Q&A: Does Jane Talk About English in Japanese Kingdom Hearts?

My question backlog actually has a good number of questions about the Kingdom Hearts games, so let’s take a look at one of them! This one comes from madammina and is about something Jane says in the first game:

Hi there Mato! Playing KH right after reading your Eggman Q&A led to a question.

The third world in Kingdom Hearts is Deep Jungle, based on Tarzan. When Sora talks to Jane for the first time, she goes “Oh, you speak English!” since Jane is a proper English Lady, or at least thinks she is.

So, what did they do in the Japanese version? Did they change it so Jane remarks on Sora speaking Japanese, or does she say something else entirely?

Here’s a look at the line in question:

And the Japanese line translates to something like, “Oh, you understand spoken language?” or “Oh, you understand speech?”

So it looks like the English translation (unless this English was written first?) localizes it a bit into the more natural-sounding, “Oh, you speak English!”

So hopefully that answers that question!

And, you know, this jungle stuff and this scene in particularly seemed very, slightly familiar to me… and then I realized that when I did play Kingdom Hearts like ten years ago the jungle part is around where I stopped. I always meant to get back into the game someday, but now ten years have passed and the series seems so complicated ๐Ÿ˜ฏ I think I’ll just have to watch LPs of the games someday instead ๐Ÿ˜›

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  1. One thing that impressed me about the series is how well the characters stick to their personalities. That did lead me to wonder if they stuck as well to it in the Japanese versions. Namely, Cheshire Cat has a lot of pun-style riddles. (In Chain of Memories, the queen of hearts has her memories stolen and is after Alice because she thinks Alice did it. Cheshire comments on this saying “She won’t forget until she remembers.” and I was wondering if that was in the original Japanese.)

    1. DoubleXXCross

      This is the line you’re talking about, snagged from a Japanese fan’s website:

      ใ‚นใ‚ฟใ‚ณใƒฉ้€ƒใ’ใฆๅฎ‰ๅฟƒใ‹ใ„๏ผŸ ใ ใ‘ใฉๆ—ฉใ„ใ‚ˆใ€ไธ€ๅฎ‰ๅฟƒใซใฏใ€‚

      In English the line is:

      Feeling better after that mad dash? You’re not out of the woods yet!
      The queen’s stickler for justice!
      She won’t forget you till she remembers!
      She won’t stop hounding you till you get her memory back!
      Did she forget because she remembers?
      Does she remember that she forgot?
      Doesn’t matter, I suppose.

      Cheshire seems to be speaking more clearly in Japanese than English, but only because of space limitations cutting the script of the English version down. I think the biggest change is that the Queen is now a ‘stickler for justice’ instead of just being a very persistent person.

  2. Thank you Mato! The English does sound better. BTW, Square Enix is releasing Kingdom Hearts HD compilations. 1.5 has the KHFM, Chain of Memories, and (Updated) cutscenes of 358/2. 2.5 is coming out in 2014 and it’ll have KH2FM, Birth By Sleep, and (updated) cutscenes of Re:Coded. The only one you’d miss is KH3D, which is critical…

    Anyway, Thank you again!

  3. I’ve always said that Kingdom Hearts 3 should have a Wreck-it-Ralph level were Sora and Ralph go explore a Kingdom Hearts game. How meta would THAT be?

    That aside, I liked the original Kingdom Hearts pretty well almost in spite of itself; it had so much goofy cruft that just irritated me, but the core gameplay is pretty solid. KH2 I did not like, mainly because the cutscene-minigame-cutscene structure was really dull. I keep almost buying that HD 1.5 collection, but I’m cheesed off that one of the “games” included in the compo is just a highlight reel of cutscenes with no actual game included. Still has HACHIEVEMENTS, though, which is oddball.

    1. That. Is. GENIUS! Wreck-it-Ralph world for KH3 FTW

      So there are achievements for something that is not a game. Okay. I was halfway going to buy it just to play Days in HD, but if it’s not even a game? I already have the first two games on disc, which I can pop into my computer and play in HD using an emulator. Maybe no updated graphics, but I’m not picky, the original graphics are still beautiful if you ask me.

      1. Honest answer: the main draws for me are the tiny amount of extra KH1 content and being able to play it on the PS3 (i.e. not having to hook the PS2 up). I distrust Chain of Memories since I’m hugely skeptical of the gameplay value of the series, and the Reader’s Digest cutscene compilation couldn’t interest me any less.

  4. There is something that has bothered me for a while now:

    Disney has been unable to get the rights to Tarzan from the Burroughs estate ever since the release of the first Kingdom Hearts, yet the Final Mix version still has the Deep Jungle world.

    How is it possible that the Final Mix version was still able to have that world? Did the Burroughs estate revoke the Tarzan license after the Final Mix version was released? Or is there something more to the situation than that?

    And what of Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD? Does that remake include Deep Jungle as well? If so, how is it legally possible? If not, what does the game do to make up for the retroactive removal of Deep Jungle from canon?

    1. IANAL, of course, but I know that, in at least some cases, Disney wouldn’t need a new agreement to continue distributing an already-agreed-to derivative work. Perhaps a reissue qualifies.

      1. If things were really that simple, then I wonder why the Diddy Kong Racing remake had to ditch Conker and Banjo. Bah, copyright really is a bitch to figure out sometimes.

  5. It’s in 1.5. Considering how usually “reissues” in video games can’t even use the original VOICE ACTING, that confused me too. However, I bet a better more movie-like license was drafted up for Kingdom Hearts back in the day, one that was a bit more forward thinking.

    And no, Chain of Memories still doesn’t have Deep Jungle in it.

    Yeah, 358/2 being cinematics only is a bit… meh, but on the other hand the two DS games were pretty boring as far as gameplay went. The story in Days was amazing, but otherwise that game just was a BORE to play. Same worlds, over and over again, boring missions in each, for day after day on end. Yeah, it got old fast. I only kept going because the story interested me.

    They are repeating this in Kingdom Hearts 2.5. It’ll have the Final Mix of Kingdom Hearts 2 and Birth By Sleep, and nothing more than the cinematics of coded. Again, annoying, but I wouldn’t want to put anyone through coded. The gameplay is a little more solid, but once again, we’re reliving a data simulation of KH1, just like Chain of Memories. Ugh! Same worlds, again and again. To make it worse, by the end the simulation simulates Castle Oblivion. That’s right, after going through the same worlds AGAIN, you go to Chain of Memories, a data simulation of when Sora went through his own memories, so you go through those worlds again, again! (Fortunately, they are reduced to a single room for each world, but still, that’s repetitive to the point of comedy).

    However, I will say it gets confusing when the cinematics in Days indicate a boss fight, and then it just skips over that boss fight. I wish they’d pulled a Shenmu and put together scripted boss fight cinematics for the important fights.

    Oh yes! Mato, the 3DS game is actually really good, on par with Birth by Sleep with whole new worlds and everything. It is a good jumping in point because it explains enough for you to get into it at the start (you’re on a training mission with a wizard, and he sends you into the dream world, seriously, it gets VERY Inception by the end). More to the point, as you go through the 3DS game, you unlock synopses of all the previous games in the series. I’m actually rather impressed that they managed to break down KH’s incredibly convoluted storyline into those short blurbs, but it’ll catch you up in time for KH3 (named as such because Squeenix is going with the “because I said so” system of sequel numbering).

    1. I think it’s a wise choice what they did given, as you pointed out, how dull 358/2 Days was with its repetitive mission nonsense. As for Coded, that game only had its various gameplay concepts (the Matrix board and the different versions of combat in each world) awarded as its only strong point whereas the whole thing is just a messy waste of time in general. Dream Drop is the only one of the Nintendo portable line that even gets it right and moves the story forward in a way that makes us care.

    2. ugh… even as early as Chain of Memories, I found the idea of repeating the same worlds highly questionable. It leaves me asking “aren’t there OTHER Disney movies they could use?” But no, it seems Squenix’s strategy is exactly the same as Disney’s: whore out anything and everything from the Disney Princess catalog and ignore almost everything else.


    Deep Jungle is one of the most laborious, tedious worlds in the game, and it’s the last world where you play without the Cure spell, which makes the game INFINITELY more playable. Also, once you head back to Traverse Town after finishing the Deep Jungle, you get an upgrade to the Gummi Ship that lets you instantly teleport to any world you’re already reached, meaning you don’t have to keep doing the really long stupid Gummi Ship sequence EVERY TIME you have to go anywhere you’ve already been to before.

    And all that dudes-in-robes-with-too-many-X’s stuff is KH2. Now…I still love it, but that’s my taste. You REALLY should finish KH1 though.

    Anyway this article is cool. I was wondering this same thing about Jane and “English”. Now I know!

  7. This question reminds me a lot of something interesting I spotted in Phoenix Wright!

    Since I study both French and German, I played Turnabout Sisters from the original game, my favorite case in the series, in both of those languages. In the original English localized versions of the script, the setting of the game is Los Angeles. However, for the French version, they moved the setting to France, while the German one keeps it in Los Angeles (as well as all the other European languages, as I’ve read). At one point in the case, Redd White says something like “You do speak English, right?” Of course, in the French version, this is changed to “Francais.” However, in the German version, they actually directly translated it implying they were speaking English! It makes sense since it’s still in America, but it really struck me as odd that he said he was speaking English when I was reading it in German. And since everything’s in German, right down to the famous exclamations in court, I don’t think there’s any evidence outside of that quote that the game is translating into German what I guess is canonically supposed to be said in English.

    Another interesting note on the European translations I played is that in German, all of the character’s names were exactly the same, while French changed most of the names, usually changing the English puns into French ones – even important characters like Edgeworth and Gumshoe! I totally went on a tangent but there’s some crappy little Legends of European Localization info from me I guess. ๐Ÿ˜› I absolutely love this site, it’s very interesting examining a non-Latin language so much – the most recent article on furigana was very insightful and something I never understood before!

  8. Not completely related to the post, but close enough in my opinion: I’ve always been kinda fascinated with the Japanese dubs of Disney movies. I find Japanese translations of western works more interesting than the opposite (not that I don’t find Japanese to English interesting too, obviously, otherwise I wouldn’t be here), Disney movies in particular since I’m such a big fan of them. Maybe because I am a westerner myself.

    Shame I don’t know Japanese or own any of the Disney movies in the language. It’d be interesting to see. Closest I’ve ever gotten is Japanese dubs of the songs with English translation on Youtube.

  9. Fun fact: In the original novel TARZAN OF THE APES by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Jane and her father are American, though they’re traveling with a British man. Which makes sense, what with Burroughs being American, although on the flipside, Tarzan himself is of British lineage.


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