Today marks the 20th anniversary of Final Fantasy VIII’s release in Japan, so I thought it’d be nice to take a look back at one of the most memorable quotes from the game: “whatever”.
The game’s main character, Squall, says “whatever” many times throughout the English version of the game. Naturally, fans latched on to this quote and have made countless jokes about it over the years. Wherever you look, the name “Final Fantasy VIII” and the word “whatever” often go hand-in-hand.
I’ve always been curious, though – what is this “whatever” quote in the Japanese version? Is it even in the original game? Let’s find out!
I compiled a list of all of Squall’s “whatever” lines that I could find, and then I gathered screenshots from the Japanese and English versions of Final Fantasy VIII. I’ve probably missed one or two, though, so let me know if you can think of any others.
In this scene, Squall’s teacher makes a joke about how enamoring she must be. In Japanese, Squall responds by thinking something like, “I can’t believe this teacher…”. In English, this became “whatever”.
Headmaster Cid asks Squall how he felt while on the battlefield during a mission. One option in English is “whatever”. The same option in Japanese is something like “nothing much”, “no big deal”, or “meh”.
During a big party, Squall’s teacher tells him it’s strange that he’ll dance with a random stranger, yet he can’t stand being around his own teacher.
In English, Squall replies to this with a simple “whatever”. In Japanese, he says warukatta na, a terse apology that feels sort of like a plain “sorry”, “well, excuuuse me” or “my bad”. As we’ll see, this warukatta na line slowly becomes his catchphrase in Japanese.
A character named Rinoa scolds Squall for not being a team player. In English, Squall responds by thinking “whatever”. In Japanese, he instead thinks something like “man, you’re annoying” or “get off my case”.
A new character joins and suggests a change of party members. Afterward, Squall gets to respond with his thoughts on the new party lineup. In English, the first choice is “Yeah, whatever”. It’s basically the same in Japanese, maybe leaning a little closer to “Yeah, okay”, “I guess that’ll do”, or “Sure, I guess”.
Squall shows Rinoa around his academy. At one point, while explaining in the cafeteria that hot dogs are very popular, Rinoa teases Squall for explaining so seriously. In response, Squall says “whatever” in English. In Japanese, he says his warukatta na (“well, excuse me”) phrase again.
Squall and Rinoa have a short conversation after some intense battles. There are two possible conversations you can get, depending on what you did earlier in the game. In both cases, though, Rinoa tries to get Squall to open up emotionally.
During one of these conversations, Squall thinks something like “just leave me alone” or “get off my back” in Japanese. In English, this became “whatever”.
During some downtime, a character named Selphie seems a little glum. If you try to cheer her up, she’ll start teasing Squall a little bit. In response, Squall says “yeah, whatever” in English. In Japanese, he says his warukatta na (“well, excuse me”) line again.
Squall’s teammates put on a surprise concert for him to raise his spirits. Squall isn’t particularly pleased, so in English he thinks “whatever”. It’s pretty similar in Japanese and has a sort of “give me a break”, “oh, geez”, or “ugh” feel to it.
Selphie teases Squall and suggests that maybe Squall is acting strangely because he secretly likes her. In response, Squall thinks “whatever” in English. In Japanese, he thinks something like “leave me alone”.
An alternate option in the same scene with Selphie leads to separate “whatever” in English, this time in response to Selphie saying that Squall isn’t acting like himself at all. In Japanese, he thinks his warukatta na (“well, excuse me”) line again.
Later in the game, you get to choose whether Squall remembers a certain name or not. In English, the last option is “whatever”. It’s basically the same thing in Japanese, and could also have been translated as something like “it doesn’t matter” or “I don’t care”.
Probably the most iconic “whatever” in Final Fantasy VIII happens during a key scene in the game.
Squall and Rinoa are floating around in a spaceship, and Squall catches and holds Rinoa for a while. Rinoa shares her feelings with Squall while teasing him at the same time:
But now… Squall, you’re the one who gives me the most comfort. Comfort and happiness… And annoyance and disappointment, too!
In response to this, Squall says his warukatta na (“well, excuse me”) catchphrase in Japanese. Rinoa says the same phrase at the exact same time, as if she expected him to respond that exact way.
Later in the game, while aboard an airship, Squall’s teacher decides to tease him some more. In response, Squall says “whatever” in English. In Japanese, he again uses his warukatta na (“well, excuse me”) catchphrase.
Eventually, Squall meets an important character who has a lot of important information to share. This character tells Squall that he looks way too serious. In response, Squall says “Whatever” in English. His Japanese response basically translates into “whatever” too, but could also be translated “I don’t care” or “I don’t give a crap”.
In the screenshots above, we can see that Squall says nine different things in Japanese, but only one thing – “whatever” – in English:
|Squall’s Japanese phrases||Squall’s English phrases|
|I can’t believe this teacher||Whatever|
|No big deal||Whatever|
|Well, excuse me||Whatever|
|Man, you’re annoying||Whatever|
|Sure, I guess||Whatever|
|Get off my case / leave me alone||Whatever|
|I don’t care||Whatever|
Basically, Squall’s English catchphrase appears much more often than his Japanese catchphrase. What’s more, Squall’s Japanese catchphrase is also a little more like “my bad” or “well, excuse me” – it’s a curt, possibly sarcastic apology and not quite the same as the dismissive “whatever”.
It’s been years since I last played Final Fantasy VIII, so I’m sure I’ve missed some more of Squall’s “whatevers”. If you know of any others, let me know and I’ll add them to this list or whatever.