Capcom's fighting game X-Men vs Street Fighter was nothing less, but a cultural phenomenon in the arcade halls of both Japan and in the West, in the year of 1996 (and later home-releases in 1997 - 1998).
Taking the cast of one of the most popular fighting game franchises and having them fight against one of the most famous superhero teams from Marvel's vast catalogue of comics was a dream come true. The sprites were on point in terms of emulating the concurrent 90s aesthetics of their comic selves and the voice-acting on the Marvel side was done by those who had done work for the X-Men cartoon - moreover Street Fighter Zero/Alpha regulars also returned for the Street Fighter side.
Thus, in the wake of the game's release there was published a strategy guide, published by Gamest in their Mook series, for the game itself which featured all of the characters' victory quotes, i.e. phrases that the character would utter after having won a match and then would be displayed in a speech-bubble in the subsequent screen.
I have taken a select amount of these commentaries and the companion quotes to illustrate how the personalities of each cast member was conveyed and how the person, who had been working on the quotes themselves, relates the process and thoughts between it.
I have unfortunately been unable to find the name of the person whom did the commentary, but will rectify this as soon as I am able to do so.
There may be subsequent posts where I will cover more of the commentaries, but for now this will be it.
I owe a great measure of thanks to my friend, Morricane, who proof-read the translations of the victory quotes.
Let us proceed to the material itself.
“Cyclops is the extremely serious leader of the X-Men and it seems that him going above and beyond talking and acting like this annoys his fellow X-Men plenty. Even if some of his quotes are overly serious, there are a few sneering ones in the mix, which I humbly hope you will enjoy.”
Cyclops is the optic-blast beaming leader of the X-Men, whose début was in the arcade fighting game, X-Men Children of the Atom, which later followed the release of Marvel Super Heroes and then the first cross-over title, X-Men vs Street Fighter, wherein he is one of the characters.
His manner of speaking is as the commentator notes rather serious, right down to his personal pronouns:
First person, in particular, has watashi (私) and wareware (我々), whereof the latter is only found in formal discourse or used by characters speaking in a solemn tone, we do also see Cyclops use watashi-tachi (私たち), the more common plural form of watashi. Second person pronoun are kimi and kimi-tachi, basically an semi-informal pronoun that has nuances of “friend” or “buddy.”
Let us take a closer look at two of his victory quotes:
Jinrui to myuutanto no mirai no tame, wareware wa tatakaitsudukeru!
“For the sake of the future of humanity and mutants, we shall continue to fight!”
Professaa no souzou ga jitsugen suru nichi made, wareware no tatakai o tomeru wake niwa ikanai!
“We will not stop to fight until the day that the Professor’s dream has become a reality!”
X-Men ni fukanou wa nai!!
“Nothing is impossible for the X-Men!!”
Stop! Sokomade da. Kimi-tachi no chikara wa juubun ni wakatta.
“STOP!! No farther than this! We know fully well your powers, friends.”
As we can see Cyclops is rather obsessed about realising the vision of Professor Xavier, almost single-mindedly.
“Juggernaut’s lines are a tremendous power that is so massively absurd that it could be said to cover all of the galaxy, All of these were written in one go, thus I felt utterly exhausted, but was also able to feel sanctification.
Maybe because it is kind of shouting these lines from the top of one’s lungs, but either way they keep getting more and more absurd because of him overdoing Head-Crashing? Or is it merely a problem on the writing side?”
JUGGERNAUT LIKES TO SHOUT and is fond of drawing out syllables, as we shall see below,
Ore-sama wa Jagaanooto da! Dare ni mo temerareneeee!
“I’m the fuckin’ Juggernaught! Ain’t no one to stop meeeee!”
Oi, semeejaneeka! Omee, mou chitto wa shiniyoree!
“Oy, it’s too damn narrow here! Hey, you, I’m gonna bust this fuckin’ joint!”
“You damn lot are so weeeaaak!!”
Nazedaa---! Samaasoruto ga dekineeeee!
“Whyyyyy!? Somersaults’re impossible!”
There’s a lot of elongated vowels, he turns his ~ai into ee, where are the benchmark of typical masculine speech, when depicting either people who want to come off as tough or “street”; though this is a character whose momentum alone demolishes streets due to his superhuman toughness. His first person pronoun ore-sama is essentially the already assertive masculine ore plus the honorific sama ("lord/lady"), thus "my magnificent self," but since this is Juggernaut, it's "I, the fucking/damn/great Juggernaut." He uses the second person pronoun omee, a slurred variation of omae, which in some circumstances can equate to flipping the bird at someone. Rammed his armoured one too many times at the wall, it seems.
“Having the quality of growing a bit senile, that’s Dhalsim’s quotes. Is he a man whose heart has become placid as a result of pursuing the knowledge of enlightenment? By the way, Kikakuman who wrote his quotes, has his origins lies in philosophy, but he is himself one who knows many worldly desires.”
The Yogi-master of the Street Fighter series is a character whose personality and diction is characterised by semi-archaic phrases and vague advice. He doesn’t quite speak the geriatric sociolect, but rather results to a more elevated speech.
Kokoro ni mayoi ga shoujitara, mata watashi no moto ni kinasai.
“If there still arises bewildering in thy heart, pray, come back to me at once”
Sadame no honoo, sonata no ashiki kokoro wo yakitsukusu…
“The flames of fate shall burn through thy wicked heart…”
He uses sonata (“thou”), which is a lightly courteous if archaic way to refer to someone, in other games he uses onushi, a more informal pronoun that is more strongly associated with the geriatric sociolect. His pronoun is watashi rather than washi, and combining this with the polite imperative form -nasai, it gives him the aura of an aged teacher, who is scolding with wisdom his still ignorant opponents. "Kikakuman" is one of the members of the Capcom staff who did the quote-writing, but not the commentator themself.
“Even Gouki seems to have become more talkative. Perhaps he is really a imposter? However, don’t misunderstand me since Shin Gouki does not appear in this game…”
Verbosity is a rarity for the otherwise laconic Gouki, whose fists do the majority of his persuasion of being the strongest martial artist alive. His lines are borderline Old Japanese, peppered with the kind of avuncular admonishment that you would expect Ryu and Ken to receive from the brother of their foster-father-teacher.
Waga na wa Gouki! Kobushi wo kiwameshi mono nari!
“My name is Gouki! He who hath mastered the fist!”
Mada wakaranu ka! Nushi no chikara ga!
“Yet thou knowest not, wretch! Thine own power!”
Yowaki wa haji, onore wo shiranu wa gu nari!
“To be weak is shameful, to not know thine own self is foolish!”
Gouki (known in the West as "Akuma"), uses the first person pronoun ware, which is Old Japanese and registered as as extremely archaic, his second person pronoun nushi, is a clipping of the informal archaic pronoun onushi (おぬし), thus giving it an even more insulting tone, hence "wretch" in the translation.
If Dhalsim was more polite in his manner of teaching his opponents the error of their ways, Gouki very much holds no such punches back and utters it laconically as is, though his quotes are the absolute fewest in the game, 16 or so, but most of these are merely single lines, versus the two that make up most of the characters’, and even then the commentator remarks how unusually loquacious Gouki is in this game – going as far as to say that he may be an impostor. Shin Gouki ("True Gouki") is an enhanced version of the character appearing in other games as a final or secret boss if specific conditions were met.
Matsui Yuuichi (ed.) et al, Gamest Mook - X-Men vs Street Fighter - Shinseisha Capcom, 30. 12. 1996. Japan.