Type-Moon co-founder and writer, Kinoko Nasu, has a reputation among the visual novel community for his creative use of kanji characters, often used to provide an alternate or double meaning to what you’re reading. While this is a common practise in Japanese pop-culture, Nasu is particularly well-known for it.
Examples of Nasu’s unique style of writing can be found in Fate/Extra as well. Naturally, when we put out a call for questions from our community for Fate/Extra’s U.S. publisher, Aksys, the matter was brought up. Did Aksys run into trouble while localizing the game, thanks to Nasu’s play on words? As it turns out, yes, they did.
“Ah, difficulties,” replies Fate/Extra editor, Mike Engler. “Yes, there was one (well, three actually, but the others are stories for another day…) and it was a doozy.”
He elaborates: “First a quick Japanese lesson: to help younger readers grasp kanji, the reading(s) for particularly difficult kanji is written in above it/them in either hiragana or katakana. The technical term for this furigana, and Fate/Extra used A LOT of furigana. However, instead of simply using it to indicate the reading for a given Japanese character, the furigana was used to piggy-back an additional idea onto another sentence.
“For example (the furigana is in italics):
hobby cat juggling
My name is Mike02.
“Although sometimes the additional information could be discarded or shifted to another part of a conversation, there were many instances when all of the information was equally important and needed to somehow shoehorned into the available space. We managed to pull it off, but it did cause a number of headaches, audible curses, and repeated cries to Cthulhu to destroy the world as we know it and bring about The Void™ (or bring pizza and beer to the office; my memory is a little fuzzy on that point).”
Fate/Extra is slated for release on November 1st. Pre-ordering the game online from Gamestop will net you a Fate/the Fact booklet containing additional information about Fate/Extra’s world.