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It has been only a few days since we first learned the name puns behind “Birusu” and “Uisu” from the movie’s scriptwriter, Yūsuke Watanabe, in his recent GetNavi interview. As it turns out, the back story behind their name puns goes much deeper than that. In fact, it comes down to simple confusion on Akira Toriyama’s part.
As a point reference, Watanabe established in his GetNavi interview that while he had named Birus after the word “virus”, Toriyama was the one who actually named Birus’ attendant. Watanabe did also confirm in an interview with DVD & Blu-Ray Vision that in his first incarnation of the story, Birus could implant evil into people, like a viral infection, which is where his original name pun comes from. He did not delve into it much more than that, which reasonably led us to assume both were virus-based name puns that were carried over from this initial story development stage. However, in an interview released this morning with the news website Asahi, original author Akira Toriyama gives a little bit more insight into the characters’ name puns:
The name “Birusu”, I used as-is from the story outline. Anyway, it’s apparently a name that was taken from “virus”, but I mistakenly thought it came from “beer”, and gave his attendant the name “Uisu”, which I took from “whiskey”.
This certainly explains why Watanabe has been so adamant on Twitter that they were not alcohol-based puns. The interview goes on to note that Shueisha seems to officially disagree with him, though:
Shueisha gives a supplemental explanation that officially, “Beers” comes from “beer”, and “Whis” from “whiskey”.
Our own Julian (“SaiyaJedi”) has confirmed that the movie’s theatrical program does in fact use the romanizations “Beers” and “Whis” for the two characters.
So there we have it: two sets of “official” name pun sources, confirmations, and justifications. As is always the case, there are certainly two sides to every story!
Stay tuned for extra analysis of the movie, additional interviews and production insight, and more right here on Kanzenshuu…!