The One Percenter Conundrum

Of all of our translation decisions, Mondo Oowada’s title–the Super Duper High School One Percenter–has received the most criticism, and understandably so. It’s an obscure term used to refer to an outlaw motorcycle club, and it’s taken a more common meaning in recent years: referring to the extremely wealthy.

While we appreciate these concerns and recognize them as valid, we’ve mostly been sticking to our guns, and we’ve tried a couple times now to explain away the perceived problem and bring people over to our side.

But it hasn’t really worked. Despite our best efforts, we haven’t been able to sell people on One Percenter, and we’re beginning to think we might need to start looking at other options. We’ve been calling Oowada the One Percenter for nearly sixteen months now–it’s something we settled on back when we were first getting to work on the demo–so it’s hard for us to imagine calling him anything else. But we’re opening our minds now, and–in doing so–we’d also like to open the floor for suggestions, comments, ideas, anything.

We’ve thrown together a little poll with a few of our own ideas plus some ideas we were given in the comments. We’ve left One Percenter as an option because we’re interested in seeing just how many people actually do like that translation.

Before you vote, though, read the translation notes on the title and the two articles linked there, as well as this comment, where I provide some details about how the term is used in-game. And if you don’t like any of the options here, leave a comment with your own suggestion and why you think it’s the best translation for his title.

Oowada - Do Something


We’ll be staying out of the comments this time. We’re done selling you our position; it’s your turn to sell us yours.

10 Comments

  1. Rolen47

     /  2012/12/10

    I’m fine with One Percenter. I wasn’t even sure what it meant until I read this blog post, I originally thought it had something to do with low school grades.

  2. Anonymous

     /  2012/12/12

    If it were three years ago, I’d have agreed with your choice. However, the fact is that now, for the average English speaker, “One Percenter” has a different connotation that’s difficult to shake. I don’t think that there’s really any better option than simply “Outlaw Biker” at this point, as it unambiguously conveys the important parts of the meaning of bousouzoku for this context. And really, bousouzoku isn’t near as obscure a term in Japanese as one percenter is in English anyway.

    But overall, nice work on the localization. As a fan of the series, I was pleasantly surprised to see you guys attempt to retain the original text’s bombastic quality and avoid being stiff and literal as is the tendency of fan translations.

  3. Anonymous

     /  2012/12/12

    English speakers really won’t get “One Percenter” in that way. It would probably convey the right meaning attached to Togami, but even then, I think you made a good call with “Aristocrat”.
    I don’t think “Gangster” would work too well, either, if only because that also seems to convey images of “mobster”, a la “The Godfather”, but any of the others I think would work fine. Fingers crossed for outlaw biker!

  4. Sevi

     /  2012/12/14

    One percenter is rather outdated now that I read the article
    Thought I don’t really see “extremely wealthy” as a problem, but that could just be me

  5. I actually think One Percenter is extremely clever. I’m disappointed that it isn’t going to happen.

  6. Kintrex

     /  2013/05/18

    I believe that part of the job of localization is to create a translation that will be easily understood by your target audience. Therefore, while I like the name “One Percenter”, it would be too confusing in this context.

  7. Erika

     /  2013/05/24

    I know it’s a bit late in the process, but I just wanted to know: did no one consider the title “Greaser?” I mean… Greasers would slick back their hair or style it into a pompadour (which is what I THINK Owada’s hairstyle is), and they also rode motorcycles… Wikipedia also links the Greaser subculture page to the bousouzoku page, even though I know it’s not a very solid basis for argument. I kind of like Greaser, but I also get the “Outlaw Biker” preference for a more… literal explanation of bousouzoku.

    • To be honest, I don’t think it ever came up, no. It’s not a bad idea, though I still prefer One Percenter, lol.

      • Erika

         /  2013/05/28

        One Percenter was your established title, so it’s close to your heart.

        Though at the same time I kind of like it too on the basis for this game–that it’s a very niche-y japanese game that probably has a lot of references in various types of subculture (which makes it so hard to localize) and even people who play the game in Japan go “huh?” and have to look up a phrase or two–so “One Percenter” might mirror that in that it isn’t a modern-use of the term, but instead one that goes back decades. Something really pretentious, like when someone says “gay,” and when you are confused/offended, they say in that condescending tone “not *that* kind of gay… ‘gay’ as in ‘happy’!” And Dangan Ronpa is supposed to feel very pretentious and gaudy, right?

        I don’t know if that’s the exact feel of the game (as I really can only go by what people who’ve played it and translators say), but I can understand how you all like it so much. It’s a shame that westerners have “one-percenter” so connected to the idea of a rich person. (Because honestly “Outlaw Biker” brings to mind the image of a fat skinhead wearing a leather vest and cowboy hat speeding down a dusty road with sheriffs after him LOL. )

        Thanks for replying!

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