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?

  • Vladislak

    This has been known for months, as fans translated it shortly after the game was released. Still, it’s nice to see the difference get more widely known recognition since I do feel people were taking the English version the wrong way (I.E. assuming Zelda meant Calamity Ganon was Ganon’s final incarnation and that he’d never come back).

    Even in the English version the true ending has Zelda state that Ganon is only gone “for now”. So the Japanese version is clearly the more accurate statement (no surprise there).

  • Ernesto Sin

    Either way the ending is terrible. BoTW could have been the very best zelda game in the franchise, but little decisions made it fall hard in my opinion. i have my hopes high with champions balad but im starting to feel its just gonna be it with the actual ending….. so bad… and it makes me really sad.

    • Alan Islas

      I agree. I had high expectations with the final battle because thru the game you never see ganon close or in other scenario ’til that part and it was just disappointed

  • Rehenie Rossab

    Either way for both translations the it ends in the same way if ganon took an enraged form as a refusal to give up on revival and was ultimately defeated/ purified then he cannot revive as for tye english translation it is more obvious ganon has given up on reincarnation so either way ganon cannot come back

    • Vladislak

      There’s nothing that says he couldn’t come back if he refused to give up on revival. He was just denied his wish for the time being, it’s not the first time a revival of Ganon has been stopped, Ganon still came back later.

      Again, Zelda explicitly states in the 100% ending that Ganon is only gone “for now”.

      • Rehenie Rossab

        Personally i hope they make a different reincarnation like the did with demise to ganon

  • 4jackh

    Well, where does that initial statement appear in the Japanese version? In the American version, the whole “he’s given up reincarnation” quote comes as he’s turning into Beast Ganon, meaning AFTER confronting Calamity Ganon he gives up reincarnation. If that “born from his obsessive refusal to give up on revival.” in the japanese version occurs before the Calamity fight and not the Beast fight, we have our answer, that the Calamity was born from a refusal to give up revival and Beast Ganon was his last attempt at destroying Link, by giving up reincarnation and taking his true form. If they both appear in the same cutscene in the game though, THEN there’s confusion.

    • Sean Brinson

      Well no, he assumed the form of “Calamity Ganon” well before the story, back when the ancients first built the guardians to fight him. Remember, the land of Hyrule in BotW, even in the flash backs, takes place hundreds if not thousands of years after Ocarina of Time. If we’re to assume that something was lost in translation, then it could probably go one of three ways:


      A) Ganondorf went batshit insane again over his fate and existence not being his own (like he did in Windwaker when he figured out that he is basically a living curse embodying Demise’s hatred of Hylia and her Chosen Hero) and did something equally batshit insane in an effort to fight that fate. This would give credit to the English translation, which would mean that he found a way to break the cycle of rebirth, make Link/Zelda’s lives miserable, get killed, try again. It may just be that the consequences of him doing this are he became malice incarnate and completely lost his “self” and became literal mindless hatred.

      B) Demise’s existence within the Master Sword is starting to fade away completely, making Ganondorf’s existence also weaker. For those who didn’t play Skyward Sword, Demise is sealed INSIDE the Master Sword, where he is literally being slowly erased from existence. Demise and Ganondorf are linked, and so it could be assumed that if Demise were to dissipate completely, Ganondorf would also cease to be completely, OR it could be assumed that as Demise gets closer to non-existence, Ganondorf’s existence becomes more unstable which may result in him becoming a mindless hate beast. Remember, he has had the Triforce of Power for quite some time, so it’s technically possible that Ganondorf was “always” this powerful, but he controlled it instead of just flailing at everything in his general vicinity.

      C) Assuming option B is still the case, Ganondorf refused to cease existing alongside Demise, and somehow gained even more power. It’s also possible that thanks to the guardians being created, Ganondorf simply couldn’t even challenge Link and Zelda anymore as “Ganondorf” and just refused to give up, causing him to assume this form through some mystic mumbo jumbo.

      I say this because we still don’t know where in the timeline BotW takes place, only that it is at least 2,000 years in the future. We know that Demise created Ganondorf back in Skyward Sword, and Ganondorf has been doing things throughout the ages consequently but obtained the Triforce of Power during OoT. The thing is though, he has the triforce in multiple time lines. The Twilight Princess timeline is the one where young link convinced the King of Hyrule that Ganondorf was up to no good, and they tried to execute him. An act that failed miserably when the Triforce of Power appeared on his hand mid execution and protected him. It is safe to say that the Triforce’s abilities exist outside of time, and therefor Ganondorf in all timelines has it, and has always had it. This would mean that he has access to power beyond power, and potentially could continue to exist after Demise fades away, or even break his connection with Demise. Either way we really don’t know, and I doubt we’ll ever know. The story this time around was quite lack luster.

    • Vladislak

      It’s in the same scene at that same time. The exact same line.

      NoA just changed the line to say something completely different. From saying he gave up on reincarnation, to saying he refuses to give up on it.