Samurai Shodown

Hattori Hanzo

His son's body got taken over by Amakusa, that's what's going on here.


vs self

Literal translation Official translation
You! You faker! Show your true face! You poseur! You fake! Show me the true you.

This is pretty much the same. "You poseur!" feels like it was either the editor or someone with a dictionary, and the "Show me the true you" leans me towards the latter. It just doesn't have that...uh... "singular touch" of the editor.

The specific word Hanzo uses in Japanese can mean a few different things, like a certain kind of ghost, something strange or suspicion, or just an idiot. Given Hanzo's story, the supernatural implications feel natural...but I couldn't think of a good way to do it in English and neither could SNK.

vs others

Literal translation Official translation
Your face bears the shadow of death upon it. When you die, is it cremation or burial?
To die is to walk the martyr's path. It is no misstep... To die is not shameful, but better you than me.

It's a little more obvious which line belongs with which here, so I'm reasonably confident these are the right ones.

So the first one is almost entirely made up. Hanzo is talking about the player's immanent death, that's the same. What he's saying about it is completely different. In Japanese, it's a warning that the player character will die soon (probably to him). In English, Hanzo is asking what to do with the body afterwards. So there's a similarity, just not in a sense you'd usually call an actual translation.

The second line is also similar, but also completely made up. Hanzo is still talking about not being afraid/ashamed to die, but the tone and context are different. I suppose you could cram his Japanese line into "to die in not shameful", but it loses the idea that the reason dying isn't a problem is because it's good to sacrifice oneself. Which is further undercut by the joke "better you than me" the English adds.

The editor definitely got here.

Win Quotes

vs self

Literal translation Official translation
Fall into the depths of hell, or rise to the are now free to choose as you will. It's your pick! Heaven,hell. But Bermuda is impossible!!

Once again, the basic idea of the line is more-or-less translated into English correctly, it just takes a turn after that. In Japanese the language used for heaven and hell is very religious and specifically talking about Buddhist concepts, which doesn't translate all that well without getting too technical. There's also a bit of implication that Hanzo has set 2P free to choose his own path, instead of being bound by the path of a ninja.

This is obviously heavily edited down in English (though it's the arcade so SNK can still talk about heaven and hell), there's just the extra joke about how 2P Hanzo cannot pick Bermuda as his next destination. Because Bermuda is a good vacation spot, geddit. It undercuts the seriousness of the line.

Win with killing normal

Literal translation Official translation
Live by an avenging blade, die by a righteous one. There is no longer anyone who can extinguish my flames of hatred. Burning with revenge, no one can stop me.

Kishi got this one.

You can see how this had to get cut down.

The official translators chose to concentrate on the second half, probably because that part's a bit easier to make standalone. They do slip in a reference to revenge, so players can know what Hanzo's main motivation is, but generally the English is cut down and less poetic than the Japanese. Which is somewhat unavoidable, given character limits. It doesn't feel like the editor got to this one either.

Win with special move

Literal translation Official translation
You poor fool. You cannot see that the thread of your life has already run out. Poor fool. You don't yet're dead.

Again, the English is less poetic, but they didn't have a lot of choice. The basic idea of the line is there, at least. It's just somewhat awkward.

If the English was "you're already dead" it would feel like a Fist of the North Star reference, but it's not. Too bad.

Win otherwise

Literal translation Official translation
It was a dangerous situation, but it seems Heaven is on my side yet. I know that fate is on my side, but that was too close.

Again, this is a very straight translation, with just a bit of awkwardness that's probably because of character limits. It doesn't feel like the editor put a lot of time into Hanzo, does it?

Once again, what I translated as "Heaven" and the official translators did as "fate" is a somewhat poetic/religious concept. It's basically a sort of "natural law/the will of Heaven" sort of thing, so either translation works fine. They're related concepts.


Literal translation Official translation
My life has become a void, the same as if my soul had already died. My life is a desert, my sole, a void. Happy thought. Huh?

Okay, the editor got here too.

There are a couple minor typos, most noticeably in the game "sole" for "soul". This is a typo that feels like a native speaker. Then there's the period between "Happy thought" and "huh?" that's probably supposed to be a comma. That feels like it was just something that slipped through the cracks, since it's a lot harder to see in the game font.

As we've seen in a few of Hanzo's other lines, the poetic Japanese line was cut down and a goofy joke tacked on the end. This seems to have been a habit for the editor, at least for Hanzo. Without the goofy joke it's a more-or-less serviceable version of the Japanese line, though with a bit of a nuance loss in that Hanzo's life has become dark since his son died instead of just always being dark (possibly because he's a ninja). The joke just undercuts the line because, well...that's what the editor does.

Sometimes I think about how even if I somehow tracked the editor down, there's no chance they'd remember why they did any of this.


Stage 4

Literal translation Official translation
Hanzo: This one doesn't know either... Hanzo: Have you seen him?
Hanzo: ! Hanzo: !
Hanzo: You-! Hanzo: My lord.
Amakusa: Kukuku... Behold, I am the vengful spirit of Amakusa. Now, cry and plead unto the dark god! Amakusa: Call me Amakusa, Amakusa!
Hanzo: Return my son! Hanzo: Return my son!
Amakusa: His body—flesh and soul all—has already been given to my spirit! You, too, should serve the dark god. Amakusa: Your son's flesh and soul reside in me. Come, join the dark guy!
Hanzo: Then I shall burn that body to ashes! Hanzo: Then toast in my flames of fury!
Amakusa: Fool! To go against the dark god is to die! Amakusa: Fool! Wrong answer!
Hanzo: son... Hanzo: Oh, junior!

Kishi got Amakusa's second line.

(some of Amakusa's lines are common to multiple characters, check Haohmaru's page for analysis)

The first line changes a bit in the translation, from Hanzo talking to himself about his search to asking the previous opponent (?) about his son. But it's not at all obvious who the "him" Hanzo is looking for is, so it's kind of confusing. Then again, it's not obvious in Japanese either. Hope you read up on the story in Gamest or Neo Geo Freak!

The third line looks more like a proper mistranslation. In Japanese, Hanzo uses a form of "you" that's old-fashioned and used with equals or inferiors. It's what Hanzo normally uses, and yes I thought about translating it as "thou" but held off. The point is, it's not particularly respectful and a ninja would be unlikely to use it with his lord. So I'm not entirely sure where he English line came from, as it doesn't sound like the editor either. I can only assume someone slipped up somewhere.

The rest of the lines are actually fairly well done. We see the return of "the dark guy" instead of "the dark god" and I'm still not sure what was going on there, but the rest of the line makes it clear that Amakusa has taken over Hanzo's son's body and soul, just like in Japanese. "Then toast in my flames of fury!" sounds like the editor got a hold of it, but it's not technically wrong, and not even all that wacky. (okay, "toast" is kind of wacky)

Hanzo's last line is a pretty complete departure in tone, but again, it's not technically wrong. Just...wacky.


Literal translation Official translation
Hanzo: To have your soul stolen away by the spirit of Amakusa... My poor, poor son. Hanzo: Oh, no! My Amakusa. Stolen by death. Poor soul!
Hanzo: But you shall not walk that path alone. I'll follow you momentarily... Hanzo: I shall follow you, dear boy. Life is without meaning.
Ninja: Please wait, Hanzo-dono! Ninja: Wait!! Hanzo.
Ninja: We still have need of you in our village. Please, find it within yourself to turn away from this path... Ninja: We need you here to teach your skills Do not take this offer lightly...
Hanzo: ...... Hanzo: Hmm.
Ninja: Please! We beg of you! Ninja: I beg you.
Hanzo: I understand. Then, I shall give this corpse to your keeping for now... Hanzo: Very well. I shall teach your kindred.
Hanzo: Unleash the flame from your soul! Hanzo: Act like a volcano, and blow!

Right off the bat, we have a mistranslation. Hanzo isn't mourning Amakusa, but his dead son. I can only assume someone was working a bit too fast, because while the general words are correct, the connections got all mixed up.

Hanzo also explains a bit more why he's going to commit suicide in English, while it's left implied in Japanese. I think it's a nice little touch.

"-dono" is a term of respect that in the period was used for people with high status. It tells Japanese players right off that these are lower-ranked ninja. The ninja also speak very respectfully towards Hanzo in general. This is a bit less obvious in English, both thanks to character limits and the oddly threatening "do not take this offer lightly...". The Japanese phrase is something like "please reconsider", which I interpreted as "please reconsider committing suicide", but I think the official translator or the editor saw it as "please reconsider refusing to teach us". Then somehow that got touched up (the editor?) to be more threatening.

Hanzo's acceptance gets way cut down, and loses a few important points in the process. Mostly that he still considers himself to be a walking corpse and is just going along with the ninja for the moment. The English sounds more like the ninja managed to talk him out of it and ends up being somewhat more hopeful.

The editor sure got to the last line. Yep.