Bakemonogatari episode 14 has a fairly famous tongue-twister in it, which Black Hanekawa recites with her cat voice. It was translated as: "Can you imagine an imaginary menagerie manager imagining managing an imaginary menagerie?". The scene is here (potentially NSFW):

Bakemonogatari - Neko Hanekawa Tongue Twister | HD |

Translating tongue-twisters is notoriously hard, so I suspect this is done fairly liberally.

What is the original Japanese text which is being spoken? Also, what does it literally mean (not worrying about making it a tongue-twister)?


Yes, huge liberties were taken with this phrase. The English phrase roughly corresponds to: "Can you think up a group of caged animals who are dreaming of handling fictional caged animals?"

The Japanese one, however, is more or less the following:


Naname nanajyuunana-do no narabi de nakunaku inanaku nanahan nanadai nannaku narabete naganagame. (And of course, you can insert nya in place of na for the kitty effect.)

Now, very roughly, this translates into English as something like...

I have been watching these seven 750cc motorcycles (nanahan) which are noisy like horses, and are placed beautifully at an angle of 77°.

It's very clear the English and Japanese tongue-twisters are nowhere close in meaning. What I can say about why they were chosen is that the English one plays off the sound mee as mew, the sound of a kitten meowing; the Japanese one plays off na as nya or nyan, a common way of making onomatopoeia for a cat's meow.


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