MegaMaster Musings

Name Confusion
August 23, 2006

It happened once before, with Dr. Light’s name. Capcom comes up with a name for a character, then forgets about it in all of their future games. The name then becomes a trivia question that often even stalwart fans of the series cannot answer.

In Japanese, his name is Enzan Ijuuin (English order). I’m told that the Kanji used to write his name means “fire mountain” (e.g. volcano). The name is meaningless in English, so for the English versions of the games, Capcom decided to rename him “Chaud” which means “hot” in French. It’s close to the original idea, I suppose. But it’s still not English.

What few people may know is that “Chaud” was originally his last name. For the English version of the first Battle Network game, Capcom named the character Eugene Chaud. Now, Eugene is a real name, but its meaning has nothing to do with fire or mountains (ironically, it means “good genes” in Greek). It’s possible that Capcom chose the name not specifically for the meaning, but maybe because it was the closest real name in English that they could find to the overall sound of “Enzan.”

Either way, the games almost always refer to Chaud by his last name. I have not played them to verify this, but it’s possible this is a carryover from the Japanese games. It’s common in Japanese for characters to refer to people formally by their last name (similar to how we do it in newspaper reports and such). In Japanese, using a person’s first name implies friendship and a sort of familiarity, and I imagine Chaud prefers to distance himself from all of that. (Although if this is the case, why Chaud himself uses the name “Lan” I couldn’t explain.)

However, whether it is accurate to the Japanese games or not, the fact that Capcom has almost always referred to Chaud by his last name has confused people playing the English games into thinking it’s his first name. This, in turn, reminds me of the problem with Syaoran Li, a character in Cardcaptor Sakura. His surname was Li, and throughout the first season of the manga he was virtually always referred to by his last name. So when the cartoons came out, the translators got confused and thought Li was his first name (they reworked it into “Lee” I believe), and things got weird.

Similarly, when the NT Warrior branding was created for the translation of the Battle Network cartoons, the translators somehow failed to obtain Chaud’s full English name from Capcom. I have no idea why this is, but it’s possible that Capcom’s own employees have forgotten his full name. On the other hand, the cartoons didn’t bother to get accurate last names for virtually any character in the series, so I suppose with Chaud they were only being consistent.

Still, the difference with Chaud is that, like with Syaoran, the translators mistakenly thought that “Chaud” was his first name. So instead of merely giving him a new last name like with the other characters, they started out with the wrong first name (and not just a misspelling either), then gave him a new last name on top of that, fleshing out the name into Chaud Blaze. (Clearly they were aware of the meaning of his original Japanese name and attempted to match it as closely as possible without sounding lame. I have to admit that Chaud Volcano just wouldn’t work out well.)

So now we have a name that seems to really overkill the “fiery” theme and also the poor guy now has three totally different names. As if everyone wasn’t already confused as it was.

Makes me wonder, again, why the cartoons couldn’t just use the English names except where government regulations kicked in...

- The MegaMaster