So Hanae wants Spitz to command Black to go after the kappa, but Spitz tells us as a narrator that he hadn’t taught Black the ‘get him’ command. And then Hanae says that the kappa isn’t a human, so Spitz can’t defeat it, and then Spitz answers that he didn’t teach the dog the command. Like… first Hanae wants the dog to go after it, then she’s like ‘o but it can’t be defeated’ and then it’s more of the ‘go on then, send the dog!’
This all just seems super disjointed to me.
Oh, and on page 128, what meaning of 側 should I read here? I felt like it worked a bit like 方, so ‘the one who …’, but I can’t find a source for 側 having such a meaning.
Disclaimer: I forgot about the negative partway through writing this.
Question is, is やっつけられない potential form, or is it うけみ form (receptive form, often called “passive” by textbooks)?
In the prior sentence starting with 「相手は」, the subject isn’t stated, but based on context we can take the subject to be the same as the topic (“the opponent”), whom Hanae says to be “not human, but (rather) a kappa”.
Next, Hanae begins with 「それでも」, “even so”, “nevertheless”, “but (still)”. This suggests the sentence will be something counter to the expectation.
If she’s using the potential “can’t beat”, then it might be read as “you’d expect it’s possible to beat the opponent, but it’s not possible (because it’s a kappa)”. However, that doesn’t work with それでも. That would make sense with more of a “therefore” (“The opponent’s a kappa; therefore you can’t beat it.”).
On the other hand, there’s the receptive form (again, so-called “passive” by textbooks that like to explain Japanese grammar from an English language perspective rather than by a Japanese language perspective).
If it’s the receptive form, then we have the subject (which I’ve taken by context to be “the opponent”) as being able to receive the action of the verb. In this use, Hanae is saying, “Even so, it can receive defeat.”
Seen this way, the contrast of それでも is along the lines of “It’s a kappa, but even so you can defeat it.”
Okay, I’ve regrouped, and made certain I’m not missing any ない’s this time.
This is completely conjecture.
In the sentence 「それでもやっつけられないの！」, the の is either being used by Hanae to provide Spitz with something he doesn’t know (such as to why she’s is or is not doing something), or it’s to request Spitz fill in something Hanae doesn’t know (such as why he is or is not doing something).
Leading up to this line, we have:
Hanae tells Spitz to have Black catch the kappa.
Spitz doesn’t sic Black on the kappa.
This creates a state where Spitz has failed to act upon Hanae’s suggestion, and Hanae does not know why.
What throws me off is the !, but every learner of Japanese discovers sooner or later that you can’t always true punctuation marks in Japanese. Also, there are instances where か or の may be used in place of a ? when there is rising intonation at the end of a sentence.
I believe here was have Hanae asking Spitz why he isn’t siccing Black on the Kappa:
Hanae: “Spitz! Quick, have Black catch the kappa!”
Hanae: “Spitz. The opponent isn’t a human, it’s a kappa! And yet you’re not able to attack?!”
(I went with the potential this time, but I don’t have any way of knowing whether うけみ form would make sense or not, and how it compares with potential in making sense in this sentence.)
However, I’m not certain if Spitz’s responding 「うん。」 is affirmative or negative, especially since he follows with a countering 「だって」.
I’m not exactly satisfied with what I came up with, but that’s as far as I was able to get.
According to my Sanseido dictionary’s entry on 側 (translated into English):
“When attached to a word, has the meaning of 「…のほう」.”
Thanks for such a detailed breakdown of this Chris. I agree with your interpretation. I read それでもやっつけられないの！ as Even so, can’t you attack?.
And Spitz’s reply as Hmm, but what I taught Black….
I love that once again he’s found a way to “attack” and apprehend the bad guy without actually telling the dogs to attack. In the last story it was by the sending the dog after the food, this time it was saving the drowning Kappa!
I guess it makes sense if you see it as a ‘true, but…’. So I guess Hanae feels like “surely it’s fine to grab him, it’s not human!” and then Spitz is like “true, but I never even taught Black ‘get him’ in the first place, so even if my ethics allow it, I couldn’t for practical reasons”.