Final Fantasy IV Translation Comparison: Antlion Cave

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Get Inside!

Or IS this inside of a giant antlion and the boss is just a baby antlion?Or IS this inside of a giant antlion and the boss is just a baby antlion?

In the English localization of this game, the cave where the Antlion lives is called… “Antlion”? What?

I remember finding that funny as a kid. I thought for sure it was something else in the original text, like “Antlion Cave” or “Antlion Lair”.

Nope! It’s simply called “Antlion” in Japanese too.

Chests Everywhere

I was actually gonna talk about these harps' names here but I later realized I should talk about item name differences on an item page, unless it's an important story itemI was actually gonna talk about these harps' names here but I later realized I should talk about item name differences on an item page, unless it's an important story itemI was actually gonna talk about these harps' names here but I later realized I should talk about item name differences on an item page, unless it's an important story item

Here’s a look at what treasure chests got changed:

Location:Final Fantasy IVFinal Fantasy IV Easy TypeFinal Fantasy II
B1FSpider Web190 Gil190 GP
B1FGold Needle210 Gil210 GP
B2FAntarctic WindRevive MedicineLife
B2FBronze HourglassHeal-All MedicineHeal
B2FSpider Web250 Gil250 GP
Save RoomEmergency ExistTentTent

The Emergency Exit item acts like the “Exit” spell – it takes you out of a dungeon or a battle. It was removed in Final Fantasy IV Easy Type and Final Fantasy II.

I also can’t help but wonder why, when some chests were changed to have money instead of items, the people responsible chose such specific numbers. For a second I thought maybe the amount of money in the chests equaled the value of the items that were replaced, but here we see two Spider Web items replaced with different amounts of money, so that can’t be it.

Not So Secret

Earlier we looked at how Final Fantasy IV Easy Type and Final Fantasy II make the hidden passages in the game much more obvious, except it wasn’t very clear in the screenshot I provided.

So here’s a better look at how much more obvious the secret passages are compared to the original game:

This secret passage is disappointing in all versionsThis secret passage is disappointing in all versionsThis secret passage is disappointing in all versions

Worry Some

Never fear, all is wellNever fear, all is well

Once you enter the Antlion’s nest, a short cut scene begins:

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Translation
Gilbert: This is where the Antlion lays eggs.Edward: This is the lair of the Antlion.
Rydia: Eek!Rydia: Oh!
Gilbert: It’s okay. The Antlion is tame. It won’t harm humans. I’ll just go get it now.Edward: Worry not. Antlion is tame. I will take the SandRuby.
Gilbert: Uwaa!Edward: No!
Cecil: Let’s go, Rydia!Cecil: Let’s go Rydia!

Here’s a quick round-up of the differences:

  • The Japanese makes it clearer that this is where the Antlion lays its eggs – in English it’s more just its “lair”. Which can mean the same thing sometimes, but not always.
  • The line where Edward says the Antlion doesn’t harm humans is gone in the English version.
  • The English text specifically mentions that he’s going to take the item they came to get. I like this, actually.
  • Rydia shouts “Oh!” instead of shrieking.
  • Gilbert/Edward makes a shocked sound in the Japanese text while he says, “No!” in English.
  • The English text has a missing comma at the end. It could also use a “the” in front of “Antlion is tame” to make it sound more natural, especially since “the” was used before “Antlion” in the very first sentence.

But what stands out most for me in this little scene is “Worry not.” in the English translation. That really doesn’t strike me as something a Japanese, non-native English speaker would use. I wonder if it might’ve gotten some light polishing from a native speaker.

Count on It

I used to just Chocobo his butt to death but now I don't care and even NOW I can beat him with no trouble at all. Seriously, how was this guy a problem for me as a kid???I used to just Chocobo his butt to death but now I don't care and even NOW I can beat him with no trouble at all. Seriously, how was this guy a problem for me as a kid???

The Antlion will counterattack if you try to use direct physical attacks on it.

In English, this attack is just called “Counter”.

In Japanese, it’s called “Counter-attack Horn” or “Counter-attack Horns”. Or whatever those horn-like thing this creature has. It’s such a weird animal I don’t know what to call its parts in any language. At the very least I know it shouldn’t be “pincer”.

A Handful of Sand

SANDRUBY IN!SANDRUBY IN!

Once you defeat the Antlion, you get the special item you came for!

In English, it says emphatically, “Found the SandRuby!”

In Japanese, it’s: “Obtained the Light of the Desert.”

A Curing We Will Go

'I dunno. I guess. If you want. I don't really care but okay.''I dunno. I guess. If you want. I don't really care but okay.'

Once you’ve obtained the curative item, another short scene begins. At the end of the scene is this short exchange:

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Translation
Rydia: Let’s hurry to Rosa!Rydia: Let’s go cure Rosa!
Cecil: Yes, let’s go!Cecil: Oh, yes.

English-language Cecil comes off as very unenthusiastic and reluctant about the whole thing in comparison to the Japanese text.

Using It

I'm not quite sure how they procured and stored some underground lightI'm not quite sure how they procured and stored some underground light

Once you return to Rosa and use the curative item, it says something different in each language.

In English, it says, “Used the SandRuby over Rosa……!”

In Japanese, it’s something more like, “Bathed Rosa in light using the Light of the Desert!” or something along those lines.

You Can’t Die

You know, if these fevers are so terrible and can be cured so instantly, shouldn't they have a stock of these Sand Ruby Desert Lights handy at all times?You know, if these fevers are so terrible and can be cured so instantly, shouldn't they have a stock of these Sand Ruby Desert Lights handy at all times?

Once you cure Rosa, a long cut scene begins. Here’s how it looks in both languages:

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Translation
Rosa: Nnng…Rosa: Mmm… …
Rosa: Cecil! You’re alive! Thank goodness…Rosa: Oh, Cecil!
Cecil: You’re reckless, you know that…?Cecil: Rosa…
Rosa: I heard you died in the Mist earthquake… But I just couldn’t believe it, so…Rosa: I heard that you were lost since the earthquake at Mist. But I couldn’t believe it.
Cecil: I’m sorry… Anyway, just who is Golbeza?Cecil: I’m sorry. I worried you. By the way, Rosa… Who is Golbez?
Rosa: The king of Baron brought him in to command the Red Wings in your place. Ever since he arrived the king has grown odder and odder… I’m certain Golbeza is manipulating the king to gather the crystals.There’s Mysidia’s Crystal of Water, which you brought back.Rosa: The King invited him to the Red Wings. The King is not the same as he used to be. It seems he is nothing more than Golbez’s puppet to collect all the crystals. The Crystal of Water from Mysidia is already in his hands. But other crystals…
There’s Damcyan’s Crystal of Fire. There’s Fabul’s Crystal of Wind. And then there’s Toroia’s Crystal of Earth…The Crystal of Fire is in Damcyan, Air is in Fabul, and Earth is in Toroia.
Gilbert: The Crystal of Fire is already in his hands…Edward: The Crystal of Fire is already gone.
Cecil: He’s Gilbert. He’s the prince of Damcyan. It’s thanks to him that we were able to cure you.This little girl is Rydia… of Mist.Cecil: He is Edward, the Prince of Damcyan. And this girl, Rydia of Mist.
Rydia: Are you okay?Rydia: You okay?
Rosa: Thank you, Rydia and Gilbert.If Damcyan has already been attacked, then Fabul is next! We have no time to waste!Rosa: Yes. Thank you. Damcyan has already been attacked. Then the next target is… Fabul! We must hurry!
*cough* *cough*…Cough! Cough!
Cecil: Don’t push yourself, Rosa. We’ll go to Fabul!Cecil: Rosa… You must rest. We’ll go to Fabul.
Gilbert: But Mt. Hobs, which is on the way to Fabul, is covered in thick ice…Edward: But we must get over Mt. Hobs to go to Fabul. The trail is blocked by thick ice.
Rosa: Rydia. Can you use Fire?Rosa: Rydia, can you use the spell of Fire?
Rydia: ! …No, I can’t…Rydia: ! N-No, I can’t.
Rosa: As a Summoner, there’s no way you can’t use Fire, which could be considered the most fundamental black magic spell…Ugh… *cough*!Rosa: You’re a Caller. Black magic should be easy for you, Rydia….COUGH! …COUGH!
Cecil: Rosa! You need to wait after all!Cecil: Rosa! You must rest!
Rosa: I’ll be fine. Plus I’m a white mage. I’m sure I won’t get in the way…!Rosa: I am all right. And I am a white wizard. I won’t bother you!
Cecil: …Cecil: …
Gilbert: Cecil… Rosa wants to be with you.Edward: Cecil… Rosa wants to be with you. Don’t you see?
Cecil: …Okay, Rosa… Let’s go together. It’s night out. Let’s depart tomorrow morning. For tonight, get some rest.Cecil: Okay, Rosa. Let’s go together. But it’s too late tonight. Rest and sleep for now.
Rosa: Cecil… Okay.

Wow, I can’t believe I just translated this entire scene. Anyway, since this is so long I’ll do a comparison in list format:

  • The big thing of course is that in Japanese, she said she was worried that Cecil had died. In the English text, she uses the word “lost” instead. This sort of death-related stuff was often written out of Nintendo games from this era.
  • Also of interest is that the Japanese text calls it the “Crystal of Wind”, but the English text calls it the “Crystal of Air”.
  • In the Japanese text, she says specifically that Golbeza has taken Cecil’s spot as commander of the Red Wings. This isn’t in the English text.
  • In the Japanese version, Cecil tells Rosa that Gilbert/Edward was vital in getting a cure for her. This isn’t in the English version.
  • As a result of this omission, Rosa actually thanks Edward for nothing in the English text. Actually, you can even take her thank you line to be directed at Rydia only – Edward gets shafted yet again.
  • When Cecil introduces Rydia to Rosa, he hesitates on the name “Mist” in the Japanese version. This tiny nuance is absent in the English translation.
  • Again, we see “Golbeza” in Japanese and “Golbez” in English.
  • The part about Fire and black magic is slightly different in translation, but nothing too signficant.
  • The line about leaving tomorrow morning was taken out.
  • The “Don’t you see?” line was added into the English translation.
  • Rosa’s final line is missing in the English translation.

There are lots of smaller nuanced differences here and there too, but this is already a huge list and a mountain of text.

I will say that there are some lines in the English translation here that surprise me in terms of translation quality. A good translator will often break up complicated sentences into shorter ones and slightly reword them to sound more natural, and there are some instances of that here. The part about Fire and black magic, for example. The “Don’t you see that?” line is another thing I’m impressed with.

Whew!

I just know I'm going to start missing these super-tiny Japanese changes at some point...I just know I'm going to start missing these super-tiny Japanese changes at some point...I just know I'm going to start missing these super-tiny Japanese changes at some point...

Before we leave this scene, I should point out that there was a slight difference here in the two Japanese games too:

Final Fantasy IV (somewhat literal)Final Fantasy IV Easy Type (somewhat literal)
As a Summoner, there’s no way you can’t use Fire, which could be considered the most fundamental black magic spell…As a Summoner, there’s no way you can’t use Fire, which could be considered the most basic black magic spell…

The strange thing is that this word was changed here, but it was left intact elsewhere in the script, including places right at the start of the game. Why they chose to change this specific instance is odd, but okay.

Joint Operation

It's okay she'll be in Damsel in Distress 2 soon enoughIt's okay she'll be in Damsel in Distress 2 soon enough

When Rosa joins you, a little bit of text says so.

In Japanese, it says, “Rosa the white mage joined!”

In English, it just says, “Rosa joined!”

It’s strange, because when Edward joined, the localizers made that join message longer than the original text and added stuff to it. Here, they stripped it and shortened it.

Uwa For You

One thing I'm not fond of is when fan translators just leave it as 'Uwa' though, that just seems lazyOne thing I'm not fond of is when fan translators just leave it as 'Uwa' though, that just seems lazy

It’s getting really nitpicky but when Edward/Gilbert is outside at night and a monster shows up, he says, “Uwaa!” in Japanese and, “No!” in English.

We saw this same thing happen back in the Antlion cave.

Ultimately the difference is extremely small but the nuance is different. Something like, “Wah!” or even just “!” might’ve gotten a little closer.

From Beyond the Grave

Go back to the containment unit, AnnaGo back to the containment unit, Anna

Anna talks to Edward while a monster fights him. The text is very different in both language versions of the game:

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Translation
Anna: Be brave!Anna: Edward!
A-Anna!Edward: A… Anna?!
Anna: You aren’t as weak as you think you are.Anna: …… Fight, Edward!
Believe in yourself!Believe in yourself
I’ll try, Anna!and be strong!

Several big differences there. The Japanese text is a little better in trying to tell Edward that he’s not weak and that he can overcome what he thinks is his own weakness.

Incidentally, when the monster dies in Japanese, it goes something like, “Uu gu-pe-pe-pe-peh!” This is just some crazy sounds. I’m not a native Japanese speaker so I can’t say what it immediately makes me think of, but it reminds me of something spitting something up.

In the English text it just goes, “ARRRGH……!”

I guess it works, but it would’ve been cooler if they’d made some crazy onomatopoeia for it.

I also couldn’t help but notice that the English text uses “?!” here instead of “!?” like it normally has until now. We looked at this earlier though, so there’s no need to retread that territory.

Dead Again

What, Damcyan people suddenly get special treatment? THAT'S RACISTWhat, Damcyan people suddenly get special treatment? THAT'S RACIST

After the monster fight, Gilbert/Edward and Anna have a short scene together:

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Translation
Gilbert: Anna!Edward: Anna!
Anna: Gilbert. I have to go now… To become one with a large spirit…Anna: Edward, dear… I must go now.
Gilbert: Anna! Don’t go!Edward: Anna! Don’t go! Don’t leave me alone!
Anna: Gilbert! Be brave! You mustn’t let Golbeza get the Crystals…Anna: Edward… Do not let Golbez have all the crystals.
You gave me your love. Now it’s time for you to give that love to all people…You loved me. Now give your love to all of your people.
Gilbert: I’ll fight, Anna!Edward: I will, Anna!
Still, you say to be brave… but just what should I do…?But, what am I supposed to do now, Anna?

The obvious difference that jumps out here is how Anna talks about becoming one with a big spirit or soul. Off the top of my head I’m not sure what she’s referring to, but it sounds interestingly similar to Final Fantasy VII’s “Lifestream”.

There are a few other additions and removals in the English text too. I won’t point them all out since it’s all pretty clear.

I will mention, though, that Edward vows to fight in the Japanese text while he doesn’t really say that in the English text.

Also, Anna tells Edward to give his love to “all people” in the Japanese text but only to “all of your people” in the English text, which I assume is referring to the people of Damcyan.

Old People Babies

He's never going to wash those sheets againHe's never going to wash those sheets again

The old guy who’s by Rosa’s bed says something different after Rosa is healed.

In Japanese, he says, “I’m glad you’re all better. It was only for a short time but I felt like you were my own daughter. Please drop by again sometime.”

This was changed in English to say, “Good that you recovered. Drop by our house when you pass this village.”

His feelings for Rosa aren’t in the English text. I feel like this daughter mention also lends a greater “this is a nice and hospitable house” vibe.

I’d chalk its removal it up to a space issue, but then it adds in a part about when you pass by the village. I dunno, it probably just didn’t seem that important to the localizers.

Statistician

I still can't tell how Easy Type and FFII were developed - was it side by side? Was one based on another? What's the deal?I still can't tell how Easy Type and FFII were developed - was it side by side? Was one based on another? What's the deal?I still can't tell how Easy Type and FFII were developed - was it side by side? Was one based on another? What's the deal?

Checking Rosa’s stats after she joins the party, we see again that she has a higher attack accuracy rate in Final Fantasy IV Easy Type than in the other two versions.

This is, once more, due to the change in her equipment and not a change to her actual stats.

Pray it Away

CECIL I FEEL HAPPY CECIL CECILCECIL I FEEL HAPPY CECIL CECILCECIL I FEEL HAPPY CECIL CECIL

In Final Fantasy IV, one of Rosa’s unique skills is called “Pray”. When used, it has what I assume is a 50% chance of casting Cure/Care on the entire party, and a 50% chance of failing. As such, it’s not that useful, even at this early point in the game. Further on in the game it heals so little that you’ll almost never use it.

In Final Fantasy IV Easy Type and Final Fantasy II, this battle command has been removed.

If you’re not keeping count, here’s a chart showing which unique abilities have been changed so far:

AbilityFinal Fantasy IVFinal Fantasy IV Easy TypeFinal Fantasy II
Dark WaveYesYesNo
RememberYesNoNo
MedicineYesNoNo
PrayYesNoNo

I’m still not sure why some unique commands were removed while others weren’t. Like, why did they remove Rosa’s “Pray” but not her “Aim”? I’d love to have been in the room when they decided what to keep and not keep.

Getting back to this Pray command, in the DS version it recovers HP and MP, but in this Super Famicom version it only recovers HP. I guess the developers realized how pointless it is and made it a little better for the DS version.

Also, if the Pray command fails, a text box appears that says, “The prayer didn’t reach Heaven/the heavens.”

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