Morgil asked this question recently about Transformers: Convoy no Nazo for the Famicom:
So i was re-watching some older episodes of The Angry Video Game Nerd, when i got to one where he plays a Transformers Famicon game that was never released outside Japan. After slogging through the game’s brutal difficulty, he then questions whether it was even worth it since he can’t even read the ending screen.
Now here’s were my question comes in. The ending screen is a bunch of English characters spelling out Japanese words. First of all, can you tell us what it says, and second, is this a common thing with older Japanese games, to spell out Japanese words with english characters like this?
I remember first seeing the Game Center CX playthrough of this and oh man did it look like a rough game. I saw the AVGN episode shortly after. And then to my surprise, it turned out that I apparently already owned a copy of the game but never realized it! I never got very far in it, though.
Anyway, there are actually three endings to this game!
Transformers: Convoy no Nazo Ending #1
This is the ending you get when you beat the game once:
Translated, this says:
|Japanese text||Basic translation|
|KINKYU SHIREI||EMERGENCY ORDER|
|DESTORON GA ARATANA CHIKARA DE YORI KYOURYOKUNI YOMIGAETTA.||Using a new power, Destoron has revived and become even more powerful.|
|‘RODIMUS’ NO ENERUGON-KYUBU WO TORI FUTATABI DESTORON WO GEKIHA SEYO.||Retrieve Rodimus’ Energon Cube and destroy Destoron once more.|
|SCRAMBLE! ULTRAMAGNUS!||Scramble! Ultramagnus!|
The game then resets to the first stage, and you have to go through the game again.
Transformers: Convoy no Nazo Ending #2
Finish the game a second time, and you’ll get a new ending screen:
Translated, it says:
|Japanese text||Basic translation|
|MAGNUS WA SAIGO NO TATAKAI NI KATTA.||Magnus won the final battle.|
|SHIKASHI ARATANA TATAKAI GA MENOMAENI SEMATTE IRU !||However, a new battle approaches!|
|YUKE RODIMUS !||Go, Rodimus!|
|ATTACK! RODIMUSCOMVOY!||Attack! Rodimus Convoy!|
Transformers: Convoy no Nazo Ending #3
Apparently the game has another ending screen, which I’m not 100% sure on the details about, but:
…And then the game spits you back out to the first stage and expects you to play again. Forget that!
While typing out the Japanese ending text above, I couldn’t help but notice how inconsistent some of the punctuation is. And the romanization of the text is also a bit inconsistent in places. It all reminds me a lot of the ending to Ghostbusters for the NES, which was another classic AVGN moment 😛
To answer the second question, it was indeed common for Japanese games to use English as seen in these Transformers examples. I don’t have a list of games handy, but I’ve run across a bunch over the years. If anyone has any examples, lemme know in the comments!
Anyway, I was actually a fan of Transformers in the 80s, but I don’t remember a thing about them anymore. I do know that a bunch of the names were localized and changed, so the names above like “Destoron” and “Ultramagnus” and “Rodimus” probably have localized equivalents. I feel like “Rodimus” might’ve been changed into “Optimus”, for example, but Transformers stuff is as crazy and info-filled as Gundam stuff so I don’t know 😛
If you’re more familiar with Transformers and know what some of these particular names were called outside of Japan, let me know in the comments!
Convoy = Optimus Prime
Rodimus = Hot Rod
Rodimus Convoy = Rodimus Prime
Destron = Decepticon
Ultramagnus = Ultra Magnus
Thanks! I wonder why it wound up as Rodimus Prime and not something else.
EDIT: Ah, I see, it’s Hot RODimus Prime. Duh!
As with most Transformers names, the US names here are the original, and the changes were done by the Japanese toy company Takara.
(for the ’80s line, Bob Budiansky of Marvel Comics came up with most of the names wrote the character bios)
I thought it was the other way around: Hasbro licensed certain sub-lines of the Diaclone toy line and changed the names to what we know as the Transformers.
That’s what happened with the toys, yes. But Diaclone was piloted robots, and Microchange were all tiny robots and almost all the toys were “good guys”. Takara then canceled those lines in favor of Transformers in 1985, a year after the US line began.
But everything else? All Hasbro and Marvel.
It’s a bit more complex than that. Hasbro licensed a LOT of transforming robot toys, and not all of them were from Diaclone and Microchange.
Heck, some of them weren’t even from Takara, most famously Jetfire/Macross’s Valkyrie fighter(hilariously, when Harmony Gold licensed the Macross anime for US adaptation as part of Robotech, they couldn’t get the mold for their star mech’s star toy from Bandai because Hasbro already had an exclusive license).
This is part of why you see a certain uneven-ness in cast coverage in the cartoon.
Hasbro did not have animation rights to a few of the robots. Roadbuster, Whirl, and the aforementioned Jetfire were all anime toys with consequently more complex rights issues. (No, Jetfire is not in the cartoon. Skyfire appears in his place, and though he definitely draws upon the toy for inspiration, he’s a drastically different robot.)
And once the Transformers “returned home” to Japan, Takara had understandable issues with the cartoon advertising toys sold by their competitors, and later episodes of the show downplayed those characters(like my poor, poor Shockwave!) as the franchise became a joint production between Takara and Hasbro.
Oh god I knew there was a reason Transformers info always felt way too confusing, this must be why 😯
What, because it IS too confusing?
Oddly, Jetfire used his original appearance for the first few issues of the 80s comic book featuring him, before switching to the cartoon look. Also, Roadbuster and Whirl (among others) were able to appear in the UK comic. Maybe there was some mixup or a technicality in international copyright law, I don’t know.
Well, my understanding is they weren’t allowed to ANIMATE them, but no one gave a crap about comic books.
Not that that stopped them drawing a toy-accurate Jetfire for his TV commercial. Whoops.
Marvel UK was actually exploiting that these characters weren’t showing up in the US comic books. It gave them a way to tell additional stories without immediately and directly contradicting the US-produced stories that ALSO ran in the UK.
The same thing happened with the season 3 characters, which largely never made it to the US comics. Marvel UK saw an entire cast (and setting!) sitting unused, and suddenly Galvatron and Rodimus are doing the time warp every few months to play havoc with the good old folks of ninteeen-eighty-something, because why the heck not?
Yeah. But I was trying to keep from scaring him away.
It’s never too early to expose someone to the horrors of Transformers production history and continuity. 😛
And here I figured it was just to facilitate me making A-Rod jokes. 😛
Also, the Decepticons/Destrons are the main bad guys. That’s why “Destron has revived” sounds very weird to a devout fan like me.
Incidentally, the Autobots are called the “Cybertrons” in Japan. Meanwhile, the planet Cybertron is still called that, but Western fans often render it (incorrectly) as “Seibertron”, to distinguish it from the Autobots. This can all get quite confusing.
In Japan, the Autobots are サイバトロン (Saibatoron) whereas the planet Cybertron is セイバトロン (Seibatoron).
Huh, the Game Center CX episode for this game said the KINKYU SHIREI ending came first, then you would get the ATTACK! RODIMUSCOMVOY! ending when you beat the game having collected the letters that spell RODIMUS. Then you can play the game again as Rodimus. It’s still pretty lame, just backwards.
It’s very possible I mixed it up – I double-checked some Japanese sites and saw them go with the order I’ve given though, so I’m not really sure. And I don’t wanna beat the game myself :X
I’ll check again later when I have some more free time, but if anyone can help solve this mystery, please do!
There are three endings to the game.
The first ending, the one you list as “Ending #2” is the one you get by beating the game normally. The game then starts over.
The second ending, the one you list as “Ending #1” is the one you get by beating the game with all the hidden Rodimus Energy Cubes (the first ending challenges you to get these, though you don’t have to actually see it to be able to collect the cubes. They’re hidden around on the levels). You will then transform into Rodimus and start the game over as him. He plays the same as Ultramagnus.
The third ending, the “CONGRATULATION!” screen you posted at the end, is gotten by beating the game as Rodimus.
Hope that clears everything up.
Thanks! I’ve updated the post, hopefully I got it right now.
Above, you have both of the endings labeled as “ending #1.” Is there a third ending if you beat the game again as Ultramagnus? Or does nobody know because it’s that terrible?
Oops! Copy-paste, you’ve foiled me again!
I dunno if there’s a third ending, I’ve never heard of one, at least.
Another good example of gratuitous alphabet for Japanese text is the ending of Doki Doki Yuuenchi (Panic Amusement Park, more or less; the US version is a sprite redraw franchise cash-in called Trolls in Crazyland).
Which more or less translates out to “Congratulations! Ponpon and Liru’s tale of love, and their brave journey, ends here. Bye-bye! Hooray! Hooray!”. I thought the rhyming couplets was a clever touch, though impossible to convey in a straight translation (let alone within the text limits).
Hsha, Trolls in Crazyland? That sounds so bad I oughta check it out sometime!
Two paragraphs in and there’s already a reference to the AVGN and GameCenter CX. This post rules.
Arino vs. AVGN would be an interesting episode!
So, this game also pulls a Ghosts n Goblins on people, huh?
Yep, as soon as I learned about that I was like welp I’m never playing this game. But I did eventually anyway.
If I recall, the tendency in older games to use romanized japanese was down to technical limits.
The roman alphabet is legible at lower resolutions, and requires a lot fewer characters in ROM.
It continued on longer than it probably should have because “that’s just how it’s done”
Yep, it’s also because the English alphabet needs less VRAM space, although I can’t imagine that these nearly-empty Transformers screen need very complex VRAM to begin with, heh.
VROM, to be correct. The NES PPU can access the same amount of memory regardless, but when it’s ROM it needs more space because it has to store a whole ROM bank.
Have you heard the Ghostbusters ending reportedly doesn’t even work right in the Famicom version? It just shows a blank screen and eventually “riri” in kana.
It’s supposed to show English text (with I think a couple more mistakes than the English version) but someone obviously loaded the wrong ROM bank.
Mr.Mato, sir. I have a couple of questions regarding an old JRPG for the Gamecube. It’s called Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean. It’s alright you can’t answer it, but anyway there are five gods called He(Head), Che(Chest), Le(Legs), Bo(Body, and Ar(Arms). I wonder what they are called in the Japanese version. Also, there is a masked character who refers herself in third-person. Does she have the same speaking pattern in the Japanese version? Like I said before, it’s okay if you can’t answer my questions. This game is not well known.
I have to be honest, I really don’t like the name changes Japan gave to the Transformers.
It’s probably been mentioned a bunch already, but Destoron probably refers to the Decepticons, which are often written as “Destron” or “Deathtron” on Japanese packaging. I’m not sure which name is supposed to be more ‘correct’, but recently Japanese Transformers media started using the English terminology, so I think the older terms must be nostalgic for them… Speaking of odd romanization choices, the front of the box writes “Mystery of Comvoy” (as opposed to Convoy).
Basically, from what I can gather, the game was released at a really odd spot – the third season was already airing in Japan, but for some reason the 1986 film (guest starring Orson Welles in his final role), which took place between the second and third seasons, was not out in Japan yet. So I think the ‘mystery’ the game refers to is the entire Japanese audience wondering whatever happened to Optimus Prime since that was revealed in the unseen movie, so he apparently disappeared or was captured by Megatron. Ultra Magnus (who was introduced in the movie) was made the player character and Rodimus (the main character in the movie and the one who replaced Optimus for a while) was made a secret character to sort of tie it all together.
That movie gave me nightmares when I was a kid. I saw it in the theatre when it first came out and it made me cry. 😮
That was our generation’s Kennedy assassination.
Everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing when they heard that Prime died.
Oh, speaking of Transformers, the Japanese voice of Megatron, Seizo Katou, passed away recently.
MAGNUS WA SAIGO NO TATAKAI NI KATTA.
SHIKASHI ARATANA TATAKAI GA MENOMAENI SEMATTE IRU !
I hear this line a lot in anime (HxH 2011 comes to mind immediately 😛 )
There isn’t a comment page on the AVGN section of the site, but I wanted to let you know that it’s an awesome idea. I just finished reading Castlevania II and I especially loved seeing the Japanese gamer reactions to the episode. I was sort of surprised when you mentioned how you and your wife had sent him a game to review–all these years I’ve been reading Earthbound Central and this site, I had no idea you were married! If you had ever introduced your wife in any of Starmen.net’s livestream events I never notcied. Anyway, keep up the awesome work!
Well good news/youareinluck/etc., because Mato has done just that today: http://legendsoflocalization.com/avgn/
Seeing how the episode count is above 100, this pretty much ensures that we’ll be getting at least a 100 entries from this 😀
Yo! I’m still not sure whether I should allow comments on the detailed pages or not – I feel they might distract from the article, especially since given enough time petty arguments and such will break out. I do like the idea of having comments, I just dunno how to go about it – I might just put a “Feedback” section in there like the Mario and Zelda sections.
As for being married, yep! You probably already know her as PoeTrader!
I’d say you should add a comment section. Going through the trouble of writing you an email seems a bit much just to make a quick comment on an article.
On that subject, though, you should probably take a closer look at Jekyll and Hyde. The Japanese version is actually quite different from the American one.
Here are all the endings with the English text inserted in the images:
As mentioned above, the 3rd ending is achieved by playing with Rodimus.
Just a thought, but could “Comvoy” have been intentional? Given how the Famicom is technically written as “Famicon” in Japanese, so they slyly changed Convoy to Comvoy to reference the fact that it’s a Family Computer game? And we, who weren’t in on the joke, all thought it was Engrish?
It’s possible, but for the most part whenever there’s a “n” before a “b” or “v” or “p” sound in Japanese it’s pronounced and sometimes spelled in English with a “m” sound, so it seems like a natural, expected spelling in this case.
As I have some rudimentary Japanese skills I must say it – capitalized ロ-マ字 is awful to read:)
And funnily enough, they did the same thing with exclamation marks as was in Ghostbusters: no idea whether there should be space before an ! or not, so they did both on one screen.
Pardon my terrible English;)
I find it interesting that the particle “ni” is sometimes written without spaces, but all the others are spaced.
Just thought you might be interested to know that this game was ‘referenced’ in the comics. And by ‘referenced’ I mean it’s existence and plot were explained in the ‘Alternity’ continuity (which is where all of them are now multidimensional entities because I guess ‘giant transforming robots from space have a war’ isn’t a cool enough concept on its own). I’ll let TFWiki explain:
The Alternity story, “To Die Game!”, retcons this game as being part of a cross-dimensional game between the hyper-dimensional guardian Optimus Prime and the equally powerful Megatron, wherein Optimus had to choose one avatar (Ultra Magnus) to fight endless hordes of Decepticons empowered by Megatron.
The game has also had 2 manga adaptations and a sequel on mobile. The sequel also got a cartoon discussing the original game.
As a diehard Transformers fan, I can assure you that the entire franchise is weird and incoherent, and browsing the wiki for hours is extremely amusing because it’s all written from a Cybertronian perspective and with only the content that can be found in-universe.
I believe the page on Jimmy Buffet is 2 sentences long.