Len asked a question about something in Final Fantasy V that I’ve often wondered about myself:
I was wondering about the old man in FF5 from whom you get the Brave Blade or Chicken Knife. After receiving whichever weapon you choose, the old man turns into a skeleton, clucks like a chicken, and walks away. It’s a surreal scene, but I was wondering: why is he making chicken noises as a skeleton?
So first off, a quick explanation – in the latter half of the game you can meet this hidden old man character in the town of Mua/Moore. Here’s the scene in both the original Japanese Super Famicom version and in the English fan translation:
And here’s a look at the line in question as it appears in a number of different versions of the game:
|Super Famicom||Fan translation|
|PlayStation translation||GBA translation|
So the question here is why does the guy turn into a skeleton and walk away while making chicken sounds?
He actually doesn’t make chicken sounds in the Japanese text – instead, he has a very unique, unusual laugh. It combines both hiragana and katakana, which gives it an eerie, otherworldly vibe – which makes total sense, given that he’s actually a dead skeleton! Minus that extra vibe to it, this text just sounds like an old man laughing or chuckling. What little I’ve found on the subject on Japanese fan sites seems to agree with this interpretation too, that it’s just the old man laughing.
Because of the oddness of this line, I feel what likely happened is that the PlayStation translator was kind of like, “Umm, I’m not really sure what the heck this is, but I better do something with it.” And since one of the items he gives you is a “Chicken Knife”, the translator was like, “I’ll make him make chicken sounds!”
And, similar to how the Final Fantasy IV PlayStation translation was the basis for the GBA translation, I’m assuming the FFV PlayStation translation served as the base translation for the FFV GBA translation, although I’m guessing the FFV GBA translation had some more polishing done to it. But, in any case, my translator instincts say that’s probably why the chicken sounds exist in the GBA translation too.
Anyway, hopefully that clears up that mystery a little bit! It’s something I’ve wondered about for a long time too, so I’m glad I finally took a look at it!
I’m not sure how other translations handle this line, so if anyone out there has played other versions, let me know in the comments!