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 an effort to remain child-friendly, Nintendo of America enforced strict rules against the usage of inappropriate or taboo language in their published titles. Even long after the reign of these game content guidelines, efforts to minimize foul words influenced much of the market the distinction between an “E” (Everyone) title and a “T” (Teen) title has the potential to make all of the difference in sales figures. As such, it was probably strongly advised that Nintendo Dual Screen (NDS) Chrono Trigger translator Tom Slattery keep in place previous language censorship a trend which mostly continued within this re-release (see SNES Profanity).

This is why, it is most striking to discover the use of the word “damnable” when Azala begins “her” assault on Crono and his teammates:
Azala: Damnable red star… Fall, why don't you? Stain the earth red!
アザーラ「赤い星……。 ふるがいい。 そして、大地を赤くそめるがいい!

Azarla: Foul red star... Go ahead and fall. And may you dye the earth red!

AZALA: Red star... Fall!!!!! Stain the earth...RED!

Employed to convey emotions of awe and fear, “damn” was never explicitly referenced in the Japanese script (with its exact equivalent 「くそ」 kuso). Instead, the hiragana character 「め」 me, is coloring the 「赤い星」 akai hoshi, “red star.”「め」 me, "is a derogatory suffix expressing contempt/anger toward the person named."1 “Damnable” in this context, is an emphatic swear; it is an expression that is used to add emphasis, especially to convey anger or frustration. Azala features these emotions in “her” mannerisms, displaying “her” animosity against the group of trespassers.

Since Azala is not using “damnable” in an abusive manner, it is quite possible that this taboo word was included more readily, regardless of it being the only swear term in the North American NDS localization. Without a doubt, this word alters the context of the scene; it expresses the enmity Azala feels and indicates that an inevitable battle is about to ensue between the two parties. This fact, reveals Slattery’s logic behind this somewhat accurate translation (as mentioned above, 「め」 me is very dependent on context).

To surmise, “damnable” is interpreted from the Chrono Trigger Japanese script, although it may not explicitly be used in this way during the passage. By choosing this taboo word, over other descriptors, Slattery imbues Azala with more fervor and hostility, enhancing an already dire situation. This usage also depicts the decline in censorship witnessed throughout the partial retranslation, not to mention more laid-back national attitudes towards profanity in video games (since “damnable” did not end up warranting the re-release a “T” rating). In the end, the following phenomenon is both a unique characteristic of the NDS script, but can also be viewed as a Japanese cultural fragment rearticulated to North American gaming audiences years after the first localization effort took place.

Works Cited:

[1] Lammers, Wayne P. "Lesson 7: Modifying Nouns." Japanese the Manga Way: An Illustrated Guide to Grammar and Structure. Berkeley, CA: Stone Bridge, 2004. 54. Print.

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