Final Fantasy IV Translation Comparison: Mist

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Cave Talk

I remember that this mist effect was mentioned in a Nintendo Power preview guide or something for the Super NES consoleI remember that this mist effect was mentioned in a Nintendo Power preview guide or something for the Super NES console

To reach the village of Mist, you first have to pass through a short cave.

In the English localization, the cave is called “Misty Cave”.

In the Japanese text, this is “Cave of Mist” or “Mist Cave”, where “Mist” is the same name as the village.

In fact, we’ve seen earlier in the English localization that a lot of “____ of Mist” phrases were translated as “Misty ____” instead.

A Voice in the Mist

Go back...! Only huge amounts of text and pages await you if you keep reading this junkGo back...! Only huge amounts of text and pages await you if you keep reading this junk

While walking through the cave, a voice from out of nowhere suddenly tells you to go back.

In English it says, “Go back…!”

In Japanese, it says, “Turn back…”

No big difference there. But the Japanese text also uses the speech pattern of an authoritative, well-mannered woman. So from just this one short Japanese sentence you already have some clues to the identity behind the voice – and, as we later find out, this is Rydia’s mother speaking.

Treasure Chests

It's gonna be tough trying to remember where every chest is in every dungeonIt's gonna be tough trying to remember where every chest is in every dungeonIt's gonna be tough trying to remember where every chest is in every dungeon

We’ve seen before that treasure chest contents are sometimes different in each version of the game. This is a short cave, so there aren’t many chests to begin with, but there is one chest that was changed:

Final Fantasy IV (basic translation)Final Fantasy IV Easy Type (basic translation)Final Fantasy II (Super NES)
EyedropsHeal-All MedicineHeal

A Phantom Beast

Wherever you see the word monster replace it with MagikarpWherever you see the word monster replace it with Magikarp

At another part in the cave, the voice speaks again.

In English, Kain responds to this by saying, “Is it a monster?”

In Japanese, he says, “Is this the voice of an Eidolon?”

It seems the translators were still a little iffy about how to treat the term “genjuu” in translation, so they simply replaced it with “monster” here. The way Kain’s line is worded makes it seem like he’s surprised. According to the Japanese script, though, Kain was sent to kill an Eidolon (or multiple Eidolons, it isn’t made clear), so this Eidolon’s presence shouldn’t come as a surprise at all.

Welcome to Moonside?

One time I attended a convention as a guest and some guy who just started learning the language SWORE that 'hai' always meant 'yes' and that it was wrong to translate it otherwise. I forget what happened to himOne time I attended a convention as a guest and some guy who just started learning the language SWORE that 'hai' always meant 'yes' and that it was wrong to translate it otherwise. I forget what happened to him

Near the end of the cave, the voice warns you to stop. It then asks you a question:

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Translation
You have no intention of turning back, I take it…? Hai / IieDo you still wish to go on? Yes / No

You might wonder why I left “hai” and “iie” there and didn’t translate them out. This is actually because there’s a small point to make first:

Questions involving negatives are often a tricky thing to handle in Japanese-to-English translation. This is because “hai” doesn’t 100% equate to English’s “yes” and “iie” doesn’t 100% equate to English’s “no”.

Instead, the usage of “hai” is more like “correct” and “iie” is “incorrect”.

Think about it – if someone said, “You’re not going to turn back, are you?” What would answering “Yes” mean? Does it mean “Yes, I’m not going to turn back” or does it mean “Yes, I’m turning back”?

Japanese is an “agreement language”, so it always means “That is correct, I’m not going to turn back.”

Anyway, because “hai” doesn’t always equal “yes” and “iie” doesn’t always mean “no”, you often have to rephrase the question to make the player know what response to give and make the result of that response make sense. That’s why this question was rephrased in Final Fantasy II’s localization.

Hopefully that makes sense. If not, see here and here.

Loyal to the Mission

This was back in 1991, Cecil would never get that ring through security these daysThis was back in 1991, Cecil would never get that ring through security these days

If you answer “Yes” to the voice’s question, Cecil responds by saying this:

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Translation
We must deliver this Bomb Ring to the village of Mist!We must deliver this Package to the village of Mist!

Here we see that the “Bomb Ring” continues to be called the “Package”.

Gather ‘Round

The Mist is one of my favorite movies I wish there were more movies like it. Oh, do you think I have bad taste now? Well T-O-O B-A-DThe Mist is one of my favorite movies I wish there were more movies like it. Oh, do you think I have bad taste now? Well T-O-O B-A-D

Just before a bunch of mist gathers around Cecil’s party, a text box appears.

In English, it says, “The mist is gathering!”

I always wondered who was saying that – was it Cecil? Kain? The game?

It turns out the Japanese script specifically says that Kain says it. Mystery solved!

Fight Misty

I'm still not sure how Rydia gets use of this dragon later on but maybe it's a different one or somethingI'm still not sure how Rydia gets use of this dragon later on but maybe it's a different one or something

In Japanese, this Eidolon/Genjuu is called the “Mist Dragon”.

In English, we see that it’s called the “D.Mist”.

I always wondered why they did it that way. “M.Dragon” seems like it’d make more sense and look better.

Hitting and Misting

Oh how I love the boss battle music in this game. It should be my presidential theme songOh how I love the boss battle music in this game. It should be my presidential theme song

Every so often during the battle, the Mist Dragon will turn into mist that can’t be hurt. When it happens, a text box appears.

In English, it says, “Turned into mist!”

In Japanese, it says: “The dragon transformed into mist!”

I'd so freak out if mist started talking to meI'd so freak out if mist started talking to me

If you attack the mist, some more text will appear.

In English, it says, “Do not fight now! Fighting when mist will freeze you with Breath!”

Even as a kid, this always struck me as really poor English. I’m actually not even sure who’s talking.

In Japanese, it’s a little wordier: “The mist makes all attacks ineffective. If you attack, you’ll be done in by the dragon’s breath! The chance to defeat is when it shows its true form!”

This is a little more informative. But I’m still not sure who’s saying it.

Clearly shortened and rewritten to fit within a single text boxClearly shortened and rewritten to fit within a single text box

Once the mist is about to turn back into the dragon, another text box pops up.

In English, the text says, “Now! Get ready to fight!”

While in Japanese it says, “It’s turning back to normal! Now is the chance to attack!”

Surprise!

Fewer dialogue lines means we don't have to pay the actors as muchFewer dialogue lines means we don't have to pay the actors as much

Once you enter the village of Mist, the item you were delivering activates on its own.

In English, the text says, “Package opened automatically……” using unusual text positioning.

In Japanese, it says, “Cecil: The ring is glowing…!?” or “Cecil: The ring is shining…!?”

So we see that Cecil’s reaction was removed and replaced with narration from the game.

Two Killers and an Orphan

I was gonna list all three translations here but then realized that 1: that's a lot of text and 2: ehI was gonna list all three translations here but then realized that 1: that's a lot of text and 2: eh

After the village gets toasted, a somewhat lengthy scene unfolds. Here’s a look at the entire text as it appears in Final Fantasy IV and Final Fantasy II:

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Translation
Cecil: The ring is glowing…!?Package opened automatically……
Cain: What the…?!Kain: What?!
Cecil: THIS is why we came here…?Cecil: We’ve brought this Package to…
Cain: To burn down this village…Kain: Burn the village?
Cecil: Why?! King Baron!Cecil: Why?
*sobbing & crying sounds*Mommy! Mommy!
Cecil: What’s that?Cecil: Who’s that?
Girl: My mom’s dragon died… so my mom did too… *crying*Girl: My mom’s dragon fell so my mom did too…
Cecil: !
Cain: Say, I’ve heard of this. People with the power to summon monsters… Summoners, as I recall!Kain: I’ve heard of the people with the power to summon monsters. They are Callers!
Cecil: Don’t tell me us defeating that dragon is what caused this girl’s mother to also…Cecil: We defeated the dragon, so her mother is gone also.
Girl: So you’re the ones who killed my mom’s dragon?!Girl: You! You’ve beaten my mother’s dragon!
Cecil: That’s not… We had no idea it would result in killing your mom…Cecil: We didn’t mean to do this to your mother.
Cain: It seems His Majesty sent us to this village to wipe out the Summoners…Kain: His Majesty wanted to wipe out the Callers of this village and used us to do it.
Cecil: Unbelievable…Cecil: Incredible!
Cain: I feel terrible for her, but it seems we must get rid of this girl too.Kain: I’m afraid we must do away with her too.
Cecil: Cain!Cecil: Kain!
Cain: If we don’t kill her, WE’LL be killed!
Cecil: She’s just a kid!She’s just a kid!
Cain: Can you defy His Majesty?Kain: You dare to renounce your loyalty to his Majesty?
Cecil: I have NO intention of obeying His Majesty if it means repeating these massacres!Cecil: Forget it! Never again will I follow such an order!
Cain: Heh. I thought you’d say that. I won’t let you escape Baron alone.Kain: Well, Cecil, I knew you’d say so. I won’t let you do it alone.
Cecil: Cain?Cecil: Kain?
Cain: No matter how indebted I am to His Majesty, I can’t do anything that would shame the name of the Dragon Knights.Kain: I owe his Majesty much. Still, I cannot disgrace the Dragoons.
Cecil: Then… Cain, you’ll also…?Cecil: Then will you…
Cain: But Baron is the greatest military nation in the world. Just the two of us acting like upstarts isn’t going to solve anything. We need to inform other nations and seek reinforcements. And we need to rescue Rosa!Kain: But Baron is the mightiest country in the world. It’s impossible for us to challenge his might alone. We must gather other countries. And you know… We must rescue Rosa!
Cecil: Thanks, Cain.Cecil: Thank you, Kain.
Cain: I’m not necessarily doing this for you, you know.Kain: Not for your sake.
Cecil: ?
Cain: Anyway, we’re in danger here. We need to leave the village right away. What do we do with the girl?Kain: Let’s get out of here fast! What about that girl?
Cecil: The only choice is to take her with us, obviously!Cecil: We can’t leave her here alone!
Cecil: Hey. It’s dangerous here. Come with us…Cecil: Listen. It’s dangerous here. Come with us. …Okay?
Girl: No!Girl: No!
Cain: We’ve no choice! Take her by force if we have to!Kain: Let’s take her!
Girl: Stay away!Girl: No!! Go away!
Cecil: Wait!Cecil: Wait! Please!
Girl: No! I hate you! I hate you all!Girl: Go away! I hate you! I hate you all!

There’s a lot to point out here. I’ll skip the tiny things that you can probably see for yourself. But here’s what’s especially interesting:

  • In the Japanese version, the sounds of the girl crying and sobbing are written in text. We don’t have quite the same thing in English (well, I guess we have “boo hoo” but nobody uses that non-sarcastically), so the crying was changed to, “Mommy! Mommy!”
  • References to death are changed.
  • References to killing are changed.
  • Summoners are called Callers in the English localization. This is probably because “Summon” was changed to “Call” in the in-battle menus to fit within the space allotted. Somehow I like Caller better.
  • The part about Cecil and Kain possibly being assaulted/killed by Baron is taken out of the localization.
  • The part where Kain says, “We’ve no choice!” was removed, leaving just the, “Let’s take her!” line which is pretty disturbing all by itself. In a way, it makes Rydia’s reaction better, strangely enough.

In all, disregarding the censoring, this is actually pretty decently done in terms of translation. It says a lot of the same stuff but with fewer words. It could use some polishing but isn’t bad at all.

I love youI love you

Also, a few Japanese words in this scene underwent the “FFIV-to-Easy Type” simplification process that we saw before. So “reinforcements” became “help” and “acting like upstarts” became “standing up to”.

The Easy Type text was also toned down a bit – the phrase “repeating these massacres” became “repeating this sort of thing”.

An Early Look

Hello! I've time traveled and am updating this from the future!Hello! I've time traveled and am updating this from the future!

About a year after posting the above scene analysis, I took a closer look at the Final Fantasy II instruction manual and noticed that a screenshot in it from this scene didn’t exactly match what’s said in the game. So it looks like the English instruction booklet used screenshots from an unfinished version of the game.

Here we see that in the early version of the translation, Cecil says, “We defeated the dragon.. so her mother..”

The final version of the line is, “We defeated the dragon, so her mother is gone also.”

To be honest, the first thing I actually noticed from this manual screenshot was that the ellipsis character – the three periods in a row – looks different than in the final version. In the pre-release version, it has only two dots, which looks kind of odd. I guess at some point someone else on the staff felt the same way and went out of their way to fix it.

Anyway, there are a few more instances of pre-release screenshots showing up in the instruction manual so we’ll take a look at those too whenever they pop up.

Stay Alive

Whatever you do, Kain, please don't help my girlfriend escape and then try to kill her later anywayWhatever you do, Kain, please don't help my girlfriend escape and then try to kill her later anyway

After Rydia causes a huge earthquake, Cecil is knocked unconscious. When he comes to, Rydia is with him but Kain is gone. He then says this:

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Translation
Cecil: Thank goodness, she’s all right…Cecil: Oh… She is all right.
!!!! …Kain!
Cecil: Cain?Cecil: Kain?
Cecil: Cain!Cecil: Kain!
Cecil: I can’t stay here forever… I have to take this girl and escape…Cecil: I can’t stay here any longer. I have to escape from Baron with this girl.
Cain… Please be alive!

First, it looks like the localizer forgot to press Enter a couple times, since two lines in the original text became one in the English translation. Or it could’ve been done on purpose for a number of reasons, but we’ve already seen this sort of mistake happen before back in Baron. The end result is that Cecil shouts Kain’s name one more time in the English version than the Japanese version.

Second, in the Japanese text Cecil ends the scene by asking Kain to still be alive. In the English translation, that line is completely missing.

Mistwalker

Before we leave Mist, there’s a well-known trick that I picked up some years back when I played Final Fantasy IV. I always meant to see if it worked in Final Fantasy II for the Super NES too, so now’s the best chance!

Insert joke that doesn't even need saying because it's so obvious

This will take some explaining. When you walk in a certain direction, you sort of “slide” from tile to tile. Normally you can’t do anything until that sliding is completed – you can’t open the menu or anything else.

But if you press the menu button at almost the exact same time as you press a direction button, on some occasions the menu will open before you’ve moved a full tile.

If you then use an item like a Tent or a Cottage, it’ll seem like nothing unusual has happened – but if you then start walking around, you’ll notice that the collision detection is all off by one tile! This lets you walk into stuff you normally couldn’t, stuff like mountains, water, etc.

If you’ve never heard of this trick, here’s a video I made of it:

Anyway, I wanted to see if this worked in Final Fantasy IV Easy Type and Final Fantasy II – and it does! It works in both. I bet it’ll work on anything that’s based on the original Super Famicom game, but not on any remakes or such.

Now, I bring this trick up at this point in time because there’s a well-known use for this trick: skipping Mist altogether!

It’s a little complicated, so here’s a video:

I tried it out with Final Fantasy II and Final Fantasy IV, and it too works in both. I’d be surprised if it didn’t, but at least now I’ve personally done this trick with Final Fantasy II after all these years.

For reference, here’s how to pull this off:

  • Stand in front of Mist
  • Do the sliding trick while walking left one tile
  • With the sliding glitch now active, walk on top of the left side of the village icon
  • Now, while standing on the left icon, walk to the right but do the sliding trick again, but this time don’t use a tent
  • Instead, save the game and reset
  • Load the game and move right twice
  • You’ve now skipped Mist!

If you’ve never done this before, you can use this same trick to skip some other stuff, like the bombing of Damcyan. You can also have weird party arrangements this way.

I actually never messed with this glitch much, so I don’t know how useful it is, I just wish I’d known about it when I was a kid, I would’ve loved this so much!

In any case, it’s neat to see that this same glitch persisted across all the different versions of the game. Some bugs and glitches were fixed in some versions while others weren’t, so maybe we’ll take a look at some more later on.

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