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The Requiem writes a click-bait censorship story… What happens next is incredible!

Note: While this post does include news, it is presented in a heavily opinionated, editorialized form.

Tokyo_Mirage_sessions_localized_atlus_nintendo_box_artMore details have slowly been creeping out regarding all of the localization changes made to Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE.

Recently, Games Nosh and the Censored Gaming YouTube Channel brought to light even more details of the content censored out of the western release of TMS #FE, which is a crossover title between Altus’ Shin Megami Tensei series and Nintendo’s Fire Emblem series. While we at SEGA Nerds have previously reported on some of the censored content, Games Nosh and Censored Gaming confirmed that the age increase of certain characters to 18 years old, such as Tsubasa, was not limited to their character’s profile, but that the original Japanese audio track was also re-recorded to reflect this change to keep the translation consistent.

Tokyo_mirage_sessions_#FE_censored_bikini
Japanese version: I don’t know what’s more triggering, the potential tan lines, or the Yankee Doodle cultural appropriation of putting a feather in her hair.

There is also new video evidence of some pretty drastic costume changes, too. The villian Aversa has her chest area enveloped by a glaringly out of place purple-colored smoke, which, in my opinion, looked jarring.

Even more drastic, however, is the outfit change made to Tsubasa when she is modeling for a photographer. In the Japanese version, she’s wearing a bikini swimsuit (you know, like the ones women wear at every US beach- triggered). In the western version, she’s wearing clothes which completely cover her, head to toe.

It was at this point, I had to imagine that the photographer, Horinozawa, would have a very different reaction, and given that we now know that even the original Japanese audio track isn’t safe from being re-recorded, I decided to see if I could make out any changes. I don’t speak Japanese, but even with my untrained ears, listening closely to this sequence indicates that substantial changes were in fact made to the spoken dialogue and the voices were re-recorded. So this is the favor I have to ask of any of our Japanese-speaking readers… If you do speak Japanese, could you comment below with the translation of what Horinozawa says in response to the bikini in the Japanese version so that we can compare the two in detail?

Tokyo_mirage_sessions_#FE_censored_baseball
Western version: so unsexy, they even threw in a “think about baseball” cap

I also urge everyone to visit Games Nosh and see all of the changes in side-by-side video form. That’s right. I’m sending you away from our site because I believe in giving credit where it’s due. Click here.

If you’re still with us, now I’d like to move from Nintendo’s Hug-box to my soapbox: It’s pretty disconcerting to me what Nintendo thinks that Teen audiences in the US are incapable of viewing. In fact, it borders on staggering, and almost insulting to those who believed that Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE would be localized in a way consistent with other Atlus titles, which clearly doesn’t appear to be the case, and which Nintendo promised WOULD be the case.

Some of you might be wondering why I referred to this article as “click-bait” in the title. While I personally think that the issue of censoring games during localization is important, and I trust many of you reading do as well, I wanted to see how many moralist dip-shits still clicked on the article just to come in an bitch about our wanting to discuss the issue.

Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE: American Hug-Box Edition will be available on June 24th.

Tokyo_Mirage_sessions_localized_atlus_nintendo_trailer
Japanese release: left ———- Western release: right

Hi Neal!

The Requiem

Having grown up with a SEGA Master System, The Requiem has been a lifelong SEGA fan. Favorite SEGA games include: Gunstar Heroes, Shinobi III, the House of the Dead: Overkill, Jet Set Radio, & Alex Kidd in Miracle World. Other game favorites include: Super Metroid (SNES), Tempest 2000 (Atari Jaguar), Mortal Kombat (Arcade) and Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery (iOS).

The Requiem exists digitally as @UnboundRequiem on Twitter.

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  • TT

    if a teenage girl in a bikini is something that NoA thinks is too risqué, I’d hate to see how Bill or Reggie would react walking by beaches.

    • TT

      Seriously, considering NoA had a literal pedo-defending prostitute as their PR, you’d think they’d be a little more open-minded.

    • Berto Yulianto

      I guess they’re too busy working and never have time to have a vacation (like: walking by beaches or something)

  • Mr Silvio

    The books we used at school in Natural Science classes when we were 6-7 years old had drawings of completely naked men and women.

    Doing this kind of silly censorship to stuff aimed at teenagers will never stop surprising me.

    • I just wish they would be upfront about this sort of thing. Being cagey about it makes all the conspiracy-ridden nutcases (like me) go wild with speculation…

      Although it really does seem like around every turn, the Tokyo Mirage Sessions situation gets verifiably worse.

      • TT

        the fact they spent resources to change the Japanese dialogue comes off shifty as hell. Like, what purpose would there be, that’s what I want to know.

  • Giordan

    so people are basically complaining about shit that Nintendo’s been doing since the 80s

    • Berto Yulianto

      Because that shit is poisoning our beloved Atlus.

    • For the record, I wasn’t happy when they were doing it in the 80s, either. Now it’s simply easier to tell Nintendo exactly how we feel about their actions.

      • Giordan

        I guess you didn’t like any Nintendo games in the 1980s and 90s.

        • That’s not at all what I said. You can enjoy A Link to the Past but still be upset that Nintendo insisted that Mortal Kombat be censored. The two positions are not at all mutually exclusive, but thanks for trying to misrepresent my argument.

          • Giordan

            I guess Final Fantasy III (er… VI) on SNES was awful.

          • I’m really not understanding your point. I can enjoy a game from a company despite how that company may treat some of their other games. I can even enjoy a censored game despite the changes. However, especially in the age of the ESRB following all of that 80s and 90s Nintendo nonsense, I don’t think there is a need for censoring anything with the possible exception of trying to avoid an Adults Only rating.

            I never even said that Tokyo Mirage Sessions would be awful. It may be fantastic, but it is censored. The censorship may affect someone’s intent to buy the game, so it is worth reporting on.

            As a general rule, I don’t want companies to censor games. I like Bayonetta, Mortal Kombat, Madworld, the House of the Dead: Overkill, etc. You seem fine with censoring games. We disagree. That’s fine.

            If you choose to buy Tokyo Mirage Sessions, I hope you enjoy it. I really do. But at least for my part, you will buy it as an informed consumer, even if I do get bitchy about it.

          • Giordan

            “The censorship may affect someone’s intent to buy the game”
            Tell that FE Fates.

          • You’re still not making a solid argument and continue to misconstrue mine. I could make the reverse argument, that sales of Mortal Kombat on Super NES versus Genesis is proof that people don’t want censored games. If there were somehow sales of two, locally available versions of censored/uncensored games to observe these days, we could get that answer, but we don’t have examples of that at the moment.

            I honestly don’t know exactly how many people don’t want censored games. Some. Maybe it’s a majority, maybe it’s a minority, I only know that there are some. That’s who I wrote the story for.

            But you want to bring up Fire Emblem Fates? That’s cute. You must have read a pandering Kotaku article about how Fates was the “fastest selling” FE game when it was released, selling 300K copies at launch, and then dropped the issue as though that was the end of the story.

            It isn’t.

            Fire Emblem is your go-to? Yeah. Let’s do it. I’ll play ball in your court, by your rules. Now watch me defeat your argument.

            Yes, Fire Emblem Fates initially sold very well by Fire Emblem standards, prompting game sites (like Kotaku) to write stories about it’s successful launch. It is the second-highest selling Fire Emblem game, second only to its 3DS predecessor, Fire Emblem Awakening.

            Hmm… Awakening. Let’s turn the clock back to 2013 when Awakening was released. The 3DS had a smaller install base as a system back then, and Nintendo under-estimated demand, which famously prompted a shortage of copies of Fire Emblem Awakening at retail. Despite all of this, it was Awakening which became the highest selling game in series history, and its sales numbers still reflect that.

            Now fast-forward to 2016. Nintendo has all of the momentum from the success of Awakening behind it, as well as three years of building the 3DS install base. In addition, copies of Fates were not scarce at retail, so finding it inside the game’s launch window was much easier. Nintendo went with a pre-order-boosting special edition this time around, plus they also split the retail SKU into two versions, Birthright and Conquest, both of which contribute to the same total sales numbers. So if avid Nintendo fans purchased multiple versions, which they are apt to do and many, many did, that would mean double sales reflected in the numbers.

            So what do the numbers say? Well, since we’re interested specifically in the effect of censorship, let’s check the sales of the uncensored Japanese version vs the censored Western release.

            In Japan, Awakening sold 520K copies, while Fates sold the EXACT same number of copies, 520K. The uncensored Japanese version absolutely retained its audience, 100%.

            Now let’s look at the western release. Awakening sold 880K copies in 2013, while Fates sold 560K. I’ll do the math for you. That’s about a 36% drop, even including the doubling of sales to Nintendo die-hards who bought more than one version. Even if I low ball those double-sales, with, oh, let’s say an extra 10% of the differential, that means that in the US, the censored version of Fates has barely half the install base that Awakening did, while the uncensored Japanese version did not see a dip in sales whatsoever. The Western audience shrank.

            Let’s recap. Even with:

            -3 years of building a bigger 3DS install base
            -No shortage of copies at retail

            -A special edition
            -Two versions contributing to double sales
            -All of the momentum following the success of Awakening

            -Fire Emblem Fates still squandered all of that and barely managed to scrape just over half of the install base of its predecessor when it should have eclipsed it, or matched it, in the very least, and this negative effect is ONLY observed in the censored Western release. The UNcensored version in Japan still managed to maintain its audience just fine.

            So yeah, censorship matters to plenty of people, and I’ll “tell that to Fire Emblem Fates” all day long.

            Now, you may produce some flippant, ill-informed remark which yet again misrepresents my arguments, but I’ve got better things to do than make responding to you a new hobby of mine.

            You hear that? That’s the sound the internet makes when a mic drops.

          • Giordan

            No that’s the sound of someone who’s an immature fuckwad

  • SilentNoMore

    Disclaimer: My Japanese skills are less than basic, so take my dry literal translation of the Japanese clip with a hefty pinch of salt and consult an actual translator before use. Based on Censored Gaming’s video, the difference in spoken dialogue is a few lines.

    Japanese Clip (0:50-1:13)

    0:50 大好きなあの人に頑張った私を見てほしい…その気持ちを表現するちょっと大胆な水着と、照れの混じった表情がかもし出すコントラスト!
    “I want the person I like to see me doing my best…” That feeling expressed by that rather daring swimsuit, with her bashful expression creating a contrast!

    1:03 俺には見えるぞ、初めての海が波が砂浜が!この甘酸っぱさは誰の真似でもない…等身大の織部つばさだあああああ!!
    I can see it, the first time at the sea, the waves, the sandy beach! This bittersweetness is no imitation…It’s the real Oribe Tsubasa in the flesh!!

    English Clip (2:34-3:02)
    2:34 大好きなあの人との初デートの為に、ちょっと頑張っちゃった!
    I can see it…She’s going on a first date with the boy of her dreams, and she wants to go all out for him!

    2:41 Street chic, full of energy and joy…And her smile, with that hint of bashfulness! It’s the perfect harmony!

    2:55 Seductive, without being direct or explicit! That perfect balance, that genuine feel of teen romance! This is…Tsubasa Oribe!

    I tried fully transcribing the Japanese lines actually spoken in the localised version so a direct comparison could be made to the Japanese lines in the original version, but I have trouble picking out a quite a few bits.

  • Gozu Tennoh

    If nintendon’t wanna stick to kids stuff thats fine but don’t go poisoning proper games with your tired methods!

    I Pray to god some kind of tragedy befalls them so we can be rid of this long term cancer on the games industry.

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