Monday, March 4, 2019

maa ii まあいい

In Japanese, maa ii まあいい is an expression used when the speaker doesn't care about something anymore and wants to change the subject of the conversation or go back doing what's actually important. In a sense, it means "whatever."

It's also spelled maa iiいい, maa iiいい.

まぁいいわ・・・ 始めましょう
Manga: Gabriel DropOut, ガヴリールドロップアウト (Chapter 5)


Literally, maa ii まあいい is the adverb maa まあ, which means "I guess," plus the i-adjective ii いい, which means "good." So maa ii means "I guess it's good."

Since it's "good," it's "okay," "it's "fine."

And if it's "fine" that means "nothing wrong" with it. There's "no problem."

And if there's "no problem," then there's "nothing to do about" it. Because the way it is is "fine" already, so you don't have to do anything.

And that's how maa ii works. The ii いい means that whatever it is, it's fine already and you can leave it alone, ignore it. And the maa まあ is just an adverb to state an opinion you're kind of unsure about. Something you "guess," you "feel."

You guess that's fine, so you don't need to mind it. In fact, "never mind that." Let's get back to business.

・・・何だコレ? おごってやったのにこの敗北感・・・ ・・・まぁいい 本筋の話をしよう
Manga: Gintama 銀魂 (Chapter 43)
  • Context: Hijikata Toushirou 土方十四郎 invited someone to a restaurant to talk. Before getting to the main topic, however, they criticized Hijikata's peculiar food preferences.
  • ...nanda kore?
    What's this? (emotive right-dislocation.)
  • ogotte-yatta noni
    kono haiboku-kan...

    This feeling of defeat
    in spite of treating [them to some food].
  • ...maa ii
  • honsuji no hanashi wo shiyou
    Let's [get to] the main topic.
    • Literally: "let's do the talk of the main topic."

Note that sometimes you'll have a sentence ending particle like wa わ after maa ii まあいい. That hardly changes anything: it works the same way.

まぁいいわ・・・ 始めましょう
Manga: Gabriel DropOut, ガヴリールドロップアウト (Chapter 5)
  • Context: Vignette ヴィネット just wants to get with the program.
  • maa ii wa...
    Whatever... (never mind that.)
  • hajimemashou
    Let's start. (already.)

maa ii ka まあいいか

The phrase maa ii ka まあいいか is maa ii plus the doubt particle ka か. It also means the same thing. The only difference is that the speaker is even less sure about whether it's alright, it doesn't matter, or not.
  • maa ii ka?
    I guess it's fine?
    • I mean, it's fine, isn't it?
    • This thing?
    • I suppose it is?
    • I mean, is there any reason to bother with this anymore?
    • Because I don't think so?
    • Whatever, then, I guess?

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