October 2008

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A couple of years ago I made a post about making Japanese subtitles for the the 1978 British cartoon Watership Down, based on the book by Richard Adams. Back then I had actually finished 3/4 of it when I made a mistake backing up my work and accidentally deleted the whole thing. I was really ticked off, since I had just lost several weeks worth of work. I was so frustrated with myself that I ended up giving up on the whole thing.

Just a few days ago though, I was going through some old files of mine on my computer at school and found a backup copy! I was ecstatic and decided to finish the subtitles. Some interesting parts:

I mentioned Cowslips gothic poetry in the last post, here is my translation.


There is also one scene that I cannot figure out what to do for the life of me. It’s towards the end when Hazel is running to try his desperate plan to save his warren from the General Woundwort. As he’s running, he says a prayer to Lord Frith:

Hazel: Lord Frith, I know you’ve looked after us well, and it’s wrong to ask even more of you. But my people are in terrible danger, and so I would like to make a bargain with you. My life in return for theirs.
Frith: There is not a day or night that a doe offers her life for her kittens, or some honest captain of Owsla, his life for his chief. But there is no bargain: what is, is what must be.

I cannot figure out for the life of me what Frith is really saying here. How I’m interpreting the rhetoric just doesn’t make sense. Is he saying that mother deer don’t sacrifice their life for their young and that honest captains of Owsla don’t sacrifice their life for their chief? That doesn’t make any sense at all. Or could the sentence be interpreted to mean the opposite of that? Which one makes more sense given that Frith tells Holly there will be no bargain? I’m not sure.

Anyway, if anyone is interested in checking out the whole translation, I’ve zipped both the English and Japanese subtitle files here. In order to view both files at the same time, I would suggest using Subtitle Workshop. It’s freeware (but Windows only I think, however there are similar programs for viewing and editing subtitle files on other platforms) so there’s nothing to worry about downloading and using it. Be sure to set the Japanese subtitle file to ShiftJS encoding or you won’t be able to see the Japanese.

As a final treat, here’s a screenshot to remind you why Watership Down is not for kids (click for full-size goodness):
General Woundwort!!

I ran across this flash game while I was killing some time during lunch. It’s quite addictive (and frustrating), and really appeals to the engineer in me. What I really like about it is the open-ended nature of it. There are only five building tools, and other than that you can do whatever you like to solve each puzzle. It’s not like most puzzle games where you have to work out the one and only one meticulous solution that the creator had in mind. Still, I can’t get past puzzle 16: Awash. If someone else figure it out, let me know.

Also, if you’re like me and want to play it full-screen, you can do it with this link here.

Update: I beat #16. You can see the machine I built here.