FE7: Blazing Blade Localization: Serra’s “Oh, that’s so sweet! You wanted to see me again!” line [JPN vs ENG]

This post is part of a series on reader requested (and personal curiosity) comparisons between Fire Emblem games’ Japanese and English scripts.

Today we look at a conversation from FE7 (Blazing Blade) chapter 14:

A friend brought up the following:

“Remember that recruitment convo with Erk? Where Erk says Serra is the last person he wanted to see and she’s happy he wanted to see her at all? How did that work in Japanese?”

Short answer: The content is actually similar, but localization tweaked the original joke slightly but managed to convey close intent thanks to clever word choice.

Let’s take a closer look!

The following dialogue occurs when talking to Erk with Serra on Chapter 14 (False Friends):

Japanese Literal Translation Official Localization
やっだ、エルクじゃないの!久しぶりね〜!!なにしてんの、こんなとこで? Wow, if it isn’t Erk! It’s been awhile~!! What’re you doing in a place like this? Ohmigosh! It’s Erk! It’s been SO long! What are you doing here?
・・・君にだけは会いたくなかった。 …you’re the one person I didn’t want to meet. Oh… Serra. You’re the last person I wanted to see…
え、なに?私に会いたかったって? Hmm? What? Did you say you wanted to meet me? Oh, that’s so sweet! You wanted to see me again!

The first line remains essentially the same.

In Japanese, we can see the literal translation does not set up the same way for Serra’s punchline. Likewise, the execution is slightly different. Serra seems to simply mishear him (“Hmm? What?” whether it is on purpose or a display of an air-headed moment is unclear). It’s possible Erk mumbled the line, which would work with this situation, too.

It is important to note that in Japanese there is a change in the grammar (making it from a negative, “did not want to” to a positive “wanted to”) The sounds of the lines are similar in Japanese so it is plausible to see the slip they were going for. I provided the romaji readings for sake of example for non-speakers below:

Erk: Kimi ni dake wa aitaku nakatta.

Serra: Eh, nani? Watashi ni aitakatta tte?

Very simplified, the bolded words in the first line (Erk’s) are basically “did not want to meet.” When the red letters are excluded, it changes to “wanted to meet.” So it’d be an easy slip for wordplay in this sense, if the red words are simply slurred or excluded.

For English speakers, a literal translation of the above would not work as the grammar change would not be as smooth due to grammar working differently between the languages.

So, localization opted for clever word usage to convey the meaning while maintaining a silly joke by using “last person I wanted to see.”

The “wanted to see” remains in positive tense in Erk’s dialogue, but the overall sentence meaning remains negative. Serra is able to use his exact phrasing in her punchline as a result. There is no grammar change for her to pick up on to change the meaning, instead, it is either her misinterpreting Erk’s line, or her trolling him hard. Either way, it’s rather well done.

As a minor note, she did not comment on it being “sweet” he thought this. The Japanese uses that space for her to say “Hmm, what?” to more clearly set up for the mishearing implication which the English one did not need to do.

In short:

The Japanese text went for a joke with Serra mishearing Erk. Localization meanwhile preserved the meaning of the dialogue while also changing the joke slightly to be Serra misunderstanding Erk instead. The intent for the basic idea and humor is similar to the original. This is an example of great localization! It shows what a small difference using the right words can make.


References

Quick Infographic:

Japanese chapter dialogue from pegasusknight.

English chapter dialogue from serenesforest.net’s game script.


I will continue to look at fun differences between the versions of Fire Emblem and other games. Any dialogue you’re interested in? Let me know in comments or via email!

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