The Western Version Of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds Has Less Body-Shaming

Clyde Mandelin is best known for his fan translation of Mother 3 and maintains the website Legends of Localisation, where he looks at games' original scripts and how they changed in the localisation process. He applied his expertise to examine how localisers got rid of some body shaming in The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds.

In a study of The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Mandelin notes that the original game had some problems when talking about the Zora Queen. In the story, she grows to a large size after a thief steal a gem that helps her control and focus her power. The original script handled it poorly, with negative comments about her beauty and figure tossed into the mix.

"But I actually kinda like her even looking like that, zora," one character says. It's an offhand comment mired in notions of 'traditional' beauty, suggesting it's odd or out of the ordinary that the Zora Queen might be found attractive in her curse state.

In the English localisation, the line is changed to the more neutral "We've got to get it back in her pool before all is lost!"

Once Link returns the gem and the Zora Queen returns to her original form. Mandelin translates one of Zora's response as "What a relief, zora…The queen has regained her beauty, zora..." Throughout the script, reference is made to restoring the Zora Queen's beauty instead of helping her manage her magic. One Zora explicitly pines for their "slim queen."The localisation removes all reference to the Queen's weight.

Video games have a real problem when discussing characters whose body types fall outside of certain beauty standards. Weight is often used in games to signal duplicity, such as Deadly Premonition's Forrest Kaysen or Prey's Alex Yu.

In other cases, such as Overwatch's Roadhog, weight is framed as something laughable. Even a game like Wolfenstein 2, which does show concern for the abuse of the overweight Nazi-defectee Sigrun, can't help but make her the butt of jokes from time to time.

The localisation of A Link Between Worlds doesn't change the story's implications - the Zora Queen is still "rescued" and transforms back into a more conventionally "beautiful" form - but it is nice to see script changes that cut the original version's more judgemental tone.

It's imperfect but definitely an improvement that's a good reminder that localisation doesn't always have to be faithful to the original text.


Comments

    As a former fat guy, it’s a fine line between empowerment and enabling.

      Agreed.
      Fat people are generally unhealthy and unattractive. That is a fact, with excpetions of course.
      We of course have to be careful in not demeaning people, but this fat acceptance movement is now getting to a point where they are large enough (lol, no pun intended) to spread considerable misinformation and validate their poor lifestyle choices.

        You take up smoking and do it without a shirt you get called a bogan.
        You take up food and do it without a shirt you get called brave.

          One thing to consider is that being obese is often a consequence of an unhealthy diet, like lung cancer is often a consequence of smoking. Thing is, lung cancer can occur without smoking just like obesity can occur without an unhealthy diet.

          You'd never criticise someone because they have lung cancer in the way that you'd be critical of someone for smoking. In the same way, I don't think you should criticise someone for being obese, but you could justify being critical of someone who was eating themselves into an early grave.

          Caveat: I'm grossly oversimplifying to make a point. This thinking requires you to ignore other factors, including socioeconomic factors and addiction, amongst other things, which can contribute to these problems.

            My wife has non-smoking related lung cancer. True story.
            It’s terrifying.

              I'm sorry to hear about your wife. I hope all the best for you and your wife. It must be a brutal journey

                Dude, it sucks. But existence is an amazingly good thing even when the one you have is under threat. And we live in Australia so we get looked after. $7832 a month in cutting edge CRISPR meds looked after that keep her alive. We were told two years tops at the start. That was over four years ago.
                We literally live in a time where I could be lucky enough to see her out live with me after we grow old.
                Thanks for the kind words, Lem.

              I'm really sorry to hear that and I hope my comparisons weren't too blunt. I can only imagine the emotional and physical strength it must be taking from both of you. I hope whatever treatment path you are taking together is successful and curative and you both emerge from this stronger.

                Nah man. I’m not precious. Don’t sweat it. She’s super strong. If I was in the same boat as her I’d be a sad sack of stress. She’s just owned it and kept winning at life. I’m really proud of how she exists amongst everything.

            I'm sorry, but weight is calories in vs. calories out. No excuses, except the rarest if conditions. They may not eat unhealthy food, but they are definitely eating too much food. It's simple.
            If someone is fat (I am fat), they are eating too much. I'm just not foolish enough to expect society to tell me it's okay.

              I wasn’t trying to say that non-diet related causes were a more common reason, only that the comparison of smoking vs. being obese wasn’t the best analogy.

              That said, your “no excuses” statement is plain wrong. There are a bunch of non-diet related reasons a person may gain weight, including medications (antidepressants, birth control pills, corticosteroids), disease (hypothyroidism, PCOS), secondary effects of addiction and depression, there is even a genetic factor that makes it easy to put on/hard to lose weight. I’m not saying that these conditions will necessarily make someone morbidly obese, but it certainly predisposes them to weight problems, which may in turn open them up to discrimination and judgement because of the stigma of being fat.

              What I’m getting at is that you can’t assume the reason for someone’s symptoms and it would be awful for the people who are subject to ridicule or shaming for something that is largely out of their control.

              I’m definitely not saying that I think we should celebrate obesity. Obesity is a problem and and presents grave health risks.

                With respect, you put forward explanations for peoples' weight problems. I say they are indeed valid reasons.

                I maintain that I am not wrong. There are many valid explanations, but there are no excuses.

                  Moderation limbo

                  Last edited 11/04/18 4:05 pm

                  I get what you mean by explanation vs excuse, but if someone came to me and said “it sucks, I hate that I’m overweight but I have an under-active thyroid and it’s making it extremely hard to get on top my weight problems despite all this effort I’m putting in”, I would feel like that was a pretty reasonable excuse and to say other wise would show a remarkable lack of empathy. That’s subjective though.

                  On the other hand, if someone came to me and said “I hate that I’m over weight but getting take out is so much easier than learning to cook and I’m not willing to cut down on the soft drink” I would be raising my eyebrows.

                  People make "excuses" as a direct response to societal pressure to be thin, as manifested in like any thread ever on the internet like this when all these internet doctors and nutritionists suddenly appear to exclaim that being overweight is unhealthy like no-one has ever fucking considered that before. Like 9 people on tumblr ACTUALLY think being fat is healthy, and if you're on tumblr for some fucking reason you're gonna see dumber shit than that so probably just close the internet before you punch something. The implication that justification is required from strangers before someone is allowed to be a certain shape is some sad shit. You can be in shape and still be total garbage. If you care at all how large someone you don't know and don't have to sit next to on a long flight is, you might be.

            You’re totally correct about cancer, but the number of conditions that predispose to excess weight gain despite adequate management are fairly rare. For the vast majority of people who are obese in the West, it is almost entirely modifiable lifestyle factors that contribute to or perpetuate it.

            It’s entirely possible to randomly get lung cancer despite being healthy, through no fault of your own. It’s far less likely that you suddenly become obese through no fault of your own.

        Well, it did used to be a sign of attractiveness as it was often seen as healthy and good for carrying children, then it was attractive as a sign of wealth and now, well, it's literally a porn category...

        Aint my thing, but it's always someone's thing.

          I wouldnt use something being a porn category as something being acceptable. Lot of porn categories out there. Lot of it not really acceptable lol.

          Yeah man! I’ve seen big girls that I just wouldn’t change a thing about. It’s all part of life’s rich tapestry.

    Fat people have put themselves into such a victimised mindset that they're seeing salvation in how a non-human character is being treated too.

    Good job. Maybe instead of being angry go for a jog or something, put the damn hot dog down.

      Its like they are in denial and their fatness is everyone elses problem and not theirs. Unless you have a GENIUNE medical issue. Your fatness is your own god damn fault. Im slightly overweight, And i know its my own fault for being lazy. I dont go yelling at people saying "Stop shaming my body size!"

        Body problems of all kinds are often linked to things like depression and a million other things. It's really not as easy as saying "Stop eating, you fat fuck" especially when that kind of negative reinforcement is what drives people further into self destructive behaviour. There are plenty of genuine medical issues that affect weight and aren't as easily dismissed as you make it sound.

        Besides, some people are just fat, they like it that way and they're sick of being told to live in a way they don't want to live. There are all kinds of arguments for and against that, but in the end, we don't stand outside the cinema screaming at everyone who watches a shit movie because it's their life and their choice. Even if they want to continue doing things you think are ridiculous or dangerous.

          Besides, some people are just fat, they like it that way and they're sick of being told to live in a way they don't want to live. [...] we don't stand outside the cinema screaming at everyone who watches a shit movie because it's their life and their choice.
          Dude, this isn't even on the same sort of level... if you go out and watch a shit movie, all that happens is that you've lost a few hours of your life. If you end up obese, you shorten your lifespan, and end up with a host of comorbidities and likely end up in the public healthcare system for something that was most likely totally within your control. A closer comparison is smoking or alcohol abuse - yes, there are reasons why people do it, but that doesn't mean there's zero self-control or that it's 'just a harmless personal choice.'

          You want to be fat? Go for it, I don't personally give a shit. But this "Health at every size" thing is complete bullshit, it's outright factually wrong to suggest it's harmless or healthy. It's in the same category as anti-vaxxers and flat-earthers. The truth hurts but the fact is weight control is within reach for the majority of obese people. We shouldn't be normalising what is almost recognsied as a diseased state!

          If a person wants to be overweight? they are free to do so.

          But they dont get to claim their lifestyle is healthy and perfectly fine. Its not. We should be encouraging people and kids especially to live healthy long lives. Not be lazy shits who eat way to much and rely on our health system to keep yourself functioning. They dont get to claim being overweight is "Normal" and skinny people are abnormal. Its not. Being overweight is far from normal. I know because im overweight myself and its far from normal. I dont think its dangerous. IT IS DANGEROUS. I have proven medical science to back that claim up.

          Once you get so large you need a mobility scooter to move, you lose all right to claim you are fine. (this once again exlcudes people with geniune medical issues)

            You are equating someone physically incapable of moving unassisted with someone who is sick of being harrassed because they like pizza a lot. They are different things.

    Not telling people they are overweight because it might shame them is why we have an obeisity epidemic.

      The biggest and most positive changes in my life happened because someone told me the truth. No matter how hard it was to hear it the results, it yielded a positive swing.

      Last edited 11/04/18 8:52 am

      It's actually the way food is processed and marketed to us as well as institutional factors like the way we work in modern society. People weren't thin in the past because of everyone calling out fat people, they worked manually and food was either more scarce or by and large non-processed. You can see obesity sky rocket pretty much the moment to American cheese industry figured out their gold standard "cheese is healthy" marketing campaign.

        The US food pyramid basically doomed millions to dietary related diseases and death. We don't need 4 serves of meat a day. We don't need 8 serves of bread a day. We sure as fuck don't need to cut fat and oil almost entirely out of our diet. Potatoes are not the thing you should be eating the most.
        The New Deal ushered in the corn industry bullshit that puts corn syrup in practically everything. Then there's the potato farmers lobby, too.

          Energy in, energy out. Science. Being fat doesn't have to be a pseudo political conspiracy about processed food, GMOs and the government.

            It's not a conspiracy. People in many cases don't have time for "energy out" when you do a 8-10 hour day in an office then pick up your children or engage in basic life admin like a manual worker spending 1000 calories moving at work would. Personal choice can be a factor, but there's also time poor people that will end up (sometimes unwittingly) consuming 1000+ calories for $7 at lunch. I work 10-12 hours a day and I get my exercise by walking to and from the office, which is 2 hours of leisure every day that no one I know with children could ever dream of.

            Not everything is the mental strongman olympics, being fat doesn't have to be a failure of the individual. Food education is fucking terrible by and large and is 100% a government concern because they're the ones we as a society trust rightly or wrongly with health. When you get massive political funding and then pressure from lobbies, you end up the situations where pizza is served at lunch in US canteens and bad food is totally normalised. If you don't think agribusiness groups worth trillions of dollars lobby government for better market conditions and have done so with gusto since the late 40's, then I don't know what to tell you.

            Just to touch on science as well. The science taught to generations before us about food was probably even worse than what is taught now. So you've got mum and dad at home passing down the equivalent of old wives tales to their kids about the food they eat, then those kids develop bad diets as they grow older and develop habits that are extremely tough to break.

            It doesn't have to be a conspiracy. It doesn't have to be a long history of well documented poor decisions and quick fixes designed to keep failing industries alive, either. But that's what it is.

            Like it or not, the US food industry is responsible for the state of food across the western world. The US food industry is subject to several government policies designed to keep farmers in business and avoid a repeat of the economic collapses of the past. The knock-on effects of that are what we deal with today. It's not a conspiracy. It's a fact of political history.

      Every single fat person knows they're fat. We've been telling fat people to stop being fat for a long time and it hasn't stopped people being fat. So that's demonstrably not why we have an obesity epidemic.

        Also a lot of people aren't discriminating between "mate you should probably lose a few KGs" and simply taking the piss out of fat people.

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