Learn Japanese with Anime: Ghost in the Shell Translated Scene

Japanese learners insist on learning through anime. Is it wrong?

No, not at all. Whatever you think works for you.

But if you’re Beginner-Intermediate, aside from having an awesome time watching ’em, you’re getting bombarded with Japanese words that come faster than you’ll ever understand. If they’re all flying by you and you’re just picking up the “watashi” and “anata,” you’re not learning much at all.

There is a way to effectively learn from anime though.

And it involves having Japanese scripts to the actual show. Those are often hard to come by, but by having it, you can read along, pick up the words and be able to re-watch and re-read until the entire damn episode is drilled into your brain.

So, that’s what we’ll do here – with a scene from Ghost in the Shell.

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 12.43.56 AM

Below, I’ve provided 3 things:

  • A quick clip from Ghost in the Shell
  • The Japanese & English Script (best to have Rikaichan for this)
  • Key vocabulary words


How to use this scene & script to improve your Japanese.

Okay, this is going to be tough. They speak fast. And this is why learning through anime isn’t for beginners or lower intermediate learners. However, having a script on hand, you can easily pick apart what they say, word by word, with enough listens… and progress. Here’s what you should do with the video and script below.

  • Step 1. Watch the scene and read along once. You’ll notice that they speak a lot faster than you can read right?
  • Step 2: Read the script by itself. Slowly. Read it 5 times until you can comfortably pick up your pace.
    • Tip: Print the script. It’ll do you good.
  • Step 3: Seriously, don’t come back to the video until you can read the script out loud fairly quickly. You need to be the judge of that.
  • Step 4: If you took my advice in Step 2 and 3 (I had to say it twice because newbies don’t want to listen), you should be keeping up a better pace now and reading along as you listen.
  • Step 5: Keep listening and re-reading until you know all it. Stick to the video/audio, without the script, once you know all the words.
  • Step 6: Review the key vocab words provided below.

Script from this scene. Print this. Read this. Love this. Re-read it.

  • Motoko: よし、行くぞ!
    • Yosh, ikuzo!
    • Alright, let’s go!
  • Batou: 来るぞ。
    • Kuruzo.
    • Here they come.
  • Motoko: 地面には降りるなよ。空対地ミサイルをロックオンされたら逃げ切れん。
    • Jimen ni wa oriru na yo. Kuutaichi misairu wo rokku on saretara nigekiren.
    • Don’t get down to the surface. You won’t be able to get away if you’re locked on by the air to surface missiles.
  • Batou: 分が悪ぃ。2対1の上に、鼻っから力負けしてる。
    • Bun ga warii. Ni tai ichi no ue ni, hana kara chikaramake shiteru.
    • We’re at a disadvantage. Not only is it 2 on 1, we’re outmatched on firepower.
  • Motoko: よし、奴の話どおりだな。バトー、ターゲットの機体はこっちに張りついた。
    • Yosh, yatsu no hanashi doori da na. Batou, ta-getto no kitai ha kocchi ni haritsuita.
    • Alright. It’s just like the guy said. Batou, the target (‘s fuselage) is clinging (my) this way.
  • Batou: 任せたぞ。
    • Makasetazo.
    • Leaving it to you.
  • Saito: 確認した。少佐、正面を通過する時、一旦ターゲットの顎を上げてくれ。AIを破壊せずにパイロットだけを撃つには、キャノピーの横から貫通させたい。
    • Kakunin shita. Shousai, shoumen wo tsuuka suru toki, ittan ta-getto no ago wo agete kure. AI wo hakai sezuni pairotto dake wo utsu ni wa, kyanopi- no yokokara kantsuu sasetai.
    • Confirmed. Major, when it passes through the front, raise the target’s chin for a moment. Let me pierce the canopy from the side so I can shoot the pilot without destroying the AI.
  • Motoko: 分かった。
    • Wakatta.
    • Got it.
  • Saito: くっ・・・!
  • Tachikoma: あやああぁ!
  • Motoko: タチコマ!
  • Motoko: んんっ!
  • Motoko: くっ!
  • Motoko: 管制からのコード解除を受け入れたか。
    • Kansei kara no ko-do kaijo wo ukeiretaka.
    • Looks like it received the cancellation code from control.

Key Japanese Vocabulary from this scene:

  • 地面 – Jimen – Earth’s surface, ground
  • 降りる – Oriru – To descend, to get down, to get off
  • 空対地ミサイル – Kuutaichi misairu – Air to surface missile
  • 逃げ切る – Nigekiru – To get away
  • 分が悪い – Bungawarui – At a disadvantage
  • 対 – Tai – Versus
  • 力負け – Chikara make – losing by being overmatched
  • 奴 – Yatsu – Guy
  • どおり – Doori – in accordance with
  • 機体 – Kitai – Fuselage, airframe (referring to the aircraft)
  • 張りつく – Hatsuriku – To cling (to)
  • 任せる – Makaseru – To entrust
  • 少佐 – Shousa – Major
  • 正面 – Shoumen – Front
  • 通過 – Tsuuka – Pass through
  • 一旦 – Ittan – For a moment
  • 顎 – Ago – Chin
  • 破壊 – Hakai – Destroy
  • 撃つ – Utsu – To shoot
  • 横から – Yokokara – From the side
  • 貫通 – Kantsuu – Pierce
  • 確認 – Kakunin – Confirm
  • 管制 – Kansei – Control
  • 解除 – Kaijo – Cancellation
  • 受け入れる – Ukeireru – To accept

Conclusions from this excercise & extra tips:

There are several tough points with learning through anime.

  • They speak FAST. You won’t keep up on your first several tries. It’s like rapping along to Eminem. You’ll need to practice slowly and then pace yourself up.
  • Grammar and context. You’ll notice words used in unusual ways and wonder how I’ve arrived at that translation. This is something best not to nit-pick over and let it slide. For grammar, you’ll need to look up the rules to get the full meaning.
  • Colloquialism and casual speech. Same as above. Accept it and move on. “Why is there a zo?” These are tiny things that you’ll sort out later.

And that was just ONE 3 minute clip. Now imagine trying to master a whole season.

Overall though, I think re-listening and re-reading until it’s all drilled in your head is great reading, listening and speaking practice. Speaking meaning your pace of speech. If you read out loud and you get pretty fast, it’s safe to say your regular speech will get faster as well.

Once you can listen to the video dialogue without the script and know every word, you can definitely say your Japanese has leveled up.


  1. Start reading slowly first. Trust me, it works.
  2. Print the script out. Noone learns well from looking at screens.

Any questions? Confusion? 

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