Link’s Awakening Script Comparison: The Desert and Beyond…
The owl statue in the desert is different in J, basically saying that the monsters try to interfere because they know they’ll turn to foam when the Wind Fish awakes. It’s possible this was deemed too spoilery in E.
The desert monster says ゲジ (geji) at the end of its sentences in Japanese, which means “centipede” and also just kinda sounds like something a monster would say.
In Japanese the flippers are literally the “Angler Flippers” after the dungeon name.
The Angler Fish also has something of a lisp in Japanese, and its name is simply “Angler”.
The English here sounds a little odd to me. I don’t think we often use “nostalgia” in this way, and it also kinda makes it sound like it’s the nostalgia that’s unchanged, not the room. “This brings back memories…” might’ve been better, but there may not have been space.
On Switch, the ghost gives you a bottle instead of giving the hint about a seashell being in a jar in his house. The English lines are actually still pretty similar, including “A jar…” and “inside”. But the Japanese is completely different.
“Catfish’s Maw” is a nice touch. The Japanese is literally just “Catfish’s wide-open/big mouth”. Also different terms are highlighted here for whatever reason. E highlights the bay, whereas J highlights the Catfish’s Maw.
In Japanese, the owl literally says the Wind Fish is “heading towards waking.” In English this is nicely translated as “the more restless he sleeps.”
In Japanese, Ulrira only says to swim by the Catfish’s mouth, but in English he specifically says to dive.
The owl hint in the dungeon is potentially confusing in English, and could give the idea that you shouldn’t bother using your sword at all. The Japanese clarifies that you have to collapse him first, then bomb him.
In Japanese, the skeleton calls himself オレさま (ore-sama) make him sound extra haughty. Also, he signs his note “Master Stalfon,” whereas in English it’s just “Master,” possibly due to space restrictions.
On Switch, when you get an arrow before getting the bow, you get unique dialogue about it. The English one has a fun little play on words.
It’s possible the final や (ya) in the Japanese is playing on the word for arrow, which is also “ya”.
On GB/C the skeleton gets a unique line when you face him the final time, but this doesn’t seem to appear on Switch.
The “You keep going and going… I can’t outlast you!” part in the English may be a reference to the Energizer bunny.
In English, the Slime Eel has a snake-like lisp, but in Japanese it speaks normally, especially in comparison to other bosses. Also its Japanese name is literally “Hooker” which was avoided in English for obvious reasons.
In Japanese, the Slime Eel literally calls Link a “good-natured person/simple soul/easy mark”. Basically a person who’s too nice for their own good.
After getting the Wind Marimba, the old GB/C English text reads “An island secret,” but this was updated to “The island’s secret” on E Switch, which is more accurate.
On Switch, Marin disappears after this, but on GB/C she doesn’t vanish until after Face Shrine. (Regardless of the progress of the trading quest.) In Japanese, the rabbit acts like he knows where Marin is, roughly “I guess Marin isn’t coming. It must be THAT. Yep yep.”
The other rabbit talks about dreaming of turning into a carrot. In Japanese he says the dream gave him conflicting feelings, but in English he just says it was an odd dream.
The last rabbit mimics the kids’ catchphrase of “I’m a ___, so I’ve got no clue!” This may be more obvious in Japanese, since the English lines tend to be more varied.
In J, the kid talking about Grandma Yahoo has a bit more comedic timing, roughly:
“Grandma Yahoo’s gone?! …I solved the mystery! According to Grandpa Ulrira, she’s in Animal Village. …I had to ask over the phone though.”
But in English, he basically just gives it to you straight.
In Japanese, Ulrira says that the Face Shrine will be “helpful/beneficial” to Link, while in English he just says that it’s “interesting.”
Li’l Devil’s line is a bit different in Japanese, roughly “Thank you. I’ll have to reward you. Prepare yourself!”
When saying “no” to him, the Japanese option reads like “Have mercy! / Gimme a break!”
The English line rightfully makes the final line sound more negative, embellishing a bit on the Japanese’s てしまう (-te shimau) which gives a generic “that’s unfortunate” kinda vibe. (Roughy, “Now the number you can carry has unfortunately increased!”)
Next we’ll learn the island’s secret!