Unsurprisingly, given that we've had seven localised Fire Emblem games and thirteen years' worth of precedent to work with, dealing with names for classes, items and all that was a pretty cut and dry affair, and were mostly a matter of just bringing in what other games did with them. Not much news here, being that basically every other FE fan translation ever has done the same, and i’m pretty sure there’s nothing controversial at all about calling those sword/lance riders “cavaliers”.
Christ, i hope there’s nothing controversial about cavaliers.
There's still a few cases worth noting, though.
A quick preface on spelling
This is one of those things that’s utterly meaningless in just about every conceivable direction, yet i feel the need to bang on about it at length because i find it interesting because i’m full of shit. It's time for a quick lesson on How Class Names Are Spelled In Japanese. Odds are by now you’ve read countless lectures on the three writing systems used in the Japanese language, but in case you haven’t and couldn't be bothered to go look up a better one, here’s a quick refresher:
- Hiragana is the one you pick up first when you’re starting to learn Japanese. It’s a syllabic “alphabet” of 50+ characters, distinguished by its curvy look.
- Kanji are the elaborate logograms borrowed from the Chinese languages. There’s thousands of the things. A common tool used to help with reading and pronouncing kanji is to put furigana on them, where the word is also spelled in ordinary hiragana in smaller type on top of the kanji.
- Katakana is basically a second set of hiragana, containing all the same syllables except written in a completely different, more angular way. It’s reserved primarily for loan words from other languages, although in fiction it’s also often used to represent character names (foreign or otherwise) and otherworldly speech.
However, there are four games in the series which take different approaches and favour consistent spelling schemes over the more common mishmash, and both Jugdral games happen to be among them.
In both Genealogy and Thracia, every class name is a loan word and is spelled entirely in katakana. For example, most Japanese games spell the sage class in kanji or hiragana as 賢者/けんじゃ (kenja), which as you’d expect is the Japanese word for “sage”. Jugdral, however, just takes the English word and plugs it into katakana, hence セイジ (seiji). Why do they do this? Who knows? Perhaps they figured it’d sound more exotic. But there it is anyway. While it’s not like class names in FE have ever been particularly cryptic, this makes them particularly self-explanatory, and indeed most older translations of the two games just took the words spelled in katakana and used them as class names with no alterations (aside from contracting them to fit) because hey, it works mostly.
On top of all of this, dialogue sequences and help text tend to add a further wrinkle to the matter: when a character or narration mentions a class, they usually refer to it entirely in kanji even if it's normally spelled in katakana. Genealogy has a fairly significant number of instances of this in action. For instance, paladins - usually spelled パラディン (paradin) in katakana in every game - are frequently called 聖騎士 (seikishi, or “holy knight”). They’re not always consistent, though, since the war mage class is called 魔法戦士 (mahou-senshi, or “magic warrior”) by Arthur when he talks about Taillte in chapter 6, and 魔道剣士 (madou-kenshi, or “magic swordsman”) by the chapter 5 narration when it talks about Vaha.
A quick note on the other two major exceptions:
Radiant Dawn did the exact opposite to what the Jugdral games do: all classes are spelled in kanji, even the ones which normally aren’t, with the addition of matching - albeit very creative - katakana loanwords as furigana (top-left corner of the screenshot). Fates played with the idea as well, splitting it down affiliation lines: all Hoshidan (aka Fantasy Japan) class names are spelled entirely in kanji, while Nohrian (aka Fantasy… Eastern Europe? who the hell knows) class names are spelled in katakana.
I. Classes that are basically identical to other classes in other gamesThere are a small handful of classes in the Jugdral games which are identical in every way to other classes in the series, except for their names. Most of these appear in a massive number of other games and are much more familiar under the common names, and frankly, most of the alternatives used by the Jugdral games are much clunkier and/or less intuitive than their counterparts. We just called them by the same name as their counterparts in other games, figuring that they look like the same class and they behave like the same class, so why not just merge them together with these counterparts and simplify things a bit?
The classes affected are:
- Junior Lord -> Lord (unpromoted class for the main character)
- Bow Fighter -> Archer (unpromoted bow-using infantry)
- Forrest -> Hero (promoted sword user who is beefier but slower than swordmasters)
- Thief Fighter -> Rogue (promotion for thieves which uses swords and has no real new features, eg assassin ability to one-hit KO, or tricksters and staff usage)
As a side note, to this day i still have no idea what "forrest" is even supposed to be.
II. Cavalry classes
Genealogy introduced an absolutely obscene number of new horse classes as a result of its decisions to try splitting them up into weapon specialists and/or to be Horses: The Game. The Jugdral games as they originally stand tried to establish a consistent set of themed names among the core lance/sword/axe/bow specialist classes, but they also promptly gave up on the theme partway through. We slightly rejiggled the class names to try and smooth things out into a more coherent naming scheme, taking cues from Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn, the other games which chose to split up its cavaliers.
First, the unpromoted ones were adjusted so that all of them were named their weapon of choice, like in the Tellius games. The "free knight" became the sword knight, and the "arch knight" and "bow knight" were swapped around to make the bow knight the unpromoted one and the arch knight the promoted one. The latter was done for two reasons: one, putting the weapon type in the name of the basic class for that consistent Tellius-style theming i just discussed; and two, because "arch-" as a prefix carries a very strong connotation of the described thing being the most significant or potent of its kind (think arch-enemy), so it makes perfect sense to ascribe it to the promoted version of the class. i admit this has always bugged me.
Aside from the bow-using class, all the promoted cavaliers - forest knight, duke knight, great knight - were left alone. As a side note, though...
The forest knight (well, "forrestknight" if you listen to the game itself) actually appears in The Sacred Stones, where it is known in localisation as the “ranger”. For the sake of keeping the theme with the other classes i opted to ignore this, figuring it doesn't matter since those rangers might as well be a completely different class, what with their emphasis on bows. Perhaps if i’d chosen not to rename free knights, retaining the ranger name might’ve worked in another sense, but eh.
In hindsight i'm not entirely sold on retaining forest knight, if only because it implies some superior affinity for operating in forests and that decidedly isn't true in any Fire Emblem game, let alone Genealogy of the Holy Shit Watch Out Horses Are Allergic To Trees And You Kind Of Need Horses. Even so, i couldn't be bothered to "fix" that if only because i'm not sure where i'd begin to devise an adequate replacement.
III. Deirdre and Julia’s class
In the Japanese version, Deirdre and Julia belong to the "shaman" class, a label later applied to the dark mages of the GBA era, aka the exact opposite of what Deirdre and Julia are. Although it doesn't matter that much, i preferred to change the name of the class here for the sake of averting mild confusion and setting them apart as their own thing. Priestess was my first choice to replace the "shaman" name, as a little nod to Radiant Dawn’s Micaiah whose weapons, design and gameplay role are fairly similar to Deirdre and Julia’s, and whose final class is known as "shaman" in Japanese and "light priestess" in English. This change will also apply to Thracia 776s "sister" (usually localised as "cleric") once we begin work on it, because they're identical in both general appearance and gameplay. Makes more sense to smooth them over to refer to one singular class.
Admittedly, the release of Fates' localisation and its priestess class (y'know, the promoted one with bows) kind of fucked over any idea of avoiding stepping on the toes of completely different classes; at this point i might as well have stuck with "shaman". But what the hell, this was part of my plan before Fates was even a twinkle in Intsys' testicles.
Genealogy introduced the wyvern classes as a separate family from the pegasus classes, featuring them in three flavours: the dragon rider, an enemy-only cannon fodder version with shit stats; the dragon knight, the actual basic version which Altena starts in; and the dragon master, the promoted version. When FE7 came around, the dragon knight was localised as "wyvern rider" and the dragon master was localised as "wyvern lord", which as you all know by now is what they're called in almost every FE localisation since, with one notable exception: for some reason, Radiant Dawn went a little closer to the Japanese names.
i chose to go with Radiant Dawn's naming scheme and call them dracoknights and dragonmasters, also applying a simlar treatment to the cannon fodder version to call them "dracoriders". This scheme was chosen for two reasons: A) it would've been a a headache to try and reconcile the dragon rider into a naming scheme which includes "wyvern rider" as the step above it. The obvious possibility would've been wyvern rider/wyvern knight/wyvern lord, but as far as localised games go, that's just not what a wyvern knight is. B) my personal preference is for the Radiant Dawn scheme, so i figured it really was not worth fucking around with that sort of thing when i'm already somewhat invested in the easier option.
As far as why i prefer it? First, a bit of history and analysis, since this is actually something i've seen debated on message boards and among my friends on numerous occasions. The Japanese texts of the majority of FE games make it very clear that they are actually riding wyverns. The term consistently used in Japanese for both the wyvern mounts and FE3/12's wild wyverns is 飛竜 (hiryuu), which literally means "flying dragon" and as far as i can tell is commonly used to refer to the idea of European wyverns in Japanese (the alternative being just spelling wyvern in katakana, as ワイバーン or something). Although it came out 20 years after wyverns first showed up in the series, the innards of FE12 confirm in plain English that wyverns are the intended reference here: the class has the internal label "WYVERNEDRAGON", while the matching dragonstone is listed as "WYVERNSTONE". Of course, it's possible that Intelligent Systems adopted the term after the localisations first threw it into FE7, but hey, if the boot fits... Obviously the classes are still labeled after dragons, but that doesn't change the consistency and frequency of wyvern usage in every other part of the games. Here's some examples off the top of my head, with instances of the word highlighted:
|Game||Japanese version||Quick literalish translation||English version|
|FE6 and FE7||飛竜をあやつり 空を制する騎士 |
|A wyvern-taming knight who rules the heavens. |
Has no vulnerabilities except bows and magic.
|Wyvern riders, weak only |
against magic and bows.
|Path of Radiance||飛竜をあやつり空かける騎士 |
|A wyvern-taming, sky-riding knight. |
Uses lances and has high defensive power,
but is vulnerable to bows and wind magic.
|High-flying knights who wield lances and |
possess high defense. They are vulnerable
to bow attacks and wind magic.
|Radiant Dawn||飛竜を駆り天を翔ける騎士 |
|A wyvern-riding, heaven-soaring knight. |
Fights using axes.
Proficient in attack and defence.
|High-flying knights whose great |
strength and tough hides make
their axes all the more deadly.
|A Nohrian class. A wyvern-riding dracoknight. |
Proficient in strength and defence.
|Nohrian. A cavalry rider who rides a |
wyvern. Has high Str and Def.
Shadow Dragon (all versions), chapter 22 opening
|Speaker||Japanese version||Quick literalish translation||FE11's English version|
|Minerva and Maria's homeland, |
Macedon, was a peaceful and prosperous
kingdom known as the native land of the wyverns.
|The Macedon Minerva and Maria |
remembered best was one of peace:
a quiet, prosperous kingdom famed for the
flying beasts favored by dracoknights.
FE7, Heath/Priscilla support
|Speaker||Japanese version||Quick literalish translation||English version|
|My partner wyvern is Hyperion. |
He looks scary, but he's good.
|My wyvern is Hyperion. |
He may look scary, but he's all right.
The Sacred Stones, Cormag/Artur support
|Speaker||Japanese version||Quick literalish translation||English version|
|But, the creatures known as wyvern are proud. |
They won't tolerate humans who are inferior to themselves.
|But wyvern can be proud. They won't |
warm up to anyone they think unworthy.
New Mystery of the Emblem, Minerva/Catria support
|Speaker||Japanese version||Heroes of Shadow translation (basically literal)|
|Macedon isn't a large kingdom. |
And there's only one reason it's recognized
by other kingdoms as an independent nation:
Because of its legion of dracoknights.
So, to symbolize Macedon's might, those of
House Macedon must ride wyverns...
And that's why I released my pegasus into
the forest and took a Wyvern Whip.
Fates, sidequest 19
|Speaker||Japanese version||Quick literalish translation||English version|
|Harold||くっ...！ どこだルッツ！ |
|Gah...! Where are you, Lutz! |
What is the meaning of this!
To think, my darling child, vanished!
Something came plummeting from the skies!
This is... wyvern's dung!
|He must be around here somewhere. |
PERCY? HELLO? PERCY?
Oh, my son! My offspring!
Oh, sidekick, not yet old enough
to kick at my side!
Why would you leave our most secret
of lairs in your Deeprealm?
Dragon dung, whizzing past my
heroic brow? A close call.
But where'd it come from?
(If you're familiar with Japanese FE scripts and you can think of any other examples of wyverns being called anything different, i'd be interested to hear about it.)
There are only two mentions of wyverns i know of which are exceptions to this, and as it turns out, one of them is in a Jugdral game. The only textual reference to a wyvern mount in either occurs in chapter 8 of Thracia 776, where if you capture the boss, Leif talks about setting his mount free:
|Speaker||Japanese version||Quick literalish translation|
|Leif||アウグスト ドラゴンごと彼を解放してくれ||August, release him and his dragon.|
For the sake of consistency with the rest of the series, my Thracia script will just call this thing a wyvern.
There are two other examples in Path of Radiance. First, in chapter 25, when Ashnard is boasting about his possessions:
|Speaker||Japanese version||Quick literalish translation||English version|
|No, this pleases me. |
My dragon mount* Rajaion, and this armor which
renders any enemy attack impotent...
Both are well suited to me.
They are perfectly worthy of me.
|No, it has my approval. |
My wyvern Rajaion, and this armor which
renders any enemy attack impotent...
Both are well suited to me.
They both shine because they are mine!
* Broken down, it's 騎 as in 騎士 (knight) and 竜 as in dragon, so it's basically "cavalry dragon". i've interpreted it as calling Rajaion a dragon mount. Formation is comparable to 騎馬, meaning the act of riding a horse, but in context it's clearly meant to be an address for Rajaion as an entity rather than the act of Ashnard sitting on him.
The second occurs at the very end of the game, when Leanne and Reyson realise that Rajaion is actually a laguz:
|Speaker||Japanese version||Quick literalish translation||English version|
|Leanne||[Nee,niisama]||[Say, brother.]||[Say, Brother...]|
What's the matter?
|Leanne? What is it?|
|Leanne||[Ano hanenoookina dragonsan... |
|[That big-winged dragon... |
That's not a laguz, is it...?]
|[That dragon with the big wings... |
I wonder if he's a laguz?]
|Reyson||まさか...||It can't be...||A laguz... No, it can't be. Ashnard's |
mount was a wyvern...
|[I'm not sure, but |
I can feel it.]
|[I can't tell for sure, |
but it feels that way.]
|Reyson||[Moshi,ano Dragonga Laguznara... |
|[So, if that dragon is a laguz... |
Then perhaps a galdr can make him
|[If he is a laguz, |
the transform galdr may
restore him to normalcy.]
|Leanne||[Jyaa,utaimasho.]||[Right, let's sing.]||[Then let us sing.]|
|Leanne, Reyson? |
Is something wrong?
|What are you doing?|
|Reyson||少しだけ... 待ってくれ。 |
|Please... wait for a moment. |
There is something we wish to try.
|Be patient, please. There's |
something we want to try.
However, the other mention of wyverns in Path of Radiance - the aforementioned help description - also uses 飛竜.
i figured i'd do well to put it out there in public to try and straighten the record on that one. The main issue that usually comes up with this is how infrequent it for wyvern mounts to actually look like traditional European wyverns, with The Sacred Stones' wyvern knight being the only one to nail that. i've often seen it questioned whether Treehouse were just bullshitting when they first called them wyverns back in FE7, considering the mounts there look barely anything like traditional wyverns and how that has barely improved in any game before or since. Rest assured, localisations aren't bullshitting you on that one and are basically in agreement with the Japanese text. As far as the appearance issue goes, frankly i just put it in the same pile as all the other creative liberties taken with mythological references in Fire Emblem. It's not any more extreme than Turpin the archbishop and his sword, Almace, becoming Durban the berserker and his axe, Armads; or Forseti the justice god being associated with the douchebag bard, while Bragi the bard's god is associated with the straight-laced religious type. Some of my friends aren't content with this and feel the differences are too great to rationalise calling them wyverns, preferring to diverge into calling them things like "drakes" in their own FE-themed projects, and that's absolutely fair enough. But my job here is to deal directly with FE in its canon form, so there it is.
Aaaanyway, so i've spent all that time babbling about justifying wyverns as being wyverns. Surely, if i give that much of a shit, i ought to have stuck with wyverns, right? my answer is a bit of a non-committal "ehrhhrrhrhrhrhrhrhrhrhhhhh".
Basically, as far as the classes themselves are concerned, i personally read the dragon naming scheme as being this sort of honourific. "Wyvern rider" is pretty simple and to the point, a reasonable description, but on the other hand you have DRACOKNIGHTS and DRAGONMASTERS. The very names inspire fear and awe, which sort of ties into their usual role and that of the countries they belong to (think of how the narratives of the Jugdral games often talk about how the Thracian dracoknights are these elite mercenaries of terrifying power). They might not literally be dragons (well, they are, just not the ones people usually think of) but the name of dragon speaks to their abilities. Think of falcon knights: obviously they don't literally ride falcons, but the name falcon knight sort of commends these knights for their swiftness. That's the big reason for my preference for the dracoknight naming scheme. And, y'know, an official localisation went with them once so that's good enough for me.
Christ, i can't believe i wrote more about this than i wrote about fucking Erin.
V. Armored classes
Genealogy is one of three games in the series which chooses to split its armourknights into weapon-specific variants rather than having the single lance-wielding one. Unsurprisingly, the naming scheme chosen for them here was just yanked from Radiant Dawn, the one localised game in which they appeared. Not much to say here, really; not entirely sure why i'm bringing it up.
VI. War mages
Since i was getting rid of just about all the other “(x) fighter” classes for various other reasons, i figured might as well clean up the mage fighter class as well to make it sound a bit more compelling. The war mage name is a bit of an analogy with Awakening's war monk and war cleric, being that both are physical/magical hybrid footsoldiers. The "war" prefix is distinctive, short and to the point, and not used by any other classes.
VII. Ballista classes
Genealogy features three different ballista weapons used by enemies (well, four if you count unused ones), and in an unusual decision it created a separate class for each ballista which only ever uses that specific ballista. Unusually, they even went as far as to give each ballista class a different design, which is pretty impressive considering that Genealogy isn't exactly known for its visual prowess. In the original game, all of these classes share their name with their specific ballista, and that... sounds a bit silly, let's be quite honest. A killer ballista wielding a killer ballista? i see what they were going for, but it's kind of a mess.
Since these classes are basically the same thing and, aside from the iron ballista's class having higher defence the others, all have identical stats to each other, i figured there'd be no harm in putting them all under a single class name. Hence, they all became known as ballisticians, the traditional ballista-using soldiers from the Archanea games. The way i see it, no real important information has been lost this way: they retain their unique appearances on the map and in battle so you can tell them apart at a glance, because frankly it'd have been a stupid mistake to replace all of their sprites with identical ones; and if you're looking at their stat screens, you can already see their ballista of choice in their inventories, so you don't really need the class name to clue you in.
A not-so-quick preface on capitalisation
One thing that becomes apparent very quickly once you start the game is that, where the majority of Fire Emblem games have an “Iron Sword”, we have an “Iron sword”. Fairly early on in the project, i chose not to capitalise every word in item names, something that official releases of the Fire Emblem series did exactly once in FE7 and never tried again. It’s a pretty mundane thing to talk about, but a fair few of my friends were a bit offput by the approach, so i figure it won’t hurt to address it a bit. As far as i can tell, listing item names like this style is not a very common approach at all in games - the only other ones i can think of off the top of my head, the aforementioned FE7 aside, are EarthBound and Animal Crossing (and in the case of the former, even its sequel’s fan translation did not choose to follow suit despite otherwise adhering pretty closely to EarthBound’s localisation). Beyond these and maybe a small handful of others, the consensus is that treating item names as Proper Nouns is the way to go.
Now, that’s fine and all (and i mean, if i had a legitimate problem with that, there’d be cause for serious concern), but my tastes on the matter lean slightly differently. i figure, if an item is very much a singular thing with a specific name, then by all means, proper noun it up! But the majority of weapons in Fire Emblem aren’t exactly the stuff that proper nouns are made of. Your myrmidon isn’t wielding The One And Only Steel Sword, so much as just one of many steel swords. This isn’t to say that the proper noun approach is illegitimate or nonsensical by any means; i can see why the majority of developers favour doing it that way. Nonetheless, my personal preference is for the common noun approach for both this reason and sillier aesthetic reasons (personally, i find they look nicer this way. i recall being a bit confused when i first encountered The Sacred Stones back in 2005, and its decision to break with FE7’s approach and go with proper nouns, but then i was also a very stupid child so it’s not like that means much).
Another advantage to common nouns is that they’re surprisingly helpful when it comes to fitting item names into view. i first encountered this while working with gringe on his translation of The Binding Blade: the “Goddess Icon” item was having pixels clipped off its end because of its length versus the limits of how that translation was originally programmed. Decapitalising the i in “icon” proved to be a very easy fix to this problem, shaving off juuust enough pixels to ensure that the string fit with no problems at all. Since we had to contend with some fairly inflexible length limitations and already had to change plans to compensate once or twice, every little bit of extra space counted.
So that’s what happened. Common items got capitalised like common nouns, while special items got capitalised like the proper nouns that they are … in theory, at least. In practice, just about everything which theoretically should be treated like a proper noun was already written with just one word. Only one item in the entire game was both a proper noun and had more than one word in its name: the Light Brand. Even then, i’ll freely admit that this was less my interpretation of the weapon and more a matter of following suit with FE7, where it is also one of the very few items capitalised this way. It still feels a bit awkward to have it like this next to not only all the other weapons in the game, but particularly the earth sword, which is also given some special significance when Raquesis gets it. At the same time, though, there’s arguably a clear enough separation between the two in that Ethlyn owns literally the only Light Brand in the entire game, whereas earth swords are also used fairly heavily by endgame bosses and thus Raquesis’s one isn’t the only one in existence.
I. Shield sword
In Japanese this weapon is known as the まもりの剣 (mamori-no-tsurugi), which can be variously translated as “shield sword”, “amulet sword”, “defend sword” or "protect sword". We settled on shield sword by direct analogy with the shield ring item, which also boosts defence. The res-boosting sword (barrier sword) matches the res-boosting ring (barrier ring) in this way, so it made sense to apply the same courtesy to their physical counterparts.
This weapon's Japanese name, つばめがえし (tsubame-gaeshi), is a reference to the Turning Swallow Cut pioneered by the Japanese warrior Sasaki Kojirou: a move of such precision that he was reputedly able to nail a bird in mid-flight. i spent a lot of time thinking this one over because my initial preference was to try and preserve the reference, but i came up with nothing that sounded alright as a fairly generic weapon name while maintaining that reference in the relatively tiny space available. i feel kinda bad about being unable to retain it, but it's a very Japanese reference and doesn't have much in the way of meaning or connotation to the average western audience, not to mention that Genealogy's focus is on a world styled after Europe, not Japan.
Instead, i just tried to keep it in the same easy-to-recognise theme as the armorslayer and horseslayer. For a while i kicked around several other possibilities, including Awakening’s volant axe, which is also effective against fliers; or the Aerial Ace move from the Pokemon games, which is also named for the Turning Swallow Cut in its Japanese versions, but ultimately it just made more sense to keep it simple like the other slayer weapons. As a side note, the usual old name for the weapon in older fan translations, “wing clipper”, is also a clever option but it wasn’t entirely to my tastes, so here we are.
III. Bolt sword
Recently, a friend of mine inquired about the decision to call the lightning-spewing sword “bolt sword”. i’m a bit embarrassed to admit that there’s an obscene amount of reasoning behind this one. His question was to do with why i didn’t just call it “levin sword”, like the recurring weapon from the Archanea and modern FE games. i considered doing that for a bit but decided against it for one very particular green-haired reason:
It’s stupid, but something about having a levin sword in the same game as The Prince Formerly Known As (And, Depending On Who You Ask, Still Pronounced As) Levin struck me as incredibly silly. Good thing that wasn’t the only reason. I can actually appeal to the original text on this one: the Archanean levin sword is called サンダーソード (sandaasoodo; just “thunder sword” spelled in katakana) in Japanese, while the sword that appears in the Jugdral games is いかずちの剣 (ikazuchi-no-tsurugi; literally, “lightning sword”). This seemed like reason enough to call it something different (even if i did the exact opposite of that elsewhere, e.g. the armorslayer has a different name from normal in Genealogy’s Japanese text).
“Bolt” was chosen for several reasons. Firstly, it’s short and poses exactly zero problem with space limitations. Secondly, the FE games already use the word “bolt” to describe thunder-element magic weapons in both English and Japanese (eg Path of Radiance’s bolt axe, Fates' bolt naginata), so the theme is already there; incidentally, the same is also true of the flame sword (e.g. Path of Radiance’s flame lance, Fates' flame shuriken), except people conveniently already called the Jugdral sword this. Thirdly, the Gaiden fan translation actually already calls the weapon “bolt sword”, and in the Japanese version of that game it’s also called いかずちの剣 instead of サンダーソード, so there it is. i thought it’d be nice to have a little consistency not only with official localisations, but with other fan translations.
IV. The status weapons
For the poison weapons of Thracia 776, my plan is to go with the slightly fancier “venin” names that the localisations of Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn gave them (venin edge, venin lance, etc), rather than the simpler names favoured by the GBA localisations (poison sword, toxin lance, etc). To match the venin edge, the three status swords were also called edges instead of just swords, to aid recognisability with a mostly unique theme: if you see the word “edge” in a sword’s name, it's going to shaft you with status effects if you're not careful. Admittedly, the existence of the killing edge in Thracia 776 undermines this, but at least that’s just one other sword.
Something something ow the edge.
This resurrecting staff was the only one of the holy weapons of Genealogy to not get any sort of look-in in Awakening and, as a result, is the only one of those weapons whose name i was still free to mangle. The reasoning behind this decision comes from the existence of the Valkyrie class in other Fire Emblem games. Although they don't exist in Genealogy, my thinking here was to maintain the fact that there’s a distinct difference between the Japanese names of the staff and the class: while the staff is known as “Valkyrie” (バルキリー) in Japanese, the class is usually called “Valkyria” (ヴァルキュリア), which is a closer approximation of the original Norse.
Obviously both mean the exact same thing, but my thinking here was that since there's a marked difference between the class and the staff in Japanese games, it'd be worth preserving that difference in English. Hence, the staff of Valkyria. Additionally - and this is purely my personal opinion - but for the purposes of English Fire Emblem stuff, "Valkyria" sounds a bit better as a proper noun for a specific staff, compared to "Valkyrie" sounding better as the name of a group of entities like a class.
VI. Bands and rings
Genealogy is unique in that it has none of the more common consumable items favoured by every other game in the series (except Gaiden), and instead the only non-weapon things you put in your inventory are a series of rings which boost your stats and give you skills if you hold onto them. Most English sources on Genealogy tend to call all of these ring items... well, rings. In the Japanese game, they’re actually known by two different terms: some are called リング (ringu), which is just the word “ring” in katakana, while others are called うでわ (udewa), which translates as “bracelet” or, yes, “ring”. There’s a bit of a general trend: all of the stat-booster items are called リング, while うでわ is mostly reserved for the skill items. It’s not entirely consistent, since a lot of skill items are still called リング. For the sake of a consistent, recognisable theme, i tried to tidy these up by calling almost every skill-giving item a “band”. The one exception is the knight ring, because Path of Radiance exists and called it that in localisation. It’s a very minor thing, but hey, i like consistency with other parts of the series.
As a side note, the word “band” was not my first choice. My original intent was to call the skill items “braces”, like the solar and lunar brace promotion items from The Sacred Stones. However, this left some of the name strings too long to fit, so we went with the shorter “band” (taking a cue from Path of Radiance’s localisation).
So there's this one skill, which at this point is the only interesting one left to have not shown up in some form or another since the Jugdral games: the one that gives units a chance of dragging out an attack by adding another set of attacks and counterattacks to what happens there. Older translations of Genealogy call it "Charge", while older translations of Thracia call it "Duel". my decision to call it Accost is one of the things i've most frequently heard questions and critiques about from my friends, so i figure i ought to lay my thinking out here. In Japanese, the skill is called 突撃 (totsugeki), which is a synonym for attack with a specific connotation of swiftness, abruptness and forward motion. "Charge" is, of course, an accurate enough translation of this, but this is only half of the equation.
In my view, a major consideration is the style by which Fire Emblem localisations have approached skills ever since Path of Radiance, whose names typically have a very distinctive air about them. Whereas the Japanese names for skills are usually pretty simple and straightforward, English localisations favour relatively obscure and dated words, or even going straight for the Latin language, to give skill names a more erudite feeling. For instance, it's not enough for that HP-draining skill to be called "Sun", and instead they dip into the Latin barrel and call it Sol; and it's not enough for that ambushing skill to have its name be as straightforward as "ambush", so instead they feel the need to push it a little further and adopt Vantage, a word whose meaning is clear but which (outside of the phrase "vantage point") feels more like it belongs in more dated or formal settings, as its name. It's certainly not the most novel approach, and some might fairly consider it tacky, but nonetheless i've always found it charming so i desired to emulate it to the best of my ability here, so that this skill would fit in with all of the other battle skills which had been assigned names of this flavour by prior localisations.
Hence, Accost, which i chose as it fits both criteria. The word has a specific connotation of picking a fight with and assaulting another person, which aptly describes the skill's function and lines up with the Japanese word. It also isn't a common word at all in modern English and has that same sort of uppity, high-faluting smell about it as many other skill names; its meaning is recognisable, but you'd only be likely to use it in a sentence if you were a pretentious twat such as myself (and even i wouldn't go there unless i absolutely had to). It's far from the only "legitimate" option, but nonetheless, i'm now quite partial to it so here we are.