Today is a brief post on a recent Fire Emblem Fates localization development. I already talked all about the Soleil controversy yesterday, but in a related statement, Nintendo revealed a character name, too. So today I wanted to address the character now named “Rhajat.”
In fact I hope to get to other character localization things in the future (Marx to Xander…?) but will focus on this one for now, as it brings up some questions that apply to a few other characters who we do not know the localized names of yet.
Note: Spoilers for some things from the game may follow. Though, nothing about the main plot beyond one very indirect reference will be spoiled, but just in case, please proceed with caution.
So it has been confirmed that the character Shara/Syalla (シャラ) is named Rhajat in the localization. (The confirmation is indirect, but for those who know the context, she is the only one who can have a same-sex marriage with Corrin/Kamui/the avatar).
Below is a quick introduction using her character page from the Character Book:
Now, first, to explain this name change, we have to begin with several things. Why did I write it as Shara/Syalla above? Well, Syalla is how the game code puts her name, but Shara is how many fans (myself and this book included) say it. This is always an issue with “ra” sounds and the lack of “la” sounds in Japanese, and became more of a matter of preference. The reason I point out Syalla here, specifically, is because it is important to understanding why Rhajat was chosen for the localization.
So, next, for those who played Awakening. Remember Tharja? Well, her name was Sarya/Sallya (サーリャ) in the Japanese version.
With the above in mind, the two characters are meant to be very alike. Down to their design and character both, though that is no secret.
So in Japanese, they changed Sallya to Syalla. It’s harder to portray this with Sarya and Shara, but you can clearly see the anagram when you present it as Sallya and Syalla.
The localization thus chose to make an anagram of Tharja, making Rhajat out of it. That makes sense for keeping that sort of anagram of the Awakening character, but it presents a new slew of problems…
Rhajat sounds close to the male hindu name Rajat, for one. So, a lot of fans are speculating how that will fit into the greater Hoshido (Japan-like) narrative. A counter argument is that “Syalla” isn’t really much of a Japanese name either, and so that it makes sense that she can get away with a more exotic name like Rhajat.
But that presents a different issue…
Namely, will this be the case for Gaius and Cordelia’s look-alikes too? In the Japanese version of Fates, they are named Gray/Gurei (グレイ) and Matoi (マトイ) respectively. In Awakening, they are named Gaia/Guire and Tiamo respectively. So, you can see how Guire became Gurei, and Tiamo became Matoi. Both the end result names have the Japanese feel too them, able to spell in Japanese syllabary with ease. That does not apply to Syalla, so they can get away with a non-Japanese sounding name like Rhajat in English.
So, fans ask: What will they make the names Gaius and Cordelia into?
Gaius is lucky, fans come up with the name Usagi, which can be spelled out of Gaius with ease (it means rabbit, I guess that’s sort of fitting, too). That is one of many possibilities (they could also write Suagi, Asugi, etc. Basically anything that fits the syllabary).
But Cordelia is a harder one. The “L” already makes her a difficult candidate. Yes, L’s are substituted for R’s (like Syalla) when going from Japanese to English, but does the same apply going the other way? Likewise, K’s can become C’s from Japanese to English, so does the same apply the other way around? If so, then will it become an anagram of Korderia rather than Cordelia? If so, doesn’t that mean it’s not a true anagram like they did for Tharja/Rhajat? Therein lays the difficulty.
Of course, they may just abandon the Japanese-sounding names for the sake of the anagram, or vice versa. With Rhajat, she had an exotic and hardly Japanese name in the original game anyway, despite her father having a very Japanese-centric name (Tsukuyomi, the moon god). Will the localization keep this Japanese-centric father and (Hindu/exotic)-named daughter? Or will they try to strive for consistency and go for a more Hindu sounding father, too? (In which case, Chandra is the Hindu god of the moon). Apparently, the 25th Anniversary Artbook* makes mentions of the Invisible Kingdom (third path) having Indian origins and how Aqua is slightly inspired by such too, so does the answer lie there? Make them more like a remnant from those times? Rename Fuuga and his Wind Clan to better fit an Indian heritage?
Or will they just ignore those subtleties that the name implies and stick with the anagrams? I don’t mind either way, but was interesting to think about really.
UPDATE: Tsukuyomi turns out to be named Hayato…so…
I look forward to seeing what the other two are named, and hope to compare them in the future.
*-I marked this without a source as it was based on what VincentASM of serenesforest.net was saying, but I have yet to take an in-depth look at the exact material to verify it, and so am marking it as “supposed” for now.
Feel free to share your own thoughts on the names and what they can become. Remember, this post is just something to think about, and not some absolute “my way is the only way” sort of thing. : )
For more information on Rhajat/Shara/Syalla, please check her character profile page here, or read a summary of her recruitment chapter here if you’d like. Grey/Gurei and Matoi have a pages to themselves, too.
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