Monday, 21 March 2011

Magical Using Of Fire Blowing Mountain

Literal translations of the Japanese titles of the Fighting Fantasy books. From Titannica.

Magical Using of Fire Blowing Mountain (The Warlock of Firetop Mountain)
Fortress of Barusensu (Citadel of Chaos)
Forest of Destiny (Forest of Doom)
The Space Ship Which you can Wander About (Starship Traveller)
Thief City (Cityof Thieves)
Underground Labyrinth of Trap of Death (Deathtrap Dungeon)
The Island of Lizard King (Island of the Lizard King)
Maze of Scorpion Swamp (Scorpion Swamp)
Cave of Witch of Snow (Caverns of the Snow Witch)
Mansion of Hell (House of Hell or to give it it's US title - House of Heck)
Necklace of Dead God (Talisman of Death)
Assassin of Outer Space (Space Assassin)
Soldier of Freeway (Freeway Fighter)
Sanctuary of Fear (Temple of Terror)
Federal Criminal Investigator of Outer Space (The Rings of Kether)
Pirate Boat van Sea Number (Seas of Blood)
Push Down the Cyborg (Appointment with F.E.A.R.)
Electric Brain Destructive Manoeuvres (Rebel Planet)
Demon of Deep Sea (Demons of the Deep)
Sword of Samurai (Sword of the Samurai)
Labyrinth Exploration Competition (Trial of Champions)
Robot Commando (Robot Commando)
Destructive Person of Mask (Masks of Mayhem)
Nightmare Castle (Beneath Nightmare Castle)
Revive Sorcerer (Crypt of the Sorcerer)
Star Strike Rider (Star Strider)
Illusion of Fear (Phantoms of Fear)
Thief of Midnight (Midnight Rogue)
Cave of Evil Spirit (Chasms of Malice)
Last Soldier (Battleblade Warrior)
Monarch of Basement (Slaves of the Abyss)
Sky Fortress Aarok (Skylord)

I hereby declare that from here on in, I will adopt Monarch of Basement as my official title. Anybody who doesn't like it can either exile themselves to their Space Ship Which They Can Wander About or suffer Electric Brain Destructive Manoeuvres.

The burning question raised by all this is, of course, whether Magical Using Of Fire Blowing Mountain is a better title than Der Hexenmeister vom Flammenden Berg.

(The pic is from a Yahoo auction of the Japanese edition of Warlock magazine which lived on far longer than the original UK edition. Seems to be some interesting artwork reuse going on there - I recognise a couple of the covers from UK Warlock but note with interest the tenth anniversary WD cover there (bottom left) and the Josh Kirby UK cover for Tunnels and Trolls 5th edition overlapping it)


  1. "Electric Brain Destructive Manoeuvres" had me rolling about. :D

    Those wacky Japanese! ;)

    Cool post.

  2. Me and my buddies are entering next year's Labyrinth Exploration Competition.

  3. The 80's Japanese releases used the same cover art as the British originals, but the 2008ish re-releases used slightly different art.

  4. Looking at the comparison images in that link, it also seems as if the titles have changed in the intervening years.

  5. Speaking of covers, I was very disappointed when I saw the 'new' Wizard FF covers. The first Wizard run had pretty decent covers - but with the new ones I can't convince myself that I'm not buying a book aimed at 8-12 year olds (the WH Smiths category the FF books are in).

  6. Just as a translation post-script; are there any published modules/adventures that play have fun with this kind of literal translation problem? As in, the PCs read a sign/are told some information, and their limited language skills (but with a deceptively good vocabulary) produce a misleadingly dramatic, or mundane, impression of the town/mountain/forest/temple. And then when a native speaker explains what a the words mean when properly translated (i.e. by someone with knowledge of the appropriate cultural context as well as the word-to-word language skills)...

  7. The new Wizard FF covers are absolute rubbish. All graphic design and no artwork and most importantly NO GREEN SPINES!

    How are you supposed to spot them in second-hand bookshops from a distant of 50 feet with NO GREEN SPINES? It was bad enough finding them new in WHSmiths and I'm convinced they'd been in the young adult section for months before I found them - if only they had some form of easily identifying feature like maybe GREEN SPINES.

  8. Gotta get pedantic and show that my Japanese is better than whoever made that list (sorry...)

    "Mahou tsukai" or wizard/magician literally translates to 'magic-user' not 'magic using.' 'Magic using' in Japanese is 'mahou wo tsukatte iru'

    I noticed a couple other mistranslations, but I'll stop being an ass now. :D

  9. Alright, if you proclaim yourself as monarch of basement, I declare myself as a Soldier of Freeway

  10. Electric Brain Destructive Manoeuvres (Rebel Planet)

    This was my first FF book (the big space lizard dude w. sword on the cover sold me on it). How much *more* stimulating to a young geek mind it would have been with a title such as the Japanese gave it.

  11. Bags I 'Destructive Person of Mask'.

  12. The "Labyrinth Exploration Competition" actually sounds like a cool premise for a game, if someone would be willing to run it.

  13. Awesome post. I thought the portuguese translations were weird but these take the prize.

    I had the first ten signed by Ian, interesting they ran further, can you tell me more? Do you have scans etc?

  14. Jamie

    Afraid not, I nicked the image from Yahoo! auctions Japan. I believe that Warlock in Japan actually ran at least into this century although whether it is still published is anybody's guess.

  15. Okay, I'm officially the Thief of Midnight. After all, if you're Monarch of Basement, Anthony is a Soldier of Freeway, and Von is I, Destructive person of Mask, I figure I can claim a title too.