Shanoa and the Castlevania II Reference

Dragonsbrethren asked a question about Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia a long while back:

Hi again, I thought of a suggestion for one of your Legends of Localization posts: In Castlevania, Order of Ecclesia, Shanoa has a line that references Castlevania II when you first enter Dracula’s castle: “I am the morning sun, come to vanquish this horrible night!”

I’m curious if this is something that the translator added, or if this is also a CV2 reference in the Japanese version.

So the question is if the Ecclesia line is a reference to the infamous text in the second Castlevania game, “The morning sun has vanquished the horrible night.”

And, if it is a reference, was it in the original Japanese version or was it just a little thing the localization team added in for long-time fans? Let’s find out!

First, here’s a look at the line in question in both versions:

And here’s a side-by-side text comparison:

Basic TranslationOfficial Localization
Why am I standing here? I’ve already lost everything. I already have nothing left.Here I am… It’s all gone. …What little I had, anyway.
No, that’s right. There IS one thing left. Just one: my important mission.No, that’s not true, there’s one thing left… …My mission.
That’s why I’m standing here. To fulfill my remaining mission to slay “Dracula”!I’m the only one left who can end this. Hear me, [Dracula]!
Yes. Because I am a “sword that cleaves evil”.I am the morning sun, come to vanquish this horrible night!

For further reference, you can see a video of the Japanese version here and the English version here.

So, yep, it looks like the “horrible night” reference wasn’t in the original version; it was added in by the localizers as a little bonus reference.

The Japanese line doesn’t seem to be a reference to previous things; in fact, this specific line seems to be her catchphrase in Japanese! As such, it seems kind of odd that it would be removed from the script altogether like this. I haven’t played the game, so I don’t really know if this catchphrase gets used in other parts of the game. If so, leaving it out of this scene’s translation makes more sense, as it wouldn’t be missed as much. But it’s such a strange, deliberate phrase that it sounds like it plays an important role in her backstory or something. I guess I’ll have to defer any further commentary to folks who’ve actually played the game, though.

Anyway, hopefully that solves that little mystery! Even if it did end up creating a new one 8O

On a side note, I’m kind of surprised by how many ellipses were added into the translation, given that the opposite is usually what happens. And the usage of [ and ] in place of Japanese-style quotes was definitely a unique, unusual choice!

UPDATE: After some quick talk with the English version’s editor, it sounds like the ellipses were likely added as part of her amnesiac/emotionless character. Which definitely makes sense now that I think about it. Having not played the game, I never considered that possibility.

It also sounds like the Japanese catchphrase was used only two or so times in the game’s script, so the reference was favored over the awkwardness of the original line. Probably unintentionally, Shanoa’s new line here eventually became her English catchphrase, as it sounds like it’s used in other games that feature her. So in a strange way, the reference that replaced her catchphrase became a catchphrase itself! Neat!

UPDATE 2: TNBi posted an old video of the game in the comments that gives an official, pre-release translation of her phrase as, “I shall become the sword that clears away evil.” rather than the Castlevania II line:

A similar blade quote wasn’t completely removed from the final game, though – at one point near the end of the game it’s revised to, “I am the blade to banish all evil.” It’s interesting to see how her phrase has changed and evolved throughout the localization process!

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18 comments

      1. Sometimes Sanger cleaves evil, sometimes he smites it. Depends on the translation. Maybe it’s an older, samurai-style line that Japanese media uses at times.

        Reply
        1. I’m going to admit my ignorance about this Sanger thing, but the actual line in this game can be translated a bunch of different ways, so if there’s a similarity it’s probably coincidental. Although phrases about chopping/cutting/cleaving evil/hate/other non-physical things is pretty common in Japanese entertainment, at least in my experience.

          Reply
          1. Sanger’s a recurring Super Robot Wars character. Drives a giant robot with a giant-er sword. Gets a new robot and has them take every weapon off of it except the sword because SWORD. And declares himself to be “the sword that cleaves evil” at … pretty much every opportunity, both in and out of battle.
            I’m exaggerating the character ever so slightly, but… he says it A LOT.

            I don’t doubt the overlap is coincidence, though personally, I like the “morning sun” line more in this instance. To my eye it’s a bit more poetic, and the inherent sunrise vs vampire imagery gives it a bit more power in the Castlevania setting.

            Reply
      2. It is in English because of translation differences. It is straight up Sanger’s catchphrase in Japanese, though.

        Reply
        1. No, it’s not the same. Sanger’s catchphrase is “悪を断つ剣” (Aku o tatsu tsurugi), while this one says “魔を切り払う剣” (Ma o kiriharau tsurugi). They may have a similar meaning, but they don’t sound alike at all. Otherwise, Demonbane, being the “Sword that smites Evil” might sound like Sanger too, but that phrase is actually said “Ma o tatsu ken”, which again sounds different. Neither is “straight up” Sanger’s catchphrase.

          Reply
  1. I found it very odd how the PSP RPG Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky used brackets for important phrases, special terms, and quotations. The translators were otherwise good, but it came across as really unusual.

    Reply
      1. Uh no, you’re thinking of the three Legend of Heroes that were released by Namco back during the PSP’s advent. Those were the ones with horrible translation work. Trails in the Sky has a great translation done by XSeed.

        Reply
        1. No, I definitely wasn’t referring to the Namco localizations. Something can very easily appear right in the target language but be the complete opposite (or unrelated altogether) to the source (or given Japanese and English’s vastly different structure, even look right in isolate but be completely wrong, but that’s another thing altogether). From the superfan chatter I heard, that was very much the case with I believe the most egregious having to do with woefully misunderstanding major parts of the lead-ins into the sequel(s).

          Reply
  2. The gameplay of Order of Ecclesia has been often compared to that of Simon’s Quest in its use of a map connecting disparate areas as opposed to just being in the castle the whole time as with the previous DS games, so this reference is justified in that way as well.

    Reply
    1. (Sorry for incomplete post! )

      As shown in this commercial (http://youtu.be/OiFJop4GWOw?t=52s), the initial translation for that line is “I shall become the sword that clears away evil.”

      In the final game, besides the example given in the article, it was “I am the blade to banish all evil” in the talk scene before fighting Dracula.

      Though inconsistent, it doesn’t affect how players would portray Shanoa to be. Personally I think it’s a clever move.

      Reply

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