[The script text referenced throughout is from the Chrono Trigger Retranslation Project via the Chrono Compendium, completed in script form on March 30, 2007. This fan translation, thanks to KWhazit, creates "a clearer portrayal of Chrono Trigger as intended by its Japanese creators," that forgoes, "Nintendo of America's censorship standards," and overrides the video game's inability to hold all of the original text when translated to English. Please note that blue text is used to highlight specific Japanese characters and differentiate the North American Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) localization script. Also, Nintendo Dual Screen (NDS) text from the North American localization will appear above all other text outside of the boxes.]
In regard to alcoholic themes, Chrono Trigger’s original English script was heavily influenced by the game content guidelines enforced by Nintendo of America during the early nineties. All references to alcoholic substances, locations, and scenarios, not to mention alcohol-inhibited speech, were all prohibited from reaching the eyes of North American gamers (see SNES Alcohol). However, the subsequent introduction of the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) brought the ultimate dismantling of such censorship and, with it, the emergence of alcoholic themes featured in the original Japanese script of Chrono Trigger. Although at times riddled with uncommon and outdated terminology, this retranslation enabled the recontextualization and rearticulation of lost Japanese culture, and allowed North American players to witness a somewhat more genuine depiction of Chrono Trigger.

As mentioned in (SNES Alcohol), the word 「酒」 saké was never explicitly utilized in the Nintendo Dual Screen (NDS) iteration of Chrono Trigger, being not widely known in the West. Instead, vague terminology like “drink” and “drinking” mostly denoted instances of alcoholic elements. One of these examples involves “Toma’s Saké,” “Toma’s Pop” on the SNES, now referred to as “Toma’s Spirits.” Notably, “spirits” is one of the more outdated terms for alcohol, which most specifically refers to “strong distilled liquor such as brandy, whiskey, gin, or rum.” In choosing this, those who have not been exposed to “spirits” may not understand the context of this scene. The word has roots in the 14th century Middle Eastern alchemy where it meant, "volatile substance; distillate;” this sense narrowed to "strong alcoholic liquor" by the 1670s1 as such, it is plausible that this word was chosen in order to fit in with the rest of the “middle english” tone introduced by Slattery (see NDS Cultural Linguistics). After pouring the contents of this drink upon Toma’s grave, Toma’s spirit rises and remarks:

Toma: Ah… There truly is no drink so fine as one shared in the
company of friends like you. All the best to you!

By once more referring to the alcohol as a “drink,” ambiguity actually spawns the most accurate interpretation and translation of the term “saké.” It is a strong misconception in other parts of the world that saké only refers to a certain wine made from fermented rice. In fact, saké can be used to describe any number of alcoholic drinks, meaning that this vague quality is authentic and true to the original Japanese script, unlike the words “soup” or “soda pop.” As a matter of fact, Slattery’s retranslation also restored the impaired speech patterns lost in the original localization effort. Here, while celebrating with Ayla and her people, Lucca haphazardly speaks to Crono:

Lucca: What'sh that? You a man, or a moushe? Drink it in one gulp!
*laughing* Gah ha ha! *buuurp*
ルッカ「うっひゃ! クロノ! あんらも、飲みら! オラオラ! 男れしょが! 気にいきな、ググッと…… キャハハハハハ! ヴッ……

Lucca: Ahh! Crono! You drink too! Go, go! Aincha a man! Allit once, like gulp, gulp... Kya ha ha ha ha ha! *urp*...

Lucca: Yumm. Crono you've got to try some poi! Are you a man or a mouse?! Do it in one gulp! Gyah ha ha! Buurp!

Lucca, above, is using the 「ー」 long vowel and 「~」 tilde marks, which represent the similar effects of slurrs and drawn out sentences featured in the NDS script, sometimes viewed as 「可愛い」 kawaii, “cute” or flirtatious (see SNES Sexuality). Onomatopoeic expressions are also present in her speech and have similar equivalents in the revised script. Interestingly though, at the same time, the fact that the following NDS script is a partial retranslation shows in specific areas, either by choice or as a result of the project schedule, which Slattery claims was extremely tight. “I had to move at a pace of 5000-6000 Japanese characters of translation a day, which meant I couldn't do a full retranslation even had I wanted to.”2 One of these instances is shortly after Lucca’s outburst. Marle is depicted as sober, in comparison to the original Japanese script, which embellishes her speech with similar impairment patterns and flirtatious heart icons:

Marle: This is great! C'mon Crono. Let's dance!

Marle: I'm gunna dansh too♥ Thishs the best♥ Crono, you dansh too!

Marle: I want to dance, too! This is great! C'mon Crono. Let's dance!

Later on, Ayla challenges Crono to a drinking contest using 「岩石」 “rock” and 「クラッシュ」 “crash” to describe the special alcoholic mixture:

Ayla: Crono try drink? This, only special time drink! Good drink!
Name skull-smash! Next day, skull feel like smash!
エイラ「飲んでるか? クロ! コレ 特別な時 飲む酒。 岩石クラッシュ 言う カクテル。 ウマイぞ キツイぞ。

Ayla: Drinking? Cro! This saké, drink at special time. Cocktail called Rock Crash. Delicious, intense!

Ayla: Crono you try?! Special Jurassic pork soup! Good stuff!!

As specified before, it is a misconception in other parts of the world that the word saké only refers to a certain wine made from fermented rice. Although Slattery called the English equivalent “Skull Smash,” the fact that it depicts a cocktail of some sort presents the Japanese equivalent of the scene, unlike the concoction, “Jurassic pork soup.” In the end, Ayla loses to Crono, and asks for one more drink:

Ayla: Braaap! No more, Crono… Ayla lose, give rock! Crono drink good.
Drink one more! To strong Crono! Pour! Maybe too much drink…
エイラ「ぶは~ッ……! もういい クロ…… お前の勝ちだ……、この石 お前の物! クロ よく飲んだ。 最後に もういっぱい お前の強さ カンパイ! じゃ 飲む…… かんぱ~いッ!!

Ayla: *bwaaah*...! That enough, Cro... You win... this stone yours! Cro drank well. One last drink, toast to your strength! We drink then... Kanpaaai!!

Ayla: Burp! Enough, Crono. You win, I give you rock! Crono eat plenty. Eat last bowl for health! Ok, eat. Maybe eat too much!

「乾杯」 kanpai is the equivalent of a “toast” in the West. Though the explicit term “toast” is not used in the retranslation, the same concept of drinking “in celebration or in honor of something” is prevalent. Now, in the revised translation, Ayla offers up a drink for Crono’s 「強さ」 “strength,” whereas the original English localization represented it accurately as “health.” Although the majority of these scenarios are recontextualized to more exact representations of Chrono Trigger, other moments are less understood, in particular, due to the usage of uncommon words (which were most likely chosen to create a broad umbrella of “middle english” language representative of the inhabitants in Chrono Trigger) (see NDS Cultural Linguistics):

Tata: For…forgive me. Truth be told, I plucked this badge from the floor of
the tavern. Some besotted froggish fellow dropped it as he stumbled out.
タータ「ゴ、ゴメンよお……。 この勇者バッジ、ホントは酒場でよいつぶれてた、カエルのオヤジが落としてったのさ。   

Tarta: I-I'm sorry... The truth is that a seriously drunk frog man dropped this Hero Badge in the bar.

TATA: I...I'm sorry everyone. Some frog guy dropped this in a cafe.

By using the term “besotted,” instead of the greatly established “drunk,” younger or less informed individuals may not understand the context of this scene, ultimately hindering the comprehension of Frog’s intricacies as a character. In fact, the term “besotted” is outdated, and is now commonly said to express that someone is “strongly infatuated.” Even in the Japanese script, the phrase 「酔い潰れる」 holds a much greater connotation “to drink oneself dead drunk” or “unconscious.” The term “besotted,” even coupled with “stumbled out,” does not bring to light the extreme nature of Frog’s alcohol abuse. Without this awareness of Frog’s deep despair, it is probable that players may not grasp how dejected he feels after Cyrus’ death.

Respectively, alcoholic themes originally featured in Chrono Trigger were reintroduced in the NDS rendition after the ESRB came into existence. Though Slattery’s efforts to create a “middle english” atmosphere may have created a language barrier for individuals due a the inclusion of outdated vocabulary, his retranslation also brought back much authenticity and consistency between the Japanese and English languages. By depicting such alcoholic beverages and slurred speech patterns in their original forms, at last, after eleven years, this partial retranslation made lost cultural material from Japan accessible subsequently being articulated in its decensored state for North American gaming communities.

Works Cited:

[1] "spirit." Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper, n.d. Web. 29 July 2015.

[2] "Inside Gaming - Interview with Former Square Enix Translator Tom Slattery." Interview by Michael A. Cunningham. RPGamer. RPGamer, n.d. Web. 28 July 2015.

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