Today is a quick post from a reader question regarding Sakura’s “Kitty Paddle” and what it is in Japanese.
So I took a look:
You will notice I didn’t translate “anki” as there is no real descriptor for it. Most literally, it means “hidden weapon” (or dark weapon, or illusive, etc).
According to the Japanese wikipedia, “anki” is described as:
“A generic name for small arms/equipment that could be concealed under clothing used in Chinese martial arts.”
It goes on to mention this moniker of weapons was adapted by Japan by the end of the 20th century thanks to the term’s popularity in film/manga/etc. It’s been a semi-recent way to define a category that previously did not have a definition in Japanese.
So you can see how “hidden weapon” applies here. The vast amount of links at the bottom are all the different equipment that fit in this category. So it is actually a wide variety of weapons/equipment. A quick image search (using the characters 暗器 ) will show you said variety, too.
It’s worth noting that in Fire Emblem Fates, the Japanese used for the butlers/maids/ninjas was the same “anki” as above. However, in English, it was translated to “shuriken,” which is one type of anki, seen below:
Examples of other types of anki show the different shapes and such they come in:
I posted pics of throwable items, simply because Sakura in FE Heroes is a ranged unit with these. So a “cat’s anki” may be something like the second image above, which would be like a cat’s “claws” that can be thrown at a distance after being drawn out from a hidden space.
So why a paddle?
Well, for one, her artwork does show her holding something like that:
It’s also the image used for the weapon itself.
Second, being Sakura, they likely did not really imagine her as the sort to use such scary looking weapons in the first place, nor resort to such tactics. Her character in the game is one of the most gentle, and indeed she is a healer rather than a fighter to reflect this. So instead of opting for a fierce image of a warrior cat, they went with “kitty” and “paddle” to probably help soften the image (in line with her character and picture) to do this.
In Japanese, they could achieve this same thing without changing “anki” as it’s such a broad category of weapons used by her class. It could even include the paddle she holds. Or, they were going with “even a kitten has claws” to help make the soft Sakura into a fighter if need be. It’s vague enough to work both ways. The English lacks this advantage, so has to specify what kind of weapon it is. While “Kitty Claws” may have been a viable alternative, they probably wanted to make it cuter, and so settled on “Kitty Paddle.”
The image of the weapon itself though is definitely leaning on cute rather than fierce.
On a final note that localization probably aimed to cutify it a bit more is the fact “kitten” is usually written as 子猫 rather than simply 猫, which is why I had translated it as “Cat’s Anki.” Of course they may have implied the kitten meaning when you look at Sakura herself, but this observation may be worth noting regardless.
English lacks the category known as “anki” for all sorts of hidden weapons (in this case, ones that can be thrown, too), so had to settle on one. They chose “paddle” likely due to what she is holding in her picture, as well as keeping in mind this is the gentle Sakura, thus adding a cuter image to it.. The Japanese may have been going for a more “even a kitten has claws” image by using the broad category of weapons “anki” for her weapon description instead, yet is vague enough that it can be imagined as “a cute hidden weapon” too. With the picture of the weapon itself in mind, we can lean toward the fact that both intended on it to be cute.
It’s interesting looking into how the smallest of things may require more work than you know in translating with all factors considered!
Which do you like better?
I’m just trying to figure out what the thing she’s holding even is. It’s odd to put a paddle in the knife/hidden weapon category. And, I mean, the thing she’s holding hardly looks like she’d be paddling in a boat or beating people with it, so… what IS it? Is it some kind of… Japanese… festival… thing? I guess it kind of looks like one of those clapper things that makes noise…
It may be a fan, which would make sense. What does her attack animation show?
It shows her throwing the fan, which becomes like a horizontal blue line thing (kinda like a bolt of lightning).
It does remind me of these festival fans (after doing google search, I learned they’re called “Uchiwa Hand Fans”)
Comparing her attack animation to Kagero’s, it makes the same effect as the Poison Dagger (the horizontal blue line effect I mean), except it has kitty paws around the target.
So I think maybe it’s meant to be like a Shuriken disguised as a fan?
Are the Daggers in Heroes also call “anki” ?
Thanks for looking into it! I lack her as a unit so that makes research harder for me. It could be a weaponized fan too, which isn’t uncommon!
Kagero I believe still uses “anki” weapons, most units of that class do, like in Fates. I believe units like Felicia do too.
I had though that, but it begs the question of why they didn’t just call it a “fan” in either language.
In Japanese, there are many kinds of fans and words for them, so sticking to anki which can include a weaponized fan was probably an easier thing to do. xD
I like the Kitty paddle just cause it meshes better with her artwork. But the anki sounds much cooler. XD
Neko no Anki does sound pretty fun huh? xD But yes that’s basically it.