Telephone

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This article is about the character. For the mobile phones used in Splatoon 3, see Sea-Cucumber Phone.

Commander Tartar
Octo Expansion Telephone promo.jpg
Species
Height
Hair color
Eye color
Age Approx. 12,000
Gender N/A
Relations
Location Deepsea Metro
Shop
Members
YOU! You measly scrap of seafood! YOU'LL PAY FOR THIS!
— The telephone, aka Commander Tartar

Commander Tartar, known as the telephone before the final boss fight, is the main antagonist in the Octo Expansion. It is an AI created by The Professor that typically appears as an old telephone.

Appearance

In its telephone form, it appears as a wall telephone attached to a thin pole. It has two bells and a loudspeaker resembling a carbon microphone on the front, giving the impression of a face. On the right side of the speaker is a card input slot, and under the speaker is a rectangular opening it uses to dispense the CQ card and the CQ-80. At the bottom to the right on its "face" is an orange Kamabo Co. sticker and on the left is a sticker with writing on it. At the top of the "face", over the bells, is a black sign with a golden outline with golden text on it. An ear piece is hung on the right side of the phone and on the left is a handle that appears to be rotatable.

Once Agent 8 has collected all four of the thangs, it connects its telephone body to them, transforming itself into a blender. During the final boss battle, it appears as its first form with sanitized ink on it in a ice cream swirl, as well as a LED light and a capacitor poking out on the front, some cables on the side and an Octarian tentacle at the top. Its bells and speaker appear to float on this liquid.

Personality and traits

Being an AI, Tartar does not have any major personality traits, though appears to have a hate for what it would deem the less important things in life, such as fashion and sports, and lets Agent 8 know as much before the final boss fight, saying it was "disgusted" by Inkling and Octoling culture. It seems to have been programmed to only recognize things that people need, and the Inklings' love for fashion seems unreasonable to it. As a result of this and over ten millennia of total isolation driving it insane,[1] it ends up with a crazed, passionate hatred of life on the planet, seemingly being its only driving force. However, before revealing its true intentions, the telephone initially appears friendly and helpful towards Agent 8, proving its capabilities of manipulation and deception to achieve its goal.

In Japanese, Tartar's dialogue uses katakana and hiragana characters in a bizarre manner that is often used to denote robotic or artificial speech. To reflect this trait, the English and Latin American Spanish localizations instead gives Tartar a "contemporary speech" mode in which it excessively uses American English and Mexican slang, respectively, but also has error messages inside brackets appear in its speech, possibly because it cannot find the correct slang, given that one of the error messages it prints reads [SLANG_NOT_FOUND]. It disables this mode before the final boss fight.

History

Commander Tartar is an AI created by a human scientist referred to only as "the professor" 12,000 years before the events of Splatoon 2. Its purpose was to pass down all of humanity's knowledge to the next capable species. The professor's intention to do so was to prevent the next intelligent species from repeating the same mistakes that lead humanity to extinction. However, due to spending all those millennia isolated and alone, the AI's thought process ended up going in a different direction.[2]

Commander Tartar initially saw hope in the Inklings and Octarians, but eventually became repulsed by their evolution, needless wars, and fashion obsession, ultimately concluding that they were unfit for its knowledge and reprogramming itself to create a new form of life that would be worthy of its patronage, while annihilating the existing lifeforms on Earth. The Sanitized Octarians are its creations, spawned from the biomass it has collected from the remains of its previous test subjects and refined into "the perfect life".

The telephone initially appears as an ancient-looking public telephone in the Deepsea Metro. When first talked to, it provides Agent 8 with two items:

  1. The CQ-80, a device through which they control which Deepsea Metro station to go to next.
  2. The CQ Card, which holds the CQ Points used to enter missions and revive if failing.

The telephone then tells Agent 8 about the promised land that awaits them outside of the Deepsea Metro, and informs them that they must collect 4 thangs to return. Upon gathering all 4 thangs, however, they form a massive blender. The telephone then tries to grind up Agent 8 and Cap'n Cuttlefish into raw materials, only to be stopped by Agent 3, with the telephone seemingly broken.

During a lengthy escape, the telephone attacks Cap'n Cuttlefish and Agent 3, eventually hijacking the latter's mind into tying up the Cap'n and attacking Agent 8. Their hijacked mind is broken when Agent 3 is defeated by Agent 8.

Following the defeat and Agent 8's escape above the surface, a gigantic human-shaped stone statue emerges. In the hollowed-out eye of the statue, the Telephone appears and introduces itself as Commander Tartar and declares its intent to eradicate and recreate all life on Earth. The Commander activates a weapon from the statue's mouth: a massive cannon that threatens to destroy the entire world if fully charged.

Agent 8 manages to put a stop to it by inking the entire surface (with the assistance of Marina's hyperbombs), blocking off the statue's source of power: sunlight. Despite this, the cannon is still able to fire but is stopped by Pearl's S2 Weapon Special Princess Cannon.png Princess Cannon, with Tartar destroyed along with the statue.

In the manga series

The telephone plays the same role as it does in the game, telling Goggles, Eight, and Cap'n Cuttlefish about the promised land and how they must collect the four Thangs to get there.

Once Team Blue reunites, and the Thangs are collected, the telephone then attempts to blend the group, but is ultimately stopped by Rider.

Shortly after Eight and Team Blue continue on to search for Eight's friend (Seven), the telephone wakes up and hijacks Rider's mind, influencing him into kidnapping Cuttlefish, and later, most of Team Blue. It then watches a mind-controlled Rider fight Goggles and Eight while mocking the group. However, the fight ultimately ends when Goggles and Eight free Rider.

After the group finally escapes Deepsea Metro, the telephone reveals its true identity as Commander Tartar, and reveals his plans to destroy Inkopolis. Marina deploys her Hyperbombs, and the group works together to detonate them. After Goggles and Eight detonate the last Hyperbomb, Tartar decides to fire its ray anyways, but is foiled one more time, this time to Pearl's Princess Cannon, resulting in Tartar's defeat.

Gallery

Trivia

  • There is a similar-looking telephone in Octo Canyon hanging to the side of the cabin in Tentakeel Outpost, with the box seemingly having oxydized.
  • It was confirmed in the Splatoon 2 Anniversary Famitsu interview that the "professor" Tartar was created by was also Judd's owner. This is referenced in Matchmaker Station, where the crates' formation and patterns are based off of Judd himself.[2]
  • Although localized by Nintendo of America, this trait not present in the Canadian French localization.
  • Tartar hints that it is going to blend up Agent 8 in most of its dialogue.
    • The term it uses for Inkopolis, "promised land", may be a reference to heaven or afterlife. It also calls the promised land a "utopia of light beyond your wildest dreams", supporting this theory.
    • When it first turns on its slang mode, it refers to the player as "home skillet". A skillet is a frying pan, a hint that Tartar is essentially going to "fry up" Agent 8.
    • It says the opportunity to pass tests to eventually get to the promised land is "once in a lifetime".
    • When Agent 8 has collected all the thangs, it asks if they are ready to "ascend to a higher plane" and "join something bigger than yourself".
  • When Agent 3's mind is hijacked by Tartar, they have a translucent turquoise goo protruding from the side of their head. This goo may be the same substance that sanitized the Octarians seen in the Octo Expansion.
    • It may also be a form assumed by Tartar, which is somewhat consistent with its appearance during the final boss battle, where goo is seeping out from Tartar's telephone form.
  • Tartar's quote "Are you ready to join something bigger than yourself?" is similar to the quote spoken by Mr. Grizz "You ready to be part of somethin' bigger than yourself?", which appears when the player visits Grizzco for the first time. This line is absent from the original Japanese version, however.
  • The developers revealed that Commander Tartar seems to have come to appreciate Agent 8, finally finding a being it considered excellent, but became angry at Agent 8 when they did not share its views.[2]
    • This is also hinted in its dialogue where Commander Tartar questions Agent 8's association with the other characters, which implies that Commander Tartar sees Agent 8 differently from the other Inklings and Octolings: "Number 10,008, why are you associating with these superfluous nobodies?"
  • The Splatoon manga suggests that Tartar watches at least some of the tests conducted by Agent 8.
    • Also in the manga, Tartar tends to be much more emotive, often expressing shock, confusion, and anger at the characters' antics.
  • Tartar's goals were altered significantly in the English localization. Rather than being an AI designed to pass down humanity's knowledge that found the current dominating life forms unworthy of that knowledge, it is an AI that is meant to think logically and correctly, and it concluded that individuality would lead to war. [3][4]

Etymology

Commander Tartar comes from tartar sauce, a sauce made using mainly mayonnaise, which may reference the ooze seeping out of it. Tartar sauce is primarily used for seafood, referencing its displeasure for Inklings. It could also be a reference to Tartarus, a deep abyss far in the underworld in Greek mythology. It would reference how the facility is deep underwater. This may also tie into the possibility that the NILS Statue is meant to resemble the Greek god Hermes.

Names in other languages

Telephone

Language Name Meaning
Japan Japanese デンワ
Denwa
Telephone
Netherlands Dutch Telefoon Telephone
Canada and France French Téléphone Telephone
Germany German Telefon Telephone
Italy Italian Telefono Telephone
Russia Russian Телефобос
Telefobos
Portmanteau of Телефон, "Telephone" and фобос, "Phobos", the personification of fear in greek mythology
Spain Spanish Teléfono Telephone

Tartar

Language Name Meaning
Japan Japanese タルタル総帥
Tarutaru Sōsui
Commander Tartar[note 1]
Netherlands Dutch Admiraal Tartarus Admiral Tartarus, from tartaar (tartar) and Tartarus
Canada and France French Général Tartar General Tartar
Germany German Kommandant Tartar Commander Tartar
Italy Italian Comandante Tartar Commander Tartar
Russia Russian Перемолох
Peremolokh
Grinder [note 2]
Spain Spanish Almirante Tartar Admiral Tartar

Translation notes

  1. The name "タルタル総帥" (Tarutaru Sōsui) also sounds similar to "タルタルソース" (tarutaru sōsu), which means "tartar sauce".
  2. Probably a portmanteau of перемалывать ("peremalyvat", "to grind"), Молох ("Moloch") and Переполох ("Perepoloh", "Stir").

References