Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon: Evolution? Isn’t that like, maturing quickly? [JPN vs ENG]

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:

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Fire Emblem Blazing Blade (FE7): A look at the Japanese commercial

As part of a request from a friend on twitter, I decided to look into the original Blazing Blade commercial. I translate what’s going on, an excerpt from an interview regarding the commercial, a design document, what song is playing, and some other fun tidbits.

So let’s take a look!


First, here is the commercial itself, starring former actress Maki Horikita.

And below is the translation. I try to go in order and specify what is said by the voice, and what is just text. The song is afterward. Please note the translation is also to express intent, and thus, is not completely literal.

出会い
Encounters….
仲間
Friends…
戦い
Battles…

(Voice) 仲間と一緒にどう戦うか・・・
How will you fight alongside your friends…?

成長
Growing Together…

喜び
Happy Moments…

強くなる
Becoming Stronger

(Voice) みんな、どんどん強くなる・・・
Everyone grows stronger and stronger…

別離
Partings

会えない
For the last time

(Voice) 失った仲間には、もう・・・会えない・・・
The friends who fall…we shall never see again…

(Girl): さようなら
Goodbye…

(Voice): ファイアーエムブレム烈火の剣
Fire Emblem. The Blazing Blade.

Next, the song lyrics. Title: “LIFE IS…~another story~” by Ken Hirai. Specifically, the chorus:

答えなど何処にもない
誰も教えてくれない
でも君を想うとこの胸は
何かを叫んでるそれだけは真実

There’s no answer anywhere
Nor will anyone tell me
But my heart shouts at the mere thought of you
That much is the truth I do know

Note the song cuts off before the final two characters 真実 (truth). This is the third paragraph of the song. The rest of the Japanese lyrics for the song can be found here.

The song in full (or a cover of it, anyway) can be seen below. The original you will probably have to purchase:

Next is a brief excerpt from a larger interview with Tohru Narihiro from the Making of Fire Emblem 25th Anniversary book (specifically page 277).

[On expanding appeal with FE7…]

The TV commercial for Binding Blade featured a song that was reminiscent of the Shadow Dragon commercial. However, the Blazing Blade commercial had a different kind of appeal with casting Horikita Maki along with Ken Hirai’s song playing.

Narihiro: Yes. That was one of many ways we sought to widen the gates [to make the game have more widespread appeal].

It was presented with this design document:

The above document has the same flow as the final product. The minor differences are the lack of “goodbye,” as well as a slightly different word used for “parting” (they wrote “separation” instead). Another subtle difference is that it seems Kent is the character dying instead of Heath in the commercial, a tidbit I point out just a silly point later. Also, the title seems to be “A girl’s murmurs.” The music is simply “Ken Hirai~” but not what song of his, either.

This article is mostly straightforward and a reference point, so I’ll summarize any thoughts/analysis/silly trivia in bullet point format this time around:

  • From the commercial, interview, and documents, one can see that the intention was to broaden the appeal of the game by using a known actress, popular song from 2003, and a change of style in presentation among other things.
  • Most notable is how the commercial is more emotional and focuses on meeting allies, growing with them, and eventual partings via mechanics like perma death. Compare this with previous commercials that are more opera-like with an operatic flare (links provided in the interview segment above).
  • “LIFE is…~another story~” is a romantic song (as the excerpt may have implied already) by the famed Ken Hirai, so was likely used for its popular appeal rather than its literal meaning. However, the themes of friendship and bonding share similar themes to love and longing, so it helped set the intended mood beyond it simply being a popular song in 2003. The song was not written for the game, but was actually the theme for a TV drama known as Black Jack Ni Yoroshiku.
  • The final commercial featured Heath as the ally that has fallen and is being “parted with,” rather than someone so looks more like Kent in the original document. The emotional music paired with her waving him off with a “goodbye” became a bit of a joke among the fanbase, with multiple fans citing this commercial as the reason why they voted for hm on an FE7 popularity poll. They felt that bad! It’s much like how Dorcas came to fame thanks to the US commercial making him a bit of a joke.
  • Speaking of the US commercial (linked above), you can see the difference in intended marketing between the two versions. The US commercial goes with “build an army, trust nobody” as its central theme, rather than the themes of “meetings, growing, bonding, partings” that the Japanese commercial aimed for. Considering it was the debut game for the US (and west) too, it’s an interesting approach!

I believe that’s all that really needs to be said for this commercial! I hope to cover the Japanese commercial for Sacred Stones down the line.

Smash Bros: “Ridley Hits the Big Time” in Japanese? (Also every 3DS/Wii U Line) [JPN vs ENG]

A follower on twitter asked the following:

I took a quick look at it, and the results were as expected. It simply says 参戦 (san-sen), which means to “join” or “participate” in an event of sorts. It’s often used, but not limited to, fighting games. You see it used in Smash Bros a lot however!

I had recalled in response to the twitter user above is that the Japanese all across the board actually just had “Character Name 参戦,” leaving the localization to come up with colorful lines instead. But memory can be a fickle thing that can lead to misinformation, so those of you who know me also know I like to be very thorough, and so I went through all the trailers once again just to double check for all of you, and made this table:

Character Localization Japanese 日本語
Villager Villager comes to town! むらびと参戦!!
Mega Man Mega Man joins the battle! ロックマン参戦!!
Wii Fit Trainer Wii Fit Trainer weighs in! Wii Fit トレーナ参戦!!
Sonic NA NA
Rosalina & Luma Rosalina & Luma launch into battle! ロゼッタ&チコ参戦!!
Little Mac Little Mac punches in! リトル・マック参戦!!
Charizard Charizard fires it up! リザードン参戦!!
Greninja Greninja makes a splash! ゲッコウガ参戦!!
Mii Fighters
Lincoln Lincoln gets sworn in! リンカーン参戦!!
Elijah Wood Elijah Wood like to battle! イライジャ・ウッド参戦!!
Ice-T* Ice-T Pours it on! NA
Arino Kachou* NA 有野課長参戦!!
Palutena Palutena alights! パルテナ参戦!!
Dark Pit NA NA
Pac-Man Pac-Man hungers for battle! パックマン参戦!!
Lucina Lucina wakes her blade?! ルキナ参戦!?
Robin Robin brings the thunder! ルフレ参戦!!
Shulk Shulk foresees a fight! シュルク参戦!!
Bowser Jr. Bowser Jr. clowns the competition! クッパJr.参戦!!
Duck Hunt Duck Hunt takes aim! ダックハント参戦!!
Mewtwo Mewtwo Strikes Back! ミュウツー参戦!!
Lucas Lucas comes out of Nowhere! リュカ参戦!!
Roy Roy seals the deal! ロイ参戦!!
Ryu Here comes a new challenger! Ryu! リュウ参戦!!
Cloud Cloud storms into battle! クラウド参戦!!
Corrin Corrin chooses to smash! カムイ参戦!!
Bayonetta Bayonetta gets wicked! ベヨネッタ参戦!!
(Ultimate)
Ridley Ridley hits the big time! リドリ参戦!!

Some quick notes/pointers:

  • Mega Man is the only character that actually had it translated to “joins the battle.” Perhaps they felt it worked just fine, or that particular translator did not decide to do anything colorful. Being one of the first trailers, perhaps there was reluctance, yet, Villager was shown before that with his own colorful tag.
  • Sonic lacks a tag, perhaps due to being a returning character. Though the title of the video seems to be “Sonic Joins the Battle” which is also ソニック参戦 in Japanese. Straightforward enough!
  • Ice-T was exclusive for the NoA version. In the NoJ one, it was Arino Kachou instead, a celebrity associated with video games. This was rightfully changed as he would likely be totally unknown to an NoA audience. I did not check, but I wonder if NoE had a third celebrity? Please let me know.
  • Dark Pit lacks any tag for himself in both versions, and his trailer title is shared with Palutena’s so does not include him.
  • Lucina is the only character where the Japanese is slightly different. She has a “?” added where the usual second “!” is in all the rest of the titles. This is reflected in the localization too.
  • In Ryu’s trailer, where it says “I’m Looking / for a / Challenge”, the Japanese says, ” 俺より / 強いやつに / 会いに行く” (ore yori / tsuyoi yatsu ni / ai ni iku), which would mean “I’ve come to meet those stronger than me” (or, literally, “More than me / stronger guys / go to meet”).

So even if you do not speak Japanese, you can simply look at the characters 参戦 and how they appear straight down the Japanese column on the table above. You can even put it into Ctrl + F and highlight all instances.

As expected, the localization indeed spiced up many of the lines with either references to the characters and their source material or puns –which I’m sure is a touch that has been mostly well received. The Japanese side would have been “character joins the battle” all across the board, so perhaps they felt this would be a way to differentiate the characters with references/nods to their origins and fans.

In short:

Japanese is “CharacterName 参戦!! (joins the battle!!)” across the board. All the references and puns are solely creations of the localization. You can assume in the future that any title line in Japanese was likely 参戦.


How would you have gone about writing these lines? What sort of alternate titles for characters would you have come up with? Feel free to share!

Ideally I’d have provided a picture of every single character add on with subtitle, but I just lacked the time to do so. Does anyone know if there is a gallery out there that already has all the (actual) characters and their lines? My search was bogged down by all the fan made ones, so…

FE Heroes: “Do my best!” [JPN vs ENG]

She’s been saying this since FE7, actually!

Today’s post is a quick look at a line that has become a bit of a meme for the FEH community (especially on Nino from FE7/Blazing Blade).

Beyond Nino, many other characters say it. It’s actually based on an extremely common Japanese word, and this post is just to show you all the little variations in Japanese that all became (mostly) “do my best” in English.

So let’s take a fun look at this.

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Smash Bros Ultimate: Which Zelda is that? ALttP? ALBW?

Image source: a wonderful SourceGaming post that translates a Sakurai column.

Super Smash Bros: Ultimate for Nintendo Switch features a new design for Zelda compared to her previous incarnations. But there was a little bit of confusion regarding which Zelda she is, due to a slight translation tidbit which is not too widely known from what I’ve observed.

Basically:

People weren’t sure if she is based on the one from A Link Between Worlds (NoA wrote) or A Link to the Past. (NoJ wrote).

Explanation of why both are fine:

  • In Japan, A Link to the Past is 神々のトライフォース (Triforce of the Gods), and, A Link Between Worlds is 神々のトライフォース2 (Triforce of the Gods 2). As such, both are Triforce of the Gods (the title that became A Link to the Past), one simply with a “2” that emphasizes the sequel. Box art example.
  • In the west, the second title dropped “2” and was made into A Link Between Worlds. As such, this makes it harder to refer to them both as A Link to the Past, as that is only the first one’s name.
  • To help clear confusion, a look at the designs of Zelda in both games reveal they are essentially the same, too with only slight differences, and, in Smash Bros. Ultimate, if you look at her design, you see she’s a combination of both Zelda’s seen here. The top accessories are like from the first game, and the pattern on her lower side are like the second game, for instance.
  • As such, saying Zelda from A Link to the Past or Link Between Worlds are both accurate. In Japanese it is simply Zelda from 神々のトライフォース (Triforce of the Gods), so can be either of them too.

And so:

They are actually referring to the same game, but it’s harder to specify which one in English as the Japanese encompasses both. The English specified the sequel (likely as it’s more recent and so more people may recognize it), where as the Japanese can refer to them both due to the titles being the same (with just a number to differentiate). There was no explicit “2” in the Smash Bros. trailer, so the localization likely decided on A Link Between Worlds. Though, they were likely in contact with the original staff behind the direct to help reach this conclusion.

Summary infographic:

So there you go! Same game. Both A Link Between Worlds and A Link to the Past apply here. If you see it referred to as A Link to the Past by Japanese staff (and translations), now you know why.

For more details including shots that caused the confusion (as well as similarities in the Zelda design), see below.

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FE9 Path of Radiance Localization: Marcia’s Colorful Language [JPN vs ENG]

This post is part of a series on reader requested (and personal curiosity) comparisons between various games’ Japanese and English scripts.

Today’s post concerns Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance. Specifically, Marcia’s dialogue! It’s partially a reader request, and partially personal curiosity.

A reader said the following:

Did Marcia call Makalov a “eunuch” in Japanese too?

Though the reader requested just this line, I looked into a few of her other colorful moments too –all with Makalov, of course.

So let’s take a look!

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Fire Emblem: Three Houses vs Fire Emblem: 風花雪月

Fire Emblem: Three Houses was officially announced at E3 2018 as the latest in the Fire Emblem series of games. One thing that immediately stuck out is that, like Fates, the title is actually quite different in Japanese.

In Japanese, the title is 風花雪月. Read as fuukasetsugetsu.

This is a pretty surface-look at the matter, working with limited contexts… we don’t know much about the game itself, so what exactly may or may not apply is a mystery in itself.

My colleague Rey summarizes it well on his tweet:

Which then another colleague of mine, Black Kite, further expanded upon:

While it remains to be seen what significance the seasonal references hold, it’s a pretty nifty thing. At a glance the main characters do not seem to contain references in their name. Three Houses is a more straightforward title that touches on the trio they showed, so that one with limited context still makes sense. There are three characters shown, and a player character too. Perhaps that makes the fourth?

But how does one get from four seasons to three houses otherwise? Let’s first take a deeper look.

These characters actually reference a poem by Bai Juyi, which is presented in Japanese as an often condensed single line from a larger context:

雪月花の時 最も君を憶う

Which translates to, “At the time of snow, moon and flowers, I think of you.”

The three presented in that order become the Snow, Moon and Flowers combo.

雪月花 ( せつげつ )

You will notice three characters here: snow, moon, and flowers, which represent the snow of winter, moon of autumn, and flowers of spring respectively. Indeed, they are popular in older Japanese culture (such as ukiyo-e pictures), and originated from China. Often referred to as the “snow moon flowers.” Summer seems to often be excluded (perhaps a lack of beauty in its heat). Indeed, this convention even appears in other media.

But more relevant and more interestingly, there is an alternative meaning to these: The “three whites” in art.

  • Blue-White = Winter
  • Yellow-White = Autumn
  • Pink-White = Spring

Why would the color meanings be relevant, well, let’s look at the three characters they showed off:

They indeed have the pink (red), yellow, and blue conventions. That is in the same order of the Japanese title, too (風花雪月 if you take away wind, Flower/Pink/Spring, Snow/Blue/Winter, and Moon/Autumn/Yellow).

And, their names are (left to right):

  • Edelgard von Hraesvelgr
  • Dimitri Alexander Blaiddyd
  • Claude von Regan

I’m not an expert on the naming conventions, but if anyone can connect any parts of these names to the seasons or colors, let me know!

But now you get a better glimpse at how the three characters and their respective countries tie to the Japanese title, and thus how the localization arrived at Three Houses. The seasonal reference may not have worked as well in English, as calling it Fire Emblem: Snow, Moon, Flowers would be odd.

Wind remains as the fourth case, the odd one out. Omitted from the English title as the fourth. I surmise it may have to do with the avatar character, who may be the “fourth” wildcard here. Perhaps you pick a house? Perhaps not. Three Houses still works for the player character, as one can assume they are affiliated with none (and thus “Three Houses” is still accurate).

One could have translated it more literally to Fire Emblem: Four Seasons though that lacks the more poetic intrigue to it. So there is likely more to the difference in names than we can surmise at this point.

The kanji as they appear in title order

You may note for the poem reference the kanji had to be rejiggered a bit, however. If we take it in the exact order presented:

風花雪月 (fuukasetsugetsu)

There is a Japanese wikipedia entry on this.

It basically states that the term is a Chinese phrase that is used for an appreciation of nature and the feelings it brings to people, similar to the Japanese 花鳥風月 (yet another different set of kanji) which means almost the same thing (with a small nuance being the difference in the two, with the Chinese original phrase often having negative connotations the Japanese one lacks).

What this could mean for the game is uncertain. If it is some sort of game that goes against, say, a deity of nature, it could make sense in a way. But with our limited context, going with the poem reference is more likely. This is subject to change of course, with the more we learn in terms of what exactly this game is about which would help us reach a better understanding. Chinese is not my specialty, and whether or not this title thus references the Chinese aspect of the phrase or the Japanese on remains to be seen. Context is key!

Update: A fellow FE translator over on twitter sent this blurb about the Chinese side of the phrase:

I found the phrase on Baidu (basically Chinese Wikipedia, for a lack of a better term), and it seems that they attribute the phrase Wind Flower Snow Moon to Shao Yong (rather than Bai Juyi, who used Snow Moon Flowers), as Shao Yong has a line in a poem stating 虽死生荣辱,转战于前,曾未入于胸中,则何异四时风花雪月一过乎眼也。(风花雪月 being the phrase written in Simplified, of course.) Unfortunately my Chinese isn’t good and I don’t know what the poem says, but I thought this might be of interest to you.

My Chinese isn’t good at all either. If there are any experts in Chinese out there who would like to help add to the conversation, please let me know in the comments or twitter. : )

Update II: From a Chinese Studies major in the comments below:

It’s a word about natural scenery and romantic relationships. We often describe a romantic scene or stories especially for couples as “风花雪月”, we also use it to describe blank and boring poems,which are full of meaningless adjectives. The new game may have marriage systems in it, as the title “风花雪月” implies.

That is the Chinese meaning of the word, and seems to focus more on romance (in the love way, rather than fantasy). Though this may be due to deriving from said poem, how it relates to the Japanese interpretation as well as “Three Houses” in English is up for speculation.

What comes to mind for me is the use of the word “House” in the English title which gives off a sort of “Romeo and Juliet” vibe (like House Montague or House Capulet). That tale is often associated with romance as it is, for English readers. But it may be a little bit of a stretch. Still, it’s nice to have this additional information.

In short:

The title references a poem that only actually uses three characters known as the “Snow, Moon, and Flowers” convention which appears elsewhere in Japanese art history and media, too. But it also refers to three specific colors, colors which the three protagonists here match. The fourth character, “wind,” is a wildcard –potentially the avatar’s role in this game? Either way, you can see how the three seasons, colors, countries, and characters led to the title “Three Houses” instead.

Further reading

I didn’t cover the deeper contexts of what the larger poem (and its origins) may mean for the game, as I was focused on the title/literal artistic motifs behind it. So here are two more very helpful posts:

User Aethin on serenesforest.net goes more in-depth on the poem itself and speculation of the names.

u/Aggro_Incarnate on reddit also posted speculation akin to my post but also tries to fit to the name and regions in a more in-depth way than I did.


That’s all there is to say on the matter for now!