Hello. If I’ve called you here in particular, I’d like you to sit and read to the end. This is going to be about my personal decision to translate Shin Getter Robo and Shin Dragon, things which appear in Getter Robo: Armageddon, for their inclusion in my presentation of Super Robot Wars Z 2 on the Something Awful forums; it’s primarily for the benefit of people reading that product. It may be ugly. You’ve been warned. I didn’t make the decision lightly. I’m as attached to the name “Shin Dragon” as anyone else, personally. That attachment is recognition, and if there’s any context in which you want to evoke the obvious associations as directly as possible, it’s Super Robot Wars. When Shin Dragon comes up, you want people to know what you mean; when its name is dropped, you want people to associate it with what everyone knows is called Shin Dragon. Sacrificing that evocation was far from easy. Despite years and years of “Shin Dragon” being embedded in public consciousness, though, I really couldn’t go through with it, even if I have to reintroduce a name to everybody. “Shin” is an evocative word on its own, and I’m no fan of leaving meaningful words in Japanese to let others do their own homework. More to the point, though, “Shin Dragon” is not merely a name. He will appear in a chapter named “The Advent Of The Shin One,” and a character in it will later say that the Shin one has arrived; another will call the corresponding Getter robot “the shin Getter”. Later on, characters are going to muse at some length on what the word shin means. Suddenly, it’s impossible not to translate it, as hard as that is, into something that fits in a plain English phrase. I mean, you could, but it would make the result much uglier. So let’s talk about what shin means. The sound shin can mean several things; notably, it’s a reading for god and new (the latter of which actually refers to a different “Shin Getter Robo – one reason it needs to be in clear English). The particular shin in the title of Armageddon, 真, means true, without flaw or variation. Complicating matters is that the title of Armageddon uses furigana to specify a way this true kanji is pronounced: rather than actually sounding as shin or ma-, it’s the English word “change,” which has a few meanings in the context of Getter Robo on its own, such as the forward progress of evolution and the shifting form of Getter Robo itself. (And yes, that means calling it Shin Getter Robo: The Last Day of the World is technically incorrect – it should be Change!! Getter Robo, if you’re using the Japanese title.) I believe that “Omega” hits most of the right notes for the way they use it in this thing. It means the ultimate in more ways than one: the final stage, the most powerful, and even the endtimes (since the show is about Armageddon, the so-called last day of the world, before the world irrevocably changes). Omega is in slightly pretentious (but just pretentious enough) common usage as all of those things and sounds about as weighty and imposing as I imagine calling something “shin whatever” is in Japanese. Plus, whatever word it is has to sound good in the sentence, and “The Advent of the Omega” and “The Omega comes and brings Armageddon in his wake!” has the right ring to it that the other ones didn’t quite. It’s not absolutely perfect, but it does every job I asked it to about as well as I can ever expect it to. All I know is, writing shin isn’t acceptable.
EDIT: Super Robot Wars Z3: Heaven absolutely did redefine shin in the context of SRWZ, and it’s more ridiculous than anyone could have imagined. I’m not sure Omega is the most appropriate anymore, but I’m leaving lots of the LP untouched as artifacts of the time, so I’m leaving this as well. Maybe I’ll write about it someday. Probably not, though. I haven’t the motivation to be terribly serious about the endgame revelations of Z anymore.