The “new” translation for Final Fantasy VI Advance is really a mixed bag. On one hand this is the only version of Final Fantasy VI (aka III US) that has the correct Esper names, Cait Sith instead of Stray and Carbuncle is properly spelled out instead of being crunched together to Carbunkl. The abilities are properly translated too. Instead of “Fire Dance” Sabin’s fourth blitz is called “Rising Phoenix” and Cyan’s swordtechs bushido retain their original names, sky, tiger and so forth. Enemies have been updated with new names too “Rock Hornet” instead of “Mind Candy” and the TunnelArmr is called Tunnel Armor. Even “death” has been given the green light, but while the menus look better the story has been toned down.
One major example is how we meet Celes. The scene from the original game is pictured above where Celes is chained to the wall for being a traitor. One of the lesser guards roughs her up and then Locke comes in to rescue her after she falls to the floor. In Final Fantasy VI Advance her chains are gone and no one hits Celes. Instead she falls to the ground when Locke comes in. It’s sort of like the whole “Han shoots first” thing in Star Wars. In one version Han is portrayed as a bad ass smuggler and in the other well he’s not. In the Advance version of Final Fantasy VI, Celes comes off as weak and whiny because she falls down for absolutely no reason. Also Locke doesn’t come off as much of a “hero” as he does when he steps in to pick up Celes. Speaking of Locke and Celes, the opera scene Final Fantasy VI Advance forces their romantic relationship forward rather than leaving it ambiguous like in the original game. When Locke meets Celes in the dressing room Celes asks, “Why did you help me back there” and in the original game he replies “I once abandoned someone when she needed me”. In Final Fantasy VI Advance he replies, “because I’m tired of standing by and doing nothing while I lose the girls I like.” Pretty much spelling out that he has a thing for Celes and that he’s done this many times before. The original translation gives time for their relationship to grow, which makes sense because they just met and it also emphasizes his devotion to Rachel. Then at the end of the opera Locke says “Celes you’re wonderful” compared to “Well done Celes” in the original. The first quote once again makes it clear that Locke is into Celes while in the original Locke is saying good job at pretending to be Maria.
To be fair the Japanese version of Final Fantasy VI Advance cut out the scene with Celes being punched and chained to the wall to be sensitive about kidnapping concerns in Japan. Still the scene could have been added back in the USA version, after all it’s in the KA rated Final Fantasy III for SNES. Strangely, nothing was omitted when Setzer kidnaps Celes and holds her hostage in either version. Instead Final Fantasy VI Advance changes how the audience perceives Setzer. In Final Fantasy III it isn’t clear that he is a hero. Locke calls him a “notorious” gambler in III and in VI Advance Locke calls him the “greatest” gambler. Also FFVI Advance removes the fact that he was working with the empire. Setzer says “the empire’s made me a rich man” in III and in VI Advance he says “the empire has been bad for business.” In the original translation the party has to convince Setzer why the empire is wrong and you can see him change his mind when he says, “the empire… evil?” That part is totally lost in Final Fantasy VI Advance and Setzer seems more like a vagabond than a shady character who becomes a hero.
Also the language in the game has been toned down and maybe this was to make sure Final Fantasy VI Advance got an E10 rating instead of a T rating. When Shadow is hanging out in South Figaro you could approach him and Edgar makes a bold statement about him when he says, “That’s Shadow! He’d slit his mama’s throat for a nickel!” This has been changed to he would kill his best friend for money. Another example of toning down is when a merchant calls Locke a thief in the original game Locke shouts back, “Hey! Call me a Treasure Hunter, or I’ll rip your lungs out!” In Final Fantasy VI Advance Locke calmly says “Oh now that was just plain rude. I’m a treasure hunter and don’t you forget it.”
While the new translation gets some things right, like renaming and clarifying that you need to find an aristocrat in Jidoor it changes how the main cast is perceived. I’m not sure which one I like more because I haven’t completed VI Advance, but I am dreading to see what is going to happen to Celes’ suicide scene. The way things are going she’s going to ride a magical rainbow to safety.