Many JRPGs get a bad rap when it comes to dialogue, which is primarily due to translation and localization issues. From the late 80s and early 90s to now, some translations are still criticized -- despite being much better than they once were.
But despite poorly translated quotes like "This guy are sick." (Aerith, Final Fantasy VII) and "Please take care of me" (Protagonist, Persona 5) -- and the half finished translations of Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth -- there are actually some rather insightful words of wisdom that JRPG characters have provided players over the years.
These quotes tend to stick with us just as much as the sillier ones, especially if they resonate enough with us. They can help inspire and motivate us to do great things, or help us power through difficult times in our lives.
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
"Hearts are made of the people we meet, and how we feel about them — they're what ties us together even when we're apart! They're what...make me strong."
It might be extremely cheesy (like a great deal of other Kingdom Hearts dialogue lines) but this quote still proves a point. Think about all of the important people you've met throughout your life -- the ones that stayed and helped you out when life got hard, the ones that still contact you every once in awhile just to check up on you, and even those who aren't in your life anymore. You're connected to all of them in different ways.
All of these people have had a significant impact on your life, whether in the past, present, or both. They have helped you grow into the person you are today. Our lives are all affected by the people we meet -- and in turn, we affect their lives as well.
Ni No Kuni
"When things go wrong, you have to try and make them right. And you have to keep on trying, no matter how hard it gets. That's what life is all about."
While not applicable to every situation -- especially since it can end up making a situation worse -- this quote still rings true for many different circumstances.
When we make big mistakes in our lives, it's usually best to do what we can to correct them. It might be a difficult task, but if we can keep pushing forward, we'll eventually be able to fix our past errors, and hopefully won't make the same slip-ups as before.
"Being at the peak may mean you are mere moments from your downfall."
Mysterious ally Igor has plenty of vague (yet insightful) quotes. That's kind of his whole deal. But this particular quote has relevance both to significant events in the game as well as in real life.
When you're at your greatest moments in life, it's easy for everything to go to your head and lead you to a downward spiral. It's more beneficial to keep your wits about you even when life is going exceptionally well. That way, when you face a situation which could be your "downfall", the resulting aftermath won't be as intense or as difficult to deal with.
"There are no certainties in life. Righteousness and truth have a different meaning to each and every one of us. If you try to see the world as only black and white, you'll lose sight of its true nature."
This is one of the best quotes you'll find in recent JRPGs, and it's as relevant as ever.
When we see only what we believe as righteousness and truth, we blind ourselves to hearing the beliefs of others and broadening our views. Not everything can be separated into right and wrong or good and evil -- especially in regards to something as complex and multi-faceted as humanity.
A myriad of situations can be separated into grey areas of many different shades, and we have to put some thought into analyzing all the different aspects of a situation before judging it to be right or wrong.
Final Fantasy Type 0 HD
"The past is gone for good, but the future's still ours for the taking. That's why we fight."
While Final Fantasy XV has a few insightful quotes, those from the less popular Final Fantasy Type 0 HD are a bit more inspiring.
Why worry about the past if it's impossible to change? The future is never certain -- but even knowing this, it's always best to fight for what you believe in and fight for a better future.
A simple quote from a mediocre game, but an inspiring one nonetheless.
JRPG's may still have language issues when they come to the West, but translation has improved immensely since the earlier days of video games. But no matter how well a game has been localized, there will always be critics, -- and in the end the quality of the translation pales in comparison to the content and meaning of the quotes it's trying to convey.
It's always good to remember that between the confusing or questionable dialogue, some insightful lines get translated just enough so they can help inspire and motivate players.
The next time you're playing a JRPG that you feel could've had a better localization, keep an eye out for buried words of wisdom from main characters, bosses, or even random NPCs. You could learn something valuable.