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Final Fantasy V
- Final Fantasy V based its villain's name on a pun where the generic scary Faux Symbolism villain name "Exodus" sounds the same as "ex-death", hinting at his origin as a congregation of evil spirits that have returned to ruin the world of the living. In English, you kind of have to go with one meaning or the other, leading to him being named "Exdeath", a name which Western fans still laugh at when talking about how V was a weak entry.
- Krile's strange name is a joke that's only comprehensible in Japanese kana, where it would be spelled Kururu Mururu Barudezion, a name that rhymes and is obviously goofy. Japanese players, knowing the game is a European-style fantasy setting, would have attempted to pronounce it as if it was an English word, leading to something close to 'Kryrh Mryrh'. Since this would be unpronounceable to actual English speakers, her name was localised as Krile Meyer Baldesion, which doesn't have the same ring of absurdity. This in turn creates a Dub-Induced Plot Hole in Final Fantasy XIV, in which a Lalafell mage is named Krile - a gag playing off the fact that "Kururu Mururu" would be a valid name under Lalafellin name structure, but which in the English becomes nonsensical. Though it does happens to be justified in that Krile is an adopted child of non-Lalafellin parents.
Final Fantasy VI
- The Signature Move of the Cactuar enemy was translated as "Blow Fish" in the SNES version of the game, because it wasn't clear at first that the name was a reference to the Japanese rhyme kids say along with a Pinky Swear. Idiomatically, that reference is used as a general term for a blowfish, so presumably Ted Woolsey thought that it was referring to the slang term for the animal rather than the childhood rhyme it referenced. Later games (and later releases of Final Fantasy VI) caught on and used "1000 Needles" for the attack instead (though the fact that it always does 1000 damage should have been a clue).
- The "Imp Equipment" set (Impartisan, Tortoise Shield, Saucer, and Reed Cloak), a set of very rare items that boost up your stats a lot if you're under the Imp status. What the heck do any of those terms (bar Impartisan) have to do with The Imp? They sound a lot more like they'd be associated with some kind of water creature. In the Japanese version, it was the Kappa status, a Japanese water creature that is indeed commonly associated with spears, tortoise shells, water plants, and saucers.
Final Fantasy VII, Compilation, and Remake
Many legitimate complaints
can be made about Final Fantasy VII
's English translation. The remake
fixes many of these in the first part.
- Cloud's first line in English is "I don't care what your names are. Once this job's over, I'm out of here." The Japanese version of the line is 「あんたたちの名前なんて興味ないね。どうせこの仕事が終わったらお別れだ。」note . The latter is more youthful and playful, and he suddenly switches to a more formal, pretentious choice of wording at the end (「お別れ」owakare), which - just like in English - is something that you would do if you were trying to be funny. The result is that in English he comes off as a straightforward jerkass who only cares about his pay. In Japanese on the other hand, he comes off as a mouthy, condescending poser who thinks that it's appropriate to talk to his coworkers like they're idiots. A loose translation for feel might be, "You know I'm not interested in the names of any of you people, right? Like, once this job's over, I'll be bidding you adieu."
- In Mobius Final Fantasy, this line was retranslated as "Not interested in your names. Once this is done, I'm gone." This is, if anything, even further from the tone of the original. And while the remake also does this (what with Cloud stating This is a one-time gig. When it's done, we're done), somehow even further away from the original than even Mobius, the voice actor plays it with a degree of warmth that indicates he isn't being harsh.
- The original script gave Cloud a habit of speaking with clichéd idioms, with the idea being that he's someone whose words weren't his own — a habit strongly associated with the character by Japanese fans, and Lampshaded in Dissidia Final Fantasy. In the English version it's Woolseyfied into him making a lot of understatements and undercutting his own words, which isn't as memorable and hasn't carried over to any of his future appearances.
- Cloud's Catchphrase was inconsistently translated as "not interested", "don't really care", "don't care", "not my thing" etc., with the effect of diluting the fact that he has a catchphrase. His later appearances all strictly used "not interested" (the most accurate translation from Japanese: 「興味ないね」 kyoumi nai ne), which many English-speaking fans assumed was a retroactive attempt to flanderize his disaffected attitude and make his character more brooding and apathetic. In fact, it had been part of his character from the very beginning. That said, the English phrase "not interested" is more harsh than the Japanese; kyoumi nai ne is rude, but the -ne, which softens the tone, and the playful alliteration on nai ne, both indicate that Cloud means it with cheeky humour rather than just coldness. The remake tries to correct for this by adjusting the catchphrase to an extended, goofy "nnnnnope".
- English and Japanese do share the same allegorical meanings around the term 'spiky' (e.g. a spiky personality, a pointed comment, etc.), but it's fair to say that calling Cloud 'spiky-headed' in English just sounds like a reference to his hair. In Japanese, it's 'tsun-headed', which comes off like a childish insult about his character as well as a reference to his hair.
- You may notice that Cloud's name is even odder than those of the rest of the cast, having two fantastical names, when the rest of the heroes have normal surnames. This is because Cloud's peculiar surname, Strife, was intended as a slight modification/pun on the common Germanic surname "Strauss" - 「ストライフ」 "Sutoraifu" rather than 「ストラウス」 "Sutorausu" (note that the name of Cloud's mother was given as 'Claudia Strauss' in the artbook). To Japanese ears, it sounds plausibly like a Germanic surname, being only one tweak away from a well-known one. In English, it sounds like a ridiculous and Narmfully on-the-nose Awesome Mc Coolname.
- Barret's name is a pun on 'Bullet' that also sounds like the ordinary surname "Barrett" - in Japan, they'd be pronounced the same way: 「バレット」baretto. This ambiguity is lost in English, and the translators went down the more name-y route.
- Contrary to the popular consensus, Cloud and Tifa were not childhood friends when they were growing up in Nibelheim. Both admit at various points throughout the game that they didn't know each other very well at the time, with Cloud having been a loner with a crush on Tifa from afar but who was not a part of her circle of friends, while Tifa didn't pay much attention to Cloud until he invited her out to the water tower and explained that he was leaving to join SOLDIER. The confusion stems from the fact that the Japanese word for "childhood friend" (「幼馴染み」 osananajimi) more closely translates to "someone whom you just so happen to have known since childhood," without necessarily implying any close interpersonal connection.
- A Woolseyism led to Cloud getting "Mako poisoning", a sensible decision, since Mako energy allegorises nuclear power. However, the original Japanese called it 「魔晄中毒」 mako chuudoku, which can not only mean "Mako poisioning", but also "Mako addiction". This created a drug-abuse allusion that adds some pop-psychedelic subtext to certain scenes, such as why Cloud gets a Journey to the Center of the Mind after being exposed to the Lifestream, and what's going on when Tifa finds Cloud lying in a city gutter moaning incoherently. It also makes his recovery, after opening up to Tifa about his feelings, much later in the game make somewhat more sense, as his condition is more of a psychological problem than a physical one. Crisis Core used "Mako addiction" to describe Cloud's symptoms, and in the remake, a passer-by yells at Cloud mistaking him for a "Mako junkie".
- Another woolseyism led to Sephiroth Copies being referred to as "Sephiroth Clones". This wasn't itself a bad move, since 'Copies' sounds silly, but the Clones aren't real 'clones' but a made-up Magitek concept. It ended up confusing the already convoluted plot as players attempted to find Cloning Blues tropes that weren't in the story.
- Shildra Inn in Cosmo Canyon should have been Syldra Inn, a reference to Faris' sea dragon in Final Fantasy V.
- Japanese Pronouns and modes of politeness were all lost:
- Aerith's speaking pattern in Japanese comes across as being tomboyish and rough, to match her low-class upbringing and contrast with her girly appearance. In English, her speech pattern is made playful and almost cutesy ("Hmmmmm!"), meaning a lot of the irony was lost on English-speaking fans. This is very rectified in the remake, where Aerith is allowed to talk in slang and even swear.
- After we find out the truth about Red XIII's personality, he goes from speaking in a pompous and condescendingly formal way (with the pronoun "watashi") to speaking like a child (using the very cute pronoun "oira"). In Japanese, this change affected every line, with his party dialogue in early optional events having alternatives depending on whether his sidequest had been finished or not. This change does carry over to the English script, but thanks to English' more limited palette when it comes to indicating social status and politeness, it's much less striking, with a lot of the changes just being trivial tweaks in phrasing ("That's the reactor, and the condor." / "That's the reactor. And the condor.")
- During Cloud's possession scenes, the Japanese version had him suddenly start speaking in a formal way to indicate that he'd become a completely different person. In the English version, he speaks in his usual way ("This place is about to get rough.") indicating that More Than Mind Control might be involved.
- Back when he was a (comparatively) normal person, Sephiroth used the pronoun "ore" to refer to himself, but after he learned his origins and went psychotic he switched over to "watashi". The remake retains this, which creates an important moment that got lost in the English dub: at the very end of the game, when Sephiroth tries to convince Cloud to help him defy destiny, he uses "ore" as if he were sane again, which visibly shocks Cloud. However, it's a downplayed example since even without the pronouns his statement is still very surprising.
- There's a clever Stealth Pun in the fact that Cloud is introduced as a Rōnin (「浪人」- a former swordsman who abandoned his masters for unclear reasons and now works as a mercenary) and that we later discover that he's a ronin (a young person who failed their entrance exams to get the job they wanted). This is lost in English due to the latter meaning being an unknown cultural concept, and the former archetype being less easy to recognise in the distorted form it's presented in with Cloud.
- A joke about President Shinra where President was his name, not his actual job/title in the corporation was lost in the English translation.
- At one point, Elmyra recalls the young Aerith saying her husband had returned to the Planet - "I asked if she meant a star in the sky. But she said it was this planet." Baffling, unless you know that Japanese uses the same word for both "planet" and "star" (「星」hoshi). It also causes some of the symbolism concerning stars, planets and meteorites to be muddled because English has no way of referring to them all as the same concept - for instance, Tifa's concern over whether the stars can "hear us" is supposed to be a reversal of the 'You Can Hear the Cry of the Planet' motif, but it doesn't come across.
- The Western fandom has a different view of the main girls than the Japanese ones based on their clothes designs having slightly different connotations for each country. Since casual basic fashion for young women in 1997 Japan is more cutesy than in the West, Aerith's pink outfit and bow comes off as down-to-earth (while still well-put-together and special), while Tifa's cropped tank, leather skirt and Doc Martens marked her out as being the one who was really interested in fashion (and a bit alternative). In US 1997, Tifa looked like a casual low-maintenence girl-next-door type in old boots, while Aerith came off as being unusually girly and wholesome. Cue people who loathe her for being a Tastes Like Diabetes princess type... although that has mostly fallen by the wayside as the fanbase has matured and realized the script doesn't portray her that way.
- Aerith is a lot more direct about her relationship with Zack in English. In English, she calls Zack "my first boyfriend", Cloud asks if they were "...serious", and Aerith denies it, saying she only "liked him for a while". In Japanese she says Zack was the first guy she liked, and Cloud asks if they were dating, which she denies, saying she only thought for a while that it would be a nice idea. (Since the English version seems to indicate that Cloud's asking Aerith about her sexual history, it might have been a Woolseyism to go along with the other changes to make the script more adult and swearier.) Her comments about him later are much less sexual as well - in English she says Zack "loved women, a real ladies' man... He probably found someone else", when in Japanese she says he probably met a girl and settled down with her, not implying any particularly possession of him at all.
- The Remake goes for more of a vague, middle-ground approach. Aerith simply states that Zack was "the first guy [she] ever loved" without clarifying whether or not they were a couple or if her affection for him was even reciprocated. Cloud simply acknowledges this and then leaves it at that, not pressing her for specifics.
- When Aerith is in the prison cell explaining to Tifa what the Cetra are, in the English version she just says a few vague lines in her normal speaking style. In the Japanese version she recited a nursery rhyme about the Promised Land legend, indicating it was something her mother taught her as a child. The scene in Dirge of Cerberus where Lucrecia recites Cetra poetry to Vincent was supposed to be a callback to this, but this change means that this is lost on English-speaking players.
- Aerith and Cloud have a weird conversation in the Temple of the Ancients, where Aerith reads out the word 'Black Materia' one letter at a time, Cloud says "Black Materia!", and she gets annoyed before saying, "...Black Materia". In the Japanese she read the word correctly, but inserted the space in the wrong place, coming up with the nonsense phrase「黒魔 テリア」kuroma teria ("black-magic terrier"). Cloud corrects her on this with「黒 マテリア」kuro materia, embarrassing her. It's a type of pun/word-play called "ginatayomi" (「ぎなた読み」), basically The Problem with Pen Island, that's very hard to translate out of Japanese. Written Japanese uses a combination of both logo-graphic and phonetic characters, with the latter often being used as either a pronunciation guide or as a placeholder when the writer does not know the logo-graphic character(s) for a particular word. It is for this reason that Japanese writing does not use spaces, as it is the constant alternation between the two systems that is the primary means by which individual words are differentiated from each other. However, when a particular sentence is written entirely in phonetic characters (as was the case with the "kuromateria"「クロマテリア」example above), the lack of differentiation can lead to ambiguity about where one word ends and the next one starts. Ginatayomi is especially common in the spoken language for just this reason. For example, the phrase「パン作ったことがある？」pan tsukutta koto ga aru? (meaning "Have you ever baked bread before?") could also be interpreted as「パンツ食ったことがある？」pantsu kutta koto ga aru? (meaning "Have you ever eaten underwear before?"). There is really no way to translate this type of word-play. The only way to do it (short of removing it and replacing it with some sort of English pun) is to do it in the original Japanese along with text explaining the joke.
- A joke which also doubled as a Shout-Out to Domino's & Pizza Hut was lost in the English translations (both in the original and the Remake). This is because Mayor Domino's assistant was simply named "Hart" in English, when in fact his Japanese name (「ハット」Hatto) is a pun on the name "Hut." Between that and Barret's description of Midgar as a "rotting Pizza" on account of its overall circular shape, and you have a joke that the localizers perhaps thought was just a little too punny for English-speaking audiences. The Remake brought it back with the mayor being named Domino again. And the real life Malaysian Domino's Pizza twitter account posted a picture of Midgar as a pizza after the game came out.
- Cloud recounts a memory of looking in Tifa's drawers and finding what the English translation calls "Orthopedic Underwear". Fans often translate it as "Slightly Stretched Underwear". The 'stretched' in the phrase (「背伸び」senobi) is meant to be understood idiomatically, with 'stretched' being in the sense of how a child might stand on their toes in order to appear taller, so a more accurate translation would be something more like "Kind-of trying-to-look-grown-up Underwear", or, for a smoother localisation, "Sort-of Granny Panties". The implication is that Tifa was wearing underwear designed for women beyond her age range.
- Depending on how high your affection rating is with Tifa, a scene may appear towards the end of the game in which she and Cloud are left alone under the airship and a suggestive line of dialogue is followed by a Fade to Black, implying that the two of them made love (this is why Tifa collapses in embarrassment upon learning that Cid, Barret, and Red XIII may or may not have been watching [them]). While the developers stated in the 10th Anniversary Ultimania that it was intended to be at least slightly ambiguous, the scene went completely over the heads of many players because the line in question was translated as "Cloud, words aren't the only thing that tell people what you're thinking," which sounds very matter-of-fact and lacks any kind of sexual nuance. The Japanese line however is「想いを伝えられるのは言葉だけじゃないよ。」note , meaning: "Words aren't the only way of letting someone know how you feel," which sounds far more romantic and does a more effective job of conveying the intended meaning of the scene.
- A major game mechanic is the "PHS", a device with which you can switch your party members (and which is occasionally used as a phone in the storyline). In Japan, it was a reference to a late-1990s branch of entry-level mobile phones with reduced features called "Personal Handiphone System" or "PHS", with the joke being that Cloud's was a「パーティ編成システム」Pāti Hensei Shisutemu (Party Summoning System, an existing Fan Nickname for the party-switching game mechanic in many RPGs of that era). In English, the PHS's name is left untranslated and the allusion to its in-game use is lost, and the total obsolescence of the technology it's based on hasn't helped either.
- A major plot point managed to get lost in translation, in that the Japanese script portrayed Sephiroth with a markedly different role and motivations compared to the impression that many English-speaking players were left with. In the original Japanese, Jenova was actually the Big Bad, a Puppeteer Parasite infecting and manipulating Sephiroth, rather than the latter simply being an unhinged, obsessive killer. This is why Sephiroth finally sprouts additional limbs and a more alien form in the final battle, which was also supposed to be about removing the Jenova parasite from Sephiroth himself. The latter, incidentally, spends almost the entire game in the Whirlwind maze at the Northern cave, having washed up there after Cloud threw both him and Jenova's head into the Lifestream at Nibelheim. The "Sephiroth" whom the heroes spend the entirety of Disc 1 pursuing and who does all of the stuff that we remember him for, like the death of Aerith? That was all Jenova, a Shapeshifter taking on the physical appearance of Sephiroth and trying to unite the various parts of itself at the Northern Crater and kill off the one Ancient who could weaponise Holy Materia to bring it down. During the game's climax, Sephiroth's persona is at the forefront, but it's Jenova's instinct that lives on through him, driving him to destroy. There is a taste of this when the game takes all control away from the player before Aerith's death, only leaving the commands to try and strike her down as Cloud. This is because Shinra injects Jenova cells into its prospective soldiers before then regulating them with Mako, but Cloud's body never took to the treatment—hence the headaches and blackouts. Likewise, the various "clones" encountered throughout the game are actually the former residents of Nibelheim, injected with both Jenova's and Sephiroth's cells and then exposed to Mako energy in an attempt to create duplicates of the latter, though they all failed due to scientific malpractice. Jenova however, keeps trying to control and guide them (including Cloud and the "fake" Sephiroth) towards the Northern Cave so that it can be 'whole' again, thus clarifying that the voice in Cloud's head was Jenova the entire time. All of this is spelled out far more explicitly in the original Japanese text. While this plot point is more or less retained in the English localization, it is barely even noticeable because it's resigned to only two sentences, with Cloud even saying "I'll explain later" only to never do so. Consequently, many if not most English-speaking players were left with the impression that Sephiroth was simply an unhinged sociopath with a God complex whose sole motivation was to destroy the world out of spite, and that Jenova and the various clones seen throughout the game were merely unexplained "tools" in *his* overall plan. Knowing Jenova's true role as the main villain manipulating both Cloud and Sephiroth makes for a far more satisfying ending in every respect when Aerith uses the power of the Lifestream to repel Meteor, alongside the fact that Cloud defeats both Jenova and Sephiroth to protect the Planet.
- This plot point is further confounded by the fact that Square Enix themselves came out and rejected it in the Final Fantasy VII Ultimania Omega, insisting that Sephiroth was the one in control the entire time, of both himself and Jenova. This only raises more questions than it answers and has many accusing Square Enix of simply making it up in order to appease Sephiroths fanbase.
- The teenage Cloud comes off as something of a serial heartbreaker in the English, and a Celibate Hero in the original. In English, his mother asks him, "I bet the girls never leave you alone", and he answers, "not really", before she begins to worry about 'temptations in the city' and discusses what kind of girl Cloud should settle down with, while Cloud protests and says he's not interested (as if he's fooling around with girls but never serious, and enjoying his freedom). In Final Fantasy VII Remake, his mother instead says "Women must be hounding you day and night", and Cloud responds, "not really", before she starts worrying about 'keeping [Cloud] out of trouble' talking about what kind of girl Cloud should settle down with (as if she's trying to encourage her aloof, naive son to make an effort and open up to people).
- During Tifa's journey into the center of Cloud's mind, a young Cloud tells her that he "wanted to play with [all the other kids in the village], but you never let me in the group." This line alone casts the young Tifa in a completely different light than the one in which she is otherwise portrayed, making her seem more like an Alpha Bitch who deliberately ostracized the lone socially-awkward kid in town throughout his entire childhood and in doing so contributed to his Friendless Background and eventual development of an Inferiority Superiority Complex. The Japanese line however is「本当はみんなと一緒に遊びたいのに、どうしても仲間に入れてって言えなかった。」, which (more or less) translates as: "The truth is that I wanted to play with everyone, but I just couldn't bring myself to ask." This reveals that Cloud's lonely childhood was more due to his own social insecurities rather than any form of bullying or ostracism, and that Tifa and the others would have very much welcomed him in had he not been so distant. Remake rectifies this error by showing a flashback in which a young Tifa explicitly invites Cloud into her social circle, with him silently ignoring her out of disaffected shyness.
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children:
- Tifa uses the phrase "Dilly dally shilly shally" when commenting on Cloud's apathy and depression, which makes some sense given that "dilly dally" refers to the act of procrastination, but many English-speaking audiences were baffled nonetheless. This is because the original Japanese line is 「ずるずるずるずる」 zuruzuru zuruzuru, an onomatopia which mimics the sound of dragging something heavy across the ground. It makes sense in context, since the entire film is about Cloud being weighed down by survivor's guilt and feelings of powerlessness, hence a later scene wherein which he says that he feels "lighter". There is really no way of translating this dialogue faithfully, and "Dilly dally shilly shally" may or may not cross the line from Narm into Narm Charm depending on your mileage.
- The very concept of forgiveness carries far more weight within the context of Japanese culture than it does in English-speaking ones, as explained on this page. Simply put, the practice of forgiving others over any perceived wrongdoings and then accepting said forgiveness is so important in Japan that the phrase, "this is unforgivable!" is tantamount to telling someone: "you don't deserve to live," hence why the phrase is so common in anime and manga. The Japanese word for forgiveness (「許し」yurushi) is thus comparable to the English word mercy. Knowing this adds another level of significance to Cloud's emotional arc as he struggles to overcome his survivor's guilt—he's not saying that he wants Aerith and Zack to forgive him. Rather, he thinks that he is no longer worthy of living after having failed to save their lives, and is unable to reclaim his own will to live (i.e. have mercy on himself) because nothing he does can ever bring them back. This further ties into Japans culture of honour and atonement that descends from the Samurai code of Bushido, in which a Samurai who failed to successfully protect the life of his master/superior was expected to atone for said failure through ritualistic suicide. This subtext however is lost in translation due to it not carrying the same level of cultural significance in English-speaking countries as it does in Japan. It is also due to the localizers opting to translate the word「許し」yurushi as forgiveness when in fact mercy would have been a more sensible decision. Given Aerith's messianic qualities and later use of her Great Gospel spell to "baptize" and cure everyone's Geostigma at the end of the movie, the decision to localize it as "forgiveness" might have been an attempt to emphasize the Judeo-Christian symbolism as Cloud struggles to overcome his own illness and absolve himself of his "sins." However, this significantly confounds upon the nature of his emotional state, making it more difficult for audiences to sympathize with him. Likewise, one of Sephiroth's lines during the final duel between him and Cloud is「許しを請う姿を見せてくれ」note , which most accurately translates as: I want to see you begging for mercy, doubling as both a villainous one-liner and an ironic taunt directed at Clouds own emotional turmoil. The localizers however, opted to translate it as I want you to beg for forgiveness—presumably for the sake of consistency, but the resulting line doesn't make as nearly as much sense within the context of the scene.
Final Fantasy VIII
- Squall's Catchphrase is probably one of the most famous examples of this - in the English, it's "...whatever". In Japanese, it's "warukkata", which means something more like "...sorry" or (perhaps more literally) "...my bad". It does have the same youthful, slightly rude connotation as 'whatever', but the change overall makes Squall a lot less like he has No Social Skills (the intended reading) and a lot more like he's just heartless and nasty. Opinions about Squall between Japan and English-speaking regions tend to be very different because of this.
- The Japanese version of Rinoa's confession in Galbadia Garden plays out a differently from the English translation, and includes a line referencing that indicates that she no longer likes Seifer:
Rinoa [Japanese]: If I did I couldn't talk about it like this.
Rinoa [English]: If I didn't, I wouldn't be talking about it.
- Although it's still possible to guess from Gilgamesh's comment about the Rift that he's the same Gilgamesh that appeared in Final Fantasy V, a single syllable confirming it was left out of the English translation:
Gilgamesh [Japanese]: Huh? Was it you... Ba—? [referring to Bartz]
Gilgamesh [English]: Huh? Was it you...?
- The name of the airship Ragnarok is a pun on the name of Laguna — Laguna's name in Japanese is ラグナ, Ra-gu-na, and the word Ragnarok is ラグナロク, Ra-gu-na-ro-ku, which could be translated directly as "Laguna Six". This is a source of humor when Laguna quips that the ship's name "sounds so cool!". and it could be intended as Foreshadowing that Laguna is the President of Esthar, since the ship was probably named in his honor. But this wordplay wasn't retained in the English translation. Other translations like the Spanish and Italian versions just name the ship after Laguna directly, and in the Italian version he even says the ship was named after him. This bit of wordplay came up again when Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy came out, and Laguna has a BFG modeled after the Ragnarok for many of his attacks — English players just assumed it was for the Rule of Cool, not knowing there was a stronger connection between the man and the airship.
Final Fantasy IX
- The Japanese equivalent of the English idiom, "to reveal one's true identity/colors" is 「尻尾を出す」note , which literally translates as "to show one's tail. This alludes to the Kitsune of Japanese folklore fox-like spirits that would disguise themselves as humans, often with the intent of causing trouble or mischief. This lends an idiomatic significance to Kuja's tail which he keeps hidden beneath his outfit, but it is lost in translation due to the Kitsune being a concept which is unique to Japanese culture.
Final Fantasy XIII
Final Fantasy XIV
- When Final Fantasy XIV was first being developed, Chocobos were being referred to in Kanji as "Horse-bird/馬鳥". This set off a small firestorm which led to a renaming, and accidentally being called "Chocopos" before finally being reverted back to the common チョコボ/Chocobo in both Japanese and English. It has since then been lampshaded in both the 2014 New Years "Heavens Turn" with a competition of popularity between some visitors from the world of Hydaelyn's Far East supporting horses, and calling the Eorzean region's popular Chocobo Mounts "Horse Birds".
- Referenced again during 2.2's "Into the Maelstrom" story line, when Refugees from the Far East country of Doma arrive and upon seeing Chocobos for their first time, also call them Horse Birds.
- For the English, French, and German speaking players, the name of one boss in the game had to be changed twice due to this. As part of the Crystal Tower storyline, the enemies are named and designed as one big shout out to FFIII. However, at the end of the Labyrinth of the Ancients dungeon, players face a boss distinctly based off of FFIII's version of Titan. Problem is, there's already a Primal being and a related Summon named Titan. Japan can get around this, because in FFIII, they used ティターン which is based on the Greek pronunciation (Tea-tahn) for the III/Crystal Tower boss, and タイタン (English pronunciation: Tie-tun) for the Primal and Summon (and every other boss by that name in the series). However, for the other major languages, they can't do this, as regardless of pronunciation, it would still be spelled Titan. The English localization team came up with a solution, and got special permission to use the name of one of FFIII's Titan Palette Swaps, Acheron (named after a river in the underworld of Greek mythology), for English, French, and German.
All was well until 2.3 dropped, when the Syrcus Tower added another minor enemy named... Acheron, and the other major languages were forced to quickly rename the Labyrinth boss to another of FFIII Titan's palette swaps, Phlegethon (another underworld river from Greek mythology). This got an in-universe justification, that the researchers mistranslated the text from the ancient Allagan due to it being a mostly dead language, and they rectified their mistake afterwards.
- A similar case happened with the new class in the first expansion, Astrologians: since the game came out, Astrologian was a catch all term for the astrologists of Ishgard, but when it was reported that the new playable class was from Sharlayan, a completely separate continent, the dev team had to admit that it was a translation error on their part. Like the above, this forced an in-universe justification where Ishgardian astrology is an offshoot of the original Sharlayan art, focused on watching and reading a specific star to predict the movements and actions of dragons.
- Primal Brainwashing in the Japanese script only has one sweeping word that refers to all such brainwashing. The English script occasionally uses a specific term for each primal - Ramuh's thralls are "touched", Leviathan's thralls are "drowned", etc - but for the most part uses "tempered" as a generic term, despite being a fire reference to fit Ifrit, simply because it was the first one introduced.
Final Fantasy Tactics Advance
- Llednar Twem's class name in the Japanese version of Final Fantasy Tactics Advance is "Bisquemata," a portmanteau of "Bisque Doll" (a doll made of biscuit porcelain) and "Automata." In the English version it was written as "Biskmatar," which is meaningless.