FE Heroes: Loki’s Gender Pronouns in Japanese? [JPN vs ENG]

Today is a quick post about the character Loki in Fire Emblem Heroes.

A reader sent me the following via email:

…yesterday Fire Emblem Heroes got a big information update, in that update they showed off Loki, a so far minor character in the story of FEH, in their, presumably, true form:

<Link to image>

Now since the mythological Loki was known to shapeshift into different genders some players are wondering if this is really Loki’s true form and if the FEH Loki is female unlike his mythological counterpart.

They very helpfully provided a sample video of the Japanese dialogue (also seen below) where they refer to themselves in the first person a lot. Japanese does have gendered (or, at least gender inflecting) first person pronouns which may provide a hint, so I took a look to see what Loki uses!

Please note this post was written as of November 16th, before any revelations of Loki’s true form and the like.

As you can see in the above video (if you read Japanese), Loki uses the pronoun 私 (watashi). If you don’t read Japanese, you can see that character appear throughout the conversation in place of where English has “I.”

Unfortunately for trying to determine gender, this is actually a gender neutral way to refer to oneself. They consistently use it throughout the conversation, too. Their tone in general doesn’t lean either way, as Japanese often has other hints beyond pronouns to imply gender.

In this conversation, for instance, Veronica is using very feminine speech (Japanese readers will see a lot of ねえ and の usage popping up at the end of sentences, as one example). This gives stark contrast between the two as well.

I reached out to the reader to ask if they had any examples of Loki referred to by third person pronouns (he/she/they/etc), but they told me Loki has only been addressed by name or by “you.”

In Japanese it would be a long shot anyway, considering Japanese often uses a name in place of where he/she would be. The language does have “he” or “she,” but it is quite rarely used in cases like this…

Translating vague genders from Japanese is always a challenge, as English is more trigger happy with pronoun usage (as it would sound odd to refer to someone by name all the time, which doesn’t sound odd in Japanese at all). As such perhaps they are lucky thus far that they can use the second person (“you”) and use the name Loki for any time the third person appears as it is not too often.

In short:

Loki uses gender neutral pronouns and inflections in their way of speaking, and as such there is no way of being any closer or farther from surmising what their gender may be without more information.

As the game continues, updates will come as more information is learned.

Updates:

5/26/18:

My colleague Oscar over on twitter noted:

11/11/17:

A friend sent me this sheet of concept art that is labeled “Loki” at the top left there… oh well! See them in translation here.


For fun, what do you think Loki will end up being in the end? I am reminded of the Shin Megami Tensei series, though there Loki is still male in all the cases I remember him (Lucifer, on the other hand…)

This post looks to be posted on November 5th, but was actually written on the 16th and is just filling in for that day’s post, in case it confused you.

3 thoughts on “FE Heroes: Loki’s Gender Pronouns in Japanese? [JPN vs ENG]

  1. Pingback: FE Heroes: Loki Design Sheet Translations | kantopia

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