Part of a series on game comparisons! Last time, I looked at a (possible) reference to Navi’s “Hey! Listen!” line in ns! Pokemon X&Y.
Today’s post is also a small one, and covers a reader request:
“A psychic on route 10 says ‘power levels’ and ‘over 9000’ clearly as reference to the Dragonball meme. Was it a reference to that in Japanese as well?”
The reference in question is to the “it’s over 9000!” meme from Dragonball Z, the original clip seen below.
So let’s take a look at the original!
The following conversation takes place upon defeating Psychic Robert on Route 10.
|Japanese||Lit Translation||Official Localization|
|きみたちの エネルギー す・さ・ま・じ・い！！||The energy you and your Pokémon share is MAG-NI-FI-CEN-T!!||Wow! You and your Pokémon’s power levels are incredible! They’re over 9,000 for sure!|
So compared to last time (with whether the Preschooler was quoting Navi or just a coincidence as “Hey! Listen!” can be common), this one is indeed more clearly a reference to the meme.
For one, the specific use of “power levels” and “over 9000” would definitely be harder to put together without it being purposeful.
From the literal translation, you can see he comments on the “energy” you and your Pokemon share being incredible, which the localization translated fine. The added line is the “over 9,000 for sure!” The word “magnificent” is spaced out in that funny way due to the way the original Japanese emphasized the word. You can see it even if you don’t know any Japanese, as the syllables in the last line are broken by spaces. So the literal translation retains this.
When I was doing the literal translation myself, I could see how the localization ended up at this meme. The original Japanese very literally says: “All your energy MAG-NI-FI-CENT.” To make it more smooth, I would have written “energy levels” instead of “energy” if I wasn’t leaving it as it was for the sake of comparison. Energy levels thus becomes power levels. At this point the localizer probably had a chuckle, unable to help but imagine Dragonball and the use of “power levels.”
The opportunity to put it in was because splitting the English word “magnificent” would not have the same emphasis that splitting the word up in Japanese does. (You may have seen it in anime as well, when a character says “hi-mi-tsu” (secret) to be more teasing.) Often it’s substituted in a different way rather than literally.
So on that note what did they figure was the best way to emphasize a high “power level”? Well, just like that!
There are other ways they could have gone about it, if they wanted to avoid references/memes, such as just finding a way to do the syllable emphasis to make the character quirky. An example would be talking with full stops like: “MAG. NI. FI. CENT.” It is pretty strangely silly in its own way. So many wonderful things can happen, but we only see one of the results, obviously.
Lastly, I tried to see if the original Japanese lines were a reference to a Japanese meme that may have been equivalent to this. From my searching nothing turned up, so seems to be a localization choice alone. It is not a reference to the original Dragonball Z scene in Japanese, either, so that further emphasizes localization having fun.
Of course this is all speculation and the thought process could have been incredibly different. We will never know for sure…
Unlike Preschooler Mia who may have been a coincidence, you can see Psychic Robert more clearly references the famous Dragonball Z meme. It was likely done as “energy” in the original Japanese would be more like “energy readings,” and hence “power levels.” Once on “power levels,” localization probably couldn’t help but think of Dragonball Z. And with that, they needed a way to emphasize just how high the power levels are (as you can see in the Japanese), and so did it the best way they figured. I suppose they couldn’t resist! The original Japanese is not its own meme (as far as I saw), nor is it a reference to the show.
So how would you have gone about translating/localizing that line? I’m curious!
I will continue to look at fun differences between the versions of sorts of games when I get time! This reader actually had a few other things to look into (an entire list, actually), so expect to see some more from the 3DS Pokemon games in the future.
Any dialogue you’re interested in? Feel free to send in comments or via email!