There are so many games that I’d like to sit down and do detailed analyses of – some include:

  • Contra
  • Super Mario Bros. 3
  • Duck Tales
  • Mega Man
  • Final Fantasy VI
  • Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
  • Gitaroo Man
  • EarthBound Zero

I’d also like to do similar comparisons for non-game media, like movies and such. I hope to compare the Japanese version of “The Wizard” with the original American release, for example.

But I want to know what other people want to see on Legends of Localization! So if you have any suggestions, send me a message!


  1. Have you ever thought about doing a Chrono Trigger analysis. Also if you need any info on the PS1 version of Final Fantasy IV,I only use the PS1 version of the game. I can get a lot of lines.

    1. Yep, I’ve thought about it! I get the feeling it’s been analyzed to death though – there’ve even been multiple patches to try to translate the game as literally as possible. I don’t know if I can really dig as deep as the guys at the Chrono Compendium – they’re some pretty dedicated, hardcore fans 😯

      For the PS1 version, I do have lots of screenshots throughout most of the plot points of the game, but I’m finding that I’m missing screenshots of stuff outside the main plot sometimes. Things like Mythril Town and such. It’s no huge deal though – what I’ve taken to doing is watching a Let’s Play of the PS1 version whenever I’m missing screenshots 😛

  2. Hiya! I love the work you’re doing here. Since finding your site, I’ve sat down and read all the way through pretty much everything here (except Mother 3, since I’ve only just gotten into playing Earthbound.)

    I don’t so much have a question about getting you to cover a specific game, so much as I’m wondering if you’ve thought about covering any games that were initially American or English released and seeing what changes were made to the characters and story for the Japanese market?

    Thanks for all you’re doing, and good luck!

    1. Yep, that’s one thing I really, really want to do sometime. I actually came up with a good game choice the other day but now I don’t remember it at all, ack 😯 One of my next projects is going to be something along those lines though, so it’s gonna be fun!

      1. Would that be Shadowgate? I was going to ask if you were still considering doing that. It’s not my kind of game, but it’s an interesting perspective. After reading MANY complaints about terrible English translations done by culturally ignorant Yanks who can’t appreciate Japanese genius, it would be refreshing to see it from the other direction. I wonder if they even have cases where they blame localization for things that were in the original, like how we have the “graveyard duck”. But I’m getting far ahead of myself

        1. Actually, the project I was talking about was The Wizard, but right now it’s on hold for a little bit while I try to figure out what direction I wanna take LoL in.

  3. Would you ever consider doing the first generation of Pokemon?

    I know it would be A LOT of work though :/

    1. Yeah, the first generation is the only one I really know, although I don’t know it THAT well. I played it when it first came out, which was like OH GOD years ago. It’d be really interesting and I’m sure a lot of people would find it entertaining… although I’d assume those games have already been analyzed to death by now.

  4. You should do Cave Story – compare the original Japanese, the iconic fan translation, and the official Nicalis translation.

    1. To kind of elaborate, I’d like to see all the various alliteration, humor, and names and such to see how they’d have to localize things like that for their audience. I’m not sure how the japanese take sexual references, as sneaky as the ones in the banjo games are.

      1. I’ve actually only played a few minutes of the game so it’s something I’d have to really dig into to get familiar with. That said, I think that sort of reverse localization would be something really cool to look into. That and maybe Conker, if it even made it to Japan…

        1. Yeah. If you were to compare conker, it was only released in Japan in the Xbox rerelease, live and reloaded. Might be a little more tricky to get your hands on, since no one in Japan had got an Xbox from what I’ve heard.

  5. Vayne Solidor

    Have you ever thought about doing anime comparisons *cough summerwars cough*

    Oh and BTW, I’m the guy who asked about chrono trigger up top. I just like this name better, it’s from FFXII I think.

  6. Hello. I am Bregalad from I know you are probably getting lots of suggestions. But I can’t refrain to ask something.

    It would be REALLY amazing if you did, at least in part, the Phoenix Wright / Gyakuten Saibai series.
    The reason for it is that they’re not just simple translations/localisations. Mudrers has to be solved, and at many places in the game, writing and names, plays an important role of the game’s story. It goes without saying that this had to be changed very significantly from the japanese version, which involves kanjis, probably more than in any other type of game.

    There is of course no need to compare all dialogues side-by-side (which would be INCREDIBLY time consuming for you !) but to point out how names were localized, and how japanese writing was removed for the murders.

    I played the French version of the games, and I have to tell it “looks” like they were well translated (I don’t speak japanese so I can’t tell, but the end result is coherent and makes sense), BUT they tried to remove all reference to Japan and to settle the game in Paris, which is, in my opinion a terrible idea. Esepcially since the second game where Asian references are apparent all the time, where it is very obvious the game is supposed to take place in Asia, despite itself telling the opposite.


  7. This is just a quick suggestion but it’s something that’s been sort of bugging me since I noticed it. I read an LP for Dragon Warrior IV and Ragnar was pretty straight-forwardly translated, but then I looked up a video for the DS re-release of the game, and Ragnar and his whole kingdom had a sort of Scottish brogue going on. Was there originally a dialect in his town that was never translated in the NES version, or was that totally made up for the DS version?

  8. I actually came here to suggest Megaman 1, Contra, and Final Fantasy VI, so I’m pleased to see that you’re already considering each of those. An analysis of the original Metroid manual could be interesting as well.

    As for something a bit more obscure, how about Clash at Demonhead? I assume that had some heavy-handed alterations during the English localization.

  9. I think you should do a comparison of a Kirby game.
    Kirby Super Star for the SNES HAS A LOT of localization diferences!
    I think a MARIO RPG game comparison would be awesome too!
    There’s lots of them. There’s the original Super Mario RPG and the Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi RPG series.

    1. That would be good.

      I would like to see the differences between each version of each Kirby game.

      I also agree with Super Mario RPG.

  10. How about Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga? I’ve played it a million times, so hearing your take on it and its differences would be fantastic.

  11. Hello!

    I just discovered your site and wantend to point Suikoden Tierkreis to your attention. I think the game is very good but there are some translations issues. The main one concerns the name of some characters and how they are written. It’s especially egregious because there are also voice acting so you can actually hear how the name are supposed to be pronounced, and thus written. It seems to be a case of separating the workload between very different people who never interracted, and that was never caught.
    Case in point: Sisuca is pronounced Shizuka, Meruvis is pronounced Melvis, Diadora is pronounced Deirdre.and of course the wives of Danash VIII: Shairah, Rizwan and Kureyah whose names are pronounced Sheila, Lizlan and Claire (those were clearly translated by an intern since they were not playable characters. He fucked up greatly).

    It’s tricky to say whether the names have just been written weirdly to look more exotic/fantasy-like, but frankly, it just seems like the person translating the katakana never took 10 min to listen to how the name were actually pronounced and made rookie mistakes wrt the r/l sound and the si/shi dichotomy between different tranliteration methods of Japanese. The three wives are inexcusable but I’m only half joking when I say I think they weren’t translated by the main translator since at least for Shairah and Kureyah, they’re actually pretty standard katakana writings for those names.

    BONUS: in the French version of the game, the Aged People from the villages you visit have seen their names translated to Gens d’Aged (people from Aged) by a particularly inept person (probably the same aforementioned intern). I wonder how many young French players were very confused by all those old people coming from this mysterious Aged village you never visit or hear about otherwise.

  12. Moritaka Mashiro

    Hello, Mato-sama! This suggestion isn’t about a game but more about updates in general. Instead of updating comparisons page by page, what if you slowly updated the page bit by bit. This would give us more stuff to read and the completion time doesn’t really change much from the way it is now! I was just throwing this out there

    1. No sama! I’m not worthy!

      Anyway, yeah, I’m still trying to figure out a way to keep updates rolling while also not going crazy but also not taking forever. I haven’t solved the problem yet, plus adding blog posts into the mix doesn’t help much (but it’s interesting in its own way!)

      1. Moritaka Masihiro

        Calling you Sama is an understatement!! Yeah, the blog posts are what hold me over until the actual comparison pages come out. I think the whole “Pay to lower the Page completion time” is cool (Even if I can’t afford to do much with it). I also wanted to say, I love what you’re doing here. I wouldn’t be able to show off my knowledge of the Japanese language if it wasn’t for this website.

  13. Hi Mato! I was wondering if there was any explanation to a particular peculiarity in the naming of Castlevania games in Japan.
    In English, all of the games are known as “Castlevania”, with the exception of of “Vampire Killer” for the MSX2 (which was released before the name Castlevania was invented), and “Haunted Castle” (which was an arcade game).
    In Japan, the series is, for the most part, known as 悪魔城ドラキュラ.
    However… when “Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance” was released, it was called キャッスルヴァニア 白夜の協奏曲, actually using the English “Castlevania” name in Japan for the first time. Soon after, Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow received similar treatment and was named キャッスルヴァニア 暁月の円舞曲. Even more bizarrely, Castlevania: Lament of Innocence was simply titled キャッスルヴァニア with no subtitle at all. The sequel to Aria of Sorrow, named Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow in English, went back to the Akumajou name with 悪魔城ドラキュラ 蒼月の十字架… They would continue to use the standard Akumajou name for several games…but then, Lords of Shadow was released, and in Japan it’s known as キャッスルヴァニア ロード オブ シャドウ. What the heck, why suddenly back to the English style name?
    Also, the Sega Mega Drive game known as Castlevania Bloodlines was called バンパイアキラー in Japan, adding yet another point of confusion with the English name for the MSX2 game.

    Also of interest, is that it there seem to be five completely different games that are called nothing but “悪魔城ドラキュラ” with no subtitle…the NES original, MSX2 Vampire Killer, Castlevania Chronicles for the X68000, Super Castlevania IV for SNES and Haunted Castle Arcade are ALL named, simply “悪魔城ドラキュラ”. the only connection between these games is that they all involve Simon Belmont, as opposed to any other protagonist. Pretty neat but also pretty confusing.

    This reminds me of how, in Europe there are four entirely different games called, plainly, “Castlevania” with no subtitle. the NES original, the N64 one, and then both Circle of the Moon and Lament of Innocense had their subtitles removed for Europe. It’s funny because all four of these games share precisely nothing between each other, unlike the Japanese connection of featuring Simon.

    Anyway, I’m rambling now.

    1. Having insight into why the Japanese games decided to go with the Castlevania name would definitely be interesting. For what it’s worth, Castlevania in the Japanese series goes all the way back to CV3/Akumajou Densetsu, where it’s used on the map of Wallachia. I believe the first time it was used in a Japanese title was Castlevania Chronicles, which was called both Castlevania Chronicle and Akumajou Nendaiki: Akumajou Dracula in Japan.

    2. It was Koji Igarashi’s decision to rebrand the series “Castlevania” in Japan, mainly because he wanted the franchise to be known under the same brand in every region, but also because he wanted to make games that didn’t necessarily involve Dracula or his castle. Of course, it didn’t pan out, seeing how they went back to the Akumajou branding with the DS installments.


      As for Lords of Shadow, I’m guessing they deliberately kept the western branding for the Japanese version since it’s a western developed entry in the series (and a reboot as well).

  14. CrouchingMouse

    Hi Tomato,

    I’m a big fan of the Tales series, and I know you worked on the Tales of Vesperia movie and played that game a while back. I think it’d be fascinating if you did a comparison of one of the Tales games – maybe Phantasia, since there seems to be some controversy around its fan translation and the Nintendo translation on the GBA (though after FF4 you probably don’t wanna do another 3-way comparison!). Or maybe Vesperia, since you’ve actually played it. =p

    Personally I’d love to get a closer look at the Japanese version of Symphonia, but getting a Japanese PS2 just for one game is out of my budget right now…but I’d be interested in seeing a comparison for any of them! I know you’re always super-busy and have a million things you wanna do but I’ll cross my fingers.

    Please keep up the good work!

    1. The GBA version of Phantasia had the infamous “Kangaroo” mistranslation. (was supposed to be “Ragnarok”). Hehe. Might be interesting to look at.

      I’ve personally been playing Vesperia in Japanese on the PS3, and I can’t really see much difference between the English version on the XB360, translationwise. Of course there are many many added scenes in the PS3 version, but everything seems to be fairly similar overall.

      One cool thing though is how various in-game jargon words have kanji that are written but aren’t pronounced. For example, “Brave Vesperia” is seen in text as 凛々の明星 (riri no akaboshi), but the characters say “bureibu besuperia” in their voice-acting. I find it really cool. 😀

      1. I actually do want to take a stab at the original Phantasia someday – if only to see how good/bad the fan translation is. I know it’s infamous for like two lines, but I’m curious to know what the quality of all the other 99.99% of the translation is.

        Man, I gotta find a way to turn this into a side job so I can focus on more games, so many things to look through!

  15. Concerning the Mario and Luigi series, I’m curious as to how the speech of Fawful in the English localization differed from that of the original Japanese.

  16. Donkey Kong Country. It’d be ridiculously easy, as you’d only need to compare names and such. The Japanese games are called Super Donkey Kong, just so you know.

  17. Mato! I’m very impressed with your work, and really enjoyed reading through your Mother 2 – EarthBound guide. I kept talking about it and sharing things from it with friends and my wife, all of whom are like “I don’t caaaaaaaaaare…”

    I’m excited to look through the guides you currently have uploaded for the other games you’ve done so far.

    I guess I’d wonder if you’d be interested in looking at FF5, 7 and 8 (I know you’re sorta doing something with 7 right now). 9 was fantastic, I could just tell, and 10…well Alexander Smith is friggen amazing, as you’ve duly noted elsewhere.

    I also wonder about Tales of Phantasia.

    Also also, maybe the Secret of Mana (Seiken Densetsu 2 and 3) games would be interesting to see the differences. And I KNOW Breath of Fire 2 was absolutely horrendous.

    I dunno. I guess that’s it. My favorite game is Chrono Trigger, but the DS translation was excellent, and the Compendium has done enough work that I’d leave it at that (though it bugs me that they left so many Japanese honorifics in; I felt it should’ve been more of a localization rather than a literal translation, but bah).

    Again, love your work!

    1. Haha, I love your wife’s response. If you REALLY want to drive someone batty, the FFIV section goes into such crazy detail that only an insane person would be willing to write up so much stuff 😛

      I’m definitely interested in doing lots of the FF games someday… it’s just that it takes me so long to get through one RPG that I gotta find a better way to handle these projects. I don’t think I’ll take on FF7 anytime soon… that game is HUGE. But it’s also perfect for analyzing… ARGH

      I do want to take a look at Tales of Phantasia sometime, to see how bad or not-as-bad-as-everyone-says the fan translation is.

      1. Yeah…reading through your FFIV guide now, I TOTALLY see where you’re coming from. I actually am thinking you oughta slow down! I don’t want you to collapse from exhaustion! Haha! Still, lots of fun reading through that, and cool work!

        My take-away from your FFIV guide, so far, is a kind of feeling of frustration, sadly. I see where you’re coming from with your analysis of all the different releases and their translations (and associated flaws). And…when I think about which version I’d want to play (in order to get the best English)…I can’t pick one, since they all have so many problems! Bah!

        I really just want to learn Japanese at this point, haha.

        1. I don’t think I’m frustrated with FFIV’s translations – if anything, I find analyzing them and enjoying them in this new way to be a really fun diversion. I’d like to be able to focus more of my time on it, but as it’s just a side project for fun I can’t dedicate as much time to as I’d like 🙁 I’d love to be able to turn this into a job of some sort, that way I could look at lots more games more often. I’m just not sure how to do that yet.

  18. Mato-sama, have you ever considered having a mobile site for Legends of Localizations? I often read on a phone or on my iPod touch. I’m not sure how you would do it but, it would be neat!

  19. I got an iPhone a few months back so I’m starting to understand the usefulness of mobile versions of sites. I’m not sure I have the time anytime soon to put a mobile version together. I can change CSS rules to make it kinda look better on mobile platforms but it might still look crappy. I do want to give the site a proper, professional design someday though (maybe I’ll hire someone even), so maybe I can do it then.

    1. The site looks nice right now, I like the simplistic quality of it. It’s better than anything I could do with HTML. Thanks for responding!

  20. Hello! I LOVE YOUR SITE! I showed it to all my friends! It’s some really good info!
    So, I’ve aways been wondering:
    What does Kamek says in the Japanese version of Yoshi’s Island for the SNES?
    You know, he says something different everytime we encounter a boss.
    His dialog was completely rewritten for the GBA remake. So I was curious about his dialogs in the Japanese version. Oh, a comparison of the intro and the ending would be nice too. Those were also rewritten for the GBA remake. Pretty please? I really wanna know!

  21. Bionic Commando is infamous for the schizophrenic quality of its translation, it alternates between garbled and broken (“This base will explod in 60 seconds”, “Watch out for the elevator!” “Now we have you.”), overly censored (“GET THE HECK OUT OF HERE, YOU NERD!”), and both stunningly comprehensible and chillingly uncensored (“You’re going to fight against me? You damn fool.”). On top of that, when I tried playing the Japanese version it used kanji, in a relatively plotless NES platformer! What’s the deal?

  22. I’m gonna ask a simpler Castlevania question here. In Symphony of the Night, there’s a flying scarecrow head enemy called “Schmoo”. In Japanese, it’s called キュウ (Kyuu). I don’t know if this is a reference to anything in either language. It’s a particularly notable enemy for a few reasons. One, it appears in the Forbidden Library. The only other enemies in there are the “Lion”, the “Scarecrow” and the “Tin Man”, which are all references do Wizard of Oz. The Schmoo doesn’t seem to fit. The other notable trait it has is that it has a rare chance of dropping the unquestionably best weapon in the game Crissaegrim (Valmanway in Japanese).

  23. Here’s something that might be worth investigating.

    Supposedly, Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door contains a transgendered character that was rewritten as a female in the American version. To make things stranger, this character – Vivian – is constantly insulted by her siblings, which has brought up the suggesting that she’s only being called male as an insult.

    1. Yep, that’s high on my list of stuff I’d like to really dig into and verify for myself. The problem is I need both versions of the game AND a lot of time to check things thoroughly. And I definitely remember that game taking a long while to get through 😯 And the Vivian + sisters stuff was scattered all throughout the game 😯

  24. So there’s a line in Ace Attorney Investigations that I’m curious about.

    Basically, there’s a case where one of the plot points in a murder is that the victim was killed with a gun, and guns are hard to obtain.

    In the American version, this is kind of awkward, since the localization says that the series takes place in America.

    They mention something called the “Federal Firearms Restriction Act” to explain why guns are so rare in America in the Ace Attorney world. Presumably sometime between now and the near-future of Ace Attorney strict gun control was passed.

    However, obviously gun control is already pretty strong in Japan, so I’m curious about what they say instead in the Japanese version there. The law they mentioned sounds like something added in localization to fix that plot hole caused by moving the series to the US.

    Here’s where it’s mentioned:


  25. Hello, Mr. Mato! I have a couple questions for you. The first one is a pretty simple one about a really well-known game. The second is the one I’m admittedly more interested in, but it’s for a very obscure game, and finding the answer would probably be pretty difficult! So while I’m offering up the first one as a sort of easy, “doable” one, the second one is kind of my pipe dream question. If you will.

    So! First question. It’s about the original Paper Mario! In that game, there’s a partner character named Watt. According to the manual, the official strategy guide, and some dialogue in the game, Watt is female. However, when you use a Super Block to power her up, it refers to her as male! Similarly, in Super Paper Mario, you can get a special rare card with Watt on it that also calls her male! So my question is, what was she like in Japanese? Was she definitely female there, or more gender ambiguous, and the NoA translators decided to go with female? But mess up? And why does it come back in SPM? If you could be like Watt, and shed some light on the situation (see what I did there?), that’d be great!

    The second one also involves character gender, but the game it’s from is much, MUCH more obscure! It’s a Wii RPG called Opoona. Now, in the game, there are alien creatures called Nikonikos. They’re really adorable, but also really pompous and stuck-up, because they come from a planet of huge art buffs and the ones you meet are all exchange students who came to the planet the game takes place on in order to study its art. 😛 There are two main characters of the species you can meet, Masao and Ine. Masao is very clearly male; his in-game description refers to him as such, and he gets a number of dialogues that pinpoint him as male. Ine, however, is less clear! Ine’s name sounds a bit more feminine (It sounds a bit like “Ines/Inez”, a real-world female name), but the in-game dialogue ping-pongs between using male and female pronouns! The game has a pretty, er, spotty translation, so I suspect some sort of error is at play here. And of course they’re aliens, so you can’t tell just by looking! 😛 So I’m dying to know: What was Ine’s original gender? If you somehow could find out, it’d be amazing!

  26. Hi! I have a very specific question for you.

    I recently made a friend of mine who’s into sci-fi stuff play through Phantasy Star IV (which turned out to be a bit of a bust since the Phantasy Star series is heavy on “Phantasy” and light on “Star”, a fact that I forgot since it had been about fourteen years since I played it last, but I digress). The translation seemed good enough – or at least, anything peculiar, I knew the story behind it or had a decent rationalization, which is as good as it gets for most of us, I suppose.

    There was one line, however, that struck us both as odd, though. It’s a conversation that happens a little bit into the game. Let me just give you a transcript (I took it from this page, for reference:

    RIKA: “This place is still alive… It has become independent from Seed
    and Nurvus!”

    (Demi steps to the control panel. Rika looks over her shoulder, Chaz
    stands behind her, and Gryz stands near the door.)

    DEMI: “A lot of other machines are housed here, but they haven’t been
    used for a long time. They probably need some repairs.”

    CHAZ: “I have no idea what these machines are, but this is some place.
    You’re pretty adept at handling these machines. Were you caught
    by Zio while you were trying to get the system back under control?”

    DEMI: “Yes, that’s right. Zio is very violent.”

    GRYZ: “Very funny.” <————!??!!?

    What is very funny!? Was this a pun? Is Demi acting facetious? I don't even know.

    I apologize if you haven't played this and it doesn't make much sense with no context. I haven't been able to find a Japanese script dump anywhere, otherwise I'd try and help point you to the right line in Japanese, at least. Also, for what it's worth, there's a script of the final Prototype version of the game, with many script differences, and this conversation is identical there. I know it's a longshot, but I really want to sate my curiosity, and Phantasy Star IV seems to be the only script that the PS community hasn't torn apart and examined. So, I look to you! If you please. Thank you.

  27. There’s no particularly instance jumped out to me, but The Wonderful 101 might turn out to be interesting to look at. It’s a Japanese action game based on Super Sentai / Power Rangers, but the director’s games have almost always English-language even in their Japanese release (Resident Evil 4, Devil May Cry). Even this one had English voices in most of the Japanese trailers.

    It’s dual language, so footage of both languages may not be hard to find. The things that seemed different to me were the speech patterns and the absence of a lot of French jokes.

  28. Well,ever heard of a platformer named “The Legend of Stafy” (sometimes called “The Legendary Starfy”,it’s in a situation similar of the MOTHER series (5 games,1,the suckiest,translated)and it’s VERY japanese,but quite short (except the 2nd game,which has 11 worlds,and the 3rd one,which has a surprisingly long plot)it may look like a kirby knock-off,but is an entirely different game

  29. Masihiro Moritaka

    Mato-Sama, have you considered doing a legend of localization podcast? Maybe it could just be a little audio log to go along with site updates!

  30. Oh man. I was just playing Xenoblade (so I’m a bit behind the times; sue me) and I just encountered something I just HAD to ask about. o_o

    There’s a playable character in Xenoblade named Riki. All of his skills have “cutesy”-sounding names, like Bitey Bitey and Hero Time! He also happens to get a trio of skills with very similar effects (area of effect skills that cause some kind of damage-dealing status effect), named Lurgy, Freezinate, and Burninate. The first two are silly but definitely convey what the skills do–they cause poison and freezing–but the last one will ring immediate bells with anyone familiar with the classic web cartoon “Homestar Runner.” It’s the both the title and signature ability of the series’ resident dragon, Trogdor the Burninator! At first this seems like a straightforward reference added by the localization team, but the fact that “Freezinate” mirrors it makes me wonder if the original Japanese version didn’t have similar names for all of these skills, and somehow “Freezinate/Burninate” is actually a logical (or at least sensibly adapted) translation! Maybe they were originally a similar reference that Japanese fans would recognize? Or maybe they were even the skill’s original names? It seems unlikely that a Japanese game would reference a uniquely Western web cartoon, but I’ve seen stranger references in Japanese media, so maybe it’s possible!

    So my question is, what were the original names of Riki’s skills? Did the localization team just add a reference for fun? Was there a reference already there that they adapted for Western audiences? Or do the names actually reflect the originals in some ways?

    Thanks as always! I imagine a Japanese wiki or fansite for the game would have a list of the skills available, so it shouldn’t be too hard to compare.

  31. Dear Mr. Mato,

    Being a big fan of Ninja Gaiden and recently being on a Ninja Gaiden kick I have two topics I’d like to ask you about:

    1) What are the Fiends in the modern Ninja Gaiden games? Are they demons? What’s the word used for them in Japanese? Are they implied to be the same bad guys as in the originals (The Demon and all that)?

    2) There’s one Ninja Gaiden game that was never translated, “Ninja Gaiden X”, a sidescroller game for cell phones. (Being released around the same time as the modern Ninja Gaiden games, it’s title is Ninja Gaiden even in Japanese.) The only piece of media I’ve ever found is this video and basically nothing else:
    My doubts lie in: What is it even about? Who Ryu talking to? What is he doing? Who is he fighting? Does it have anything to do with _anything_?

    Sorry if this doesn’t really fall under what you normally do on this site.

    Thank you for the great site!

    1. Wow, that reads kinda ramble-y and is not clear at all! That’s what I get for posting while half asleep.

      Here’s my actual questions:

      1) The monstrous enemies in the modern Ninja Gaiden are called Fiends in English. I wondered what they are called in Japanese, and if “Fiend” is an accurate translation, or if they just didn’t want to say the word “Demon”.

      2) [NOTE: This one is may be to much to ask] What is the plot in Ninja Gaiden X?

      There we go, less wordy, more actual questions.

  32. Have you ever considered looking at the Dreamcast Bangai-o’s translation? The game is infamous for it’s hilariously bad translation, and Hardcore Gaming 101 posits that it must have been done intentionally to emulate the low-quality translations of some 8-bit games. But the peculiarities of Bangai-o’s dialogue seem completely unique to the game, and have an odd consistency.

    Really, I just want to know what they mean when they say things like “Today in the Infostation It’s Miracle Lucky Time with the super sexy M,” and “But, if you kill my brother, will there there be anything good?”.

  33. I’m really interested in the Japanese perspective on StarTropics. The game only came out in North America and Europe, so how well known is it among Japanese Nintendo fans? Is there a fan translation out there? What’s the general Japanese opinion on it? Also curious about StarTropics II, but to a lesser extent.

  34. Hello Mato, I know you’re a big fan of FFIV, but there is one thing I didn’t see you fully address… you mention in Mysidia 1 that Porom’s Cry command supposedly makes it easier to run away from foes. That is the common belief over in America, but do any of the Japanese translations of Fake Tears mention anything different?

    I’ve done the hacking and saw that there is no such thing as “being able to run away from foes faster” because FFIV doesn’t have a Run Strength system. You can be level 10 and still run away from any foe in an instant as long as you were not ambushed or back attacked.

    What Porom’s command actually does, surprisingly.. it takes her “Steal Evade” (may be used for other matters but I’ve only seen it used in Steal Evade) which is always 10, divides it by 2 and subtracts a Monster’s Steal Evade. Meaning that you will be more easily able to steal things…

    But in the normal game this goes Completely unused since you can never have Edge and Porom in the party at the same time and I’m not sure about the GBA version of FFIV, but the PSP version changed Porom’s Cry command completely something useful, a free confuse-all.

  35. Alright, here’s a comparison that I am sure you would like. And that is none other than Metal Gear Solid 2, especially the last bits. I hope you’re up for the task.

    1. Ok, I am aware that you might be too busy to do a full-game analysis of MGS2 at this time but it would be great if you could pick a few of the ‘crazy Colonel’ calls from the Arsenal Gear segment and post comparisons of them. It is likely that there might be a few in-jokes and references that more or less got lost in translations.

      1. The crazy colonel stuff was pretty much the same in the Japanese version. One interesting thing is that when Colonel quotes the original Metal Gear, in the Japanese version the text in the subtitles was entirely in katakana. Like a lot of games from that era, the original Metal Gear’s text was all in katakana (and also some English thrown in; e.g. BIG BOSS and SNAKE). I think in the English version of MGS2 they approximated this by having it in all caps (again, like a lot of games from that time).

        Another thing that stands out is that both the Japanese version and the English subtitles refer to “Hara-kiri Rock”, but Colonel pronounces it as “Harry-Carrie Rock”. I think Harakiri was written in katakana in the Japanese version (ハラキリ).

    1. Here are some videos to use as reference:

      Whirlo (Europe) full play: (The Cualkman Steven, his father Andy, and the evil Malix)

      Sandra no Daibouken (Japan) full play: (The Quarkman Sabine, his/her mother Andy, and the evil Zouna)

      Rosa no Bouken: (Michelle)

      Namco x Capcom (Prologue 2): (Sabine says “mother”, 母さん, so Andy is known to be female)

  36. This would be a fairly big project, probably bigger than the result would be worth, but I’ve noticed that Okami has a lot of untranslated kanji.

    They appear (and disappear, and reappear) on the walls of the battle scenes (of which there are at least two types, one of which seems to have far more density of kanji than the other); they appear on various signs around the game (some, possibly most, of which have at least a hint of their meaning in dialog that *was* translated); each of the so-called “brush gods” (which are associated with the signs of the Chinese zodiac) appears as one specific kanji when they join you (some of these match up visibly with the Roman-alphabet names of the gods – e.g., Kazegami the horse gets the kanji 風 – but not all do); some appear in assorted UI elements (most obviously, but not limited to, the “praise” symbols that you pick up throughout the game); there are probably others I’ve missed or forgotten.

    I’d be interested to know what these mean, the various mostly-standalone kanji more than the others. Some of them I could figure out myself via dictionary lookup from screenshots and similar techniques, but I’m not sure I could identify all of them accurately that way, since the whole motif of the game is brushwork and many of the kanji are drawn accordingly – meaning they aren’t exactly distinct in some cases. I’m sure you could do a better job of it in any case.

    It’s a good game, but it’s also a big one, and I’m not sure going through it with this in mind would be worthwhile unless you were also interested in playing the game for itself. Still, I wanted to make the suggestion – not for a full localization comparison, but at least for a smaller “explain the untranslated stuff” blog-post entry.

    If it helps, many though probably not all of these kanji are clearly visible in the World of Longplays video run of the game, which goes out of its way to show nearly as much of the game as possible.

  37. Hallo! Loving the site, and have had a fondness for your work since the old days in Arlong Park! Even imported Unlimited Adventure to here in the UK, ahaha. But anyways.

    First off, as a Brit, I have to say I really appreciated Janaika Tea in Mother 3 being translated to Innit Tea. Made me feel right at home! But I wonder, character space notwithstanding, if there was ever an idea to call it something like “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Tea”? :p

    And, this isn’t so much a question as a “you may be amused by this”, but as a child, I used to play a little puzzle game on my Amiga 500 computer by the name of Gem’X. It was a lot of fun, and had awesome music, but… well, despite being made in Germany and having no involvement from anyone Japanese, this was its title screen:

    There’s a lot of random not-great drawings of vaguely-anime-inspired ladies in the game. But, that attempt at Japanese text. I can’t tell if it’s gibberish, or an attempt to say “Hit!” and “Pyramid FLARGLE!!”.

    Please to be continuing the happy time good workings! 😀

    1. The partly-covered bit in the top left appears to be ヒツト “HITSUTO”, which is probably an attempt at ヒット “HITTO”, which of course is “hit”.

      The bit under the “GEM’X” logo appears, as best I can tell, to be a garbled form of “Pyramid Attack”. The ピラミツド (with, again, ツ instead of ッ) is quite clear; the second half appears to be アシツク (“ASHITSUKU” or “ASHIKKU”), except with an attempt at an accent mark on the ア. As is common with nonstandard use of accent marks on kana, it’s not immediately obvious what they meant by that; there are several possible readings that I can think of, but my best guess is that they were doing a very bad job of attempting to say “attack”.

  38. Hey, I was actually wondering about a line in Final Fantasy VIII that’s always stood out to me. It may be similar to the Jane/Sora exchange in Kingdom Hearts that you mentioned a while ago but during one of the Laguna flashback sequences, Raine chastises Laguna by saying something along the lines of “always speak proper English when talking to Ellone!”

    I always thought it was odd because England obviously doesn’t exist in the FFVIII universe, so I was interested in finding out what the Japanese line is.

  39. Ah, thank you for looking into the Dragon Warrior thing again! I was really curious about that. 😀 But I have another question, hopefully this one won’t take too long…

    In Metal Gear Solid 2, while you’re in the Tanker chapter, Otacon saves your game and gives you random Chinese proverbs, most of which he gets wrong. I was curious about whether or not they’re the same proverbs or if he gets them wrong in the same way in Japanese as well. You can see some of them in this video on nico (it actually has the English dub and the Japanese subtitles, how convenient!) – Around 15:15, although this isn’t all of the proverbs. I’m still trying to find a video of all of them at once…

    Along the same lines, I’m sort of curious about the infamous Crazy Colonel part in MGS2 where the Colonel calls you and says random gibberish and nonsense. Is the gibberish the same in both languages? Conveniently, there’s another video with the English dub/Japanese subtitles as well –

    So hopefully that makes it a bit easier.

  40. Hey, Mr. Mato, I have a question:

    In The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, there’s this guy, Beedle, who runs a flying shop(!). He talks in a regular casual style, about what you’d expect from a store owner. However, if you initiate his sidequest by sleeping in his bed and talking to him at night you discover he actually has an old-fashioned, pseudo-British(?) accent! So my question is thus: in what manner(s) did he speak in the original Japanese?

  41. In the game “The World Ends With You”, there’s a character who speaks almost entirely in math puns, and i was wondering what he says in the original japanese. I could supply screencaps(and voice clips if possible) if you want.

  42. In Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker there is a character whose name is Kazuhira (I believe) Miller. They say that his name is the Japanese word for peace. I was just wondering if it was just simply “Peace” or was something a bit more complicated?

  43. I recently encountered something that intrigued me in a game–and it’s especially interesting, because it involves comedy! Translations of comedy are always interesting. The game in question is a PS3 game called “Ni no Kuni.” During one portion of the game, you go see a pair of fairies perform a comedy routine. In the English version of the game, they perform it as sort of a dry British thing, not totally unlike a Monty Python routine. I know enough random Japanese stuff to know that in the original, they were probably a manzai duo. As it turns out, you CAN enable the original Japanese dialogue track in the English version… but that version just uses the English version’s subtitles, so I don’t know how the original Japanese version went. I did find video of them, though!

    In English:

    In Japanese:
    (I sadly couldn’t find the “extended version”, so this is missing a few bits at the end there!)

    It might be interesting to look at how they differ!

  44. I’m just interesting in seeing more “Other Views”, to be honest. I enjoy seeing what Japanese gamers think about issues that were a big deal in the West. 🙂

  45. I did some quick research and it looks like けつばん, the Japanese equivalent of the iconic Glitch Pokemon Missingno., has nowhere near as much of a presence in the Japanese Pokemon fandom. Was my quick look at pixiv accurate on this? If so, why is the glitch so much more popular in America?

  46. Just wanted to say that I would love for you to analyze one or more of the Harvest Moon games. The series is like, an Engrish gold mine.

    Speaking of Harvest Moon…In the SNES game, when you examined the pots in your house the words “Confirm the origin of fire!” would appear when you examined the leftmost one. The same line appears in the first Game Boy Color Harvest Moon, albeit combined with the “Everything is all right!” line from checking the rightmost pot. What did the original Japanese lines for examining the pots say?

  47. I think I’ve thought of a good one; to commemorate Bob Hoskins, who passed away at the end of April, could you hunt down some Japanese opinions on the film? Bob famously hated the film but I would love to know what the Japanese audience thought about it.

    1. Shoot, I forgot to mention that I was talking about the Super Mario Bros. movie. That’s a pretty important detail to leave out …

  48. Hi! I just remembered something interesting.

    There’s an RPG on the DS called “Suikoden Tierkreis” (I’m sure you know about that series). This game has voice acting that is supplemented with a written script, but there’s a very strange, recurring error/discrepancy between the written and voiced script. In many cases, proper nouns are transliterated with straight-up bonkers names.

    The first time you see this – and by far, the best example – is when you get to a certain part of the story, and people keep telling your party about someone named “Kureyah”. The lines where you first hear about “Kureyah” are not voice-acted, so it leaves you wondering how such an exotic name might be pronounced…until you meet her for the first time, and her voice actor says something like “Hi, I’m Claire.”

    This happens in at least a few other points in the game; but, this is the one that stood out enough that I still remember now, like five years later. I guess my question is, do you have any idea how things like this happen in the first place? I imagine that Claire’s VA probably wasn’t reading a script where she was named “KUREYAH”, since that sounds markedly different in English. Yet, in spite of the errors always being “correct” when voiced, they always appear improperly transliterated in the text, and I can’t imagine how that happens. Any insights?

  49. Sorry for leaving so many suggestions but since everyone is talking about Godzilla at the moment, are there any ‘Zilla-related translations you could enlighten us on? If you’re still interested in making the AVGN comparison articles, it might be a fine time to skip ahead to the episode about Godzilla games (or just talk about Japanese reactions to the new movie itself, in a one-off episode that isn’t about gaming).

  50. Have you thought about looking into Star Fox 64? Especially Star Wolf’s dialogue? With how many times SF64’s dialogue has parodied it might be a good choice.

    1. Fix: “With how many times SF64′s dialogue has been parodied, it might be a good choice.”

      1. Last Fix: “With how many times 64′s dialogue has been parodied, it might be a good choice.”

  51. With your japanese reactions to smash bros characters, I’d like to see how they reacted to Ike as one site had posted (sorry, don’t have the link) that most called him a gorilla.

  52. The Ubbergeek

    Perhaps as a follow up of the Legend of Zelda comparaisons serie, maybe a Zelda II: Adventure of Link sequel (pun intended)? There is interesting differences there to be found, I heard.

  53. Some fans have been campaigning for Nintendo to remove the region lock on the 3DS and Wii U. The common counter argument is that it will result in fewer translated games. Here’s an example from last year:

    How do you feel about it, Mato? As a professional translator, does region locking make you shake in your boots?

  54. Well, if I were to suggest a something, I’d suggest a comparison of Pokemon Red/Green (JP) with Pokemon Red/Blue (US.)

    And, if you ever do non game media…

    Was the now-legendary potato chip line as cheesy in the Japanese version of Death Note? Because the way it came across was quite silly for us English speakers.

  55. Have you considered doing a feature about the translation of Castle Shikigami 2 for the PS2? They butchered the first game (Mobile Light Force) but promised to accurately translate the second game.

    The game’s script is completely nonsensical. I’ve heard this blamed on the original script being nonsensical and on the translation being too literal, but the translation does seem to have some errors that indicate that this can’t be the *only* problem, so how much of this was nonsense in the original, how much was caused by being too literal, and how much was just plain wrong?

  56. I feel bad for asking a ton of these questions. ;-; But man, this one struck me as incredibly weird! This one is about Pandora’s Tower, one of the Project Rainfall games on the Wii!

    In Pandora’s Tower, you can find several notes scattered about that are said to be from the notebooks of an alchemist. Each one contains hints that unlock item crafting formulas for you, and each note contains a line somewhere about how “an alchemist who does not combine all he can is as worthless as mercury!” This line strikes me as EXTREMELY odd, because mercury is actually one of the MOST valuable items in the game: It’s necessary for a HUGE number of item crafting recipes and is quite expensive to buy! It doesn’t seem like it’s a matter of trying to portray the alchemist as ignorant, either, because one of his notes is about how he found a new way of fusing mercury, and he writes about its many useful properties. Yet he still says the line about mercury being worthless!

    I feel like there must have been some subtlety in the original Japanese version that got lost in translation in order for this line to make sense… unless it never did! Got any light to shed on this?

  57. Here’s an odd one: One of the many characters in the original Fire Emblem was Tiki, a child of the long-lived Manakete tribe. She referred to Marth as “onii-chan” in the Japanese version, and when the game was finally released in the West as Shadow Dragon for DS, it was translated to “Mar-Mar”, which was actually a really good localization. However, things get confusing when she reappears thousands of years later (in-universe) in Fire Emblem: Awakening. In her A and S supports with the male Avatar, a major event is her accidentally calling the Avatar by the nickname she called Marth thousands of years before. It’s a bit odd in the English version to have her accidentally call you “Mar-Mar”, so I imagine it was a bit more natural to have her call you “onii-chan” in the original Japanese. How, exactly, was this localization handled?

  58. OR maybe to (miiss?)quote Monty Python, something fully different – something on the JAPANESE localisation of some american-western game, and how this dealed with things as cultural allusions, jokes, slang, etc…

    I heard american/occidental games are a bit ‘niche’ still, the ‘Yoje'(?) subculture of the gamers subculture, but somes did attain an high popularity, like the Wizardry serie. This could be it, a nice start.

  59. I’m a little curious about MMX6’s translation, actually. It’s notorious as being really engrishy, and lines like “I hid myself while I tried to repair myself. I had to wait until I was healed,” which according to rumor weren’t present in the original Japanese.

  60. Watching HCBailly’s LP of FFIX, I was curious about the origin of the thick Scottish accent of the dwarves of Conde Petie. The character, Ruby, who speaks with an American Southern accent, has been localized from the Osaka-ben dialect (accent?), but I can find nothing about the dwarves.

    1. It’s actually a bit traditional to give dwarves Scottish accents; World of Warcraft would be, of course, the most prominent example, but very far from the first. I attempted to trace the origin of the Scottish dwarves some years ago — none of Tolkien nor the original Dungeons & Dragons nor Warhammer presented them that way, so bang go the three most likely suspects.

      The prevailing theory appears to be that it comes originally from Poul Anderson’s 1961 novel “Three Hearts and Three Lions,” ( ) which definitely contained a dwarf with a Scottish accent, and definitely was one of the major inspirations for Dungeons & Dragons. The problem with this theory, of course, is the resolute non-Scottishness of the dwarves in D&D.

      So, long and short: nobody really knows where it came from, but don’t blame the FF9 localisation team. They’re just following a long-established tradition. 🙂

      1. O.K.! Thanks for the reply. I can well that Poul Anderson could be the originator of the Scottish Dwarf Convention, it sounds very much like his style. It does seem a bit odd, though, to have the accent curve around, so to speak, and come back at is from such an unlikely source. Again, thanks for the research!

  61. PacBandicoot785

    Have you heard about “Wild 9”?
    It was a average PS1 game developed by the same company who developed “Earthworm Jim” and it also has the Earthworm Jim feel.
    2 years later after the European and American releases of the game. The game was localized for the Japanese audiences the same way Crash and Spyro was.
    The art style changed, the name changed to “Wildroid 9”, voice actors are different and etc.



  62. This line from Steven in Pokémon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire references an episode of the Pokémon anime, “~ Pocket Monsters XY Special Episode: The Strongest Mega Evolution ~Act II~” in which Steven teams up with a trainer named Alain (who, yes, has a black Mega Charizard) and battles rayquaza.

    Is this found in the Japanese version of the game? Because the implications for the Pokémon canon could be massive if that’s the case.

  63. I second the recommendation for Secret of Mana. The US translation is borderline gibberish. I understand much was cut due to size limitations. I’d be very interested to contrast what we received to the original Japanese.

    1. Part of that is a lost-in-translation issue, and part of it is that Secret of Mana was originally developed for the SNES CD-ROM peripheral, which was cancelled. So the final game, even in Japan, was condensed quite a bit from how it began.

  64. I just finished replaying Resident Evil 2, and the final cutscenes have some very odd dialogue, which I suspect were bungled translations. The most obviously awkward line was “I see my god has protected you” (referring to a vest given to a little girl), and I’d really like to learn what the original intent of the line was.

  65. You know, it’s been a while since I left a suggestion for your increasingly long list of them. 😛

    There’s a series of American indie games called “Shantae,” made by a company called WayForward, which are Metroidvania/Zelda hybrids. The very first game in the series was actually released on the Game Boy Color, published by Capcom, but it was one of the last games released on the system (2002!), not many copies were produced (only about 70k), it only came out in North America, and it’s considered a very valuable game to own in physical form. However, somehow, somewhere along the line, it actually managed to develop a cult following in Japan! There are a number of Japanese fanart pieces of the series, and even Ken Sugimori, the main artist for the Pokemon series, is a fan! The most recent game in the series was even developed with the help of a Japanese company, called Inti Creates, because one of their devs drew fanart of the series, the western devs saw it, and asked to collaborate. How did this happen? How did such an obscure American game manage to rack up a bunch of Japanese fans? Was it word of mouth on the Internet? Was there a really good fan translation to Japanese, kind of like how your Mother 3 translation made that game better known (and certainly better played) in the West? I know Metroidvanias aren’t as popular in Japan as they are in the West, so maybe it just struck a chord with that niche? If you can find anything out, it’d be fascinating to know!

  66. I’d love to see a full comparison and exact translated names for all of the Quest 64 games(and of course, Quest RPG). Holy Magic Century and Eletale Monsters aren’t heavily looked into for names in the first place, making this harder.

  67. Hey, I see one other poster has suggested the Harvest Moon franchise. In particular, I think Harvest Moon 64 would be of interest, as that game seems to have a really literal translation that prevents a lot of things from getting across.

    I recently investigated one in particular that had bothered me since I played the game as a child.


    As you can probably immediately tell, Popuri (the girl in these screenshots) is saying ‘お手’ or ‘ote’ which is basically the Japanese version of the ‘shake’ trick dogs are taught. ‘Ote’ more or less DOES mean ‘hand’, so while this is a literally correct translation, it’s really bad at conveying the intent and basically leaves most English-speakers feeling that the line is bizarre or nonsensical.

    Harvest Moon is chock full of this sort of thing. Natsume, bless their hearts, are not particularly great at localizations, and Harvest Moon, being a life sim, is full of cultural things from Japan that wouldn’t literally translate easily. So you could probably find a lot to make posts about. It also seems to use a lot of hiragana, so it’s really easy to read.

  68. The recent release of Drakengard 3 has got me rereading the Drakengard 1 LP again, and it got me wondering. Drakengard is a game well known for some pretty dark content, yet it’s said that two aspects were oddly toned down/taken out of the English version; Furiae’s incestuous feelings, and Leonard’s pedophilia. Considering that the English version already has murder out the buttload and a cannibal lady, this seems odd. Actually, that’s not entirely true, there are hints about Furiae, but it’s obtuse. In the scene where her feelings are revealed (English the dialogue does suggest it, but it’s not 100% clear. However, I remember in the SA thread for the Drakengard LP someone posted a link to this scene in Japanese (I can’t find the specific link back, it was nico nico, but I did find a video with the scene in Japanese: Sorry it’s an LP) I actually heard some say they didn’t actually remove much of anything from the scene. Is that true?

    I’m also curious about Leonard, but a) it’s not plot relevant like the incest is and b) there’s no particular scene I can point to for comparision.

  69. Just a suggestion for the main page itself: how about a box for some of your “best” or most intriguing articles? Currently you highlight only the most recent articles (which you should), but it might be nice to have something that would hook first time visitors – when I recommend your page to fellow bilinguals, it would be nice to get them interested as I was!

  70. I’ve always wondered what Nursery Aide June is saying in the Japanese version of Pokemon Black Version 2. I’ve read that in the Japanese version, the character is actualy a male dressed up as a female so he could get the job, but I would like to see what’s really going on and what’s being said!

  71. Triforce Atlamillia

    It would be good to compare the original Japanese version and the translated versions of both Dark Cloud and its sequel.

    For example, Dark Cloud 2 is the North American name for Dark Chronicle (used in the rest of the world, including Japan).

  72. Love your work. Been following your exploits since I was a kid and you were with DeJap. As someone who’s slowly learning Japanese and always wondered about localization changes, I’m doubly a huge fan of this site.

    I recently googled: “black wind howls chrono trigger japanese” but nothing turned up. I didn’t see anything on this site either. Since it’s such an iconic phrase in the fandom, I was surprised. I’m wondering if it’s another Wooleyism or if it’s actually something like kuroikaze in the source.

    Locating a Japanese script online and then trolling through it to find a particular phrase that could potentially match a prior translation is a bit beyond me unfortunately.

    If you eventually look into it, thanks much. If not, I understand, you’re a busy guy.

      1. KWhazit translated it as “The black wind is howling… One among you will die, very soon.” Magus also says “The black wind has again begun to howl.” before his boss fight, but it was lost in the SNES translation.

  73. I’m not sure how you would go about this one, but how exactly is the Mother series accepted in Japan. I’ve heard it’s not as big a deal over there as it is over here, but I feel it might be interesting. Problem is, of course, I’m not sure how you’d go about it. Finding old comments on Lucas’s announcement for Smash 4, maybe, or discussions on the VC… yeah, I’ll accept if it’s a tad too challenging, I was just interested.

  74. Hey! Really enjoyed the Zelda book, looking forward to more.

    I was wondering if you ever had the pleasure of playing Sid Meier’s Civilization for the SNES or on any other platform. I was a big fan of the PC version growing up but hadn’t played the SNES one until recently. It is riddled with hilarious translation errors, rather obviously from the game being translated from English into Japanese then back into English. For instance, the advancements of “Electronics” and “Feudalism” are replaced with “Television” and “Stirrup” (needed along with “Horseback Riding” or just “Riding” on SNES in order to obtain “Chivalry”). It would be really interesting to see how the Japanese version compares to the North American SNES version and how they both compare to the PC version. Unfortunately with the time it takes to play this game it could take the better part of a year to figure it all out.

  75. Hello, A little while ago I saw your article about Zero Wing. I decided to look in the game. So I got a Japanese rom and looked at some of the endings. Apparently the Japanese version has 4 endings while the English only has 3! And more interesting the fourth ending is the only one with text. Maybe the bad translations had something to do with laziness? Do you think you could do a article on it? Here is a screenshot of the ending Just in case.

  76. If you ever get done with analyzing Final Fantasy IV, consider giving Final Fantasy V a try. Between a dry fan-translation, a ridiculously-bad PS1 translation, and a tongue-in-cheek GBA translation, you’re sure to have a field day on that one.

  77. I might like to see you look at the localization of Shin Megami Tensei IV; all the charactes from the Eastern Kingdom of Mikado, even Walter, who was originally a Casualry (the Eastern Kingdom of Mikado is divided into castes of Casualries and Luxurors) and is extremely crass besides, talk in a formal and stilted manner. You get lines ‘Excuse me, but I’m feeling an overabundance of yellow bile that must be relieved. I’ll see you hence,’ and ‘How full of braggadocio he is.’ How accurate was this to the Japanese version? Did it fit more for certain characters than others?

  78. I’m really curious about Final Fantasy Tactics, in particular the re-release version (War of the Lions). It was given a very colorful script/localization in the states, but something I kept hearing back when it came out was how it was “more true” to the Japanese version. The US version of FFT: War of the Lions has very…flowery speech? Like you were reading Shakespeare, or something from that time, and I’m having a hard time believing that the original had that sort of structure.

    Basically, how is the dialog in the original Japanese version of Final Fantasy Tactics vs the US version of Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions?

  79. In Rhythm Heaven Fever, there’s a game called “Donk-Donk”. The NA localization says it’s hard to explain, and the credits list the characters as “Uh… these guys?”. Meanwhile, the European localization doesn’t comment on it at all. I was wondering if the Japanese version explains anything or if it’s like the European version.

  80. Kabuiki_Rekusu

    Hello! Today I found this page via a Summer Games Done Quick video and I’m just getting so interested in what you’re doing because I’ve always feel the original japanese texts, names, etc’s, diserves a better treatment or historical justice because they are all japanese works in first instance and in almost all our famous titles we knew and played were done awful transcriptions and localizations. We all know the reasons. It doesn’t matter. It’s done. Japanese developers never do random things. They never invented names for how they’re sound better. All have a meaning. Don’t feel bad, we all love videogames. Ok. I like to suggest something that it’s been said almost enough but never so deep as to explain the “whys” satisfactory. I meant the 3 final bosses of “Street Fighter II”. It’s well knowed and very intuitive why japanese developers gave the boxer the name of “M. Bison” but I have my theories about “Balrog” (spanish ninja) and “Vega” (chinese dictator). The first one I know received his name after the monster Balrog from “The Lord Of The Rings” books and the second I think is for the star “WEGA” or “VEGA” that literally means “falling eagle” in arabic, what is logical after paying attention at his techniques and the plot in “Street Fighter V” anime series. I’d like you confirm this or explain it, for what I see, so well like your other awesome works. Thank you so much and greetings from Mexico! (Sorry my bad english)

  81. Hey, I’ve come across this site at the suggestion of a Youtuber named Brihard (who covered VG localization in a handful of his videos), and I’m really enjoying the content here!

    Anywho, there’s a game series that I’ve been playing a lot of called Inazuma Eleven. It’s basically a superpowered soccer RPG, chock-loaded with characters and features, and is, imo, quite fun. One of the most controversial aspects of the series are the name changes in the EU (and US, in the case of the first game) version. While I don’t mind the name changes and appreciate both versions in their own way, a lot of fans seem to take issue with the EU version and are very vocal about it, which can feel a bit alienating to fans who think otherwise. (A common argument against the name changes is that, because the games are set in Japan, the names should be Japanese. I have my own rebuttals towards that, but I don’t want to make this too long.)

    I don’t want to bother you too much or ask you to take a side on the subject, but I would like to know, out of curiosity, what you think leads to these sorts of decisions when localizing games, especially those targeted at younger audiences. (If you need references, I can try to find links to YT videos, and I have a few (smartphone-camera-quality) pics on hand.)

  82. In the Japanese version of Super Paper Mario, how does Count Bleck speak? Does he refer to himself in third person and say “BLEH HEH HEH HEH HEH! BLECK!” like in the English localization?


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