This is another post in my ongoing Fire Emblem Fates localization comparison posts! I discuss anything from major to minor changes here.
Today, I look at every chapter title between the two versions. Prologue, Birthright, Conquest, Revelation, and all the Paralogues. Spoilers will be inevitable due to the chapter titles, so be wary.
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. : )
First, some general things to keep in mind:
- The localization has very little space to work with in these titles. You can get a good idea of the limitations based on the amount of Japanese characters versus the English ones. It can be hard to convey some bigger ideas as a result.
- My own translation I provide takes a literal approach to give you the meaning. I am aware sometimes they go too verbose. This is not a post about what the title should be. Simply a post regarding what it was, and what it was made into.
- Some chapters are named in reference to Azura/Aqua’s song. The English one’s lyrics can be found here. The Japanese ones were a little tougher. While I translated the song here, it relies on the context of what comes before and after to make any sense. So, you may notice some of them have been modified to a similar meaning, but presented in a way that makes more sense with the isolated lines, rather than directly like the English version.
- I leave some notes under each table with commentary and such pertaining to the specific tables.
Prologue Chapters (0-6)
|0||その手が拓く未来||The Hand That Opens the Path to Tomorrow||Ties That Bind|
|2||魔剣ガングレリ||Dark Sword Ganglari||Gift of Ganglari|
|5||母と子||Mother & Child||Mother|
|6||その手が拓く未来||The Hand That Opens the Path to Tomorrow||The Path Is Yours|
- Chapters 0 & 6 have the same title in Japanese, but the localization went with “Ties That Bind” and “The Path is Yours.” “The Path is Yours” is the actual song lyric (and in Japanese, is more toward “The Hand That Opens the Path to Tomorrow). One refers directly in the second person, the Japanese uses the third person.
- Chapters 1 & 4 remove reference to brethren. It did not even seem to be a space issue, but perhaps just to focus on the countries more than the families involved. The Japanese makes it a point to show the chapters are about the families first and foremost.
- Chapter 2 goes from focusing on the sword being Dark to it being a Gift. Subtle, yet different.
- Chapter 5 removed references to child to simply focus on the Mother. Child is gender neutral, so fits with being able to choose Kamui / Corrin’s gender. You will see throughout the game a lot of the titles are cut this way to a sole focus rather than the “&” focus.
Birthright / Hoshido Chapters (6-28)
|6||光へ手を伸ばす||Reaching for the Light||In the White Light|
|7||寄り集まる心||A Gathering of Spirits||A Vow Upheld|
|8||猛き風||A Ferocious Wind||Fierce Winds|
|9||神々の坐す国||The Country of Gods||Land of Gods|
|10||忍の里||Shinobi Village||Ninja Village|
|11||海へ…||To the Sea…||To the Sea|
|12||楽園の再会||Reunion in Paradise||Dark Reunion|
|13||魂は屈せず||Unyielding Spirit||Another Hope|
|14||柔く光り散りて||A Soft Light Scatters||Light Scatters|
|15||人狼の峰||Garou Peak||Wolfskin Peak|
|16||歓楽の宮殿||Pleasure Palace||Pleasure Palace|
|17||氷の別離||The Ice Breaks||Lost in the Ice|
|18||暗夜王子レオン||Prince Leon of Nohr||Leo|
|19||虹の賢者||Sage of Rainbows||Rainbow Sage|
|20||黒竜砦||Black Dragon Fortress||Fort Dragonfall|
|21||燃える滝||The Burning Falls||Burning Falls|
|22||死したる王都||Dead Capital||Hidden Capital|
|23||暗夜王女カミラ||Princess Camilla of Nohr||Camilla|
|24||星竜の涙||A Star Dragon’s Tears||Tears of a Dragon|
|25||蝙蝠の正体||Traitor’s True Colors||Traitor Revealed|
|26||暗夜王子マークス||Prince Marx of Nohr||Xander|
|27||暗夜王ガロン||King Garon of Nohr||King Garon|
|Final / 28||闇の去り行く暁||Darkness Vanquished by Dawn||Dawn Breaks|
- Chapters 6, 14, and 28 are all from Azura’s song. Regarding the Japanese version, Chapter 6 is actually “A Hand Reaches for the Light.” Chapter 28 is a hard one to covey without the entire song, but the lyrics say “A light, like a sunrise, that drives the darkness away.” So it is a shortening of it, but nowhere near as straightforward as the English lyrics.
- Chapters 18, 23, 26, and 27 are notable for cutting off title. It is simply the names of the characters involved. Something about writing “Prince Leon of Nohr” or “Princess Camilla of Nohr” gave a semblance of distance between the character and the family they left behind. Of course, one could argue that, as Corrin never truly despises any of them, perhaps they still feel the closeness to them and so the Chapter names simply address them as their name rather than by title. It’s a subtle difference that has very roundabout implications in that way, I would say!
- Chapter 10 is a pun that gets lost in translation, but Shinobi (how Japanese often refer to Ninja) comes from a word that means “to conceal/hide/etc”.
- Chapter 12 went from a general reunion (and potentially referencing not just Corrin’s reunion, but Zola’s) to a clearly Dark reunion to better express the tone. The first may have sounded too positive.
- Chapter 15 retains the peak, but “Wolfskin” is what “Garou” became. There’s a lot of strange trivia around it (such as how the location is still called Garou Peak despite no other references to Garou anywhere). So you can read more about that here.
- Some chapters (such as 21) are pretty much direct translations. They need no comment, the “The” is in there simply for effect.
- Chapter 24 is more specific in Japanese –clearly referring to Lilith’s tears. However, it seems the localization took the approach to incorporate Corrin’s own tears at the loss that happens in said chapter, too.
Conquest / Nohr Chapters (6-28)
|6||闇へと進みゆく||On a Path to Darkness||Embrace the Dark|
|7||聞こえざる啓示||A Dark Revelation||A Dragon’s Decree|
|8||氷の村の少女||Maiden of the Ice Village||Cold Reception|
|9||再びの試練||A New Ordeal||Another Trial|
|10||望まぬ再会||Unexpected Reunion||Unhappy Reunion|
|11||虹の賢者||Sage of Rainbows||Rainbow Sage|
|12||昏き企み||Dark Intrigue||Bitter Intrigue|
|14||楽園の歌声||Voice of Paradise||Voice of Paradise|
|15||鈍く崩れ落ちて||It Begins to Fall||The Black Pillar|
|17||裏切りの魔窟||Den of Betrayal||Den of Betrayal|
|18||黒白の王子||Black & White Prince||Black & White|
|19||妖狐の山||Youkou Mountain||Kitsune Lair|
|20||風の村の覇者||Champion of the Wind Village||Winds of Change|
|21||黄泉の階段||Hades’ Stairway||Eternal Stairway|
|22||白夜王女サクラ||Princess Sakura of Hoshido||Sakura|
|24||白夜王女ヒノカ||Princess Hinoka of Hoshido||Hinoka|
|25||白夜王子リョウマ||Prince Ryouma of Hoshido||Ryoma|
|27||虚ろなる王||The Hollow King||The Empty King|
|Final / 28||光去り行く黄昏||Darkness Chases the Light Away||Night Breaks Through|
- Like with Birthright, Chapters 6, 15, and 28 are from Azura’s song. Chapter 15 was difficult to convey without context. One wonders “what” is falling. In context, it is the “sun” (in the song lyrics, referring to it setting, and so the light fading). The Black Pillar is what the English one went with, so had a more clear meaning behind it for the chapter. Chapter 28 is literally, “A Sunset/Twilight that Chases the Light Away” (to mirror the earlier line of a Sunrise that Chases the Darkness Away). You can already see how the idea is harder to express in English…
- Chapter 7 can also mean “A revelation from darkness” referring to how, as far as the others are concerned, Garon is getting these orders from practically out of nowhere. The English one makes it sound more like he knows what he is doing.
- Chapter 8 is oddly very different. They decided to go for a pun rather than focus on the fact Flora would be in it. However, I noticed a lot of these titles try to avoid potentially “spoiling” what will happen within the Chapter. So these references may have been removed for that reason.
- Chapter 10 is strange, from Unexpected to Unhappy. It somewhat makes sense, the “unexpected” in Japanese is translated from “unexpected (in a bad way)” (as opposed to a pleasant surprise). Considering Takumi is encountered on this level, the localization makes sense.
- Chapter 12 has Intrigue, but Bitter rather than Dark. Both have negative connotations, still.
- Chapter 13 in Japanese expresses the objective, where as English describes what is happening.
- Chapter 16 is certainly more direct as to what is happening in the Japanese one!
- Chapter 18 removes any reference to a “Prince.”
- Chapter 19 changed mountain to a lair. It was always a little strange to me, since lair gives the connotation of more of an interior place, like a cave in the mountain, rather than the mountain itself. Kitsune is how they chose to translate Youkou, even when they are theoretically two different things (you can read more about the name comparison here).
- Chapter 20 mentions “Champion” (it can also mean “Supreme Ruler”), but the English opted for a much shorter, meaningful title.
- Chapter 21, I wrote “Hades” but it can simply mean “Hell’s Stairway” as well. regardless, it became the Eternal Stairway.
- Chapters 22, 24, and 25 do the same thing as Nohr’s path did (and, the rest of the paths, really). I feel the same way about how it can go both ways for implication here.
- Chapter 23 is an interesting title. It literally means “Imprisoned Eyes” in Japanese. English opted for Possessed, as you learn later that is exactly what is happening with Takumi. But the Japanese one goes a bit deeper, since those imprisoned eyes imply blindness, or blind to something. Be it rage (blinded by rage), or sorrow (blinded by sorrow), those are sort of lost with “Possessed.” (Of course, one could say “possessed by hatred,” but in English one would probably opt to use blinded, as far as I know!)
Revelation / Invisible Kingdom Chapters (6-28)
|6||狭間へ沈みゆく||Sinking into a Ravine||Into the Ground|
|7||語られざる世界||A World That Cannot Be Spoken Of||Unspeakable World|
|8||裏切りの汚名||A Traitor’s Stigma||Traitor’s Brand|
|10||神の声||A Divine Voice||Voice of a God|
|11||共闘||Joint Battle||Mutual Enemies|
|12||凍てつく海||The Frozen Sea||Frozen Sea|
|13||失われた楽園||The Fallen Paradise||A Lost Peace|
|14||暗夜軍襲来||The Course of Nohr’s Army||Orders|
|15||虹の賢者||Sage of Rainbows||Rainbow Sage|
|16||白き炎||White Flames||White Flames|
|17||黒き炎||Black Flames||Black Flames|
|18||見えざる王国||The Invisible Kingdom||Veiled Kingdom|
|19||滅びの街||The City of Ruin||Hidden Strings|
|20||疑惑の種子||A Seed of Doubt||Seeds of Doubt|
|21||進むべき道||Following the Destined Path||Going Forward|
|22||母の記憶||Memories of Mother||Memories|
|23||眷属シェンメイ||Valla Loyalist Shenmei||Arete Undone|
|24||在りし日の面影||A Face from Days Gone By||Days Lost|
|25||魔剣士再び||Return of the Sword Demon||Blades Drawn|
|26||我が名は透魔王||My Name is King Valla||The Vallite King|
|27||埋もれ狂い果てて||Buried Deep Within Madness||Hear My Cry|
|Final / 28||透魔竜ハイドラ||Vallite Dragon Hydra||Anankos|
- Chapters 6 and 27 are the song references here. 6 sounds odd without the context of the rest of the song, though it could also be translated as “Sinking in Between,” a good reference to choosing neither side. The curious part is how the other paths have three song-based chapters, this one only has two. And, rather than the final chaper being named after a song verse (like the other two), this one’s second last chapter is. Perhaps it is because the song was a prophecy to the events of the game, and was made by the very Dragon you now fight. Going above and beyond prophecies, achieving his wish.
- Chapter 10’s localization managed to summarize that meaning very well! An alternate title could be “A World Unheard Of.”
- Chapter 11 focuses on the cooperative aspect, but the English one focuses on the “enemy of my enemy is my friend” notion.
- Chapter 13 opted for peace rather than paradise.
- Chapter 14’s Japanese title is alluding to “the course” in terms of where Nohr’s army is going in terms of its command and orders. The English simplified it to just “Orders” which can work.
- Chapter 18 in Japanese is basically a translation of the path name in Japanese (which is “Invisible Kingdom”).
- Chapter 19 & 21 have greater differences. The Japanese talks about a ruined city, and then following one’s destiny (a reference to the prophetic song of the game). The English this time takes the more “chapter content” route and says “Hidden Strings” (implying the behind the scenes nature), as well as the very literal “Going Forward.” Very interesting.
- Chapter 22’s Japanese title I found more preferable to the English. “Memories of Mother” can mean both Mother’s memories, but also the others’ (namely, her children’s) memories of her, too. Again, it could be that the English version did not want to give away that certain characters’ mothers would be involved, and so opted simply for “Memories.”
- Chapter 23 is a title and name like the other Japanese “fight a character” chapters on the other routes. Here, English broke convention by writing “Undone” instead of just “Arete.”
- Chapter 24 erased mentions of it revolving around a character (the face), and instead simply the days that were lost between them. Again, more vague.
- Chapter 25 literally translates to “Cursed Swordsman’s Return.” I wrote “Sword Demon,” though “Cursed Swordsman” may have the more fitting connotations. Regardless, the English is missing references to any dark/fallen/evil swordsman, and simply references the actions taken on the level itself.
- Chapter 26, I wonder why the first person was changed to a more neutral one. I felt the first person may have conveyed that he was the one listing off these chapters in the first place, considering the song he wrote is used in so many of the titles. But of course, it could just be not-Gunter revealing himself, too, rather than any meta-meaning.
- The final chapter is relatively anti-climactic in the sense that it ends with a title, rather than a meaningful song lyric like the other paths. However, as discussed on my first note above, it may be because you are now in territory not discussed by the song itself. Either way, the Japanese retain the title of what he is, rather than simply his name.
Paralogue Chapters (1-22)
|1||悲劇にさす光明||Hope from Tragedy||Tragic Start|
|2||竜の血がもつ宿命||Fate of the Dragon-Blooded||Dragon Blood|
|3||歌姫と共に||Together With the Songstress||Surprise Duet|
|4||闘わぬことの意味||The Meaning Behind Pacifism||Fight or Flight|
|5||心通うとき||Following One’s Heart||Bold Approach|
|6||願いの薬草||The Herb of Wishes||Herbal Remedy|
|7||父の背を追って||In Father’s Footsteps||Father & Liege|
|8||狩猟に導かれし道||The Path of a Hunter||A Great Hunt|
|9||サイゾウの名跡||Saizou’s Namesake||Saizo vs. Saizo|
|10||狩る者狩られる者||The Hunter and the Hunted||Hunter & Prey|
|11||愛憎半ば||Between Love & Hate||A Long Grudge|
|12||眠り妨ぐもの||Preventing Her Sleep||Sweet Dreams|
|13||完璧な娘||The Perfect Daughter||Truly Talented|
|14||秘術の果てに||Master of the Arcane Arts||After the End|
|15||秘めたる覚悟||Hidden Resolve||Hidden Bravery|
|16||囚われの王子||The Imprisoned Prince||Abducted|
|17||守り守られる者||Defending the Defender||Two Defenders|
|18||風変わりな親子||An Eccentric Parent & Child||Nutty Family|
|19||寂寥と嘘と喜びと||Loneliness, Lies, & Joy||Great Heroism|
|20||究極最強の魔書||The Ultimate Magic Tome||Ultimate Power|
|21||危機に咲く笑顔||Smiling in the Face of Danger||Bright Smile|
|22||予期せぬ遭遇||An Unexpected Encounter||Abrupt Clash|
- As you can see, the Paralogues have the biggest changes between them compared to the main story.
- These are all in text dump order. I am not sure if the actual game had numbers for their Paralogues. I know the Japanese one did not.
- Chapter 1: Poor Mozu, all notions of hope in her Japanese title are gone in the localization.
- Chapter 2: It does get a little wordy, but the “Fate of the” part adds a lot that goes unsaid about the sort of life dragons must face. Especially when you hear about Dragons in the Unseen/Invisible History DLC.
- Chapter 3: This one was handled fine, I think.
- Chapter 4: A lot of meaning is lost changing the titles here.
- Chapter 5: These mean the same things essentially, but are two very different ways to express it in terms of character implications.
- Chapter 6: The Japanese chapter revolved around the “Herb of Wishes,” so it was strange to see the crucial center point of that chapter change simply to a generic remedy.
- Chapter 7: One implies following after his father, the other simply implies his position relative to his father.
- Chapter 8: From a hunter’s path to simply remarking on the hunt itself.
- Chapter 9: One is about Saizo’s namesake/legacy, the other is simply about the “two” Saizo’s against each other.
- Chapter 10: This one is a more direct translation!
- Chapter 11: It says a lot more for his character considering it gives a more complex breakdown. The English one may only imply the grudge.
- Chapter 12: One is about how the chapter and attackers prevent her sleep, the other… does not.
- Chapter 13: I wonder why this one changed? Regardless, it has a similar meaning.
- Chapter 14: Clarification on the Japanese, the “Master” part comes from the literal meaning of “The Utmost Adept of the Arcane Arts.” Master worked just as well. “After the End” is a bit more vague. After the end of training? Mastering the arts? It is a little strange.
- Chapter 15: Close enough! Same meaning, so may as well be a direct translation.
- Chapter 16: References to Prince are removed, and simply “Abducted.”
- Chapter 17: The Japanese implies the Defender needs to be Defended, but the English one makes it sound more mutual and less one-sided.
- Chapter 18: Summarized in a nutshell!
- Chapter 19: There’s a lot said in those three words in Japanese that gets lost in “Great Heroism.” But, “Great Heroism” isn’t entirely untrue, either.
- Chapter 20: Its close enough, though one focuses on the tome, the other simply on the power it gives.
- Chapter 21: Bright Smile is a good allusion to the sunny Soleil. However, it does take away from smiling “no matter what,” as the first title implies.
- Chapter 22: This has a similar title to Nohr’s Chapter in Japanese (Unexpected Reunion), so perhaps it was changed for that reason.
The localization did a fine job with many of the titles. Some of the nuanced meanings are inevitably lost. Then, there are some stranger ones, though with possible reasons listed above (such as “Maiden of the Ice Village” becoming “Cold Reception,” or “My Name is King Valla” becoming “The Vallite King.”
There are some that do change meanings completely (such as “Defending the Defender” to “Two Defenders.”)
But, as usual, we will never truly know the reason behind some changes, as interested as I would be to find out!
Phew! That’s that. Another macro-post done.
What do you think? Do you prefer the Japanese titles? Or the English ones? I like some of each over the other, so it’s not like you have to like all of one and none of the other, of course!