Chapter 212 - Etsuko's Role Reversal


Etsuko's Role Reversal
In Japanese, 『悦子立場逆転』Etsuko tachiba gyakuten. Based on the title of the 1976 novel by 山中恒 (YAMANAKA Hisashi), 『悦子逆転』, "Etsuko's Turn-About".
Also made into a TV drama that aired in 1982.

First published February 10, 2010.

Page 1 (p21)

P1 Valentine Fair

Shōko Maruuchi and Miko Nezu staffing the booth here.

P1 Fuji sign

The famous Japanese confectioner 「不二家」Fujiya, Ltd.

P1 GA-ANA sign

From Ch. 82 "Extra Chocolate", a previous Valentine's Day chapter. The reference is to a brand of chocolate sold by Lotte called "Ghana Milk Chocolate". Ghana is the second-largest exporter of cacao beans.


The Kodansha translation by Joshua Weeks gave this as "Wa ga ana Chocolate", which is one way to read 我穴, although the more common way to write this would be 我が穴. However, 我 can be read as plain "ga" as well, meaning "ego; the self"; 穴 usually means 'hole', but has a variety of possible meanings depending on context. It also can be read as ketsu, 'buttocks, ass' which would make the Kumeta brand "My Ass Chocolate". I'll leave further interpretation of that to the reader.

P1 Explicit Chocolate

A reference to the confectioner (and pharmaceutical company o.O) 明治製菓 Meiji Seika's "Meiji Milk Chocolate". meiji written 明治 was the reign name of the Emperor Meiji and the period of his rule which corresponded to Japan's rapid modernization after the fall of the Tokugawa Shogunate. Kumeta's sign has meiji written as 明示 meaning "specification; an explicit statement'.

Page 2 (p22)

P5 Occupation Forces

Reference to the post WWII occupation period. American soldiers tended to be well-supplied with chocolate, so children would beg for chocolate and candy, which was also common in Germany. This is the first role-reversal reference, with the soldier begging the children to take the chocolate.

Page 4 (p24)

P1 Snapshots

Sensei's expressions in the snaps mimic those of the Fujiya mascot "Peko-chan".

Page 5 (p25)

P1/P2 Receivers demanding more

Reference to Japanese Official Development Aid (ODA) aid China. Japan reduced this bilateral aid, but after a backlash from China increased its contribution to the multilateral Asian Development Bank, which meant China would continue to receive funds via that route.

Also a reference to frequent international criticism that for the size of its economy that Japan does not contribute that much to international relief aid in disasters, etc.

P5 Clueless chauffeur

Back of the right headrest ad is for "Avatar" which was #1 at the box office when this was first published.

P7 Resident of Chiyoda

The otaku haven of Akihabara in Tokyo is located in Chiyoda ward. The friend from the provinces here is apparently a Naruto fan. The T-shirt says "Maki☆Jita" and is a parody of "Raki☆Suta" or "Lucky☆Star", Kagami Yoshimizu's famed 4-koma and KyoAni anime.

Page 6 (p26)

P1 Lecturing Burglar

Matsukichi Tsumaki was an early 20th century Tokyo-area bandit who became famous for tying up his robbery victims and then giving his captive audience useful tips on avoiding crime before making off with their property.

The masked character is actually a reference to the Nico Nico live broadcaster "Midori Yokoyama", who wears a similar mask on his show. On the day the magazine came out he in turn showed off this page in a live Nico Nico broadcast.

P1 Box in the closet with 刊 絶望

Apparently Kiri is still keeping her back issues of "Weekly Zetsubou Sensei" from Ch. 158.

P1 iPad

The iPad was just announced the previous month on January 27, 2010.

P4 Drink on the table "BURUJOA"

Or "Bourgeosie", a poke at the Yakult brand drink "Joa".

Page 7 (p27)

P1 Tmitter

Was this already a thing in 2010? koumu-in means "public official".

P3 Pigeon Damage Consult

Reference to the pigeon-pocalypse in Ch. 210.

P4 The Roughly X Things to Do Dept.

Using our translation from Ch. 185. The binders marked "Screws" are a reference to Ch. 185's screw-counting project.

Page 8 (p28)

P1 "Oil Field Blast" Yoshiko Sakurai poster

Reference to disputes between China and Japan over drilling for gas in the East China Sea. Ms. Sakurai harshly criticized the Japanese government for being behind the curve on the issue, saying "the ruling and opposition parties need to deal with this together".

P5 Despair List

Pet owners with pets that live longer than they do
Reptiles and parrots, for example are notably long-lived.

The “masters” desperately hyping maid cafes
Maid cafes often try to drum up business by having a "maid" or two out on the street with flyers for their cafe to attract the goshuujin, or "masters" to come in and drink overpriced coffee.

Getting begged to “go on to university”
The original idea was that people go to university out of a personal desire for knowledge or to engage in scholarship. It's often the case (not just in Japan) that young people are pressured to go to college because their parents feel it would reflect badly on them if they don't.

A shoplifter suing for falling and getting hurt while being chased
There was apparently a case in which a student that was shoplifting was hit by a train while being chased by a store clerk, who was criticized for "going too far".

Going from acting as a juror in a movie to being a defendant in real life
Reference to Noriko Sakai. In 2008, one year prior to being arrested and convicted of using illegal stimulant drugs, Sakai played the leading role in a film promoting the "citizen judge" system introduced in 2005.

A fisherman getting “caught”
Referring to fisherman fishing in the territorial waters of other countries.

Page 9 (p29)

P1 Teacher Report card

As part of education reform, some Japanese schools have been making teacher evaluations by students and parents part of the education process, much as in the US.

P2-5 "Itoshiki-kun"

Girls are all using the familiar suffix "-kun" instead of the appropriately respectful "-sensei". A teacher might use this with a student, but never the other way around unless it was an obvious joking situation or the student was looking to get reprimanded.

Page 10 (p30)

Sidebar of stage with "AkaBane 84 Disco Chocolate Concert Tour"

Parody of Perfume's hit "Chocolate Disco" from their 2008 release Game.

P6 "Shin" sign

"Bookstore Cinco" which has appeared frequently.

P7 "KC comic book"

KC = Kodansha Comics, in case this wasn't obvious.

Page 11 (p31)

P9 "Z" cans

Kitsu Tane's favorite brew, "Z draft beer", sold by Asahi from 1991-1997.

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