Edit 17/9-2021: This is a review of the first “localisation” of Taisho Alice. The one Avaialble on Steam is not this one. The game was localised again, because thankfully Primula wasn’t deterred by the scamming.
I haven’t played the new one, but I’m keeping this here regardless. It can, for instance, give context to some older fans jokes that refer to this car crash of an incident, but also explain that not every time something is horrible, it has to go entirely wrong at the end of the day.
Why does Aksys’ come to mind? I mean, probably because they get things horribly done and go horribly wrong.
That said, if you want to appreciate the new localisation, go ahead and read this.
A while back Taisho Alice was released in English by E2 Gaming. Rants were burning all over my Twitter timeline and as a reviewer, I can’t look away from this. This post, however, will probably be a bit ranty. Okay, not just a bit, a lot. I’m also choosing to entirely skip the summary, because in this post I will focus on taking this game – and the company localising it – apart. I suggest reading the description on VNDB or find one of the English bloggers’ review of the Japanese games for a summary or the like.
First I want to thank a friend who made this game available for me so I could review it to my heart’s content. Though I guess, in the end, she just wants to see my emotional masochistic side, so maybe I should weep I have friends who love seeing me suffer? Well, if you also like seeing me suffer, read the section below the thoughts, for ways to add to my suffering.
Second, this game had its Japanese voices removed, so I chose to just ignore summarizing the game, because I can’t compare to what the original is. That being said, you will still see some ranting… maybe.
Third, and finally before my thoughts, I want to introduce you to E2Gaming, also known as things like “scam company” and “assholes”. They began their quest on localising Taisho Alice by stealing information from the post written by Jess on Otome Jikan. From what I understand, they never apologized for this, and they didn’t take the information down, just changed it a little and linked to the post like it was a review of their game.
The company, despite fans’ worry and outrage, did not seek to reach us and completely ignored suggestions, such as frequently updating the fans on what they were doing. They announced Volume I’s release to be in April, left us with no information at all (no screenshots, dates or anything), and then released the game on May 9th after announcing on May 1st, they would release TaiAli within a few weeks on their Facebook page (which, likely due a lot of negative feedback, has been removed).
Speaking on negative feedback, E2Gaming chose to not only delete negative comments, they chose to completely ignore any negative feedback, and removed posts on their page that contained negative feedback, including the announcement of Volume I.
For further information on this entire shebacle (I summed it up and left out a lot of information), you can read the following links:
- Elly at Figuratively Speaking has a couple of well-updated posts on this entire mess. You can start by reading the to be localised post, and then head to the release post.
- Matsuri_Kuu at Twitter has a thread about them contacting Primula, Primula’s response and how Japanese fans are seeing things.
So, to the parts you’ve awaited. My rant. I mean, my thoughts. Which are surprisingly non-ranty.
We start by getting an opening song, more or less. But this song wasn’t supposed to be part of the game, was it?
It was supposed to be a different song, right? Not “some song I forgot” by Love Solfege. In fact it was supposed to be Mardelas’ Phantasia, which is nowhere to be heard in this game. At least I didn’t get to hear it and I’ve heard others say it’s not in there. Lovely. That’s like the biggest mess-up of this game, probably. Did they even have the rights to have the original song in the game? Probably not. I admit I kind of like the quirkiness of it though, so for the Japanese game that’s a plus, but this song even being in this localisation is a HUGE NEGATIVE ASPECT.
Anyway. This game made me tired very early on. It’s missing capital letter and full stops at the end of lines. It’s also messing with punctuation otherwise and it’s just so much I can’t even get angry at it for it. It didn’t make things better that Alice, who you meet first, sound so unmotivated when voiced. And what’s up with the English anyway? There are times I’ve been seriously confused.
And then there were times I just felt I needed to fix stuff because of one or another reason:
There’s also this, which bothered me:
I have the TaiAli stickers on LINE and I can’t say that the dots above gives the sticker (at the very least) justice, because you know… What’s up with 2 dots beginning the sentence and then 4 ending it? That should be 3+3, so it’s like someone added in the sentence AFTER THE DOTS. I’m not sure if this is the exact line (to the right) he says in the game in the tweet above but I assume it is. (Thanks to Casandra from Queen of Backlogs who helped me out with how to phrase the English translation of the sticker. English is my third language so sometimes I get stuck on what sounds the most natural.)
You will also find issues with the sound effects. And not Norn9 level of issues where kissing was “tch”, but… what is going on in this game level:
Cas also took the opportunity to point out in a retweet that “chu” isn’t a sound effect in English. Meaning, the woman says a random Japanese sound effect that makes no sense in English. This was the first show of how un-localised this game actually is. There are more though. I’ll get into that later as the “chu” wasn’t the only “said” sound effect I came across.
Indeed, he sighs. And says it, according to the text. I imagine the original text says something like やれやれ (yareyare) which among other things can be a bit of a sigh, but we don’t actually say “sigh” in English.
So to my promised localisation bashing. This is from one of the last scenes I played before I just gave up on the game:
A localisation would change the names and words to something the audience relate to. Of course all of those names are strange if you make them in Japanese. And the audience need to have a pretty good idea about Japanese names to know that the androgynous names are in fact androgynous, but more common with one sex or the other. The names should in fact have been changed to names used in English and that sound strange in English. And while I don’t doubt a fair share of the people who read my blog do know what a 旅館 (ryokan) is, because at least those who comment know Japanese and/or are interested in Japanese popular culture, far from everyone who would had bought this game (if well translated and localised) would know that is a Japanese-style inn. From the context they might understand it’s some kind of lodging, because hotels are also mentioned, but it’s not exactly obvious what a “ryokan landlady” is.
While “cheap rice balls and oolong tea” is proper English, that’s not something you just pick up at the closest store in the west. I don’t mind when references to Japan or the Japanese culture are part of a game, but it needs to be well localised to work. Some may argue against me saying that it makes sense, but I would probably had preferred to see Alice suggest he might have gone out to pick up a sandwich and iced tea. It’s a more relatable choice of food, and as the story isn’t very obviously in Japan (though it’s mentioned just a bit later), it makes it easier for the average western gamer. This also isn’t ruining it culturally, because you can buy sandwiches and iced tea in Japan and it’s not actually weird.
I didn’t get a screenshot of it, but he also mentions giving a tip. “Because this is Japan” he won’t tip her, and it’s obvious that’s how it works based on the text. It just felt weird. I mean, it probably works in Japanese, because in general the audience is Japanese, but to a western (at least American) audience it was more like “Oh, this is Japan? Wait, they don’t tip there?” We don’t tip in Sweden (as far as I know), but despite that it sounded odd to me. I think that would had needed a lot more work as well to be localised.
This has the same issue as the ryokan landlady. 釣り書き (tsurigaki) is a personal or family chart especially used for お見合い (omiai), according to Jisho.org. Omiai in turn is a formal marriage interview. In this game they seem to have translated it to “arranged marriage” (though I would need someone else’s Japanese copy to know for sure), unless the line “So called match-making pictures” wasn’t an addition to explain things. In other words, this tsurigaki is a personal file Yurika received from Kaguya in preparation for a marriage interview.
How would I had translated it? Well, above is a suggestion. It could also be something like “It’s a file for a marriage interview.” or something the like. This way that the person has translated it, is not only incredibly lazy, it would even be bad for a fan to be translating like this. In other words – you’d be better off having someone (myself, for instance) translate the entire game for you and get better quality AND localisation. I wish I was kidding.
And then we have this gem:
Like, what is that? Katakana Alice and Hiragana Alisu? That makes even less sense than the strange and ambiguous names mentioned earlier. It just doesn’t make sense at all. There are a lot of ways to change this up to work in English, but apparently the least sensible was chosen.
I already mentioned punctuation being an issue, and gave a single example, but here is an example not from the game:
This was a reaction by Cas when she saw a screenshot where Kaguya called Yurika Miss Princess in English. As with everything in this game I can only guess what the original says, but I’ll go with “some variation of 姫様 (himesama)” which means princess or could refer to a nobleman’s or rich family’s daughter. (Miss would just have been enough, really.) The punctuation really is a mess throughout the game. Grammar as well.
Just a simple thing like “a” vs “an” was messed up, but there was a lot more. But I got so numbed out I just didn’t screenshot a whole lot after a while, I’m afraid. I would be more than glad to share grammatical errors others took screenshots of if you want to share them with me.
Let’s not forget the maybe saddest part. Aside from the story script, nothing else was translated, which resulted in options like this for instance:
They provided a PDF, but that’s just ridiculous. I understand this, but I also know some Japanese. On a maybe advanced-intermediate leve, which is more than enough to get through the options just fine. No one should need a PDF-file for the options.
So, to sum this up. This game needs some serious editing. And to actually be finished. I can understand why people are raging and feeling like their money was wasted. I wouldn’t recommend buying this game in English. As I mentioned, you can get a higher quality from pretty much anyone with enough Japanese knowledge. Give me a script of the game and I’ll translate it for free for you. Heck, give me a script of all the games and I’ll translate them all for you.
Finally, I want to remind everyone that this is the last post I’m writing for a while. I have scheduled posts through the summer, but from September on it’ll be quiet. I’ll put up some sporadic posts until my life balances out with the changes and all, but till then, just pray for a new post.
This post is available thanks to the possibly lack of love but massive support from my readers.You can donate for future rant posts or reviews on localisations through Paypal. If you want to send me a tip for actually taking the time to write this kind-of-not-a-review, please consider sending me a few cents or dollars (or both) through Paypal as well. Send your tip and donations to email@example.com through Paypal.
There are other ways to support the blog, so if you don’t want to do a one-time donation, look up my Support page.
You can also let me know of other localisations you want me to review, by sending a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll put them on my list. The otome games I already have in my library to play in the future are:
Dandelion: Wishes Brought to You
Nameless: The One Thing You Must Recall
The Men of Yoshiwara: Kikuya
And some of the localised non-otome games I have are:
Ame no Marginal -Rain Marginal-
fault -milestone one-
fault -milestone two- Side Above
Idol Magical Girl Chiruchiru ☆ Michiru part 1
Idol Magical Girl Chiruchiru ☆ Michiru part 2
Japanese School Life
Narcissu 10th Anniversary Anthology Project
planetarian -the reverie of a little planet-
Sound of Drop: fall into poison
World End Economica 1-3
And I have already reviewed:
Alice in the Heart
Hakuouki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom
Harem Tengoku da to omottara, Yandere Jigoku datta.
Narcissu Side 2nd
Support Primula (not E2Gaming) by buying Japanese Taishou x Alice: