A reader named Chris recently asked a question about the Kid Icarus game on the Nintendo 3DS:
In Kid Icarus Uprising for the 3DS, in Chapter 7, Tanatos, the god of death, says “I go by Thanatos now, the H stands for hamazing!” I heard that Nintendo did this to correct a mistranslation in the previous Kid Icarus games since some people over there forgot it was mythology.
So I’m wondering, what does this line say in the Japanese version?
I’ve never played the game, but I’ve been catching bits and pieces of chuggaconroy’s current LP of the game, and he just recently got to this point in the game so let’s take a look!
First, here’s the text in question in both the Japanese version and the English version:
|Japanese line||English line|
|Basic translation||Official translation|
|Thanatos: Ho ho ho…|
|Thanatos: And I thought the defenses were impregnable! Having guests is certainly a surprise!||Thanatos: Oh, goody – guests! Protecting an impregnable fortress can get awfully lonely.|
|Pit: Thanatos!||Palutena: Is that you, Tanatos?|
|Thanatos: BOTH of you don’t need to call my name, you know.||Thanatos: Actually, I go by Thanatos now. The extra H is for hamazing.|
|Pit: …Have we met before?|
|Thanatos: I’m wounded, truly I am.|
|Thanatos: You might not remember me, but it’s long time, no see, Pit.||Thanatos: I know it’s been awhile, but surely you haven’t forgotten your old foe?|
|Pit: He could tell I didn’t remember him…||Pit: Sorry… There are just so many foes and only one of me.|
And for easier reference, here are videos of each scene, queued up to the right spot. If you’re reading this way in the future, one or both videos may be down, but hopefully they stay up a long time:
As you can see, the Japanese text is a bit different from the English text, not only with the name change part, but with some lines added, some lines removed, and some extra attitude injected all around. It actually reminds me a lot of how modern Sonic games are handled; in fact I almost want to believe the script was originally written in English. If not, this game went through a really thorough localization process!
Actually, the way the Japanese version of Pit is played as a more kid-like, straight-laced hero and the way the English version is more of a wise-crackin’, boastful hero reminds me a lot of how the Kirby get changed in all the Western box art:
In fact, I think the Kid Icarus 3DS game DID get its box art changed in this way too:
This same “Americans want attitude” thing reminds me of a lot of the 4Kids anime localizations too (which includes Sonic!), so this seems to be pretty par for the course when it comes to localizing stuff for this specific demographic. ‘Tude rules, yo:
Anyway, hopefully that helps answer the question about Thanatos! I don’t really know about the mistranslation of his name and all that, I guess whenever I go back and look at the series in detail someday it’ll make more sense. I’m guessing someone back in the old days probably forgot to spell it right in English and this was just an attempt to fix that old mistake.
I gotta say, that’s an interesting voice casting choice for Thanatos! And from what little I’ve seen of the game, it looks pretty cool! Maybe I oughta play it myself someday.