Sunday, March 5, 2017

Bakuretsu! Bakuhatsu! EXPLOSION!!!

If you've been watching KonoSuba このすば (if not you should) you might have noticed the character Megumin chants her "explosion" magic with a certain peculiar word: bakuretsu 爆裂. However, there's the more common bakuhatsu 爆発 which also means "explosion." So what's the difference between bakuhatsu and bakuretsu in Japanese?

It's actually very simple.

A bakuhatsu 爆発 is just an explosion. The expanding ball of fire and smoke, or even something of smaller scale. It's what bombs do, they "cause explosions", bakuhatsu suru 爆発する, it's what fireworks do, they explode, but nobody says "fireworks cause explosions" unless they are talking about an accident that exploded a building or something.

A bakuretsu 爆裂, on the other hand, is when something explodes and is torn apart or broken apart because of it. Well, of course a bomb is going to bakuretsu if it bakuhatsu's, but it's supposed to, so nobody says the bomb bakuretsu shita 爆裂した. A better example would be someone's castle, which didn't explode by itself, but was torn apart by an explosion.

bakuretsu mahou 爆裂魔法, "explosion magic," is the strongest magic in the class of spells bakuhatsu-kei 爆発系, "explosion-related" according to Megumin from the anime konosuba このすば

Now if you ask me why Megumin says bakuretsu and not bakuhatsu in KonoSuba, despite the fact she literally creates explosions, that would be because (according to herself) Bakuretsu Mahou 爆裂魔法 is the strongest type of bakuhatsu-kei 爆発系, "explosion-related," magic in that world. It's just a cooler word, like saying "explosion magic" is tier 1 magic and "detonation magic" is tier 2 magic. Similar meaning, different power levels.

Here are some other related words:
  • sakuretsu 炸裂
    Burst apart. (balloons)
  • bakudan 爆弾
    Bomb. Explosive.
  • bakuha 爆破
    Destructive explosion. Destroy by exploding. (buildings)
  • bakugou 爆轟
    Detonation. (an explosion strong enough to cause shock waves)
    (namesake of a character in Boku no Hero Academia)
  • shougekiha 衝撃波
    Shock wave.
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  1. Thanks a lot! I had noticed this difference and I wasn't quite sure what was us, this was pretty clear.

  2. Thanks for this, keep going.