Yu-Gi-Oh's English For Japanese People

So I was re-watching some old Yu-Gi-Oh episodes and I started wondering about something.

There is so much English in that anime, it’s actually crazy. Most of the cards have English names that are “Japanified”(or said in the Japanese way) and displayed in Katakana.

Now that makes it a little bit hard for us to recognize certain names sometimes but overall it’s not that bad.

However, what about Japanese people? They are usually not that good at English plus they watch everything raw so they don’t get any help with subtitles as we do. Also, shounen anime are usually intended for young guys which makes things even more difficult.

What do you guys think?

Never seen it or anything, so do have examples? Japanese people use a lot of loanwords generally, so I don’t really see it as seeming that weird to them. They’re also exposed to “long foreign language names in katakana” regularly. For instance, a lot of Hollywood movie titles aren’t translated, just transliterated to katakana.

But thankfully not always. I mean, if all in this title was in katakana it would be hard to read. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

博士の異常な愛情 または私は如何にして心配するのを止めて水爆を愛するようになったか

This is based on nothing but random musing on my part~

If they don’t know what the name of a card means in English, it wouldn’t be much of a problem, I’d think.

It would be like kamehameha, or rasengan, or hamon. That you don’t know the real meaning behind a name doesn’t prevent you from accepting it as a name for something. In the real game, there is a card description to tell you what it does. In the show, they exposit on what a card does, regardless of how clear or vague the English name would be to them.

When Bleach subs said a zanpakutou was a zanpakutou, that’s just what it was, regardless of whether it means something more to natives.


@Leebo Damn I didn’t know that, that’s some crazy Katakana practice. But wouldn’t that only be the case for people like 16+?

I mean I don’t have a specific episode as an example. But you have new cards revealed almost every episode and most of them have English names. I was just wondering if the vocabulary isn’t really hard for young people who are watching on TV.

@Omun I guess you are right. New words are fine. It’s just that Yu-Gi-Oh displays new words way more often and they have a lot of vocabulary that might be hard for kids.

I also guess that they just get used to it anyway and you don’t have to understand every word that you encounter, kind of like when you play in an MMORPG, you discover so many new terms especially if English isn’t your main language.

1 Like

I’m not sure what you’re imagining with that. But I took a look at some upcoming releases in Japan that probably only kids would go see. Sometimes they kind of half-translate them or tweak them to include a character name as well.

A Dog’s Journey (僕のワンダフル・ジャーニー)
A Dog’s Way Home (ベラのワンダフル・ホーム)
The Angry Birds Movie 2 (アングリーバード2)

The use of ワンダフル for dog movies is probably because of the fact that ワン is the way Japanese people say dog barking sounds. But it’s still an English word.

and man, they never tire of making movies with dogs finding their way home, huh


Most of that is for names of monster, but for concepts they rather use Japanese. Like Monster Reborn is 死者蘇生 (ししゃそせい).

It’s a show for kids. They’ll repeat the card names so kids know them by heart and buy them.

1 Like

No. Children learn to write katakana in their first year of school and are likely exposed to tons of loan words when still young children. I think you vastly underestimate how sophisticated a child’s vocabulary really is.

@Leebo Concerning the Katakana thing it was just a joke because I never thought they would consume something with Katakana only. For me, Katakana was for “imported words” so I would never expect them to read a full text of Katakana for example.

I might be wrong, maybe they do that at school. After all, I have no idea about how they actually learn Japanese lol.

Well… I mean, that doesn’t really come into play with a movie. They aren’t going to be reading anything but the title. It was just an example of them being exposed to strings of katakana “untranslated.”


OMG I must be blind, I didn’t see the “titles” word. I thought you meant some Hollywood movies got Katakana transcript instead of having like Japanese subtitles…

You can ignore all my comments, the topic should have stopped with Omun’s answer haha

Ah, yeah, no, that would be weird. No worries.

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed 365 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.