Japanese Writing


Some time ago, I attempted a fan translation of the bland anime-original Detective Conan episode 439, そして誰もいなくなればいい. Work went slowly because I found the story so boring. Not being a 推理オタク (mystery geek), I didn’t even realize the plot was a blatant rip-off of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None until a friend pointed it out later, so when I submitted my translation, I had a title like “And It’d Be Great If Everyone Disappeared”. While this works as a fairly literal translation, it’s obviously not what the writers were going for with the title. They very clearly meant to refer to Christie’s work.

そして誰もいなくなった is the Japanese title of And Then There Were None. Changing the verb ending to なれば makes it conditional, and then adding いい indicates that the preceding is the desired situation. This results in something like:

If (And Then There Were None), Good!

So, how to reference Christie’s title while keeping the conditional intact and using English that doesn’t sound ridiculous? Obviously “It’d Be Great If and Then There Were None” is out. But that was the best I could come up with for months and months. This morning, lying sleeplessly in a bed hundreds of miles from home, a solution finally occurred to me. Here are some variations.

And Then There Were None? That’d Be Great!
And Then There Were None? That’s My Preference
And Then There Were None? If Only

The question mark handles the conditional and maintains the flow of the original title. Then it’s up to the following phrase to drive home the murderous point.

I think I like the last one best.

2 replies on “そして誰もいなくなればいい”

The original title to that book was “Ten Little N____” with the n-word being a racial slur I didn’t feel like typing – then it was changed to “Ten Little Indians” and later on to “And Then There Were None.” It is a good mystery though.

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