Q&A: Pocky & Rocky & the Adversary Monster

McGregor sent in a question about Pocky & Rocky a while back:

Hey Tomato,

I am your reader! I’m a Long time reader of your blogs, I even used to read your long gone One Piece blog, and really like what you’ve been doing with it so far with legends of localization.

I was playing the SNES game Pocky and Rocky when I noticed some odd dialogue by the bosses in game. I was thinking that lines like “I am your adversary” were a bit odd and smacked of a mistranslation but also seem to fit with the tone of the game the enemies would be blunt and to the point. I know that these blunt lines are some of the reasons fans like the but I’m wondering if this is just a case of mistranslation.

Oh man, I forgot about my old One Piece site 😯

Anyway, here’s a look at the “I am your adversary” line in both Japanese and English (and thanks a billion for taking screenshots for me!):

In the Japanese version, this character says something like, “Guhehe… *I* am your opponent!”

In the English version, he says, “Ha, ha I am your adversary.”

As a translation, it’s not exactly wrong, besides maybe the weird lack of punctuation. But I can see why it might seem “off” – the phrase “I am your opponent” in Japanese often equates in tone or mood to something like, “Now you’re messin’ with ME!” But as a straight translation it often feels kind of awkward in English. Plus it’s not something any intimidating person or creature would really say, except maybe some sort of robot. It just sounds weird.

On a deeper level, though, this character actually speaks in a rural-sounding dialect from northeastern Japan, which also fits the vibe of the monster’s sprite.

The English translation doesn’t really convey this same feeling – especially with the use of the word “adversary”. So between the clashing presentation and the bland translation, it makes sense that this English version doesn’t feel quite right.

As for what a proper localization might sound like, I’d actually like to open that up to commenters! If you have any good rural-sounding lines for “Now you’re dealing with me!” or “You’re fighting me now!”, post them in the comments!

Some ideas off the top of my own head might be, “You’re fixin’ for a whuppin’!” or “I’m gonna whup y’all!”

…Meh, those are lame, I know it could be done better. So share your ideas in the comments for all to enjoy 😀

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  1. “Suepr NES” “hown ead”… Wow, Mato. A bit lazy in the proofreading department, are we? 😛

    In all seriousness, I’ve never heard of this game, but if I were to localize that line I’d probably go with something like “Get ready for a whuppin’!”.

  2. Problem is, by this point, lines like these are considered too overused and predictable to be used in translation. No one likes hearing Southern English speak for characters who are from the countryside in anime and games anymore (even if it’s supposed to make 100% sense in context). It’s become as bland as Osaka-ben.

    “I’m gonna whoop you good, boy!”

    Do you think the Pocky and Rocky line would have been better if the line included “now” at the end of his statement and an exclamation mark?

    “Ha ha, I am your adversary now!”

  3. In Texas, we have a few colorful sayings. Please remember, we don’t like to use the “g” and the end of “-ing” suffixes. I have heard “I’m gonna give you a learnin'” which means the same thing as beating sense into someone. If you are a kid, you might hear you parent say that they will take you to “the learnin’ tree”. That meant you had to go outside, find a tree and cut off a nice thin flexible tree branch, and the parent used that for the spanking. The branch is called a “switch” and sometimes when you got the beating, it’s called a “switchin'”. I’ve also heard “take you out to the woodshed”. Some people still have sheds to hold wood and the beatings are carried out in them. I remember my own mom saying to someone that she would beat them “9 ways to Sunday” or even “every day of the week and twice on Sunday.” My personal favorite was “kick your ass up one side of the street and down the other”. When I used to watch wrestling, Jim Ross or Steve Austin would say “stomp a mud hole in you and walk it dry” or “whip you like a government mule”.

  4. Perhaps “Gahahah! Yer in for a real beatdown, now.” or something? (Though I have to admit that, for being born and raised in Texas, lived there for a good 20+ years, I cannot sound Southern to save my life, much less Texan, so. But it’s a thought, anyway!)


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