(ファイアーエムブレム, Faiā Emuburemu)
|Country of Origin:||Japan, United States|
|External Links:||Official Site, Official Japanese Site|
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The first Fire Emblem title, Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light), was released in Japan in 1990. The seventh game in the series, Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade (originally titled simply Fire Emblem) was released in 2003 and was also the first game to be released outside of Japan. Subsequent games have all been released internationally, barring Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem on the Nintendo DS.
As of 2019, there have been eighteen total Fire Emblem titles released on a variety of platforms.
The Fire Emblem franchise consists of the following titles (all are video games unless otherwise noted):
- Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light/Shadow Dragon (remake)
- Fire Emblem Gaiden/Echoes: Shadows of Valentia (remake)
- Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem/Heroes of Light and Shadow (remake)
- Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War
- Fire Emblem: Thracia 776
- Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade
- Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade (first game released outside of Japan)
- Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
- Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance
- Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn
- Fire Emblem Awakening
- Fire Emblem Fates
- Fire Emblem Heroes
- Fire Emblem Warriors
- Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Many western fans were first introduced to Fire Emblem in 2001 via Super Smash Bros., two years before the first Fire Emblem would be released outside of Japan, as Marth and Roy were both playable fighters. This has lead to some jokes within the fandom, Marth is sometimes referred to as "Marth from Smash Brothers" and when new Fire Emblem were announced many would jokingly ask if Marth and Roy were playable. Awakening finally answered the joke by offering both characters as downloadable content. While they could not speak or support due to DLC characters being portrayed as collectible cards, as units they could be reclassed and given weapons and stat boosters if the player wished to use them on their main team.
The fandom is split into two main camps of "story vs. stats", with a smaller group taking a third option by seeing the value in both. Stat-focused players will devote their time to creating optimal teams, units, and supports. Genealogy of the Holy War, Awakening, and Fates allow them to take this to an extreme by breeding what the fandom calls "designer babies" by pairing certain characters together so their child or children will inherit the perfect skills, class sets, and weapons.
The story-focused group is heavily into Transformative Fandom, providing much of the fandom's fic and art. They care less about stats and breeding than they do about character chemistry and personalities, going so far as to use units considered "bad" by the stat side simply because they like them as a character or ship them with someone.
Needless to say, both sides have engaged in quite a few fandom kerfluffles over the years, especially in Genealogy of the Holy War fandom when it came to pairing Prince Lewyn with one of three girls whose son could inherit his holy weapon or people who actually liked to use the slow armor knight Arden despite his class and low range being a liability on the large maps.
Characters and Pairings
The series is noted for having loads of characters in each game, each with their own personality (or some defining trait in the early games). From the fourth game onward, there was much focus on building relationships; most of them were romantic but there were also strong family and platonic bonds to explore, as well as antagonistic relationships. The characters each had their own last words should they fall in battle, driving the player to try their hardest not to lose them.
There are very few characters who are universally loved or universally hated among fans, and a good chunk of them are very polarizing. It is usually best to broach this subject with caution, as fans can get quite adamant in their feelings. This applies to both the characters' personalities and their use as units.
Due to the Support Conversations feature starting in the 6th game and the marriage mechanic of the 4th, 13th and 14th, shipping is a big deal in Fire Emblem fandom. Starting with Awakening, the player could marry any male to any female character and Fates introduced same-sex marriage options for the player avatar. Fire Emblem Heroes takes this up to eleven when "Ally" and "Summoner" supports were added in the game as of August 2007, where any character can support regardless of what their role was in their home games.
The most popular ships are, to date:
Due to the nature of the support system, there are very few set-in-stone canon pairings. Very often the game will seem to hint more towards certain ships in the narrative; the 7th game hints strongly at Hector/Lyn, but both characters have multiple paired endings; the player can have Lyn marry Kent or Hector marry Florina with no consequences or alterations to the overall storyline. In the same game, Eliwood and Ninian are strongly hinted and if they marry, it does change a scene in the final chapter; however, the player receives no consequence for marrying Eliwood to Fiora or Lyn.
In Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, the pairings are set in stone. The support exist to flesh out the relationships; a complaint about the original Gaiden was that the romantic endings felt out of nowhere.
The "pick and choose" nature of the supports leads to vast Shipping Wars, with all sides often becoming defensive of their preferred pairing and wanting to see it as the "true canon."
The only set-in-stone canon pairings to date:
Lewyn/Erinys is a special case. While the official manga and Thracia 776 canonize it, Geneaology of the Holy War allows the player to pair the characters with others with little consequence to the plot.
A notorious troll from the Fire Emblem Sanctuary of Strategy forums (FESS). In the 4th game, the female characters would bear two children each unless one of them died or was single by a certain point, in which case the player would get substitute characters. Tedius preferred Linda, the substitute for Tiltyu's daughter Tinny, and made a big deal on the forums of how he needed Tiltyu dead so he could get his preferred character. Many other forum-goers called him on his character bashing and told him it was possible to get Linda without losing a valuable unit, but Tedius was set in his decision. His declaration "I kill Tiltyu for Linda" quickly became memetic.
Later on, his Wikipedia page and other online profiles were discovered along with his controversial views on women and marriage. He had a reputation for being somewhat cold and robotic in his mannerisms despite his inflammatory words; this made him infamous among the fandom even after his presence seemed to fade.
Another infamous troll who started out by harassing members of FESS, but eventually became far more known for his hatred of the female gender and constant ranting about being the youngest child in his family. His Livejournal account was a dumping ground for character stats and gameplay calculations, which he would obsessively share with other fans to the point of boring them, even the fans who did pay close attention to such things.
"Old Guard" vs. "New Blood"
This ongoing war between the factions started in 2003, when Blazing Sword was brought to the United States and expanded the fanbase. Until then, Fire Emblem fandom had been a cozy club of fans who prided themselves on lengthy discussions of the stories as they played ROMs or translated their Japanese copies of the games. So far the only problem the fandom felt they had were Smash Bros. fans who came in because of Marth and Roy, but the release of the U.S. Blazing Sword pulled in a bumper crop of newbies, for whom the game was their first exposure to an actual Fire Emblem title. While some of the old guard welcomed the new fans, others feared the destruction of their cozy club via badfic (especially Mary Sues due to the Tactician character). Some even rebelliously called the characters by their Japanese names and disdained what they thought was a bad localization.
There was a small resurgence of this when the Tellius games overtook the fandom, pushing the GBA and SNES era into the background. The Ike/Soren pairing was accused of causing a sudden influx of horribly cliched yaoi fanfics, especially when the 10th game gave them a paired ending.
The release of Awakening, however, really set the fanbase on fire. As Awakening was the first US-released game to feature an Avatar, marriage-and-children mechanic, and Casual Mode (the option to turn off permanent death), longtime fans were offended and horrified. The DLC content giving older characters new officially translated names that didn't match fan translations as well as new outfits and designs only fanned the flames, particularly Eirika from The Sacred Stones as a battle bride in a frilly dress. The flames only grew stronger when Fates came out and not only re-used the Avatar and marriage-and-children features, but offered a hot spring, face-petting in the Japanese version, and Phoenix Mode (the option for fallen characters to instantly revive on the next turn of a map).
Nowadays, the worst of the "Old Guard" consists of anyone from the pre-3DS era, as they've bonded over a common "enemy" in anyone who came into the franchise with Awakening or Fates; these fans not only bashed the games themselves, but attacked and harassed fans of the games for their personal tastes and loudly proclaimed that Awakening and Fates "weren't true Fire Emblem games." This has caused backlash from the "New Blood," who absolutely refuse to give the older games a chance and even bash them. Others believe the hate for the newer games comes from fandom's tendency to jump on a bandwagon of complaining about anything new simply because it's new.
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