Editor’s Note: This article contains minor spoilers for Fire Emblem: Three Houses. These spoilers may be deemed major spoilers regarding a character’s backstory.
UPDATE: Comparing the original Japanese dialogue to both the initial and updated English dialogue has revealed the update may actually be closer to the original Japanese.
“Kantopia” (a “very passionate person for translation and localization” of the Fire Emblem franchise), notes in their work that the update may be more accurate to the Japanese, albeit literal.
“The surprising result is… that the Japanese is the same as it was before, and that the new English ends up oddly closer to the (literal) meaning of the Japanese! Though with some subtleties lost, as may happen with literal translations.
The English text changed from a more emotionally charged and descriptive line to a seemingly more plain one after the patch. Surprisingly, it is not a matter of changing the translation to be different to the original JP as “censoring” may imply, but, quite the opposite! It became quite literally the same as the original’s idea.
It does however seem “toned down”, such as omitting the severity of the training or Bernadetta’s subtle emotional feelings on the matter that are implied/indirect in JP and difficult to convey in Eng, but I think enough of the idea remains to leave it to one’s imagination and not really be considered “censored” (in the way one may imagine when reading the word). It does come off a little more awkwardly in English, however, as one may be confused as to how simply tying her to a chair constitutes as training for being a good wife.
However, given the above, the reason behind this change is quite the mystery! There was little controversy that I am aware of in the original form, and made people feel more for Bernadetta as far as I know…
Whether or not that’s a good thing, or whether it was necessary for whatever reason, that’s up to you!”
Kantopia also provided an infograph, summarizing their work:
What do you think of the changes? Sound off in the comments below!
A big thank you to “キロ” and “Narmy” in the comments.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses recently updated, and some fans are not happy about changes made in dialogue said by Bernadetta.
Bernadetta is part of the Black Eagle house, and her social anxiety is often played for laughs- to the point she will attempt to stay in her room every waking hour, runs screaming when embarrassed or intimidated, or even think she will die when forced into situations she find uncomfortable. However during “Support Conversations” (dialogue between two character that denotes an increased level of friendship and even love) it is revealed her anxiety is due to events in her past.
This combination of relatable anxiety, her endearing shyness, her desire for creative endeavors, all along with sympathy and empathy for her trauma has quickly resulted in “Bernie” becoming popular on social media by fans. However, one of her lines where she reveals her trauma has been censored. Spoilers will follow.
There has been a change with Bernadetta’s Support level B dialogue with both male and female versions of Byleth (the main character). Originally, the line conveyed that her trauma came from brutal “training” her father placed her under to be an ideal wife to obtain a rich husband.
“Oh, that. Well, I guess I can tell you, Professor. My father’s obsessed with money. He’s only ever seen me as bait for a rich husband. To train me to be a good, submissive wife, he’d do things like tie me to a chair and leave me there all day, challenging me to stay quiet. I tried hard to do as he asked. Honestly, I did. But before I knew it, I just couldn’t bring myself to leave my room anymore.”
In update 1.0.2 however, it seems one of the lines have changed, specifically “To train me to be a good, submissive wife, he’d do things like tie me to a chair and leave me there all day, challenging me to stay quiet”– changed to “To train me to be a good wife, he’d do things like tie me to a chair.” The line is also re-recorded in English, but the Japanese dub has remained the same.
While update 1.0.2 does note in its change log “Some text has been revised” the reason as to why is not stated. This may be attempting to make the line more accurate. Some are claiming on social media that the new line is more accurate to the original Japanese. We are currently attempting to find Japanese footage and will compare.
On the other hand, this may be attempts at censorship. Both Fire Emblem: Awakening and Fire Emblem Fates were criticized for inaccurate localization, often putting in strange jokes that did not fit the tone of the game or the characters, as well as some censorship of violent or sexual terms.
The change was gradually noticed by several individuals on Twitter, along with Reddit’s unofficial Fire Emblem subreddit. The bulk of complaints seem to be about how the sentence now makes no sense, was unnecessary, undercuts the trauma Bernadetta had suffered (sitting in a chair compared to sitting in a chair and being punished for speaking), and even implies far worse things by leaving things unsaid.
We will update this story as we learn more.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses is out now on Nintendo Switch. In case you missed it, you can find our review here (we highly recommend it!)