Shakespeare once wrote that “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” However, it seems in the case of translation that a rose by the same name may have a different smell, or mean something different. It has been discovered that the ending of the Japanese version of Breath of the Wild, when translated, is slightly different to the English version. Obviously there are major spoilers here so please don’t read on unless you are prepared to read some of the final dialogue in the story.
In the Japanese version of Breath of the Wild, when translated into English, it states that Calamity Ganon’s current “form was born from his obsessive refusal to give up on revival.” However, the English version differs slightly by saying that “He has given up on reincarnation and assumed his pure, enraged form.” Some may argue that the use of the words “revival” and “reincarnation” have similar meanings, but their uses in these statements certainly do differ slightly.
This could just be an example of something being lost in translation, but a lot has been made about these differences. Some have connected this to Calamity Ganon’s description in the Hyrule Compendium: “Hibernating within a cocoon, it attempted to regenerate a physical form after Link awoke but was forced to confront him in an incomplete state.” It is clear that Calamity Ganon is not in a complete form, but the reason for this seems to differ depending on the translation. Either it was formed due to his “refusal to give up on revival” or because “he has given up on reincarnation”.
It’s certainly an inconsistency in the presentation of Calamity Ganon, but it may just be an example of poor translation. Either way, it’s an interesting topic to discuss and debate. Calamity Ganon is a mysterious character with little revealed about him, perhaps the upcoming Champions’ Ballad may provide more details on Calamity Ganon as well as the heroes in the Breath of the Wild. For now, though, many Zelda fans are debating a question which Shakespeare once posed: “What’s in a name?”
What are your thoughts on this difference? Do you think it impacts the representation of Calamity Ganon, and if so, how?