Table of Contents
These translation notes contain spoilers up to and including the end of chapter 1.
Chapter Title: “Kill Free or Live Hard”
This was easily one of the most difficult decisions we had to make in the entire game, and we didn’t end up settling on a translation until very nearly the last minute.
Because the title is written in katakana, there are a number of ways it can be interpreted, almost all of which have relevance to the events of the chapter. Perhaps the best way to look at it is to break the word into its two component pieces, イキ and キル, and go over their possible meanings individually:
- イキ could reasonably be interpreted as any/all of the following: 生き (live), 息 (breathe), 逝き (die), 活き (make use of one’s own skills/abilities).
- キル could reasonably be interpreted as any/all of the following: キル (kill), 切る (cut), 斬る (cut), or the suffix ～きる (~to the fullest, ~to the end).
You can mix and match the pieces to get all sorts of phrases with legitimate, applicable meaning, though a few stand out as the most likely interpretations: “live to the fullest” (both Maizono and Kuwata are chasing after their dreams, fighting to be able to do what they really want to do with their lives, and Maizono’s obsession with her dream is what ultimately sparks the first murder), “live to the end” (obviously, everyone wants to make it out alive), “live and kill” (ultimately, in order to survive, you will need to–on some level–bear the responsibility for others’ deaths), and “use your abilities to their fullest” (Maizono on Naegi and Kuwata, Kuwata in the trash room).
So “live” and “kill” were clearly going to be integral in getting the intent behind the title across. But as for how we wanted to do it, that took a lot of discussion and brainstorming before we had something we were satisfied with.
Obviously, we weren’t going to be able to mimic the technique used by the Japanese title to infuse ours with that level of meaning. So we decided that since most of the other chapter titles are references to other media, we could take a hint from them and derive some extra meaning by playing on the title of some well known English movie. Live Free or Die Hard ended up being our film of choice because the title has some thematic similarities to a couple interpretations of the Japanese title as well as its own relevance to the chapter.
With that in mind, we then went and replaced “live” and “die” with our two keywords: “kill” and “live,” putting “live” in the second spot to maximize the number of potential interpretations. (The actual interpretation, though, is left to your imagination.)