I was sent a question by one of my readers who was curious to know something:
“In Pokémon: Black 2 / White 2, there is a Nursey Aide named June who you face only as a male trainer at the Rondez-View Ferris wheel in the summertime. Bulbapedia trivia says they’re actually a man in Japanese! Is that true? If so can you provide the dialogue?”
I had played the game as a female trainer, so never encountered or heard about such a character. Upon doing some research, she only appears for the male trainer. Many others (including Bulbapedia’s trivia section) made the same claim the reader was curious about, but there was never any exact dialogue presented. So! I decided to hunt down the scene in both languages and present them side by side here for our reference!
For reference, this is a Nursery Aide (ほいくし in Japanese). Her name is June in English, and Enatsu (エナツ) in Japanese.
Now let’s look at the dialogue! (Apologies in advance for the dialogue spacing. There is only so much a free blog’s interface can do). Feel free to refer to this easier-to-read infographic on the matter.
|Japanese 日本語||English (Literal Translation)||English (Official Localization)|
|あー 楽しかった･･･||Aah~ that was fun…||Wow…|
|なんか もう このまま こうしてたいな||I wish I could just keep battling…||Your Pokémon are sure strong.|
|仕事なんか 辞めちゃいたい･･････||It makes me want to just up and quit my job…||I can tell you’ve raised them with care.|
|･･････なんかね 昨日も また||…You know, just yesterday||Tee hee. I work at a preschool taking|
|ポケモン お預かり してる||a trainer whose Pokémon I was||care of kids and Pokémon, so I can tell|
|トレーナーに 怒られちゃって･･････||looking after got mad at me…||how a Pokémon is feeling!|
|･･･ねえ TRAINERくん||…Hey, little [TRAINER]||Well, recently, I’ve been so tired that it|
|ポケモン同士がさ 勝負したり||What do you think of Pokémon that||feels like I’m up to my ears in Pokémon…|
|遊んで ケガするの どう思う？||get injured when battling or even playing?||But, that’s enough of that.|
|わたしは そういうことって 大事な||I always thought that it’s||There has to be some reason we met.|
|経験だと 思ってたんだけど||a valuable experience for them,||Let’s spend a little more time together!|
|最近は もう なんだか よく||but, recently, I’m not really||C’mon! Come with me!|
|わかんなく なっちゃって･･････||sure I feel that way anymore…|
|･･････って まあ グチは あとあと！||… Anyway! I can ramble more later!|
|次は 観覧車に いこっか！||Let’s get on that Ferris wheel!|
|＜後＞||<After Ferris Wheel>||<After Ferris Wheel>|
|うーん やっぱり 夏に||Phew… I guess I should’ve expected||Hee hee… That was so fun!|
|乗るもんじゃなかったね コレ||it to be this hot in the summer!||You know…|
|ん？ TRAINERくん 大丈夫？||Hmm? Are you okay, little [TRAINER]?||My job is taking care of kids and|
|なんか 顔が バオップだけど？||Your face is as red as a Pansear!||Pokémon in place of busy Trainers.|
|ホラ やっぱり キミも 上着||Here! Just take off your jacket,||So, for example, if a Pokémon I’m|
|脱いどけば 良かったんだよ||and you’ll cool down!||watching gets hurt while playing,|
|男同士なんだもん 別に||We’re both guys, so||when the Trainer comes to pick|
|恥ずかしがること なかったのに||there’s no need to be shy!||it up, the Trainer will go after us without|
|あ それとも 言ってなかった？||Oh, did I forget to mention that…?||even listening to what happened…|
|わたしが 男だって||I’m a man.||I know you love your Pokémon,|
|今の職場ね 女性しか||You see, they were only hiring||but you’re completely different…|
|採用してなかったのに||women where I work. So I had no||When I talk to you, I feel like|
|無理やり 頼みこんだんだよね||choice but to go through with this…||Pokémon Trainers are pretty great.|
|そしたらさ 女性として||I was told if I wanted this job||It makes me happy.|
|働くなら 採用っていわれてさ||I’d have to be a woman…||Thank you! See you again!|
|･･････ ･･････ ･･････そうだな||… … … that’s right|
|そこまでして 選んだ 仕事だもん||I went this far to get this job…|
|もうちょっと 頑張ってみないと||If I just up and quit now…|
|ダメって いうか もったいないね･･････||Then all this would have been for nothing…|
|ふふふ TRAINERくんの おかげで||Hehehe, thanks for hearing me out!|
|なんか やる気でたよ！ ありがとね！||I feel more motivated now thanks to you!|
Well now, that’s quite the change! And answers “yes, it’s true!” to the reader’s question. Let’s take a deeper look at nuances and what changed, though! (For simplicity and to avoid confusion, however, I will continue to use she to refer to June/Enatsu).
For the first half (before the Ferris wheel ride), both translations talk about her job. But in Japanese she is notably more exhausted by the job itself, opposed to the localization where she mentions “being tired” but not in the sense of “wanting to quit” (as implied later). She also mentions feelings regarding Pokémon and battles, which is nonexistent in the English dialogue (see notes on this point, as it may have to do with a limitation when writing these transcripts).
On the Ferris wheel itself, both versions just talk about how they get drenched in sweat, to the point the clothes stick to them. I cut out the dialogue as it was not relevant to the rest, though it is important only in the contextual sense that it is really hot.
Then it’s after the Ferris wheel ride where the dialogue really changes up. In the official localization, she brings up some points she made in Japanese before the ride itself (about trainers getting mad at her, vaguely discussing what she does as a job). She is a “Nursery Aide” in English, though her Japanese title already implies what she does (“Kindergarten Teacher/Nursery Aide”). So it is likely why she does not expand on it.
However, in Japanese the trigger to discuss her gender comes up when she suggests the male trainer remove his shirt –and not to be embarrassed because he’s with another “man” (as opposed to feeling shy around another girl).
Upon mentioning this, she comes to realize she wanted this job so badly (and/or wanted to keep the job if she already had it, as it is vague as to what position she had first) that she went through with this (against her will, no less). This in turn makes her feel she shouldn’t give up as she had went this far, thus reinvigorating her motivation for the job, and thanks you for it.
One major note not addressed in trivia or discussions that I saw: it is vague as to whether this was voluntary or involuntary. The Japanese dialogue makes it sound like she could have already had the job and changed (be it via cross dressing or not) to be a woman to keep it (at the urging of the employer) –or that she wanted it badly enough to change to get it (and the “no choice” thus refers to desperate and saw no other way). Though regretful at first (due to perhaps not wanting to change, still acknowledging herself as a man), she realizes if she went through all that –she must truly have wanted it!
In English it is about her opinion on Pokémon trainers, rather than what she does for work. It is a clever tie-in to her line about trainers getting mad at her, which is what the localization chose to expand upon while leaving the surprise gender reveal aside.
In the end, it seems they just went with the safe option by skirting the mention that the Japanese are generally more okay with. They did something similar with Pokemon X/Y, which Clyde Mandelin over on Legends of Localization covered very nicely. Though Black 2/White 2 preceded it, it’s a similar type of minor dialogue that the localization chose to be more “better safe than sorry.”
UPDATE: My friend and twitter user @Nirbion reached out and confirmed with some colleagues that the German version/translation stays true to the dialogue in the Japanese version of the game. It is interesting how the different localizations take different approaches to the matter. We are not sure if this is the case with the rest of the EU English translation, however.
Below are some final notes I included about the dialogue, and afterward I provide videos that show both scenes (in Japanese and English). They are camera based videos, and I could not find any others for the scene!
- The dialogue is from after the trainer battles them. In both versions both pre-battle dialogues are irrelevant to the question above.
- “TRAINER” is in place of the trainer’s name. As this is for the male trainer only, she refers to them as “kun” in Japanese, a term of familiarity for young boys (in this context, anyway). I went ahead with “little TRAINER” as a way to show endearment (indeed, as the official localization wrote “dear.”)
- June/Enatsu uses the gender neutral pronoun “watashi” to refer to herself.
- While I state “literal” translation, I took liberties in making it flow better in English while staying close to the original meaning. A true literal translation for informative purposes would come off more awkward, but I feel little nuance is lost in this version so did so. (For those who speak Japanese, that is why the words may not be 1:1 with each other).
- When writing the transcript for the video in Japanese, it seemed almost like it was a second encounter (due to her stating the trainer’s name). The English meanwhile seems to be from the first encounter. If anyone has the Japanese dialogue from first encounter, and whether or not it changes significantly, please let me know. This is the one major limitation of digging into something so obscure! (If anyone likewise has a text dump in Japanese that would also be helpful!) As far as I know, however, even second encounter in English does not make the same revelation as the above. I went off the assumption that dialogue changes between encounters is minor.
Source videos I transcribed dialogue from:
English: (Note how the description also mentions “hearing” about this, but not confirming it).
Is Nursery Aide June really a man in Japanese? The answer is: Yes!
But what trivia and other discussions I’ve seen around it ignore the motivation beyond “wanting her job” and such, where there is a deeper story implied to be behind the scenes in Japanese where in English it is just about her opinion on trainers.
The main limitation that I wonder about (but have been unable to verify) is whether there are changes between first and second encounters. Please let me know if there are!
Lastly, for easy reading and reference, here is a summary infographic with the dialogue:
I hope this serves as a helpful reference for those who see this bit of trivia in the future. I hope it can be a webpage they can point their friends toward who may need evidence or dialogue for reference.
It’s always fun seeing small things like this change between games. Ideally, I want to check out the Pokéstar Studios / Pokéwood movies and see what may have changed between them.
If there is anything else you wish to compare in the Pokémon series (or any other series, such as Fire Emblem), I’m more than happy to look into it!