Palpatine (“Lego Star Wars – The Skywalker Saga”, 2022)

The duplicitous Sith Lord turned chancellor turned emperor from Star Wars has to wildly varying modes of speech depending on which of the personas that he is using, Sith Lord or politician, the former speaks in Classical Japanese using regal language and the latter in regular, if highly formal, Japanese.

At one point he is extremely courteous towards the Queen and her retinue from Naboo:

ようこそ、陛下… マスター・ジェダイ

Youkoso, Heika…. Masutâ Jedai
Go-buji na o-sugata o haiken dekite naniyori desu. Tsuushin ga totaeta no de, saiaku no jitai mo atama o yogirimashitazo

“Welcome, Your Majesty… Master Jedi. Humbly seeing Your Majesty being safe and sound is most splendid.  When communications had ceased, I feared the very worst had happened.”

And in the role as Galactic Emperor from Episode 3


Yo wa tomerarenu. Dâsu Beidâ wa yo ya sonata yori mo tsuyoku naru noda.

“We cannot be stopped. Darth Vader shall become stronger than both thyself and Us”

In the former quote his speech is peppered with keigo, i.e. polite register, expressions such as 拝見 (haiken, “humbly seeing”), honorific nouns: ご無事 (gobuji, lit. “honourably unscathed”), お姿 (o-sugata, lit. “august shape”). He uses the personal pronominal 私 (watashi), a gender-neutral if – in this context – aloof one. He addresses Anakin Skywalker – the later Darth Vader – with 君 (kimi, “you, pal/friend”), though as his sinister plans unravels this becomes お前 (omae), an even more informal if rude “you”.

He completely drops this and switches over to the medieval mode of the latter quote with 余 (yo, “I, the lord/lady”) here rendered with the Royal We to give the flavour of his speech, along with the second person そなた (sonata, “thou”) and お前 (omae), where the former is used towards Yoda, Kylo Ren and Rei – but お前 is used exclusively towards Vader and Luke showing a lessened respect. そなた was historically a fashionable way of referring to your social lesser or equals back in medieval Japan – equivalent to the modern 君, though modern authors in Japan tend to use it as an archaic あなた (anata), the standard polite pronominal. Both are etymologically connected to a sense of “that (person) in the direction”, but usage-wise they differed wildly in formality – Amidala uses this in her regal guise in the official dub of Episode I, coupled with keigo.

Owing to the nature of the Lego games, Palpatine acts at times silly in the IX episode especially referring to himself, when talking to Rey, as おじいちゃん (ojiichan, “[your] gramps”), presumably because cloning technology has already deteriorated what his old age had in way of brains – and his social graces may have waned from his chancellor days, now being the ripe old age of 117 years.