Bimblesnaff Rants

Brought to You by the Letter E

When Right Back At Ya first came out, as I waited for the first episode to air, I knew nothing about it. The commercials didn't give much information, I didn't look up anything on it on-line, and I was going in blind. I wanted to give it a fair chance, unbiased and unprejudiced. Within a minute of starting, it already took a huge strike against itself with a simple lyric in the opening: "What can I get you, King Deedeedee." A piece of my died at hearing that, and I knew the show was gonna suck.

When I first played Kirby, Dream Land to be exact, I called the pronunciation like everyone else probably did. You see "Mt. Dedede" and just assume it's said with a long E for the vowels. I don't know why, but this is a born English speaker problem. We see a lone E and thing, "Must be said like the letter itself." And we assume this incorrect stance time and against despite no cause for such.

The letter E is never said like that in the English language. Unless it's followed up with another vowel, immediately or after a bit of consonants, it's not said long. Get isn't. Pet neither. Eat is. It's a pretty well upheld rule in a language as mired as English. In fact, the original American commercial called the em porer "Deh-deed", having the final E silent.

There was absolutely no reason to think to say it Deedeedee, but that's how you hear a person or two say it, and it just sticks. Hearing a name spoken incorrectly has a pretty big impact on how you remember it. Until pointing out the correct Roman numeral, Final Fantasy VII's Red XIII was called "Red Eight". Granted, I only heard about the game while knowing him as that. It took very little to realize that my friend was an idiot. Still, the initial "Eight" name is stuck in my mind.

So, I thought his name was King Deedeedee. Having no other sources or contradiction to this assumption, it went unchallenged for, oh, three years, maybe, tops. After that point, Kirby's Avalanche came out. Say what you may about it not truly being a Kirby game, but the voice talents were phenomenal. And, one of the greatest sounding and eye-opening proclamations was the dopey "King Deydeydey".

Now, I'm not saying, "It's a Kirby game, and what it states is law!" Quite not the case. It merely said the name differently, and this brought to light my own stupidity. First, I realized the fact that nothing is ever said like that. Next, it came to mind that this is Japanese, and most other languages say the E as "ey". José, ballet, animé. Yeah, it made perfect sense that it was said "ee". Moreover, one of the characters in the same game series was called Waddle Dee, who had no question to his name's saying. If it was meant to be King Deedeedee, wouldn't it be spelled that way?

This is not the case. Henceforth, it is not how you say his name. I immediately adopted the correct pronunciation, complete with low tone and requisite head waggle while saying it. After this point, I dabbled into the basics of Japanese language. One of the greatest mispronunciations my inner circle had at this time was corrected, too, being animé.

Again, a stupid American here. Back in the early, mid-nineties, there was no proliferation of Eastern culture, at least not in the Midwest. There was no internet, either, to spread the once underdog around, either. You knew what you little you had available to you. For the longest time, Japanimation was the only name it had gone by, but as it ever so grew in popularity, the true-to-roots name animé came up. Thing was, my brothers and I all called it "anahmee". Just horrible! Thankfully, a tourists guide to Japan quickly corrected the error before we had the opportunity to make ourselves look like too much of fools.

For some Nippon 101, there are five vowels recognized in Japanese: a, i, u, e, & o. They are spoken, respectively, like father, eat, food, end, & doe. The language has the nice trait of all its vowels being pronounced the same each time. There aren't worries for where the origin of the word came from to how it should be said. There aren't even stresses or emphasis on parts of a word, so everything should be the same always.

King Dedede's name is, now, spelled with the katakana (ie: Japanese syllable characters) for, no shock, "de". There's three in a row, all meant to come out the same way. So, it's not Deedeedee, ever. All of these lessons and explanations are not even needed. It should just be taken to be this way. And, if not understood as such, the Waddle Dee or foreign origin explanations don't take a super sleuth to uncover.

Over time, the internet spread in popularity and I found this site, Rainbow Resort. As with most communities I stumbled into, it didn't take long for me to butt heads with someone. Especially because of the several reliable resources (oh, glory days of the internet), I just couldn't accept that someone adamantly believed the name was said with "ee". I could produce the crown's full Japanese name, a guide to deciphering it, and even sound bytes speaking the parts. There was no reason to think otherwise.

Solid and obvious facts? Sounds like something people are immune to. Despite all these things, I still ran into people who said it was not that way. They even insisted that the Avalanche said the King's name the way they did -- wrong. How could people think this? It's like saying that the sky is lavender. It's painfully not so. There's a mountain of evidence and instances that say it's one way, the correct way, and a sole instance of the wrong way -- them. Of course, that's all idiots need to think they're right.

I stopped caring. I knew that stupidity could be deterred. Let them live in their bubble of perfect fantasy where they are right and ignorance rules over facts. I knew that, within time, the moment would come where they'd have it the truth shoved down their throats and - Wait a second, did the Kirby theme song just say Deedeedee?

The official American version of the cartoon, the first true export to speak the regal name, said it wrong. Shocking as that was, it could be expected. They always change things between versions, normally to coap with ignorance in the population. If you have a French diner called Phillipe's, you better change the official name to say that E on the end 'cuz every schmuck that walks in is just gonna say it anyways. I swear, you'll never a Mexican guy saying, "Just call me Johs." It's José, and it will never settle.

That doesn't shock me, but the acceptance of the misnomer does. In a time where people sweat the small stuff and value "the original" over the mired and mulled American exports. Aerith over Aeris, Blacky of Umbreon, and countless more. Wholly changed, just a letter, or even a lingual flaw that should be ignored, those who sweat a fandom stick to the roots vehemently. Then, why did everyone turn a blind eye to the King?

His situation didn't exactly improve. Even Super Smash Bros. Brawl tarnished the saying, most likely to match up with the established regional version. Flapping my yap about the butchery to this very day, at least now some people acknowledge that it at least is, in fact, changed and said in a different manner from Japan. I even have some naive fools attempt to reason why it was altered. Note the "attempt".

"Well, that's just how you translate it to American." This, kiddies, is what you call a complete and total moron. Now, granted, many words do cross a threshold between the English and Japanese language, typically through a process called romanization. For example, the star of the series himself, Kirby, is not actually called Kirby. Consonants are always followed with vowels, except N in some cases, and any of our familiar "-er" sounds are completely alien. They are typically carried out with just an extended A. Hence, the star is dubbed "Kaabii". His name is still Kirby, however. It just has to be written the other way in Japanese, lingual restrictions and all. The Warp Star is actually written "Waapu Sutaa". It's still "Warp Star". The name started English and was pulled into Japanese. That is how a word translates from one to another.

"King Dedede" does not have to go through this process. "Dedede" is not an English name or word. Even if it was, the language is more than capable of having "Dididi" spoken. Flipwise, there is no inability to say the E from the east. It's fully compatible both forward and backwards. There's no barrier, no need to change, and no reason to alter it. So... why?

Truth be told, it's that people are stupid. People actually say, "Why bother?" and just lay down to what is wrong. It's easier to just make something wrong that won't confuse the majority of the population than make it right and appease the few that knew it that way first hand. All of my griping is nothing compared to the would-be confusion.

This is a problem. People shouldn't just be laying down. When I originally saw the name Benoit, I thought it was "Ben-oyt". I was corrected and never made the mistake again. You don't say the S at the end of Illinois, but, hey, both are accepted by today's low standards. What ever happened to cultural pride and respect? We aren't suppose to change names just because the population is stupid. We should educate the lack wits so they know better for the future.

Since so many Kirby fans are also fanatic of animé and are also, probably, in to Pokémon, I know you get looked at like a dumb hick if you spill out "Pok-ee-mon". Despite all this, people say, and continue to say, King Deedeedee and have no intension of stopping. Meanwhile, I am left lookin' like a moron when I say it right.

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Last Updated - August 13th, 2009