In the Western version of Final Fantasy VIII, Squall says “whatever’. This has become somewhat of a meme. But in the Japanese version, his responses are more varied. Tumblr dilkashi expounds on this in “Squall “…whatever.” Leonhart”.
Apparently, what Squall actually says:
Squall’s “catchphrase” in the English version is “whatever”, which he usually uses for want of the current topic to be dropped, often following with changing the subject. In the Japanese version, Squall’s trademark phrase can be taken to be 「……悪かったな」 (…sorry), as this is the phrase he repeats most often and is what Rinoa uses when mimicking his mannerisms while on the Ragnarok. It is more akin to the colloquial use of “my bad” in English, and Squall says it more often than he says “whatever” in the English version. In both versions, Squall is supposed to be stand-offish, and the choice of “whatever” for the English version was likely done due to the cultural differences of what constitutes as being stand-offish, as Japanese Squall’s use of “sorry” is less apologetic and more a social obligation. The French version often has him say “hum” (pronounced like the English “mmhm”) expressing incredulity or reticence, although he does use “désolé” (sorry) on occasion.
But Squall doesn’t just say ‘sorry’. This is what Squall actually says in the Japanese version:
…you’re a TEACHER!
Nothing special/no big deal.
Do whatever you want!
I guess it’s OK.
Do what you want…
Leave me alone.
Many of these seem like they could work – they’re short enough. So why the change?
Probably because “whatever” is more thematic of Squall. You see, in English, a lot of these phrases would actually sound neutral. Squall’s “sorry” is more prevalent in the Japanese version, and it’s to come across as sardonic. But to Western ears, it would sound overly apologetic. It would conflict with the standoffish character we view in Squall.
What’s the best way to convey the cold indifference Squall displays to everyone? Make him say “…whatever”. That word has come to signify a rude indifference. This is how Squall comes across; he’s rude, short and moody. People wonder what’s his problem.