Genshin Impact Community Is Divided Over Hydro Archon’s Characterization

Genshin Impact Furina

With Update 4.0, Genshin Impact players have entered the region of Fontaine, where the Hydro Archon Furina rules over an advanced society. The community had strong reactions to the flamboyant ruler, calling her everything from bratty to adorable in the same breath. Yet Furina’s characterization seems to shift between languages. The script remains largely the same, but the tone seems to vary. In this article, we’ll explore what that means for our understanding of the character of Furina going forward.

Misconceptions about Furina based on performances

The depiction of Furina is something that Genshin Impact players have caught on early. She seems to be meant to be polarizing and “different” from other Archons we’ve met so far. As Lia on Twitter explains, “[…] Furina is written to play up the drama and sip the tea while it’s hot.[…]”

The character of Furina is seen as bratty, sometimes obnoxious, and as “Fischl if she had real authority”. This last part seems to suit her quite well, actually. However, there seems to be more to it than that. The nuance of her character is vastly different between the different languages of Genshin Impact. This by itself can greatly influence the way players view her characterization.

Genshin Impact language barrier changes Furina’s interpretation

There is more to the Hydro Archon than initially meets the eye. Compiled in a long yet very worthwhile post on Reddit, multilingual user Chengelao adds much-needed nuance to Furina’s depiction across different versions.

According to the thread, the depiction of Furina varies greatly between the English, Chinese, and Japanese versions. While there can be some dissimilarities in specific language used, the game’s translation conveys the same message through dialogue. However, the differences come in the way those sentences are performed. 

In a broad sense, the English version of Furina sounds “[…] haughty, melodramatic, and theatrical. She boasts with confidence in her voice, and often seems to react in frustration when things don’t go her way. […]”

Meanwhile, the Japanese dub for Furina “[…] seems to sound more collected. It’s far less melodious, and much more in control. She also uses masculine pronouns, perhaps taking more from her androgynous design, making her a sort of “anti-Venti” character […]”

Lastly, in the Chinese version Furina’s “[…] way of speaking when she was putting on her act seemed much more… reasonable? She was saying the same words, but unlike the EN version where she seemed like she was a boastful brat making up her words on the spot, or the JP version where she sounded relatively in control of the situation, the CN version sounded like she had tried to rehearse her lines in order to deliver her speeches. There was no haughtinness, no arrogance, no enjoyment. As the acts went further on, her lines sounded more and more forced, and her laughter sounded audibly fake.”

This puts a large dichotomy between the three depictions of Furina. Unfortunately, we don’t know if there’s even further nuance in the Korean version of the game. However, taking into account that Genshin Impact scripts are written primarily for the Chinese version before others, there should be some credence leveraged towards that characterization more than others.

In other words, we circle back to what we stated about Furina initially. She’s a complex character with more nuance than can be observed on the surface. The English version is more single-minded and headstrong, the Japanese version is more in control, while the Chinese version is putting up a facade. All three depictions fit the character, but it looks like the Chinese version is the one that makes the most sense in terms of character development going forward.

Is there a “correct version” of Furina?

The conclusion of the original thread explains that perfectly, stating: “Finally, since the game was originally written for the CN dub first and foremost, it is most likely that the direction that can be seen in the CN dub will be the direction the plot continues in. Most likely, she is ultimately an archon who genuinely does love and care for her people, but is doing a poor job of expressing it, instead of simply being someone who enjoys the limelight. That being the case, I am sure we will see much more from Furina, and we will eventually be able to explore her insecurities.”

We’re excited to see where the story of Furina and Fontaine takes players in Genshin Impact. Besides that, the linked thread is very much worth reading in full if you’re looking to understand all of the lingual differences. This also makes us think – which other similar discrepancies have we missed in Genshin simply because of the language barrier? Food for thought.


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