visual novel Higurashi no Naku Koro ni,

圭一
「おいおいおいおい! 本人不在で勝手に話を進めるなー! 俺は孤独と静寂を愛するロンリーガイだぜー?」

魅音
「あっはははははっは!! だぁれがロンリーガイだー!」

魅音
ローンボーイの間違いでしょー? くっくっくっく!」

レナ
「はぅ~、ローンって圭一くん…。 お金に困ってるなら協力するよ…はぅ…。」

(Original screenshot)

'ローンボーイ' in this conversation was translated as 'loan boy'. I tried googling both the katakana and the translation, but the results seemed to be all over the place. What is the meaning and implication of 'ローンボーイ'?

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  • I think this is not as easy as it seems. Neither of "loan boy" and "lone boy" makes perfect sense to me. Can you provide a few more sentences after this part?
    – naruto
    Jan 26 at 7:25
  • This is more of the conversation. There was only one line shown after the Rena's はぅ line before the narrative shifts perspective. Keiichi is believed to be well-off because of his large family home. gyazo.com/2ee822590bd49ca9e34afb5015563faa and gyazo.com/42ede838eeb42566004ba293763e947a Jan 26 at 8:30
  • The screenshots show 圭一 believes ローンボーイ is はしたない enough to make him scream, but that made me more confused... As far as I can tell, there is nothing vulgar about ローン. Perhaps it's either related to some old buzzword I don't know, or that the author simply misunderstood the meaning of ローン.
    – naruto
    Jan 27 at 2:19

1 Answer 1

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What is the meaning and implication of 'ローンボーイ'?

We can all agree it's a pun-ification against the "lonely guy".

There, I just made up a word "pun-ification" which won't appear in search results, but it's reasonable enough to convey the meaning. That's exactly what Mion did. She stitched together two words to make fun of either:

  • Lone (as in lonely) + boy
  • Loan (as in borrowing) + boy

This is because lone and loan (or even lawn) can all be written as ローン just because that's how katakana works.

In the end, Rena is clearly treating it as "loan". In that case, and in this context, "loan boy" would mean "a boy who is broke and needs to take a loan". Remember, it's a made up word after all.

If you've played the series, you might've noticed how smart Rena is. Their IQ has been published officially and sure enough she is clever, while Mion is average. Considering such character settings and how Higurashi is written, it may be likely that this scene describes the following:

Mion simply changed "guy" to "boy", in order to say something like:

"Lonely guy? More like lonely boy"!

And then Rena added an extra twist:

"Loan-ly? Are you short on cash?"

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  • So which did 魅音 say, "lone boy", "loan boy", or both? I feel "lone" is unlikely because it's a fairly difficult word to an average Japanese high school student, and even if they know English well, lone has a more positive connotation than lonely. On the other hand, I feel "loan" is equally unlikely if 圭一 is not actually financially troubled in this situation. If he is financially in trouble, "loan boy" makes sense, but then the meaning of lone could be a pure coincidence.
    – naruto
    Jan 26 at 2:41
  • @naruto I won't pretend to know the answer. You summarized valid points, so the best I can do is an educated guess. I personally think that if Mion wanted to say "lone", she could've stuck with "lonely boy" instead of changing to "lone boy". One thing I do disagree with you (respectfully) is when you say it's unlikely to call him a "loan boy" if he's not actually broke. I can say "your mom's belly button is sticking out" regardless of how it actually looks. When picking on a close friend, facts can be thrown out the window. BTW please don't take that mom joke personally.
    – dungarian
    Jan 26 at 3:53
  • FWIW, my first impression of "pun-ification" is pun + pontification. So where does the "ification" part come from? Also "pun-ification" against?
    – Eddie Kal
    Jan 26 at 4:30
  • @EddieKal I casually made up a fictional word to prove a point, only to leave a reader puzzled and asking questions. I'm noticing a pattern here... :) - If I was to "justify" my logic it would be: "I made the room humid" => "humid+ify". "I made the sentence into a pun" => "pun+ify". The "subject of pun-ification" is Mion's sentence. I never meant to add any flavor of "pontification" but that's an insightful perspective. I might as well propose to add this word to the English dictionary just for fun.
    – dungarian
    Jan 26 at 5:07
  • お前の母ちゃん出べそ is a cliched Japanese 悪口, but ローンボーイ is not. You'll only get a blank stare if you said it to someone who has nothing to do with loans. By any change, 魅音 (or the author) believed lone was a derogatory word like ぼっち?
    – naruto
    Jan 26 at 6:41

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