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Unless it's rude to ask, I would like responses mainly from Japanese native speakers, please.

There is this scan from the guidebook for the Dragon Ball Z anime with a translation that is generally debated. The scan describes the Dragon Ball afterlife, which is a higher plane of existence.

The full relevant text is

天よりも高く人間界からは窺い知ることができない次元を超越した天の国神々はこの地から世界のすべてを見おろしている

While there are many translations explaining the gist of this excerpt, we need to know what 「次元を超越」 means in this context, as it’s vaguely translated as “dimensionally transcendental” or “transcending dimensions.” Please choose which of these 3 options most accurately describes the meaning.

  1. 「次元を超越」: The word “transcendental” often refers to metaphysics and spirituality. That is to say, apart from the word’s usual definitions that indicate some kind of superiority, transcendental can also be a synonym for spiritual. 「次元を超越」 has nothing to do with superiority of any kind and the kanji for “transcendental” only describes how the afterlife is a spiritual world.

  2. 「次元を超越」: As a higher plane of existence, the afterlife is above the other realms in the universe. The word “dimension (at least in English)” can also describe parallel worlds as opposed to axes and aspects of time and space. 「次元を超越」 only means the afterlife is physically above the other realms and says nothing about some kind of spatial qualitative superiority.

  3. 「次元を超越」: The afterlife is a super-dimensional space (like a 4-dimensional space, 5-dimensional space, 6-dimensional space, etc.). It is a plane of existence that is higher dimensional, in the sense that it transcends the spatial and [possibly] temporal boundaries of the space below it. 「次元を超越」 means the afterlife is a transdimensional plane of existence.

Out of these 3 interpretations, which one most likely and accurately describes the meaning of 「次元を超越」?

1 Answer 1

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Xを超越している usually means something cannot be measured/analyzed by the existing framework of X. 次元を超越している means something cannot be analyzed in terms of "dimension", which, as you say, generally refers to time and space ruled by the physics of our world. Therefore, we can say this world (天界) is not governed by the ordinary rules of physics, but the phrase by itself does not tell if the world is a spiritual world or just a parallel world. It does not necessarily say the world is "higher" than our world, either.

Conceptually, 次元を超越している is different from 高次元 (high-dimension) such as the 1024-dimensional space. When you say 高次元, you are discussing something within the framework of 次元. 次元を超越 refuses such an analysis.

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