The Truth Behind the Secret Final Fantasy IV Frog

17 Comments

The other day I posted an update to my in-depth Final Fantasy IV analysis, and part of it included a look at the secret frogs in Toroia Castle’s moat.

Basically, all the frogs in the Japanese version make frog sounds except for one, which says something like, “It’s nice being a frog….”

Ribbit? Croak? What else do frogs say in English?

I’ve already covered how this line was handled in the various official translations and the fan translation, so if you’re interested in that, see the full details here.

Anyway, fellow ROM hacker H.S recently e-mailed me to let me know that there’s actually a secret frog in Final Fantasy V that says the same thing:

I like this game more and more as the years pass, but I wish I had played it when it was released

So it looks like this was a sort of running gag!

H.S also kindly provided some screenshots of how this line was handled in the various English versions of the game, and Darien has also been helping me out with FFIV DS screenshots, so let’s look at all the things!

Uh oh I hope I don't do a full FFV analysis as deep as FFIV or I'll be working on it from the afterlifeUh oh I hope I don't do a full FFV analysis as deep as FFIV or I'll be working on it from the afterlife
Uh oh I hope I don't do a full FFV analysis as deep as FFIV or I'll be working on it from the afterlifeUh oh I hope I don't do a full FFV analysis as deep as FFIV or I'll be working on it from the afterlife

So it looks like the fan translation and the PlayStation translation stick to the original, the DS FFIV translation builds on the original line, and the FFV GBA translation does a Kermit reference of its own, similar to the FFIV fan translation. The FFIV GBA translation inserts plenty of references of its own, though, so that’s not surprising. Again, for the other versions of this line, see here.

I’m most surprised by the fact that the FFV PlayStation translation wasn’t handled in a crazy, zany way, especially after seeing how the FFIV PlayStation translation was handled. I’ve heard rumors that Ted Woolsey’s FFV translation is used in the PlayStation release, but has that ever been confirmed? I’ve never really looked into FFV stuff much yet – I don’t think I’ve even played any of the official translations yet, in fact. So if anyone knows, share your knowledge with me!

Anyway, I looked into this “It’s nice being a frog” line a little more and here’s what I was able to find out:

  • The source of this line seems to be from a 4-panel comic done by Yoshida Sensha back when Final Fantasy III for the Famicom was released. The comic goes something like:

    “It’s nice being a frog.”

    “Yep, it’s nice all right.”

    “Whadya say we forget about saving the world and crystals and all that stuff and stay frogs forever?”

    “Sounds great!”

    So apparently the FFIV frog is actually a reference to this comic, and the FFV frog is either a reference too or is just part of what was meant to be a running gag that never continued in any other games.

    As this comic has some historical significance to it (well, as far as Final Fantasy and JRPGs go) I ordered a compilation book from Japan that apparently included it so I could fact-check it and share it here. And it’s true! Here’s the comic in question, along with a basic English-translated version I made:

        
    For those who are curious, this comic is part of this compilation book:

    MARIO WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU YOU ARE NOT AN APPEALING PURCHASE

    For added reference, I believe Final Fantasy III was the first game in the series where your party members could be turned into frogs, so this comic is playing off of that. Apparently it was a big enough hit with someone at Square that they decided to quote it in the next two games!

  • The frog’s line in Japanese FFIV DS was changed very slightly to say カエルはいいよな. This doesn’t really change the meaning at all, but it’s an ever-so-slight change from the original line, which was meant to be a direct reference. So maybe the DS writers didn’t know what this frog’s line was about?
  • There are apparently two frogs that say this in FFIV DS, as opposed to just the one in the original game.

So there you go! The unknown history of what otherwise seemed like a secret, throwaway line in Final Fantasy IV! Ribbit!

17 Comments
  1. Aaah, interesting that the line apparently has it’s origin in one of those four panel comics.

    Reply
  2. While I don’t know if there’s any basis for the Woolsey rumor, the English PSX script was being used in the canceled PC port, which predated it:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20071101085752/http://www.warmech.net/special/ff5pcinterview/ff5pcinterview.html

    Reply
  3. What I’ve heard is that the English FFV translation is a rough translation Woolsey was contracted to do back when the game was new and intended for an English release, but the plug got pulled on the project before he had polished the translation properly. When the PSX release was done, they just used that old unpolished rough they had kept around since back then as is, with no further editing.

    Not sure how much truth there is to it, but it’d certainly explain the general terribleness of that translation.

    Reply
  4. Frogs, frogs, frogs, what do they love them so much? Lizards are much cooler anyway. XD

    Reply
  5. The PS1 translation of FF5 is pretty bad overall. For one thing many enemies have bizzare names (For example, Tonberry is translated as Dinglberry).

    And Faris in PS1 version was given constant pirate speak, which wasn’t present in Japanese version. (As seen here: http://lparchive.org/Final-Fantasy-V-(by-Mega64)/Update%2002/ )

    Reply
  6. I always wondered about this!

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  7. Speaking of Final Fantasy 4, After Golbeza’s seige on Fabul in the SNES version, two of the monks say “T” No sentence, no nothing. So Mato, could you translate the original lin

    http://static4.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20100807000239/finalfantasy/images/b/ba/Theguardswhosaytffiv.PNG

    Reply
    1. Drat, that’s the one character I forgot to talk to during my current playthrough 🙁

      It reminds me of the unused/blank lines that I recorded in this video too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-EPkWA66ag

      Reply
      1. ROMhacking.net recently made a hack of FF4 that uses your translation.

        http://www.romhacking.net/hacks/1659/

        Reply
        1. Yeah, I saw that yesterday, although it seems strange to use my LoL stuff even though it’s not even half done 😛

          I’ve been toying with the idea of making a patch of my own – actually, more like multiple patches meant to demonstrate different localization/translation styles. I’m pretty much working from scratch though, so it’s been kinda time-consuming and slow-going 😐

          Reply
  8. I noticed how some of the translations handle this line as the frog talking, and some handle it as an unnamed character saying it, but it couldn’t be the frog (unless the frog was using some dialect, which I doubt). Saying ~いいな or ~いいよな pretty much always means that you are referring to something that you would like to have/be. So if the frog said it, it would mean he wishes he was a frog, which wouldn’t make sense.

    So it’s most likely an unnamed character/narrator saying it.

    Reply
  9. I noticed in that 4koma that the woman’s referring to the little boy as 先生 “sensei” (which you translated as “Sir”). I don’t know if this 4koma’s a stand-alone, or if it’s part of a series, but I’m going to guess that the little boy is actually a stand-in for the author’s avatar, with that woman being his assistant. Either that, or she’s a total noob at playing video games and is taking lessons from an young yet experienced gamer (as indicated by his interest in a frog-only challenge). Outside of those two scenarios, I can’t see any other reason why she’d be referring to the kid as such.

    Reply
    1. I remember wondering about that too – when I finally got the book and flipped through it it eventually made sense…but now I can’t remember why. It’s somewhere in the back of my black hole of a closet, so next time I find it I’ll take another look at it. I seem to vaguely recall it was meant to represent someone else in the industry, not the author like I was expecting.

      Reply
  10. Actually, Frog transformations were first seen in Final Fantasy II (the NES one).

    Reply
  11. I’d hate to see what became of that kid if he beat FF3 in Frog form. I couldn’t take grinding anymore to even finish the final dungeon playing it as intended.

    Reply

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