Zelda: Breath of the Wild ending in English and Japanese have slightly different meanings - Nintendo Everything

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Zelda: Breath of the Wild ending in English and Japanese have slightly different meanings

Posted on August 13, 2017 by (@NE_Brian) in News, Switch, Wii U

Legends of Localization has taken a look at the ending of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in both English and Japanese. The site picked up on a bit of an interesting discrepancy between the two versions. It goes without saying, but some may consider the below explanation spoiler-related.

In English, Zelda says of Calamity Ganon towards the end of the game: “He has given up on reincarnation and assumed his pure, enraged form.” Yet the same line in Japanese is: “This form was born from his obsessive refusal to give up on revival…”

The point here is that the Japanese version makes it seem as though Ganon is intent on being resurrected, even if he is defeated. It’s what ultimately caused him to take on the new, Calamity Ganon form. However, in the English release, Nintendo makes it sound like Ganon has given up on getting revived.

Legends of Localization puts it simply: “the English scene seems to imply that defeating Ganon now will destroy him forever, while the Japanese scene suggests that he’ll simply be back someday.”

Making things more confusing is another line Zelda says during the ending. She says in the English version that “Ganon is gone for now”, which seems like a contradiction given what was said during the final battle. In Japanese, Zelda merely mentions that “the threat of calamity is gone”.


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  • JasonBall

    You’re a fan of Legends of Localization too then?

  • AquaBat

    Don’t miss BREATH OF THE WILD II: THE RECKONING, coming in 2022, only on the Nintendo Switch!


  • Martin Naranjo

    Not cool(?) I don’t think the Narrative was good enough to get upset about this type of stuff so…. whatever(??)

    *Gets killed by downvotes*

    • Billy Bob Throrton

      why didn’t you like it? I mean, I’ve heard people say that but why? they usually just give examples of other games so I don’t get why besides assuming they thought Zelda was whiny or something.

    • Jack Thompson

      It’s not about how good the story was, it’s the principle of the thing. These people are supposed to be “professionals” translating one of Nintendo’s flagship titles and the game that was supposed to sell the Switch. This is merely an example of incompetence, but it’s the fact that’s in addition to a plethora of other problems with Nintendo of America’s translations that makes it part of a bigger issue.

      For example, have you seen this? https://youtu.be/9yNIIwI1rak?t=116 (Jump to 1:56 if the timestamp doesn’t work)
      It’s hilariously bad and unlike the translation error in the article above, it’s not simply a mistake. It’s clear unprofessionalism where they added things in for no reason at all. Chances are they thought nobody would even notice because the game was not originally dual audio, but Nintendo, for once making the right choice, listened to customers and added dual audio (something that should be standard these days). So now their unnecessary and unprofessional practices are much more obvious to the public.

  • RoadyMike

    inb4 “errmygurrd zensorhiip!”, “RIP authors vizun”

    Ganon(and ultimately, Demise) always comes back somehow anyway. The only way to end either once and for all is to completely break Demise’s curse, which I don’t see Nintendo doing anytime soon

    • Velen (Not WoW)

      For that matter… How the hell would you break a curse so ancient literally nobody knows anyone is cursed?

      • RoadyMike

        Paradox-less time travel
        I don’t think above completely destroying all sense of consistency in their franchises, so I think it’s possible. Or they could just make another branch in the timeline and end that era right then and there

        • Tlink7

          I don’t want any more time travel, it always makes stories way more convoluted than they need to be and opens up a million plotholes

  • MoYeung

    Nothing surprises me anymore after “All your base are belong to us”.

  • NeptuniasBeard

    Maybe a bit of a stretch, but in context with Zelda’s latter line, I think the first line is probably supposed to mean that Ganondorf usually dies when he’s killed, but this time in particular he decided “Nah, think I’m gonna give this one more go first”

    • Shonenfan


  • Shonenfan

    Maybe he had given up being reincarnated as ganondorf? Instead born in ganon form instead because the last ganondorf died enraged? Malice incarnate?

    • Shadowknight1

      That’s how I interpreted it. Reincarnation isn’t revival or resurrection.

      • Shonenfan

        Reincarnation is reborn as the same person being again but without memories right? But he died enraged. That enraged soul was reborn and became a beast right on the go.

  • Reggie

    Probably just a mistranslation on their part.

  • Devlind

    In spanish she says that he has reincarnated again and again. She never stated that he gave up on it, so I guess that only the English localization got it wrong.

    • Devlind

      But then again, I prefer “But courage need not be remembered for it is never forgotten” than “But I’m sure that your courage remains unshakable”

      • Same. That first part sounds way more fitting and carries more weight and uplifting feeling.

    • NeptuniasBeard

      To be fair, the Japanese version doesn’t make much sense either depending on how you look at it.
      “This form is from his refusal to give up on being revived” would imply that Link did something that threatened Ganon’s reincarnation cycle when he did nothing particularly special. What makes this time so different from all the others when Ganon dies just to come back?

      Heck I’m pretty sure Ganon has been accepted as something that can never be stopped for good in the era the game takes place in.

  • the ending was kind of disappointing
    also why was zelda not 100 years older

    • Devlind

      I know right? They could have used the machine that Purah invented to make her young again.

    • Annie Anemo

      Yup, I didn’t like how the ”true ending” was just Zelda smiling creepily at the camera

    • Adrian Brown

      That would’ve been an awesome ending: Once she is freed she looks embarrased because she’s not the young lady Link used to know, but we as players know that somewhere there’s a way to make her young again.

      • I totally expected her to look like Impa
        I mean 100 years

  • キロ

    It shows the importance of all the little things like word choice in translation.

  • I’ll need to check out the site. Admittedly, I have become so torn over the English.

    I liked the English localization at first, but after my husband beat the game, he switched to the JP dub, and we noticed so many differences and discrepancies. Zelda seems better handled, the Champions have stronger bonds overall (Urbosa to Zelda, Link with Mipha and Daruk), and even Zelda and Link’s relationship comes off a bit different. I wonder if the text even has these strong changes, because the EN version hints way more strong than the JP version at Zelda’s crush on Link.

    It would be very interesting to look at differences between ll of the languages.

    • Justin McQuillen

      SJW treehouse strikes swiftly whether you agree or not

      • I felt really weird about attacking the treehouses and campsites. The goblins didn’t actually do anything to me, and here I am killing them for some crappy spears, half-cooked meat and maybe a treasure chest with some arrows or wheat in it.

      • RoadyMike

        ??? wtf even man? You’re so deep in the anti sjw stuff you’re seeing it where there is none
        I really don’t see how some minor differences in BotW’s translation have to do with SJW’s. It’s not like they made Zelda a bratty man hating lesbian or put in any political references with the localization. Whatever SJW nonsense the Treehouse added in games in the past aren’t in BotW m8

        • Hom-Ru-Beoulve

          You don’t know who’s the head of Nintendo Treehouse, mate. Here, let me show you on who foresees the “localization” of Nintendo’s exclusive games. You think that the butchery that happened in Fates, Tokyo Mirage Sessions, Xenoblade Chronicles X were just mere co-incidences?

          You’re not in the loop then. I’d say, LURK MOAR.


          • talk to your mom about whether it’s a good idea to dress up a 14-year-old girl in a playboy bunny outfit

          • RoadyMike

            Since you obviously can’t read, let me repeat myself for you. This is the ONLY thing I said, this was my point:

            “Whatever SJW nonsense the Treehouse added in games in the past aren’t in BotW”

            Do you honestly think I’m unaware of all the SJW BS that plagues virtually every space in recent years, including Treehouse? I’ve been aware this nonsense since before GG hit
            I’m never said that there aren’t idiot SJW types in the Treehouse, I’m not saying it wasn’t them that made those stupid changes. You’re just assuming things. Let me repeat myself again for you lil boy, as far as censorship or major diologue changes go, the Treehouse left BotW pretty much untouched


      • Uhhh. Wanna give an example about how it has anything to do with SJWs? I’m really lost and confused.

        The problem with the US version, is it tries to follow some common tropes in Western writing. But they’re such specific and often outdated ones, it doesn’t make sense.

        And if you want me to make a stretch here. . . the Treehouse version would be anti-SJW here. Zelda being better handled in the JP version and not having as strong a crush on Link make it more “progressive” than the US version, so the US version would be more backwards and less associated with. . . I guess, less typical, SJW themes?

      • Tlink7

        What does a VERY slightly vague ending in English have anything to do with “social justice”?

  • Felipe M.

    Meh. The ending was underwhelming, I wish to have fought Ganon in his normal form instead.

    • Tlink7

      Then he wouldn’t have been a calamity and he would have needed more screentime in order to avoid him being an incredibly flat character. Which would have been hard considering how much choice the player has in BotW

  • Tlink7

    Does anyone care? It is a frigging Zelda game, of course Ganon is going to be back <.<

  • Shadowknight1

    Well, I guess I have a different view of the word “reincarnation” then. I interpreted it as Ganon giving up on coming back in his human form ever again, ie. no more Ganondorf.

  • hi-chan!

    Well everyone knows that Ganon will be back in another form on the next mainline Zelda lol

  • Heruderu

    My understanding of the English line is that he was trying to be reincarnated as a living being but, after defeat, gave up and transformed into a creature of pure malice. Defeating him does not mean he is not coming back. It means it won’t be reincarnated in flesh, but can come back as malice corrupting everything.

    It seems fitting, as Demise’s curse is not meant to be only Ganon, but his hatred instead.

  • Straightshooter

    The only confusion here is how the op doesn’t understand how both translations mean pretty much the same thing. There isn’t any mystical lore Revelation here, it’s interpretation plain and simple.