How a Quote in Final Fantasy IX Became More Famous in English Than Japanese


A reader named Steven C. sent in a question about Final Fantasy IX a while back:

I have a LoL request:I Want to be Your Canary-from FF9. Does the line “No Cloud nor Squall shall hinder us” exist on JPN PS1?

A fun part of Final Fantasy IX is that it’s filled to the brim with references to previous games in the series. In this case, a line in an important stage play seems to reference Cloud and Squall, the main heroes of Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VIII. For some reason, though, I couldn’t seem to remember this line, but I took a look and it’s definitely there:

FF9 was okay when I first played it in 2000 but it just didn't feel very FF-y to me then, like it was kind of paint-by-numbers in many places. But now that FF games are even more different, I wonder what I'd think about FF9 today

With that cleared up, I hunted down the Japanese equivalent. Here are the two lines side-by-side, with some of the surrounding text for context. Two characters in the play, Marcus and Cornelia, are deeply in love and have decided to elope.

Come in Cornelia! Something Something fighters, prepare for launch!Come in Cornelia! Something Something fighters, prepare for launch!
Japanese Version (basic translation)English Version
Marcus: I have an idea. Let’s take the first ship tomorrow and embark on a journey!Marcus: Let us embark on the first ship tomorrow, before dawn can tell of our elopement!
Cornelia: Yes! Take me with you, anywhere at all!Cornelia: All my fortunes at thy foot, I lay, and I shall follow thee throughout the world!
Marcus: Of course. Even should it rain or storm!Marcus: No cloud, no squall shall hinder us!

So it looks like the Japanese line had no references at all – instead, the English localization team realized that it could be reworded slightly to include references to past Final Fantasies while still talking about weather-related things. So although it’s not exactly the same as the original Japanese line, it’s in tune with the spirit of the original Japanese game as a whole. It’s cleverly done, and it’s no wonder why it’s become a fan favorite line.

Of course, that also explains why I don’t remember this line – I only finished the Japanese version. This makes me wonder what other new references might be hiding in the English version, and what references in the Japanese version might’ve been left out or been less clear in the English version.

For example, I’m guessing the character “Cornelia” in the play is a reference to the first town of Final Fantasy I, except it was known as “Coneria” in the English version of Final Fantasy I. In any case, the more I look at Final Fantasy IX, the more I want to compare the two!

If you liked this, check out press start to translate, my book about the time I Google-translated Final Fantasy IV. It includes the worst/most hilarious translation mistakes, all while explaining why Google's A.I. made such terrible choices. (free preview PDF)
  1. That town in FF1 was never “Corneria”. That’s the home planet from Star Fox. It was “Coneria” in the NES version, and “Cornelia” on every later version. It was 8-Bit Theatre that used “Corneria” as that town’s name.

    Sorry. Personal pet peeve. 😛

    1. Haha, thanks for the correction, I always get confused so I double-checked before I published the post and saw “Corneria” written on lots of other sites so I just assumed that was correct. That’ll teach me!

      1. It’s Cornelia in every other official translation since.

        And yeah this was one translation that was cleverly done. Kudos to FFIX’s translation team.

  2. Isn’t Cornelia also a reference to King’s Lear character Cordelia? 😛

    1. More than likely, yes, especially considering that her father’s name is King Leo, which itself could be taken as a double reference, sounding like “Lear” and referring to the FF6 character also named “Leo”.

  3. I’m curious if the Japanese dialogue was in the style of a famous historical Japanese playwright, considering how the English seems to be aping Shakespeare.

    1. It’s definitely not standard Japanese but also not incredibly Shakespearean level stuff either. I’m not very familiar with playwriting so I can’t say much more than it feels like what a fancy Japanese play should sound like, much as the English one feels like what a fancy English play sounds like.

      In either case, if you were to speak in real life like they do here, you’d probably get a laugh a first and then seem really weird if you kept it up.

      1. Yeah, this definitely would be an interesting subject to discuss indeed. Aside from that, I wonder if you wanna do a Kingdom Hearts related one next. In Birth By Sleep as you enter Dwarf Woodlands as Terra, we see a scene mimicking the opening sequence of the famous Disney Snow White film. The Evil Queen asks the Magic Mirror if she’s the fairest one of all in rhyme, something that naturally was kept in BBS. I wonder how the Japanese version handled that scene, considering that rhymes as we know it would be practically nonexistent…

  4. You thought FF9 wasn’t very Final Fantasy-y? To me it was a lot more FF-y then 7 and 8 were. I was never a fan of how those two tried to be all futuristic and shit; I much more prefer the old medieval style of the older games, and was glad that 9 went back to that style.

    1. Well keep in mind this is back in 2000 – I definitely see it as FF-y now. I remember being turned off by FF8’s setting, gameplay, etc. To a point I enjoyed FF7’s setting as it seemed a natural progression from FF6’s magic+machines stuff. I guess FF8 left such a bad taste in my mouth that I had certain hopes from FF9 that didn’t quite get met. Of course, there’s also the fact that FF9 was the first one I played in Japanese during a time when my Japanese was only intermediate level. That’s probably it more than anything 😛

      1. I didn’t care for FF7 and absolutely *despised* FF8, so I actually didn’t even play FF9 until probably 2005 or so, when a guy I worked with clued me to the fact that it’s more like the older games and less like its immediate predecessors. Of note is that Hironobu Sakaguchi had more direct involvement with 9 than he had with the prior two; to me, it seems like the “real” sequel to FF6, handling a lot of similar concepts and mechanics in similar ways. Shame about the super-grindy steal system; other than that, it’s great!

    2. Don’t forget how FFIV had an enormous hi-tech tower, a giant robot that you go inside, and a spaceship that takes you to the moon. Or how FFV had ancient technology that could teleport and fly (and submerge). Or even how FF1 featured a floating enemy stronghold and an immensely powerful robot. Not to mention time travel, although that’s done in a mostly fantasy-like way.

  5. Sadly I feel FF9 truly need a complete new localization. Between us only getting 2/3 of the games (missing FF2, 3, and 5) by the time FF9 came here and how FF1, and 4 (and honestly so too FF7) needed a complete overhaul in localization (your work in FF4 shows it) a lot of the references FF9 most likely was lost to people. Now that we have gotten all the older games I wonder how a new localization would look like regarding FF9.

    1. What’s so wrong about the localization we have right now?

  6. References that wouldn’t have been clear to western audiences circa 2000? Oh, yes. Go nuts:

    The examples that immediately spring to my mind are the musical snatch from FF3 and the fact that the usually-left-untranslated “Shinryu” ended up being called “Nova Dragon”. The biggest one, though, is probably the straight-up recital of a snippet of FF2’s events.

    1. I like hanging around in FF Wiki from time to time as well. Especially the translations section.

  7. The most interesting thing about FF9 is what might have been with it.

    They had some very elaborate plans for FF9 originally. In fact, according to an early interview, it wasn’t even slated to be a main-series game originally; they were thinking about having it be a spin-off series entry. It’s very likely that, had it not been pushed out as a numbered FF, it would have been the first Crystal Chronicles game instead.

    1. Given that all the character and monster rigging wound up being reused for Crystal Chronicles, this doesn’t surprise me in the slightest.

  8. Cornelia in this context is pretty likely to be a Shakespeare reference and not a reference to the original FF, given the context of this scene. The only thing that makes me doubt this is the possibility that the Japanese version isn’t as clearly Shakespearean.

    (On a related note, the planets in the original Starfox are all Shakespeare references, with Corneria being Cornelia. The only exception is Venom.)

    1. The only thing that makes me doubt this is the possibility that the Japanese version isn’t as clearly Shakespearean.

      Additionally, the name of the Japanese town in FF1 is the exact same as the name that’s used in Japanese FF9:

      This connection was lost in English FF9 because of legacy issues with FF1’s old translation.

      1. This happened with a ton of the names FF9 reused, according to that “Allusions” page. I wonder why they didn’t use the spellings from the older releases?

        1. Apparently they wanted players to figure out the references themselves or something… Additionally, although Valia Pira might sound like a mistranslation, keep in mind the Japanese name deliberately used the Va kana instead of Ba as you might expect. Same deal with Limit Glove apparently…

  9. I think the change was a very good one and one of the best touch-ups they did with the original script, while not actually losing anything (a squall is still a storm so there shouldn’t be any whining from purists about changing a part so drastically).

  10. FFIX is one of the better Square localizations, but there are some screwups when it comes to references. Did Palom or Porom own the shop in Lindlum?

    Another fun fact is that Oeilvert is actually a reference to a book found in Tactics, but this ended up a screwup on that game’s localization: it was either Wyuvle or someting dug up from FFXII.

  11. Even if you did play FFIX in English, you may not have seen this line because you have to have Cinna’s hammer in your inventory, which is well hidden and a seemingly useless item if you do decide to synth it. “Master Synthesist” Hades can make it for you from another exceeding rare item, which can preclude you from making an actually useful item instead of the hammer.