Fergzilla sent in a question about the incredible Famicom game, Takeshi’s Challenge:
Recently, YouTube reviewer and former Game Grump JonTron has reviewed an oddball and insane Famicom game called Takeshi no Chousenjou, or Takeshi’s Challenge, which can be watched here. During his review, about 03:41 in the video, Jon noted a rather strange line of text written as “GRILLED MORMONS” and shifted to a short skit where he consults the Broble.
Given that he recorded footage of an amateur fan translation of the game, I’d normally chalk that line up to poor mistranslation. But given the unorthodox nature of Takeshi’s Challenge, I wouldn’t be surprised if the line actually intended to literally mean “grilled Mormons” in the original Japanese script.
Can you give some insight on the mysterious “grilled Mormons” sign? Is it a mistranslation as a result of misspelling or one word having more than one meaning? Or are Taito and Beat Takeshi really that insane enough to suggest such a name for a building in a video game?
I love Takeshi’s Challenge and I loved the JonTron episode of it – if you’ve never seen much about the game, you HAVE to see it here:
Anyway, as mentioned, he plays an English fan translation of the game, and at one point he comes across a building that says “GRILLED MORMONS”. Here’s the building in both Japanese and in English:
|Takeshi's Challenge (FC)||Takeshi's Challenge (fan translation)|
When translated literally, it does indeed say “grilled Mormons” in the Japanese version, but it’s actually a joke that’s just a simple play on words:
- There are restaurants in Japan that serve beef and pork offal – this food is called “horumon“.
- The sign in this game basically switches the “h” part of “horumon” to an “m” to get “morumon”, or “mormon”.
- As a result, the sign says something roughly like “grilled mormon” instead of “grilled offal”.
Overall, it’s a pretty basic joke – it’d be roughly like calling a hamburger a “hambooger” or calling a “fried chicken” shop a “fried wiccan” shop. Or, if you wanted to stay closer to the original and go the change-a-single-letter route, a lousy “hot dog” shop might become a “rot dog” shop, for example. Those are all terrible ideas, but you get the idea, hopefully 😛
Anyway, in Japanese, this “grilled mormon” thing is a pretty obvious, simple little joke, but when translated literally into English like this, “GRILLED MORMONS” just seems to come out of nowhere and seems to have absolutely no connection to anything – it makes no real sense for it to be there. Ideally it would’ve been better to localize the sign, but Takeshi’s Challenge IS meant to be pretty crazy, so it still fits the mood of the game. In any case, that’s the cause for the confusion among fan translation-players – it’s just a literal, unlocalized joke.