Storyline text and attempted translations from...

Final Fantasy VI

...copyright Squaresoft 1994. The images used are also from the game. Don't go claiming them as your own or anything silly like that. This document is not intended for any commercial purpose, real or imaginary. It exists primarily out of curiosity about both the Japanese language and the changes between the Japanese and English versions of the game. If you're interested in the game, go out and buy it if you haven't already... a summary of what happens can't compare to actually playing it. One of the best SNES games, best console RPGs, and (arguably) best games, period, ever... despite a number of odd bugs.

Recent Updates

2020-02-08 - Sometimes it seems like I just can't skim through anything I've translated without finding things I want to tweak. And so, minor revisions all over. I was also bored enough at one point to fill in the rest of the monster data, so although it's possible that I've miscopied some of it, that's at least complete now.

2018-11-24 - A probable name origin for the Magna Roaders, plus various other minor revisions.

2016-11-06 - Notes on three more monster names, plus a comment that Vanish/Dooming Death Gaze (Doom Gaze) might also keep the game from removing the encounter in addition to keeping it from coughing up Bahamut.

2016-05-30 - Aside from general revisions, this update includes some changes to and additional notes on several monster names.

2015-09-07 - A handful of small changes, most notably adding a new suggestion on what's up with the name of Setzer's "7-Flush", and an explanation of what mezzo carattere means.

2015-03-01 - A few minor revisions and sidenotes here and there, but nothing particularly remarkable.

2014-03-01 - Added the location names list, a chart of Pointy Things to Throw, soundtrack names, some more of the combat feedback text, and let's not forget finishing off the storyline.

29 Apr 2012 - Added a Rage skill summary page (look under monster data). Added the lines for the rich man in South Figaro both before and after the invasion. Added dialog about the house with treasures in Narshe, as well as the scene with Lone Wolf and Mog. Also various other revisions, and the enemy skills page should be done now as well.

27 Feb 2011 - I know I've made some changes to the monster data section, but I'm not sure what else might have changed since the last update.

21 Aug 2010 - Vastly improved monster data section. More revisions. Attack traits are now color-coded as well.

   [show older news]


Introduction Tina Awakens Escape Beginner's House Figaro Castle Ma-ma-ma-magic!? Mash and Vargas The Returners Lethe River Bannan's Scenario Lock's Scenario Washed Up Cayenne Poison Wraiths on a Train Jumping Off a Cliff Gau All Wet Reunion Decisive Battle Coin Rachel Ramuh Mistaken Identity Opera The Blackjack Vector Escape Around the World Otherworldly Cave Diplomacy The Search Painted Octopus Betrayal Sky-High Hijinks Metamorphosis The Major Plot Spoiler Desolation Hope Return to Figaro The Falcon World Tour Express Recruiting Mages and Mercenaries Heated Teamwork Surreal Sidequests Magical Mayhem The Coliseum Cefca's Tower Final Confrontation The End


Non-Story Information and Translations

Player characters and skills Character Attributes and Attack Traits
Weapons Armors Other Items Throwing
Spells Genjuu (Espers) Status effects
Location Names Monster Data Enemy Skills
♪ Soundtrack

On 魔導, the Single Most Aggravating Term in the Game

魔導 (madou), in which the kanji mean "magic" or "demon" and "guide" or "derive", appears very often in this game, but not in any normal dictionary. Throwing it in Babelfish gives "demon derived", and while the "demon" part seems off in this case, "derived" makes some sense.

A keyword search on Hatena gives 魔導師 as another word for 魔法使い or 魔術師 (both of which mean "magician"), but with more of an exalted or evil feel to it. That would make 魔導 a synonym for "magic", but with perhaps more of a grandiose or evil connotation to it. Furthermore, other Final Fantasy games often refer to magics as 白魔導 (white magic), 黒魔導 (black magic), and so on.

Since it basically means "magic" but is used as a distinct term with a subtly different meaning in this game, any decent translation needs a distinct and subtly different term in English too. I went with "thaumaturgy" for quite a while, or "thaumaturgic" or whatever form was appropriate. It's a less common synonym for "magic", and while Magitek is less cumbersome, there's no "tek"nology in 魔導. I never really liked the term, though. Additionally, as pointed out by OrdosAlpha, thaumaturgy literally refers to the working of miracles, so is perhaps not the best choice for what the Empire is doing (though the term actually has nothing to do with the Empire and everything to do with the Genjuu). I basically just wanted a general word that means "magic" without actually using the word "magic", and while "devilry" or "the occult" might be more appropriate, the connotations are too obvious in my opinion. Most other possible terms are either too specific (augury, conjuring, etc.) or too colloquial (hocus-pocus, etc.).

And then in late May 2008, it hit me: Sorcery (with the adjectival form "sorcerous"). Duh. It means "magic" but is a distinctly different word, it has no strong or obvious connotations, and it's both more familiar and less cumbersome than "thaumaturgy" (not to mention easier to spell). The term is especially apt here since it has an association with wielding supernatural powers by the aid of spirits.

Various Notes

For one thing, I'd like to note that it's not my intention to dump on the original translator. By all accounts, he was on a ridiculously short timeline with little to no support and often had to attempt to make sense of confusing lines without the benefit of context, not to mention worrying about avoiding topics that might upset Nintendo of America's strict and often arbitrary content rules at the time. Playtesting and quality control were apparently not even considerations. Given all that, it's impressive that the result is even coherent. But by the same token, it's unavoidable that it's far from flawless.

I've been working at this for over a decade, with all the knowledge of the Internet at my fingertips, and I'm still not satisfied with parts of it. I can't imagine trying to get through the entire game text in a matter of months, much less in the early 90s with information that much more difficult to come by.

I make several references to the now semi-infamous "evade bug". The short explanation of the bug is that when the game decides whether an attack hits or misses, it *always* uses the magic hit algorithm (and checks magic evasion) even when it *ought* to use the physical algorithm (and check physical evasion). As a result, most attacks against most monsters will always hit (since the vast majority of monsters have 0 magic evasion), all bonuses to evasion are completely worthless (greatly limiting the usefulness of shields), and characters with high (at least 128) magic evasion are nearly invulnerable because they dodge everything that can be dodged. The same bug also prevents 'darkness', other status ailments, and many accessories from affecting hit or evade rates.

The similarly infamous Vanish/Doom bug (where 'transparent' status makes spells like ○ Death work even when the target is immune) will be largely ignored due to its sheer unfairness. If you don't care about fighting fair, though, it can kill anything that isn't immune to 'transparent' status.

Credit goes to Terii Senshi's Algorithms FAQ on GameFAQs and to Lord J's FF3us Multi Editor (which also works on the Japanese version) for some of the more detailed and technical information on items, magic, and so on, and to Brian Bennewitz's Translhextion as my preferred text dumping program.

E-mail comments, corrections, etc.

Return to translations page