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Unless you’ve been avoiding any and all news about this anime season’s latest romantic comedy Don’t Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro you’ve probably heard about the latest localization controversy where Nagatoro uses the word “Sus” (short for suspicious).
The thing is, the abbreviation “Sus” has entered a meme status thanks to the popularity of the online social deduction game Among Us. In the game, players will frequently accuse other players of being the Imposter and thus calling them “Sus”. A whole slew of memes including phrases like “When the imposter is sus” have manifested in response to the game’s popularity.
So when the phrase appeared in Crunchyroll’s translation of Don’t Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro, fans immediately jumped to the conclusion that western localizers were once again inserting pop culture memes into anime, or worse that this implied censorship of the original work.
But is that really what’s going on here this time? It’s praiseworthy to be diligent when time and time again companies like Crunchyroll and Funimation have mishandled their localizations. But maybe this “meme” was simply bad timing.
To start with, Nagatoro is a “gal” or “gyaru”. A subculture that’s basically the outgoing and kind of mean girls in a high school. So it makes sense that her speech would be full of abbreviations and slang.
So with that settled, is “sus” common enough slang that it could be reasonably said by someone like Nagatoro? Twitter user Lunar Archivist goes into a multi post rant about why Nagatoro’s use of “sus” is more innocuous than some assume.
Since the translation debate surrounding Hayase Nagatoro’s use of the word “sus” in the first episode of the “Don’t Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro” anime and my controversial take on it just doesn’t want to die, here’s my justification for my position for the official record. 1/8 pic.twitter.com/Mwr0MFYh0t
— Lunar Archivist (@LunarArchivist) April 19, 2021
Lunar Archivist presents multiple examples of “sus” being used as an abbreviation of suspicious long before Among Us was even a thing and it can be traced as far back as 1824. If that’s not enough, “sus” possibly re-entered the common lexicon sometime between 2003 and 2015 where it appeared both on Vine and Urban Dictionary.
However the most compelling response has been from Japanese Twitter user Romly who claims that the original work includes a Japanese abbreviation for “acting suspiciously”.
I kinda think it’s great translation since the original script キョドる is also slang and shortened from 挙動不審である, that is “acting suspiciously”.
So 挙動不審である -> キョドる and “acting suspiciously” -> acting sus” would be a perfect match.
— Romly (@Romly) April 12, 2021
Ultimately, it’s easy to see why some might associate the translation with the Among Us meme, and this isn’t to discredit the possibility that this translation was chosen because of the meme, it very well could be. But all of that aside “sus” appears to be both a reasonable and faithful translation of the original dialogue.