Fire Emblem Blazing Blade (FE7): A look at the Japanese commercial

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.

出会い
Encounters….
仲間
Friends…
戦い
Battles…

(Voice) 仲間と一緒にどう戦うか・・・
How will you fight alongside your friends…?

成長
Growing Together…

喜び
Happy Moments…

強くなる
Becoming Stronger

(Voice) みんな、どんどん強くなる・・・
Everyone grows stronger and stronger…

別離
Partings

会えない
For the last time

(Voice) 失った仲間には、もう・・・会えない・・・
The friends who fall…we shall never see again…

(Girl): さようなら
Goodbye…

(Voice): ファイアーエムブレム烈火の剣
Fire Emblem. The Blazing Blade.

Next, the song lyrics. Title: “LIFE IS…~another story~” by Ken Hirai. Specifically, the chorus:

答えなど何処にもない
誰も教えてくれない
でも君を想うとこの胸は
何かを叫んでるそれだけは真実

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.

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Smash Bros: “Ridley Hits the Big Time” in Japanese? (Also every 3DS/Wii U Line) [JPN vs ENG]

A follower on twitter asked the following:

I took a quick look at it, and the results were as expected. It simply says 参戦 (san-sen), which means to “join” or “participate” in an event of sorts. It’s often used, but not limited to, fighting games. You see it used in Smash Bros a lot however!

I had recalled in response to the twitter user above is that the Japanese all across the board actually just had “Character Name 参戦,” leaving the localization to come up with colorful lines instead. But memory can be a fickle thing that can lead to misinformation, so those of you who know me also know I like to be very thorough, and so I went through all the trailers once again just to double check for all of you, and made this table:

Character Localization Japanese 日本語
Villager Villager comes to town! むらびと参戦!!
Mega Man Mega Man joins the battle! ロックマン参戦!!
Wii Fit Trainer Wii Fit Trainer weighs in! Wii Fit トレーナ参戦!!
Sonic NA NA
Rosalina & Luma Rosalina & Luma launch into battle! ロゼッタ&チコ参戦!!
Little Mac Little Mac punches in! リトル・マック参戦!!
Charizard Charizard fires it up! リザードン参戦!!
Greninja Greninja makes a splash! ゲッコウガ参戦!!
Mii Fighters
Lincoln Lincoln gets sworn in! リンカーン参戦!!
Elijah Wood Elijah Wood like to battle! イライジャ・ウッド参戦!!
Ice-T* Ice-T Pours it on! NA
Arino Kachou* NA 有野課長参戦!!
Palutena Palutena alights! パルテナ参戦!!
Dark Pit NA NA
Pac-Man Pac-Man hungers for battle! パックマン参戦!!
Lucina Lucina wakes her blade?! ルキナ参戦!?
Robin Robin brings the thunder! ルフレ参戦!!
Shulk Shulk foresees a fight! シュルク参戦!!
Bowser Jr. Bowser Jr. clowns the competition! クッパJr.参戦!!
Duck Hunt Duck Hunt takes aim! ダックハント参戦!!
Mewtwo Mewtwo Strikes Back! ミュウツー参戦!!
Lucas Lucas comes out of Nowhere! リュカ参戦!!
Roy Roy seals the deal! ロイ参戦!!
Ryu Here comes a new challenger! Ryu! リュウ参戦!!
Cloud Cloud storms into battle! クラウド参戦!!
Corrin Corrin chooses to smash! カムイ参戦!!
Bayonetta Bayonetta gets wicked! ベヨネッタ参戦!!
(Ultimate)
Ridley Ridley hits the big time! リドリ参戦!!

Some quick notes/pointers:

  • Mega Man is the only character that actually had it translated to “joins the battle.” Perhaps they felt it worked just fine, or that particular translator did not decide to do anything colorful. Being one of the first trailers, perhaps there was reluctance, yet, Villager was shown before that with his own colorful tag.
  • Sonic lacks a tag, perhaps due to being a returning character. Though the title of the video seems to be “Sonic Joins the Battle” which is also ソニック参戦 in Japanese. Straightforward enough!
  • Ice-T was exclusive for the NoA version. In the NoJ one, it was Arino Kachou instead, a celebrity associated with video games. This was rightfully changed as he would likely be totally unknown to an NoA audience. I did not check, but I wonder if NoE had a third celebrity? Please let me know.
  • Dark Pit lacks any tag for himself in both versions, and his trailer title is shared with Palutena’s so does not include him.
  • Lucina is the only character where the Japanese is slightly different. She has a “?” added where the usual second “!” is in all the rest of the titles. This is reflected in the localization too.
  • In Ryu’s trailer, where it says “I’m Looking / for a / Challenge”, the Japanese says, ” 俺より / 強いやつに / 会いに行く” (ore yori / tsuyoi yatsu ni / ai ni iku), which would mean “I’ve come to meet those stronger than me” (or, literally, “More than me / stronger guys / go to meet”).

So even if you do not speak Japanese, you can simply look at the characters 参戦 and how they appear straight down the Japanese column on the table above. You can even put it into Ctrl + F and highlight all instances.

As expected, the localization indeed spiced up many of the lines with either references to the characters and their source material or puns –which I’m sure is a touch that has been mostly well received. The Japanese side would have been “character joins the battle” all across the board, so perhaps they felt this would be a way to differentiate the characters with references/nods to their origins and fans.

In short:

Japanese is “CharacterName 参戦!! (joins the battle!!)” across the board. All the references and puns are solely creations of the localization. You can assume in the future that any title line in Japanese was likely 参戦.


How would you have gone about writing these lines? What sort of alternate titles for characters would you have come up with? Feel free to share!

Ideally I’d have provided a picture of every single character add on with subtitle, but I just lacked the time to do so. Does anyone know if there is a gallery out there that already has all the (actual) characters and their lines? My search was bogged down by all the fan made ones, so…

Smash Bros Ultimate: Which Zelda is that? ALttP? ALBW?

Image source: a wonderful SourceGaming post that translates a Sakurai column.

Super Smash Bros: Ultimate for Nintendo Switch features a new design for Zelda compared to her previous incarnations. But there was a little bit of confusion regarding which Zelda she is, due to a slight translation tidbit which is not too widely known from what I’ve observed.

Basically:

People weren’t sure if she is based on the one from A Link Between Worlds (NoA wrote) or A Link to the Past. (NoJ wrote).

Explanation of why both are fine:

  • In Japan, A Link to the Past is 神々のトライフォース (Triforce of the Gods), and, A Link Between Worlds is 神々のトライフォース2 (Triforce of the Gods 2). As such, both are Triforce of the Gods (the title that became A Link to the Past), one simply with a “2” that emphasizes the sequel. Box art example.
  • In the west, the second title dropped “2” and was made into A Link Between Worlds. As such, this makes it harder to refer to them both as A Link to the Past, as that is only the first one’s name.
  • To help clear confusion, a look at the designs of Zelda in both games reveal they are essentially the same, too with only slight differences, and, in Smash Bros. Ultimate, if you look at her design, you see she’s a combination of both Zelda’s seen here. The top accessories are like from the first game, and the pattern on her lower side are like the second game, for instance.
  • As such, saying Zelda from A Link to the Past or Link Between Worlds are both accurate. In Japanese it is simply Zelda from 神々のトライフォース (Triforce of the Gods), so can be either of them too.

And so:

They are actually referring to the same game, but it’s harder to specify which one in English as the Japanese encompasses both. The English specified the sequel (likely as it’s more recent and so more people may recognize it), where as the Japanese can refer to them both due to the titles being the same (with just a number to differentiate). There was no explicit “2” in the Smash Bros. trailer, so the localization likely decided on A Link Between Worlds. Though, they were likely in contact with the original staff behind the direct to help reach this conclusion.

Summary infographic:

So there you go! Same game. Both A Link Between Worlds and A Link to the Past apply here. If you see it referred to as A Link to the Past by Japanese staff (and translations), now you know why.

For more details including shots that caused the confusion (as well as similarities in the Zelda design), see below.

Continue reading

Fire Emblem: Three Houses vs Fire Emblem: 風花雪月

Fire Emblem: Three Houses was officially announced at E3 2018 as the latest in the Fire Emblem series of games. One thing that immediately stuck out is that, like Fates, the title is actually quite different in Japanese.

In Japanese, the title is 風花雪月. Read as fuukasetsugetsu.

This is a pretty surface-look at the matter, working with limited contexts… we don’t know much about the game itself, so what exactly may or may not apply is a mystery in itself.

My colleague Rey summarizes it well on his tweet:

Which then another colleague of mine, Black Kite, further expanded upon:

While it remains to be seen what significance the seasonal references hold, it’s a pretty nifty thing. At a glance the main characters do not seem to contain references in their name. Three Houses is a more straightforward title that touches on the trio they showed, so that one with limited context still makes sense. There are three characters shown, and a player character too. Perhaps that makes the fourth?

But how does one get from four seasons to three houses otherwise? Let’s first take a deeper look.

These characters actually reference a poem by Bai Juyi, which is presented in Japanese as an often condensed single line from a larger context:

雪月花の時 最も君を憶う

Which translates to, “At the time of snow, moon and flowers, I think of you.”

The three presented in that order become the Snow, Moon and Flowers combo.

雪月花 ( せつげつ )

You will notice three characters here: snow, moon, and flowers, which represent the snow of winter, moon of autumn, and flowers of spring respectively. Indeed, they are popular in older Japanese culture (such as ukiyo-e pictures), and originated from China. Often referred to as the “snow moon flowers.” Summer seems to often be excluded (perhaps a lack of beauty in its heat). Indeed, this convention even appears in other media.

But more relevant and more interestingly, there is an alternative meaning to these: The “three whites” in art.

  • Blue-White = Winter
  • Yellow-White = Autumn
  • Pink-White = Spring

Why would the color meanings be relevant, well, let’s look at the three characters they showed off:

They indeed have the pink (red), yellow, and blue conventions. That is in the same order of the Japanese title, too (風花雪月 if you take away wind, Flower/Pink/Spring, Snow/Blue/Winter, and Moon/Autumn/Yellow).

And, their names are (left to right):

  • Edelgard von Hraesvelgr
  • Dimitri Alexander Blaiddyd
  • Claude von Regan

I’m not an expert on the naming conventions, but if anyone can connect any parts of these names to the seasons or colors, let me know!

But now you get a better glimpse at how the three characters and their respective countries tie to the Japanese title, and thus how the localization arrived at Three Houses. The seasonal reference may not have worked as well in English, as calling it Fire Emblem: Snow, Moon, Flowers would be odd.

Wind remains as the fourth case, the odd one out. Omitted from the English title as the fourth. I surmise it may have to do with the avatar character, who may be the “fourth” wildcard here. Perhaps you pick a house? Perhaps not. Three Houses still works for the player character, as one can assume they are affiliated with none (and thus “Three Houses” is still accurate).

One could have translated it more literally to Fire Emblem: Four Seasons though that lacks the more poetic intrigue to it. So there is likely more to the difference in names than we can surmise at this point.

The kanji as they appear in title order

You may note for the poem reference the kanji had to be rejiggered a bit, however. If we take it in the exact order presented:

風花雪月 (fuukasetsugetsu)

There is a Japanese wikipedia entry on this.

It basically states that the term is a Chinese phrase that is used for an appreciation of nature and the feelings it brings to people, similar to the Japanese 花鳥風月 (yet another different set of kanji) which means almost the same thing (with a small nuance being the difference in the two, with the Chinese original phrase often having negative connotations the Japanese one lacks).

What this could mean for the game is uncertain. If it is some sort of game that goes against, say, a deity of nature, it could make sense in a way. But with our limited context, going with the poem reference is more likely. This is subject to change of course, with the more we learn in terms of what exactly this game is about which would help us reach a better understanding. Chinese is not my specialty, and whether or not this title thus references the Chinese aspect of the phrase or the Japanese on remains to be seen. Context is key!

Update: A fellow FE translator over on twitter sent this blurb about the Chinese side of the phrase:

I found the phrase on Baidu (basically Chinese Wikipedia, for a lack of a better term), and it seems that they attribute the phrase Wind Flower Snow Moon to Shao Yong (rather than Bai Juyi, who used Snow Moon Flowers), as Shao Yong has a line in a poem stating 虽死生荣辱,转战于前,曾未入于胸中,则何异四时风花雪月一过乎眼也。(风花雪月 being the phrase written in Simplified, of course.) Unfortunately my Chinese isn’t good and I don’t know what the poem says, but I thought this might be of interest to you.

My Chinese isn’t good at all either. If there are any experts in Chinese out there who would like to help add to the conversation, please let me know in the comments or twitter. : )

Update II: From a Chinese Studies major in the comments below:

It’s a word about natural scenery and romantic relationships. We often describe a romantic scene or stories especially for couples as “风花雪月”, we also use it to describe blank and boring poems,which are full of meaningless adjectives. The new game may have marriage systems in it, as the title “风花雪月” implies.

That is the Chinese meaning of the word, and seems to focus more on romance (in the love way, rather than fantasy). Though this may be due to deriving from said poem, how it relates to the Japanese interpretation as well as “Three Houses” in English is up for speculation.

What comes to mind for me is the use of the word “House” in the English title which gives off a sort of “Romeo and Juliet” vibe (like House Montague or House Capulet). That tale is often associated with romance as it is, for English readers. But it may be a little bit of a stretch. Still, it’s nice to have this additional information.

In short:

The title references a poem that only actually uses three characters known as the “Snow, Moon, and Flowers” convention which appears elsewhere in Japanese art history and media, too. But it also refers to three specific colors, colors which the three protagonists here match. The fourth character, “wind,” is a wildcard –potentially the avatar’s role in this game? Either way, you can see how the three seasons, colors, countries, and characters led to the title “Three Houses” instead.

Further reading

I didn’t cover the deeper contexts of what the larger poem (and its origins) may mean for the game, as I was focused on the title/literal artistic motifs behind it. So here are two more very helpful posts:

User Aethin on serenesforest.net goes more in-depth on the poem itself and speculation of the names.

u/Aggro_Incarnate on reddit also posted speculation akin to my post but also tries to fit to the name and regions in a more in-depth way than I did.


That’s all there is to say on the matter for now!

Making of FE: Does page 81 confirm Priam is Ike’s lineal descendant? Also Japanese FE fan opinions…and Priam in general.

Priam (Paris パリス in Japanese) is a character who appears in Awakening and is a source of debate among fans. Namely, whether he is Ike’s direct (lineal) descendant or not is something that fans go back and forth over. One fan wanted me to look at a blurb that appears on page 81 of the Making of Fire Emblem: 25 Years of Development Secrets book that apparently clarifies it.

To save a lot of you a lot of trouble, in short:

While it does lean more toward Priam being Ike’s descendant, there are enough counterpoints to not make it a decisive piece of the puzzle. As to why, I present you with a wall of text… and some tangents into the Japanese FE fandom.

Please note in advance I do not have any strong preference to either side of this debate. This post is essentially to provide you with more tools to help your own debating and enable you to reach your own conclusions. : )

What the blurb says:

*パリス
蒼炎の勇者アイクの子孫として登場するキャラクター。配信マップで仲間にすることができる。なお、「パリス」の名前は「蒼炎」アイクの初期名。

*Paris

A character that appears as the descendant of the Radiant Hero Ike. He can be recruited on a DLC map. Also, “Paris” was Ike’s initial name in FE9.

The left picture, by the way, is an initial shot from the early stages of Path of Radiance, showing off “Paris” (Priam) being his name, but is otherwise irrelevant beyond that Ike’s original name was Paris (Priam). It may not really say much for relations, considering FE6’s Roy was originally named Ike.

So I use the word descendant, but since semantics are often argued in this case, let’s take a look at the specific word used here: 子孫 (shison)

An English dictionary will simply tell you it means: “descendant, posterity, offspring.”

So one reason this argument came about was because the word “descendant” alone does not qualify what kind of descendant one is. For instance in English legal terminology, there is differentiation between the lineal descendant and the collateral descendant

Lineal Descendant: A direct descendant of a person. A person in direct line of blood relationship following downwards from an individual concerned, starting from his children, grand children and great grand children, are called lineal descendants of an individual.

Collateral Descendant: A relative descended from a brother or sister of an ancestor, and thus a cousin, niece, nephew, aunt or uncle.

One issue is the above are indeed legal terms. One isn’t quite sure if they would really go into such nuance for a game’s localization (or game at all). But the importance of the above is to show without said differentiation both can apply to the single word descendant.

But that’s in English, where as we’re looking at a Japanese word. So to get a more clear definition, here is a Japanese dictionary definition:

1 一つの血統を受け継いで生まれてきたもの。また、生まれてくるもの。後裔 (こうえい) 。「子孫の繁栄を願う」

2 子と孫。

1. One born of a singular bloodline. Can also refer to those who will be born of said lineage. A descendant. [Ex:] “I wish for the prosperity of my descendants.”

2. Children and grandchildren.

Note the use of singular bloodline, and the second definition of children/grandchildren. This implies that the Japanese word we are looking at indeed is referring to a lineal bloodline. However, I want to note that the word “bloodline” there still can mean “family line” as a tertiary definition.

Regardless if the word itself contains family or bloodline, though, the below reads as “The Radiant Hero Ike’s shison

蒼炎の勇者アイク子孫

If taken as “the same bloodline of the Radiant Hero” (i.e. Greil’s, thus supporting those who prefer he be Mist’s descendant instead), the issue would appear to thus be in the fact it’s of Ike (and those who came after him). I would assume one would say “Of Greil’s bloodline” to include Mist (and all her descendants), but that goes back to the vague lineal vs collateral from before. A lineal bloodline of Greil would be Ike and Mist, but a lineal bloodline of Ike would not have Mist.

So it would seem to pin it on Ike (and those who came after his blood, or in his bloodline, not one who would share his blood (i.e. Mist). The second definition of shison (children/grandchildren) helps deliver this lineal nuance, as being Mist’s child/grandchild would not qualify him as both a descendant of Ike as well as a child of Ike’s (or a child of Ike’s child, etc), as indeed he would be Mist’s.

But that’s shison. In the game itself (indeed in Priam’s own dialogue presented in this picture), they use a different word to refer to him: 末裔 (matsuei)

末の血統。子孫。後裔。末孫。ばつえい。「王家の末裔」

Latest in a lineage. Descendant. “The king’s descendants.”

Note, I cut some synonyms out as they would all translate to “descendants.” Also take note of shison there as a synonym.

The localization too translated this specific word as simply the vague “descendant”

I’m Priam. …The hypothetical descendant you were just going on about.

What’s the difference? Just to be thorough, we should consider if there’s any nuance lost here in the difference of the two words.

I found a native speaker explaining the difference between shison (used in the book/out of game) and matsuei (used in the game) to a 2nd year JHS student:

「子孫」は、子や孫、ひ孫など、全体の総称として使われます。子や孫など、祖となる人間に近い人間も含みます。

「末裔」は何代か経た人間をさすことが多いです。つまり、ずっと末の子孫を指しています。

織田信長で言うと、嫡子の織田信忠は子であり、子孫ですが、末裔とは言いません。
スケートの織田信成選手は、織田信長の子孫であり、末裔と呼ばれることもあります。

Shison is a general term for children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc. Includes people who are still relatively close to the ancestor.

Matsuei refers to a person after countless generations have passed. Basically, it specifically refers to a person at the very end of a line.

For example: Oda Nobunaga’s son would qualify as his shison, but we can’t say matsuei.

The professional skater Oda Nobunari is Oda Nobunaga’s shison, but also his matsuei.

So the point of all that is to show that they are using a term that can be included within shison. However, the game’s use of matsuei, by this example, shows that he is likely a far descendant of Ike and not anyone of close relation anymore.

Well where does that leave us? We don’t really gain much from the nuance beyond Priam being a distant descendant, rather than learning of which character (Mist/Ike/someone else)’s descendant he is.

But, considering it’s a blurb written outside of the game’s context (whether or not he is claiming or lying about being a descendant of the Radiant Hero), they wrote that he is, in fact, a descendant. Unclear as to collateral or lineal, but descendant all the same.

What about the interview this references?

Maybe we should look at the context of the interview that this blurb was attached to. For context, they were talking about Awakening‘s initial design stages, and how they wanted two Falchions, which eventually led to come-from-future plot, and then how “girl Marth” was a popular aspect among the dev team to explore which eventually led to Lucina. After that, they mention:

FINの企画書を詰めていく段階で、すでにルキナにあたる人物が登場していたんですね。

横田:はい。だからシナリオとしては、「未来から来る」ということが企画書の段階からありましたね。それから、チキも出そうとか。主人公は「蒼炎の軌跡」(いかFE9)のアイク風にしようかとか、どんどん膨らんでいきました。

小屋:アイク関連のキャラクターとしては、のちにパリス*も登場しましたね。

Q: So Lucina was already a character set to appear in the early stages of FIN (FE13’s working title), huh?

A Yes. The planning stages had the theme of “coming from the future” attached to it. So then [we decided] Tiki’s would likely appear too. For the main character, we wanted to make someone like Ike (from FE9), and things expanded from there.

B Speaking of characters connected to Ike, Paris* also made an appearance after awhile.

I highlighted words of interest above. They don’t go into detail beyond this line. First the word for related: 関連

This word is used in relation/connection (in terms of topic at hand style connection, not familial). Considering they were just discussing Chrom and how he was designed to be like Ike, he is simply using that to mention Paris, who is also “connected” to Ike.

The “after awhile” is highlighted because のち may be misread as “descendant” (an archaic definition of the word, likely not the intention due to the addition of the に and so this is likely coincidence and translated accordingly). This is just to show I did consider it but that it’s highly unlikely.

So, even though they basically said “speaking of those connected to Ike,” we do know that Priam at least has some connection to him. Whether it be his claim as the Radiant Hero, having Ragnell, or being blood related…well, nothing clear.

Either way, that’s the interview tidbit that this side blurb was in reference to.

What about what Priam is saying in the pic?

パリス。一応、蒼炎の勇者の末裔だ。

Priam. The descendant of the Radiant Hero, in a way.

The context is that he just interrupted Chrom and Robin who were going on telling rumors about the descendant of the Radiant Hero. He interrupts and they eventually ask him who he is, to which he says the above.

What caused the debate from this line alone is the use of the modifier 一応, which can mean “more or less” or “in a fashion.” Basically, may not directly be the case.

It’s also the line on his Cipher card, though we’ll get to that later. Japanese fans on various threads I present in a later section too use the 一応 as a main reason (some parody it in their own posts), so it shows it holds significance as to the lack of clarity.

One alternate interpretation is that the 一応 here goes with the “more or less” definition, and in the context of that conversation (Chrom and Robin talking about the rumors, some extreme), he interjects, and would be making a remark like “More or less [in relation to the rumors, that same] Radiant Hero’s descendant.”

I quoted it earlier, but the localization took more of this approach, too:

I’m Priam. …The hypothetical descendant you were just going on about.

Though Awakening’s localization is known for it’s changes/punching up, it does show they likely went with this being more of his show of attitude rather than being vague.

But the counter to this counter is simply that Japanese fans often mention the 一応 as a reason that it can be taken vaguely as well, and thus, this may be a moot point, as we are indeed working with the Japanese texts here.

What about other media?

In a more recent Vol. 289 of Nintendo Dream, there’s an Ike special, this is a shot from one of the pages fans point out:

The same picture, but above it says, “子孫(?)も登場”

The question mark there is self explanatory. “Shison(?)” (or “Descendant?”). Even they don’t know! The magazine is more recent than the Making of FE book, so is used as a counterpoint. The only drawback is that the Making of FE book probably holds more water than Nintendo Dream, and that the Making of FE book said such without any question. The Nintendo Dream (?) can be taken as more of a shared awareness with fans.

Right below the picture it mentions:

“Descendant (matsuei) of the Radiant Hero. Holds the divine blade Ragnell. Becomes an ally after defeat.”

There is no (?) here, oddly, but maybe they’re just quoting him. Either way this is an example of a more recent blurb contradictory to the Making of FE one.

What about his Cipher card?

One Japanese fan came forward with Priam’s Cipher cards. They pointed out the following:

“On the FE Cipher cards, Priam lacks Ragnell at first. He gains it only afterward. Since it’s written in the FE13 design book that he “bears” the title, I think it means he isn’t blood related to Ike, but instead the inheritor of the Ragnell itself. ”

They pointed out he only gains Ragnell in a more “future” appearance (the third card that features it) as that’s the higher level card.

But there was someone else who pointed out a counterpoint on the Cipher card that actually puts Priam more likely to be Ike’s descendant:

(from the FE Cipher tweet) It is said that a long time ago, a hero with a mighty blade crossed into these lands from another world entirely. Priam claims to bear descent from that hero…

Note the word usage of “claims…bear descent” though. So while it’s not completely set in stone that he descended from said hero (indeed may have just been inspired by the man he saw), it also means that he may have existed independently of Mist herself, leaving Ike as the only candidate who, if he is blood related, that he could be related to.

But the important part is, if Cipher is to be considered a canon source, that indeed Ike likely traversed the world.

Though, perhaps it was a descendant of Ike that went to that world, and thus still could’ve been Mist’s? That’s getting foggy, but we did establish that shison is anyone down the line, and matsuei is the latest… but isn’t this becoming a bit of a stretch? Well, really, this entire article is a stretch.

What about Tellius Recollection?

In translating the entire (relevant) portions of both volumes one and two, there is no mention of Priam anywhere!

It’s important to note the recollection books were released long after Awakening, and thus Priam would exist somewhere, and likely be worth mentioning in relation to Ike –so some fans argue anyway. It’s possible hew as just deemed irrelevant to Tellius.

Why shison isn’t conclusive anyway…

So one approach was to simply look at someone who’s situation we are more clearly aware of: Marth. Marth is called Anri’s descendant, but we know it’s actually through Anri’s brother, Marcelus, as this was made more clear.

So what term do they use in Japanese?

アンリの子孫

Shison! Thus the whole lineal connotation and digging may have been a waste of time, in that sense. The wiki even provides a family tree:

So while nuance certainly exists, it’s ignored enough to not give much water to it’s usage in Priam’s sense, much like it’s English equivalent.

What about Japanese fans? What do they think about Priam and what he means for Ike anyway?

There exists this myth that the fans in the east are different than those in the west. The eastern fans are all okay with this, while the western are not. That sort of thing.

But people often forget (and thus, discover) that there are more similarities than differences between the two sides! Just take a look at exemplary posts on sites that give you a taste of the Japanese side of things to get what I mean.

(Lately I’ve been seeking to expand to that side to bring our communities together. But until then, let me get to the point of this section):

For starters, a Japanese wiki summary of Priam states:

また、配信マップ「23章外伝 蒼炎の勇者」では、ヴァルム大陸で蒼炎の勇者の末裔を名乗る人物パリスが登場している。

Also, on the DLC map Xenologue 23: Radiant Hero, a man named Paris who calls himself the descendant of the Radiant Hero appears.

The word for “calls himself” can also be “claim to be,” “wears the title of,” or “to reveal oneself as” (which he did, in his dialogue indeed). It’s vague in all directions rather than something more direct like the 25th Anniversary Book had said. This alone isn’t a counter example, however, as it can be applied to a lineal context.

Next let’s look at an excerpt of a fun page that summarizes fan reactions (translated):

【ファンの反応】
あれだけ長く引っ張っておいて、ぽっと出のキャラクターが配信されたため、ネットでの反応は賛否両論。
「個性があって面白い」「アイクが好きだから末裔が見れて嬉しい」という人もいれば、
「アイク贔屓し過ぎ」「何故テリウス関連のキャラクターを出したのか」「ロイやセリスの末裔を出せ」「天空使え」と否定する人も多い。
外伝のアルムとセリカの末裔については大陸の地形や公式のバックグラウンドなどでのヴァルム帝国とヴァルム大陸の成り立ちの裏設定から、ヴァルム編のボスであるヴァルハルトがまさにそれであることが仄めかされている。
覚醒に登場した登場人物の中でマルス以外の過去作品の登場人物の子孫である事が公式に示されているのはパリスとヴァルハルトの2人のみである。
何時の日か覚醒の後の作品であるifを含む、歴代FE主人公だけでなく、味方・敵共に他の登場人物達の末裔たちも登場して欲しいとファンをやきもきさせてもいる。

Here are various reactions from around the net to the character who has come from far away:

There are people who say things like, “His personality is interesting.” “I like Ike, so I was happy to see his descendant!”

And then there are many others that say “They favor Ike way too much.” “Why is there a character from Tellius here.” “Show me Roy and Seliph’s descendants!” “Uh, Aether?

Alm and Celica’s descendant from Gaiden (considering the continent of Valm and its background) is heavily implied to be Valhart. Thus, within the world of Awakening, he and Priam are the only ones to be descendants of characters other than Marth.

Fans wonder (and hope) that descendants of characters OTHER than main characters from past FE games will appear in the next FE game “Fates” and beyond.

The varied reactions are what one would expect from any fan base. There is one additional section right after it:

【余談】
蒼炎で散々フラグを折り、暁では男としかペアエンドが無かった為、アイクは一体誰と結ばれたのか話題になっている。候補としては
  • エリンシアやワユ、ティアマトやララベル等の女性キャラクター
  • セネリオやライとアッー!
  • 実はミストの末裔でした
等が上がっている。

FE9 burned many flags, and FE10 only featured Ike only having paired endings with men. And so, the question arose: “Just who the heck did Ike end up with?!” [Three camps with] candidates [that arose] include:

1 Elincia, Mia, Titania, Aimee, or other female characters.
2 Soren or Ranulf. Oooh, aahh!
3 Actually he [Priam] is just Mist’s descendant.

You can see the use of the term “flag.” It’s slang, in this case. Think of it as an “indication” that can potentially lead to something (such as a romantic pairing) –much like how “I should’ve seen the red flags [that something was about to go wrong].”

In this case if you think of it in context of shipping, people call Priam’s existence a “flag breaker” in the sense that he may have (in their eyes) dispelled some of the pairings they had come up with (such as Ike x Soren).

Anyway, the three points they present are pretty much the same three main points that fans in the west reached too. Camp #3 shows that not everyone took the term to be a lineal descendant indeed, which was the main purpose of presenting the above.

Now, let’s look at random comments. These mostly come from 2ch users strewn across various sites.

A random reaction thread in 2012 (around Priam’s first appearance) allows us to glimpse at reactions at the time:

なんでアイクの子孫がアカネイアにきたんや!

Why the heck did Ike’s descendant come to Akaneia of all places?!

ところで母親は誰なん?エリなんとかは支援Sであのジョフ公だし、
ジルも動く城だし、他にヒロインなんて・・・やっぱセネリオか

Wait so who’s the mom? Elincia went with Geoffrey, Jill went home, and the other heroines are…ah, wait, Soren?

ララベルとは一応フラグ立ってたが・・

Aimee did seem to raise flags at one point…

The above initial reactions (and use of the word flag there) is to show they were under the assumption that it is indeed Ike’s direct blood that leads to Priam, and not Mist. These are just some examples, but there are no indications of any of them thinking of Mist at all. It’s often a trend that leans toward trying to guess who the mother may be, as they likely read it in a lineal descendant way.

From a different thread in 2013, with (potentially less pleasant) remarks:

よく知らんが、アイクはホモじゃなかったということでいいんだな

I don’t know much about it, but I’m just glad this means Ike isn’t a homo.

アイクホモ疑惑を打ち消すために異界からやってきた貴重なお方

[I guess] Ike sought to bury the claims of being gay by fleeing to another world.

(ホモと呼ばれた先祖の)運命を変える!

Time to change fate! [of my ancestor being called a homo!)

Though perhaps derogatory in some ways, I post these simply to show that based on the context and wording they were given with the games alone, the Japanese fans were quick to jump onto what they perceived as Ike having sired a child with a female companion somewhere (and therefore confirming to them that he must have had some feelings for women somewhere).

Though others claimed there could’ve been illegitimate children, affairs, and all sorts of other scandalous encounters.

But these very few examples are nowhere near representative of the fanbase as a whole, of course. This is a given, but I feel the need to remind you anyway

Of course, Mist isn’t entirely unaccounted for (as we saw with Camp #3), take for instance this post from 2012.

Most notable is the fact that Mist is considered a possible ancestor, but the author argues that Priam acts like neither Ike nor Mist. It then goes on a rather lengthy tangent (that I won’t translate in full here, but maybe someday) about how Priam is perhaps descended from Ephraim (of FE8 fame) and Elincia instead!

As the years go on we start to see other alternative theories and comments pop up too, including more mentions of Mist:

まさかのミストとボーレの子孫だったら笑うけど流石にないかそれはそれで血縁ではあるが

It’d be really fun if he’s actually a descendant of Mist and Boyd. Wouldn’t that still make him a blood relative [of Ike]?

But the above is quickly met with responses like:

普通にミストボーレ夫妻の子孫だと思ってた
人生の発情期にあんなフラグブレイクしといて一体誰と添い遂げられると言うんだw

Usually the people who think he’s a descendant of the Mist x Boyd pairing are those who can’t answer the flag breaker

who the heck [Ike] may have ended up with. lol

There were other instances of Mist considerations, but few and far between (during my personal search, anyway, anecdotal evidence shouldn’t really hold much water, hence this note).

Some other silly alternative theories:

どんな形であれベグニオンの至宝であるラグネルが継承されてるってことは皇帝であるサナキの子孫でもある可能性が大だよな

つまりアイクはロリコンだった・・・?

There’s a possibility that he’s descended from Begnion’s Empress Sanaki as Ragnell is a holy treasure of theirs that is handed down after all

So that means Ike was actually a lolicon…?

Wilder alternate theories:

世界の分岐や平行世界が存在する覚醒ifの世界観から推測するに、パリスは『蒼炎』『暁』とは似て非なる世界の蒼炎の勇者アイクの子孫という説を勝手に唱えてみる
具体的に言うとセネリオかライが女の世界線のアイクの子孫か、>>48の言うようにアイクとサナキ様が結ばれた世界線の子孫

Well, Awakening and Fates are games where parallel words exist, so anyone can just up and say things like “Priam could have descended from a slightly different version of FE9/10’s Ike” now.

You know, like world lines where Soren or Ranulf were female…or even descended from Sanaki like >>48 [above poster] said.

Other posts went into parallel world pairings and such. Basically, the precedent Awakening set up with it’s parallel timelines gave people free reign to make their favorite pairings come to life however they see fit. Alternate lines do have that drawback (or appeal?) to them, after all.

Some posts are from just a few months ago in April 2018 still discuss this topic:

パリスは存在が黒歴史

Priam’s existence is a dark stain on history.

やってもよくわからんよ
自称蒼炎の勇者の末裔ってだけの浮浪者

I don’t know much about him but he looks like some vagrant who named himself the Radiant Hero.

ラグネルは偽物だし天空は使えないし外見浮浪者以前の問題もある

(in response to a user)The problem is his [Priam]’s Ragnell is fake, he can’t use Aether, and he looks like some vagrant.

それこそ女版アイクの方が受け入られたかもな

いや、ないか。

If that was a female Ike she’d be way more popular.

Or maybe not.

女版アイクだったら絶対人気でた
天空あるなら天空マー子もできるしな

If that were girl Ike she’d be SUPER popular.
And if she had Aether she’d be able to have an Aether yielding kid!

These more recent ones seem mostly negative. I suppose with a few more games after Awakening, fans had been able to move on from the initial shock, among other potential reasons. Interestingly, the comments in the above thread don’t really debate his lineage or who Ike may have been with, but instead mention how unlike Ike Priam is. A That’s just one thread, though. So it may not represent the current fandom mindset, of course.

It’s possible, one could say, that they initially intended Priam to be a descendant as Awakening was intended to be the last game. They likely wanted to add a bit of fanservice for Ike’s fans before closing shop. However, we know Awakening was an unexpected hit, and thus the series resumed… and so they probably made use of what could be taken as vague language to help bring the fandom back to fantasize about Ike as they please. Aside from the Cipher cards, the company seems to be downplaying his general existence.

It may be for those types of reasons, too, that things like this are never directly confirmed. Let the fans enjoy what they enjoy. After all, the only people who “lose” this way are those that would like to have some sort of confirmation or closure. But when it comes to imagination, everybody wins.

The point of all these random fan comments are, again, just to show they are as varied on the topic of Priam as western fans are. Based on my own observations (again, a very limited search in the broader fanbase so please don’t consider it some definitive answer to everything), there are seemingly less fans that try to argue for Mist’s side of the family, and instead race to come up with (sometimes wild) theories as to how Ike eventually led to Priam.

That was a bit of a tangent from the original question at hand, so let’s close this off with a brief summary:

In short:

Potential evidence for Ike’s lineal descendant:

  • Cipher stating Ike (or who was likely Ike) traversed Marth’s world.
  • Page 81 of this Book
  • Fans in the Ike-straight-hetero shipping camp
  • Fans who believe Priam

Potential evidence against Ike’s lineal descendant:

  • Priam’s own vague language, with word usage such as “in a way,” “claims” “carries the title”
  • Fans who call Priam a liar
  • Fans in the Mist camp
  • Fans in the Ike-homosexual shipping camp
  • Outside sources such as lack of Tellius Recollection mention, Nintendo Dream’s (?) blurb, etc

Page 81 itself in the Making of FE book does seem to pin Priam as a descendant of Ike. It leans more toward a lineal descendant (rather than collateral), and fans who speak the same language often seem to be arguing via the assumption that it is via Ike’s specific line, which gives a bit more weight to this interpretation. However, there too exist fans who still consider Mist, just to a lesser extent (based on a limited search) than their western counterparts, meaning that this still isn’t any sort of definitive answer or evidence for either side.

In the end, this may have just been a grand waste of your time if you made it this far. But I hope you learned how complicated even the smallest of issue can be.


This took a lot longer than I wanted it to. I like this blog to be informative and give references, and often I shy away from things that rely on interpretation and simply stick to comparisons. But I hope I managed to twist this into a reference post in some way, even if it doesn’t really give much of an answer to the question.

What do you think of the matter? I’d love to know!

I wrote this in a few sittings in a very stream of conscious way, so please let me know if you spot strange inconsistencies or redundancies.

But I think it was still fun to look into anyway. Japanese comments are always fun to read, and I really want to get the fanbases together sometime…

Breath of the Wild: How do the “-son”‘s work in Japanese? [JPN vs ENG]

This is part of a series of comparing the Japanese and English versions of the game. Read more about that here! And feel free to leave a request or curiosity on the comments here or on that page.

This is the question a few people have asked me:

“How do the -son names (Bolson, Hudson, etc) work in Japanese?”

Well, let’s take a quick look!  Quick context: There’s a group of characters with names that end in “-son” in the game as part of a side quest. I was curious about this one myself so was glad someone asked!

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Zelda – Windwaker: Is the “Hero’s New Clothes” a reference to “The Emperor’s New Clothes?” [JPN vs ENG]

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My friends over at Source Gaming are doing a special Zelda week (February 22nd through March 1st) to celebrate the upcoming release of Breath of the Wild on the Switch.

They have made plenty of Zelda-themed content for the week, such as various facts about the first game of the series, and a piece on defending Skyward Sword  from backlash.

So, today, on my end, I look at a great example of localization found within Windwaker. The localization team behind the game managed to place a fitting cultural reference to an old story in an appropriately humorous moment in the game.

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