Final Fantasy VII Script Comparison: Bombing Mission

Right away we can see the PC translation making small changes that affect the meaning. Biggs isn’t asking about or commenting on Cloud’s past. He’s saying that Cloud’s skills clearly mark him as an ex-SOLDIER. (Credit to @sjmtaelus for this observation.)

JapaneseE PSXE PC
ビッグス
「さすが、ソルジャー!
 でもよ、反神羅(しんら)グループ【アバランチ】に
 ソルジャーが参加するなんてスゲエよな!」
Biggs
“Wow! You used to be in SOLDIER all right!
…Not everyday ya find one
in a group like AVALANCHE.”
Biggs
“Wow! You used to be in SOLDIER, huh?
…Not everyday ya find one
in a group like AVALANCHE.”

Jessie asks about their new recruit. In Japanese, she seems to be doubting whether Cloud is telling the truth, since she doesn’t understand why a SOLDIER would join up with the anti-Shinra group AVALANCHE. Roughly, “Is all of that true (that he’s in SOLDIER)? SOLDIERs are our enemy, right? Why would a SOLDIER cooperate with AVALANCHE?”

JapaneseEnglish
ジェシー
「その話って本当だったの?
 ソルジャーって言ったら
 私たちの敵でしょ?」
Jessie
“SOLDIER? Aren’t they the enemy?”
ジェシー
「どうして、そのソルジャーが
 私たちアバランチに協力するわけ?」
Jessie
“What’s he doing with us in AVALANCHE?”

As they proceed toward the reactor, Barret confronts Cloud. As others have pointed out, he isn’t asking whether this is Cloud’s first time, but rather assuming that it isn’t, since Cloud used to be in SOLDIER.

JapaneseEnglish
バレット
「……おい。
 おまえ魔晄炉(まこうろ)は
 初めてじゃないんだろ?」
Barret
“Yo! This your first time in a reactor?”

Cloud confirms that it is in fact not his first time in a reactor, and Barret launches into a rant about Mako energy. One of his lines is missing from the English translation. It reveals that the average person doesn’t know what Mako is, justifying his following exposition.
Roughly, “But no one knows what Mako really is. Do you know?”

JapaneseE PSXE PC
バレット
「この星は魔晄(まこう)エネルギーに満ちている。
 住民はその魔晄エネルギーを使って
 日々生活している」
Barret
“The planet’s full of Mako energy.
People here use it every day.”
Barret
“The planet’s full of Mako energy.
People here use it everyday.”
「でも誰も魔晄の本質を知らねえんだ。
 おまえ、知ってるか?」

バレット
「魔晄はこの星を流れる血だ。
 それを神羅(しんら)って会社は
 ガンガン吸い出していやがる。
 このへんちくりんなスクラップでな……」
Barret
“It’s the life blood of this planet.
But Shinra keeps suckin’ the blood out
with these weird machines.”

E PC only noted when it differs from E PSX

But Cloud isn’t interested in any of that. The Japanese uses 能書き (nougaki) here, which is literally “boasting of one’s virtues” and is often used in reference to advertising. So Cloud’s calling out Barret for trying to sound all high and mighty.

JapaneseE PSXE PC
クラウド
「能書きはいい。
 先を急ごう」
Cloud
“I’m not here for a lecture.
Let’s just hurry.”
Cloud
“I’m not here for a lecture.
Let’s just do it.

This line follows immediately from Cloud’s sassy remark above. Barret responds with an angry sort of tongue click/grunt in Japanese, which is left out in English. As for the English translation of the following line, the “That’s it!” in E PSX sounds more appropriate to me, reflecting more of the anger/frustration demonstrated in that tongue click in Japanese. He’s had enough of Cloud’s back talk and wants to keep an eye on him now.

JapaneseE PSXE PC
バレット
「クッ……」
「よし、ここからはオレといっしょに
 行動してもらうぜ」
Barret
“That’s it! You’re comin’ with me
from now on.”
Barret
Alright! You come with me
from now on.”

As Jessie unlocks the next door, Biggs explains where they got the door unlock codes. Instead of “risked their lives” as in the English, the Japanese suggests that people actually died. It’s possible this is an oblique Star Wars reference to the “Many Bothans died to bring us this information” line, which is translated in Japanese as: この情報を我々に届けるために多くのボサンが犠牲となりました

JapaneseEnglish
ビッグス
「ここの暗号を入手するために
 何人の仲間が犠牲になったことか……」
Biggs
“Think how many of our people risked their
lives, just for this code…”

Barret and Cloud proceed to the innermost part of the reactor, and Barret insists that Cloud set the bomb. Cloud initially asks why it has to be him, but quickly gives in. “Be my guest” is a nice turn of phrase in English, but could leave the impression that Cloud is telling Barret to set the bomb. While the Japanese is literally “do whatever you want,” in this context it means something more like “suit yourself.” He’s being nonchalant and dismissive, but still agreeing to do it.

JapaneseE PSXE PC
バレット
「オレ? オレは見張らせてもらう。
 おまえさんがおかしなマネを
 しないようにな」
Barret
“Jus’ do it!
I gotta watch to make sure
you don’t pull nothin’.”
クラウド
「……好きにしてくれ」
Cloud
“Fine, be my guest.”
Cloud
“Fine, I’ll do it.”
E PC only noted when it differs from E PSX

As Cloud sets the bomb, he has some sort of vision. The Japanese uses the word for “power plant” (発電所 – hatsudensho) here instead of “reactor” (魔晄炉 – makouro), which is narratively significant. The Final Fantasy VII Ultimania Omega book reveals that this is indeed a flashback from Cloud’s past, hinting that (some) reactors may be used for something other than providing power. Though the line itself is never used in any of the other relevant flashback scenes.

JapaneseEnglish
目をさませ!
ここはただの発電所じゃない!!
Watch out!
This isn’t just a reactor!!

After Cloud sets the bomb, they’re suddenly attacked. The PC translation corrects “they” into “it,” suggesting that those who worked on the PC version may have had more context to work with. Japanese doesn’t always specify when something is singular or plural, and in fact, in this case leaves off the subject entirely (as it often does). So there’s no way to know exactly what’s coming and how many there are without context.

JapaneseE PSXE PC
バレット
「本格的にやってくるぜ」
Barret
“Heads up, here they come!”
Barret
“Heads up, here it comes!”

As they take on the first boss, Cloud gives some helpful advice…or not so helpful in the English translation. Unfortunately, the Guard Scorpion text was not fixed in E PC, continuing to confuse players. Even an addition of a simple “and” would’ve helped at least a little. In any case, the Japanese makes it clear that you should NOT attack when the tail is up.
Bonus fact: Did you know that different dialogue plays if either Cloud or Barret are KO’d? Except even the English translations for those lines don’t clarify what the player is supposed to do.

JapaneseEnglish
「しっぽをあげている間に攻撃すると
 レーザーで反撃してくるぞ」
“Attack while it’s tail’s up!
It’s gonna counterattack with its laser.”

They flee the explosion and Cloud has some time to walk around before rendezvousing on the train. He runs into a flower peddler and has the option to ask about the flowers she’s selling.
In the E PS1 version, Aeris asks “They’re only a gil?” as if she doesn’t know the price of her own flowers. This is fixed in E PC. The Japanese reads roughly, “They’re one gil, but… How about it?”

JapaneseE PSXE PC
花売り
「あっ、これね。
 気に入ってくれた?
 1ギルなんだけど、どう?」
Flower girl
“Oh, these?
Do you like them?
They’re only a gil…?”
Flower girl
“Oh, these?
Do you like them?
They’re only one gil.

As he continues on, Cloud runs into some Shinra guards. In the Japanese the option to run away from them reveals that he thinks fighting them would be “a pain” (めんどうくさい – mendoukusai). There may not have been room to include this nuance in English.

JapaneseE PSXE PC
クラウド
「神羅兵か……」
   やってやる!
   めんどくさいから逃げる
Cloud
“Shinra Soldiers……”
   Fight them!
   Later!
Cloud
“Shinra Soldiers
   Fight them!
   Later!

When Cloud is late in showing up, the AVALANCHE crew wonders what happened to him. Barret has a line that’s missing in English that reads roughly, “There’s no way that guy would vanish/die without getting (his) money!” Revealing more about what Barret thinks of Cloud.

JapaneseE PSXE PC
ビッグス
「クラウド……
 やられちまったのかな」
Biggs
“Cloud……
Wonder if he was killed?”
Biggs
“Cloud……
Think he was killed?”
バレット
「ケッ……!!」
Barret
“No way!!”
「あの野郎が金ももらわねえで
 いなくなるわけねえだろ!!」
ジェシー
「クラウド……」
Jessie
“Cloud……”
Jessie
“Cloud
E PC only noted when it differs from E PSX

They continue to discuss Cloud’s fate. Biggs’ line was more accurate in E PS1. He’s actually wondering if Cloud will fight to the death for AVALANCHE (since they assume the Shinra guards caught him), not whether Cloud will agree to do more missions with them.

JapaneseE PSXE PC
ビッグス
「なあ、クラウドってさ…」
Biggs
“Say, do you think Cloud’s……”
「最後まで、おれたち…
 アバランチのために
 戦ってくれんのか?」
“Going to fight to the end
for AVALANCHE!?”
going to stay on and fight
for AVALANCHE!?”
E PC only noted when it differs from E PSX

In response, Barret says that he doesn’t know. “Do I look like a mind reader?” is a nice addition in the English that lends some personality.

JapaneseE PSXE PC
バレット
「さあな……
 知らねえよ」
Barret
“The hell would I know!?
Do I look like a mind reader?”
Barret
How the hell would I know!?
Do I look like a mind reader?”

Barret grumbles about the situation, and another of his lines is missing in English, finishing his sentence “If you weren’t such screw-ups…” with “Then we wouldn’t have had to hire a guy like that.” Though without this line, the implication is “then Cloud wouldn’t have died,” which is more touching, in my opinion.

JapaneseE PSXE PC
「チッ!!
 おまえらがもうすこし
 たよりになりゃよ……」
“Hmph!!
If y’all weren’t such screw-ups…”
「あんな野郎、やとわねえでも
 いいんだがな…」
ウェッジ
「あ、バレットさん
 俺たちの給料……」
Wedge
“Hey, Barret!
What about our money…?”
Wedge
“Hey, Barret!
What about our money?
E PC only noted when it differs from E PSX

Cloud busts into the train car, surprising everyone.
While neither English translation clarifies that Barret is deducting Cloud’s pay because he was late, as the Japanese says, the use of “that’s coming” in the E PC version implies more that he’s deducting it for Cloud’s sassy remark. Though that does still fit Barret’s personality.

JapaneseE PSXE PC
「心配させやがって
 勝手な野郎だ!」
“Havin’ everyone worried like that
you don’t give a damn ’bout
no one but yourself!”
“Havin’ everyone worried like that.
Y
ou don’t give a damn ’bout
no one but yourself!”
クラウド
「ほう……?
 心配してくれたのか」
Cloud
“Hmm……
You were worried about me!”
Cloud
“Hmm……
You were worried about me?
バレット
「なにっ!!」
Barret
“Wha!?”
「チッ……遅刻のぶんは
 報酬からひくからな」
“I’m takin’ it outta
your money, hot stuff!”
That’s comin’ outta
your share, hot shot!”
E PC only noted when it differs from E PSX

They move into the passenger car, and Cloud can talk to some NPCs. Interestingly, the J Switch version uses some lines that were previously found as unused text. These new lines read roughly, “Sorry, I’m feeling a little…(nauseous)” “It’s because I ate something weird. That Plate Pizza that Midgar’s so famous for…” The “Plate Pizza” mentioned here introduces the plate = pizza metaphor that Barret uses a little later on. These lines do not appear on E Switch, which shows the translation of the original J PSX line.

J PSXEnglishJ Switch
「神羅新聞の号外見たかい?
 壱番魔晄炉爆破のテロリストは
 スラムにひそんでるらしいぞ」
“You see the headlines in the Shinra Times?”「ごめんよ……ちょっと気分が…」
“The terrorists that bombed
the No. 1 Reactor are based
somewhere in the slums.”
「変なもん食ったからなあ。
 あのミッドガル名物のプレートピザ…」
「しかし、魔晄炉爆破とは考えたよな。
 リーダーはさしずめ頭の切れるヤツだな。
 次は、何やるんだろな?」
“…blowing up a Reactor…
they sure put some thought into this one.”
“They must have a real calculating leader.
I wonder what they’ll do next?”

Jessie beckons Cloud over to look at the map of the railway system.
Though she certainly seems to have a fondness specifically for “flashy” stuff as well, in Japanese she’s saying that she likes technology in general.

JapaneseEnglish
ジェシー
「私、こういうの好きなのよ。
 爆弾とかモニタ画面とかハイテク関係」
Jessie
“I like this kinda stuff.
Bombs and monitors…you know,
flashy stuff.”

Jessie launches into an explanation of the city of Midgar.
When describing Midgar’s plate structure, E PS1 uses “support structure(s)” while E PC clarifies with “support pillars,” once again suggesting they had more context to work with. 柱 (hashira) can be used in Japanese to mean “pillar,” but can also refer to other support structures, so it’s impossible to know which to use without context.

JapaneseE PSXE PC
「プレートを支えてるのは中心の大きな支柱と
 各区画に建てられた柱……。
 柱は、機械塔とも呼ばれてるわ」
“A main support structure holds
the plate up in the center,
and there are other support structures
“A main pillar supports
the plate in the center,
and there are other support pillars

She explains the train ID security system as well, then comments that their ride is almost over. In Japanese, she literally says “we’ll be able to return to the surface shortly,” emphasizing that the city is up in the air. Since you can’t change the camera angle in the game, you don’t get any visual sense of this, so it has to be conveyed in dialogue.

JapaneseE PSXE PC
「ま、それはさておき。
 もうすぐ地上に帰れるってわけ。
 なんだか、ホッとするね」
“…anyhow, we’re almost back now.
That’s a relief.”
“…We’re almost back now.
What a relief.”

Barret rants about Midgar again, with yet another line that didn’t make it into English. This line reveals how Mako Reactors are actually deteriorating the quality of the soil and plant life, removing any possibility of improving the air quality. Roughly, “Thanks to that (the reactors sucking up energy), the soil has dried up. We’ve lost even the ability to make the air clean again (with plants).”

JapaneseE PSXE PC
バレット
「下の世界は今じゃあ
 汚された空気のたまり場だ」
Barret
“And the city below is full of polluted air.”
バレット
「おまけに魔晄炉はどんどんエネルギーを
 くみ上げちまう」
Barret
“On topa that,
the Reactor keeps drainin’ up
all the energy.”
Barret
“On topa that,
the Reactor keeps drainin’ up
all the energy.”
「おかげで土地は枯れる一方だ。
 空気をきれいにする力もなくしちまった」
クラウド
「どうしてみんな上へ
 移らないんだろう……」
Cloud
“Then why doesn’t everyone
move onto the Plate?”
E PC only noted when it differs from E PSX

Barret gives a few reasons why people might stay in the slums. In the same vein as Jessie’s earlier line, he’s using a word that means “solid ground” here (地ベタ – jibeta), suggesting that people would rather live on the earth than up in the sky. Though “they love their land” is also a nice sentiment.

JapaneseEnglish
バレット
「さあな。
 金がないからだろ。
 いや、それとも……」
Barret
“Dunno.
Probably ‘cuz they ain’t got no money.
Or, maybe…”
「どんなに汚れていても
 地ベタが好きなのかもな」
“‘Cuz they love their land,
no matter how polluted it gets.”

Cloud admits that he knows no one lives in the slums because they want to, then follows up with an iconic line.
敷かれたレール (shikareta re-ru; lit. “rails that have been laid down”) is an idiomatic expression in Japanese meaning “a path staked out for one (by someone else).” It just so happens that this metaphor works pretty well in English too.

JapaneseEnglish
クラウド
「わかってるさ…。
 好きでスラムに住んでるやつなどいない」
Cloud
“I know…
no one lives in the slums
because they want to.”
「みんな、この列車とおなじ。
 敷かれたレールには逆らえないんだ」
“It’s like this train.
It can’t run anywhere except
where its rails take it.”

That wraps up the first bombing mission! Next we arrive in Sector 7…

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