US release of Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love (Sakura Taisen 5) features Japanese language!!

Sakura Taisen 5 (PS2) cover art

Because I’m a bit of a random individual, I just had a thought – any word if the upcoming US release of Sakura Taisen 5 (Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love) on the Playstation 2 and Wii by NIS had confirmed the dubbing options? And lo and behold, a quick look on one of my fave video gaming blogs Siliconera had all the info (see: Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love Sold As A Two Disc Box Set; and Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love Slips Into Next Year), as well as an updated release date for the Playstation 2 release (Wii, too) – early 2010.

This is a startling moment of clarity, and a wonderful surprise for fans of the series and the world in general (I exaggerate not). I’ve been playing Sakura Taisen since the Saturn days and absolutely love the games (the anime releases, with the possible exception of the TV series, are also extremely good), but was always frustrated that I had to use my rubbish understanding of the Japanese language when playing through any of the games ๐Ÿ˜‰ Well, I normally had a FAQ sitting next to me, but still, translated text would have been super-awesome ๐Ÿ™‚ I blame Bernie Stolar for not bringing it over to the West in the mid-90s, even though it would have arguably been financial suicide (though it’s not like the Saturn was a particularly successful business venture in the West tbh – great machine though, still my favourite system).

Anywho, the news of there finally being an English translation of this game being brought into the West was pretty huge in and of itself, but the fact that they’re doing a 2-disc release in order to preserve the original Japanese voices and please the ignorant masses with a dubbed release (seriously – it’s a foreign language, it’s just like watching a movie subtitled, because English dubs for movies should also be banned – deal with it), which ultimately creates a harmonious solution. I know there are additional costs going down this path for developers, I just wish it happened more often where there isn’t enough space to make a release bilingual on a single disc.

Considering the quality of the Japanese cast, this is such an awesome thumbs-up from NIS (and Sony and Nintendo for letting it pass through their gates). To release this in English only would be like taking a classic movie where the cast really shines (let’s restrict it to animation – so Shrek or Monsters Inc?), and replace all the awesome cast members with underpaid actors and comparatively inexperienced directors without anywhere near the kind of experience/talent/qualities/budget the original had, and you’d lose a great deal of charm that made the original movie so awesome. It’s kinda like taking Bruce Lee out of Enter The Dragon, Roberto Benigni from La Vita รจ Bella or Samuel L. Jackson out of Pulp Fiction – remove the actors that add charm/awesomeness/etc, and you remove part of the soul of the experience. And yes, I know that’s an odd set of movies to use as an example, but I thought that since Sakura Taisen fans are generally very eccentric, I’d write appropriately ๐Ÿ™‚

… erm, I got sidetracked. So, to re-cap – Sakura Taisen 5 is getting an English language, is preserving the original Japanese dialogue on its own, separate disc, and will be released in early 2010 by NIS. Oh, and anything Sakura Taisen is awesome. The end.

One Comment