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You Spoony Bard, Sometimes shorted to Spoony Bard Is a phrase from the SNES game Final Fantasy IV (II in America). It is used as a comical and nonsensical insult by the character Tellah against the character Edward. The phrase is one of the more popular examples of Engrish in games.
On April 19th, 1991, Square Co. (Now called Square-Enix) released Final Fantasy IV for the Super Famicom System, Japans’ name for the Super Nintendo Entrainment System. On November 23rd, 1991, the game was introduced to North America as Final Fantasy II (Due to Final Fantasy II and III for the NES not being released in North America). Early in the game, players recruit Tellah, a Sage character, into their party while on their quest to save the world. Tellah joins the party in order to catch up with his daughter Anna who has run off with a Bard. As players approach the Castle of Damcyan, it is bombarded by Airships. As the party reaches the top floor of the ruined castle, they find Anna severely wounded. The Bard Prince Edward appears and is attacked by Tellah. As the scripted battle unfolds, Tellah shouts “You Spoony Bard!” as an insult towards Edward. Although the subject manner around the fight is serious, the insult itself is quite amusing due to being nonsensical.
Theories abound about the use of the insult, Some point to Nintendo of America’s penchant to censor anything that might offend it’s audience, which is apparent by changing the magic spell “Holy” into the neutral term “White”. There is evidence to suggest this as in the original script, Tellah uses “Kisama,” the harshest word for “You” in the Japanese language, and that the tone of “Kisama” is akin to “You son of a bitch” or “You bastard”, as seen from the Final Fantasy Wiki:
original: きさま あの時の吟遊詩人！ きさまのせいでアンナは！
literal: You, the bard from that time! By your fault Anna was…! (The word used for both instances of “you” is “kisama,” one of the rudest ways to say “you” in Japanese. Because of its harshness, “kisama” is somewhat akin to “you bastard” or “you son of a bitch.”)
SNES: You’re the bard! You did this to her!
original: きさま よくも娘を・・・・
literal: You, how could you, to my daughter… (Again, “kisama” is used for “you.”)
SNES: You swindler!
literal: It’s not like that!
SNES: Please! Listen!
original: なにがちがうと いうのだ！
literal: How could it not be!?
SNES: You spoony bard!
Others say it is simply an example of a really bad translation. The word Spoony is an archaic word dating from 1805 meaning “enamored in a silly or sentimental way”  , there is also credence to this theory as well, as “Spoony” isn’t a very harsh insult, and given Tellahs anger, seems rather tame when compared to the original script of the game. Credit for the translation is given Kaoru Moriyama, K. Okahisa, and H. Takahashi, although it is sometimes incorrectly attributed to Ted Woolsey, who translated Final Fantasy VI (III on the American SNES) and his use of nonsensical lines in that game.
The phrase is used to poke fun at Bard classes in RPGs and MMORPGs, due to the fact that Edward was the worst character in terms of power or stats in FF IV, and is used as an insult to Bard players. It is also used on other famous people named Edward. It is also used to make fun of real bards or
musicians, such as Shakespeare
From the Final Fantasy Wiki:
The line has become so well-known, it has been kept in all the remakes of Final Fantasy IV, even though the PlayStation, Advance and Nintendo DS releases of Final Fantasy IV were re-translated entirely otherwise. In the Nintendo DS release, “Tom Retranslattery” in the Developer’s Office comments on the line being kept after re-translation; “The Sand Ruby wasn’t a ruby and the Twin Harp, as it were, was no harp at all. Turns out the bard really was spoony though – we checked!”
While it is largely an in-joke for the video game community, from time to time it does break out of the video game niche and into the main stream before fading back into its niche; however, due to the fact that it is a part of the most re-produced Final Fantasy in the series, this means that new generations of gamers and gamers more familiar with the internet than they were in 1991. The Final Fantasy Wiki also notes some out of game use of the term:
In the English version of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Trials and Tribulations the Judge exclaims “I-I’m a spoon!? I’m no spoony bard, I’ll have you know!”. The translator, Alexander O. Smith (who also translated a few Final Fantasy games) has stated in an interview that he tries to sneak “Spoony Bard” in all the games he translates.
The popular internet video game and movie reviewer Noah Antwiler uses the name “The Spoony One”, and calls his website The Spoony Experiment. Antwiler has stated that the name is taken from the Final Fantasy IV line.
The webcomic Adventurers!, which parodies the tropes and genre conventions of JRPGs including Final Fantasy, has a character almost call the resident bard a spoony bard in this strip. The use of the term spoony as a curse word then becomes a running gag.
The video game music group The Spoony Bards is named after the catchphrase.
In the popular Internet game AdventureQuest, a Thug in the Assassin class training quests can sometimes call the player a “spoony zard,” referencing this quote, as well as a race of enemies within the game.
Final Fantasy IV is Square-Enix’s most re-released game in the series, the original one appearing in 1991 for the SNES, Final Fantasy IV was released in 2001 for the Playstation, 2005 for the Gameboy Advance, 2008 for the Nintendo DS, 2010 for the Wii Virtual Console, and 2011 for Playstation Portable  . Whenever a new iteration of Final Fantasy IV is introduced, we see a spike in searches for the term. Even thought the game is translated entirely with every new iteration, it keeps its trademark line throughout the years, as from the Final Fantasy Wiki: