[FFF] vs [Commie] Machine Doll Ep4: Side-By-Side Translation Review

The main review for the season is over and it’s time for in-depth comparisons!

Apparently Commie changed their editor (before my first review was done) and a certain someone asked me to look at Ep4 script for this series, so going with this first.
I’ll try to cover more highest rated original translations vs one of the official-edits for future side-by-side reviews.

Machine Doll Episode 4

Files used:
[FFF] Unbreakable Machine-Doll – 04 [3D8F7E63].mkv
[Commie] Unbreakable Machine-Doll – 04 [D658D7F2].mkv

Bolded: Better line.
Details on the grading scheme, perceived difficulty, and liberal scale (LS): Grading Scheme v3
Definitions of “good translation” and “best practices”: Fan Translation Guide


**[Commie] – TIMING

Massive timing failure on Commie release. The line on the second screen should be on the third, and so on for few consecutive lines.

vlcsnap-2013-10-31-09h36m48s203*[FFF] – ERROR,
「嫌になっちまうぜ、まったく」–> “What a heart-wrenching tale.”

He’s basically saying Dino-chick’s past was really unfair and it disgusts him. Does not mean unbelievable.


vlcsnap-2013-10-31-09h44m57s244 [FFF]
**[Commie] – ???
「そいつを聞いて安心したぜ」 – “I’m relieved to hear that.”

Really good line by FFF. Incredibly poorly translated line on Commie’s release, either by mistranslation or simply poorly thought out.
He’s basically indirectly saying “Now I don’t have to hesitate about killing you because of what you said.”

「君の戦い方は単純だね | 力に物を言わせて敵をねじ伏せる」

Although the next line starts with “but”, there is no question in Japanese that the line in the second screen is more strongly linked to the previous line than the one after.
There is no need to force a flow to the next line, and the speaker certainly didn’t imply “you can do whatever you want” or being cheeky. It was a simple statement to elaborate on why his fighting style is simple/primitive.


「センス」in here means he has a bad taste in choosing his strategy or lacks natural talent. It doesn’t exactly have to be unsophisticated. Just making bad choices.
FFF’s line here is almost spot-on.

vlcsnap-2013-10-31-09h48m32s221**[FFF] – CONTEXT/LOGIC
*[Commie] – EDITING
「 いい身分だな」- “Well, aren’t you high and mighty.”

The previous line was “I see you’re also here for the show”, with the strong nuance of “looking down from above” in the way she said it. She’s basically just teasing him because he really is at the top (in the Night Festival) and it looks like he’s watching lowly ranked fighters for entertainment.

FFF’s translation can work if he really was doing something shameful, but there isn’t really anything shameful about being curious of a new student fighting… or maybe they interpreted as 「いい気味だな」 instead.

Not sure if Commie’s line even makes sense in English lol, certainly very badly translated.


Its general category/type. Not the name of that doll.

Got enough evidence from the LN that it’s actually the name of that doll.

Maybe it’s to reinforce the notion that people usually objectify their dolls, in contrast to MC???
Makes no sense but if the source material says so, then it is.


She’s not in the position to prove anything. If one had to pick, it should be “But you can’t prove it.”
Keeping it ambiguous (can’t prove to anyone in general) like FFF did is ideal for situations like this.

vlcsnap-2013-10-31-09h56m17s100*[FFF] – CONTEXT

Line before this was pretty much “You still going to fight me?” so “as good” does not flow here at all.


Honestly, it’s impossible to translate this in under 10 words. Both groups BSed this line, and Commie/Funi at least tried because they managed to get the three key points of translating this line and closer to the actual SFX of the move.

The three key points are:
1. Don’t repeat what you’ve used before (Pinnacle Thrust).
2. Include “Moon”, which should be a keyword by now because Yaya is the “Moon” in the “Trifecta of Snow-Moon-Flower”.
3. Make it sound way more epic than any of Yaya’s previous moves.

vlcsnap-2013-10-31-10h04m57s73*[FFF] – CONTEXT
*[Commie] – CONTEXT
「だけど所詮は物質だ!」 – “But your doll is still made of physical material! ”

“Relies” or “limited to” are very confusing way of phrasing a rather straightforward line.

Both groups were trying to smoothen it out with the previous line where he was describing MC’s ability to enhance physical property of matters (such as hardness, speed), so they’re basically saying “his skill still relies on manipulating the matter.”

The speaker didn’t exactly say what he’s referring to, but the logical conclusion in this scene is that “No matter how much you enhance the matter in your doll, it’s still made of physical material, which can be destroyed by his mist and can’t damage mist”, instead of simply elaborating that his ability to enhance matter obviously relies/limited to physical matter. He would’ve said 「物質操作」in that case as well.

*[Commie] - LITERAL

Clear literal error by Funi. It does make sense, but the threat is nowhere as strong as it should be.

vlcsnap-2013-10-31-10h31m27s188**[FFF] – CONTEXT/LOGIC

「晒し者」is commonly used in the  context of embarrassment  by public display, but this time it’s literally “go and show yourself to the public”.

vlcsnap-2013-10-31-10h33m10s126*[FFF] – NUANCE

Certainly more emphasis on thinking really hard  or constantly thinking about it, rather than the duration for this line.


Script Quality / Negligible Errors



“Dinosaur Girl” sounds better and is closer to 「娘」.

vlcsnap-2013-10-31-13h31m50s235[FFF] – ERROR/ARGUABLE

“Britain” vs “England”. 「英国」is technically derived from the word “England”, but since “Britain” exists in Japanese is almost never used, people tend to include the entire UK when they say「英国」or「イギリス」. But then again, 「イングランド」, the katakana for “England” is almost as rarely used as “Britain” in Japanese… the word「英国」in everyday life is practically used interchangeably for both “England” and “UK”.

The logic of it is pretty much the same as saying Harvard or MIT  are in Boston, but both are clearly in the city of Cambridge. It would technically be wrong, but you wouldn’t be surprised if someone out of the US says “Harvard is in Boston” in their own language. Japanese people just don’t give a fuck about Scotland, Ireland, and Wales and does the same thing.

tl;dr It’s impossible to tell if he meant England, GBR, or just don’t care. So unless it would cause clear logic error, let’s just go with “England” because 99%+ of the viewers can hear and the speaker in video didn’t care enough to say the accurate name even if they meant it.


Although “disgraced” does describe the situation, there is really no need to reinterpret this way at the loss of detail.
In addition, being disgraced alone usually doesn’t result to losing properties.

「どうも誤解があるようですね | あなたは食事が嫌いですか?」 – “It seems you misunderstand me. | Don’t you get pleasure from eating?”

Kind of a tie in this scene. FFF’s first line really needs editing. Commie’s second line really needs emphasis either at “you” or elaborate on “to eat”, because what she’s trying to say in this line is… “I’m killing other dolls because I enjoy eating” so it’s not like my master is forcing me to do these things against my will.


I originally took this screenshot to complain about the simplification of Commies’s line, but the more I look at it, the more I see that it does cover pretty much everything meant in FFF’s line, shorter, flows perfectly, and nuance isn’t bad either.

Very good example of condensation for lower character per duration.


“Would you be willing to stand down” fit the context (enemy doll about to attack) and the speaker’s tone far better in this line.


Editing and minor context error on FFF. She definitely didn’t come together with him –> “Are you spectating too?”



“Half-dead” is kind of a weird way of describing him here.


The entire sentence was a magic trick analogy (“magic trick” was the subject, not “magic”), so let’s keep it that way. Far better word choice with “cheap gimmick” as well.


Battle is definitely NOT over. Yeah, people might say Commie’s line in real life to mean “the winner is already decided”, but then why not just use that line instead? Always avoid unnecessary confusion.
Speaker ‘s wasn’t being very indirect either (in which case their version would’ve been better).


An excellent example of when you should be adding supplemental description with FFF’s script.

“Imbued” is implied in this sentence, but the presence of this word clearly improves understanding of this line. It’s 6-second long, so it doesn’t really affect readability. Furthermore, the whole scene is about a person explaining a concept, and that’s exactly where you want to make sure everything is thoroughly explained.



The series name’s “kizutsukanai” part is translated as “unbreakable” in logo. The problem is, that translation only exists for aesthetic purposes, and even in context of machine dolls, it should’ve been “Can’t Hurt the Machine Doll” because it could’ve been so easily foreseen that “kizutsukanai” might have multiple meanings of “Can’t be permanently damaged” / “can’t get wounds” / “can’t feel physical pain” / “feelings can’t be hurt” etc. Now the script translators are getting burned for it. Never let whoever translated the official title work on Penguindrum or Monogatari series, guys.

So now FFF has awful continuity and borderline nuance error, while Commie has a borderline logic error to make this work and still stay in line with “unbreakable”.

Funi/Commie seem to have handled this a bit better though.





The scale and frequency of this meeting is unknown to me (because I didn’t read the LN…),  but I overwhelmingly prefer Commie/Funi’s “Night Festival” or “Festival” because the competition is apparently based on (inspired by?) the Walpurgis Night festival.


Not sure if they’re using this as terminology or just one-time choice, but  ”spell” seems more appropriate here.


[FFF] – Theory of Magical Dissonance
[Commie] – Principle of Discordant Magical Activity
「魔活性不協和の原理」- “Principle of Discordant Magical Efficacy”

「活性」is often used to mean “activation (or increasing efficacy)” as a verb, but it’s a noun here, so it’s “efficacy/effectiveness”, as described in two screens that followed.
Still, Commie’s version has a lot more detail and “principle” sounds more appropriate as well.


Technicals Score

Commie: 2 majors, 6 minors
FFF: 2 majors, 6 minors

Script Quality:

Commie: Good
FFF: Good

I liked Commie’s script more by a small margin.
I really liked FFF’s interpretations for some lines, but Commie had higher quantity of lines that I preferred.

Final Grade:

Commie: B

Well I guess which one is “better” depends on your preference. At least it looks like you can’t go wrong with either release.

5 Thoughts on “[FFF] vs [Commie] Machine Doll Ep4: Side-By-Side Translation Review

  1. just in time, was planning on giving this a go tonight! Surprised that they both scored pretty much the same, with different issues though, I thought FFF was going to come up on top.

  2. Seems like a lot of the problem with Commie’s is Funi messed up and we have no way to fix that :(

    Though FFF could improve their editing pretty easily.

    • 8thSin on November 1, 2013 at 5:24 pm said:

      Having a TLC (whose Japanese and reading comprehension has to be better than Funi’s translator) would help, but it looked like Funi’s accuracy wasn’t bad at all. The amount of derps here is about the same as I would find in QC if I translated this episode myself.

      I don’t think your editors should be worrying about the accuracy of the script, because you’re more likely to mess up like what happened in Ep2 unless you knew exactly what the Japanese line meant.

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