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Old 02-13-2005, 10:06 PM
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: The Brink
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Ghost in the Shell: Translation of "Tachikoma"/"Fuchikoma"?

Just a quick anime question...what do "Tachikoma" and "Fuchikoma" mean, in english?

(If you didn't know, those are the names of the small robotic "spider tanks" in the Ghost in the Shell manga and anime series'. They were "Fuchikoma" in the former, and "Tachikoma" in the latter.)

I have no idea if there's some deep, insightful meanings behind the names in Japanese, or if they're just the equivilant of "Zorkobot 5000" or something. You know, it just SOUNDS cool, but doesn't really mean anything.

Can anyone enlighten me, please?
Old 02-14-2005, 08:56 PM
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Old 02-14-2005, 09:17 PM
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I googled and Yahooed for a while and while I found some rather detailed discusions of the 'komas I found no definition. This leads me to suspect that they are in fact made up proper names, but I'm not betting on it.

here is one site I found
Old 02-14-2005, 09:54 PM
Join Date: Aug 1999
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Native speaker checking in. They don't have obvious meanings. koma can mean top (the spinning toy) or horse, so the words make me think of something quick and agile. But that's about it. Tachi- could mean standing up and fuchi could mean edge, but there's no reason to think these are intentional root words.
Old 02-15-2005, 02:00 AM
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Location: Japan
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I did a search for pages in Japanese. Most of the references use katakana to write both names, which usually (not always) means that it's a made up word with no clever kanji, or it's a foreign word. We can easily dismiss option 2 since it's pretty obviously a Japanese word, not a borrowed one. The movie used fuchikoma (フチコマ) while the TV series had to use tachikoma (タチコマ) for what are, apparently, legal reasons. The design of the tanks is also different in the series and the movie for the same reasons.

Thus ends the short answer to this question: it's probably just something that they made up.

I was curious, so I spent some time looking for other stuff. May the gods help me, my curiosity is going to kill me someday.

Most seem to think that there's no meaning to the words, but one site has a proposed list of references that they feel the author of the original manga was trying to make with character names. They propose, with a self-assessed high level of confidence, that fuchikoma were meant to refer to an old myth about Amaterasu Oomikami (the Japanese Sun-Goddess) and her brother Susanowo (Storm God, with a combined major in bad manners).

The stories are told in titled episodes, one of which is called Ame no Buchi-koma (天の斑駒) or "heavenly spotted horse" or "spotted horse from heaven." The /f/ sound is changed to /b/ in some intances in Japanese. A straight reading of the character, without the ame no is fuchikoma. The kanji used for horse is an elegant usage according to my dictionary, so a different translation for "horse" could be "steed." Incidentally, this character is also used for pieces in Japanese chess (将棋).

I searched for the story, but like most myths there are different versions and the language is archaic. If I screw things up and you know better, correct me please. Apparently, a horse (possibly one belonging to Amaterasu Oomikami; it's not clear in the story) was skinned by Susanowo, who grabbed the horse's tail and pulled until the skin came off inside out, like taking off a shirt. He then stuffed the hide into her weaving place through a hole or crack in the wall, causing her weaving-women to panic, which resulted in some injuries. Considering his earlier bad behavior (pissing in her rice fields, among other things) and the violence of this act, Amaterasu Oomikami thought that she was in danger and ran away to hide in a cave. This resulted in the sun going down and not coming up until the other gods eventually tricked her into coming out.

There you have it, more than you ever wanted to know about the possible connection between an incidental usage in anime and Japanese mythology. I don't see much of a connection other than a coincidence in sounds, which never happens in Japanese. <heavy sarcasm> Maybe I lack imagination, or maybe some Japanese otaku are really stretching things in an attempt to make them fit. I leave that as an exercise for the reader.
Old 04-11-2010, 05:35 AM
Join Date: Apr 2010
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Perpahs a little creative connection?

Sleel and scr4 appear to be pretty close, I think, to a reasonable definition for what these words mean when taken in the context of the manga and the anime.

While "koma" can mean "top (toy)," the likelier choice would be "horse" - one important use of the 'koma was as a form of transport that one rides.

If we take "fuchi" to mean "edge," would it be a stretch to imagine that a "fuchikoma" could be a "cutting edge horse?" These were, one could suppose, considered cutting edge technology in the manga.

If we take "tachi" to mean "standing up," how difficult would it be to imagine that "tachikoma" could mean "standing horse," or, more to the theme of the show and their function, "standalone horse." The AIs in the tachikoma were "stand alone" in that they were meant to learn and thus evolve their intelligence - though an unexpected side effect was that they developed stand-alone personalities independent of each other even after synchronizing their experiences with each other.

Bear in mind that this is all guesswork and conjecture, but it seems like a possible, logical conclusion (at least to me, anyway).
Old 04-11-2010, 05:42 AM
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To make things even more complicated, the GITS universe also has Uchikomas:
Old 04-11-2010, 06:14 AM
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 2
Tachi-, Fuchi-, Uchi-

Yeah, as I read your post I was watching the final episode of GITS SAC 2nd Gig!

The English soundtrack and subtitles on this episode incorrectly refer to them as fuchikoma, likely because of similarities closer to the fuchikoma of the GITS feature film than the tachikoma of the TV shows. The feature GITS: Solid State Society) calls them tachikoma in the English translation of end short, Uchikoma Days. Not surprising that there's some confusion about the topic...

I do strongly suspect, however, that "-koma" is meant as "horse," regardless of what the prefixes ultimately mean. In every iteration of these AI/tanks, they have the capability of being driven by a pilot in the rear pod or functioning independently on orders, in a similar fashion to cavalry combat using well-trained warhorses. Just as warhorses were formidable opponents in combat, so are the 'koma, with the tachikoma being the lightest of the group (like a light warhorse) and used with the greatest flexibility, perhaps as a scout would mount a light warhorse for reconnaissance or guerrilla warfare - Section 9's forte, to be sure!
Old 03-05-2017, 03:42 PM
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 1
Partial explanation- "coma"

The Logicoma short at the end of Arise Ghost Pain has a partial explanation.

Logistics Conveyor Machine


This is in line with GITS's romanization of the last two syllables, "coma," instead of "koma," as it would normally be.

Not sure if this is a backronym or not, but there are many English portmanteaus created for the Japanese language (e.g., Famicom, Pok駑on)

Last edited by ClimbingDan; 03-05-2017 at 03:43 PM.
Old 03-06-2017, 08:06 PM
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Montreal, QC
Posts: 56,183
Originally Posted by Ranchoth View Post
Just a quick anime question...what do "Tachikoma" and "Fuchikoma" mean, in english?
"Where the wind comes" and "Sweeping down the plain", respectively.

Last edited by Bryan Ekers; 03-06-2017 at 08:06 PM.

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