Fire Emblem Fates Localization: From Garou/Managarmr to Wolfskin/Wolfssegner



This is another post in my ongoing Fire Emblem Fates localization comparison posts! I discuss anything from major to minor changes here as I play through the game.

Today, I take a look at the change in a class/race name. What was originally Garou and Managarmr  is now Wolfskin and Wolfssegner. The Fire Emblem wiki already includes trivia on this, but go a little farther and ask questions about the localization decisions themselves. So let’s take a look below!

Please note that this post is purely informative and may share some opinion, but this does not mean the change is necessarily good or bad. A change is just a change that is being looked into, and you can be the judge of whether you like it or not!

It is all just for fun and curiosity for me. : )


Classes change names between east and west, it is nothing new. A friend of mine wrote a great post regarding Tenma and Pegasus over here. I encourage you to read it to get the idea!

In this game, there are shape shifters similar to the Taguel in Awakening and Laguz in Path of Radiance / Radiant Dawn, though they work more like manaketes (dragons) did throughout the series since FE6. They use beaststones to transform.

So, getting right to it, in Japanese, the Garou (ガルー) are a race that shape shifts into wolf-like beasts. The word is french for “werewolf,” and referred to as “loup-garou” specifically (a pleonasm that means “wolf-werewolf.”)

In English, it was made into Wolfskin. They are likely aiming for wolf-skin, likely a reference to shape-shifters (referred to as things such as “skin walkers,” or like Tolkien’s “skin changers.”) It could potentially be a pun on wolfs-kin as well, people of the wolf essentially.

Generic Wolfskin.

The promoted class is referred to as Managarmr (マーナガルム) in Japanese. It is a reference to the “moon-hound” of Norse mythology, which relates back to werewolves in a literal sense (influenced by the moon), but also implies greater strength (a hound that hunts the moon itself). The Final Fantasy series had a beast named such, so it seems to be on the rise for use in general JRPGs (trends such as Ragnarok and all that).

In English, this became Wolfssegner. The word is derived from Wolfsseggen, which was originally a charm said to ward off werewolves in Bavarian folklore. Those that sold them were named Wolfssegners. the sellers of these charms were eventually persecuted and tried as witches and werewolves themselves! In that sense, naming the class Wolfssegner can give a feel that they are a more wise and tricky sort of Wolfskin (if going with the beliefs of the people back then, however), and so the name for the higher class.

Generic Wolfssegner.

So the above changes make sense in meaning. But then why the changes? Why go from Garou to Wolfskin and Managarmr to Wolfssegner?

Perhaps the localization wanted to sacrifice exotic naming conventions for more straightforward, meaningful ones? After all, how many people were aware of who or what a Managarmr was even after playing the game without doing some research? With Wolfskin and Wolfssegner, the word “wolf” still appears at the very start to give the English player an idea of what they are, leaving them to connect the more obvious dots.

In Japanese, Garou and Managarmr are rather exotic, with perhaps only harder-core JRPG fans understanding what they could be. With that in mind, the intent was probably to portray a slightly more exotic culture beyond simply the “werewolf.” These two above words are both from cultures foreign to English and Japanese speakers alike, so it made little sense to change them unless it was to simply make them easier to convey to an audience (saving them the trouble of a fun trivial pursuit).

If the Japanese name was simply “werewolf,” then perhaps taking this route may have served to make it as exotic as it was to the Japanese (who were using an English word). But considering it is foreign to both, it is a strange change to me. Of course, the English ones are still somewhat exotic, but a bit of the charm is lost in putting “wolf” in there straightforwardly.

Interestingly, look at the way they’re described in the game-text:


A class of Nohr. Werewolves [man-wolves] that are said to feed on people. Have great strength and speed.

Above is a more literal Japanese translation. They say werewolves (or man-wolves) directly here. This is probably to inform the Japanese player above what they are without simply referring ot them as “man wolves.” Now look at English:

Nohrian. A human/beast hybrid said to feed on humans. High Str and Spd.

So this is the opposite. Wolf is in the name of the class (Wolfskin, etc), yet they call them human/beast hybrids instead of the most literal word “werewolf” as it is in Japanese. However, the connotation of simply being werewolves may make one assume that they only change depending on the moon, where as over here they use beast stones. Perhaps this is the reason they avoided it.

The funny part about all this is, where you meet and battle the Wolfskin in Birthright is atop “Mt. Garou” (same name in Japanese). So something stayed the same, whether this was an accident or not remains to be seen!

I wonder what the french version of the game will do with Garou


Tomorrow I hope to post about the Kitsune!

What do you think? Do you like the exotic approach or the slightly more straightforward approach better? Which class name do you prefer?


12 thoughts on “Fire Emblem Fates Localization: From Garou/Managarmr to Wolfskin/Wolfssegner

  1. I have a friend who tells me that Garou is the name of a World of Darkness werewolf-like species (he’s a tabletop RPG buff, which I am not) so that one could simply be them trying to avoid a lawsuit, although personally I don’t like “Wolfskin” at all.

  2. Pingback: FE Fates Localization: Character Profile Comparisons (ALL) | kantopia

  3. Pingback: FE Fates Localization: Chapter Title Comparisons (ALL) | kantopia

  4. Pingback: Fire Emblem Fates Localization: From Youko/Kyuubi no Kitsune to Kitsune/Nine-Tails | kantopia

  5. I actually find it an affront to Native American (or at least my personal background and) culture. While werewolves and Norse mythology are absolutely well known modern tropes, “wolfskin” is a watering down attempt that flies in the face of Flannel/Keaton’s own statements of pride. In order to dumb it down, they treat their audience as too infantile to understand or care about the context. This leaves it with the idea that he is exactly as so many stereotyping stories depict Native Americans with wolf spirits, and moreover, the idea that it’s acceptable to wear your brother’s skin just because he’s a wolf is completely abhorrent as ANY tribe across North America will quickly tell you.

    Moreover, “wolfskin” alone isn’t the only problem. — they made them subhuman.

    My tribe doesn’t clap, we howl. I’m white as snow, so rarely ever did people know of my heritage (I was also strictly taught by my grandmother to hold it close to my heart and not public) so it actually took me a bit of work to understand how to fit in with “normal society.”

    When I was given the name Silverwolf, I was genuinely distressed. Because I thought the Silver was a reference to my pale skin, and those with wolf in their names are meant to be guides/teachers, which most of my Dad’s side is, but I had no desire to join them in. It was explained to me then that silver is for the spirit world balance, and teaching is not always so literal; but a guide must never stop learning and asking questions. You do not get to choose your spirit, your tribe and those around you see it in you and help you see it too. While my hiding it through high school was my own personal insecurity, I felt like I had to hide it precisely because of these idiotic stereotypes that still persist portraying anyone with wolf affinity as mentally unstable, violent, or at nicest: desperate attention seekers — and all I wanted was to AVOID attention and be left alone.

    Since Treehouse’s intent in localization was not just translation but to ease understanding and prevent offense; it’s a bit ironic that they fucked up so badly they have caused some fairly irreparable damage.

    Sorry for the TL;DR and yes, I’m aware that simply because I’m offended doesn’t change anything; but nevertheless, it’s doubly insulting to think it was changed to avoid causing offense, and then makes a cultural blunder such as this. Garou, Werewolf, wolf laguz (I love Volug!!! Who doesn’t???), moon wolf, night wolf, or nearly any other variation would have been okay. This offends even furries. It’s abhorrent.

    • Hey there Tsun Justice! Good to see you commenting, as I looked into this based on what you told me, after all.

      Oh my. I had not seen that conversation yet in either language, but is definitely something worth looking into beyond the simple name change, so thanks again for that link. I’ll probably tackle it at a later date. Is that from the recruitment conversation? I assume it is. They gave a similar treatment to Kanna’s recruitment, making her do a strange growl and saying it’s dragon for “I love you” sort of thing.

      Thank you for the deep insight on why you found it offensive. I’m sure it will help many readers who see these comments gain an understanding from another point of view.

      Yes, being offended may not change anything, but it does show that not everyone is content with a certain thing being one way or another. It is nice to hear a variety of takes on the matter, so in that sense I see nothing wrong with sharing how you feel.

      Offends even furries? Does it? xD Oh dear…

    • I really don’t see how this affects you in any way. They used a word with “wolf” in it to describe wolf people. It’s that simple. There’s nothing offensive about this. They aren’t using slurs or racial stereotypes, they aren’t dehumanizing anyone, they aren’t mocking any cultural thing, they are just calling wolves wolves. You didn’t even manage to make a single coherent point in that… Calm down. No one’s hurting you. What does this have to do with violent wolf stereotypes?? The wolves in the game aren’t any more violent than the humans. Yeah, they made them act like wolves for the occasional gag, because they’re WOLVES. What does “we don’t clap, we howl” even mean??? What does this even have to do with you? What are you upset about????
      It’s abhorrent to wear a wolf’s skin? That’s completely irrelevant. They don’t wear wolves’ skin. They turn into wolves. He isn’t any kind of stereotype, he’s his own character. No one is going to think he’s supposed to represent Native Americans just because the race is called wolfskin now. I can’t even find anything related to Native Americans by searching the term.
      Basically all I’m getting here is “you’re allowed to use words from other cultures for your fictional creatures, but not mine.”
      Look, I get you’re allowed to feel how you feel and no one can stop you, but you’re throwing a fit over literally nothing.

  6. There is a popular fighting game called Garou: Mark of the Wolves (aka Fatal Fury: Mark of the Wolves for the English title).

    The kanji used for Garou in that game was 飢狼、which literally means “hungry wolf”. Just thought I’d share some interesting etymology behind the word “garou”. 😉

    • That’s a fun pun I didn’t consider, since they technically wrote out “garuu” in kana instead of “garou”! But I think that’s definitely still worth considering. : )

Thoughts? Comments? Requests? Leave a comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s