A Quick Look at Tactics Ogre: Reborn

One day I will dive deeper into this game, as I’m woefully unfamiliar with it, but in the meantime here are some ramblings and fun facts based on a brief foray into the Japanese and English scripts of each version.

To start with: Did you know that the Japanese script has been tweaked with each remake/remaster of the game?

At the point I’ve gotten to right now (which is admittedly not far at all), these tweaks are largely only to things like punctuation usage and whether or not a word uses kanji vs. hiragana. For example, the PSP version seems to like to remove all the little ッs and ellipses that were prevalent in the PS1 script.

J PS1J PSP
ヴァイス
「それとも怖じ気づいたのか、カチュア。
 俺は一人でもやるぞッ。
ヴァイス
怖じ気づいたって言うんじゃないだろうな。
オレはひとりでもやるぞ!
デニム
「やめろよ、ヴァイス。言い過ぎだぞ。
 いこうッ、姉さん。
デニム
やめろよ、ヴァイス。言い過ぎだ。
行こう、姉さん。

Meanwhile, Reborn does away with ellipses entirely: either deleting them or replacing them with dashes (like Kingdom Hearts).

J PS1J PSPJ Reborn
カチュア
「…そういえば、暗黒騎士ランスロットは
 片目のはず。あなたは違うわ…。
カチュア
…そういえば、暗黒騎士ランスロットは片目のはず。
あなたは違うわ。
カチュア
そういえば、暗黒騎士ランスロットは片目のはず。
——あなたは違うわ。

Beyond this minutiae, though, there are occasional instances of lines being changed a little more substantially. That being said, I have yet to see any lines where the intent is actually changed.

J PS1J PSP/Reborn
カチュア
「だって…、たったの3人で
 あの暗黒騎士団に立ち向かうなんて…。
カチュア
だって、たった3人で
あの暗黒騎士団と戦うだなんて無茶もいいところよ。
J Reborn

Moving on to the English… As might’ve been predicted, the PS1 translation…isn’t the best. The dialogue is serviceable, but not stellar. So far it does at minimum seem to mostly convey what’s being said in the Japanese, but there are exceptions. Most notably Kachua claiming that they’re “still recovering from the last war,” when the intent of the Japanese is more that they’ve finally attained peace, which is why Vice takes issue with the statement, because it cannot truly be called peace if they’re still being oppressed.

J PS1E PS1
カチュア
「落ちついたばかりなのに、また戦争を
 起こそうっていうのね、あなたは。
Kachua
「…We’re still
 recovering from
 the last war.
 Are you trying to
 start another one?
ヴァイス
「この状況の何処が落ちついたって
 いうんだッ、カチュア!
Vice
「What do you mean
 we’re still
 recovering,
 Kachua!?
「俺たちウォルスタ人は虫ケラ同然に
 扱われているじゃないか。そうさ、
 俺たちに死ねと命じているのさ。
「The Walstanians
 are being treated
 like shit!!
 Gargastan is
 trying to wipe us
 out!
E PS1

The system text is also incredibly rough, featuring such amazing English as:

When you want to make an order to the character…

If you want to know the meaning of commands…

And when trying to move a character:

Set the designation of the character.

(The word they want is “destination” if it wasn’t obvious.)

E PS1

Just as predictably, the fantastic PSP translation by Joseph Reeder, Alexander O. Smith, and Laurel Justice smooths out all these issues with vastly superior dialogue and natural-sounding system text. (Note that the Reborn translation appears to be the same as PSP with minor tweaks here and there.)

We need only revisit the “recovering from the last war” line to see the clear improvements:

J Psp/reborne psp/reborn
カチュア
落ちついたばかりなのに
また戦争を起こそうっていうのね、——あなたは。
Catiua
The turmoil of the last war has only just settled,
and you’d start another?
ヴァイス
この状況の何処が落ちついたっていうんだ、カチュア!
Vyce
Are we Walister so free of turmoil now, Catiua?
ヴァイス
オレたちウォルスタ人は
まるで虫ケラのように扱われているじゃないか。
Vyce
We are less than vermin in their eyes…
ヴァイス
そうさ、ヤツらはオレたちに死ねと命じてるんだ。
Vyce
insects to be crushed underfoot.
E PSP/Reborn

Not only does this more accurately portray the intent of Catiua’s line (“but we’re finally at peace”), it also matches the JP’s use of 虫ケラ (mushikera; worm/insect, insignificant person), compared with E PS1’s “shit”. All with much better writing (which I grant is subjective to an extent, but still.)


E PS1 does at least have one thing going for it, though: it inexplicably manages to credit the translation staff in the opening movie, whereas E PSP and Reborn do not, which honestly feels like a crime. (To be fair, Reborn opts for displaying all the voice actors instead, which is legit. And to my knowledge the translation team is still credited at the end, which is more than can be said for many other games.)


In any case, if you’re ever looking to to study what sets an okay translation apart from a great one, it seems like Tactics Ogre is definitely worth a look (as well as Final Fantasy Tactics, I might add).

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