How Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance’s TMNT References are Handled in Japanese


A question I got a while back was about the recently-released Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance – I can’t recall who from, but it was about a scene that takes place in a sewer.

Basically, this is the situation: Raiden, a ninja-like cyborg, is in a Mexican sewer and fighting evil machines for whatever reason. At one point, Raiden comes across a little boy in the sewer who’s being attacked by some of these evil machines. Raiden prepares to fight the machines, and the boy says in English:

A ninja? Cowabunga!

Go ninja, go ninja go–

You might recognize this as a reference to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! And if you’re a fan, you might recognize the second line from this Vanilla Ice song that was featured in the second live-action film:

All right, so let’s get to the question at hand – how does the Japanese version handle this? First, here are the two scenes in both games:

And here’s the kid’s text in both versions:

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Version
A ninja? Awesome! (Cowabunga!)A ninja? Cowabunga!
It’s a ninja! You can do it!Go ninja, go ninja go–

So it looks like the Japanese text includes the cowabunga line! It’s actually written in the subtitles as “Awesome!” but given the alternate reading of “cowabunga”. It’s hard to explain quickly, but it’s a common practice in Japanese to have alternate readings and meanings to ordinary words.

It looks like the ninja rap reference isn’t in the Japanese text, though. But I think the “cowabunga” reference is enough for Japanese fans to enjoy, since they did get plenty of our Ninja Turtle stuff over there, and even had their own Ninja Turtle anime!

Just a note – the translations in the anime video above are poor in places, so take them with a grain of salt.

Anyway, that answers that question I’ve had for many months! Now I need to actually finish the game someday, I’ll probably just end up starting over at this point.

Actually, I think I’ve gotten another question about this section of the game, so we’ll probably be revisiting this kid at some point. So I hope you don’t mind visiting sewers!

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  1. Ugh, not that god awful OVA they made.

  2. If I had a problem visiting sewers, I’d have quit video games years ago.

    1. Now that I think about it, you’re right. So many sewers in games 😯

      1. Fun fact: What most movies and games call a “sewer” isn’t really a sewer, it’s the storm drain system for handling overflow from rain and the like. Why is this important? It means you aren’t wandering around in used toilet water! Rejoice!

        In reality, the true “sewer lines” are usually much smaller pipes, too small for people to actually fit in. There are a few locations around the world where the actual sewage flows in large areas like that, but they are rare and usually planned to be replaced down the line. In fact, it’s pretty much a sure thing that the Ninja Turtles don’t live in actual sewage, because they also have lived in a few abandoned subway terminals, and those tend to share connections with those storm drain lines. I am totally okay with this.

        But, in common usage, when people say “sewer” they’re talking about both storm drains and actual sewage lines, so it’s fine.

  3. Cowabunga! Moo! Bunga! Bungaloo!

  4. That OVA is pretty japan, everyone should watch at least the first two minutes.

    1. It was worth watching a few minutes of just to hear about “Turtle Saint”. 😛

      1. Personally I thought it was pretty awesome, and radical. It’s just the sort of ridiculous stuff the Turtles are always parodying, only for Japanese pop culture.

  5. Considering Konami themselves made the hugely popular arcade game with digitized voices shouting “Cowabunga” for cleared stages, I wouldn’t be surprised of a double reference to the show and their own history.