Welcome to the second article about Neptunia localization. In our first article we discussed about how character names have been localized and the rationale behind the changes (or lack thereof). This time we’re going to talk about different terms that have been used through the series.
Some information was obtained from this interview:
Neptunia ← ネプテューヌ (neptune)
In Japan the Neptunia series is just called Neptune. When NISA localized it, they were worried about potential trademark issues (this was around the time companies were being sued over the word Edge), and so the word was changed slightly into a non-existent word.
CPU ← 守護女神 (shugō megami, “guardian goddess”)
In the Japanese version the CPUs are “guardian goddesses” (or just goddesses). At least early on, they were also referred as hardware (in reference to representing consoles), so NISA decided to choose a hardware-related term to recreate that feeling. Many other terms used in the series (like HDD or ASIC) would follow this pattern for the sake of consistency.
In-universe CPU stands for Console Patron Unit, which also makes a reference to how goddesses explicitly represented hardware.
CPU candidate ← 女神候補生 (megami kouhosei, “goddess cadet”)
Localized accordingly. NISA probably thought that “candidate” was more fitting than “cadet” to describe the sisters (given that they’re the potential successors if the CPUs are gone).
HDD ← 女神化 (megamika, “goddessification”)
Another hardware term to go with the theming started by CPU. Even if they wanted to go for a more straightforward localization, they’d have needed to come up with a new term anyway because the literal translation is just awkward in English.
In-universe, HDD stands for Hard Drive Divinity. This is likely a reference to the real life meaning of the abbreviation, which is “hard disk drive”.
Basilicom ← 教会 (kyōkai, “church”)
The basilicoms were originally churches (in the first game their purpose was to let the population worship their CPUs). NISA went with a modified version of the word “basilica” (which is a kind of church). The change was most likely simply to make it sound less dull, and partially to follow the theming (“-com” is a common suffix to mean “computer” or “communication”).
Currently basilicoms act more as government buildings for each nation. Incidentally, the original purpose of real life basilicas was to act as government buildings for the Roman empire, so that makes the localized word fit with both meanings of the word.
Oracle ← 教祖 (kyōso, founder of a religion)
Another religious term, oracles are the heads of the churches (basilicoms). The word kyōso doesn’t seem easy to translate directly (it could be described as a more generic term for “pope”), so during the localization they most likely just picked a word that gave a good enough idea of their importance within the basilicoms.
ASIC ← マジェコンヌ四天王 (Majekon yon tenō, roughly “Arfoire’s four deities”)
This was likely changed to match the rest of the localized terminology. The translation of the Japanese name given here is rough, the word used refers specifically to the deity of plagues and calamities who is invoked for protection against them. That definitely seems to fit their role towards Arfoire.
In real life, ASIC means “Application Specific Integrated Circuit” and refers to custom chips made exclusively for the hardware they’re used on (i.e. not something that was already available in the market).
CFW ← ハード (hādo, romanized “hard”)
The Japanese honorific for the ASIC villains was “the Hard”, where “hard” is actually a common shortand for “hardware” in Japan. It’s not hard to see why it got changed (try saying any of the villain names followed by “the Hard” and you’ll understand). NISA localized it as CFW instead, following the hardware theming.
In real life, CFW stands for “custom firmware”. This term was commonly used to refer to modified firmware on consoles that allows by-passing the DRM on them (sometimes used to run homebrew, but often used to run copied games), so they also used this term to tie the villains with piracy.
DOS ← 犯罪神 (hanzaigami, “deity of crime”)
Another name changed to fit the theming. Surprisingly the localization for this one is very close to the original meaning: DOS stands for “Deity Of Sin”.
Much like the other abbreviations, DOS is another computer related term, and one with several common meanings. One of them is “denial of service” (where an attacker causes a server to stop working). It’s also the name of an operating system that used to run on PCs before Windows took over (where the name stood for “disk operating system”).
Gamindustri ← ゲイムギョウ界 (geimugyō-kai)
Gamindustri is a corruption of “game industry”. Its Japanese name, ゲイムギョウ界, is also a corruption of “game industry” (ゲーム業界, pronounced the same way). Just a straightforward translation here.
For the sake of trivia, the Japanese name also includes the corruption of “game” (ゲーム) as ゲイム (both pronounced “gēmu”), which is in the series title as well.
Celestia ← 天界 (tenkai, “Heaven”)
In Japanese, Celestia was simply called Heaven. Much like “basilicom”, this change as likely made to make it not sound as dull. Celestia is a common name for heavenly spaces and in fact NISA has used it quite often in their games (including Disgaea).
Like the names, there’s not much that changed in the major localized terms. NISA chose a bit more gaming-related flair for certain religious terms which fits in pretty well. The resultant effect is a slightly less religious but more consistently gaming related lexicon.
Though NISA originally picked the terms here, Idea Factory International has remained largely consistent in their uses of the terms as changed though CPU has seen a little less use.