With the advent of the new God of War Ragnarok game, and the appearance of another fresh interpretation of the Aesir, Vanir, Jotun and other members of Norse mythology, it behoves me to make a comparison with previous incarnations of one particular Aesir, Thor the Thunderer - the first being his Marvel depiction in the Capcom games, the second being Thor as he appears in the Record of Ragnarok manga/anime, and the last being the 2022 version voiced by Ryan Hurst.
Comparison will be done in terms of the Japanese speech patterns of the three weather gods within their respective mediums and I will also point out any particular differences.
Above all else, the horrid spectre of spoilers looms large over this blog post, so BEWARE!
Thor of Marvel versus Capcom 3
Thor makes his playable debut 2011, where he sported his Ultimate look as well as having his classical Lee-Kirby look as an alternate costume. In the original comics Stan Lee gave the Odinson a Shakespearean manner of speaking, which pretty much every single character that had the faintest smell of mythology did. Therefore, the Japanese translation of his mannerisms, even in the comics, was to give him a regal tone.
Take one of his generic victory messages:
Yo wa raijin Sô! Shushin Ôdin no musuko ni shite Asgâdo saikyou no senshi nari!
"I am Thor, the God of Thunder! Son of the Chief God, Odin, and thereto the strongest warrior there be!"
余 (yo) is a pronoun of ancient stock going as far as back as Classical Chinese and has been used in Japan as a literary pronoun, especially in written correspondence - it has in modern times gained the nuance of how a regal person refers to themselves, thus Thor being the Crown Prince of Asgard, he uses this. Note that he also uses なり (nari) the Classical Japanese way of ending your sentences. Positively medieval.
Another one, with him winning over Captain America:
Ima mo mukashi mo kiden ni saidai no keii wo haratte kita. Daga anata mo tada no hito de shika nai no da, Kyaputen.
"Now as well as yore, ye, sir, ha'n my utmost respect. However ye too are like all others, merely a human.
Here things get tricky, he uses 貴殿 (kiden, lit. "honourable hall"), which like 余 above was used in written communication as a polite second person pronominal noun, but is also used in fantasy as a more courteous reference to the interlocutor. He does switch over to あなた (anata), the standard polite pronominal in Japanese, which seems strange, going from an archaic and regal tone to an outright polite if uncharacteristically modern one. I use "ye" here as the archaic English second person singular polite pronoun to represent the likes of 貴殿 and also あなた to an extent.
Thor of Record of Ragnarok:
This Thor is reticent, carries a hammer the size of a car and speaks mostly through his thunderous strikes. Like Thor from before, he is of a graceful physical build, but has the red hair of his mythological inspiration. His total amount of lines within the series thus far has been rather sparse, but without further ado, let us take one of his longer sentences, said to his opponent Lu Bü - as part of the grand Ragnarok gladiatorial games to decide the fate of humanity:
Kisama, ningen nanzo ni shite oku ni wa mottai nai na.
"It is such a waste, that you are a naught, but a mortal, bastard."
Rough, manly and to the point with 貴様 (kisama) communicating a soliderly attitude to his opponent.
And another one from the same fight, after having given his opponent the coup de grace:
よかろう… あの漢への… 呂布奉先, 我が友, への手向けだ
Yokarou... An otoko e no ... Ryofu Housen, waga tomo, e no temuke da
"Very well... This is my parting gift to that man amongst men, to Lu Bü, my friend..."
Here we get more of an archaic flavour with yokarou (it is well) and waga tomo (my friend), using the archaic possessive mode of ware, itself the Old Japanese pronoun, though Thor appears to also use 俺 (ore) elsewhere, the generic assertive male pronominal noun.
Thus, the silent if generic warrior with a code of conduct.
Thor of God of War: Ragnarök
Last we get to the iteration rather unflatteringly described by the rather literal godhead Mimir, "fat dobber" of the Thunderer. Who despite said description is a rather realistic portrayal of not just a herculean body builder, but also the god of the original myths. Red haired, bearded, bellicose, mead-happy and above all else a force to be reckoned with - literally having thumped the Midgard Serpent across space and time by virtue of raw power.
In the original English version, this Thor is not beyond, rather he relishes, throwing Anglo-Saxon swears about, abounding in "shits" and "fucks", rather well rhetorically well placed ones to emphasise his anger or point.
At one point Thor threatens Atreus, the son of Kratos:
Unu wa washi ga kono te de tatakinaoshite yaru wa Yotûn
"Thou'lt beaten into shape by my very own hand, churlish Jotun!"
And, during one of the confrontations against Kratos, he has this piece of existential advice to his fellow fighting-happy god:
Washira wa kesshite kawaran. Washira wa isshou hakaisha no mama yo.
"We cannot change, no matter what. We shall remain damn destroyers for life!"
You will have noticed, if you know a bit of Japanese or follow my ramblings online, that he uses washi, originally a dialectal pronominal, but later becoming a solid part of how elderly speak in pop-culture, hence Thor sounds like a worn-down god of thunder, having seen better days - fitting with his alcoholism as well. He uses unu, quite an archaic pronominal that whilst literally meaning "thou" or "oneself", has the impact of "cur", "churl" or even "fucker", hence Thor is rather vulgar if archaically mouthed in the Japanese version.
Returning to his usage of elderly speech:
Yosomono no unu wa "chi no tsugunai" no okite wo shiran jarou ga noo
"Methinketh that outsiders like thyself know not of the law of 'debt of blood', truly."
Not only do we have ja, the copula, i.e. "to be, it is", but also noo, a variant of nou, a rather old fashioned and elderly way of creating emphasis akin to na and ne in modern Japanese.
He sounds a lot olderly than he is, and his father Odin also uses washi, but combines it with a lot more formal speech patterns.
I will return to the speech patterns of the cast of God of War at some point, since there is more to this adaptation in the Japanese version.
Marvel's is overly theatrical, Record's is quite reticent and God of War's is closer to the original source, but a broken one that tries to come to terms with his past.