Let’s resume with the part 2 of the Ace Attorney case study. Now, we’ll discover together how the names of the characters were adapted in the North-American localization.
Changes to character names
The most obvious changes pertain to character names, some of which we’ll analyze: Ryuuichi Naruhodo becomes Phoenix Wright, Chihiro Ayasato becomes Mia Fey, Reiji Mitsurugi becomes Miles Edgeworth, and so on.
Ryuuichi Naruhodo/Phoenix Wright
For Ryuuichi’s name, Shu Takumi took inspiration from a famous Japanese musician. Meanwhile, “Naruhodo” derives from the Japanese way of saying “I understand”, probably referring to the protagonist’s intuitive capabilities. Now, the name in the localization, “Phoenix”, indicates the character’s ability to “rise from the ashes” in order to keep fighting, while “Wright” is a homophone of “right”, as to show that Phoenix is always right in the end.
Chihiro Ayasato/Mia Fey
The adaptation of Phoenix’s mentor’s name, Chihiro Ayasato, is just as creative. According to Takumi, “Chihiro” can be read as “a thousand questions”, referring to the character’s tenacity in obtaining a truthful confession through numerous questions. Meanwhile, “Ayasato” presents a kanji indicating an old-fashioned cloth, but its sound is similar to the word for “mysterious”.
In the localization, the name becomes “Mia Fey”. “Mia” is the short form of “Maria”, which in Hebrew means “bitterness”. This can describe the unpleasant way in which the character loses her life. It can also be interpreted as “rebellion”, referring to Mia’s voluntary distancing from her clan’s traditions. The surname “Fey” means “fairy-like” or “otherworldly”, which describes the Fey family’s spiritual capabilities.
Reiji Mitsurugi/Miles Edgeworth
Let’s now discuss about the first trilogy’s deuteragonist, Reiji Mitsurugi. In Japanese, “Reiji” is a combination between “clever” and “samurai”, which reflects the character’s acumen and sense of honor. “Mitsurugi” contains the kanji for “sword”, indicating the young prosecutor’s sharp mind. In the US version, his name becomes “Miles Edgeworth”: while “Miles” derives from the Latin word “soldier”, “Edgeworth” denotes the sharp blade of a sword, just like the original surname.
Overall, we can see that the localization of the names is very appropriate, because it is perfectly in line with the original meaning.
Want to check out the first part of the case study? Just go here!