Table of Contents
Every student who enrolls at Kibougamine Academy is assigned a title according to the characteristic or skill they have which sets them apart from all other high school students in Japan. Each title is composed of two parts. The first, common to all titles, is “Super Duper High School,” which comes from the Japanese word 超高校級 (hover to see pronunciation), a portmanteau of the words 高校 (high school) and 高級 (high class/grade) with 超 (super/ultra/hyper) tacked on for emphasis.
A literal translation of the word would give something like “Super High School Class/Level,” but that doesn’t flow terribly well, and it doesn’t read much like a title. It’s also kind of dry and out of place in the series’s playful, over-the-top atmosphere.
Fortunately for us, though, one of the game’s execution movies (which conveniently include English names) translated 超高校級 as “Super Duper,” which–while it doesn’t cover the entire spectrum of the word’s meaning–served as inspiration for our translation.
“Super Duper High School,” what we went with, is fairly close in meaning to the original word while fitting right in with the silly ridiculousness of the Danganronpa universe. It also reads like a real title without sacrificing the slightly awkward, clumsy sound of the eight-syllable Japanese word.
The second part of every title is different for each student, and it’s this part which describes their special talent or ability. One of our goals in translating these was to–as with the first part–make the translations sound like real titles. We made sure the words we chose were words that are actually used to refer to human beings, which means some degree of liberty had to be taken in the translations.
Makoto Naegi – The Super Duper High School Luckster (Unluckster?)
Japanese: 超高校級の幸運（不運？） (lit. Super Duper High School Good Luck (Bad Luck?))
“Good luck” isn’t a phrase often used to describe a person. You can say someone has good luck, but if you say they are good luck, then you’re usually saying that their presence brings you luck. But that’s not what Naegi’s title is saying about him. He was selected to enroll in Kibougamine Academy by lottery, and his title is referring to the fact that he had the good fortune to be selected.
With this in mind, we went with “luckster,” a playful, slangy word that has exactly the right nuance.
Kiyotaka Ishimaru – The Super Duper High School Prefect
Japanese: 超高校級の風紀委員 (lit. Super Duper High School Hall Monitor/Prefect)
Well, that was easy. “Prefect” covers the meaning of the original fairly well, and it has a nice ring to it.
Byakuya Togami – The Super Duper High School Scion
Japanese: 超高校級の御曹司 (lit. Super Duper High School Son of a Noble Family)
This one was suggested in the comments as an alternative to “aristocrat” when we first announced the translation. We were all really fond of how well it fit, so we took the suggestion.
NOTE: In the demo, we translated his title as “Aristocrat.” The notes written before the change are preserved below.
That literal translation is only slightly a mouthful.
We chose “aristocrat” because it has an implication of upper class/nobility. The “son” part, unfortunately, had to be left out, because there’s not really a good word that encompasses everything, but that detail is covered well enough in the game, so it wasn’t a big loss.
Mondo Oowada – The Super Duper High School Outlaw Biker
Japanese: 超高校級の暴走族 (lit. Super Duper High School Biker Gang)
See this post.
NOTE: In the demo, we translated his title as “One Percenter.” The notes written before the change are preserved below.
Actually, that literal translation doesn’t even cover it. 暴走族 is the name of an entire Japanese subculture revolving around motorcycles and gangs (see this Wikipedia article for more info), and because it’s such a broad term, it’s extremely difficult to translate succinctly while capturing all the necessary meaning.
While “one percenter” very much refers to an American motorcycle subculture and the original title to a Japanese subculture, we figured that what it lacked in accuracy it made up for in impact. Unless you’re unfamiliar with the term (or intimately familiar with it), “one percenter” is more than likely going to give you exactly the first impression of Oowada the creators were going for.
Leon Kuwata – The Super Duper High School All Star
Japanese: 超高校級の野球選手 (lit. Super Duper High School Baseball Player)
This one doesn’t need a lot of explanation. It’s more accurate than “fireballer” and it evokes stronger baseball imagery.
NOTE: In the demo, we translated his title as “Fireballer.” The notes written before the change are preserved below.
“Baseball player” by itself is pretty dry and underwhelming. We had a lot of trouble coming up with something for this that both reflected what Kuwata did and didn’t seem like we had pulled it out of our asses.
Kuwata is described in-game as having played as both the ace pitcher and the cleanup hitter on the baseball team at his previous high school, so ideally we would call him something capable of encompassing both of those. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a single word for that.
However, as we were digging through baseball terminology, we came across the word “fireballer,” referring to a pitcher that throws at a very high velocity. Though there’s nothing in the script that discusses how fast he pitches, there is a CG in the prologue showing Kuwata hitting a ball with a fiery explosion in the background. When you throw his bright red hair and rough, abrasive personality into the mix, it actually starts making a lot of sense thematically, if not technically.
So it is a bit of a stretch, and it’s missing a little nuance, but we still like it.
Hifumi Yamada – The Super Duper High School Otaku
Japanese: 超高校級の同人作家 (lit. Super Duper High School Doujin Author/Artist)
Actually, this one came from the game’s box art, which has English renditions of all the titles in the background. Some of the translations are rather questionable, but we thought this one worked out fairly well. “Otaku” is one of the more well known ways to refer to members of the anime/manga fandom in English, and we thought “doujin author/artist” sounded a bit clumsy anyway.
Also, taking Yamada’s character into consideration, we didn’t feel it was right to actually translate his title, either. If he were a native English-speaking otaku, he would want it left untranslated (though “fanficcer” is a pretty hilarious, if not necessarily accurate, alternative).
Yasuhiro Hagakure – The Super Duper High School Shaman
Japanese: 超高校級の占い師 (lit. Super Duper High School Fortuneteller)
Just like Yamada’s title, this one came from the box art, too, though it doesn’t need as much explanation.
Sayaka Maizono – The Super Duper High School Idol
Japanese: 超高校級のアイドル (lit. Super Duper High School Idol)
Unlike most of the other titles, we actually want to explain why we didn’t translate this into something more recognizable/familiar. The word “idol” has a particular meaning in Japanese (see this article) that doesn’t quite line up with how the word is used in English. Japanese idols are–in essence–manufactured pretty faces, often members of pop groups like AKB48.
We had actually been brainstorming what to do with this one for a while and not having a whole lot of luck until we finally realized that, not only do we have a system in place to produce roughly the same breed of pop star, we use the same word to describe it. The artists that come out of shows like American Idol are actually, in many ways, quite similar to Japanese idols. Obviously, there are some key differences, but we felt it fit well enough to keep as-is.
Kyouko Kirigiri – The Super Duper High School ???
Japanese: 超高校級の？？？ (lit. Super Duper High School ???)
Aoi Asahina – The Super Duper High School Swimmer
Japanese: 超高校級のスイマー (lit. Super Duper High School Swimmer)
Again, pretty straightforward. We threw around some alternatives, thinking “swimmer” might be a little too plain compared to some of the other translations, but we couldn’t come up with anything decent.
Touko Fukawa – The Super Duper High School Bookworm
Japanese: 超高校級の文学少女 (lit. Super Duper High School Literature Girl)
The phrase “literature girl” doesn’t actually say much of anything useful, so we went with “bookworm,” which brings to mind roughly the same thing as the original phrase does in Japanese.
Sakura Oogami – The Super Duper High School Fighter
Japanese: 超高校級の格闘家 (lit. Super Duper High School Fighter/Martial Artist)
See this comment.
NOTE: In the demo, we translated her title as “Heavyweight.” The notes written before the change are preserved below.
Both “fighter” and “martial artist” are kind of dull and don’t have a lot of impact, so we took a slightly interpretive route with this translation. Oogami is said to be an MMA fighter in-game, and her weight (99 kg/218 lbs) would put her in the heavyweight division, so we went with that as her title, since it packs a bit more of a punch.
Celestia Ludenberg – The Super Duper High School High Roller
Japanese: 超高校級のギャンブラー (lit. Super Duper High School Gambler)
As with many of the translations, taking it straight felt lacking, so we went with a more interesting, roughly equivalent term.
Junko Enoshima – The Super Duper High School Supermodel
Japanese: 超高校級のギャル (lit. Super Duper High School Gal)
The term “gal” in Japanese doesn’t even resemble the English word it was taken from (see this Wikipedia article). And because there’s not really a very good translation for it, we chose something that describes what Enoshima does with her particular taste in fashion instead.
Chihiro Fujisaki – The Super Duper High School Programmer
Japanese: 超高校級のプログラマー (lit. Super Duper High School Programmer)
Nothing to see here.