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How To Make Someone Hate A Good Series With Shitty Translations

Or, why I've been putting off critical Telefang fixes

Submitted by kmeisthax on Mon, 07/17/2017 - 00:48 in Rants

So, I need to confess something - I've been putting off work on the Telefang patches. I originally planned to release patches on a monthly basis, but after rolling out v111, I moved onto another Smilesoft game in need of hacking. I assumed other adjustments would come from other members of the project to justify v112 in July, but it didn't happen. Bugsite is it's own can of worms, but yet another thing has interrupted that project for something else. To make a very long story short, I rediscovered an old series and found out it wasn't terrible, the fan translations were.

So, in high school, way before I even knew what the hell a Telefang is, I happened to become a huge fanatic of two kind of obscure things. The first was the MOTHER series. I discovered and blasted through EarthBound; then tracked down the leaked prototype ROMs of what fans used to call EarthBound Zero. I pushed EarthBound on all my friends. I got really, really, irrationally angry when Brawl's campaign had very light MOTHER 3 spoilers. Yes, I was 2006's equivalent to 2016's pushy UNDERTALE fan.

I also was a huge 4chan user at the time, alongside a few other friends. I had all the memes memorized, and was a completely insufferable person due to my constant abuse of them. Like, to the point where one of the people that hung around me would spew out MOTHER 3 spoilers to get me to stop memeing. Actually, let me cut to the chase, because anyone familiar with 4chan memes in 2006 know I'm talking about either Touhou or Rozen Maiden. And anyone familiar with me knows I'm talking about the latter.

EarthBound Beginnings screenshot

Anyway, I watched the shit out of the Rozen Maiden anime, it's sequel series Traumend, bawled my eyes out at that one bit with Hinaichigo (second biggest gut punch in fiction IMHO), and finished up the Ouverture OVA. I then hunted down and read the somewhat better comics and got frustrated at the Laplace non-ending. I joined the fan "community" of Desuchan (most inactive fan board on the Internet, and yes I am counting Tulunk Village when I say that). And when I ran out of official material I wound up incorporating the characters into some shitty AIM RPs.

Move onto college, and now MOTHER 3's fan translation finally releases. It's absolutely fantastic, well-translated, and clearly the result of fan passion and dedication. I blew through it in about the span of a month and enjoyed it very much. The ending still registers as the third largest gut punch in fiction I've experienced. Hell, I still reference the damn project when discussing aspects of the Telefang translation. It's the gold standard for fan translations in my opinion.

Interestingly enough, in the same year as MOTHER 3's English translation, we also got word of a second Rozen Maiden series continuing from the first's nonending. Styled with a typographically unusual logo (Fraktur katakana?!), it too got fan translations. In contrast with my experiences playing MOTHER 3, the Rozen Maiden translations came out inconsistently, if at all. Half of the chapters were released by a Russian speaker living in Japan; while the other half were retranslations of Chinese fan translations.

Following Rozen Maiden's second series as an English speaker was a complete pain and a frustrating mess. Hell, at one point, the translations just stopped for a while, and I dropped the series shortly after that. Supposedly, it did eventually conclude with a proper ending. One of my friends (the same that I spent a decade writing an AIM RP with) told me it and I was extremely underwhelmed. It was already four years or so after I had decided to drop the series, and at this point in time I was beginning to grow rather apprehensive about the flood of low effort cute-girls series. I even wrote a rant about it, which now you know was at least partially inspired by hearing about this series' ending.

In retrospect this rant was kind of stupid, because a lot of anime trends were already pulling in the opposite direction. Jojo's Bizarre Adventure got a really faithful animated adaptation around the same time, and that sure as shit isn't moe. Hell, we finally got our fabled Season 3 of Rozen Maiden, the even more oddly titled Zurückspulen (which I can't type on my Windows machine). I was too busy posting vines of me punching Frozen merchandise to care, to be honest.

2013 me was a horrible person when it came to media consumption habits, to be honest. Y'know why? Because I spent the last week or so - the one where I was neglecting Telefang code updates - finally watching Zurückspulen. And not only was it absolutely amazing, I'm now kind of sad I didn't watch it earlier. You see, thanks to the inconsistent and lower quality fan translations of the comics, I lost interest and dropped it. Now that I have a properly translated animated version of this series, I can actually see what it was trying to do, and it's far better than I had originally gave it credit for.

Unfortunately, that animated adaptation was also incomplete, and only translates a fraction of the second series. So now I'm diving back into what are now hopefully completed fan translations to try and see what else I missed from what is honestly a really good series. And, to make matters worse, PEACH-PIT is writing another Rozen Maiden book, this time being a prequel, and also this time being serialized in the same book as Jojo. Which means we get to rage about JoJokes™ made at Shinku's expense. (How long until the Internet turns against Jojo fans the same way it now hates UNDERTALE?)

Oh, and at the same time, I actually need to get back to work on Telefang. Writing all of this crap about how bad translations made me hate Rozen Maiden means nothing if I'm going to sit and half-ass my own projects in turn.

By the way, the biggest gut punch in fiction I've experienced should be obvious by now: accidentally killing Toriel.

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