Fang - Half Wolf, Half Jerboa

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Pengi, Aug 18, 2017.

  1. Pengi

    Pengi

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    This is something that's been bugging me for years, so I did a little investigating.

    In the early days of Western Sonic fandom it was common knowledge that "Nack the Weasel" went by the name "Fang the Sniper" in Japan, but it was still generally accepted that he was in fact a weasel, despite not really having any weasel-like features.

    If I recall correctly it was around 2002 that Western Sonic fandom became aware of Fang being half wolf, thanks to the now defunct Sonic Dimension fan site run by Japanese fan BULK. It was a veritable treasure trove of Japanese Sonic lore and information and BULK would often answer questions from English speaking fans, although his English was limited.

    I believe there was some confusion at the time about how Fang's species was listed on the Sonic Dimension profile. Either through language barrier miscommunication with BULK, or just plain assumption, we all just sort of settled on the idea of Fang being half wolf and half weasel. The wolf part explained the muzzle and the sharp tooth, so his design started to make a little more sense.

    I got thinking about this again earlier today and decided to search the Japanese Internet for any information on Fang. All the relevant results backed up Fang being a half-breed, half wolf specifically, but I kept getting weird auto-translations for the second species.

    I got in touch with a friend who knows Japanese and asked him about a sentence on the Japanese "Sonic & Tails 2" Wikipedia page. He translated it as:

    I then showed him the species listing on the old Sonic Dimension profile page. He said that from what he could tell, they had turned the two words (okami and tobinezumi) into a compound. This might have been the source of the confusion all those years ago.

    I asked my friend if he had any idea how Sega of America could have landed on weasel as his species. He said that it might be due to the association between rats and thieves not really being a thing outside of Japan. So in place of the "rat = thief" association they went with "weasel = weasely/devious".

    Anyway, here's what a jerboa looks like:

    [​IMG]

    Long ears. Long feet. Zig-zaggy tail. Known for being able to jump very high.

    And here's the kicker. That guy right there is specifically a four-toed jerboa. Fang only has four digits on each hand.

    [​IMG]

    Boom.

    The only mystery left is where the Japanese fandom actually got the species information to begin with.
     
  2. Nicky Ali

    Nicky Ali

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    I would've just assumed Fang was a wolf, especially considering the appearance of the wolf custom character in Forces, but Jerboa makes sense I guess.
     
  3. Cooljerk

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  4. Blue Spikeball

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    Fang is half-jerboa? Heh, I've always wondered why he had those ears and tail, not to mention the four fingers on each hand. This explains it. It also explains why he's called Fang the Sniper when most Sonic characters are called "*name* the *species*". Just "Fang the Wolf" would be incorrect, and "Fang the Wolf-jerboa" doesn't roll off the tongue.
     
  5. Pengi

    Pengi

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    On the Sonic Drift 2 box he has five digits on each hand. But in the character art in the manual he has four digits.
     
  6. Cooljerk

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    Possibly because, at that point, the game gear was relegated as a kid's side console in japan, I guess it wasn't as closely scrutinized. In fact, I guess Fang has never been in a high enough profile game for that to actually matter.

    The 4 fingers thing has become a lot more well known in recent years, too, which probably compells artists to shun 4-fingered designs even more now.
     
  7. Huh, that's pretty neat! I had always assumed that the tail design was just something the artists had done to give the character more personality; I didn't know that tails like that existed in nature
     
  8. Hitlersaurus Christ

    Hitlersaurus Christ

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    If you think of the size of a wolf and the size of a jerboa this becomes pretty messed up.
     
  9. Tiberious

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    Considering the fact we have a hedgehog that's bigger than a fox, I'm willing to wager that the wolf and jerboa parents were of roughly similar stature.
     
  10. synchronizer

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    Crash Bandicoot was designed such that it didn't matter that he didn't look anything like a bandicoot. What was important was making him easy to see on the screen. (The choice in animal type probably doesn't mean much.)
     
  11. Blue Spikeball

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    Even Crash had a few bandicoot-like features (the ears, muzzle and light belly fur), though. They didn't randomly give him cat ears or a rabbit tail.
     
  12. Miles Wolf

    Miles Wolf

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    The fact of Fang being a jerboa is very plausible, but the wolf thing... It sounds more like an interpretation of the character ("it looks like a mixture between wolf and...").

    I know it isn't, but it sounds a little weird... As the first post says, we should know where they got the species info from.
     
  13. Pengi

    Pengi

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    From TOUMA:

    私はトビネズミをモチーフにデザインしました。ですが、海外ではイタチと紹介されていたと思います。

    Watashi wa tobinezumi o mochīfu ni dezain shimashita. Desuga, kaigaide wa itachi to shōkai sa rete ita to omoimasu.

    ---

    A precise translation would be nice, but the gist is that he designed him as "tobinezumi" (jerboa [any rodent of family Dipodidae]). He also mentions him being introduced as a weasel abroad.


    The "half wolf" part of the old "Sonic Dimension" fan site profile remains a mystery for now, as does the trivia about him liking meat. Maybe an old magazine like "BEEP! Mega Drive"?
     
  14. Cooljerk

    Cooljerk

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    Desu ga, not desuga. Ga is a particle.
     
  15. Hitlersaurus Christ

    Hitlersaurus Christ

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    There's no spaces in Japanese, so it doesn't really matter. Attaching particles to the end of a word when using romaji is uncommon but I've definitely seen it used before.

    Anyway I couldn't find any specific source for Fang's species when looking through the manuals that have been scanned here, but hearing from the designer himself leaves no real room for doubt as far as the jerboa part goes. I'm not sure about the wolf part, but TOUMA also designed a character of his own called Fangwolf that bears a bit of a resemblance so it's likely.

    [[​IMG]
     
  16. Cooljerk

    Cooljerk

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    Kunrei-shiki romanization (the official romaji of Japan dictated by the Minstry of Education) requires spaces between romanized Japanese and particles (and also kyoiku kanji also have written spaces).
     
  17. DigitalDuck

    DigitalDuck

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    Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs dictates Hebon-shiki, and road signs are rendered in Hebon-shiki.

    If your complaint is not following "official Japanese", then it's strange that you didn't pick up on the abuse of spelling:

    Should in fact be:

    under Kunrei-shiki.
     
  18. Pengi

    Pengi

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    Sorry guys, mostly relying on online translation tools.
     
  19. DigitalDuck

    DigitalDuck

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    No need to apologise, there was nothing wrong with what you wrote.
     
  20. big smile

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    Excellent work Pengi on contacting the creator!

    Out of interest, is it common for native writers not to use spaces when when romanizing? I have a guy who does a lot of English to Japanese translations for me and his use of spaces to separate particles is very inconsistent. He says that's quite common for everyday (non formal) work.