Squall’s “Whatever” Line in Japanese Final Fantasy VIII

69 Comments

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”.

About “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!

Squall’s Many Whatevers

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.

Because Final Fantasy VIII is such a long game, I got the following screenshots from several YouTube videos made by good ol’ HCBailly, R-GAMES, kikuri, and LobosJr.

Whatever #1

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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”.


Whatever #2

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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”.


Whatever #3

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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.


Whatever #4

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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”.


Whatever #5

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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”.


Whatever #6

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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.

Incidentally, they talk about hot dogs in the English version, but in the original Japanese script they talk about pan: Japanese-style breads that usually have filling inside.

Whatever #7

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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”.


Whatever #8

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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.


Whatever #9

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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.


Whatever #10

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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”.


Whatever #11

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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.


Whatever #12

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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”.


Whatever #13

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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.


Whatever #14

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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.


Whatever #15

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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”.

Summary

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 phrasesSquall’s English phrases
I can’t believe this teacherWhatever
No big dealWhatever
Well, excuse meWhatever
Man, you’re annoyingWhatever
Sure, I guessWhatever
Get off my case / leave me aloneWhatever
Oh, geezWhatever
Doesn’t matterWhatever
I don’t careWhatever

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.


If you liked this article, you might like my other 100 or so Final Fantasy translation articles too. My personal recommendation is my big Final Fantasy VI translation analysis!

69 Comments
  1. The greatest disservice the FF8 translation did to Squall was cutting down his many and diverse ways of telling others to piss off into just a single word. Sure, it’s a memorable character trait as a result, but it also cheapens just how many ways Squall has given thought to telling others to go stuff themselves.

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    1. This genuinely made me laugh, good sir.

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  2. That the dialogue was made even crappier than intended somehow makes me hate this game even more. The prerendered backgrounds have held up surprisingly, well, though, especially compared to most prerendered games of the 90s.

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    1. Part of me was (and still sort of is) kind of mad at Square because they somehow made FF VIII models like, the best human models I’d ever seen on the PS1 but somehow two years earlier, the best they could apparently do (or perhaps wanted to do) for FFVII were these shite chibi ones with Popeye arms that looked outdated within like, the year.

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      1. I’m pretty sure it was more art direction than technical limitations. The battle models were much better than the map models, but the battles were fully 3D while the only only polygons on the map were the character models and some interactive objects. I think Square was stuck in “map models must be low-detail chibi” even though there was no good reason to. It got even worse when the FMV picked up when you were still controlling the map character then after a brief cut the super-detailed pre-rendered model appears on the screen. Switching to FMV worked okay with a transition but the “action cuts” from map models to FMV models were jarring. One complaint I don’t have about FF VIII is how well it integrated FMV and polys. It’s definitely better than VII in that regard.

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        1. I agree with you after some thought. It makes sense that they were stuck thinking “make it like the old stuff”! So they made everyone chibis on the field maps.
          While there were pre-rendered cutscenes with the more detailed models jarringly SOME pre-rendered scenes ARE done with the chibi characters, making some dramatic scenes a little silly-looking (i.e. Tifa and Cloud in Mideel when it’s attacked by Ultimate Weapon). It definitely didn’t age as well as chibi sprite art.

          I’ve really noticed it because I’ve been playing a PC patched version with the “Reunion” mod that includes field models that are more like the battle models, but they obviously couldn’t replace the pre-rendered cutscenes so they really stick out.

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        2. The weird thing is that the game before VII uses the same sprites for the overworld and in battle.

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          1. Is it possible a portion of the Japanese audience complained about this? Square really waffled on the issue, to the extent where it seemed like they tried to please everyone with the detailed but disproportionate models of FF IX. Even western publications mentioned how the deformed models represented a return to the classic, comfortable Final Fantasy everyone was used to. I realize SD/chibi has always been popular, but it seemed to be really popular in the 90s, for reasons beyond video game technical limitations. I don’t recall if it was official artwork, but Final Fantasy IV, V, and VI had 3D modeled SD character sets that were very popular during the Geocities era of the early Internet.

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  3. I really hate this game. Most of the later Final Fantasy games, for that matter. Starting with 7, i felt the series really went downhill. I did like 9, but it still wasn’t as good as the first six games. I stopped playing after 10. I heard 12 was pretty good, and i may check it out when the Switch port comes out, but otherwise i just really don’t care about the Final Fantasy franchise anymore. I’ve mainly switched over to Dragon Quest these days, which i’m really enjoying the hell out of. I’m currently up to 9, and hope to finish it by the time the Switch port of DQ11 comes out.

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    1. Amen, buddy. This game made me hate Final Fantasy. 20 years later and I still haven’t gotten over it, lol. In a way, this is the worst game I ever played in terms of disappointment and lasting effect.

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      1. It’s okay, we all know you meant “Chrono Cross” *runs*

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        1. Yeah, Chrono Cross is another polarizing title from the same era. I haven’t touched it since it was relatively new, but I recall it being solid enough but not really in the vein of Chrono Trigger.

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          1. I still cannot figure out Chrono Cross’s weird color-battle system. It’s been years since i last tried playing it, but i think i tried like 5 times and every time i would give up after a couple of hours.

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            1. Personally, I felt the battle system took a little extra to grasp well, but just really not that bad. If you can understand a system where Fire and water oppose each other, you should be able to understand this. To me, the element system is actually simpler with just the idea of colors but because the combat system as a whole is more complex like with the Field effects and innate color. Basically, just know a red attack on Red Character will be weak, but a Red attack on a Blue Character will be strong. Know that concept and the rest you can almost ignore and just enjoy the game. Personally, I loved it. I’m not saying its you know in the top 10 of all games ever made in the world, but its solid. The music alone makes it worth it. I know some people complain about the sequel/naming thing, but I say its not like they named it Chrono Trigger 2….

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        2. Chrono Cross was leagues better than FFVIII honestly. At least the story was more interesting and the gameplay was easier to understand than equipping spells to stats.

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    2. Good Taste in this Thread

      Really? You hold FFII in a higher regard than FFX, FFXII, or FFVII? Oh, stopped playing after FFX? Well…

      I guess I’m glad someone likes FFII or III. And IV is supes not overhyped boring garbage. Also, we’ve now found the one FFV fan in existence. /s

      Sarcasm aside, every FF before VI was a mixed bag of good and bad that happened to edge on the side of good. Sadly, aside from VI being one of the best in the series, VII, VIII, IX, X, XII, and XIV are all better than the first 5. The rest (XI, XIII, XV) are about as good as any of the first V.

      Nerds about to feel some kinda way because it’s fashionable to rag on XIII and act like II is some god-tier shit.

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      1. Nerds have been doing this ever since FF7 came out. This is fandom that exists not to enjoy any of the franchise’s output, but to attack other people for not liking the game that came out when when they were twelve… durr, I mean, “The objectively best game ever that I totally am not using my nostalgia goggles on.”

        I mean I remember SNES series fans just tripping over themselves to declare FF7 the worst game ever made. And that’s even after you sort out the die-hard Nintendo fans that were really just mad it hopped platforms. They had no idea what they were talking about, but man did they hate that other people were having fun. And it just multiplied with every release – it’s always in fashion to talk about how Final Fantasy __ is the worst game ever made and ruined the franchise and games were so much better in *my* day and *fart*

        But hey man, don’t rag on V. Poor V. Poor neglected forgotten V. It gave us Greg, the greatest FF character ever.

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      2. I mean, on what basis are you judging “good” versus “bad”? Like, are we talking gameplay? Story? Artwork? Music? All of the above?

        … Also, where are you finding people who defend the original version of II unironically, because I’m pretty sure you’re supposed to report them to The Hague instead of using them in internet flames. 😛

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      3. Lol, sorry but your comparison to two just reminded me of this: https://twitter.com/WeebSimpsons/status/1046984068586512385

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      4. FFV has a bunch of fans now, they’re just all playing the Four Job Fiesta.

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      5. FFV is fantastic you tasteless manchild.

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    3. For the record, I first got into the series with the GBA port of 1&2. 1 had solid gameplay but a week story, while 2 was the opposite with a strong story but week gamplay. Overall though, i still enjoyed both of them. Then I tried the GBA ports of 4, 5, and 6 as they came out and thoroughly enjoyed all of them. Then I got a cheap PS1 at a yard sale and bought used copies of 7-9 off of ebay. I HATED how they handled the jump to 3D, particularly the fixed camera. Then when the DS ports of 3 and 4 came out, i felt like that was how the PS1 games should have handled being in 3D. Another thing i hated was how starting with 7, they gave up on the medieval fantasy style over a more futuristic setting (which is one of the primary reasons why i actually liked 9). Then there’s 10, which had decent gameplay and finally did away with the fixed camera garbage, but i could not STAND Tidus and several other of the main characters. That was when i finally quit. Literally the last Final Fantasy game i played was the two Theatrhym games on the 3DS (which were really good).

      As I said before, though, I may be willing to give 12 a chance when the Switch port comes out.

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      1. For the record, FF2 is VERY dependent upon which port you play. The original Famicom version is really, really bad. Every problem with the level up system is a thousand times worse.

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        1. Which is understandable considering it was the first foray with that SaGa style idea until they polished it more in later rereleases and ports.

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    4. I have generally mixed feelings on Final Fantasy, but I definitely haven’t given up on it because of some of the failures.
      I never gave Dragon Quest a serious try because the premises of the games always looked like “generic fantasy RPG” to me and I’m not into that. I could be wrong but even seeing the newest and most well-regarded DQ games being played gives me that impression.

      When it comes to Final Fantasy:
      I’m not a big fan of 1-3 because of the simplicity of the story, and they were a bit before my time so I was never used to JRPGs being that simple.
      I like 4,5,6 pretty well though 5 is more forgettable than the other two IMO. Although I liked the story, I did find 6 a little easy at points (especially because the Figaro brothers can knock large swathes of enemies out in the early game).
      I really like 7, partially because I love that it’s a bit cyberpunk and I’m really excited for the remake. My biggest problem with it was that the characters were kind of unbalanced and I much prefer 6’s magic system to the Materia system, especially since the latter meant I had to keep unequipping / reequipping characters every time I switched them out. It’s a shame that Crisis Core was the only kind of good expanded universe thing (besides the books maybe; and Crisis Core still should’ve been without Gackt’s character) because I do think the world of that game is pretty interesting, especially from the grittier side of Shin-Ra and the Turks.
      I never played 8 or 9. From what I’ve seen there’s a bit of charm to 8 but a lot of the characters are forgettable and if I didn’t like the Materia system it looks like I’d hate the junction system. 9 just didn’t appeal to me as I didn’t like the way it tried to look “cartoony” and have stereotypical and comedic characters.
      10 is pretty cheesy and kind of silly but also fun to watch in that way, and the battle system is very effective.
      I’ve never played the MMO games, 11 or 14 because I just have no interest in MMOs.
      12 is a game I REALLY wanted to like because I’m a big fan of the FF Tactics games, so I love the “world”, but I really dislike the battle system and all the characters besides Fran and Balthier feel rather boring and the story isn’t very engaging so while I own it I haven’t finished it.
      I haven’t played the 13 games, though the gameplay, story, and characters don’t appeal to me.
      I’m a legitimate fan of 15 despite it’s jankyness as I think it has great characters and a lot of heart and detail put into it, it just needed to be set on the right track (i.e. not being another 13-based game) earlier so it could end up more polished, but even without that a lot of improvements have been made after the fact. The combat takes some getting used to but I think it’s fun as long as you don’t over-level your characters.

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  4. Love this game, and one of many I’ve wanted to try in the original Japanese. I like the idea that Squall has more character in the Japanese phrases, but I think the effect of the repeated “Whatever..”s translates to moody teenager better for English. Most of his responses in Japanese are rude or dismissive, but what’s more dismissive than a good mid-90s “Whatever…” ?

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  5. Thanks for this. I had heard from people that played the Japanese version that the English script wasn’t really very good, making a lot of mistakes or shit like the constant “Whatever” line that just doesn’t happen as much and isn’t nearly as dickish or apathetic. Apparently a *lot* of the dialog for the characters was messy like this – Rinoa in particular is more popular in Japan because apparently her dialog is supposed to be cute and friendly and the English translators went with “Giant idiot toddler woman”.

    People just didn’t really notice because the technical competency of the script was a step up from the blatancy obvious issues with the FF7 script.

    I feel bad ragging on an Alexander O. Smith script but I’m pretty sure I remember him commenting at some point that this project was poorly managed so it’s likely not really his fault.

    I love this game, fuck the haters that have already camped in here showing off their FF hipster cred and being their usual insufferable selves.

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    1. Yeah, I partially blame the bad translation for some of the not-so-positive opinions people have of FFVIII’s characters. I have a friend who played the Japanese version long before he played the English version, and he said the translation was so different that it gave the game a completely different feel than when he first played it. He said the biggest differences were Squall and Riona – in the Japanese version, Squall was stoic and broody while still being respectful when the occasion called for it, but in the English version he said Squall was a lot more dismissive and mean. In the Japanese version, Rinoa was naiive and cutesy yet was assertive when she needed to be, but in the English version she was a lot more childish and brash which made her a lot less likeable in my friend’s opinion. He particularly hated the childish insults she’d use, like calling Squall a “meanie”, because Japanese Rinoa wouldn’t speak like that. He said a lot of characters and NPCs were weirdly baby-ish or used childish terms, when that wasn’t the case in the Japanese version.

      Another thing I thought was interesting was that the Ultimecia=Rinoa fan theory doesn’t really exist in Japan because there are lines in the Japanese version that explain more about Ultimecia (which negates the theory). Apparently during the final battle it’s explicitly stated that Ultimecia reaches into Squall’s mind to find what creature he is most scared of and use it against him, and that creature ends up being Griever. In the English version, it just seems like Griever is Ultimecia’s GF.

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      1. Is it ever explained what a griever is?

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      2. It does explain the status of Griever in-game but it’s easy to miss. It’s Scan description states that ‘in Squall’s mind, the strongest GF’ or something to that effect. So yeah, Griever exists within Squall’s mind and Ultimecia just happened to Draw it in order to give it form.

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    2. Since you mentioned it: I like FF7 as much as the next guy, but I have no idea how it got so popular in the west when the English script had so many problems and many of the other scripts based on that translation were even worse.

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      1. It turns out people are surprisingly good at not caring about translation issues, unless they get to Moon Dwellers levels of bad.

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      2. To my recollection, people thought the game was supposed to be deep and complex like Evangelion. So it wasn’t a nonsensical word salad, it was just demanding our attention and analysis.

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  6. … Whatever.

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    1. Well, excuse me, Princess!

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      1. Oh thank you so much. I was repeating that Link line but couldn’t recall where from. All I can imagine right now is Squall saying “Well, excuuuse me.” No bueno but… Whatever…

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  7. Do you think the translator was trying to create a catchphrase? Regardless, it’s pretty funny. I actually used Squall’s “whatever” catchphrase a lot in the ROM hack I recently finished called EightBound. It’s a hack of EarthBound that makes the game like a Final Fantasy game and unites all of the first nine games. Reading this article reminded me of how I wrote Squall’s dialogue in the hack.

    To see what I’m talking about, check out EightBound here:
    https://forum.starmen.net/forum/Community/PKHack/EightBound-A-Final-Fantasy-Experience-An-EarthBound-Hack/page/1#post2249469

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  8. I have no doubt that the quality of this set of “whatevers” would be drastically improved with voice-acting and facial animation. It’s one of those words that’s more of an empty noise and requires all the other emotional cues to flavour it. Let’s get a cutesy eye-roll and an audible smirk into that love scene, for example.

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    1. Having re-played the early KH games, which includes a version of Squall with voice acting and facial expressions…

      Eh… It… Makes it all soo much more cringey.

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      1. I loved it lol. David Boreanaz was a great vocal fit for my young teenage heart at the time.

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      2. Okay, but you’re also talking about the early Kingdom Hearts games, which weren’t exactly known for their great voice acting and facial animations.
        The first game has LANCE BASS as SEPHIROTH for feck’s sake!

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  9. FF8 was the first ever FF game i’ve played and thus holds a special place in my heart. In fact, I suppose FF8 might offer interesting translation tidbits assuming someone’s willing to tackle it…

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    1. Just wanted to let you know your comment was the 10,000th comment on the site 😯

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      1. Do they win a free iPhone?

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        1. Nah, he’s just being sarcastic… But yeah, the games on PS1 certainly gives me lots of fond memories. FF8, Metal Gear Solid, Crash Bandicoot… I so wish I could go back to those much simpler times…

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          1. It doesn’t look like sarcasm. I think he said that comment with amazement, since he’s probably surprised how much turnout this site has received.

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  10. I don’t agree that “My bad” and “Well, excuse me” have the same intended meaning in English. “My bad” may have been equivalent at one point, but it is rarely said these days with any sort of intonation that implies indignation on the part of the apologist. It is a shorthand way of thanking someone for informing you that you’ve inconvenienced or offended them in some way, and that you will work to avoid it in the future, even though you consider the infraction to be somewhat minor. “Well, excuse me” is a much more put out way of telling someone that you’ve been offended or insulted by the other’s objections, and feel that the action you took was probably justified anyway.

    Some examples:

    “Thank you for rescuing me, but I can’t swim” (as you have to reach your escape boat).
    “Oh, my bad, I’ll bring the boat over.”

    “Thank you for rescuing me, but did you have to get me all wet?” (as you climb onto the escape boat)
    “Well, excuse me.”

    Of course, context is key here, but I’m curious how other English speakers interpret the two phrases. If a character simply said, “my bad”, I would not interpret the character as being annoyed, but would believe that the character believed that they made a genuine error. I suspect age and region may also play large roles in this, and possibly knowledge of Latin (“mea culpa” anyone?).

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    1. Agree: my bad = mea culpa. As for “well, excuse me”, while on the surface it appears to be the same thing, I think a lot of people would say something like “I beg your pardon” to communicate the same sentiment without the risk of being perceived as dismissive. Interestingly, it seems to be the “well” that makes it dismissive because I think “excuse me” on its own would be taken better. It should be noted that my opinion is likely influenced by, “Well, excuse me, Princess!”

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  11. I have a wee figure of Squall, Play Arts Kai Mini Squall, I think, which is an officially licensed Square Enix toy. It comes with a couple of transparent Japanese speech bubbles that you can attach next to him to give the impression he’s talking. One says “俺は単純じゃない” and the other says “… … 別に” (betsu ni). This is kinda interesting to me because you don’t find a lot of examples above where Squall says betsu ni in the Japanese – it’s not his catchphrase. But I kinda wonder if the designers felt that “Whatever” was recognised as his catchphrase even in Japan and chose to include “betsu ni” because it’s a pretty close translation (feels closer than Warukattana)

    Doubt I’ll ever know for sure. Oh well.

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  12. Squall’s team mates should have played him United States of Whatever.

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  13. What I’m getting here is that the English translation of FF8 was actually kinda lazy. Or maybe this was the result of another translator/editor/localizer that was far too overworked for a game with this much text.

    Fun fact, “doudemo ii” became the catchphrase of another JRPG protagonist a few years after this one: the male protagonist of Persona 3

    Reply

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