A lot of us probably have wondered about the strange and weird names of some of the Laser Beasts, right? The names have been around and are used for over a decade but where do they actually come from and what´s the logic behind it?
Not only will those questions get answered in this new post but it´ll also include a massive change for all of the Battle Beasts Community because after some research the Beastformers Archaeology Team has decided it´s time to Rename the Laser Beasts!!
A massive step which we´ve thoroughly discussed because why change names that are commonly known and accepted within the BB Community? This as well as the introduction of the new names will be explained below.
First it´s important to mention that this process will be done in 3 Phases. Phase 1 (May 1st 2020) contains the name changes for the First 12 Laser Beasts the so called lower LB (#77-88) followed by the next Phase a week later which means that throughout the whole May period all of the new Laser Beasts names will gradually be revealed and shared with the BB Community.
The Header image of this post will get updated once a new Phase has been added here, in that case a V will appear confirming the next Phase has been added to this post. If you´re curious you can scroll down to Phase 1 directly but first a bit more inside information about how we got to this ¨drastic¨ change.
As some of you might know the Beastformers Archaeology Team, (BA Team) composed out of long term, knowledgeable and passionate collectors, is working behind the scenes in order to reveal the history of the Battle Beasts puzzle, piece by piece. During one of the latest posts here on the Beastformers Blog about the Hierarchy of the Laser Beasts it already became clear that some of the translated documents were incorrect. With that realization came the probability that a lot of documents that have been translated from Japanese to English in the past held errors or imperfections. The Beastformers Team is currently, still working on re-translating some of these files, but for the Laser Beasts, it became clear that some mistakes have been made in the past as well. This could explain why some names have always seemed a bit weird, but before simply changing the names, there’s one question remaining;
Who was it that actually created the names we´ve been using for over a decade? Because TAKARA in 1987/1988 came up with the name Laser Beasts which is the literal English translation of the Japanese name (レーザービースト). It was also TAKARA who made the individual names for each Laser Beast, obviously in Japanese, but for these the literal translations simply weren´t very obvious. Thus originally the Laser Beasts, HASBRO named them Shadow Warriors, never ever had English names because the names we are using today are based on translations done by fellow collectors in the past, but who?
Therefore it´s important to realize that 15, or maybe even 20, years or more ago the BB Community looked a whole lot different and the figures and items that are (still) rare today, coming from Japan, were discovered for the first time. Imagine someone suddenly showing up with a Japanese exclusive Laser Beast while only the lower and in some cases the middle ones had been known. Around that time, estimated 2000-2005, the first attempt was done to translate the Laser Beasts names based on the ID cards or other documentation that was found from Japan by these international collectors. Sadly enough, so far, we´ve not been able to trace back who actually translated them back in the days but there was a forum around which no longer exists, and long before LRG, where one or more collectors have been responsible for the translations of the Laser Beasts names we are still using today. With the Who question unsolved but with the When question hereby answered it´s not a very strange thought to go over the original Japanese names again with the knowledge and translation capabilities we have within the BA Team. This has led us to where we are standing now; Renaming the Laser Beasts!
Before we start sharing the results of our research it´s important to mention a couple of things of which primarily our starting position has been the most crucial. Because this has made that the names shared below are the way they are.
Similar to the rest of our publications it´s our goal preserve the History of the Beasts in the best possible and most pure way which also means that all the translations done, and currently running, are based on the Japanese information we have. We have experienced that with the knowledge about the line we have from our Western perspective this is already a challenge on it´s own because everything we know and have learned is based on the HASBRO perspective of the line. Meaning that once the word Beastformers shows up, the Japanese name TAKARA used for the Beasts, we tend to directly make the connection with Battle Beasts and it´s tempting to use Battle Beasts instead simply because that makes the most sense for us. This is a conflict we´ve been in a couple of times coming up with interesting and strong new names for the Laser Beasts which could be supported by the Japanese description BUT in the end they were too far of from the Japanese name. A couple of times we bumped into this problem deviating towards cool and great new names and we even had discussions about going that route or not but in the end it all came back to the purity of the translation meaning it had to be in line with the original Japanese name. This insight was mainly gained after these few lines realizing what we actually were doing at that point ;
… shouldn´t have been called ¨Renaming the Laser Beasts¨ but ¨Naming the Shadow Warriors¨. This makes much more sense because like Beastformers the Laser Beasts name is connected directly to Takara and all the original documentation. While Shadow Warriors is the Hasbro part for which we are missing the names and where
…..*, ……* and other names would work well. So this is the part where we have the freedom to do what we want within boundaries. In that case we´d be completing the task Hasbro failed to do because at this moment the situation is as follows;
Original JP TAKARA name (ホワイトレオ)
English translation (White Leo)
Original EN HASBRO (Battle Beasts) name (Pirate Lion)
Original JP TAKARA name (ブルーイーグル)
English translation (Blue Eagle)
Original EN HASBRO (Shadow Warriors) name (…)
(* Name suggestions that were dropped in this conversation which could be considered ¨Names for the Shadow Warriors,¨ since those have no importance at this moment they´re removed)
It was after this point that the realization kicked in understanding that we were mixing up two things. The translation of the Japanese name had to be pure like White Leo which is the direct English translation of the Japanese name and Pirate Lion had to be kept completely loose from this. So instead of being tempted, although we almost did, to jump into the gap HASBRO left leaving the names for the Shadow Warriors blank it´s of main importance first and foremost to come up with the proper English translations of the original Japanese Laser Beasts names given by TAKARA.
After all this it might be a nice idea to look into the project of ¨Naming the Shadow Warriors¨ with the whole BB Community because it could be pretty fun to fill in that part even though those names obviously can never get an ¨official¨ status. It´s an open end to the line left by HASBRO that´ll always remain.
Explaining the NEW Names
Of course, and luckily, not all of the Laser Beasts will receive a new name because some of the translations are pretty straight forward and they were done correctly in the past. For those, most likely the Beasts with the strange and odd names that never made sense, that will receive a new name an explanation of the new name and/or part of the discussion of how we got there will be shared as well to provide some more insight and create a better understanding for the name. Not only have we been looking solely at the Japanese name but since we´re running translations of the story line and had the ID cards to consult as well the actual outcome of the name has been crosschecked with the position and character of that specific Beasts in the whole story line as well. Which means that all of the explanations added below are just brief summaries of the discussions and arguments we´ve had on them because even though some were obvious after having the correct understanding some remained debatable. In the end, the names presented here have been agreed upon by all of the BA Team members that have been working on this project.
In phase 1 the original Japanese names of the first 12 so called low-end Laser Beasts have been reconsidered after translating them into English. For 5(!!) Beasts this has resulted in a new name knowing;
Formerly known as; Sailon
The reason why this rather drastic name change has occurred is because of the following;
Japanese name: サイロン
This translates directly into “Sairon” or with the R replaced by the L (since the L is not used in the Japanese alphabet that´s based on the sound system). Often in Romanized spelling the R is therefore used. Resulting in the fact the initial translation resulted in SAILON.
What is done here is that the Japanese name has been a play of two words, similar to Condorassin (Condor/Assasin), with サイ (Rhinoceros) and ロン (Ron). With this in mind looking at the pure translation again ¨Sairon¨ it shows Airon which is Iron in Japanese so the name is an actual combination of Rhinoceros and Iron.
Of course the Iron part could refer to various things in this case like the actual armor or it might have been a reference to the skin of the rhino which looks like an armor on its own. With those two words there were not a whole lot of strong combinations to make outside Rhinociron and Rhinoceron. Eventually we agreed on going with Rhinociron because that´s the name in which the iron part comes out the best making it an understandable and logic new name.
83. GRAND WOLF
Formerly known as; Ground Wolf
Not the most extreme name change and therefore it´ll probably be one that´ll mistakenly keep it´s formerly known name the longest but let´s have a look;
Japanese name: グランドウルフ
This translates directly into “Gurandourufu” where in this case ¨Gurand¨ (sound based) can translate either in Ground or Grand. Which means that the original translation was not too far off and GROUND WOLF could have been the actual name.
This has also been the reason why this was one of the names that´s been part of the debate because why change it if ¨Ground¨ could´ve been an understandable translation? One of the most important points that was brought in, in regards to the name change, comes from the story line in which the Wolf is known as the ¨Ruffian of South Snarl¨ in which Grand makes more sense than Ground. We realize that at this point it is a part where our ongoing research and translations interfere with the current urge to explain the name but more will become clear in time.
Formerly known as; Zariganian
Quite a name change especially if you consider the literal translation of the Japanese name actually being ¨closer¨ to the name we knew;
Japanese name: ザリガニアン
This translates directly into ¨Zariganian¨ you could say there you have it ZARIGANIAN but is this an understandable and recognizable name from an English perspective?
Probably not because Zariganian refers to, or is derived from, ¨Zarigani¨ which is a Japanese Crayfish. And that´s also the translation result you´ll get once you run this in a translator so why not keeping it simple at Crayfish? Because of the purity of the translation and if you purely look at the Japanese characters ザリガニ stands for Crayfish and the remaining two characters アン are either -an or -en. So in this case it could literally have been Crayfishen as well but Crayfishan had a better sound and more votes.
86. RAINBOW PARROT
Formerly known as; Rainbow Sam(u)
Not the most surprising name change probably but it honestly has been the toughest one of the lower 12 LB because of the various name deviations we looked into in order to find the most suitable name that´s purest in its translation;
Japanese name: レインボーサム
This translates directly into ¨Reinbōsamu¨ in which レインボー (Reinbō) is the short Japanese from of レインボウ (Reinbō) which literally means Rainbow and サム (samu) means Sam, the u at the end is often not pronounced in Japanese. Resulting in the understandable translation of RAINBOW SAM.
Problem here is that one part of the name is bright as a rainbow from the beginning and it makes sense with the appearance of the figure so the Rainbow part has been solid. But the Sam part… has been a serious struggle because would this Parrot seriously be the only Beast that had an actual name and if so why did none of the other LB have a human like name? And this is were we left of going all over the place in order to explain the final part of the name. And despite some awesome names that came out of it all of them were not pure enough to be in line with the translation. Until this came up オウム (Ōmu) which simply means Parrot in Japanese. So the former ignored mu part from Samu most likely has been the result of a play of words again between Rainbow and Parrot in Japanese. With レインボ being the short form for the Japanese word Rainbow and ム referring to the last part of the Japanese word for Parrot. Leaving ーサ (sa) which translates in ¨user¨ open but since it´s a play of Japanese characters and words partially cut it´s impossible to understand what they initially intentended to do with it. If it´s a play between Rainbow and Parrot there are not a whole lot of options other than Rainbowrot or Rainbowarrot, options that simply didn´t make much sense. With this complexity and looking at the other names among these first 12 Laser Beasts were most seem to have a direct presence of the actual animal name in it; TIGER Burn, Spark SHARK, etc. Rainbow PARROT is the best and most logic outcome especially considering the fact that none of us could agree with the completely out of the blue name Sam.
Formerly known as; Shool
Probably one of the most extreme new names from the lower 12 LB but the easiest one to explain;
Japanese name: シュール
This translates into ¨Shūru¨ and based on the outcome of the name we´ve been using all along it´s probably been a sound based translation that resulted in SHOOL (keep in mind that the R in Japanese can sound like an L as well) as there´s not other explanation possible.
If you simply run シュール through a translator today the outcome is literally; Surreal. Essentially it was originally used to mean surreal, but surreal can be described using other words. “strange, eccentric, novel, original, absurd, irrational, mysterious, baffling, incomprehensible.” With the given fact that the Beast is a Centipede being quite an impressive and surreal creature the name is actually not too far-fetched…
With Surreal Phase 1 of this article ¨Renaming the Laser Beasts¨ hereby comes to an end but if you are curious for the next batch of the 12 mid end LB don´t forget to check back next week!
In this 2nd phase, added to this post on May 8th 2020, the original Japanese names of the second 12 so called mid-end Laser Beasts have been reconsidered after translating them into English. And in this case this has resulted in a new name for (only) 2 Beasts, knowing;
90. CRIMSON CAT
Formerly known as; Grencats (Glencats)
Quite a name change that needs some explanation;
Japanese name: グレンキャッツ
This translates directly into “Gurenkyattsu” which has been translated into Grencats or Glencats. Also here goes that the R is on some translations been replaced with the L (since the L is not used in the Japanese alphabet that´s based on the sound system). And as before often in Romanized spelling the R is therefore used which in this case resulted in the initial translation of GRENCATS.
One of the tougher translations and it also caused the biggest debates in the research group for various reasons. The most important ones will be explained here to make this new name more understandable. First thing to point out is why we move away from Gren OR Glen as part of the name even thought it might for many already have been an odd name. First it is good to clarify the meaning of both;
GREN = ¨related to the branch of a tree¨
GLEN = ¨a narrow valley, especially in Scotland or Ireland¨
For both goes that there is NO direct link to this Cat at all since it is clearly a Persian Cat that´s been used as a reference for this figure. And on top of that the ¨GUREN¨ (グレン) part of this translation in Japanese can also be translated into 紅蓮 = Guren which stands from ¨Crimson Colored Lotus.¨ The tough part here is that in Japan there are a lot of individual words for colors and especially the color Red which is an important color in the Japanese culture receives a lot of different names to specify the shade of the color. Which means that Crimson is actually a very specific type of Red.
WHY RED? That´s a good question because only the armor details of this figure are Red… Well it´s not to much different from the Blue Eagle which has Blue armor details AND Blue eyes. While Brown Lion has a clearly brown base color. This whole color naming has been quite a discussion on it´s own and it will further on, in Phase 3, become part of the debate again but back to the Cat. Are Red details on it´s armor alone enough to justify a name, Crimson, that refers to a Red color? Maybe not but once you look a bit further than that at for instance its Shield (image right) it clearly shows Red Eyes. This might not be the most solid reference since there are distinctions between the eye color shown on the other shields in comparison with the actual eye color of the Beast but it is remarkable.
And there are a couple of things pointing towards the Red color although we can´t completely rule out the fact that the actual color they intended to use in the name, Scarlet, might have been mistakenly turned into Crimson. Again the Japanese are very precise in their use of words even having specific names for the shades of Red but looking at all the facts Scarlet would have been a more suitable option to go with based on the following; Scarlet = ¨a brilliant red color¨ and it is originally derived from the PERSIAN (!!) سقرلات (saqerlât). That would have been the most obvious Red shade to go with knowing it´s a Persian Cat. In that case Scarlet Cat or even Scar Cat could´ve been good options that have been seriously discussed BUT in the end the translation had to be pure meaning the Guren = Crimson option couldn´t be ignored. With the possible color shade mistake in mind why could Crimson be spot on as well? Therefore it is good to understand more about the weapon that´s handled by this Cat which is called the Iron Claw. Which tears at people as it was hit by a massive claw, plus his claw himself. And the result of getting clawed is bleeding Red blood. And once you look up what word is used for the ¨color of blood¨ it comes down to a range from CRIMSON to a dark-brown color. Finally there is the connection that does make sense; Crimson = ¨a strong, red color, inclining to purple.¨ This is enough to validate the name based on the most pure form of it´s translation although it´s not been the most obvious one.
There is one more important reference for the color Crimson but that´s something that might be shared in time… To lift a little sneak peak of that have a look at the artwork on the packaging of the Shadow Warriors (image left). Here it clearly shows Blue eyes with Red pupils and together with the other reference we have this makes the reference to a Red color, Crimon, in the name more than validated.
In other words we have serious reasons to assume that somewhere (early) in the design stage for Crimson Cat it´s initially planned to have Red eyes.
To be continued…
After this tough one there luckily also was a much clearer and understandable one among the mid-end 12;
99. MANTLE FRENZY
Formerly known as; Mantfrenzy
Probably one of the better more understandable translations;
Japanese name: マントフレンジー
This translates phonetically directly into ¨Mantofurenjī¨ resulting in the name that´s been used MANTFRENZY.
Once the Japanese name is translated today the outcome of マントフレンジー = Cloak Frenzy. Looking purely at the マント part which translates into ¨Manto¨ the switch from Cloak to Mantle is made rather easy and in an understandable way. And this Mantle reference has been derived from the actual animal that´s represented in this figure; the Hamadryas baboon of which the adult males have a pronounced cape (Mane and Mantle). And thus the subtle change from the former Mant(frenzy) into Mantle Frenzy.
These were the two new names which corresponding explanations in order to give you insight in the research part that´s done alongside just the simple translation.
Check back next week for the final Phase of this Renaming the Laser Beasts post to see what new names will show up for the final 12, high-end, Laser Beasts…
In the 3rd and final phase, added to this post on May 15th 2020, the original Japanese names of the third 12 so called high-end Laser Beasts have been discussed and renamed where needed. In this case this has resulted in a new name for 3 these Japanese exclusive Beasts, knowing;
101. SKULL GROTESQUE
Formerly known as; Skull Grotess
Not the most unexpected name change but it can use some clarification;
Japanese name: スカルグロテス
This translates directly into “Sukarugurotesu” which has been translated into the known SKULL GROTESS.
With スカル (Sukaru) directly translating into Skull the first part of its name is solid and can be left untouched. The second part グロテス (Grotesu) is what has caused the problem and is the more unclear part because Grotess or Grotes has no meaning in English. Looking at the Japanese name it looks like the グロテス (Grotesu) part is a shortening of the Japanese word for Grotesque: グロテスク (Gurotesuku).
During the research we also bumped into the Transformer with the name Grotusque (グロタスク), a G1 Autobot Monsterbot, which was the actual English name that´s placed on the package. But also therefore goes that Grotusque has no meaning in English and it wouldn´t be in line with the other names of the Laser Beasts to drop and there is a clear difference between the two グロテスク (Grotesuku) and グロタスク (Gurotasuku). So even though at first glance there might seem to be a connection there is not.
With Grotesque having a bit of a theatrical feel it felt a bit weird but in the end looking at the various descriptions of the word; ¨odd or unnatural in shape, appearance, or character; fantastically ugly or absurd; bizarre. fantastic in the shaping and combination of forms¨ it is definitely in line with the figure.
110. GREEN RAYFER
Formerly known as; Grin Reefer
This has been a bit of a struggle but in the end also here goes it´s all about the pure translation;
Japanese name: グリーンレイファー
This translates directly into “Gurīnreifā” which for understandable reasons has been translated in GRIN REEFER.
But once you start looking at the Japanese name and cut it into parts; starting with グリーン (Gurīn) = Green, レイ (Rei) = Ray and ファー (Fā) = Fur, it is clear that there is not a whole lot left of the initial Grin Reefer outcome. Cutting characters apart is a riksy operation because as we´ve noticed among other names there often is a play or merging of characters found as well.
Let´s start with the グリーン (Gurīn) which has been translated into Grin, completely understandable looking at the expression of the figure and changing this has definitely been an issue a lot of us didn´t like. Although looking at the simple facts it´s this ー one character that does make the difference since グリーン = Green while グリン = Grin… Again we are looking for the pure translation and there´s no way around it being Green.
The second part of the name レイ which literally means Ray does not need any further explanation considering the fact the figure is a Ray.
Once we look at ファー meaning Fur it´s a bit off again because Fur is obviously not a meaning you´d expect to find on a fish. This is were the combination or merging of characters comes into play again which also had resulted in Reefer back in the days. Looking at the ファー part in combination with the ¨vibe¨ of this Beast it´s not to strange to have a look at サーファー (Surfer) in that case the レイファー could have been a play of Ray and Surfer like the initial Reefer seems to hold a similar combination of Reef and Surfer. With that play if characters Ray Fur transforms into Rayfer explaining the second part of the name.
The initial translation Grin Reefer might´ve also been inspired by Grim Reaper which knowing it´s actually a toxic Sting Ray is not a very strange play either. All nice assumptions but the facts of the translation have spoken.
And although the new name is now Green Rayfer it´s Grin will never disappear!
Formerly known as; Salmomanther
Might look like an easy name change but it was not;
Japanese name: サーモマンサー
This translates directly into “Sāmomansā” and in English it translates into; Thermomancer. Which is a play of words that is not in line with the figure and it´s background story. For the initial English translation it looks like parts have been moved around resulting in the fact that the Salmo(n) part moved to the beginning of the name while the Ther(mo) moved to the end of it resulting in SALMOMANTHER.
It clearly is a Salmon (サーモン) and that´s also what the Japanese name starts with but not fully because it starts with サーモ (Sāmo) and this is what´s created the Thermo part in the initial translation because on it´s own サーモ does mean Thermo. So as before it is clear we are looking at a play of words again due to the merging of characters since the choice between Salmon and Thermo is obvious here. The second part マンサー (Mansā) literally translated into Mancer. Having Salmon and Mancer merging into Salmomancer….
Let´s take a better look at the Mancer part because we also had ideas the second part (m)ancer was forthcoming from a play with ランサー (Lancer). But this wouldn´t rule out the present マ (Ma), the extra M, in the name. Meaning that it most likely has been Mancer all along. Initially the relation between the figure and Mancer is not directly clear but looking at its weapon description, called the Big Fin Laser;
The function of the Big Fin Laser:
Firing this weapon into the sea at someone,
they begin loosing their swimming power and speed fall
(This is a segment from the new translation on the Japanese Laser Beast Book which is still in progress, as mentioned before these new names are only a fraction of the interesting information coming from that book, in the near future…)
With this weapon description and the meaning of Mancer as Manipulator this does make sense because with its weapon it is able to manipulate the movement of it´s enemies as if they become paralyzed after being hit.
And although there have been some discussions about this in the end this seems to be the only logical and pure explanation also considering the phonetic ¨Sāmomansā¨ translation which also is in line with Salmomancer.
SLAG KING, which is shown on the header image of this Post, has been looked at as well but after a lot of discussion this figure has kept it´s name and goes untouched.
All in all and to conclude this ¨Renaming the Laser Beasts¨ post there are 10 Laser Beasts out of the 36 which are now going under a (slightly) new name.
Of course this name change has consequences for the old names which have been used all over the Beastformers Blog as well because those will all (gradually) be updated to the new names, starting with the Checklist. Alongside the old names which will (for now) remain in order not to make the change to drastic all at once.
To be clear, the new names we have suggested in this post are just as “OFFICIAL” or “UNOFFICIAL” as the English names that we all have been using for the past decades. We believe the old ones to be incorrect based on the thorough research that´s been explained in this post into not only the translations of the names but their relations to the Laser Beast’s profiles themselves.
It was about time that after over a decade these names were held against the light again because as shown and explained some really didn´t make sense or simply were incorrect translations. Hopefully they do now and they´re solid for the next decades. Time to learn and get used to these new names…
Enjoy the Beasts!
The Beastformers Team
Special thanks to the BA Team members who´ve been involved in the research, debates and discussions resulting in this article which is a change for the whole BB Community.