Friday, October 5, 2018

Muda Muda Muda Muda 無駄無駄無駄無駄

In the manga and anime JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Dio says muda muda muda muda 無駄無駄無駄無駄 as his stand goes around punching people in the face. This translates literally to saying "it's futile" repeated many times, but in the series it's used like ora ora ora ora by Jotarō and his Star Platinum, just a thing to say while throwing punches..

無駄無駄無駄無駄 無駄無駄無駄無駄 無駄無駄無駄無駄
Anime: JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken ジョジョの奇妙な冒険 - Part 3: Stardust Crusaders (Chapter 143 (256), DIOの世界 その⑩ )
  • muda muda muda muda
    muda muda muda muda
    muda muda muda muda
    [It] is futile. (times 12)

Note that although this muda muda muda muda doesn't really mean anything besides the word muda repeated over and over, a single muda 無駄 does mean something in Japanese.

Single Muda 無駄

In Japanese, muda 無駄 is a word that means "meaningless" or "futile." It's similar to the word dame 駄目. You often it in phrases like these:

  • muda da
    [It] is meaningless!
    [It] is futile!
  • {muda na} koto
    A thing [that] {is meaningless}
    A futile action.
    • You did something that's meaningless, in the sense of you shouldn't have done it because it's futile anyway.


You may have noticed that some Japanese words gain different meaning when they are repeated in Japanese.

For example, if you repeat iro いろ, "color," you get iroiro いろいろ, which means "various," a totally different word.

This process is called reduplication, and since in JoJo the word muda is repeated a bunch of times, you might wonder whether muda muda muda muda is a form of reduplication, too, and that muda-muda might mean something special.

That isn't the case. The muda muda muda muda is merely repeated in JoJo: said over and over. It isn't a reduplication and doesn't have any special meaning whatsoever.

It basically means "it's futile! Futile! Futile! Futile! Futile! Futile! Futile! Futile! Futile! Futile! Futile!" And so on. As in, resistance is futile, fighting that guy is futile, you're too weak to beat him, etc.

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