How the Famous “Comfy Shorts” Quote Worked in Japanese Pokémon

22 Comments

I’m extremely behind the times when it comes to Pokemon stuff, but one line I remember from the original games was about how shorts are comfy. It was such a weird, random thing for a character to say that I still remember it to this day! I recently got to wondering what the original Japanese text might’ve said, so I looked into it!

I'm more of a mini-skirt guy myselfI'm more of a mini-skirt guy myself

And here’s a look at the text itself:

Japanese Version (literal)English Version
Shorts are nice and easy to move around in! Why don’t you wear some too?Hi! I like shorts! They’re comfy and easy to wear!

The first thing I’m struck with is that the Japanese line isn’t just some random statement that comes out of nowhere and has no point – it’s actually more of a self-observation and a suggestion directed at the player.

The original line also says that shorts are easy to move around in, which fits the character and the setting – he’s a Pokemon trainer and has to go around training and fighting and catching stuff in the wilderness. In contrast, the English line says shorts are “easy to wear”, which is sort of silly-sounding the more I think about it.

Also, the topic of shorts makes a little more sense in the Japanese version because these male trainers are called something like “Shorts Rascals” or “Shorts Kids”. In the English release, they’re called “Youngsters”. So it makes sense for a “Shorts Rascal” to talk about shorts – the connection is obvious. A random “Youngster” talking about shorts, on the other hand, makes it seems like he brought up the topic out of nowhere. Sure, you can see that he’s wearing shorts in battle, but the text connection helps link everything more clearly in Japanese.

Man, this brings back so many memories even though I never actually got very far in itMan, this brings back so many memories even though I never actually got very far in it

Incidentally, I believe (correct me if I’m wrong) that this trainer has become a running gag throughout the series, thanks to the reception he received.

Summary: For Japanese players, this trainer’s line was mostly just a quirky statement, while the reduced text, notable phrasing, and perceived randomness of the translated line made it quirky and memorable for those who played the English version.
If you liked this article and know any fellow Pokemon fans, consider linking them to this article. Word of mouth is what keeps this site running!
22 Comments
  1. If you ever plan to do this game, Mato, just hit me up and I’ll tell you how to breeze through it since I know you’re a busy man. I just hope you do this before my own kids start playing Pokemon. 😛

    Reply
  2. stone cold steve austin (scsa)

    I like Pokemon and it’d be cool to know the translation differences.

    Reply
  3. The translator of the pokemon games answered some questions about the translation on a Something Awful thread once, including this one! Doug Dinsdale is his name AND screen name, here is a txt document containing the interesting bits (and a few programming qandas from different people, as the thread was for the let’s break pkmn blue LP) http://lparchive.org/Pokemon-Blue/code.html

    “But the shorts line is a direct translation. It’s such an (in)famous line, I figured that confirmation that, yes, that IS what the kid’s really saying, is worth preserving.”

    Reply
    1. actually his real name is Nob Ogasawara. he seems like a really nice dude and it’s always cool to hear about which games his kids are loving these days :3

      Reply
  4. Actually, there’s a specific line in these games where I’d love to know the original line was.
    There’s this Lass (“Miniskirt” in the japanese games, I think?) before Rock Tunnel on Route 10 that says
    “The Pokemon here are so chunky! There should be a pink one with a floral pattern!”
    that people are using to say Munna (5th gen Pokemon) was reference to/planned since gen 1

    Always been curious to know if the line is the same/similar in the originals

    Reply
    1. I checked just now and yep, it’s pretty much the same in the Japanese version. Even though there’s nothing really different I’ll probably make a post about it too, just because it seems to be one of those things people talk about.

      Reply
  5. I’d be so down for a Pokemon comparison. Since I started learning Japanese Red/Blue have been on my shortlist of games to import for practice.

    Reply
  6. I think if you did a Pokemon comparison it would go really well just because so many people would reply to your Tweets when you need help understanding something about the series. xD It’s the one I want to see most right behind Mother 3. I make one vote for Pokemon! You should let us vote with donations on which game you should do next. :p Just like the current update thingy you have in place. Haha! Then the majority gets what they want and you get extra cash from it… Just a thought.

    Reply
  7. The Pokemon fandom is pretty starved of people who know ANY Japanese at all, so there’s a lot less comparisons out there than you’d think.

    If you want an interesting topic for a post, though, here’s a dialogue from the old man who teaches you to catch Pokemon. It got censored a bit in the translation.

    Granddaughter: あらら じいちゃん!こんな ところで ねちゃってしょーが ないわね!よいが さめるまで まつしかないわ
    Old Man: ういーっ! ひっく…… まちやがれ!わしの はなしを きけ!…… こら!いくな! と いっとろーが!
    and later
    Old Man: うーん……よっぱらってた みたいじゃ!あたまが いたい……

    and as officially translated:
    Granddaughter: Oh Grandpa! Don’t be so mean! He hasn’t had his coffee yet.
    Old Man: You can’t go through here! This is private property!
    and later
    Old Man: Ahh, I’ve had my coffee now and I feel great! Sure you can go through!

    That’s the only really interesting change I recall in the entire game, though I’ve never looked at it in extreme detail.
    There’s also “ポナヤツングスカ してん” being changed to “Tiksi Branch” I guess, but that’s just a single name, not a piece of dialogue.

    Reply
    1. Oh, and this bit, the text box you get if you look at the map in your rival’s house before his sister gives it to you.

      In the original, it says “カントー ちほうの ちずだ! …… もらえたら うれしい?”
      In the translation it says “It’s a big map! This is useful!”

      Only mention of the name “Kanto” in the entire game, and the localizers remove it.

      Reply
  8. universalperson

    …so what about Gold and Silver and the kid with the top percentage Rattata?

    Reply
  9. Who would want to wear shorts while walking through the tall grass in the game? There are probably Pokemon ticks that carry Poke Lyme Disease. Or maybe that is how Pokerus got started?

    Reply
  10. This site has influenced me to make a patch for FireRed to delocalize as much as possible and use the Japanese terms were possible. Wish I knew more Japanese so I know I’m not making any mistakes. But, overall other than some censorship here and there. Comparing the little bit of Japanese I do know to the English. Most of the game is accurately translated. Luckily the Pokémon games are just Katakana and Hiragana. Which is easier since I still only know a handful of Kanji.

    Reply
  11. He’s in Pokemon X and Y, also. He’s on Route 5.

    Reply
    1. Again later on, too. Game just has a thing for shorts!

      Reply
  12. I’d like to note that references to this line are EVERYWHERE in Style Savvy: Trendsetters (which is surprisingly good actually). The random nature of customers/their requests stops it from getting TOO repetitive, but it’s distinctive enough to remember, so the translators clearly didn’t check (or care) if they used the reference already.

    Reply
  13. This line is also referenced in Last Window: Secret of Cape West for the DS. The protagonist, Kyle Hyde says something along the lines of “I like suits. They’re comfy and easy to wear.” when you examine his closet, since it’s full of suits.
    I wonder if the line was similar to this in the Japanese version, but I doubt it.

    Reply
  14. I believe there’s a random Youngster opponent in the Platinum/HeartGold/SoulSilver Battle Frontier who calls himself “King of the Shorts”. And there’s a girl in Black2/White2 who calls her cotton dress “comfy and easy to wear”.

    Reply
  15. Seems like the easiest translation would be “Shorts are comfy. Why don’t you wear them?”

    Reply
  16. Now that is interesting. I never knew about this line; the german version has this character complaining about his shorts because of all the nettles he walks into.
    This is complemented by one of the other trainers in the same area who claims to have pulled a prank on his brother by convincing him to wear shorts.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *