So, two days ago we released Version 2.0 of our CHAOS;CHILD Steam Patch, and with that patch came a lot of changes and updates to the game—some of which were pretty big. So! We’re here right now to clear up a few things, mainly—why exactly did they need to be changed, and why were they changed to what they are now?
Let’s get started.
SPOILERS for CHAOS;HEAD and CHAOS;CHILD ahead.
Why Did They Need to be Changed?
The CHAOS; games as a whole exist as a large criticism of internet culture and how exactly it affects people. Takumi as a character is someone who has become so completely reliant on the internet that he never leaves his home, and his mind has steadily been corroded by his self-isolation time on the internet. Takuru, meanwhile, is a digital native—a child born into a society where he never did not have access to the internet, a source of unending information. As a result, both of these characters are intensely desensitized to many horrific things, Takumi in particular. They both are very distanced from the New Gen incidents—that is, until they begin to affect them. After all, “It will never happen to me” is a very common thought when hearing about the many tragedies of the world. So, once the New Gen cases begin, they’re disgusting and hard to look at, but you can either click off, or you can do what @channel did:
Corrupt the ever-living hell out of them. The New Gen cases are all horrible, horrific acts done physically against another person, or in some cases, multiple persons. Meanwhile, in response to this, online message boards such as @channel, featuring people just like Takumi, find humor in this. Realistically, when we step back and examine this, it’s abhorrent. People making 9/11 jokes or just generally being edgy do so out of the desire to get a reaction out of people, and eventually, that’s all everyone’s ever used to. But what these do is show a very similar level of disrespect for human life that the murders themselves did. This was exemplified by the nicknames given to the cases by this crowd.
Every single case name has an element of absurdity, wordplay, or some kind of joke to it. Each of them is meant to elicit some sort of reaction; think of a moment where your friend makes a joke so dark or absurd, you just can’t help but laugh. Then, you follow it up with a, “What the hell, man, haha. That’s way too far.” However, if that joke touches upon something that is particularly close or meaningful to you, you would likely get offended by it. This becomes a plot point in both games, with one example being Takuru’s enraged reaction to the last case of CHAOS;CHILD. This is exactly what the purpose of the names is in the original Japanese, and thus, in a translation, our number one goal is to emulate exactly how that feels to an English-speaking audience. In the original TLWiki translation of CHAOS;HEAD, and the original translation of CHAOS;CHILD, there were a couple of these that did the job just fine, but unfortunately, we didn’t feel like that was the case for all of them. Some were just far too literal, some were not intuitive or understandable to an English-speaking audience, and others didn’t possess any of the wordplay, netslang, or anything truly emulative of the feel of the original Japanese text.
Now, while it’s true that these names are incredibly offensive in terms of how they treat other human beings, one other thing we had to keep in mind was how they had to be something that could be said on the news. There are several instances in which newscasts, websites, and other media are shown displaying the communally decided case names, so while the names could be crude, stupid, or disrespectful, they couldn’t go beyond that or else it would break immersion.
Lastly, we also had to account for the fact that there are a couple different pieces of side material that play around with these case names—namely, CHAOS;CHILD: The Wrong-sider Memoirs, a midquel light novel, and CHAOS;CHILD Love Chu☆Chu!!, a sequel visual novel to CHAOS;CHILD. Therefore, each of the case names we chose had to be moldable in such a way that they would work for the above-mentioned media—something that only added further fuel to the frenzied flame of change.
Thus ensued both the passive and active brainstorming that happened over the course of several years. Some of the case names we chose were all the way back from 2017, and some we only finally nailed down a few months ago. We had a lot to worry about, and a lot more context than the original translators had; while we mean no disrespect to them and their choices, we simply wish to do what’s best for the CHAOS; games.
So, without further ado, let’s get into the meat and potatoes behind each change. Feel free to jump ahead to any specific one you’re curious about.
Why Were They Changed to What They Are Now?
Pregnant Man → Manchild
Let’s start off with our first change, the Manchild incident. In this case, a man has his stomach torn open, has a fetus stuffed inside, and then is stitched back together. In the original Japanese, this is rendered as just that, 妊娠男, which literally means “pregnant man.” However, this absurdity doesn’t quite ring home as well with an English audience—we’ve had pregnant men officially recognized as such ever since 2002, 6–7 years before the game takes place. The other goal that this name seeks to accomplish is that it turns this horrifying, grisly murder into a show of absurdity, with the victims being reduced to simply a reductive, silly description—one that would surely humiliate the male victim had they somehow lived. We then came up with two alternatives: “Mpreg,” and “Manchild,” but ultimately, “Manchild” won over as the one that covered the most bases. After all, what @channeler wouldn’t be familiar with that insult? This insult (made up of “man” and “child” representing the two victims) is also quite often used against university students, which is what the male victim was.
Staking → Cruc-affixion
This case involves a man being strangled, and then being staked to the wall by his clothes using several crucifix-shaped stakes. The original version used the term “Staking,” which refers to supporting an object (usually a plant) with multiple stakes, and the objects used in the case were stakes. Unfortunately, this really doesn’t cover the crucifixion angle of the Japanese at all, and if you’ve completed CHAOS;HEAD (which hopefully you have), you’ll know this is very important to the narrative. The Japanese title is 張り付け (“haritsuke”), which is simply the Japanese word for affixing or pasting something to something else, but it is also pronounced the same way as the Japanese term for crucifixion, 磔 (also “haritsuke”). We were able to pull off similar wordplay pretty easily in English, with “Cruc” leading right into “affixion” to make a word that sounds exactly like “crucifixion.”
Vampire House → Vampbuyer
The premise behind this case is that it was a man found in a bathroom drained of all of his blood; meanwhile, a post featuring a picture of the corpse was made on an online auction, titled, “Type B Blood in Short Supply!” The Japanese is titled “ヴァンパイ屋,” which is read as “vampaiya,” i.e. “vampire,” but the word for “shop” or “seller” is slapped on the end there with 屋. “Vamp-buyer” came about in a similar way to “Cruc-affixion,” but this time it fit even better than the latter with the original Japanese. The pun wasn’t retained in the original TLWiki translation, so this change was a no-brainer.
Brainless → Numbskull
This one was a real headache. It definitely had the most debate out of all the cases, and we ended up with a list of over 50 proposed names for the case.
This is a case where Takumi’s doctor, Dr. Takashina, has his skull drilled open in order to expose his brain, which is then slowly scooped out with a spoon. The original Japanese for this is ノータリン. To start, 脳足りない is an insult that literally means “you don’t have a brain,” so it’s used practically to tell someone that they’re an idiot. It’s made out of the words 脳, meaning “brain,” and 足りない, meaning “not enough”; ノータリン is simply just a slurred version of that. Now, our issue with the translation is that it does not necessarily appear as an insult, and more just an immediate, “Uh, yup, that’s what he is. He doesn’t have a brain.” Now, the word “brainless” can definitely be used as an insult, but it’s typically paired with another word, e.g. “brainless take” or “You’re a brainless idiot,” and it sounds pretty awkward when used on its own.
So, several of our team members agreed that Brainless wasn’t going to cut it. While we had several other ideas, like “Physician Malnutrition,” “Memory Leak,” “Starved for Knowledge,” and much, much more. Eventually, the majority of us settled on “Numbskull.” Numbskull is an insult just like the Japanese is, and well, Dr. Takashina’s definitely not going to be feeling much of anything anymore, especially in his open skull. Not to mention the fact that a good chunk of his pain receptors might already be long gone. Lastly, there’s also the angle that doctors are known for numbing the pain, as well as the irony of calling, well, a doctor of all people an idiot.
Tasty Hand → Finger Food
So, the original Japanese of this case is 美味い手, (“umai te”), which on the surface means “delicious/tasty hand.” However, the first part (美味い) can also be read as 上手い/うまい (“umai”), meaning “skilled,” which can be used in phrases such as 「うまい手があるぞ」, which could simultaneously mean, “Damn, I’m good,” and “Damn, [I] have a delicious hand.” We felt the original translation didn’t have a pun or a double meaning in any capacity, so in its place, we came up with “Finger Food.” After all, meat is typically food you eat with your fingers, i.e. finger food, and the victim was literally eating her fingers.
(Also, notice how that 手 (“hand”) there is contained within the 上手い (“umai”), and therefore the alternate reading 美味い (“umai”)? It’s almost as if the original was “consumed” in some way. Maybe this is a reach, but hey, it’s hands we’re talking about here.)
Why didn’t you change Group Dive or DQN Puzzle?
If we didn’t change the names, we either felt it did a good job representing the Japanese, or you have a special case like DQN. DQN (read like “dough-kyun”) is a term meaning “delinquent,” and it’s all over SciADV—especially CHAOS; games. Now, other localizations have taken it out before, such as Steins;Gate, and that’s completely fine. However, one of the biggest reasons we chose not to do the same here was because DQN was, well, literally written on the bodies of the victims of DQN Puzzle in the form of the letters “D,” “Q,” and “N.” There is also a TIP present in-game explaining the term and its importance, so we felt the name was fine.
Don’t Look at Me → Don’t Look
To start off, the entire reason this needed to be changed in the first place was to completely removed the idea that it was the same as Takumi’s famous phrase, “Don’t look at me,” i.e. 「僕を見るな」 (“boku o miru na”). The Japanese title for this case is actually completely different, and it’s taken from a Japanese piece of ASCII art.
It’s written as こっちみんな, which is a whole handful to explain. Basically, こっち (“kocchi”) means “this way,” and みんな (“minna,” read as “mee-na”) can be read both as 皆, as in everyone, and 見んな, which is a slurred way to say “don’t look.” So, the phrase can simultaneously be interpreted as, “Everyone, over here!” and “Don’t look!” This is applied to the murder of Ootani because it was a grisly sight livestreamed on Niconico Live’s SciADV equivalent, Niconiya Live. The murder is so brutal, it’s one the public would be predisposed to look away from or warn others to do the same, but at the same time, this meme phrase was said by viewers, drawing only further attention to it. Think of how if you were to say the phrase “Everyone! Don’t look!” basically everyone would look, or the famous “white bear problem,” where the subject is told not to think of a white bear while being shown a photo of it, but of course, they can’t help it.
In future entries, the phrase is also repurposed into something that Ootani actually says during his livestream, so that was something we had to account for as well. In the end, we went with “Don’t Look,” something that serves to address that irony of telling someone not to look, but they’ll end up looking anyway, while also having yet another angle.
This is a lesser motivation behind the change, but the other angle we thought of was how “Don’t look!” and its many variants are something you find all over Japanese media, especially hentai—something the internet would be very familiar with. For example, “Noooo! Don’t look at my ____!” and we probably don’t need to elaborate any further on that. This angle also lends itself particularly well to future entries.
Leaky Noise -> Audio Bleed
The case here involves a moderately famous singer from Niconiya Video performing a show, when all of a sudden, blood was seen leaking from somewhere on her body and through the guitar. She was never actually singing, and simply had a speaker stitched inside her that was being heard through the guitar along with her blood. Using all this information, @channel came up with the name 音漏れたん, which is made up of the words 音漏れ, a term referring to sound “leaking” or “bleeding” through something—think you being able to hear a concert through a wall—and たん (“-tan”), an endearing honorific used for (typically) fictional characters for added cuteness. And of course, members of the victim’s fanbase would absolutely address her with “-tan.” The term for 音漏れ in English is most commonly “bleed,” “leakage,” or “spill,” and of course, “bleed” was the obvious choice for us to how best represent the light, joking tone of the Japanese, since we’re dealing with blood, after all.
Gottsuan Death → Sumorbidly Obese
The premise of this case is a reporter named Watabe is forced to eat so many Sumo Stickers, that upon walking out on stage for a presentation, his ruptured stomach filled to bursting, he expelled all of them on stage and died shortly after. He was very visibly bloated as well. Now, sumo wrestlers are known for being larger individuals, and as such, the internet quickly went to reference Watabe as a sumo wrestler with the name ごっつぁんデス, i.e. “gottsuan desu.” “Gottsuan” is a term used by sumo wrestlers in order to give thanks, and デス here can be both as “desu,” meaning the English loan word “death,” and “desu,” the Japanese copula that is used to close off a polite sentence. So, the result is a very stupid pun meaning both “death” and “thank you,” with it perhaps also meaning “thanks for the food you provided.” And, well, Watabe was supplied with plenty of that.
We didn’t want English readers to have to do all this homework in order to properly understand something immediately intuitive to Japanese readers, so we knew we had to change this one. This one took forever to finally come up with something for, but one day, one of our team members came up with this, and we said, “Yeah, that’s it. We’re going with that.” Our choice reflects both “sumo” and “morbidly obese,” a life-threatening condition that Watabe died from under the joking, sardonic eyes of the internet.
Well Done → Spitroasted
This one is pretty simple to explain. “Well Done” is fine, but really, it doesn’t provide all the layers that the Japanese title has. The original Japanese text, 上手に焼けました (“perfectly cooked”, is a meme that originated from Monster Hunter; it’s a congratulatory message given to the player whenever they perfectly roast meat on a spit. Here’s a video showing that in the original Japanese and here’s one of the English version.
Now, yes, the English translation is indeed “well done,” but the problem is that no English speaker is going to recognize this as either a reference or a meme. So, our idea was to transform it into something both accurate to what it is (spitroasting being cooking an animal over a fire with a metal rod skewered through them, which is exactly what happens to the victim in this case), while also adding a double meaning. Now, we don’t think we really need to explain what spitroasting’s other meaning is, but it’s something the internet would be very familiar with. Check out Urban Dictionary if you don’t know.
Nonexistent Girl → Minor Indiscretion
This one is a lot more complicated. The beginning of it is a reference to a piece of Japanese legislature that sought to ban depictions of underage characters in both violent and sexual situations, referring to fictional characters as “nonexistent youths.” It was extremely controversial, with both the majority of the internet and manga industry largely opposing it. This is also where the title of CHAOS;CHILD’s Xbox One opening song comes from.
The original Japanese name for this bill is 非実在青少年, the end of which being read as “shonen,” but in the C;C case, the second part of the name is just 少女 (“shojo”), changing the meaning to be a tiny pun meaning “nonexistent girl.” This of course is a play on her no longer existing due to being dead, all while being put in boxes like a product, thus making her nonexistent/fictional. It also has all the connotations related to the bill, turning her death into something sexual, and in the process, turning one of the most abhorrent murders into an absolutely disgusting representation of @channel’s perversity.
Of course, this has the same issue that Gottsuan Death presented: it’s immediately intuitive to a Japanese reader, but not to an English reader. Look at how much we needed to explain the original name, and we didn’t even scratch the surface of that bill! So, that’s why we opted to go for an act with sexual connotations that is understandable to an English reader, all while tying it up in a pun.
Minor Indiscretion is made up of a few moving parts. First off, you have “minor,” which can either mean an “underage person,” or “low in severity or importance.” Then, “indiscretion” is an act that can be any number of things, but it’s typically best represented by “worst behavior.” One of the biggest examples of indiscretion would be sexual affairs, giving the term a largely sexual connotation. Therefore, “minor indiscretion” could be viewed in multiple different ways, such as a “minor” act of indiscretion, an act of indiscretion committed by a minor, or an act of indiscretion violating a minor.
Wow, that was a lot.
Yeah. This is definitely our longest post to date, but it’s arguably one of our most important. We want everyone to know that each and every one of our changes that departs from the original translations is made with purely the utmost respect to the source material. We hope that this post has been helpful and enlightening to everyone, and we hope that you’re all as excited as we are to see all the things we have in store for our future content. If you still have any questions, feel free to drop by our Discord server to talk to us—we’re always willing to.
Well, that’s everything. Take care, all.