It’s been 20 years since the release of Square’s Final Fantasy VIII, so feel old, and it’s time to set the record straight about Squall’s meme-worthy catchphrase, or whatever. It turns out the surly teen protagonist has been misrepresented by inaccurate translations this whole time. Analysis has found that his apathy contained multitudes. Yes, someone took the time to research this.
Final Fantasy VIII is an, unfairly maligned and oft forgotten, installment in the FF franchise, that deals with teenage mercenaries, witchcraft, and time travel at that awkward point in gaming history when the cut scenes were gorgeous and the gameplay graphics less so. Lead protagonist, Squall Leonhart, was so full of angst that the only thing a lot of people remember about the game is his signature response to all manner of interactions: “Whatever”.
Well, it seems that Squall was the victim of lazy translation for the English audience. According to Funimation localiser, Clyde Mandelin, the original Japanese script called for Squall to be sarcastic and dismissive in a plethora of ways. He may have missed a few, but Mandelin found at least nine different phrases in Japanese that were translated into the basic “Whatever”. From “I don’t believe this teacher” to “Man, you’re annoying” and “I don’t care”, Squall actually had a range of ways to express his misanthropic angst. Now you know.
Whatever, it’s is still my favourite Final Fantasy.