According to Nintendo World Report, Nintendo has decided to change controversial dialogue:
“In the version of the game that ships in the U.S. and Europe, there is no expression which might be considered as gay conversion or drugging that occurs between characters.” a Nintendo representative e-mailed us this morning.
You can read the rest of the summary and news on the above article. This has, of course, rekindled some talk surrounding Fire Emblem Fates’ Soleil. I have been doing translations and such for this game from pre-release all the way to post-release, so I figure I best talk about this too, mostly in an informative way.
What I want to talk about in today’s post is where exactly that all started, what was misinterpreted, etc. It’s odd how this all became an issue in the first place, but it seems it did enough for Nintendo to have to directly comment on it… and subsequently alter it to avoid any such controversy.
The post has some spoilers pertaining to her character, but will not spoil the overall game.
Who is Soleil?
To answer that, I’ll provide this page. The translated profile text is exactly the same as found in game, and gives you an idea of her appearance as well:
Title: The Girl Lover
Starting Class: Mercenary
Personal Skill: Loves Women (When user is the lead unit, if their support unit is female, damage +2 and damage received -2)
Recruitment: S Rank Lazward. Do the resulting sidequest. (Nohr)
Birthday: August 31st
Voice Actor: Eri Suzuki
Sub Profile: Lazward’s daughter. Has a cheerful and energetic personality. Though she is not too shy, she can get anxious about her surroundings.
Museum Profile: Lazward’s daughter who was raised in the secluded regions. Her father is very dear to her, and she wishes to protect him. She is cheerful and energetic, and has incredible reflexes. Though she is a girl herself, she is fond of other cute girls, and unabashedly flirts with them. She is the worst singer in the army.
Epilogue (N): One day she suddenly took off on a journey. Though she was said to have formed a Mercenary Group and had trained extra hard to be a dancer along the way, the truth is unknown. This is the result of women claiming to have interacted with Soleil along the way, so some gossip was likely mixed into it.
Epilogue (S): Soleil married and kept her stout-heart and cheerfulness in the face of any adversity. Her husband also helped her ease up to her surroundings.
Death Quote: “Ahaha…how lame…say… are these tears…? Even though… I wanted to smile…to the end…”
<Epilogue S refers to when she marries any other character. She can only marry other male characters.>
You can get more of an idea of what she’s like by reading a summary of her recruitment chapter here.
Is she lesbian/bisexual?
Well, it depends how you define that in this case. I see a lot of arguments against her being lesbian, as she cannot actually marry/become romantically involved with any other female character. The game has a support system that ends in marriage at an “S” rank, of which she has none with other female characters. She can marry any other male of her generation though.
So is she bisexual then? Maybe. The issue is, and what people argue, is that she may flirt with cute girls and be attracted to them (and flirts with her own mother…), but that this does not make her bisexual either, as it does not mean romantically involved, or something along those lines. It comes back to the lack of S ranks again, therefore making it non-canon in some fashion. I’m not quite sure why flirting with and being attracted to cute girls but marrying men is ruled out of bisexuality, but I am not here to talk about that.
All I wanted to say on the subject is, looking at the profile above (from title to even her personal skill) they really emphasize this quirk of hers which is her attraction to other girls. Her profile even goes out of its way to say: “Though she is a girl herself, she is fond of other cute girls, and unabashedly flirts with them.” (女でありながら可愛い女の子が好きで、好みの子は恥ずかしげもなく口説く). So regardless of what she is, she still has a fondness to other girls in some way. Her character is built around the quirk.
Another point to note is her father Laslow/Lazward is a big time flirt, and always has been. She does love her father very, very much and does as much as she can to please him. The flirtatious habit on other women may have come from here too. So some say she does to impress him rather than actually being serious about it. But that second part is just conjecture. We do know for sure she does love her father though!
The game does have two bisexual characters (going by supports), being Rhajat/Shara and Niles/Zero. However, it is rather limited. Their bisexuality only extends to when it is the main character (Corrin/Kamui), and to nobody else. If Corrin/Kamui is female, then Shara, also a girl, can marry her and only her as a female option. The same applies to Zero if Corrin/Kamui is male. Nobody else. So I guess it is rather limited. Regardless, Soleil lacks this option at all. They will not produce children as a result (as expected), so perhaps mechanically it was limited to just a few to encourage the mix and matching to get child characters. (Though, oddly, considering the second generation do not produce children aside from with the main character… you think they may consider making Soleil have the S rank with other women anyway. But that is just a personal thought!)
There are other characters that have gender-related quirks. Forrest/Foleo, for instance, is a boy who adores dressing in women’s clothing. He is still attracted to girls, but enjoys doing so all the same. Nina/Eponine meanwhile is a girl who fantasizes over her male teammates being in relationships with one another, for instance. All three are second generation characters, and these small quirks of theirs are most likely portrayed for the sake of leading to humorous situations among them. It is pretty easy to find all sorts of these characters all over Japanese media. Perhaps not as prominent in Fire Emblem (and so, a Nintendo franchise), but they certainly exist.
What was the controversy?
The article I presented at the start summarizes it, but it basically revolves around her support conversation with male Corrin/Kamui. You can read it at the exact link/translation (not mine) that was used right here. I will be referring to this specific translation below. An important thing to note is the translation is accurate for the most part. People pointed at it saying it was mistranslated, when really it was more misinterpreted.
In the C support, Soleil just explains how she wants to be a strong woman but her weakness is cute girls (specifically those that are her type). Corrin/Kamui is surprised that it bothers her so much, and so comes the controversial part in the B support.
Soleil: ……. … Y-You… who are you again?
Kamui: It’s me. Kamui.
Soleil: E-Ehhhhhh!? B-But… those eyes, they could only belong to a girl!?
Kamui: Seems it was a great success.
Soleil: Success… uh… I have no clue what you’re talking about…
Kamui: Right now you’re seeing me as a girl. Isn’t that right?
Soleil: Y-Yes. Completely.
She is clearly disoriented. Kamui then goes on to explain:
Kamui: I managed to get my hands on a kind of magic powder… I’m really sorry, but a little while ago, I poured some of it into your drink. The person who drinks that powder… somehow becomes able to see other people as the gender opposite what they actually are!
Here is the “date rape” issue that was brought up. It is not an inaccurate translation, here is the original Japanese:
He really did put a magic powder into her drink without her knowledge/consent.
Soleil: H-Huh!? So I can see you as a girl!!?
Kamui: Yes. After what you said, I wanted to resolve your concerns, so I thought it over a little. And it led me to a conclusion. Seeing me as a girl, you can use me to overcome your issues. From now on I’ll get closer to you until you can tolerate being around me without fainting.
I guess you could argue it was for a good cause, and, likely was the intention behind it. Kamui throughout the entire game is your typical hero sort who does the odd methods to try and help people. What constitutes as “date rape” for one in his head was likely…well, an ends to help his friend. The sort of naïve approach is (regrettably) what makes his entire character. You can see below the after result was rather innocent:
Soleil: E-Ehhhh!? I-I’m glad you feel that way but… I have a very specific type… and besides, I mean, you’re Kamui…
Kamui: Please move closer to me. Look deeeeep into my eyes.
Soleil: …….. … Huh!? W-What… this feeling, it’s… kind of uncomfortable… but I’m also getting a little… excited… … Hey, Kamui. Could you try saying my name…
Soleil: … C-Can you do it in a higher voice? F-For… realism’s sake…
Kamui: … Understood. Soleil.
Kamui: Thank you for saving our city! You were so strong and cool!
Kamui: How was that? I tried to be like that girl from the town…
Soleil: It was superb. I was on the brink of fainting.
Kamui: Then let’s use this method as a special training. Let’s do it again at once.
Soleil: Yeah. Please do… but before that, can we take a little break?
Kamui: Of course.
Soleil: Yes! Then while the magic powder is still in effect, I think I’ll go take a peek at the other male soldiers in the army! Alright! I wonder what kinds of cute girls that ugly lot will become!
Kamui: Eeeh!? P-Please wait, Soleil! You aren’t supposed to use it like that! Soleil——!!
From appeasing Soleil (at her request), and then her running off to enjoy the benefits while Kamui is left behind (and pleading her not to misuse the potion)… it really is clear it was just meant to be a way to cure her fainting and not her attraction to women.
Then on to the A support. It turns out that training doesn’t really work out for them. She still faints around cute girls. In the end, this is their resolution:
Soleil: No, it’s not that hard. Obviously our special training didn’t bring out the results we wanted, but… you tried your hardest for me, Kamui. That makes me really happy. So, this smile isn’t forced. It’s a real one.
Kamui: Is that so? In that case I’m happy too. Soleil, you’re my precious friend. From this day on if you have any problems, I want to offer my strength to you.
Soleil: Really? Thanks! Then let’s continue our special training once more. The girl version of Kamui is of course very appealing but… whether or not you’re using the magic powder, it’s fun being with you Kamui!
Kamui: Thank you. Then from now on let’s think up more ways to train you.
Soleil: Yeah. I’m looking forward to it!
That’s all. Friends. Even if it didn’t work, it’s the thought that counts sort of thing. I feel like the “A support” gets skipped a lot of the time in all this. A major note for those who are unaware: An “S support” is a unique support that you can only have one of per play through. An “A support” is the maximum you can get otherwise. As such, you can consider S the “optional” one, or else it would simply end at A. In this above case, the drug and resulting silliness just resulted in a closer bonding as friends. But it’s the B to S support that got the second part of the controversy running:
Kamui: Your smile is like the sun. I want to look at that smile beside me… forever.
Soleil: ………. Kamui… what’s wrong? Did you hit your head?
Kamui: T-That’s not it! I’m quite serious! … Soleil. I want you to have this.
Soleil: This is… a ring?
Kamui: Yes. I called you here today to ask you to marry me.
Soleil: … Marry…? Eeh!? EEEEEEHHHHHH!?
Kamui: I made this ring shaped like the sun in order to match you, Soleil… I would be happy if you would accept it.
Soleil: ………. … I’m sorry!
Kamui: … I see…
Soleil: Ah, not like that! That wasn’t a refusal just now… that was me apologizing for asking if you hit your head despite trying so hard to confess…
Kamui: Ah, was that it? You surprised me…
Soleil: My reply is… of course it’s okay. There’s no other man that could make my heart tighten like this. I’ve loved you since the day I saw you as a girl.
So when you jump from B to S, it looks like, well, Kamui drugged her and is now proposing to her. When bits and pieces were taken from this dialogue combined with the next section:
Kamui: Uh. Since the day you saw me as a girl? You couldn’t possibly mean… that you fell in love with the female me!?
Kamui: Oh God…
Soleil: But it’s okay. Right now, I also love the male Kamui. I mean, when I drank that magic powder, I saw countless people as women… but the only one to make my heart throb was you, Kamui. Even now… my heart is beating fast. … Hey, want to try touching my chest?
So… suddenly it was taken like “girls don’t matter anymore! I’ll go with you, Kamui!” Or something like that.
Then, the last lines:
Kamui: Good girl. Thank you for accepting my proposal. I’ll definitely make you happy. On that note… you can’t flirt with other guys, okay? Though I don’t think I have to worry about that with you.
Soleil: Ehehe… Okay. I won’t cheat. From now on until forever, I belong only to Kamui!
I guess this rubbed people the wrong way on top of all that. “Good girl” and all that. He still reinforces the flirting with other girls (considering flirting with other guys won’t be a problem)… so not sure where that went on the radar.
Anyway, the point is, when you go from B to S and start picking apart above lines without the context and full conversation, then it may seem like not only did he slip something into her drink, but the end result was he “cured her homosexuality and got the girl in the end.” Happy ending!
The translation I provided in the link had very little issues. Yet video game sites trying to clear up the controversy went all up in clearing up and tackling the translation and not the proper context, character, implications, and well pretty much everything else. It was not the translation, it was the people who interpreted it without a context or knowledge of the characters and the game. Hearsay and misinterpretation is a terrible game of telephone.
Of course, one can argue that perhaps if the translation worded things better, it could have avoided being misinterpreted. But that would not change the main concept, events, and overall meaning of the dialogue.
If anyone is interested in the original Japanese, I have the text from the game’s own text dump if you wish to take a look at it for yourself. But I assure you, you will not find too many issues there.
Another note is that, in general, “S supports” for a lot of the characters are pretty odd/ridiculous in both this game and the previous one, Awakening. I feel it is an inevitable result of trying to make everyone able to marry the opposite gender. Some trivial reason or another will have to be brought up to make them able to marry, so “S supports” are (in personal opinion) sometimes the worst of the group. If you just stop at A, you avoid half the controversy with this one, for instance.
Of course, many people agree the support in general, beyond whatever controversy it caused, was just not that great in the first place.
So how did it spread? Who did it?
I heard people were blaming someone on tumblr for this, but in actuality, well, as far as gaming news websites go, it started with a tweet from someone who happens to be a friend of mine. There was light talk over on SerenesForest (a Fire Emblem fandom center) about this topic, but nothing beyond the realms of those forums. So, Ashley (my friend) made a sarcastic joke tweet about how some people were taking it:
(See the tweet here. Note she links to the same pastebin page I linked to).
Of course, true sarcasm goes unlabeled (and hence “Poe’s Law” comes into effect), and so… people started re-tweeting this like crazy. (I feel partially responsible, as I was hoping people would have taken it as the joke it was meant to be, or else I would have tried to clear it up sooner). Eventually a journalist over on Destructoid ran the article, and it exploded from there… the worst part is the lack of research that went in, and her continued trolling/”running with it” (that is, knowing full well that wasn’t the case but being unable to resist messing with a journalist). She said she could “vouch” for the translation (which she can, being fluent in Japanese), but that’s all it took for the journalist to post it. No looking into the context beyond what was presented, or only picking and choosing whatever best fit the “Fire Emblem has a ‘cure the gay’ conversation.” It really was quite saddening to see.
Anyway then other websites tried jumping on it, then regretted it, and even more websites had to jump in to provide their own translation, when really, in the end, it was just how people can really take things out of proportion rather than what was presented. Here is an archived post of example “damage control”, for instance.
And, lastly, here is a summary that was presented to Ashley on twitter of the whole debacle:
Yes, I understand the issues people have. Do not slip something into anyone’s drink, ever, especially without consent. Do not try to “cure” them as if homosexuality is an illness. Except this second one never happened.
Soleil seems to have a “flirt with women” quirk, it reflects in her support conversations and overall game text. The conversation was Corrin/Kamui (the naïve) helping her out in a way he best knew how to. There was no real devious intention behind it, and she seemed okay with it. The end result, in the (forced) S conversation, is one that comes about simply as an excuse to pair them together. It wasn’t exactly the intention behind the “drugging” in the B support, nor was it entirely the end result of said drugging.
It was not the translation. It was misinterpretation of the translation.
It is for the reasons above that Nintendo seems to be altering the dialogue, or removing it entirely, in a way that cannot be misinterpreted in ways they may not want it to be. It’s amazing to think how a joke tweet over what some people were saying about a mere support conversation blew all the way up to the localization level… but if it avoids needless controversy, then so be it.
Of course, the new issue arising is now the issue of censorship in gaming… which is unfortunate. There will always be an issue! But that is not really my business to discuss, as I just wished to present the information as it was (and a few of my own thoughts on it).
I look forward to seeing what they did with Soleil’s conversation in the upcoming game. If anyone manages to get their hands on the English dialogue before I do, then please pass it along. I would love to compare them!
Feel free to ask if you need any more clarification below. The post is a little all over the place, so if I missed something, or you wanted to know more, then please let me know.
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