As part of a request from a friend on twitter, I decided to look into the original Blazing Blade commercial. I translate what’s going on, an excerpt from an interview regarding the commercial, a design document, what song is playing, and some other fun tidbits.
So let’s take a look!
First, here is the commercial itself, starring former actress Maki Horikita.
And below is the translation. I try to go in order and specify what is said by the voice, and what is just text. The song is afterward. Please note the translation is also to express intent, and thus, is not completely literal.
How will you fight alongside your friends…?
Everyone grows stronger and stronger…
For the last time
The friends who fall…we shall never see again…
Fire Emblem. The Blazing Blade.
Next, the song lyrics. Title: “LIFE IS…~another story~” by Ken Hirai. Specifically, the chorus:
There’s no answer anywhere
Nor will anyone tell me
But my heart shouts at the mere thought of you
That much is the truth I do know
Note the song cuts off before the final two characters 真実 (truth). This is the third paragraph of the song. The rest of the Japanese lyrics for the song can be found here.
The song in full (or a cover of it, anyway) can be seen below. The original you will probably have to purchase:
Next is a brief excerpt from a larger interview with Tohru Narihiro from the Making of Fire Emblem 25th Anniversary book (specifically page 277).
[On expanding appeal with FE7…]
The TV commercial for Binding Blade featured a song that was reminiscent of the Shadow Dragon commercial. However, the Blazing Blade commercial had a different kind of appeal with casting Horikita Maki along with Ken Hirai’s song playing.
Narihiro: Yes. That was one of many ways we sought to widen the gates [to make the game have more widespread appeal].
It was presented with this design document:
The above document has the same flow as the final product. The minor differences are the lack of “goodbye,” as well as a slightly different word used for “parting” (they wrote “separation” instead). Another subtle difference is that it seems Kent is the character dying instead of Heath in the commercial, a tidbit I point out just a silly point later. Also, the title seems to be “A girl’s murmurs.” The music is simply “Ken Hirai~” but not what song of his, either.
This article is mostly straightforward and a reference point, so I’ll summarize any thoughts/analysis/silly trivia in bullet point format this time around:
- From the commercial, interview, and documents, one can see that the intention was to broaden the appeal of the game by using a known actress, popular song from 2003, and a change of style in presentation among other things.
- Most notable is how the commercial is more emotional and focuses on meeting allies, growing with them, and eventual partings via mechanics like perma death. Compare this with previous commercials that are more opera-like with an operatic flare (links provided in the interview segment above).
- “LIFE is…~another story~” is a romantic song (as the excerpt may have implied already) by the famed Ken Hirai, so was likely used for its popular appeal rather than its literal meaning. However, the themes of friendship and bonding share similar themes to love and longing, so it helped set the intended mood beyond it simply being a popular song in 2003. The song was not written for the game, but was actually the theme for a TV drama known as Black Jack Ni Yoroshiku.
- The final commercial featured Heath as the ally that has fallen and is being “parted with,” rather than someone so looks more like Kent in the original document. The emotional music paired with her waving him off with a “goodbye” became a bit of a joke among the fanbase, with multiple fans citing this commercial as the reason why they voted for hm on an FE7 popularity poll. They felt that bad! It’s much like how Dorcas came to fame thanks to the US commercial making him a bit of a joke.
- Speaking of the US commercial (linked above), you can see the difference in intended marketing between the two versions. The US commercial goes with “build an army, trust nobody” as its central theme, rather than the themes of “meetings, growing, bonding, partings” that the Japanese commercial aimed for. Considering it was the debut game for the US (and west) too, it’s an interesting approach!
I believe that’s all that really needs to be said for this commercial! I hope to cover the Japanese commercial for Sacred Stones down the line.