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Translation Terrors of Castle Shikigami Starring: MarzGurl


  • This episode was transcribed by Joshua "Mad Mab" Winter
  • This episode was upoloaded to Blip.tv on Aug. 3rd, 2009
  • Episode is 14 mintues and 53 seconds in length or [14:53]

(All time coding is in the following format, "Minutes: Seconds")


[00:01-00:09] Listen I don't want to be another video game reviewer, pretty much every popular website out there with a pretty good fan base has it's own fairshare of video game reviewers.

[00:10-00:14] Although, I must admit I am a gamer and my list of video games is pretty extensive.

[00:15-00:17] That being said, I still don't really want to be a video game reviwer.

[00:18-00:27 ] But the is one subject I really cannot ignore, and that involves the translation process from japanese to english on certain import games.

[00:28-00:36] Today I wanna tell you a little story, it involves: anime, video games, tranlation taboos and kinds of little things in between.

[00:37-00:45] One day a few years back, I worked in a fairly well to do retail store. And they mostly sold clothing, jewlery, housewares, that sort of thing.

[00:46-00:59] So it was a surprise, when I found a sale on a small selection of video games. The one game that stood out particularly to me was this game called Castle Shikigami 2. A top down shooter made for the playstation 2.

[01:00-01:08] I had never heard of it before, and the game was obviously anime influenced. And with the price being just right, and my curiosity getting the best of me I took it home.


[01:09-01:14] And thus started my journey into the depths of Castle Shikigami Hell! Well how terrible is it?


[01:16-01:25] Hmm...maybe it's not as terrible as I might have led you to believe with this introduction, but that doesn't really make it any less terrible, it is in fact terrible in it's own right. here, take a look.


[01:26-01:47] Well the gameplay is actually pretty good, in fact it's really quite hard. You play as one of seven different anime styled characters, one or two players and fly...somehow, through anime style boss after boss. With those absolutely ridiculous bullet patterns flying at you that the Japanese are so well known for.


[01:48-01:50 ] Oh man! It's hard!


[01:51-01:54] Oh I bet I can squeeze in past right here, jeez!


[01:55-02:02] Each individual character has a special attack known as a "Shikigami", and each one is unique to themselves, and all of them are pretty cool.


[02:03-02:08] One character even has a butler for her shikigami! ...wow, what?


[02:09-02:14] So one question you may be asking is, "Why are you doing any of these at all?".


[02:15-02:24] Where am I? Is this the caslte? What's so bad about it? Who are these people I'm playing as? Why can they fly and where did they get their shikigami powers?


[02:25-02:37] Well...don't expect the game to give you any of the answers, and really it's not it's for lack of trying that they don't clearly get you to understand it but...well just listen to some of this dialogue.


[02:38-2:49]: (game speaks the following) "Never forget the duty of an American" (MarzGurl) What? (game speaks the following) "First time to meet. Or Long time." (MarGurl) Huh? (game speaks the following) "I am Roger Sasuke, Ninja Pearl Shield!" (MarzGurl) What does that mean?


[02:49-03:01] During the gameplay, in battles and when a player gets hit, they actually left in the original Japanese voice acting. They didn't dub it over and they didn't bother to subtitle it. Just a bit of a lazy move.


[03:01-03:04] (game speaks Japanese dialogue)


[03:05-03:17] In a lot of places, what the voice actor says and what the subtitles say are two completely different things. Take this boss, Alara...or Aralla...or Alala...or, well look!


[03:18-03:20] (game speaks the following, *note: spelling reflects pronounciation by voice actress) "I am Arala Clun, The Scarlet Baron"


[03:21-03:30] She gets her own name wrong! Not to mention spelled differently in both the subtitles, and the boss name in the upper-lefthand corner of the screen.


[03:31-03:34] (game reads the following) "You came Alada. I knew you would"


[03:35-03:38] (MarzGurl speaks over the game's voice acting dialogue) No...who are you talking to? Aren't you Alara? What the hell?


[03:39-03:55] Playing with two players, and mixing and matching combonations would make for some great story. And you can tell it's supposed to give you a better idea as to the relationships between the characters. But the translation is so bad that half the time you can't even tell what they're trying to get across.


[03:56-04:00] (game says the following) "Same to you? Take my hand?"


[04:02-04:04] (game says the following) "I don't want to soil the new world"


[04:05-04:11] In some situations the characters will read the external blocking of the character out loud.


[04:12-04:14] (game really does speak the follwing): "(used to commanding) " "I am Roger Sasuke!"


[04:15] (MarzGurl) Huh?!


[04:16-04:19] (game really does speak the follwing): "(changed voice) " "It's me. Yama."


[04:20] (MarzGurl) What?!


[04:21-04:37] (MarzGurl speaks over the game's voice acting dialogue) How did this game pass QA?! Was it not obvious that you're not suppose to read "(changes voice)" out loud?! And it's not like the people reading the script aren't native english speakers! It's obvious that the voice actors are from north america, so how could it possibly come out this bad?

[04:38-05:18] I guess to some extent I can't really blame the voice actors, voice actors pretty much only do as they're directed, but that's if they have a director that really cares about what their voice actors are doing. Okay, in this situation...let's say that both the voice actors, and the directors, and the producers kind of failed at this. How did it pass QA?! Why did they even let it slip through?! How could they have let it get this bad?! I mean their voice acting is just about as bad, if not worse than my acting. No no no...wait, nothing is worse than my acting.

[05:19-05:23] Who is this company?! And why did they allow this to fall through the cracks?!

[05:25-05:44] XS Games huh? wow...XS what? XS mediocrity? Well...they have XS something, but whatever it is...it's not quality. Their quality games include "Super PickUps", "PopStar Guitar", and "Pure Pinball".

[05:45-05:57] Alright, so Castle Shikigami 2 was pretty bad, but it made me curious...what happened to Castle Shikigami 1?! Well no matter where I looked for Castle Shikigami 1, for the life of me I just couldn't find it.

[05:58-06:12] That is until research led me to discover the Castle Shikigami 1 was under a completely different title called "Mobile Light Force 2"...what? Oh, it was published by XS Games also. Oh well that explains everything...

[06:12-06:44] The game was also released on the ps2, and features the exact same characters from Castle Shikigami 2. But then...wait, who are these 3 Charlie's Angels-esque girls on the cover? Why are they on the ground, instead of in the air? What's with gun? What's with the robots? What's with the total Terminator 2 future going on in the background? What do these have to do with the events in the game? Did the artist even play the game? Was he even told what went on in the game or what happens in the game? What?! Why?! How?! Who?!

[06:45-06:57] Well judging from the gameplay, who could tell what the point of the game is supposed to be? The screen stars with shots of the original characters of the game, then it gives up that stupid charlie's angels artwork again. Why?!

[06:58-07:25] So then you select your character and...what? The game just starts? No story? ...okay? Maybe there just is no story to be told right at the beginning? But then you get to the boss and it just skips right to the battle. And if that's not bad enough, they don't even bother telling you who the boss is. The name of every boss is "Life of Boss", giving me education on who I'm fighting, or why I'm fighting them...I'm just fighting for the sake of fighting.

[07:26-07:40] That's not fun to me, is it fun to you? ...it's not fun to me. And what's up with what little voice acting they did dub over and throw in? (indistinct video game voice) It's completely incomprehensible! Why even bother dubbing over?!

[7:41-08:00] Now take a look at the instruction booklet, they have character descriptions for a ton of the bosses. Now why couldn't they just leave that story in there? If they were able to translate all that information, why couldn't they just translate it and put it in their game? Isn't it a chore to remove elements from an already completed game?

[08:01-08:08] At least both of these games have their fair share of interesting extras, special artwork and stuff like that. So that's one point in their favor.

[08:09-08:30] So wait...come to think of it...I just finished playing Castle Shikigami 2, and following that I played Castle Shikigami 1 which was renamed "Mobile Light Force 2" here in the US. So, if "Mobile Light Force 2" is Castle Shikigami 1...that what is Mobile Light Force 1?

[08:34-08:52] Oh no...please be kidding me! why is this artwork here?! You mean to tell me they created for their first game, and kept the same artwork for their sequel?! Who does this?!

[08:53-09:35] So anyways, Mobile Light Force was also released by XS Games...big surprise, on PlayStation. And it's another top down shooter like Mobile Light Force 2 and Castle Shikigami 2. But...who are all these characters? What are all these PowerUps?! Why does it not have any of the abilities that were found in Mobile Light Force 2 and Castle Shikigami 2?! Well that's because it's not a Castle Shikigami game at all! It's a completely different game series, made by a completely different game company. What you're looking at is the bastardized adaptation of "GUNBIRD", originally released by the Japanese company "PSiKYO". Well known for other shot-em-ups such as: "STRIKERS 1945", "SPACE BOMBER" and "Dragon Blaze".

[09:36-09:56] The game is good, but granted it's really freaking hard! I suppose I should be thanking XS games, for removing any extra difficulty from the game by leaving the entire game on free play. Making it impossible to lose, yeah...that's fun. That'll really test how good you are at game...why try when you know you can't completely die?!

[09:57-10:10] So you have these fun looking anime styled characters, but...what's up with these names? "MILF 2000"?! Okay, I get that it's an acronym for Mobile Light Force and all...but come on, they had to know what they were getting themselves into.

[10:11-10:20] And what kind of names are these? "John Suarez"? "Jason Last"? ...Wait a minute

[10:23-10:38] Here in the credits, "Producer: John "HB" Suarez", "QA: Jason Last"...They renamed the characters to the names of the US developers?! Have selfabsorbed can you get?!

[10:39-10:54] I suppose we shouldn't tell Mr John Saurez that the character he chose to name himself was actually originally named Tetsu, and that he was literally designed to be a raging homosexual, even going so far as to himself a faggot in the original unedited game.

[10:55-11:02] And that Mr Jason Last's original name in the game was Ash, and that he original characterized as a hardcore pedophile.

[11:03-11:05] Ah the things you learn a little bit of research.

[11:06-11:16] Well I guess America wised up after awhile, because it would appear that neither that GUNBIRD, nor the Castle Shikigami franchises are still under the XS Games.

[11:17-11:28] GUNBIRD 2 got some great, full, funny translation and release on the Dreamcast. And after partnering with Capcom, Morrigan from the Darkstalkerstalkers was added to the list of playable characters.

[11:29-11:45] Castle Shikigami appears to be popular in it's own right, another PS2 game was released in Japan that we never recieved. It seems really interesting, but with the lack of a Japanese PS2 and complete refusal to mod my own, I have to try this one out myself.

[11:46-12:01] Luckily however, we did manage to recieve a well translated copy of Castle of Shikigami 3, released on the Nintendo Wii. This game has all the bullet hell that it's two predecesors had, and has some really golden story moments...comedy gold that is.

[12:02-12:09] (game speaks the following):

"Oh no, his face looks scary."

"Can you look a little kinder?"

"Please?"

[12:10-12:25] You can tell that the original developers began to take themselves less and less seriously, and really...that's okay. The comic relief takes the stress off the game and really makes it enjoyable, especially for people like me who are typically very good at top down shooters.

[12:29-12:48] But where this game really shines is in it's two player dialogue. My personal favorite pair is Roger Sasuke "The American Ninja" and Munchausen, the butler who had previously been a shikigami in the last two games. Listen to some of this, it's obvious that they've started poking fun at yaoi fan girls with these two.

[12:49-13:03] (games speaks the following):

Munchausen: "We're two men alone. Don't you think it would be a waste?"

Roger Sasuke: "That doesn't sound right. Wait...even though we're two unpopular characters togethers, that's just....Ah...no..."

[13:04-13:08] Some of their dialogues with the bosses are priceless too.

[13:09-13:16] (game speaks the following):

Munchausen: "Here goes, Rogelyn"

Roger Sasuke: "Sure big sis"

Yukari Horiguchi: "...what's with you guys?"

[13:17-13:22] Then there's characters like Reika, and yourself struggling to remember why she feels so familiar.

[13:23-13:38] (game speaks the following):

"...she now works as Time Gal, battling crimes against time."

"Ah, the old days were so good. All the arcades had a poster of me"

"No arrows show up on the screen, so I don't know which way to go"

[13:39-13:49] yeah that's right, Reika is none other than the one and only Time Gal, from the game "Time Gal" released back on the Sega CD. What an awesome easter egg!

[13:50-13:56] Well for now we've shikigami cycle, so lets take a steap back for a second and think about the order of these releases.

[13:57-14:28] We'll start with "Mobile Light Force", again...originally entitled as "GUNBIRD". This later branches off into "GUNBIRD 2", with some connections to "Darkstalkers". Next we have "Mobile Light Force 2", again originally entitled as "Castle Shikigami". It if followed by the correctly titled, but poorly translated "Castle Shikigami 2". And finally America got it all correct with "Castle of Shikigami 3", which his it's ties to "Time Gal". ...look at this mess, it's barely followable at all!

[14:29-14:46] All in all if you do get a chance to play any of these games, you will find yourself having fun, enjoying yourself and being legitimately challenged by the gameplay itself. Just don't think too hard about it, and try to ignore any dialogue you may come across...and you'll be just fine.

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