This post is part of a series on reader requested (and personal curiosity) comparisons between Fire Emblem games’ Japanese and English scripts.
Today’s post concerns a reader question via twitter regarding Guy and Priscilla’s A support ending in Blazing Blade:
Short answer: Yes, it appears Guy did indeed elope with Priscilla in Japanese!
I had been unaware of this, but it was mentioned on Priscilla’s Fire Emblem wiki page under trivia, though with no source. So while this information may already be known to some, I write this mostly for posterity for those interested in taking a deeper look or wondering about its validity and wanting the original Japanese.
So let’s take a closer look!
For context, this is when Guy and Priscilla reach an A support level and pair up at the end of the game.
They fell in love amidst conflict, but Priscilla was a noble, and Guy was but a mercenary nomad. Guy rode away before her tears could stain the earth, though her smile was the brightest thing he ever saw.
Straightforward enough. Guy notes the difference in their station is the reason that they cannot be together, and leaves her in tears, remembering her smile. Whether the smile was behind the tears or from before that is vague.
Let’s take a look at the Japanese and a literal translation.
Original Japanese + (super literal) translation:
The two met and fell in love during the conflict. However, Priscilla was a noble of Eturia, and Guy was a Sacaen mercenary… the difference in their circumstances was too great. Once, Guy had resolved to give up on Priscilla, but, seeing her tears, decided to elope with her. The smile she had when he took her hand remained as the brightest [memory] within his life.
I made the relevant portions bold.
In fewer words for a more flowing translation, I think the version on the wiki does it justice, so I will quote that one for a better rendition for the part in bold:
Guy was ready to give up on Priscilla, but upon seeing her tears, resolved to run away with her. Her bright smile as she took his hand forever shone in his heart.
So, first we can see there is emphasis in the difference of class/circumstance as Guy’s primary reason. However, the great difference in content comes from how he was ready to run away, but the tears are what changed his mind. Instead, he offered his hand and the two ran away together, and it was the smile from that moment that forever remained with him, in contrast to the English.
The word for “elope/elopement” that is used is 駆け落ち (kakeochi). It is a word specifically used for the action of “running away with a lover,” so it may be difficult to see ambiguity in how its meaning may have gone misunderstood when translated.
The part 彼女の涙を前に (kanojo no namida o mae ni) may have also been cause for confusion. It can be read “Before her tears” with both meanings of “before” like English (before her physically, as in, in front of her. Or, “before she cried,” as in before in that point of time). The 前に mae ni can have that same kind of ambiguity. The English seems to have taken it as the time definition (thus, he left before her tears hit the earth), where as Japanese, with the wider context, seems to mean physically in front of her. It’s possible this was misunderstood.
So was it a translation mistake? Or a vague reading? What about JP fans?
We can rule out outer-context issues, as this is one block of text that the translator (and editor) would have seen all at once and would not need much prior knowledge of the two characters to appropriately translate this.
One possibility, though very unlikely, is that 駆け and 落ち were treated as two separate words rather than a compound which may give it a meaning of “finally decide to ride [away].” Again, considering the exclusive use of kakeochi as “elopment” and given the context of the smile afterward and “taking the hand,” it would be odd for a professional translation to make such an oversight, as it is less subtle than other translation issues with the game, but not unprecedented.
When I had first read it, too, I wondered if perhaps they had done the above. As a way to resolve it, I took a look at some pages by Japanese fans to see how they had understood the epilogue, and the signs indeed point toward “elopement” rather than “deciding to run away.”
In the paired end [with Priscilla], unlike with Sain and Heath, he remains with her for life.
Sain does not get a paired ending with her, and Heath’s involves his abandoning her for the same reason as Guy (difference in station), but without the elopement in both English and Japanese. This is a point of possibility of this mix-up too that I will come back to.
The “remains with her for life” super literally is “remains married for life.” That can still be vague if they mean physically or spiritually, so I checked Priscilla’s page for more clarity:
She has various paired endings, eloping with Guy, or separating from Heath due to differences in their station, or living happily married with Erk.
The “eloping with” more clearly states と (to, a modifier of “with” in this case) to make it more clear she did indeed go with him.
A source aside from this wiki is a Pixiv dic page description describing the “GuyPri” (Guy x Priscilla) pairing:
As an established series custom, it is a pairing of the Killing Edge-wielding Swordsman and the Healer.
In the A Support paired ending, we learn they eloped and are living happily [with each other].
They point out the series pairing norm too (Rutger and Clarine come to mind in the sequel, too, a myrmidon and troubadour like Guy and Priscilla respectively).
The above two examples are just some of many that I have come across to give an idea of how the JP fandom, and thus the native readers, came to understand this ending, and thus makes it extremely unlikely that such a change would have been accidental on the translator’s part as it is less ambiguous than some prior mistakes.
I did come across one bit of JP fanfiction that features Guy leaving Priscilla in tears much like the ending in the localization… and while it appears to quote bits of the epilogue, I feel it may be a liberal dramatization rather than an alternate interpretation of the ending. Still, I wished to present it anyway as a possibility that perhaps not all had read it that way. The majority I came across seem to have, though!
I covered the issue with “before her tears” already, but it may also be evidence of a mistranslation.
Was it a purposeful change?
Another possibility that is more likely is that it was a purposeful decision to change the content. It would have no immediate impact on the sequel Binding Blade or the wider story, and it is an optional pairing of many. Still, it changes his ending rather dramatically.
A reason for a purposeful change may have to do with simple space limitations, which often hinder how much the English version can say. I go over this on prior articles involving epilogues, such as with Bartre and Karla. Japanese can fit a lot more within a smaller space than English at time, as evident by the translations provided above. Of course, it is not impossible that English can be condensed to go over key points as the localization does, and so this argument is hindered by how they could have expressed the content like the wiki translation did. It is more difficult than it seems to try and express the full intent and idea with space limitations, as seen on that Bartre and Karla article I refer to above where I go more in-depth about the issue.
I bring this up that perhaps they figured they wanted to make it tragic, with the bonus effect of it fitting in a smaller amount of space, too. But, this would mean altering an otherwise happy ending for a character who often does not get happy endings. Pair this with the fact that many other endings are faithful to their source, and thus it becomes more likely to be an accident.
A reader brought up the possibility of localization not liking the concept of characters eloping in general, which I had not considered. I am not too aware as to whether elopement is generally, or was generally, taboo in games? If you have any insight on this, please let me know below!
Heath’s, (and Erk’s) ending with Priscilla? What does it have to do with this? Was it a mix up?
Earlier, I mentioned Heath’s ending with Priscilla when referencing the JP wikis. See his epilogue with Priscilla below:
Official Localization: (Heath)
They fell in love amidst conflict, but Priscilla was a noble, and Heath was a deserter from Bern. Their differences were too great. When they parted, Heath told a weeping Priscilla he would someday return.
Heath’s Japanese end with Priscilla (super literal translation):
The two met and fell in love during the conflict. However, Priscilla was a noble daughter of Eturia, and Heath was a deserter from Bern… the difference in their circumstances was too great. At the time of parting, Heath promised the quietly weeping Priscilla, “I will come back for you” –even though they knew it was a wish that could never come true.
Both start the same in JP as well, differing around where the English does. Interestingly, the “differences were too great” line was kept in the English for Heath but not for Guy despite appearing in both. Instead, the line about the wish that could never come true was omitted, likely in the interest of space. As it had the meaning, even if more tragic, nothing was too drastically changed as a consequence.
Heath had more clearly abandoned Priscilla, unlike Guy.
If a translator had only the contexts of the epilogues in front of them, one may assume they figured Guy and Heath had the short end of the stick due to their lack of noble standing, compared to Erk who more unambiguously gets a happy ending with Priscilla:
They fell in love amidst conflict. Though he was not nobly born, Erk’s talent and his link to Lord Pent earned him the peerage he needed to wed Priscilla. As a trusted magic teacher, he lived his life in happiness.
With the part in bold in mind, and if Heath’s translation was done first, they may have assumed that Guy too indeed “ran away from” rather than “eloped with” Priscilla due to the same difference in their classes. This is an incredible stretch in the realm of deep speculation, but I present this possibility anyway as to how a translator (or editor) may have assumed consistency and erred on that side.
Funny enough, the word they use for Heath as a “deserter” is 逃亡 (toubou, which means escape/flee, but also has an elope meaning…though more ambiguously/contextually than kakeochi they used for Guy). Still, perhaps this may have thrown things off a little when considering word ambiguity.
Anyway, this section is mostly ramblings in thoroughness, and is not a definite “This is what happened.” I hope I have made this very clear!
As usual, we’ll never know the real answer as to why this may have happened. It is a small change of just one line, but makes a huge difference to Guy and Priscilla’s ending. One is bittersweet, the other is happily ever after. It’s amazing how much one line can make a difference!
Guy indeed elopes with Priscilla in the Japanese version. The JP text is less ambiguous than other areas of change in this game, and the JP fandom largely backs the elopement meaning. It also seems the localization mixed the meaning of “before her tears” to mean “before” in the sense of time rather than “before” (physically, as in, in front of someone). It may be a purposeful change, but I would not completely rule out oversight given other localization issues with the game.
Here is a summary infographic on the matter.
Guy seems to suffer a lot in the localization, huh?
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!