Squall “…whatever.” Leonhart
Squall Leonhart’s super favourite word in the English version of Final Fantasy VIII! It’s interesting to note that it’s not quite what he says in the Japanese version. I’m sure that many, many, many people have already covered this but I wanted to do a post about it myself.
Although it seems as though he uses it rather excessively, I only counted ~sixteen uses of it across the four discs. Those uses were ones in which he used it as a response or on its own and not within a sentence, such as “We’ll do whatever it takes to get on that train.”
Anyway, on to the differences (and to kind of a long post)…or whatever.
#1: Fire Cavern - Quistis
Japanese: …you’re a TEACHER.
This is one of the more obvious and odd changes (considering the context) that was made in the English. During this scene Quistis is a bit inappropriate (considering she’s his teacher). She says that she supposes her charm makes the other boys (students, in the Japanese version) nervous because it’s at this point they end up failing. Given the situation, Squall’s response in the Japanese is SO MUCH more appropriate.
#2: Return from Dollet - Headmaster Cid
Japanese: Nothing special/no big deal.
Not a major change since, in this scene, the responses in both English and Japanese are along the same lines.
#3: SeeD Ball - Quistis
Ah, finally the entrance of what can be dubbed as Squall’s Japanese catchphrase. This is the word he uses a lot (like, a lot-a lot) in the Japanese version (probably a lot more than the English catchphrase) and is most frequently found in place of “whatever” in the Japanese version.
In this scene, Quistis is a bit sad that Squall would dance with a complete stranger rather than her. The Japanese response gives him a bit more heart rather than just a brush off, as is the case with the English.
#4: First Laguna Dream Sequence - Laguna
Laguna: And…it’ll be just the two of us, too! What should I do, what should I do…
Squall: Do whatever you want!
This scene is a lot more amusing in Japanese than in English. Squall’s response of “do whatever you want” is not one that can be interpreted as a happy/cheering-you-on type of response — it’s more that he’s just exasperated with Laguna (and his annoying/noisy mind) and falls more along the lines of “omg, just do whatever the heck you want and stop annoying me…!”
#5: Before Second Laguna Dream Sequence - Rinoa
Japanese: …so annoying.
This is when Rinoa is ranting at Squall about his lack of outward support for the others and that he should show a lot more concern and encouragement to his comrades. The English translation made Squall a little nicer (well…less mean) in this scene in comparison to the Japanese, because his response can be taken as “…ugh, so annoying.”
#6: Meeting Irvine - Irvine
Japanese: I guess it’s okay.
Another less obvious/appropriate change. Squall’s response can also be interpreted as anything along the lines of “oh well,” “well, alright” and even “whatever.”
#7: Comforting Selphie - Selphie
In this scene, the player is given the option of either comforting Selphie or deciding to leave it up to Irvine. If the player chooses to comfort her, Selphie starts joking that she must look really depressed, so depressed that even Squall has decided to forgo his standoff-ish-ness for once and is, instead, comforting her. Squall starts to go back into his little shell and Selphie calls him out on being so closed off. His response in Japanese versus his response in English paint FAR different pictures of Squall’s character, especially considering the context.
It can be argued that his “warukatta” response is less of an apology and more of a “I’ll just say that so you’ll get off my back,” but I’d like to believe that Squall is at least a little apologetic for not being able to be more open.
#8: Concert in Fishermans Horizon - Selphie
Japanese: What do you want….
The above is more of a literal translation, but I think that it can be interpreted differently. Squall’s use of the ending “yo” (which is more masculine and can be rather brusque in certain contexts), makes it more “what the heck/hell…” I think that is what he was going for in this scene because Selphie kind of embarrasses him (publically) by supporting Rinoa’s pursuit of him.
#9: Meeting Selphie’s Friend in Trabia - Selphie
Japanese Option 1: Leave me alone.
Japanese Option 2: …sorry.
In this scene, tha player is given the option of either agreeing with or denying having been a support structure/help to Selphie while she’s been away from Trabia. In the English, it doesn’t matter which option you choose because, either way, Squall’s response is “whatever.” The first option, which is to deny, has both Selphie and her friend joking that Squall is probably just harbouring a secret crush. Option two, agreeing, has Selphie laugh at the out-of-character response from Squall. Both of his answers make so much more sense in the Japanese version.
#10: Heading to Esthar Pt. I - Zell/Edea
Japanese: Whatever’s fine.
This is when the party is heading over to Esthar to meet Doc Odine. The above is the more literal translation, but I think it’s more likely that the actual meaning is more along the lines of the English translation.
#11: Heading to Esthar Pt. II - Selphie
In the Japanese version, Squall doesn’t even bother responding to Selphie’s little aside! He just shakes his head and, instead, says “more importantly…” and continues with the issue/mission at hand. I guess his response can be translated, in modern terms, as “smh…anyway.”
#12: Ragnarok - Rinoa
I think this pretty much cements what his catchphrase is in Japanese (since he uses a variety of responses) because Rinoa is imitating him. She pretty much knew the response she was going to get (so she was totally prepared) since she was poking fun at him and saying he gives her a lot more than comfort and joy, he also gives her an abundance of “annoyance and disappointment, too!” I think that either response, English or Japanese, makes sense in the situation.
#13: Post-Rinoa Rescue - Quistis
Aaaand, another one on the board for “sorry.” I don’t really know what to make of this one since his response (to Quistis saying they should all picture a brighter future together) is weird either way. I do like the English response a bit more than the Japanese, though.
#14: Meeting Laguna - Laguna
Japanese: Nevermind that.
I like Squall’s Japanese response a lot more than his English and I’m not sure why that is, because they pretty much mean the same thing.
There are two more occurrences (so it’ll make sixteen then) that I didn’t include above. One occurs during Rinoa’s tour around the Garden and the other occurs after the BGH251F2 battle. In both, Squall’s original Japanese equivalent was “sorry.”
And, that’s that! I do have a few additional thoughts and notes that I wanted to add.
My interpretation (especially when I wrote my thoughts versus the literal) is what, I think, can be taken from text and within context. Remember, this was a time of no voice acting in the games. I mention context a lot because it’s what usually determines where and how certain things can be interpreted. Any embellishment in the interpretation is my own because I had to add tonality where I thought it best.
His catchphrase in Japanese is most likely 「……悪かったな」 (sorry) because it was the most frequent word found in place of “whatever” in the original Japanese version. The reason I say “most likely” is because of his frequent usage of “betsuni,” too (in the Japanese version).
On an added interpretation note, I think that, when he says “warukatta,” he’s really not apologizing and it’s meant in a more colloquial sense. We all know that Squall is rather…insolent. He’s also quite aloof and tends to keep people at a distance. Taking his personality, the preceding ellipses and the pairing with the ending “na,” it’s more likely that he’s responding with the colloquial English variant, “my bad.” I think that’s far more appropriate for Squall, considering that he is really just a seventeen-year-old kid.
As mentioned above, his catchphrase is rather ubiquitous in the Japanese version. He uses “whatever” in the English version less than 20 times (across four discs). I decided to just stick with the English version’s “whatever” usage and its Japanese pair, rather than pulling out every single “warukatta” and “betsuni” usage.
As for which one I think is better? I really like the Japanese version of his responses over the English. I like that his responses in Japanese are more varied and situation-appropriate. I also think that it adds an extra layer of personality to Squall. Rather than just being uncaring and empty headed (which is what I get from the English version), I think it shows that he is listening and thinking and that he’s more than just a blank slate.
best character ever
This is an appreciation post for the greatest character in all of Final Fantasy. The bravest, the smartest, the strongest, the most loyal—-the absolute best.
- She travels the world without complaint, without even the Gil and assorted monster prizes the other party members receive.
- She is a particularly good finder, successfully excavating all kinds of rare treasures
- She happily puts up with the funny nickname given to her by a lovely but sometimes too-silly friend
- She’s easily the most disciplined warrior of the cast, successfully following orders every time
- She’s brave enough to take risks that few would dare to take, including being launched at high speeds
Who is this brave, brave warrior you ask? Who else?I am obviously talking about Sant’ Angelo di Roma, better known as Angelo, Rinoa’s beloved dog
FF8 would be nothing without her.