A few months back, a reader asked a question about Resident Evil 5. I can’t remember who asked or what the exact question was, but I think it was something like this:
In Resident Evil 5 there’s a scene where the main villain says “Your future hinges upon this fight” just before he kicks you through a door that breaks. What did this say in Japanese?
I haven’t played the game but it wasn’t too hard to find this scene in both English and Japanese, so let’s take a look. Here are screenshots from this scene:
|Biohazard 5||Resident Evil 5|
And here’s the text in each version:
|Japanese Version (basic translation)||English Version|
|You have no tomorrow if you can’t defeat me here.||Your future hinges upon this fight.|
And if you’d like to see the actual scenes in action, I put this all into a video here:
From this, we can see that the Japanese line doesn’t involve a pun or any comedy. This isn’t too surprising – sappy one-liners are a staple of American action movies, TV, and other entertainment. This isn’t always so in Japanese entertainment, though, which usually handles such situations in a more straightforward manner. So when English one-liners are translated into Japanese, it’s common for them to be localized into normal, straightforward lines. And going the other direction, normal, straightforward lines in Japanese are often given added personality when localized into English.
It’s important to note that this adding and removing of sarcasm isn’t always the case – it’s just a common phenomenon. Much of my own experience with this comes from my work on Japanese movies and TV shows, as well as seeing movies and television shows translated into Japanese. I don’t often see it in games because I seldom play English games localized into Japanese, so this is a real treat. I’d love to check out similar examples from other games, so if you can think of any memorable sarcastic one-liners let me know! (Also share any door puns you can think of)