With the new Animal Crossing game out now, I thought I’d do some quick looking around and see what interesting localization changes might exist. There’s SO much I could dig into and write about that it’d probably take years to document it all, so for now here’s just a little tidbit!
In the English versions of all the Animal Crossing games, there are two female characters known as Gracie, who’s a fashion-loving giraffe, and Saharah, a carpet-selling camel:
In the Japanese versions, they’re called “Grace” and “Roland”. And they’re actually male characters! In the Japanese versions of Animal Crossing, these characters are actually males who speak in an extremely feminine manner:
When they were localized into English, they were changed into female characters entirely:
But, wait, how do we know they’re supposed to be male in Japanese? Well, the official Japanese site (which you can see here) specifically says so:
Graces’s text there even says, “Oh, and just so you know, Grace is a he!”
Also, while we’re sort of on the subject, Saharah’s Japanese text also has a strong “foreigner who doesn’t speak Japanese natively” vibe to it. Off the top of my head I can’t recall if that was reflected in the English translations too. I feel like it might’ve been, though.
Anyway, I don’t play Animal Crossing as much as I used to, so this was all news to me! Was it news to you, or is this something everyone and their dog already knows?
Also, do you think this gender change was a good localization choice, or should it have been left alone? I’m really curious to know what fans think – let me know in the comments!