Blizzard released a short animation to explain the rivalry between bow-wielding mercenary Hanzo and cybernetic ninja Genji. The animation is neat and all, but people online in Japan have been pointing out that the kanji sure is odd.
Japanese has a rather complex writing system that features kanji characters from China. There are also native writing systems called hiragana and katakana that are used along with kanji in written Japanese.
In the animation, Hanzo kneels before a scroll that features four kanji characters in an idiomatic expression. Often maxims, these are not uncommon and in Japanese they are called “yojijukugo” (四字熟語). As Japanese site Afternoon News points out, the idiom Blizzard picked isn’t very good at all.
The scroll reads 竜頭蛇尾 (ryuutoudabi) or, literally, “dragon head, snake tail.” Which might underscore the motif that appears throughout the animation. Perhaps?
However, Japanese people don’t read these four characters literally. As previously mentioned, this is an idiom. It actually means “anticlimax.” Which is why it’s bizarre to see Hanzo kneeling before a scroll that means “anticlimax,” because this is probably the last thing Blizzard wants to convey about Overwatch or this short animation.
Some Japanese Twitter users have been pointing out this strange selection, writing that it was “hilarious” and “too bizarre.” Even more so when you consider how the animation ends with Hanzo once again kneeling before the “anticlimax” scroll.
Or that, you know, check a dictionary or at least see what Google Translate immediately barfs up:
Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.