NIS America Gives Us An Overview Of Rhapsody DS And Disgaea DS

By Spencer . September 22, 2008 . 7:01pm

If you weren’t already aware Disgaea DS and Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure come out on the Nintendo DS tomorrow in North America. These will be NIS America’s first Nintendo DS games. At the last minute I caught up with Jack Niida, the Marketing Manager over at NIS America, who took a few questions for the development team about both of the games. One of the issues I wanted to address was the amount of voice acting, a prominent feature in both Rhapsody and Disgaea: Hour of Darkness.


rds1 Music is been a key component of Rhapsody. Were you able to keep the songs and voice acting from the PS1 version intact?


Jack Niida, Marketing Manager at NIS America: For the voice acting, we were able to keep all the files, but for the songs, we had to limit it to Japanese version only. What happened was that the DS version included new music tracks and we could not get the original voice actors back. Therefore, we either had to change all the voice actors for all the characters or keep the V/O, but use the Japanese music tracks. Many of our fans loved the original actors, so we just could not replace everybody with new actors.


The first difference I noticed was Kururu immediately playable. What kind of skills and attacks does she have?


Jack Niida, Marketing Manager at NIS America: Kururu has a unique weapon attack using a “Harisen”. Some hardcore gamers who are accustomed to Japanese comedy might know what a harisen is, but for those who don’t know it’s a big paper fan looking thing to hit people’s head with.


rds2 The combat system has changed quite a bit too and the hybrid SRPG grid is gone. Why was Rhapsody simplified into a more traditional RPG?


NIS Development Team: Originally Rhapsody was meant to be a game for a wide audience, but the SRPG style did not appeal to the general gamers too well. So for the DS version we made changes so that even the most casual gamers could simply pick up and enjoy.


Would you say Rhapsody DS is easier than the original PS1 game?


NIS Development Team: Yes, the battle system has been changed from the SRPG style to the classic RPG style. With a simple battle menu and quick game play, it should be fun and enjoyable game.


rds3Did you use the existing translation for Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure or was the script altered?


NIS America Localization Team: We used the original translations and corrected some of the grammatical and spelling bugs.


We’ve been over this with Rhapsody, the DS has limited cartridge space. How much voice acting were you able to cram in Disgaea DS?


Jack Niida, Marketing Manager at NIS America: All the voice acting is there, but unfortunately, we had to compromise on the dual language and English musical songs.


dds2 One of the new story features is Prinny Commentary on the top screen. Where did this idea come from and what’s your favorite Prinny commentary?


Souhei Niikawa, Producer of Disgaea series: When we were planning to release the DS version, I thought it would be interesting to put the Prinny commentaries in just to mock the characters. In Disgaea there are a lot of ridiculous scenes that might not make too much sense, so I wanted a “boké” or a comedic character chime in on the moment.


Can you tell us about Disgaea DS’s multiplayer modes. Are they different from the PSP version?


NIS Development Team: Disgaea DS has the same multi-player mode as the PSP version. We did want to put new contents in but even just converting the game to the DS version was pushing the DS card’s capacity limits, so we couldn’t pull it off.


dds1Nintendo Wi-Fi support would have been a strong selling point for the DS version. How come it wasn’t added in?


NIS Development Team: It was a feature that was considered, but due to lack of time and manpower, we just couldn’t pull it off.


For fans of the series, there are brand new characters like Lord Zetta. What kind of attacks does he use?


NIS Development Team: Since Lord Zetta is a book he doesn’t really have any real physical attacks like punch or a lick. Instead he has an amazing laser beam that shoots our of his eyes. It’s a funny looking move, so please look forward to it.


What about Plenair? I heard she attacks with a flurry of rabbits.


Jack Niida, Marketing Manager at NIS America: Yes, Plenair has a rabbit attack that’s like the Prinny Bomb move by Etna. It’s an awesome skill, so try to figure out how you unlock Plenair.


Images courtesy of NIS America.

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  • jeffx

    I’m pissed I acted too late on their RQ bundle. I’m so looking forward to reliving the Rhapsody experience. So glad they “compromised” and kept the superior Japanese VA.

  • I’m confused by the answer to the first question. So is it all in English or partly Japanese?

  • Spencer

    @James – Partially in Japanese. The voiceovers are in English (i.e. text), the song parts are in Japanese.

  • I wonder how will it be with the multiplayer in Disgaea. I mean – will you be able to connect with an other language version. But I guess the answer will be no… ._.

  • japanesedoesn’tmakeitbetter

    “and kept the superior Japanese VA.”

    Fascinating that those who think the Japanese VA in games and anime is superior to English VA cannot speak the language. The English VA performance is approved by the Japanese company involved as are any content edits (hence the dragonball, one piece changes that got 4kids demonized are the fault of the Japanese owners) and if the English VA stinks then you can bet it’s a perfect translation of the quality of the Japanese VA. Which a Japanese person would describe the listening expierance as nails on a chalkboard, while to them the English VA would be the language track to listen to since they couldn’t understand what was being said.

    You know quite a number of games actually get their English VA work done in Japan such as the Resident Evil aka Biohazard series.

  • jeffx

    Fascinating that you’d make that assumption, too. I guess I don’t speak four languages as well as I thought I did. Maybe the past year of Japanese classes was just an illusion. ps tldr.

  • I can see what both sides are saying but sometimes the Japanese VAs are better if you can understand the language. Most of the time, if given the option I go with English just because I’m more comfortable with the language but there have been a few times that I’ve enjoyed games more in Japanese than English. I’ve noticed there are a lot of jokes that don’t get carried over.
    Also, in some games (not sure about this one) the songs are different for each language so it really depends on what songs you prefer (digital devil saga comes to mind).

    Anyway, we shouldn’t be bagging each other out, keep the peace folks or you’ll become prinnies in the next life.

  • Volcynika

    I’m not buying Rhapsody DS because they left out the translation of the singing. That was why I was buying it to begin with! But oh well, I’ll just somehow get the PS1 version from my friend someday.

  • jeffx

    It’s just that after being spoiled with localizations like Dragon Quest VIII, it’s really hard to lower myself to crap like Chaos Wars. But according to our new friend, that was approved by Idea Factory. Oh wait… they publicly admitted it was total crap. I don’t like the bickering anymore than you do Geoff, but there goes that dude’s “theory”. I’m surprised to see people so divided on the issue of language anyway.

  • As for Jp VO being superior to English ones, I must say that Disgaea 2 for the PS2 wasn’t funny at all until I turned on the English voices. They just fit the game better, putting knowledge of the language aside.

  • seiya19

    @japanesedoesn’tmakeitbetter (nice name by the way…)

    “Fascinating that those who think the Japanese VA in games and anime is superior to English VA cannot speak the language”

    Who says that you have to know the language to appreciate the voices ? The voice of a person is a sound, which doesn´t depend on the meaning of the words, so you can like/dislike the sound of it even if you don´t understand what the person is saying. Even more, you can also appreciate the sound of the language itself, even if you don´t understand it.

    Personal taste aside, there´s a logical argument for wanting the Japanese voices in Japanese products, which is that those are the original ones (aside cases like RE). Personally, I´ll always choose the original language if I have the choice, no matter which language is that (Spanish is my first language by the way), because I think that those voices and its original language are part of the game/movie/animation itself, as much as the music or other elements.

    A videogame is a cultural product, just like a movie, song, book, etc; which is obviously influenced by its respective origin, and I don´t think that it should be changed into something that is not to be assimilated into another culture. With that disrespectful way of thinking, we got things like the awful localization of Persona on PSX for example, which was heavily edited to suit the US culture to the point of being practically another game. Or, in more common and less extreme cases, we get games where the voices don´t match the animations (like Bloody roar 4 on PS2) or games that have sub-par voices or don´t match the character´s personalities, songs changed/removed, censorship, other cultural changes, etc.

    But I digress… The point is that most people that prefer the JP voices in JP games and anime is because they prefer the original language, because of these reasons (and some others). While changing the text can´t be avoided (although the JP text could still be included for those like jeffx who know Japanese), the voices could still be left as part of the original experience, specially when a big part of the JRPG fans (maybe the majority) would prefer them.

    And don´t get me started on 4Kids or Funanimation… If the Japanese actually agreed to those changes, they´re also responsible of course. Thank god that Latin America got a faithful dub of DBZ at least, because of being dubbed before the US version…

    PS: sorry if I wrote too much, but it´s an important subject to me…

  • Pichi

    I was hoping they’ll keep the English songs, as I like to sing along in a musical and I loved the English songs.

  • Pichi

    @ seiya19

    If the setting is in another country, I would go for that country’s language. Like anime that is set in England, I rather have English VA for a better understanding of setting, not to mention fantasy settings are fair game, as its fantasy.

    Also, I feel its not fair that the people who bash dubs wouldn’t truly know a bad original dub and just stick with that. Not really fair, IMO.

    Not to mention stuff like Final Fantasy Internationals, Kingdom Hearts Final Mixes, and things in English to begin with like Resident Evil series kind of shows that some Japanese like to hear new language voices and the likes just as much as some people like Japanese VA. What does that say?

  • matty

    Different strokes for different folks!
    I already have the original English soundtrack, and if you really want to see it without playing the game, there’s always youtube.
    As much as I love the English version, I don’t necessarily need it. Certainly not more than a new Marl game.

  • Joanna

    just to put my two cents in, Japanese voice acting tends to be better, because I find the Japanese voice actors are a lot more professional. The characters come to life, and even without understanding everything, I can still make out the emotions in the voice. English dubs tend to have less quality voice acting, and the only emotion they can produce tends to be rage (aka screaming). This is especially true for “children” shows where every line is done in an angry voice. But I will admit that there are some good english dubs, they are just a rare breed.

    With that said, I am very happy to know that Rhapsody will have Japanese music tracks. I’m not a fan of American music.

  • seiya19


    “If the setting is in another country, I would go for that country’s language”

    Well, those anime/games that take place in other countries have sometimes English language instead of Japanese, or a mixture of them in their original voices (don´t know if there´s other cases of languages). I think that a Vampire Hunter D movie was originally in English if I remember correctly (not sure where it took place) while Resident Evil, Sin and Punishment, Devil May Cry and Disaster: Day of Crisis are examples of Japanese games with original English voices, and I don´t have a problem with that. As long as it´s how the creators intended it, I´m fine with it.

    “not to mention fantasy settings are fair game, as its fantasy”

    Not really… Just because it´s fantasy doesn´t mean that its story, characters or settings don´t have a Japanese influence. It´s still Japanese storytelling, using Japanese expressions/phrases, Japanese archetypes for the characters, etc. Besides, like I said before, I consider the original voices a part of the game itself, and part of the characters. Since the original voice actors are from the same culture as the developers and closer to them, they can portrait better the characters personalities, according to what they creators wanted. And the issues with the animation still apply, besides others…

    “Also, I feel its not fair that the people who bash dubs wouldn’t truly know a bad original dub and just stick with that. Not really fair, IMO”

    If you watch things in their original language on a regular basis, you get used to the voices and begin to distinguish between what´s common and what´s not. But as for knowing what´s good and what´s bad… that´s subjective. It doesn´t matter if you know the language or not, you could still agree/disagree with other person about whether a voice was good or bad because of this.

    However, in the event that someone dislikes the original voices, at least you know that those are the original ones… It would be the equivalent of disliking other aspects of the game/anime. When you dislike the new dub, there´s just no excuse for it…

    As for your comment on the “International/Final Mix” versions and RE… I don´t understand much what you mean… Resident Evil is targetted more to the US than Japan (with much higher sales in the US) and while the original voices for those are in English because of its “western” setting, Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts are originally in Japanese. The “special” re-releases are secondary, so it´s a very different situation than what we´re discussing.

  • Pichi

    @ Joanna

    I don’t think they are a rare breed if you’ve been watching alot of anime dubs and the likes. The people who tend to think that are the ones who don’t watch much dubs.

    @ seiya19

    So if they decide to give Japanese dubs for a let’s say, an International version, would you still go with the original English VA? I’m also talking about anime/games were the setting is like England, but they still casts Japanese VA. When brought overseas, you’re telling me you’ll still stick with the Japanese VA despite the fact that it takes place in England and English VA would best fit the setting of what the creator had in mind?

    I’m just saying for the International and Final Mix, is that there are Japanese fans that like other dubs as well, lol. Just because its the original doesn’t mean you have to go that route. Kingdom Hearts makes a special case, since Disney the original is English voices.

    But overall, it is personal taste.

  • Pichi

    I would also like to point out localizations. Sure, you enjoy the original performance, but are you really understanding the creator’s intent? You don’t know the language, so can you really point out, for example, when Naruto says “dattebayo” or a Prinny’s equivalent of “dood”? The inflection when a character says a word and the likes that may go over your head. Subs won’t get you much closer to a creator’s vision, especially if its localized and the likes. Just food for thought. :D

  • seiya19


    “The people who tend to think that are the ones who don’t watch much dubs”

    You know, that argument can be used in both ways… Most people that complain about getting the original voices are the ones that have only heard that language once or twice (sometimes never) and can´t tolerate to watch things in a different language.

    If you´re an anime fan or play Japanese games in the West, it´s impossible for you to never heard much of an English dub (or Spanish, in my case in anime) because they are everywhere… Few Japanese games get their original voices in this side of the world and practically every anime gets a new dub for TV (and they´re always an option on DVDs, movies, etc).

    “I’m also talking about anime/games were the setting is like England, but they still casts Japanese VA”

    In those very few cases, I would go for the original Japanese VA. Why ? Because even if the setting is in England (in this example), there´s still probably several expressions, and elements from the culture and characters that would get lost in the English dub, which are part of the story.

    Ask yourself this: If you made a movie/game in a Japanese setting, would you be able to imitate every aspect of that culture ? Or would you translate part of your culture to that setting, even if you don´t intend to ?

    By the way, if you prefer the language according to the setting like you said (which could include other languages besides English and Japanese…), you would end up watching the original voices most of the time anyway, with “fantasy” ones being optional.

    “I’m just saying for the International and Final Mix, is that there are Japanese fans that like other dubs as well, lol”

    But it´s still a very different matter because they got the original voices first, not other ones instead of them. These are rare cases anyway, more like “novelty” items or “collector´s editions” and some of them even including Japanese VA partially, like in the FF X-2 version.

    “Disney the original is English voices”

    Yes, but not for S-E´s characters… Even a more unfrequent case is this one…

    “I would also like to point out localizations. Sure, you enjoy the original performance, but are you really understanding the creator’s intent?”

    Yes, at least most of it. I can´t understand everything because I´m not Japanese, but the subtitles can explain a few things, the context can explain others and by experiencing more of the culture you understand more.

    A new dub usually removes/modifies several cultural elements (which are part of the work itself) in order to be able to express “everything” in that language. A subtitled version keeps all those elements intact in the voices, while if done properly, explaining them partially. It´s not perfect, but it´s definitely closer to the original work of the creator. And there´s also other things that those dubs change, like reducing the sound of the music or background in anime.

    As for “dattebayo”, I didn´t understand it much at first (although I liked the way of saying it), but after a while I understood it more because of the context. Is “believe it” better ? Is it an accurate translation, and/or even used somewhere ? In Spanish, Sakura says “chas” instead of its usual expression (I don´t know how´s in English), which as far as I know doesn´t mean anything…

  • matty

    Just got the game from Rosenqueen.
    Love it. It’s a great feeling seeing it again.
    Any disputes I had with it (mainly, change of artist) were put to rest when I started playing. It’s just so cool all of that doubt overcame me.

  • Pichi

    I’ll have to agree to disagree with the settings. Especially for accents that don’t exist for Japanese VA. If their intent was their character to be from that country and be part of it, then the best way for that expression is that accent and whatever language niche. I’ve heard of creators approving the dubs, and that counts as their vision, probably moreso for different locals.

    FFX-2 only got Japanese VA for the Last Mission since its new. But really now, I believe that the opposite of this situation is a market for them. Its “new” and “exotic” and liking a “new vision,” so why not?

    But that’s the thing, with games, your not getting true subtitles, your getting “dubtitles.” You got the voice, but your still missing creator’s intent. For example, missing out on what Japanese Prinnys say for their, “Dood” and any other puns that won’t be noticed because your reading the English script of the dub. They are missed if you don’t understand the language. Of course, people who understand both languages get double the fun in gaming, IMO.

    Yes, “believe it” is a good translation, but since many English fans noticed more than when Japanese Naruto says theirs, they complain(ugh). So they dropped it. Naruto says dattebayo TONS more times than believe it, yet people complain more for “believe it.” And all they were doing was being close to the intent for Naruto. Ignorance is bliss I suppose, moment many understand they get all crazy.
    As for Sakura, I’m pretty sure she’s doing it right. I think all versions, its suppose to be “Cha” and just means Sakura’s Inner self cheer.

  • seiya19

    “I’ll have to agree to disagree with the settings…”

    Ok, let´s agree to disagree. But like I already mentioned, these are just a few exceptions. Most Anime/JP games take place in Japan or a fantasy setting anyway (sometimes a mixture of both), and from the rest some include English VA originally.

    Besides, if the creators of an animation/game/movie/etc decided to create such thing in their language instead of a foreign one according to the setting, that means something, right ?

    And well, if Akira Toriyama or Toei Animation (for example) thought that it was ok for Dragon Ball to be edited like it was in the US dub… I would still disagree. Just because the original creators, for whatever reason agree with those things (or the more common new dubs) doesn´t mean I should. I would still prefer the original voices for the things I already stated.

    “Its “new” and “exotic” and liking a “new vision,” so why not?”

    So… Why is it ok for Japan to get foreign voices, but not ok for the West ? How is it ok to change the language to get new “exotic” voices for Japan, but not getting foreign voices in the West, even if those are the original ones ?

    And again, getting another option is not the same as that being the only option. I´m sure that the Japanese wouldn´t like to get Final Fantasy or Disgaea in English only, just like I´m sure people in the US wouldn´t like to get Bioshock or Halo in Japanese only. The US didn´t even got Jade Empire in a foreign language, which could´ve been in Chinese according to your opinion.

    “But that’s the thing, with games, your not getting true subtitles, your getting “dubtitles.””

    Well, that´s true… although how much you lose also depends on how faithful the English dub is. It also depends on how the script is done, because I´m guessing that the script could include some short clarifications or names/expressions through brackets or quotation marks.

    However, this doesn´t mean that the original voices aren´t worth keeping, or still better than the new ones. The original voices still allow you to know the intended personalities of the characters, they´re better suited to the animations (and settings, at least in most cases), and you´re still able to hear expressions, names or other cultural elements (which also appear in the gameplay, like in the battles) that can be recognized after a while.

    And this wouldn´t apply to those very few cases where we get the original voices only, like in Guilty Gear games, Yakuza 2, Megaman X6, etc. If we had more of these, this wouldn´t be a problem…

    I haven´t played Disgaea yet, but I´m guessing that in the case of “Dood”, the japanese equivalent probably gets mentioned several times in the original VA. If that´s the case, I´m sure I can recognize the expression eventually, and see how it´s used in the context. And since the original expression probably can´t be translated exactly, hearing it in it´s context is as far as I can go without knowing Japanese, and better than hearing “Dood” for me.

    By the way, isn´t one of the reasons of playing a Japanese game (in this case) to play something different from your own culture ? Because if you keep changing every cultural element, how much is there from the original ? You might as well play a game from your country instead.

    “Yes, “believe it” is a good translation, but since many English fans noticed more than when Japanese Naruto says theirs, they complain(ugh). So they dropped it. Naruto says dattebayo TONS more times than believe it, yet people complain more for “believe it” ”

    I´ll have to disagree then… “Dattebayo” is an expression that can´t be translated accurately, because it´s just a way of finishing a sentence, “confirming”/”reinforcing” it. I started watching Naruto before any dub existed through fansubs and after a few episodes I easily realized that Naruto mentioned that expression at the end of several sentences. And by reading the subs, you can see in which context the sentence is used without any problem.

    I loved that expression after hearing it in the first episodes, along with Naruto´s original voice, and I disliked “Believe It”(and it´s Spanish translation) afterwards. It´s not about how many times its said, but about the expression itself and how its said.

    The way I see it, disrespecting the expression which was chosen by Kishimoto himself is disrespecting a part of its work. Do you think that an expression made up by an editor is as valid as the original one ? When hearing “dattebayo”, I understand the original intent good enough and hear the original expression, but when hearing “Believe It”, I´m hearing a completely different expression just to get a useless literal meaning.

    “As for Sakura, I’m pretty sure she’s doing it right. I think all versions, its suppose to be “Cha” and just means Sakura’s Inner self cheer”

    No, in the Japanese version she says something like “Shannaro” (an expression which I also love), which according to Wikipedia, it has no literal meaning. It´s an expression that can be used for several things depending on the situation. Changing it to “Cha” doesn´t make any sense because it´s not either the original expression or a translation of it. It would be like changing “Cowabunga” from T.M.N.T in other languages.

    So, it seems that Latin America got the “Cha” from the US version then… along with the awful “cut-and-paste” opening…

    PS: Sorry for writing too much, but it´s a long topic to discuss and I´m not very good at explaining things in few words, specially in English. I think that I´ve wrote more than enough, so I´ll read your comment if you want to add something but I won´t reply unless you have a question for me.

  • Pichi

    No, no, don’t think of edited, think of exactly what I said. Exactly uncut and the likes, but more to their vision of locales, etc. Not to mention they over see what all the dub actors do, from expression to casting, its something that shouldn’t be discounted. Its like you’re ignoring some of their vision in the end for that regard.

    You’re forgetting about the Resident Evil series and Devil May Cry series in that accord. I’m pretty sure there are a few Engrish games out there as well. So its not out of the question for them to have only one track that’s not Japanese. Especially Mario games. But, there are games in the US that have only come with the Japanese track. It happens but rarely.

    Not necessary, but I can see for some. I play Japanese games if it interests me. For any game that comes from any country, I have many factors just like every other media. If I was a creator, I would want to expand my audience as much as possible. And remember, many people have the option to import the Japanese version while people who like dubs cannot. Not to mention subs for the deaf and dubs for the blind in these things. In a perfect world, there would be both options, but I say at least have a dub for that country for that person to experience a work in their way.

    I’ll have to disagree strongly about “Dattebayo” issue. Especially when creators picked the phase for that language audience, its as much valid, IMO. Especially when it fits for the sentence before it, as bring excitement and agreement which fits as best as it can. People who don’t understand Japanese would get a since from the dub that he does have a catch phase and the likes otherwise they wouldn’t have caught.

    Yes, I’m one of those people that rather have many understand a work as much as possible. So in the case of “Cowabunga”, if a language has a hard time pronouncing it, I would try to find something as similar and the likes for those who can’t comprehend. For me, I would want that person to have the same feel as someone watching the original who knows the language and no need for subs. So if there is a joke, I would want to change it to get into the spirit like it was in the original. That is what localization is suppose to be, IMO.

    PS: I understand! It was nice talking to you with the discussion at hand! Nice to get POV from others and a friendly debate. ^_^

  • seiya19

    Indeed, nice talking to you too. ^.^

    Being able to discuss a topic in a peaceful and respectful way (specially when you disagree) is not something that you can do with everyone on the internet…

    Oh, and just so you know, I was counting the “uncut” new dubs before. I mentioned them when I wrote “(or the more common new dubs)”, but well, I should´ve clarified that more or not using Dragon Ball as my main example in the first place.

  • Pichi

    That’s true. On many message boards I’ve seen, its like a battlefield that just leads to trolls and flamers and losing the discussion, ugh.

    Ah, I gotcha! Thanks for clarifying for me!

    Take care! :D And thanks again for this discussion! Helps to know more, indeed! ^_^

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