How the Dr. Robotnik & Eggman Confusion Works in Japanese Sonic Generations


The other day, a reader named Dave asked a question about Sonic stuff:

Hey man, I was curious about something Sonic related: In Generations, during the climax, The new and old Sonic are face-to-face with the new and old eggmans. The thing is, as we all know, the old Eggman was called Robotnik outside of Japan, and they actually make reference to this. Since he’s always been called Eggman in Japan I was wondering: How this was possibly re-written in Japan?

We already took a look at the “Dr. Robotnik eventually got changed back to Dr. Eggman” thing a few months ago, but this particular situation is pretty interesting so I thought it’d be neat to look into!

First, the scene in question is here:

And if you have a Nico Nico account you can see the Japanese version here.

So let’s take a look at the text side-by-side and see how they compare!

It looks like the heroes have reached some gigantic, scary-looking robot and one of the Sonics gives a standard attitude-filled line about it. Then the Robotnik/Eggman reveal begins:

Basic TranslationOfficial Translation
Sonic: Here you are! I dunno who you are, but if you don’t wanna end up in a world of hurt I suggest you give up quietly!Sonic: Okay, whatever you are! If you wanna avoid an embarrassing beat-down, you better give up now!
Eggman 1: Know your place, you cheeky sewer rat!Eggman: You’re not in a position to demand anything, you nasty little pin cushion!
Tails: Eggman! I thought you’d been abducted!Tails: Eggman! But how?!
Eggman 2: I rescued him.Dr. Robotnik: He had a little help!
Tails: TWO Eggmans!?Tails: Dr. Robotnik!
Eggman 2: You seem surprised. Would you care to explain, future Dr. Eggman, greatest genius in the world?Dr. Robotnik: Nobody calls me that anymore. If you would be so kind as to explain, gentleman genius Dr. Eggman from the future…
Eggman 1: Understood, greatest mind in the world, past Dr. Eggman!Eggman: It would be my pleasure, most excellent, efficacious Dr. Eggman of the past.

So as you can see, the Japanese version just has Tails confused by there being two Eggmans, while the English release does the interesting Dr. Robotnik and Dr. Eggman thing. Based on this and the flow of the writing, I kind of almost want to believe that the English text was written first… and if not, then that’s some mighty sweet localization writing there!

Anyway, hopefully that answers the question about how this old localization change affected this new localization decision much, much later down the line!

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  1. The English version of the scene was almost certainly written first! Starting with Sonic Colors, Sega has entrusted the cutscenes and dialogue in Sonic games to American writers Ken Pontac and Warren Graff (Happy Tree Friends, other cartoons that are actually for children).

    Oh, and this site is awesome. Keep up the good work! 🙂

    1. Well, for Colours and Lost World, there are literally two different scripts on each side of the pond. The Japanese is not a translation of the English nor the other way around, they’re entirely different.

  2. Going by how their gestures and hand movements (especially at around 2:04), it matches too perfectly with the English script… I think it must have been written first.

  3. I love this scene, along with the post credits scene with the two. I can just imagine the actor who plays Eggy having a blast in the recording booth.

    1. The impressive thing is that Mike Pollock actually does manage to make the two Doctors sound like different versions of the same guy; Eggman’s voice is consistently more harsh and gravelly, and Robotnik sounds younger and slightly more pompous.

  4. Don’t worry, Tails — I still call him Dr. Robotnik too.

    1. Gabriel Rocha Nascimento

      hahahahaha so do I!
      The old Master System was the only console I had for decades, and that’s how he was called back then.

  5. this has me curious in sonic cronicals eggman refurs to himself as dr. robotnik repeatedly to show hes reformed. how is that treated in japan? (sorry for my bad spelling)

    1. I suppose that would most likely be a case like this one, since Sonic Chronicles was developed by BioWare (based in Canada).

  6. I actually knew this before. I still wondered exactly what it said in Japanese though. As other people have said, Colors and Generations were both written in English, and I assume that’ll be the case for Lost World too. You can certainly tell in Colors though, no way those goofy lines were written in Japanese first. ; )

    1. You mean like “Baldy McNosehair”? 😀

      1. Yes, exactly. ; )

  7. I like Sonic because he’s kind of a Japanese-created yet Western-style mascot character. English seems to suit him more than Japanese does.

    1. You’ll find many weeaboos who will shoot you down for saying that. XD

    2. I always felt it was the same way with Mario. Admittedly I haven’t seen much of the originals, the Western localizations of the Mario games (the RPGs especially) always felt like they had this spirit/soul/charm that the Japanese games didn’t really have or had less of – Fawful turning from someone who talks more or less like thisisisisisisisisisisis into happy Engrish funtime man for one thing.

      1. YES. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone else put it into words before, but I’ve definitely felt this way about the Mario series for years. American Mario just feels “right,” while Japanese Mario seems kind of… I dunno, lazy? Bland? I’m not sure exactly how to describe it, but there’s definitely a lack of something in Japanese Mario.

        And it’s not just a recent thing either, though the “Bowser is always the villain, no other real characters besides Mario/Luigi/Peach/Bowser’s kids” trend lately (even bleeding into the Paper Mario series, sadly) has made it more obvious — it definitely goes all the way back to the old NES games. Super Mario Bros. 2 is probably the best example… the first Japanese sequel was basically just a “hard mode” ROM hack (or a “Second Quest” like in the original Zelda) while the American version was a completely new game, albeit edited from a different game that originally wasn’t Mario-related at all (…though they did end up re-using quite a few of the SMB2 enemies in later games, including Bob-Ombs showing up as soon as SMB3, which seems a little suspicious.)

    3. Yeah, I guess that’s why I like Sonic better than other game “mascots”.

      He have this “multiple cultural” thing about him – he’s a mesh of West and Japan. I love the way he likes to say English words in the Japanese voice-acting!

      But I still hate the western cartoons and comic books, though. XD

    4. Likely intentional. American culture is cool in Japan. Sonic is a cool dude. Therefore… it makes sense he’d be more western-style.

      (I still like how in the Genesis games, if you leave him sitting idle he starts tapping his feat and glaring out at the player with his arms crossed.)

  8. Now I want to play Colours… Time to track it down!

  9. It’s also funny that “Robotnik” is polish for “Worker”.

  10. This may seem like it was originally in English, but then Cream has lines like ‘Please be careful, Mr Sonic!’ that sound very translated.

    1. That’s just because she’s been speaking that way for the entire series. The American writers kept her speech style the same. Just from looking at the mouth movements, I can tell you it was written and voiced in English before being dubbed in Japanese.

  11. (For future reference, or for trivia in case anyone wants to check it out for themselves)

    A reader sent this in many months ago:

    This [article] blew my mind, and I’ll tell you why. In the PC version of Sonic Generations, if the voices are switched to Japanese, Classic Tails actually does say “Robotnik!” Every cutscene on Youtube is apparently recorded from the console versions. I’d love to confirm for you, but I lost my save a long time ago. If this interests you and you’d like to write about it, I’d be happy to play the game through and supply evidence.