Final Fantasy VII Is Going To Kill Me

Let's Mosey: A Slow Translation Of Final Fantasy VIILet's Mosey: A Slow Translation Of Final Fantasy VIIPart Japanese grammar lesson and part meditation on the impossibility of a "perfect" translation, Let's Mosey presents a "slow translation" of Final Fantasy VII.

This is the ninth episode of my ongoing video series scrutinizing the tiniest, most minuscule, most arguably insignificant differences of tone and nuance between the Japanese original script and the official English translation of the 1997 role-playing game Final Fantasy VII.


As in previous episodes, we’ll unearth scraps of evidence that Aeris and her “first love” Zack might not have, in the legal sense, been bedtime buddies. As in previous episodes, we’ll delve into multiple examples wherein Barret is far more psychologically nuanced in Japanese than in English. As in previous episodes, we’ll encounter a few lines of Japanese dialogue that were flat-out not translated into English.

We’ll also talk about first-person pronouns, one of the most fascinating fundamental aspects of the Japanese language. The character of Red XIII uses an adult pronoun (watashi) when talking to the other main characters, though he uses a childish pronoun (oira) back in his hometown of Cosmo Canyon. This is a fun topic.

I’m not going to lie to you: I am starting to lose my mind making these videos. This one is 28 minutes long. In it I reference Japanese enka singer Miyako Harumi. Here’s one of my favorite singer-songwriters, Yumi Tanimura, covering the song linked in the previous sentence. It’s wonderful. I paraphrase mathematician Nicholas Nassim Taleb. I do a (good?) Solid Snake impression for exactly 1.466 seconds, because I’m so tired of people saying I sound like Solid Snake that I decided to show you what Solid Snake actually sounds like. At one point, I accidentally realize which Final Fantasy VII character is most like myself. Elsewhere in the video, I recommend you this Korean hip-hop song from 2000, which liberally samples the background music of Final Fantasy VII’s Cosmo Canyon, and I now feel extreme terror that someone is actually going to listen to that song and suffer brain damage and it’s too late to cut that part out of the video and re-export it. Finally, I will tell you about this guy in my college dorm. Uh, I don’t exactly remember, though I think my mom is in this video, too.

So, hey, if you’re That Guy in the comments who is going to ask for a “text version” of this video, know there is a non-zero chance I would literally die typing that text.

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I make videos for Kotaku. I make video games for myself and my friends. I like writing fiction. Someday I will publish a novel. Who knows!


Unpopular opinion, but hear me out:

None of Final Fantasy has nuance, and has been mostly soap-opera-level drek of overly emotional people who can’t handle their every day reality, while simultaneously navel-gazing at how oh-so-smart they are for having super-tangential relationships to continental philosophers of the mid-to-late 19th century.

It is on the same level as Evangelion. A lot of cool flashy ideas and words and twists to make it appear as though it has depth, but it’s really just a kiddie pool full of piss and bad ideas.