A few months ago, NES Boy had an unusual question that had to do with Super Mario RPG and… PETA? Huh? Weird, I never imagined I’d ever be typing that sentence out.
Anyway, here’s the question!
Mato, I’d like you to look at a line from Super Mario RPG. This particular line is interesting because it was reused in PETA’s New Super Chick Sisters game from 2009.
The sub-plot of this game is that Mario is attempting to rescue Pamela Anderson, only to be repeatedly beaten to the punch by the game’s protagonists, Nugget and Chickette. He tries to get help from Luigi and Bowser, with little success.
Anyway, this game can be played in other languages, and Japanese happens to be one of the options. It’s obvious that the Japanese setting is translated from English without localization, as Bowser isn’t called Koopa, and the line he says isn’t the same one he says in the Japanese version of Super Mario RPG.
So here’s the English line and the translated Japanese line side-by-side:
|New Super Chick Sisters (English)||New Super Chick Sisters (Japanese)|
The English line here is a quote from Super Mario RPG for the Super NES. But the question is, what’s up with the Japanese translation? Is it right? Wrong? Somewhere in-between? Let’s take a quick look!
First, here’s a look at both lines side-by-side:
|English Version||Japanese Version (basic translation)|
|Bowser: Fungah! Foiled again!||Bowser: Fungah! Foiled again!|
So it’s pretty much the same thing here – just a straight translation from English into Japanese.
Now, here’s a look at the line in Super Mario RPG that’s being referenced:
|Super Mario RPG (Super Famicom)||Super Mario RPG (Super NES)|
And here’s what this text says, side-by-side:
|Japanese Version (basic translation)||English Version|
|Koopa: Fungya!||Bowser: Fungah! Foiled again!|
Right off the bat, we can see that villain is known as “Koopa” in Japanese but “Bowser” in English. This name difference has been in place since the very first Super Mario Bros. game actually, so this isn’t surprising. But this means that the name “Bowser” is completely unknown to Japanese fans.
We can also see that the Japanese line didn’t have anything about being “foiled again” – he just makes his weird “fungya” sound and that’s it.
Given this information, it looks like the PETA folks just had someone unfamiliar with games translate the text straight into Japanese. The result is this:
- Japanese players wouldn’t get that this is a Super Mario RPG reference at all
- Japanese players wouldn’t even know this PETA game is referencing the main Mario Bros. villain at all, which weakens the whole point of the parody somewhat
- The net result is a strange line that seems like it should be familiar but is instead slightly off. It’d be like if someone wanted to make a Mario reference in English but accidentally changed the names and the text – something like, “Sorry, Richard, but the waitress is in another building, yo!”
Still, it feels like it was such an unimportant line and reference in the whole scheme of things that it doesn’t really matter. In fact, just the fact that we’re talking about an old PETA game from 2009 has probably achieved what the creators intended – awareness. …Clever girl.