FFX: The Engrish Language Edition!
I purchased a copy of FFX on eBay which I thought was a movie of the game combining Japanese voices and English subtitles. It is...sort of. The translations are so bad they're funny! This version of Final Fantasy X turned out to be a bootleg copy with Engrish subtitles added by a translator who didn't know Japanese or English very well.
Initially, I was annoyed. I was trying to purchase an official movie of the original Japanese version (the English dub occasionally suffers from flat voice acting), not unauthorized garbage. But I soon realized that this edition is doggone funny, the Final Fantasy equivalent of the infamous Star Wars: Backstroke of the West. Why should Star Wars fans have all the fun? So with apologies to Square-Enix, the creators of a truly fabulous game, I give you...
Disclaimer: This page is a parody-- or perhaps a travesty -- of Final Fantasy X, and displays a limited selection of screencaps from 5 hours of video footage.
Which means I'll be leaving out a lot. Soooo... here's my video game recap, supplemented by screencaps of "Final Fantasy X as you've NEVER seen it before."
Introducing the Star Player of the Zenakent Alpuss!
"My Mind Has Come to Blank."
No, that's not a typo. Well, actually, it is a typo: blame the Mad Subtitler.
Our story begins in Zenakent, a futuristic city with an elevated freeway system that Los Angeles would die for. Evidently it's Carmageddon Weekend, as there's no vehicles the multi-lane freeways, only pedestrians. Maybe cars haven't been invented yet.
Our Hero pauses outside his home to sign autographs and speak to the Creepy Mysterious Kid in Charge of Foreshadowing, then heads to the stadium on foot, since mass transit is out as well. The "blitzball" tournament goes swimmingly until a Swirling Plot Vortex With Photon Torpedos shows up and starts destroying the city, including the stadium. Tidus demonstrates his amazing ability to fall sixty feet without breaking anything and lands next to Obi Wan in a samurai robe. Obi Wan tells him "this way to the plot device... follow me." Tidus is confused:
It's about to get stranger, kiddo.
Old Dude pulls not one but TWO giant swords out of his butt, handing one to Tidus. Off they go, fighting giant bugs, tentacles, and a large fuel tank lying across the four-lane highway. ("That. Hit it," says Auron. "Cars haven't been invented yet. It's just in the way.") The ensuing explosion causes Tidus to fall again. Hanging on for dear life, he screams for help:
Auron: "I'm gonna let you dangle until you get my name right, ya little punk!"
Auron picks him up and hurls him at the swirling Plot Device Vortex. Tidus falls up, just for a change. Cue Cracktastic Anime Dream Sequence:
Sin's toxin scrambles the brain in this version even more than in the original...
Alas, as the surreal sequence continues, I have the unhappy feeling that Old Spice Dude has retired and been replaced by a clueless and whiny teenaged boy:
That sums up a lot of your dialog, Tidus.
Disturbingly, the Mad Subtitler begins to exhibit signs of Ho Yay:
Too. Much. Information.
Eventually Tidus gets blorted out by the Plot Device Vortex. He finds himself stranded in a deserted archaeological ruin, where he is beset by fish monsters, more giant bugs, and depressing flashbacks. Eventually a band of begoggled archaeologists break in and shoot the giant bug menacing him, then decide to shoot him, too, on the off chance he's a monster in a human suit. (MIB?) Luckily, the Cute Chick of the crew intervenes:
You don't sound too sure of that, Rikku.
They drag him back to their salvage ship and argue over what to do with him. Most of this conversation takes place in a gibberish language that we can't understand. This does not stop the Mad Subtitler from trying:
This must be the "Torture" they mention later.
The begoggled archaeologists decide to use Tidus as slave labor. Chipper Chick gives Tidus his marching orders:
Clear as mud, boss.
She has some last-minute tips before their dive:
Rikku's sugar high starts to kick in.
They putter around underwater, pounding on ancient machinery without getting electrocuted despite Tidus' best efforts, and beat up a giant squid. Then it's time to get back to the ship for dinner and a Backstory Dump. Rikku tells Tidus that her people call themselves Al Bhed. Mad Subtitler thinks "Al Bhed" is too exotic-sounding, and provides us with a more suitable name:
Apparently, the world of Stila is full of people who hate the Albert Family.
Tidus boasts about his status as a sports star:
And we thought "the Zanarkand Abes" was an odd name for a sports team.
Rikku decides Tidus is delusional. She tries to explain that "Zenakent" was destroyed a thousand years ago by the Plot Device Vortex, a.k.a."Torture" (!) in the land of zany subtitles, whose toxin affects people's memories. She also explains about Yevon, the dominant world religion, which hates Al Bhed -- er, the Albert Family. Lost in a sea of names and backstory, Tidus shorts out and starts spewing gibberish:
Need to knock it off with the koolaid, bub.
Then "Torture" attacks the ship and sweeps Tidus overboard with a giant wave so he can execute another dramatic fall. Fade to Black.
FFX Funny Fansub: "Welcome to Brad Hamlet"
Where we meet Walter, Yonna, Christopher, and.... Wendy?!
The next morning, Tidus -- whom Mad Subtitler rechristens "Honda" -- wakes up floating in the blissful harbor of a tropical island. A blitzball promptly smacks him in the head. Honda blearily spots some people on the shore waving at him:
"Honda" demonstrates his amazing powers of deduction.
He also demonstrates his amazing powers of Anime Physics by balancing the ball on his nose like a seal, then somersaulting and kicking it into the stratosphere. Coach is impressed:
"Only compared to some..." (~ Princess Bride)
So are his teammates (has anyone told them they'd swim faster if they ditched the waders?):
Er, guys, this isn't a slashfic.
Honda swims to shore -- stopping in the nearby cove to pick up treasure first, of course, as he's read his walkthrough -- and greets the World's Worst Blitzball Team. A dude with really unlikely hair welcomes him:
Is this some sort of laical accent?
Honda once again flashes his credentials:
Yes! It's our new favorite team again!
The locals are skeptical. Strange Hair Guy thinks that Honda's had a touch of Sin's toxin, which our Mad Subtitlist relabels as follows:
Well, that's the "peg" he keeps using, anyway.
Honda warms up to Wakka immediately. Except it's not Wakka, because Mad Subtitlist is getting creative again:
"Walter" provides more Backstory Dump on Godzilla:
I don't like where this is going.
Honda is grateful to Walter for explaining everything. VERY grateful. The Ho Yay radar starts beeping frantically:
Okay, sorry, maybe it IS slash.
After slapping Honda's butt and shoving him off a cliff for yet another dramatic fall, Walter leads Honda through pirana-choked waters to the village of "Brad Hamlet." Fish are slain, Buddy Bonding occurs, and the Backstory Dump come thick and fast. Once they reach Brad Hamlet, Walter turns his new friend loose while he cooks a romantic dinner for two. Forlorn, Honda wanders over to the Crusaders' barracks to learn why they have such an un-PC name, and is treated to yet more Backstory Dump:
Somehow, "Operation Mort" doesn't have the same ring to it.
Bumbling his way into the temple, Honda has to explain his cluelessness for the hundredth time. He keeps saying that he's gotten muddled by "Sin's toxin," here translated "Torture's gas." At this point I finally figured out what word was being repeatedly mistranslated as "peg."
Talk to the other peg, then?
The rest of Honda's day passes relatively uneventfully, apart from breaking and entering a temple, committing inexcusable blasphemy, disrupting the initiation of a young summoner, and watching her summon a great big bird-thing from heaven in proof of her new powers. That evening, he joins in the festivities and tries to make a pass at Yuna. The villagers are less than pleased:
They call her "Monsignor Yonna." No, really.
After that warm reception, he attempts to impress her by apologizing:
You said it, boy.
The party dies down and everyone heads to bed. Honda is disturbed by horny flashbacks, followed by the much more terrifying sound of Lulu reaming somebody out (Wakka, who is usually the closest available target). She seems to be a mite teed off about Honda and some bloke name "Charles," whom we later learn is her old flame and Walter's little brother. Yes, Chappu is now Charles. He's also dead, which makes this line even more disturbing:
Lulu's in denial about the slash.
Lulu also teases Walter about the fact that he's not getting any peg:
That's a euphemism I didn't know.
Walter retires to the Crusader Lodge and shares more backstory with Honda. He tells how Charles died in a Crusader Operation last year. Walter learned the news on the day of the blitzball tournament, which is his "peg" for why they lost, although they always lose anyway.
The scary part is I understand this.
Walter apologizes to Honda for "using him," although it's not entirely clear why; perhaps Walter means to use Honda as Sin-bait? Honda assures him it's no trouble and thanks him sincerely for all his help. Ho Yay starts bleeping again:
It's averted by a Fade to Black, luckily.
The next morning, alas, picks up where we left off. The following screencap is for Jeanne of Video Game Recaps, who is sure not to appreciate it:
Yet more Backstory Dump teaches us how summoners go off and defeat Sin, er, Torture, ushering in a period called the "Calm" when Sin is dormant. Braska, Yuna's father, was the last one to accomplish this amazing feat. The Mad Subtitler engages in his favorite pastime, inventing new names for everybody:
Braska needs a Barbarian Warleader makeover to go with his new nickname.
And Lulu gets a nametag makeover as well, following the time-tested Aerith and Bob principle.
I will never again complain about the name "Lulu" being too fluffy for the character.
With that, and with tearful farewells from the villagers, Yuna & co depart on the ferry for the mainland. Honda continues to annoy "Wendy" and make eyes at Yuna until "Torture" attacks, acting as chaperone before T & Y can get to first base. Our heroes fight but fail to make any dent in Torture whatsoever. It smashes to matchwood the port they're aiming for, then swims off.
Final Fantasy X Fansub: Killyka and Kula
Let's Nose Into the Streets
We arrive in Kilika, er, Killyka. The first translator seems to have been clubbed over the head and stuffed in a closet during the attack at sea. "Water ball" is now "polo," "Wendy" is now "Lulu," and the translations become slightly more coherent. Key word: Slightly.
Everybody piles off the ferry to find the survivors of the attack waiting for them. They ask for Yuna's help, but Torture's "gas" seems to be affecting their speech centers a bit:
I've been to a few family reunions like that.
Walter and his gang of misfit blitzball players offer to help around the village. Or maybe just get drunk. I'm not really sure:
That sounds like Villanova freshman hazing.
Yuna performs a "sending dance" for the village, sending the souls of the dead to the Farplane. Mercifully, the translation in this stretch isn't too bad, so I don't have to make fun of the best cutscene in all of Final Fantasy. The next day, the party leaves the port and strikes inland through monster-infested jungles to go pray at the temple. Along the way they attack or are attacked by assorted monsters. Wakka apologizes for dragging Honda into one of these battles, nevermind that Honda's been fighting alongside them for hours. (Not the mention that Walter originally took Honda back to his home village through pirana-infested lagoons).
You said it, Walter.
Wendy and Walter get to arguing on the way to the temple. Walter wants to believe his brother "Charles" is still alive, but Wendy is quick to crush his hopes:
Chaucer? I suppose I could see Lulu as the Wife of Bath!
Outside the temple, our heroes bump into some spectacularly annoying blitzball players from another team, who mock The Team Swims in Waders unmercifully and depart. Honda is bent out of shape. He says they remind him of his old man. Yuna, who met Jecht when she was a little girl, tries to come to Jecht's defense:
I thought he was the daddy!
Honda is unconvinced. They enter the temple, where they bump into another summoner who isn't much impressed with Yuna and her guardians:
Lady Dona gets a Nametag Makeover as well:
Paging Donner party, table for two...
The guardians enter the temple, Yuna prays in the Chamber of the Fayth, and concludes their summoner business. Outside, Honda has a touch of jealousy seeing the locals gathering around Yuna to admire her. He's the bigshot sports star, after all! We have a brief flashback to his days as a celebrity, with yet more Ho Yay:
I swear the subtitle people are doing this on purpose.
I mean, really!
Honda gives a very unconvincing scream to let off steam, and they hurry back to the ferry before he can embarrass them further. Their troubles are not over when they reach the ferry, however. The annoying blitz team they met earlier is taking the same boat. The Mad Subtitler seems to think their confrontation too abrasive, and tones the insults down considerably:
Bickson makes a pass outside the blitzball sphere.
And that concludes the Mad Subtitler's escapades for a while. We'll skip right over Walter and Wendy having a long heart to heart about Honda (Wendy clearly wants Walter to push him off a higher cliff at this point), Honda's flashback sequence about his father, and his conversation with Yuna in which she does the worst. Bill. Shatner. Imitation. Ever. (But only in the English dub-- see, this IS an improvement!)
Moving smartly along, we'll skip ahead to their arrival in the port of Luca, er, Kula, where other ships are also arriving for the tournament. Bigwig Lord Mika and his improbably-coiffured sidekick Seymour (which is NOT the Mad Subtitler's fault) are wowing the crowds. Seymour's race, the Guado, get a Nametag Makeover along with everybody else:
I thought you weren't allowed to have these in FFX games.
Maester Mika attempts to introduce Seymour, but seems a little confused about the family tree. (Yijie is the Mad Subtitler's name for the Farplane. Whisky Tango Foxtrot?)
Did Lord Jyscal have the sex change operation before or after his murder?
Final Fantasy X Funny Fanvid
This has nothing to do with fansub, but I thought some of you might appreciate this insightful fan-created video. It reconstructs a crucial piece of backstory which helps explain the relationship between Wakka and Lulu in the sequel, FFX-2.
By the way, if you haven't done so already, move beverages away from keyboard before hitting "play."
FFX Funny Fansub: The Return of Yalong
We Worry About Their Strange Acts
Halfway through Luca, the subtitles disappear for a few scenes. I think translator #2 was clubbed and stuffed in the closet along with #1. Translator #3 is usually comprehensible. I'm even picking up nuances glossed over in the American dub. However, there's still scope for laughter, especially since Translator #3 continues the exciting game of Pin the New Name on the Established Character:
He's so Saksy!
Translator #3 checks with the audience to see if we're following the story any better now:
In a word: nope.
It's almost time for the big match. Suddenly, Yuna bursts into the team locker room -- and if you don't think that was bothering the World's Most Pathetic Blitzball Team, note the fact that Lulu is hanging out in there, too. No wonder they never win.
Yuna breathlessly announces that, "Someone's seen Sir Auron in a cafe!" Honda agrees to help her go look for him, much to the consternation of Coach Walter. Honda promises to be back in time for the match, and Walter stupidly believes him. Then Yuna, Honda, and the as-yet-unnamed Kimahri set out to scour the city for a red-coated samurai dude with a sword up his butt. Should be easy to spot.
You'd have more luck looking for Auron in the pub, you know.
Taking plenty of time to sight-see -- it's not like Honda is a professional athlete about to participate in a major tournament -- Yuna asks Honda if the city of Luca looks anything like Zarnarkand. It doesn't: it looks like Alexandria in FFIX, complete with cigar-shaped hot air balloons, and just in case you think that's a coincidence, step up to the fountain for a vertical shot that looks exactly like Alexandria's castle.
However, Yuna doesn't know about Alexandria, and she's all in a tizzy when Honda describes Zanarkand, er, Zenakent:
You seem a little dizzy here, too.
They enter the pub -- oops, what about that building with the "Cafe" sign on it right by the pub? Inside, Kimahri encounters a couple old comrades, and we get to learn what he, Yenke and Biran have been named by Mad Subtitler #3:
While the three Ronso are butting horns, somehow, Yuna gets swiped by the Al Bhed (Albert Saxy!) and carried off to their ship. Tidus and Kimahri notice her absence and run outside, where Lulu confronts them:
Probably a more accurate translation than the official one.
At this point we discover that Translator #3 keeps a handy thesaurus on his desk:
Welcome to Professor Tidus' Latin Etymology 101 class!
So let's indulge our translators for a moment here and use all their "special" names for the characters we know and love.
Christopher, Wendy and Honda rush off to rescue Mongsignor Yona from the foul clutches of the Albert Family. Meanwhile, Walter and the Brad Village Olarkas (are you following this?!) start the first match. Their opponent? Albert Saksy!
See? It's like playing Final Fantasy X for the first time again: it's all strange and new and unfamiliar!
While Honda dithers, the game begins. News announcers give the play-by-play: