My own try at translating "The Truth of 50 Years Ago"

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Windii, Oct 15, 2017.

  1. Windii


    stan sakazaki mikoko ya coward Member
    Good day everybody. I am sure most of you already know about the little text snippet from the Sonic Adventure 2 Perfect Guide called "The Truth of 50 Years Ago." It explained some behind-the-scenes stuff on the Biolizard and Project Shadow as a whole. I don't think it needs much introduction.

    Well, a few months ago I actually came across the original Japanese text for that blurb that a certain individual was kind enough to share. I assumed that the currently available translation of the blurb on the Wiki more or less matches the original text, but as I started comparing the two I found that some sections were either incorrectly translated or flat-out missing.

    Frustrated, I decided to give it a go and translate the entire thing myself. I rechecked my text several times to make sure that it's translated accurately with as little broken English going on as possible but of course my Japanese understanding and English vocabulary is not perfect, so if anybody has a better idea on how to handle certain parts of the text, I'm all ears.

    I'm going to post my translation here under the spoiler tag but it's also available on my Pastebin page with the original Japanese text included. If my attempt succeeds at clearing things up or helping someone, that will make me very happy. Thanks guys.

    During my latest undercover investigation, I have obtained highly classified data notes of the then federal government president from GUN's security hole that seem to be related to Project Shadow. It is a top secret research request application letter addressed and sent to Gerald from the President of its time, 13 Presidents ago. The content of the letter is concisely stated as follows:

    "Begin research on immortality, humanity's ultimate eternal dream."

    Gerald seemed to have stubbornly rejected this request at first, for it exceeded Man's limits. However, the one who gave him an excuse to realize this plan that was supposed to end as it was an influential person's nonsense was (although ironically) Gerald's beloved granddaughter Maria Robotnik. Maria had contracted a difficult-to-cure "NIDS: Neuro immunodeficiency syndrome" illness, and while medical treatment continued at the ARK's medical research facility, she was not expected to recover. The irritated Gerald seemed to think that he would overcome this incurable disease by studying immortal life. The research has been documented as being named "Project Shadow" from the irony of creating a shadow (which cannot exist in this world), and was advancing internally at the ARK behind the scenes in absolute secrecy.

    At first, everyone thought that this far-fetched and reckless plan was undoubtedly a fabrication that couldn't have been thought up by Pr. Gerald's ingenious intellect. The Chaos Drives were based on research results of the Chaos Emeralds, and the experimental attempt to apply that infinite energy to life activity was successful. Shortly thereafter the project lead to completion of a single prototype. Focusing on its self-restoration ability, the "Ultimate Life Form Prototype" that was modeled after a lizard, showed signs of phenomenal growth, self-restoration and self-propagation, and the researchers were overjoyed.

    However, that joy was brief, as the prototype's abilities eventually far exceeded the researchers' expectations, far enough to be difficult to control. Voices of doubt begin to rise internally from the researchers, questioning the duration, significance and safety of the research. It is likely that internal staff who witnessed the prototype going out of control leaked information of the project to GUN first, but the truth is not certain. However, the upper part of GUN that was internally looking on the research institution's uniqueness as hostile, arrived at the decision to set a plan to close the ARK itself, taking advantage of this opportunity. An informal operation, "ARK Seal Destruction Operation."

    A biological hazard suddenly occurred at the ARK laboratory facility, and all colony residents were to be rescued and the colony sealed from the disaster. This was the ostensible purpose of this operation. Of course, the real purpose is none other than to shut down the ARK research facility, erase Project Shadow, and detain Pr. Gerald as the person responsible for the disaster. The operation was carried out on a scale that was never seen before since the founding of GUN, and in only 7 days after the start of the operation, all residents of the ARK were transferred to the surface. All of the ARK's facilities were frozen by GUN and all of Project Shadow's staff, with the exception of Pr. Gerald, were announced as victims of this disaster. The operation was completed by sealing the Ultimate Life Form Prototype that was discovered at the deepest part of the colony.

    But there was only one miscalculation in this operation. At the time this operation was carried out, Pr. Gerald seemed to have already almost completed the ultimate life form, Shadow, using a different model. When GUN special forces entered the laboratory, the escaping Gerald entrusted Shadow to his granddaughter Maria, and made sure that one escape capsule was ejected towards the surface at that time. (The whereabouts of the capsule from that time are still not known.)

    In the end, Gerald was apparently caught by the special forces afterwards and imprisoned to Prison Island. Now, without Shadow the Hedgehog, there is no longer a way to confirm anywhere if the Shadow that was sealed at Prison Island was a replica by Gerald or the original Shadow that was ejected towards the surface and recovered...

    ~From Rouge's final research report on Project Shadow - Partial Excerpt~
  2. XCubed


    Will Someday Own a Rent-A-Center Oldbie
    The game that altered this historical context of the franchise. But we still don't know Sonic's origin. LOLWAT
  3. Sir_mihael


    This is nice to see! I'll have to compare it later on!

    On the topic of accurate translations, has anyone had a go at re-translating the Knuckles Chaotix Japanese manual story next? My glorious japanese isn't quite there yet, but I feel like the current translations look a bit iffy (then again, it could just be a confusingly written bit of text even natively...)
  4. big smile

    big smile

    Awesome work Windii.

    Just in case anyone needs them, there's the original Japanese text for a lot of game manual stories on
  5. Linkabel


    I always liked this little ambiguity Sonic Team threw there. The most likely thing is that yeah it's the same Shadow, but it was interesting that even though Shadow knew his memories might be fake he still decided to stop the Ark from crashing.
  6. Windii


    stan sakazaki mikoko ya coward Member
    Thanks a lot, guys. Retranslating the Japanese manuals is something I have in plans as well. I've always felt they needed another translation pass, especially now that we have better resources for kanji recognition and dictionaries in this day and age. Those will probably be up on my Pastebin as well.

    I should also add that if the manual scans are large enough, they should be sufficient for an OCR transcription (to save the trouble of typing all the text down manually and all that). I was wondering if someone could get higher quality scans of the Sonic CD manual. It's so far at the lowest quality of them all on the Wiki, which really sucks. If anyone still has it and can make large pretty scans, your efforts will be greatly appreciated.


    It's even more interesting when you follow the Japanese Sonic X canon of this story, which all but confirms that Shadow's memories were never truly real (the soldier who shot Maria showed an account that was completely different from what SA2/the flashbacks showed), and that he apparently never even met Maria at all. He's effectively being motivated by an imaginary friend, and completely manipulated by the will of a madman, and it's pretty tragic.

    This doesn't really apply to game canon. It 'might' have applied to SA2, but Shadow the Hedgehog as a game more or less chose to override it and confirm that Shadow/Maria did meet.

    Edit: also, funny thing is... according to that guide, project Shadow's immortality (in both the prototype and Shadow himself) is caused by chaos energy, meaning Shadow is pretty much an artificial/imperfect version of Super Sonic when you think about it. Lives forever due to regenerative energies, but can still be damaged. Maybe that's why they gave him Super Sonic's spikes ingame?
  8. Pengi


    Great work Windii! It's always good to see new/more accurate translations of this stuff.

    I hate how the Shadow the Hedgehog game removed all the ambiguity and mystery from Shadow's backstory, and that it did so by shoehorning in incongruous elements (ALIENS?).

    One of the clever things SA2 did (and it's especially reinforced in "The Truth of 50 Years Ago" above) was leave open the possibility that Sonic was the original Shadow created on the ARK and Shadow was a replica created on Prison Island. I wouldn't ever want that to be Sonic's officially confirmed origin, or for Sonic to be given an origin story at all, but I always liked the idea of Sega just leaving the puzzle pieces out there and open to interpretation.
  9. Linkabel


    I forgot about the Sonic X version! I do wonder if that's something the anime staff decided or if it was something planned by Sonic Team that was scrapped for the Black Arms origin.

    Ah,the Sonic being the ultimate life form theory! Haven't heard that one in a long time lol. But yeah, I think everyone eventually had that thought, especially after their dialogue during the space battle.
  10. Sir_mihael


    I was in love with this theory for a while. I tried to headcanon it for a long while that Eggman was always aware of Sonic being something that his grandfather had created, and that's what sparked their rivalry, but without his grandfather's Diary he had no solid information until SA2.

    Kinda glad that whole theory went out of the window, although it's a shame we'll probably never see Sonic use Chaos Control again.
  11. DigitalDuck


    Arriving four years late. Member
    Lincs, UK
    TurBoa, S1RL
    If Sonic was created 50 years ago, why is his age given as 15?
  12. MykonosFan


    MODE CHANGE. Moderator
    I remember David the Lurker and I reading the existing translation months back and scratching our heads at certain things about it. It's great to see someone take another crack at translating this. Thanks for doing so.
  13. Windii


    stan sakazaki mikoko ya coward Member
    Thanks for all the comments, guys. I just wanted to add that I've also translated all three stories from SA2 a while back, including the recaps because I enjoy them. If you ever want to know how certain aspect of the story were handled in the original Japanese text (without the English localisation's weirdness), those are a good place to start.

    I actually rewatched the SA2 arc in Sonic X recently, and I found it interesting how a lot of the dialogue is basically taken from the original game word for word. I assume that's different for the dub, but I also haven't watched it in over 8 years now so I wouldn't know.
  14. JaxTH


    Pudding Deity Oldbie
    Los Angeles
    Jack shit.
    Too bad all the original English stuff is most likely lost.


    Good timing, I've been watching your videos recently.

    And yes, the Sonic being the Ultimate lifeform angle was something I fully expected to be expanded upon after SA2 in some form. While it wasn't exactly obvious 'how' this happened, the idea itself seemed too distinct to the plot to completely ignore. Shadow being like Sonic also seemed to coincidental to ignore at the time. Heck, we've still never quite gotten a proper explanation as to why he can use Chaos Control so effectively it even works with a 'fake' emerald.

    I mean, in retrospect, it's obvious that the canon will never go down that direction, and many rightfully feel it'd be in bad taste to do this, just as they abandoned the "Shadow never met Maria" idea, but these were ripe points for speculation back then, and I'm clearly not the only one who wondered about it.

    Of course, I agree that as an origin for Sonic it's too on the nose to be real, but I do wonder if they at least toyed with the idea for awhile before scrapping it. Maybe Sonic was in a stasis capsule before being "awakened" later? There are several directions they could have gone with the idea.

    Other oddities that have never been answered similar to this, how did Eggman get from Earth to Sonic's world in the Sonic X canon? The show's dialogue outright says he was born on earth, with an entirely conversation being about this in episode 33. Again, not game canon at all, but yet another odd mystery that was never followed up on regarding this strange backstory. How old is Eggman even? At least 50 if he knew of his grandfather?
  16. Overlord


    Aros gartref, diogelu'r GIG, achub bywydau Moderator
    Berkshire, England
    Learning Cymraeg
    For the same reason David Lister isn't three million years old. =P

    Regardless, I never bought the "Sonic is the ultimate lifeform" theory anyway.
  17. I was a fan of the Sonic is the Ultimate Lifeform thing back in the day, but after seeing the series take a turn into overly-serious I'm glad that they eventually remembered that this is a video game series about an anthropomorphic blue hedgehog and toned all of the nonsense down.
  18. McAleeCh


    The Sonic Adventure arc is the same, too - what's really interesting is that both arcs also adapt unused scenes from their respective games, again pretty much word-for-word in some instances! Examples off the top of my head include Eggman's rant about how Sonic always gets in his way pre-Egg Viper in Sonic Adventure, the president's scenes during Sonic Adventure 2's Last Story, and Eggman's declaration that next time he'll try to take over the world using his own power from Sonic Adventure 2's credits scene. Presumably the anime staff were given copies of the game script to reference when adapting these stories, which still contained all these unused portions of dialogue.

    Interestingly, although it was unused in Sonic Adventure 2, Eggman's declaration that he'll use his own power next time does still seem to have been taken into account in Sonic Heroes, where his original plan seems to have been to use Metal Sonic and the Egg Fleet somehow - though since Metal Sonic then betrayed him pre-game and hijacked the plan for his own ends, we sadly never got to actually see Eggman's plan in action...!
  19. Trunks


    AGAIN TRY Oldbie
    You're right, the stuff on the wiki right now is trash. I just took apart my Sonic CD JP and scanned everything flattened at 300dpi. I've got three separate flavors for ya:
    Raw Scans. Not color corrected or adjusted or resized or anything.
    Cropped and Rotated. This is individual pages that have been resized and cropped to fit page by page.
    Color Corrected. This is the same as the one above, but with some contrast and levels applied to it so it's more legible / clean.

    I've never figured out how to upload stuff to the wiki, but y'all are welcome to upload my scans if you'd like.

    Do we need to scan and upload any of the other manuals? I've got pretty much all the disc-based sonic games in Japanese and a decent scanner.
  20. Windii


    stan sakazaki mikoko ya coward Member
    Wow, that's sooo cool!! Really pretty stuff. Your efforts are definitely greatly appreciated.
    Here are the JP game manuals that could definitely use a nice pretty rescan: Sonic & Tails 2 (Triple Trouble), Drift (it's not awful, but the scans are still small and kinda blurry and that bugs me), Spinball, Sonic R, Flickies' Island (Saturn), Sonic Jam, Drift 2's cover (I don't like that large crease), and I suppose pretty much every disc based Sonic game starting with Adventure? I don't think most of the post 1998 games got manual scans, but I could be wrong.

    I don't think there's any I'm missing, but I haven't checked the Wiki in a while. These Sonic CD scans do help a lot to start off, though. I could easily dump them all into OCR.