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I watched an anime called Puella Magi Madoka Magika and in Episode 9: I'd Never Allow That to Happen, and there is some dialogue at around the 11 minutes and 10 second mark which I do not quite understand:

In the English subtitled version of it the dialogue reads as follows:

Sakura Kyoko: Is there a way to get her Soul Gem back?
Kyubey: None, as far as I know anyway.

However, in the English voice-overed version of it, they say the same lines like this instead:

Sakura Kyoko: "Is there a way to get her Soul Gem back, the way it was?
Kyubey: If there is a way, I'm not aware of it.

Now here is what I do not understand: It bugs me that Kyubey used "not" in his answer. Would it not be better if he said "If there is a way, I maybe aware of it" or "If there isn't a way, I'm not aware of it"?

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    The subbed and dubbed versions have the same meaning. Your proposal has a different meaning. – GEdgar Jan 21 '18 at 11:12
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Sometimes we can get better understandings of statements if we reduce them to their core elements. The statements in your post have two core elements: a way exists or doesn't exist, and the speaker knows or doesn't know. Kyubey's statement in the subtitle renders:

-exists :: +knowledge (the way doesn't exist, and the speaker knows)

Kyubey's voice-over statement renders:

+exists :: -knowledge (the way exists, but the speaker doesn't know)

Note that both statements balance a negative with a positive. In contrast, your first suggested revision renders:

+exists :: +knows (the way exists, and the speaker knows)

Your second suggested revision renders:

-exists :: -knowledge (the way doesn't exist, and the speaker doesn't know)

Note that your statements balance a positive with a positive (first revision) or a negative with a negative (second revision). That's why your suggested revisions have distinctly different meanings from the comparable subtitle and voice-over statements. For the purposes of this analysis, I disregarded the complications caused by the conditional clauses.

  • Please avoid adding name/signature to the answer. – NVZ Jan 21 '18 at 14:43
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Would it not be better if he said "If there is a way, I maybe aware of it" or "If there isn't a way, I'm not aware of it"?

No, It would not be better.

Kyubey's reply to the question he was asked, clearly states that he does not know if there is a way to get the soul gem back. If there is a way... He doesn't know how. (He must have lack of knowledge in the area of retrieving soul gems)

Quite a few words when translated from Japanese to English, are misinterpreted or changed in Animation subtitles. Words are then added or replaced during the Audio dubbing too!

Other ways Kyubey could of replied:

"No, if there was a way, Id be aware of it"

or

"I don't know"

or

"I have no idea"

"If there isn't a way, I'm not aware of it" - I guess this could be good if the character was a comedian and sarcastic.

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