Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga Localization: “The Mustard of Doom” [JPN vs ENG]

This post is part of a series on reader requested (and personal curiosity) comparisons between various games’ Japanese and English versions. Last time, I looked into the “I was just about to walk my cat” line from Fire Emblem Fates.

Today’s post involves a line from Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, requested by a reader:

“In light of the upcoming Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga remake, why not compare one of its most famous quotes, the “mustard of doom”?”

I remember reading this quote somewhere, and I could’ve sworn Clyde Mandelin (of Legends of Localization) did so. But all I found was him referencing the line in this article of his. He was comparing other fun dialogue from the game, but not this one. I’m not sure if he did this one directly elsewhere. Either way, I looked into it!

Now, let’s take a look!

 

Original Japanese Lit/Flow Translation Official Localization
ゲヒャヒャヒャ!
ワレは グラグモーナ様の
一番弟子 グラコビッツであーるる
ピーチ姫の声を ぬすまれたぐらいで
追いかけてくるなんて ヒマるるね!
これから もっと
おそろしいことが おこるるよ!
とりあえず お前たちは ここで
消えてもらう るるよ!!
Gha haa haa haa!
I am Fawful! Number one pupil
of Cackletta the Great! The Great!
You came alllll this way chasing after your precious Princess Peach’s voice, but all you’ll get is stopped! Stopped!
Wonderful things shall happen soon! Wonderful! And soon! But, you all won’t be here to see it! ‘Cause I’m gonna make you disappear! Disappear!
Eeyah ha ha ha ha!
I am the great Cackletta’s most
best pupil, who is named Fawful!
I am here, laughing at you!
If you are giving us the chase just
to get your silly princess’s voice,
then you are idiots of foolishness!
Princess Peach’s sweet voice will
soon be the bread that makes the
sandwich of Cackletta’s desires!
And this battle shall be the
delicious mustard on that bread!
The mustard of your doom!

(Note, I retained their English names for simplicity).

So what’s going on here? There’s a silly quirk he has in the way he speaks Japanese. Even if you have no knowledge of the Japanese language, you can see I highlighted some characters on the Japanese text. You can see they are repeating characters throughout. What he’s doing is adding an extra “ru” at the end of verbs (that already use “ru” at the end), or just adding “ruru” to his dialogue that wouldn’t have it otherwise.

There’s no real direct equivalent in English, so I settled to exemplify this literally through repetition. Check the “super literal translation” at the end of the post to see how it would look very literally in English.

So, in Japanese where he may say “happen soon-oon” became “Wonderful things shall happen soon! Wonderful! And soon!” Basically, his quirk is best expressed through repetition –or even better, taken to the next step, redundancies.

That’s exactly what the localization did, too! All while adding even more colorful language to just make him incredibly quirky like in Japanese. Since the speech pattern can’t be expressed in a fluid way in English, they chose to make him have funny redundant language and strange logic to his conversation (that oddly still makes sense). It was a great way to go about expressing the quirky character and his tendency to repeat through being redundant rather than simply repeating. It certainly made him memorable for players from the looks of it!

A final note to answer the reader question: You can see the “mustard of doom” line exists in no shape or form in Japanese. It is purely something the localization came up with amidst the rest of his redundancies, likely to just make him incredibly quirky.

Some alternative ideas would be:

  • Make his end-words rhyme (ex: I’m gonna make you disappear, you hear?)
  • Retain the Japanese style as a simple quirk (ex: I’m gonna make you disappear-ear!)

In short:

In Japanese, he adds extra characters to his sentence endings that have no real equivalent in English (ex: “Very big-ig!”). However, the idea can be best expressed either through repetition (“Very big! Big!”) or redundancies (“Very big and huge!”). The localization settled for using redundancies, and added things like “mustard of doom” to express just how quirky this character is. It’s rather creative!

References:

Summary infographic:

Super Literal Translation:

Here is a super literal translation of the Japanese dialogue to give you an idea of the meaning/form. Note this is by no means how it comes off to people who read Japanese, and (I would hope) no translator would ever translate it this way. It is purely for meaning reference. Do not use this as an example of “what an (official) literal translation would be like.”

Gya hya hya hya!
I am Lady Cackletta’s number one student, Fawful-ful!
You came us all this way to get Princess Peach’s stolen voice back,
but too bad! You won’t get a chance-ce!
Amazing things will happen soon-oon!
But for now, disappear-ear!


So what did you think? How would you go about localizing the above dialogue/character? The same way? A different way? Let me know!

I did not play this game myself, so please let me know if anything is taken out of context, or if I spelled some character names wrong and such. I did what research I needed for the scene, but context is really important in Japanese translation. So please let me know!

I will continue to look at fun differences between games. Any dialogue you’re interested in? Let me know in comments or via email!

 

If you like the comparison work I do (or any other translations I do), please feel free to support me by donating! I do this all on my valuable free time, and so every little donation really helps me out. : )

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5 thoughts on “Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga Localization: “The Mustard of Doom” [JPN vs ENG]

  1. Interesting…I didn’t know Fawful had this ‘end of sentence’ thing in Japanese that I’ve frequently come across in relation to Japanese work. Fawful’s localisation meant through a more dramatic change than usual.

    On a side-note, I’ve always wondered: is this effect that funny in Japanese, or to the Japanese audience? Or is it just characterisation? Because as someone not familiar with Japanese, I’ve found rather perplexing what this technique actually does.

    • Indeed, he does have that sort of sentence end thing you likely saw elsewhere!

      It’s not exactly funny, it’s more characterization, making him out to be incredibly quirky. For those who speak Japanese though, the humor would simply come from how odd his speech mannerism is, which came across in English as well.

  2. Pingback: FE10: Radiant Dawn Localization: “Drowning in a pool of rancid butter” [JPN vs ENG] | kantopia

  3. Quite interesting-ing!
    …Attempting to apply Fawful’s speech patterns in Japanese to English makes it sound odd, doesn’t it?
    Good thing the localization gave us such memetic lines! Now, let’s reminisce on Fawful’s greatest lines…
    “I HAVE FURY!”
    “I HAVE CHORTLES!”
    “THE MUSTARD OF YOUR DOOM!”
    …Crud, those are the only Fawful lines I know by memory!

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