This post is part of a series on reader requested (and personal curiosity) comparisons between Fire Emblem games’ Japanese and English scripts. Last time I covered Python’s “ginger stud” line in Shadows of Valentia.
Today’s post however concerns a single line of support conversation dialogue between the characters Farina and Karla in Blazing Blade (FE7). These two are only on Hector’s path. From a reader:
How does the part with Farina going, ‘Ooga Booga” go in Japanese?
This sounds like a fun investigation. So let’s get to it!
This is from Farina and Karla’s B support conversation. For context, Karla is a woman from Sacae, a country that has nomadic tribes. Farina (above) says the following:
So the tribes in Sacae, they all, like, dance around a fire and chant “Ooga Booga,” don’t they?
Farina’s line seems like it would be a product of western localization indeed, as it is reminiscent to a scene you see of a stereotypical tribesman in a show like the Looney Toons.
So let’s look at a literal translation of the original Japanese before commenting more:
Original Japanese + Translation:
So those Sacae tribes, yeah? They dance around campfires while going “Ooh-ooh-aah-aah!” right?
Amazingly, it is actually a faithful translation. The original script had the camp fire and tribesmen dancing around it making what are normally seen as tribal noises (as the stereotypes go).
In this case, in Japanese, she uses the onomatopoeia of a monkey’s sound (ウホウホ). It was probably a good call to make it “ooga booga” to both save space and make it clearer it was a tribal chant rather than a vague noise that people may or may not associate with a monkey. I suppose she could have said “dance around and chant like monkeys,” but that would not have been as funny as keeping the sound itself in there.
In that sense, the “ooga booga” was a fun way to go about it! The localization did not have to drastically change the dialogue or add more to her character in this sense as the original script already had personality in both of the characters, in contrast to observations I made in the more recent titles where the localization feels the need to punch up characters’ traits as needed. I hope to do a future article on this subject actually.
Farina’s silly stab at the tribes of Sacae is pretty much true to the original, with the sound of a monkey being changed to a stereotypical but recognizable tribal chant instead.
Below is an isolated table with direct comparison for reference, and a shareable infographic is at the end of this post.
|Original Japanese||Literal||Official Localization|
|サカ部族ってことは、あれでしょ？たき火を囲んで、みんなでウホウホ踊ったりするんでしょ？||So those Sacae tribes, right? They dance around campfires while going “Ooh-ooh-aah-aah!” right?||So the tribes in Sacae, they all, like, dance around a fire and chant
“Ooga Booga,” don’t they?
Blazing Blade’s localization wasn’t perfect of course. In fact, they made a glaring mistake to a significant line on the main antagonist that I never forgave them for, as it significantly changed one character’s more sympathetic side. There was also an epilogue translation mishap that caused confusion for years.
So what do you think of the above dialogue? Would you have changed it to make it more exciting? If so, how? Or, how would you have gone about writing the monkey noises? Let me know below!
I will continue to look at fun differences between the versions of Blazing Blade as well as other Fire Emblem games!
Any dialogue you’re interested in? Let me know in comments or via email!