A Legends of Localization reader named Theodore asked a question about Illusion of Gaia for the Super NES:
In the SNES game “Illusion of Gaia” (called “Illusion of Time” in Europe), there’s a special move (used by Freedan the Dark Knight) called “Dark Friar”. The move has absolutely nothing to do with friars, so I assume it’s a mistranslation (especially since the rest of the game isn’t translated very well). Can you tell (or at least guess) what this move was supposed to be called?
I’ve never played this myself, I only watched HCBailley’s LP of the game a while back and recall being confused by the “Dark Friar” move too. So I just took a look in both the Japanese and the English versions of the games to see what the deal is:
|Gaia Gensouki (SFC)
|Illusion of Gaia (SNES)
So it looks like the “Dark Friar” move is called “ダークフライヤー” in Japanese. Because of how Japanese-to-English transliteration works, it could be written a bunch of different ways in English, “Dark Friar” being one of them. Another could be “Dark Flier”, like a move that has something to do with flying or sending something flying. But since the game specifically mentions that you can use the move to “scorch a distant enemy”, it seems that “Dark Frier” was the intended meaning:
This move also causes a big, red fireball to shoot out of Freedan’s sword, and if you’re sufficiently powered up you can even make it explode into more whirling fireballs:
So it seems clear-cut (in fact, I thought I figured it out at this point myself!) but there’s a bit of added confusion – the Japanese description for the move says, “A shockwave flies from your sword.” Which fits more with the “Flyer” meaning. And since that’s the connection made in the original source text, I’m inclined to think “Flier” was intended all along.
I’m not sure why the translators went with “friar” instead of “frier/fryer” or “flier”, but in hindsight I doubt they would ever have been as memorable as “Dark Friar” 😛
Anyway, hopefully that helps solve that little mystery! And thanks to Dan for bopping me on the head with my own screenshot!