Time for another entry in Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon comparisons. I have looked into some others before, which you can find listed under the comparisons page!
Today, I look at a quick reader request for Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon:
A friend of mine told me that, in the health class scene in Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon, the partner in the Japanese version asks the teacher if evolution is similar to sex. In the English localization, they instead compare it to puberty. Could you confirm whether this is true?
They helpfully provided the links to the dialogue in question for both English and Japanese (a big thank you for that!)
So let’s take a look:
|今日は「進化」について勉強しましょう。||Today, we will learn about “Evolution.”||Today we will be learning about evolving.|
|ええ～！？進化って あの！？||Huh?! “Evolution?” You mean… that?!||What? Evolution?!|
|もしかして エッチな！？||Like…that sex thing?!||Isn’t that, like, maturing quickly?|
|なにいってるんだ オマエ？||What are you all goin’ on about?||What are you talking about?|
|ぜんぜん ちがうぞ。||This is totally different.||Don’t you know what Evolution is?|
So as you can see the dialogue is changed at the line involving references to sex. Instead there is a focus on “maturity” more akin to puberty. Both of which are not what evolution is, so the rest of the dialogue manages to flow after that. It’s a minor change that worked without too much issue, and understandably the North American culture is one that is more strict on sexual content (and perhaps education to what equates to a younger classroom), compared to Japan. So a child making this kind of joke or reference is not too odd to see in games or other media.
In Japanese the line is not explicitly sex as in the action, but the general topic. I translated it as “that sex thing” because this includes both the verb and the general topic. In Japanese it is being used more as a modifier rather than describing the verb. The word “ecchi” can be used to describe something perverted or lewd, rather than the action that English may imply. The “thing” in mine helps present this.
I thought of using “sexy” but that has connotations of describing something as attractive that starts to deviate more from the intended meaning here, though it does sound like a more immature understanding of the matter, too.
Another alternate way would be to say “Ooh, is this [class/topic] going to be lewd?!” which would have the same implications, but I opted to go with the above just for the sake of clarity in comparison.
If one was trying to skirt the issue but stay closer to the joke, perhaps writing “Ooh, this is going to be good~” or “This is going to be a naughty topic!” after the other asks “Is it…that?!” would be a classic way to get around the issue without stating it directly.
I do like how excited the friend (Chikorita in the JPN video and Pikachu in the ENG) looks about saying it though.
To answer the reader’s question: Yes, it seems it is a joke about sex/a lewd joke that was made to focus on puberty and natural maturity instead! It was a minor change, likely for the ESRB/North American audience that did not interrupt the rest of the dialogue significantly.
Super literal translation:
Today, we’ll study “Evolution.”
Huhhh?! Evolution, you mean…that?!
Could it be…lewd?!
What the heck are you all saying?
You’re all totally off.
JPN version, starts at 11:23.
ENG version, starts at 1:12.
What are some ways you would go about writing that joke in? Or writing it out? I’d love to hear in the comments below. : )
If you have any other fun things to look into, please feel free to let me know!