Dragon Comedy

As a fan of the Dragon Quest series, I found this post to be particularly interesting. Basically, it’s about how the translators of the early DQ games tended to make them somewhat more serious in English. Honestly, though, I always found the Dragon Warrior games (as they became in English) to be funnier than other role-playing games of the time. Some of my favorite comedic moments in the early games included:

  • Howard and Nester, stars of a Nintendo Power comic, both show up in DW1. Since the characters just looked like generic townsperson sprites (Howard an old wise man and Nester a young man), I don’t even know whether this was the case in the Japanese version or a joke added in by the translators. Nester is actually the only character in the game not to speak in Elizabethan-style thou/thee dialect.
  • When Princess Gwaelin asks, “Dost thou love me?” and you answer “no,” she’ll continue saying, “But thou must” until you finally give in and say yes. That’s one way to wear someone down!

  • The example mentioned in the post of the DW2 priests complaining that they have families, cows, and taxes to pay.
  • This might not have been intentionally funny, but I’m amused by the dialogue the DW2 kings recite upon reviving the hero. It’s something like, “No pulse, no breath, cold as a cod. I suppose I had better revive thee, though thou deserve less.” The humorous part is that one of these kings is the hero’s father and another a cousin. If you had the power to bring your dead son, who’s been questing to save the world, back to life, would you be that petty about it? The DW3 revival dialogue is also pretty funny: “Oh, for shame! You died!” I guess when you have the power to bring back the dead, you can get rather glib about it.
  • When you talk to the late King of Moonbrooke, now in the form of a ghostly fire, he explains that it’s “Hargon’s way of firing those he does not need.”
  • Another DW2 favorite is the guy who, if you refuse to tell him the time, yells, “Then may thy ears become cabbages and thy tongue a sausage! A little courtesy never hurt anybody.” I do have to wonder how it makes sense, though. I would imagine that Alfegard doesn’t have the technology to make watches, and the guy could look at the position of the sun just as easily as your party could, right?
  • Mr. Ed shows up in DW3. If I remember correctly, he’s in the Village of the Soo. As you could probably guess, he’s the only horse in the game who can speak. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was a translator’s joke. That is to say, the talking horse was probably in the Japanese version, but the English translators might have been the ones who had him refer to himself as “Ed, the Talking Horse.”
  • Baramos’ line, “You will be dead for sure, for I wilt surely feast on thine innards!”

  • Taloon in DW4 has several amusing (and often quite helpful) moves that he’ll perform at random, including making bad puns, shouting, and throwing sand into the enemies’ eyes.

The DS version of the fourth game (which restored the Dragon Quest name) adds in an extra humorous element by having the characters speak in comical accents. This trend continues in the DS DQ5, and one especially amusing bit is that the Zenith Dragon in human form talks like Ned Flanders.

One element from the Japanese games that didn’t make it to most of the American releases is puff-puff, which is essentially prostitution. Although some sites suggest that “puff-puff” is a blowjob, it seems that the general agreement is that it consists of a girl rubbing her breasts on someone’s face. Sometimes there’s a joke thrown in, like the puff-puff girl turning out to be a man. In the American versions, the girls are either removed entirely or changed into something else. One oddity of the American DW3 is that a puff-puff girl is changed to a phony fortune-teller, but after you consult her and the deception is revealed, she says something like, “How does your arm feel? Is the stiffness gone?”, which makes no sense in context. It’s possible that this was the result of bad translation.

While I haven’t played it, I understand that DQ8 not only keeps the puff-puff girl in for the American version, but the playable character Jessica Albert has the puff-puff ability. When used in battle, however, it simply consists of her squeezing her breasts. The Japanese have a weird sense of humor, don’t they?

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1 Response to Dragon Comedy

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