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Doujinshi-Ka’s Inbox: The baobhan sith

Doujinshi-Ka’s Inbox: The baobhan sith published on No Comments on Doujinshi-Ka’s Inbox: The baobhan sith

Asker: I have a question about the Hellsing TV series character, the Baobhan sith.

Does she have ANY actual canon name? I saw on several websites that people refer to her a “Bubbancy”, but I always thought that was just the Japanese way of pronouncing “Baobhan sith”. Could you shed some light on this matter, please?

Erin: This is a case where the creators of the TV anime were ridiculously clever, and the poor translators had no idea what to do with it.

A “baobhan sith” (pronounced “baa’van shee”) is a Scottish type of vampire. Appearing as beautiful women in green dresses, they’re known for seducing their victims — which are always male in the legends.

Between the obscurity of the legend, the confusing (to a non-Scot) spelling, and the even more confusing Japanese pronunciation, the translators didn’t figure out what Integra was talking about in time for the DVD release.

Considering the context, the way they ended up subtitling the phrase is kind of hilarious.

Integra (subtitles): Boobhanshee?

Erin: There was a time when a lot of fans (self included) took that as a name, although it was often respelled “Bubbancy” for the sake of making it look prettier.

On another point, the translators get it right. The baobhan sith’s alias, “Laura”, is a reference to the main character of the novel Carmilla, a direct predecessor to Dracula. The vampire in the book is Mircalla, Countess Karnstein, whose aliases include “Millarca” and, of course, “Carmilla.”

Integra’s original dialogue refers to this vampire, though it mashes two of her names oddly together. The dub refers to her more correctly, as “Countess Karnstein.”

Unfortunately, the dub goes on to suggest that the baobhan sith is Carmilla. Not so! The Countess was only able to use aliases that were anagrams of her original name.

(Which suggests that, rather than being a baobhan sith, she comes from the same lineage as a certain other vampire whose “name” is an anagram.)

Is the real Carmilla still out there? Perhaps. she died at the end of the book…but then, so did Dracula.

However, this character isn’t her. Just a miscellaneous baobhan sith who crept down from the highlands, and doesn’t even stick around long enough for us to learn her real name.

If you really need to address her, her self-chosen alias “Laura” is as good a choice as any other.

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