Let’s get proverbial

I decided to take a closer look at where the episode titles come from and what are they mean, and how they relate to each episode. They’re all sayings, quotes and proverbs, mostly in English.

1. All’s well that ends well. 「終わりよければすべてよし」

  • Meaning: A risky enterprise is justified so long as it turns out well in the end.

Obviously this refers to Kotetsu and Barnaby becoming the first hero team.

2. A good beginning makes a good ending 「はじめが肝心」

  • Meaning: Start off on a good note to reap the benefits at the end.

This could mean a couple of things. Kotetsu and Barnaby don’t exactly get a good start, so I think it refers more to Tony (the NEXT kid who controlled the statues) making a new start for himself and realizing he can use his powers for something good. The Japanese title means “beginnings are fundamental” and Aki thinks it might refer to Barnaby saving Kotetsu’s daughter which got Kotetsu to warm up to him a bit.

3. Many a true word is spoken in jest 「嘘から出た真実」

  • Meaning: The truth is often found in comic utterances.

Barnaby: What’s that?
Kotetsu: Figure it out yours- *sees Agnes glaring* Which you don’t have to do. What are you looking at?
Barnaby: That. *points at a building*
Kotetsu: That’s… a building.
Barnaby: Then… what’s that?
Kotetsu: That’s also a building. Also, the thing next to it is a building and the thing in front of it is also a building. Well… all the building-like structures you can see here are buildings.

Yeah, well… It could also refer to the hilarious top/bottom conversation (you know what I mean) during the bomb defusing scene. The Japanese title means “the truth that came from the lie”. We aren’t sure what the truth could be (maybe their budding teamwork?) but the lie might be the so called “date” which was done just for show so Hero TV could film it.

4. Fear is often greater than the danger 「案ずるより産むが易し」

  • Meaning: An attempt is sometimes easier than expected.

This is a Japanese proverb. 「案ずるより産むが易し。」 translates to “giving birth to a baby is easier than worrying about it”. This episode was about Karina and her doubts about continuing as a hero when she’d rather be a singer. Especially the Japanese version of the title points to her realizing that it’s not so hard to be a hero after all.

5. Go for broke! 「当たって砕けろ!」

  • Meaning: Wager everything.

This was the motto of a World War II Japanese American military unit, the 442nd Infantry Regiment. I’m guessing it could refer to Good Luck Mode, since it activated only on the final seconds before Hundred Power is spent. It could also mean Kotetsu’s attempts to find a birthday present for Barnaby. (Clothes? Apron? Himself?!)

6. Fire is a good servant but a bad master 「炎は従順なしもべだが、悪しき主人でもある」

  • Meaning: You must be careful to use fire wisely and under control so that it will not hurt you.

This episode was about Nathan and the proper introduction of Lunatic, so the fire reference is obvious. Nathan uses his ability to control fire to protect the public, and Lunatic uses his fire to kill criminals.

7. The Wolf Knows What the Foul Beast Thinks 「蛇の道は蛇」

  • Meaning: No one is better at finding a wrongdoer than another wrongdoer.

This seems to be some sort of mistranslation of the Japanese episode title 「蛇の道は蛇」  which means “set a thief to catch a thief”. I can’t find the wording in the episode title anywhere, but the meaning is roughly the same as in “takes one to know one” and similar to “pot calling the kettle black”. I think the title refers to Yuri Petrov, since he’s not only a judge but also Lunatic – a NEXT criminal who is acting as a man of the law.

8. There is always a next time 「必ず機会が来る」

  • Meaning: The chance will come again.

Whether or not this is an actual proverb, I’ve not been able to find out. Not even when and where this phrase originated (if someone knows where it came from, please leave a comment) but the meaning is clear in any case. Just because you didn’t succeed this time, another opportunity will come. This episode was about Ivan and the title could mean that there’ll be another chance for him and Edward to meet, or it may mean that this time Ivan could help Edward.

9. Spare the rod and spoil the child 「かわいい子には旅をさせよ」

  • Meaning: The notion that children will only flourish if chastised, physically or otherwise, for any wrongdoing.

Because this was the infamous baby-sitting episode, the first thing to pop to mind is of course the baby NEXT who could use some disciplining (if things just didn’t start flying around when he screams). It can also mean that Pao-lin has been disrespectful toward her parents and the gift she got from them. She realized it herself without being punished for it.

10. The calm before the storm 「嵐の前の静けさ」

  • Meaning: A quiet period just before a period of great activity or excitement.

Heroes enjoying a rare vacation (except Barnaby who’s working to find information about the man who murdered his family) is of course the calm before the storm of Ouroboros taking the city hostage.

11. The die is cast 「賽は投げられた」

  • Meaning: The future is determined; there are no more options; events will proceed in an irreversible manner; the point of no return has been passed.

This phrase is from Roman times, “Alea iacta est”. With the events of the episode, it refers to the decision to let Jake Martinez free, but I think it also points to Ivan going undercover. There’s no going back in either case, and the only way is forward.

I’ll put the titles of the unaired episodes under the cut, so those who don’t want to be spoiled can skip them. ->

12. Take heed of the snake in the grass 「草の中にいる蛇に用心せよ」

  • Meaning: Be on your guard against treachery.

This could refer to Ivan being a spy, though his cover was already blown. More likely than that, a traitor close to the heroes is revealed – if not to heroes yet then to the audience. *cough*Maverick*cough* (That’s just our speculation.) Aki thinks that another option could be the Ouroboros manipulating Ivan to do something he normally wouldn’t do.

13. Confidence is a plant of slow growth 「信頼という木は大きくなるのが遅い木である」

This is a quote from William Pitt (1759 – 1806) and the full version goes “Confidence is a plant of slow growth in an aged heart.” If we ignore the last part that the episode title omitted, this could refer to Ivan and his self-esteem issues. Or, it could even refer to Kotetsu starting to trust Barnaby more (we still hope he’ll take some blows for Lil’ Bunny, just not too hard ones).

14. Love is blind

  • Meaning: A person in love does not see the faults of the person he/she loves.

This originates from William Shakespeare’s plays. Although I’m really damn tempted to toot my TxB shipper horn, this is probably just Sunrise trolling and what it actually references in the episode is something totally different. We’ll see… It’s also possible it refers to Kriem’s blind devotion toward Jake.

15. The sky’s the limit

  • Meaning: There is no apparent limit.

This saying has most likely originated in the USA around 100 years ago, and it may have been influenced by the invention of airplanes. I think it’s safe to assume that this episode will be about Sky High, which is about time! Hands up, and hands up again who loves our back alley moeblob!Keith!

15 comments on “Let’s get proverbial

  1. Congratulations!! I think these are the closer explanations for the titles. I’m Italian, so Latin and the reference to Alea iacta est has touched me a lot. You’re great!!!
    And regarding to the 13th episode I think that is Barnaby that will start to feel more confident with his partner and not vice versa, because Kotetsu has just great confidence in Bunny, even for his paternal sense:-)

    • We discussed the 13th episode title and the full version of the quote refers to “aged heart” meaning someone older. So we thought it would have something to do with Kotetsu. In a few weeks we’ll know for sure. x)

  2. Wow, I’ve been ignoring these episode titles up until now, but I guess they’re less arbitrary than I thought. XD

    …Also, I read all of these in Kotetsu’s fail-engrish voice.

  3. Totally speculating here but ep.14 could instead refer to the civilians’ acceptance of Lunatic. If he kills Jake and takes the spotlight, more people would side with him and fail to see he is also a murderer.

    • Killing Jake off already in episode 14 feels too soon. Besides, he seems pretty strong if you think of how he killed the other inmate on his way out of the prison. But I think it is possible that the title has something to do with Lunatic if he does things to get the public to side with him.

  4. I think that, in addition to what you’ve already mentioned, “There is always a next time” may also refer to Barnaby. Starting in episode 6 up until this episode we see him kind of losing it and running off full-steam after Lunatic as a potential lead on Ouroboros. Kotetsu taking the bullet for him at the end of episode 8, however, seems to give him a bit of a reality check, and while he’s still clearly pursuing it in subsequent episodes he seems to be pacing himself better – having accepted, to some degree, that while he lost his chance on a lead this time, it’s not the end of the world and there will be other opportunities.

    • That’s a really good notion, thanks! We were pretty focused on how well the title suited what happened to Ivan in the episode so we didn’t think it from this angle.

  5. This might be late but for “Many a true word is spoken in jest”, there’s two truths that come out by accident here. Kotetsu is made by Agnes to say in the interview that, while it may not seem so, he and Barnaby have a lot in common (which turns out later to be true), but you have to watch the post-credits pre-preview moment for that.

    He also tells Barnaby, somewhat sarcastically, ‘you don’t have any friends, do you?’ when Barnaby’s snappy about being kept waiting for three minutes, which is also true (though sad).

  6. Pingback: Episode titles 16-19 again… and anyone wanna go to the beach? | This is Sternbild

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