Jamie O. asked about a specific line in Phantasy Star IV that seemed a bit confusing.
First, here is a short video of the scene for reference:
And here’s the questionable part:
CHAZ: I have no idea what these machines are, but this is some place. You’re pretty adept at handling these machines. Were you caught by Zio while you were trying to get the system back under control?
DEMI: Yes, that’s right. Zio is very violent.
GRYZ: Very funny.
So Jame’s question is:
What is very funny!? Was this a pun? Is Demi acting facetious? I don’t even know.
[…] I know it’s a longshot, but I really want to sate my curiosity, and Phantasy Star IV seems to be the only script that the PS community hasn’t torn apart and examined. So, I look to you! If you please. Thank you.
I’ve only played part of the first Phantasy Star game and the Phantasy Star Online game for the GameCube, but it’s always been a series I’ve wanted to get into. Somehow it reminds me a lot of 7th Saga which I absolutely loved as a kid. So let’s consider this my first foray into Phantasy Star!
Luckily, getting to the scene in question was really easy in both games. So here’s a look at the line in question in Japanese and in English:
|Japanese release||English release|
From what little I played and saw, it looks like the English translation was really competently done, especially for its time! So it’s indeed a little strange to see this “Very funny” line in there when nothing seems to be funny. So let’s take a closer look at the scene’s text:
|Japanese version (basic translation)||Official translation|
|Rudy: I don’t know what any of this is, but it’s really something. I’m amazed you know how to use machines like these. So you got caught by Zio when you tried to stop the system from going haywire?||Chaz: I have no idea what these machines are, but this is some place. You’re pretty adept at handling these machines. Were you caught by Zio while you were trying to get the system back under control?|
|Frena: Yes, that’s right. He’s a very violent gentleman.||Demi: Yes, that’s right. Zio is very violent.|
|Pike: Heh… That’s an interesting way of putting it.||Gryz: Very funny.|
Without having played the full game up until this point it’s a bit hard to say anything for sure, but it sounds to me like Frena/Demi speaks in a very polite, rather formal way in Japanese. In doing so, she refers to Zio – who seems to be a pretty bad guy – in a very polite way, which naturally comes across as kind of odd.
And to this, Pike/Gryz responds by saying something like, “That’s an interesting way of putting it.” or “That’s a funny thing to say.”
The problem is two-fold: Frena/Demi doesn’t seem to speak in such an overly polite way in English in this particular line. And the word Pike/Gryz uses, 面白い (omoshiroi), has multiple possible translations ranging from “interesting” to “funny” to “amusing” to “entertaining” and even more.
|Japanese release||English release|
Gryz’s “very funny” line seems out of place because the translated scene lacks the same politeness indicators found in the Japanese scene, and because the Japanese word “omoshiroi” in Gryz’s line was inadequately translated. Originally, Gryz was supposed to be commenting on the fact that Frena/Demi was speaking about Zio in a strange way.
Hopefully that clears up that question, although I get the nagging feeling that there’s something else to point out here that I’ve forgotten to mention.
Also, although this isn’t 100% related to Jamie’s question, I have a question of my own – if someday I wanted to get into the Phantasy Star series, what games do you recommend? I’ve always been intrigued by the series since I was a kid (even despite being on the SNES side of the 16-bit wars) but I’ve just never really known where to start. If you got suggestions, lemme know!