How “Hentai Elf Shimai to Majime Orc” became “Horny Elves and a Moral Orc”

We had a lot of trouble figuring out what would be the best title, while still keeping the humorously clashing nuances of the Japanese. The reason being, hentai and majime are both notoriously problematic words for translation. 

To begin, “hentai” has such a broad nuance in Japan, and unfortunately for translators, it has been taken as the overarching title for “ero-anime” in the west, pigeon-holing the nuance as something purely devious and sexual. When people say hentai in Japan however, it’s much closer to weirdo or sicko, and certainly not always (but sometimes) sexual. A chunky guy wearing a tank-top a size too small, pubic trail up to his belly-button visible, someone obsessing over American reaction videos on youtube to better analyze foreigners’ mouth movements the moment they say “oh my god!”, or of course, someone playing conspicuous pocket pool on the train. These all fall into the realm of what a “hentai” person is. On the other hand however, “weirdo” really doesn’t carry the sexual connotation in English, and “pervert” carries too much. I thought, okay, let’s go with “twisted elves”, that can have both perverse and weird connotations, right? But it really goes too far, because the things the elf sisters do are not sadistic for the sake of being sadistic, but always with the end goal of receiving sex; essentially, they are horny, and that drives them to do some very “hentai” things. At least we’re keeping the H in there…

Majime is even more of a hodgepodge of nuances, and since it’s so irritating to constantly re-evaluate the word in context, many stick with the first dictionary entry of “serious”. Serious, for me, carries the connotation we want for Donovan, but only in the way that he can be intense sometimes. “Serious” doesn’t communicate his dilemma, nor does it contrast appropriately with horny; I can be both serious and horny, believe me. Majime contrasts great with hentai, because someone who is majime is unwavering, sticks to what is the right thing to do, and rejects the kind of promiscuous tomfoolery the “hentai elves” bring into this poor, poor orc’s life. But it needs to be a decent sounding title, and for me, cadence is so important in the impact of text; not overly wordy, and not using words that are too far from ordinary speech (words like “lewd”, “earnest”, etc). So what is a word that contrasts with horny, but also has a connotation of being upstanding, and on the straight and narrow? Moral is the answer to that. It’s great, not only because it works and is easy to say, but also because it kind of rhymes with orc, and now we keep the original initialism of the game: H.E.M.O. Bake ’em away toys!

Horny Elves and A Moral Orc is coming to MangaGamer.com and Steam on November 18th! Pre-order on the MangaGamer store to save 10%!

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