Translations and
Naming Conventions

More of an "about" than anything, acknowledging the varied translations of names throughout the Bomberman games, and attempting to rationalise this website's wishy-washy preference for certain terminology.

I know, I think this'll be a gripping read too.

Bomberman has been published in the west by at least a dozen or more companies, from Nintendo to Konami to Ubisoft to Vatical to Electro Brain... as such, there's not the greatest consistency in translations! Character names change, items are referred to differently each time, and sometimes Bomberman isn't even called Bomberman!

I confess I've barely any kind of protocol for how translations are handled. I generally prioritise Japanese terminology, adding the English translation in brackets if it's noticably different; names will get a basic translation or romanisation unless there's an 'official' translation from ancillary media like manuals, guidebooks or mechandise, the closer to the source the better. For instance, Saturn Bomberman Fight!!'s "Reuishia" has the official translation "Lewysia" in the Perfect Program Official Edition guidebook; I don't know if it's accurate, but it's better than what I'd used before!

What if there's conflicting translations? In theory I'll go with the most common translation, or the translation 'closest' to the source - for instance the first Bomberman Jetters game for Game Boy Advance is translated as "The Legend of Bomberman" in its manual, and "The Legendary Bomberman" in its official guidebook. As much as I prefer the latter name, it's one degree away from the source, so Legend of Bomberman it is!

Of course, sometimes it's just a matter of personal preference. There might be a 'proper' way of translating Pass, Parse or Pa-su for all I know... but Pass is one less letter to type, so it's my go-to choice!

Space or no space?

How do you parse the Bomberman name? Is it Bomberman, BomberMan, or Bomber Man?

It's Bomberman.

No ifs, ands or buts - it's officially been one word with only one capital letter since, like, forever!
That being said, some early instalments took their time before settling into what's accepted as the proper parsing, and the Bomberman B-Daman series of toys ran the gamut of parsing variations on its otherwise Japanese packaging.

Bomber Man: Bomber Boy
● Bomberman B-Daman toys
BomberMan: Super Bomberman (UK manual)
Super Bomberman 2 (US manual)
Bomber-Man: ● Bomberman B-Daman toys

The Five Bad/Dastardly/Evil/Wicked/Heinous/Reprobate Bombers

The Five Dastardly Bombers (凶悪ボンバー5人衆 / "Kyouaku Bomber Go Ninshu") group isn't clean-cut katakana like most character names, but is mostly kanji, meaning it can be translated any number of ways. They're bombers, they're a five-man group, and there's a mean-sounding adjective applied to them, that much is certain!

Five Bad Bombers: Super Bomberman 2 (US manual)
Super Bomberman 3 (EU manual)
Evil 5: Bomberman Fantasy Race (English manual)
Five Dastardly Bombers: Bomberman Tournament
Super Bomberman R

"Dastardly" seems to be the go-to translation given its usage in recent games, though I'm sure that won't stop fussy fans from translating it their own way! Most other Bomber groups have their names left intact across all regions.

Bagura, Buggler, Buglear, Burglar, Burgermeister...!

Oh boy, this kettle of fish. Bagura's name in Japanese is composed of four katakana letters: バグラー, and they romanise to Ba-gu-raa. Piece of cake, right?
Unfortunately, poor Bagura has had a complicated time of it in English, with a half-dozen variants on his name!

BUGLEAR: Bomberman '94 (sound test) BAGULAA: Mega Bomberman (manual)
BUGLER: Panic Bomber (Neo Geo)
Super Bomberman 3 (EU manual)
Bomberman Jetters Bashoot
BAGULOR*: Saturn Bomberman Fight!! guidebook
BUGGLER: Bomberman World
Super Bomberman R
BAGULAR: Bomberman Hero,
Bomberman Portable
BURGLAR: Bomberman Fantasy Race

(* Baguro/Bagulor is actually a separate character from Bagura, but Bagura's chronology is a mess for another article!)

"Ba-gu" is commonly translated as "Bug" (see I AM ERROR YOU ARE GLUE), and the big B on his means his name sure as heck doesn't begin with "V"! An extended "ah" sound usually denotes "er". Given its recent usage in Super Bomberman R, he's most likely (maybe, probably, who knows) meant to be Buggler or Bugler...
... but for the time being, I'll avoid the matter entirely and just stick with Bagura. That's the coward's way out, baby!


Being kangaroo-inspired creatures, you'd expect their name (ルーイ / Ruu-i) to be a play on "roo"... but they've been consistently translated as "Louie" in all major English releases. Which suits me fine, because "Rooey" doesn't flow off the tongue as easily. How would you spell it anyway? Rooie? Rouie...?

LOUIE: ● Mega Bomberman (manual)
Super Bomberman 3 (EU manual)
Bomberman Hero
Bomberman Fantasy Race
Bomberman (PSX)
ROOI: Bomberman '94 (sound test)
Bomberman '94 Virtual Console manual)
RUI: Bomberman Fantasy Race (texture)

The Anime-Kraze fansubs for Bomberman Jetters use the straight romanization "Rui", while the similarly-named creature from the B-Daman Bakugaiden IV series is romanised as "Lui-Lui" in tie-in merchandise.

The Louies in Super Bomberman 5 all have names based on Japanese word puns ending in "ru". As such, their names will be straight romanizations.

Tirra-ble Uncertainty

Despite only appearing in two games, their use in Bomberman Fantasy Race puts the Tirra (ティラ / Ti-ra) on equal pairing (or at least runner-up status) to the iconic Louies. Unfortunately, only one of those two games bothered to translate their name - Saturn Bomberman referred to them exclusively as "Dinosaurs"!

Dinosaur: Saturn Bomberman (manual)
Tirra: Bomberman Fantasy Race (English text)
Terra: Bomberman Fantasy Race (texture)
Tyra: Bomberman Fantasy Race (FMV)

Fantasy Race has several conflicting translations... though you have to squint to see them. The in-game text consistently refers to them as "Tirra" and this site follows suit. But hey, if you ever want to raise umbrage with an official translation, here's fodder for potential alternatives!

Doctor MechaDoc, I presume?

MechaDoc is one of those troublesome characters who's important because of his pivotal role in the Jetters anime... and that's about it. He hasn't actually that many game appearances, and even fewer English translations that match! I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel to dredge up these translations!

MEKADO: Saturn Bomberman website (image filename)
MECHADO: Saturn Bomberman (boss title)
MECHARD: Bomberman Jetters (GameCube credits)
MECADO: Bomberman Jetters Game Collection (debug text)
MECHADOC: ● Anime-Kraze fansubs

The way his Katakana is structured (メカード / Me-kaa-do) suggests his name should sound similar to "Picard", making the GameCube translation "Mechard" the most accurate...

... but I'm in a sticky situation where I either refer to him by a name only a scant few people acknowledge, or a fanmade name that's gotten way more publicity (compare the search results for "Bomberman MechaDoc" and "Bomberman Mechard" - 4,000+ results for "MechaDoc" versus sub-100 for "Mechard"!). If it were MechaDoc (as in, shorthand for "mechanical doctor") it would be spelt "メカドック" if Yoroshiku Mechadoc is anything to go on... but it's a more recognisable name. You say MechaDoc and people go "oh, the doctor who's part-machine, gotcha", while you mention "Mechard" and people go "buh?"

The Hige Hige Bandits and the Hige Hige Bandits?

The villainous group often led by Mujoe is known as the Hige Hige Dan (ヒゲヒゲ団) in Japan; "dan" is a general term that just means group, company, gang, or what have you. Aside from two minor incidents (renamed the "Meanie Gang" in Saturn Bomberman and left untranslated in Fantasy Race's manual), their official and consistent English name is the Hige Hige Bandits.

I mention this only because it complicates the name of their underlings. In Japan they're referred to as Sentouin (戦闘員), a term that literally means "combatant", but is probably closer to the English "grunt" or "henchman" - it's commonly associated with the identical goons who get clobbered effortlessly in Kamen Rider.

戦闘員 (Sentouin)
A Hige Hige Bandit...

ヒゲヒゲ団 (Hige Hige Dan)
... and the Hige Hige Bandits?

Problem is, the Japanese clearly distinguishes between the group and the individual (who are often identified by number - Sentouin #12, #15, #16, etc), while the English name effectively applies for both the gang and the enemy type. The prologue cutscene of Bomberman Generation refers to the collective Hige Hige Bandits; meanwhile, Bomberman Jetters frequently refers to singular Hige Hige Bandits while describing enemy types in the manual, and as playable characters in Battle Mode.
I know, it's real freakin' pedantic.
The only game to give a bandit a unique English title was Fantasy Race with "Mechbomber 015", which didn't exactly help matters. I've tried to clarify the issue by referring to them as Grunts, Combatants, Lackeys or other terms while reserving Bandits for the group... but bandits is such a perfect word, it stinks not being able to use it!

It should probably be noted that none of the games have ever attempted to translate the gang's name. "Hige" means moustache, beard or facial hair. The Hairy-Hairy Bandits! It writes itself!

page last modified: 22/03/2018