The House in Fata Morgana localization which translated “tsundere” to “fragile male ego” has triggered criticism from western visual novel fans.
Originally released in 2016 by developer Novectacle and written by Keika Hanada, The House in Fata Morgana follows a spirit that has lost their memories. With the guidance of a mysterious maid, the spirit relives the past of the mansion in search of clues to their identity.
The maid guides the spirit from early in the mansion’s history in the 11th century, to as recent as the 19th century. The house mysteriously seems to change location throughout the game, begging the question of whether what the spirit is seeing is even real or relevant to their situation.
The translation controversy came to light despite the games age after a recent live-tweeting of the “Backstage” extras by Twitter user irisposting, who noted how the character Jacopo was diminished for having a “fragile male ego.” Twitter user yukinogatari– a freelancer translator who worked on the game- retweeted this part of the thread and provided greater context.
She explained that originally the game called Jacopo a “tsundere”, which typically refers to anime characters who act harshly towards those they actually adore. It’s worth noting that the extras are intended to be non-canon and joking in tone, with the characters breaking the fourth wall as if they were actors.
fun fact: in the Japanese, Morgana is calling him a "tsundere" here, and you have NO FUCKING IDEA how many brainstorming sessions it took over several weeks to come up with this translation https://t.co/Ou22oN62p8
— yukino🏳️⚧️🌸🔲💻💙🔥🌻⚖️👑🍹🥃🐽🎋🍁🎀💙⚗️🏢 (@yukinogatari) May 2, 2020
The translator also pointed out after the controversy caught steam, that she has translated “tsundere as-is in other projects” and that the decision in this particular instance was due to consideration of “setting, time period, character voice, target audience.”
We would like to make it abundantly clear that we stand behind our localization staff and do our utmost to ensure that the developers’ wishes are respected as well. While there are numerous equally valid approaches to any given translation problem, harassment is not one of them.
— MangaGamer (@MangaGamer) May 5, 2020