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International ROTJ Cardbacks: Hispanophone Countries

Here is the Spanish cardback made by PBP industries.

The greatest difference you see is the offer on the lower right. The inspiration for this sunburst seems to be the old 21 back sticker seen here. From a design standpoint the mysterious black space below the movie logo is present which seems to throw off the visual balance.

The card itself is a wonderful mixture of Spanish and English. Unlike the French, they do not use the Spanish translation for "Star Wars," but like the French they translate the actual episode title. The article "el" is present and so is the singular masculine partitive of "del," So, once again the untranslatable "Jedi" has been chosen to be a singular entity.

The age warning with its "Partir" seems closer to the Canadian version (and reminds us of the closeness of the two languages) and the different Assortment number makes it clear that the toy was not fabricated by Kenner. Not only was it not made by Kenner, but it was made by PBP in Spain! It tells you this IN ENGLISH in the bottom right corner. Why doesn't it say Hecho en Espana?" This strange usage of a foreign language only highlights how is extremely rare to have a toy made, distributed, and purchased in the same country.

For more details click here.

All bets are off with the Mexican Lili Ledy Cardback.

From a general design standpoint this figure is almost completely alien, despite the common imagery. The "gunner photo's seems elongated and washed out. They have done extensive airbrushing to the already airbrushed image. Most notably they have made his eyes much more blue. This is to say nothing of the off center nameplate of enormous proportions.

The real interest in this piece comes from the language. Like we see with the difference between Canada and France, the former colony uses different wording for its age warning than its former colonizer. Like the French (and perhaps paradoxically unlike the Spanish) they have used a translation for "Star Wars." Where Spain seemed content to have a mixture of languages, Mexico seems to want to keep it all in Spanish. They somewhat upped the ante further by not even using the Star Wars font for "La Guerra De Las Galaxias," and instead using the futuristic font that you see with its exploding equis. Like the French, they have decided that Star Wars implies plural stars, or in this case, galaxies. "The War of the Galaxies".

What is truly startling is the variation in the Spanish within the title. Where Spain used "El Retorno" Mexico uses "El Regreso." Why? It is not clear to me, as Lili Ledy also used "Retorno" briefly. I believe it is that Regreso seems to imply "To come back" whereas Retorno seems to imply more "to return." Subtle differences to be sure, but not unimportant.

In any event, this cardback shows is the extreme variation that can be found with seemingly identical elements. Throughout all these figures the only thing that has remained truly constant is the word JEDI written in Times New Roman. Everything else has been translated, translated differently, moved, removed, but not JEDI. It remains the one untranslatable element because it is the one element outside of our language system that can not be processed.

It is in these small differences that collectors, linguists, and other detail obsessive neurotics can take delight. As you will see on the next page, these differences are soon to be a thing of the past.

For More Detailed Images Click here



Before moving on to the homogenized boredom of Tri-Logo, we have the quite un-homogenized Argentinean TopToys cardback.

The first difference is that Argentina used "second photo." This is probably because it was made later than the other toys. You may also notice that it seems a bit dirty or fuzzy, that is because the printing quality was very low. Beyond these differences you may note that there is no assortment number and no age warning, In their place we have two logos. Not only are there two TopToys logos, but there is also a Kenner logo in the bottom right. Why such a profusion of logos?

The Argentinean's have also chosen "Regreso" over "Retorno." Does this indicate that perhaps "Regreso" is more common among South and Central American Spanish? If anyone knows I'd love to have more than speculation.

For more details & photos on this card, click here.

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