How Final Fantasy VI’s Secret “Scrap of Paper Scene” Works in Japanese


A reader named Mike asked a simple question about Final Fantasy VI:

I have a question that’s been bugging me for years.

In ffvi, there’s a section of the game in the returner hideout where Terra is being asked to join the rebels. When you’re allowed to run around at will in this section, you can find a strange scrap of paper at the head of a large table. If you find it and choose to not throw it away, Banon freaks out about it during the next story event. I was wondering what this text said in the original Japanese script, and if it’s changed in any of the re-releases.

I remember when I first found out about this scrap paper thing! It was the smallest, tiniest thing, but back then it blew my mind that game designers would stick in something so tiny and unimportant 😛

It’s been a while since I’ve played the Japanese version of the game, so I decided to take a look at this for myself too. First, just for reference, here’s the part where you get to choose to pick up the scrap of paper or leave it:

I can't remember where I first learned about this. Was it an online FAQ I had a relative print out for me maybe? I remember it was like 200+ pagesI can't remember where I first learned about this. Was it an online FAQ I had a relative print out for me maybe? I remember it was like 200+ pages

Then, a little later on, Banon will notice the scrap of paper if you’ve left it there. Here’s how it looks in both versions of the game:

Say hello to Neat-Freak BanonSay hello to Neat-Freak Banon

And here’s a look at the text:

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Version
Who was it? Who threw away scrap paper in a place like this?Who did this? Who left this piece of paper here?

So it’s more or less the exact same – no liberties were taken and nothing was really changed in tone.

As for the GBA release, the Japanese script appears to remain untouched, but because the English version received a retranslation, the text is naturally a little different:

Holy crap somebody get this dude a comb

Who threw this here? Don’t you people know what a wastebasket looks like?

I’m not sure what the English mobile port of the game says, but I assume it’s the same as the GBA script.

So, although there wasn’t much here to dig into, hopefully that answers your question, Mike!

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. Huh, i’ve only played the GBA version, and i played it a ton of times, but i never knew about this. Next time i replay it, i’ll have to try this.

  2. I’ve played this game on the SNES eleventy-fix times, and I never knew about this either. Interesting!

  3. Ugh! This just reminded me of the time I was playing through one of those parts where you’re being walked to the other room and a Returner got himself stuck between me and the exit! Turned out I hadn’t saved since Mt. Kolts. X(

    Yeah, I never got Banon’s hair. For such an otherwise organized leader, you’d think he’d have comb.

    1. I think his rough appearance just goes to show he’s a regular man that chose to do something about the situation.

      1. I always thought it was supposed to represent a lion’s mane, him being the leader of the pride.

  4. I read in a walkthrough that this is apparently a joke lost in translation…is this true, or is it supposed to be taken at face value?

    1. I don’t see any real joke in the Japanese version, unless maybe it was some sort of inside-joke among the developers. To me it seems like an ordinary little secret added in for fun.

      1. Perhaps it’s a reference to how “messy” the studio was during the game’s development. Before they started work one day, somebody might have dropped a some paper somewhere and the director or some bigwig noticed it, pointing it out rather loudly to state that cleanliness is important in the workplace. That’s just my hypothesis anyway.

        1. That seems somewhat likely to me. In-joke ribbing at one of the developers.

      2. I think I read about the scrap of paper thing somewhere, maybe in Lina Darkstar translation of FF6.
        I wasn’t able to find back that info so I could be wrong.

        From what I vaguely remember, it’s a Japanese cultural thing or something like that,
        you’re not supposed to letting around stuff being messy hence Banon irritation if you do.
        Something like that.
        It might be a good idea to ask Japanese people about that part or at the very least look at Japanese reactions from viewers on Nico Nico Douga.
        Also, the source mentionned it’s character developpement for Terra as we can se her laugh.
        The crown she weared earlier messed with her.

  5. Would you like to do more comparisons of FFVI?

    1. It’s high on my to-do list, but RPGs tend to be a lot more work than I initially assume :X

  6. I read the same walkthrough saying it was a Japanese “joke”. I don’t really get it either if that’s even accurate.

    Speaking of things I never noticed, it took me years before I found out there is a very time-limited scene with Sabin and Duncan’s unnamed wife which can only be seen if, after beating Vargas (the soonest you can get Sabin in your group), you don’t go to the Returner’s hideout but instead backtrack all the way to South Figaro. I never once thought to do something like that, so I missed that scene for years until a recent playthrough of the GBA version. Shocking I’m still finding things I missed in one of the games I’ve played more times than any other. (And, let it be said that FF6 isn’t even a game with the most dialog changes throughout the story, that has to go to Earthbound, with Mario RPG as a possible runner up. Who knows what I’ve missed in those two.)

    1. I never really heard of Mario RPG having any major dialog changes with it’s localization. Do you have any examples? The only thing i can think of off the top of my head was Peach’s “???” originally being “XXX”, but otherwise i was always under the impression that the game had a relatively good translation.

      1. He meant dialogue that changes over the course of the game, I’m pretty sure. Like, an NPC says one thing at one point in the story, then if you come back and talk to him later he says something different.

      2. Geno’s true (unpronouncable) name’s technically different as well, being a bunch of made-up symbols instead of “♥♪!?”.

      3. Oh my. X D


        Do you remember the guard saying he left his Bazooka at home?
        In the original version, he was saying he let Croco go past because he was guarding.
        Yep, no wonder the princess keep getting kidnapped! XD

        The Lost woods is actually the Wriggler Forest.

        When Mack (called kenzor or something like that because he’s a sword) say to his underlings that Mario being there is bad actually news, in the U.S. version they basically insult Mario. In the Jepanese version, they basically say things like “You’re a bad person!” and “Know your place!” but the last one say “MUSTACH!” XD

        The B-Tub Ring is actually the Love Love Ring which is very important since one item have “Love love” in its description as a clue.

        Red Essence is actually Red Yoshi Essence.

        Bowser doesn’t say a haiku in the original.

        One of the accessory description is much much accurate in the original as it list a ton of kanjis to indicate all the statut immunities it confers.

        Maybe it’s just me but the Axem ranger Red seems to be more about to blow a fuse in the Japanese version. : P
        When Yellow is defeated and says he’s hungry, Red tell him “YOU JUST ATE CURRY, CURRY!” and so on. XD
        If you scan their minds, it’s a bit clearer in the Japanese version imho that Red messed up his sentai posing. 😛
        Also, speaking of which, the Breaker Beam in the original is called the Justice Breaker which fit the context. 🙂

        IIRC, Belome mention that Peach taste like peach?
        He does sounds sleepier in the original.

        Ah yes, lot of the dialogue with Culex, called Crystaller, seems to have changed.
        He comes from a 2D world instead of a 3d world like Mario and he seems to be evil in the original?
        That dialogue defenitively needs to be examined more closely.

        Anyway, my personal opinion is that Super Mario Rpg dialogue would need to be checked a bit more.

  7. When I first found out, I thought it was tied to some item you could get later on or something (because FF6 was full of secrets like that), but when I saw that it was simply to change a story scene humorously, it was a wee bit disappointing (though it was worth it to see Terra’s giggle expression). X3

  8. Just looking at those pictures it shocks me how poor the “high res remake” looks. I’m not going to say that a high res version is impossible, but it seems clear they didn’t make the effort. Contrast this with the Udon HD remake of Street Fighter 2, which manages to keep all the important details and what little is changed still matches the spirit of the original.

    1. The original SNES version looked *so* good — still does, for pity’s sake — that I imagine it’s pretty challenging to do it justice in any “HD remake” that can be done economically. Not that this is any excuse for doing it half-assed, mind.

  9. Funny that you had a relative print out that massive online FAQ as that’s what I made a relative do for me as well, I clearly remember that he wasn’t happy about it as it really was A LOT of pages. 🙂 Think I learned about this easter egg in that FAQ as well.

    1. Oops, my comment became accidentily anonymous.

    2. Wow, that’s pretty interesting – I wonder if this is some tiny little experience that diehard gamers in the 90s share. Although maybe it still happens now that GameFAQs and such are so prolific.

      1. DondarfSnowbonk

        I also printed out walkthroughs as a young’un in the early aughts, although I’d generally only do a small section at a time so my mother wouldn’t wring my neck.

  10. Mr. Tomato, can you give a quick look into Ultimecia’s speech patterns in Final Fantasy VIII? It’s really weird, she talks normally when possessing Edea and also in the Dissidia games, but when you confront her in her castle at the end of the game, she seems to put enphasis on her “Cs” turning them into “Ks” with stuff like “Kurse you!” or something.
    Then this is dropped again when she envolves into different forms as the battle progresses.
    It’s really inconsistent and makes me wonder if there’s anything like it in the original Japanese script; some kind of speech manner that she only uses for a brief time.

  11. Wow thanks for writing this! I am the guy that submitted the question.

    I had always heard that this was meant to insinuate that Banon had sold the returners out to the Empire and he was freaked out over some evidence being accidentally left in plain view. File that up there with resurrecting Leo, hahaha.

  12. I believe that there’s a reference to this scene in Final Fantasy VIII. I’m not sure about the English version, but in the Japanese version, if you activate the study panel at Squall’s Desk and read the message from the decency committee, under the message from Garden section, one of the rules is that throwing away scraps of paper is forbidden.

    1. I checked the English version, and it only says “Do not litter,” which obscures the reference. The Japanese version says 紙屑捨禁止当然, which echoes Banon’s word choice (紙屑を捨てた…), albeit with more kanji.