Yesterday I posted about Japanese signs and text in Street Fighter II. In the comments, Darien asked about Japanese text in a completely different game – Xenoblade for the Wii:
I’ve always wondered if the various symbols that appear on the Monado in Xenoblade have actual meaning in Japanese. It’s not quite a sign, but it’s close!
By lucky coincidence, I’ve been playing Xenoblade for the last month or two! I haven’t finished it yet, but between the story and all the quests I’m over 100 hours now, a personal first for any game ever 😯
Okay, so down to the question! If you’re unfamiliar with Xenoblade, it’s a really amazing RPG with one of the most beautiful game worlds I’ve ever seen. The story revolves around a sort of sword called the “Monado”, and it has a big circle area in it that sometimes has writing of some sort pop up on it:
So the question is if these symbols are Japanese and if they mean anything. And the answer is yes! It’s indeed Japanese text. So let’s take a closer look at the various symbols.
One of the ones you’ll see over and over is on the loading screen. Unfortunately, I had a hard time getting a photo of it looking good, but I’m referring to this screen:
The symbol here is 読, which is the character for “reading”. Which makes sense, since the game is loading / reading stuff off of the disc at the time.
Next are the Monado symbols that appear during battle – they’re Japanese text too!
Since I haven’t finished the game I think I’m missing one more symbol on there, but from what I DO have, the symbols are all as follows:
- 轟: Roar / Thunder
- 破: Break / Destroy
- 盾: Shield
- 機: Machine
- 斬: Slash / Cut / Slice
- 疾: Swift
- 鎧: Armor
And looking on Japanese sites, it looks like the last one I’m missing is:
- 喰: Eat / Devour
Actually, as soon as I got access to the Monado I was like, “Wait, why didn’t they localize these?” and then I was like, “You know, knowing what these mean is pretty handy!” So I usually just rely on the Japanese text to choose which art to use. I’m not sure what most of them are called in English, now that I think about it!
Also, for some reason, I originally thought the symbols that appear during some cut scenes weren’t any real language at all, but looking at screenshots online I guess I’m wrong, or maybe I was seeing the Japanese characters from behind and at some weird angle.
In any case, hopefully that helps answer the question! And if you haven’t checked out Xenoblade before, I recommend it just for the music and the amazing, thoughtfully-crafted world! But, like so many games I like, it costs a ton of money to buy nowadays 🙁