Fire Emblem Fates edges ever closer to being released in Europe at the time of writing, and we all know that it brings same-sex marriage into the franchise for the first time. However, did you know that there have been many cases of yuri (and yaoi, but that’s for someone else to talk about) in the games prior to Fates?
In anticipation and celebration of the upcoming release of the next entry in the franchise, I’d figure I’d make a post dedicated to Fire Emblem yuri.
I have a reason for this – you see, I was heavily into video games long before I was heavily into anime, and I seem to recall that Fire Emblem was the first time I really noticed romantic relationships between female characters. Since I became somewhat obsessed with the game, I happened upon fanart that expanded upon those relationships, and I liked what I saw. So it’s safe to say that Fire Emblem is where my love of yuri started, and that’s pretty much what drove me to take an interest in anime such as Strawberry Panic! later on down the line.
I will only be looking at the games that have had English releases, since I’m most familiar with the characters from those games. There will be a strong focus on support conversations, so there may be some spoilers here and there.
Also, I won’t be talking about Fates, since I haven’t played it yet. I do have a request relating to that: please do not spoil Fates – whether it’s support conversations or plot points, I don’t want to know any of that stuff until I experience the game for myself.
With that all said, strap on your goggles and unfurl the sails of your ship, we’re going on a voyage of yuri!
We’re just going to go through the games in chronological order, starting with the 7th entry in the series, and the 1st internationally-released game, Fire Emblem on the GBA.
Might as well start with one of my favourite pairings from the whole series, Lyn and Florina.
I suppose I should introduce the characters for those of you who are unfamiliar with them.
Lyn is the last surviving member of the Lorca tribe. She lives by herself on the plains at the start of the game, and takes in an unconscious tactician (that is, you). Whilst she starts out by fighting bandits, she gets caught up in an inheritance dispute with her granduncle Lundgren, so she travels to Caelin with several allies in order to put an end to that.
Florina is a pegasus knight from Ilia, and actually a long-time friend of Lyn’s. She’s a timid type, who is scared of men. Even around other women, Florina is reserved, though apparently she becomes a different person at festivals where she comes out of her shell. Florina hopes to become like her elder sister Fiora, whom she loves dearly and sees as a role model.
Now, take a look at this conversation between Lyn and Florina at the end of chapter 10, which is the conclusion of Lyn’s tale:
What is it, Florina?
I’ve been taken into service by House Caelin! From here on, Lyn… I mean, Lady Lyndis… We’ll be together always!
Really? Oh, that pleases me so… but… Please don’t call me Lady Lyndis. For you, I’m still just Lyn.
My pegasus and I fly for your house now. I am your servant. There are rules to follow.
I’m happiest when I’m with you. That’s more important than how I address you… Please…
I suppose I’ll just have to get used to it, right? Very well, I understand.
(At this point, I assume Florina hugs Lyn – her sprite moves closer to Lyn’s)
Oh, thank you! I do love you, Lyn!
(Florina moves back)
Oops! I mean… Lady Lyndis!
Ha ha ha… Oh, Florina!
This conversation, by the way – totally canon. Their support conversations have Lyn reminiscing about when the pair first met, though Florina eventually realises that Lyn misses her home. She promises to go back to the plains with her, and swears to remain by her side forever. They even get a paired ending if you get their support level up to A.
Lyn isn’t the only female character that Florina can support with – in fact, with the exception of Hector (who she can also have a paired ending with), all of Florina’s supports are female. Whilst two of those supports are here sisters, she actually gets some ‘romantic two-girl friendship’ stuff with the dancer Ninian, and the mage Nino.
Ninian is a dancer who had been travelling the land together with her brother Nils, until they were kidnapped by Black Fang. There’s a very good reason for the Black Fang’s interest in Ninian and Nils, but I won’t spoil that here.
Florina and Ninian are probably amongst the shyest characters in the game, and they bond when they discover that they were born in the same place. Florina and Ninian also find it easy to talk to each other.
Nino is a 14-year old mage who just want to do her best for her mother Sonia. Sonia is a member of the Black Fang, and well… ‘not very nice’ would be putting it lightly.
Florina and Nino bond by talking about their siblings – Florina’s sisters and Nino’s brothers. Though Nino calls Florina ‘like a sister’, their A support conversation ends with Florina telling Nino that she will always be there for her.
Nino also forms a close bond with an archer named Rebecca. Rebecca is 15-years old, and managed to pick up the skill of archery through hunting. She’s eager to help Eliwood search for his missing father, though Rebecca’s father is less keen on the idea. She goes along anyway.
The first two support conversations involve Rebecca cooking and teaching Nino to cook, and then Rebecca shows Nino how to make necklaces using dried berries. Their ‘A’ rank support conversation looks like this:
So… Nino. How’s that necklace coming?
Oh, Rebecca! Here! Take a look!
Wow! That’s nice! Good job, Nino!
Well, I had a good teacher, I guess! But I think maybe it’s a little big for me…
Hmm. It might be at that… Why don’t you give it to someone you fancy?
Someone I fancy?
Yeah, you know… someone you like?
Rebecca, did you give a necklace to someone?
Well, I… it’s a secret…
Hmm… Here… Take it.
I want you to have it. You’ve been so nice to me.
Thanks for everything, Rebecca. I hope we always stay friends.
Yeah, of course! I do, too! Thanks, Nino!
Rebecca also has some hero worship going for Lady of Violets, Louise.
Louise is the wife of Pent, but that doesn’t stop Rebecca from pretty much drooling over her for being so beautiful, ladylike and strong. Whether you think the hero worship is something more or not, I figure it’s worth mentioning.
Moving on, we come to the 8th entry in the franchise, The Sacred Stones. First up, I’ll introduce Eirika – she’s one of the main characters in this game, and the princess of Renais.
She flees from her homeland when it is invaded (a pretty common story throughout the franchise), though it doesn’t take too long for her to reunite with her brother Ephraim and start working towards reclaiming Renais.
What we’re interested in here is the two other female characters that Eirika can support with.
Working down the list of Eirika’s supports, first up is L’Arachel. She travels together with the Berserker Dozla and reluctant Rogue Rennac, proclaiming to smite evil monsters from the land. She is of the Troubadour class – basically a healer on horseback. Yeah, she doesn’t do much smiting when she first joins your team…
But I digress. In the support conversations between L’Arachel and Eirika, the former calls Eirika ‘lovely’ and ‘beautiful’, and that’s only in their first conversation.
As their bond grows, L’Arachel offers Eirika a gift of a ruby – a gem that had been in L’Arachel’s homeland for generations. Eirika reluctantly accepts the gift, and then L’Arachel suggests that Eirika invites her to Renais after their fight is over.
Eirika has the option to support with a second female character, and it’s actually another Pegasus Knight – Lord x Pegasus Knight pairings, whether hetero or gay, are fairly common.
Anyway, the Pegasus Knight here in question is Eirika’s childhood friend Tana. Tana is the princess of Frelia. Tana can be cheery and sociable, though she is also somewhat naive. She also envies the bond between the twins Eirika and Ephraim, and wishes she could be closer to her own brother, Innes.
Their first conversation has Tana telling Eirika that she is a like a sister to her, whilst their second focuses on the bonds with their siblings. The third support conversation has Eirika telling Tana that she always feels better when she is around, and that it is Tana’s presence that allows her to keep fighting.
Though Tana x Eirika is a pretty good pairing, I personally prefer to ship Tana together with the Myrmidon Marisa.
Of course, their support conversations are the reason for this – we get Marisa basically going through a ‘Defrosting Ice Queen’ routine. Whilst Marisa’s skills with a sword are second-to-none (well, I’m sure stats-wise there are comparable characters, but let’s just forget about that for now), she’s not exactly a sociable type.
However, Tana talks to her and slowly gets her to open up, and eventually persuades her to become a friend. We also get Tana making this little comment when Marisa agrees to be her friend: ‘I don’t know what I would have done if you’d said no.’ That makes it clear that Tana sees Marisa’s friendship as something valuable, and as someone who wears yuri goggles that’s all I need to see.
Moving on, we come to the GameCube entry, Path of Radiance. One of the members of the Greil Mercenaries is a Myrmidon named Mia. Mia is obsessed with honing her sword skills, pretty much challenging anyone she can to a duel.
We also have Ilyana, a Thunder Mage. Ilyana is pretty much constantly hungry, and tends to look rather sickly due to that.
Over the course of their support conversations, Mia decides that she should keep an eye on Ilyana due to how fragile she looks. Mia is also willing to help Ilyana out when she ends up stumbling into a dead end, and then their A rank support conversation ends with Ilyana attempting to eat Mia – make of that what you will.
OK, so the conversations between Mia and Ilyana are rather silly, but I think that ship works. Moving on, did you know Ike has a younger sister?
Her name is Mist, and she fits pretty neatly into the ‘White Magician Girl’ trope, particularly in Path of Radiance. Of course, the reason I’m introducing her is because of a potential pairing with the Wyvern Rider Jill.
Jill starts out as an enemy, but Ike is able to convince her to join his side. Mist begins to bond with Jill, because they are close in age. At first, Jill believes that nobody will want to associate with her as she was an enemy, but Ike doesn’t care about that, and neither does Mist.
Mist tells Jill that she wants to be friends, and that she should drop the ‘I’m an enemy, everyone should hate me’ act. Their final support conversation can actually play out in two different ways, depending how where you are in the game, but the first half has Jill wanting to be with Mist because she’s lonely. There’s also a fairly cute awkward moment where the two girls don’t really know what to say to each other.
If you hold off on seeing their A support conversation until after chapter 21 of the game, you’ll see Jill admitting that Mist the person who makes her want to keep going, and that all her worries go away when Mist is near her.
Here’s another interesting tidbit – during one chapter in the game, you fight an enemy who can convince Jill to defect from your ranks. One way to get around this is to not deploy her in that chapter, but if you do choose to use her and she becomes an enemy again, there are actually two characters who can convince her to come back – Mist is one, and the other is Lethe.
This leads nicely onto the other potential yuri pairing for Jill, the laguz named Lethe. Laguz are a species who can shift between animal and human forms, with Lethe being a cat. Before Jill joined Ike’s forces, she was completely prejudiced against the laguz – the theme of racism runs strong throughout the Tellius games.
When Lethe is introduced, she bears a strong hatred for all beorc (which is what humans are referred to as in the Tellius games). She has a sharp tongue to go with her hatred of Beorc, though she holds honour and respect for her duties.
So, given the information, you’d assume this ship is foe yay, right? Well, that’s not quite the case.
Jill approaches Lethe to ask a bit about the laguz, but their first conversation doesn’t really end too well. Their second conversation, however, goes a bit better – Lethe actually uses Jill’s name, and gives her a history lesson to explain the hatred between beorc and laguz.
In their third conversation, Jill talks to Lethe about a specific battle and the choices she has made. It actually ends with Lethe embracing the beorc tradition of holding and shaking hands to show friendship. Whilst the conversations between Jill and Lethe show growth for both characters, I feel that Mist has the stronger argument for a yuri pairing.
The Princess of Crimea isn’t exempt from this. Elincia has a fiercely loyal bodyguard, called Lucia. Elincia and Lucia are milk sisters, and the two share a special bond. Lucia makes it plainly clear that she is incredibly devoted to her princess.
Whilst Path of Radiance has some Ike x Elincia stuff running throughout, the sequel Radiant Dawn chucks that out of the window, thus presenting a stronger case the Elincia x Lucia pairing.
Oh, and Lucia’s ending in Radiant Dawn has her following Elincia wherever she goes, with their love ‘fabled to be stronger than even most blood sisters’.
Talking of Radiant Dawn, it pretty much scrapped unique support conversations in favour of a more generic system where there was no limits to who you could set up supports between – that’s one of the things many Fire Emblem fans dislike about Radiant Dawn.
However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t yuri to be found here – though you’ve probably guessed that since I have already mentioned Elincia and Lucia.
There’s one character in particular I want to draw your attention to, and that is the Rogue named Heather.
Hoo boy, the localisation for Radiant Dawn actually toned down Heather’s dialogue full of lesbian implications, and yet it still remains incredibly obvious.
Anyways, Heather is first seen trying to get money for her sick mother, but decides to join Brom and Nephenee when they are quelling a rebellion in Crimea.
Though both Brom and Nephenee can talk to Heather to recruit her, it is the latter character who serves as motivation for Heather.
Nephenee is a simple country girl, who tends to stay quiet to hide her accent. Due to that, she has low self-esteem.
So the reason Heather joins is due to an interest in Nephenee – if Nephenee talks to her, Heather thinks her name is cute and says that she is the type who likes to help nice country girls. She also mentions that her day is turning out great.
If you have Brom talk to her, Heather doesn’t really care too much for him – as soon as he points out Nephenee, though, Heather is extremely keen to help out. According to the Fire Emblem Wikia, in the original Japanese dialogue, Heather chose to join the Crimean army to ‘meet all the pretty girls’ – this was removed in English translations.
Anyway, I think Heather x Nephenee is a pretty great pairing, even if I rarely use the former when I play the game. Nephenee, on the other hand, is a character I always use when I get the chance.
Now we move onto Awakening, which brought back unique support conversations. Despite the fact that it encourages straight pairings (for the 1st generation, at least), there’s actually some rather strong relationships between female characters. The number of potential ships here actually eclipses those of the previously mentioned games, so let’s just dive straight in.
First up, your first two healers – Lissa and Maribelle.
Lissa is Chrom’s younger sister. She can seem somewhat spoiled and immature, and is actually embarrassed by those traits – she is supposed to be a noble lady, after all. However, Lissa has an optimistic attitude and compassion, and she is able to connect better with people than either of her siblings.
As for Maribelle, she plays the role of noblewoman perfectly. This means she comes across as snobbish and prideful, and it takes her some time to warm up to others. However, she is a much nicer person once she gets to know someone.
Anyway, when she was younger, Lissa was the only person who ever gave her a chance, and for that Maribelle is incredibly thankful – even going as far to say that she would lay her life down for her. There’s also the fact that Maribelle constantly refers to Lissa as ‘darling’ – I suspect that’s there as part of Maribelle’s noblewoman personality, but it can also be taken as an affectionate term.
And then we get this line from Maribelle in the Harvest Scramble DLC, directed at Lissa: ‘You are MINE and mine alone, and I am SICK and tired of sharing you!’ Yeah…
Their second conversation ends with Lissa inviting Maribelle to a fair, just the two of them.
Then there’s the Summer Scramble DLC, where Maribelle has a couple of conversations that can be described (and are on TV Tropes) as a ‘straight-up waifu war’. The ‘waifus’ in question are Lissa for Maribelle, and Sumia for Cordelia.
Going back to support conversations, Maribelle has the shy dancer Olivia try to become more confident by hitting on noblemen.
What’s this got to do with yuri, you may ask. Well, the lines that Maribelle teaches Olivia are ones that a man would typically use to hit on a woman – and then Olivia uses them on Maribelle herself, and she doesn’t turn Olivia down.
Then we have the Dark Mage Tharja. A character who starts out as an enemy, Chrom is able to convince her to switch sides. She then goes on to become incredibly obsessed with the Avatar – that is, your character (if you’re familiar with Super Smash Bros., Robin). Her obsession is the same whether the character is male or female. Naturally, we’re interested in the female Avatar here.
Going by the support conversations, Tharja follows the Avatar everywhere, and is able to tell her exactly what she had done the previous day. Whilst the Avatar is somewhat creeped out by Tharja’s behaviour at first, by the end of their A support conversation, the Avatar actually ends up asking Tharja to stick around after collapsing and having her look after her.
Talking of looking after others, the swordmaster Say’ri is very protective of Tiki – and yes, that is the same one who fought alongside Marth.
Say’ri scolds Tiki for wandering off alone at one point, and we also have Tiki calling Say’ri a ‘beautiful person’ who she wants to be friends with.
Going back to the Harvest Scramble DLC again, Say’ri says to Tiki that she intended to offer her life, body and soul to her. That’s some pretty strong devotion.
Might as well start the second generation with a character that Smash Bros. players will be familiar with: Lucina.
Lucina is Chrom’s daughter, and her potential ships are not limited to Fire Emblem characters – Lucina x Palutena, anyone?
But I’m here to talk about Fire Emblem only, so we’ll keep things within the franchise.
Anyway, Lucina is strong willed and willing to whatever it takes to prevent a dark future from occurring. Though she is serious and stoic, Lucina can have childish moments. She has an odd taste for fashion, has a dry sense of humour and is the least likely to get a joke.
There’s a couple of other female second generation characters that Lucina has some pretty great chemistry with. One of those is Kjelle, daughter of Sully.
Much like her mother, Kjelle is a tomboy. She tends to look down on weakness, and will happily challenge anyone she considers to be strong. Kjelle also hates people who look down on her because she’s female.
Anyway, Lucina and Kjelle’s support conversations show that Kjelle has a strong respect for Lucina due to her strength, though Lucina is able to convince her to be more tolerant of those who aren’t as strong as her.
Then there’s the Harvest Scramble DLC (yeah, this is practically a gold mine for both yuri and yaoi), where Lucina and Kjelle decide to go on a date to the fair after the battle – and their dialogue remains unchanged even if they happen to be sisters.
Lucina also tends to get paired up with Severa, daughter of Cordelia. Severa has an inferiority complex due to always being compared to her perfect mother, though she doesn’t hold that against Cordelia and actually aspires to be like her. Severa is also a tsundere.
Lucina and Severa don’t actually have support conversations within the game, but if we cast our eyes over the DLC content, again, we can find some rather good reasons for why some fans ship the two together.
There’s a set of DLC maps called ‘The Future Past’, and in the 3rd one, Severa is the first to lay down her life for Lucina. Whilst the other characters run off to fight the enemies, Severa remains at Lucina’s side. It’s very easy to interpret that as a bodyguard crush, something of which the Fire Emblem series features pretty commonly.
There’s also the ‘Hot Springs Scramble’ DLC. Severa is full of praise for Lucina, whilst she has doubts about herself. Lucina opens up to Severa and tells her that there are times when she struggles due to her bloodline. In their second conversation, Lucina is incredibly supportive of Severa and tells her that she shouldn’t compare herself to Cordelia, as she has a ‘light wholly distinct from hers’.
Lucina isn’t the only other female that Severa has chemistry with. Tharja’s daughter, Noire, is a person that Severa just can’t bring herself to be mean to.
Noire is a cowardly and negative person, though that might have arose from her mother using her as a guinea pig for hexes (it’s pretty easy to interpret Tharja as an abusive parent…). Noire has something of a split personality, with her other side being far more brash and aggressive.
In Noire and Severa’s support conversations, Noire becomes incredibly clumsy around Severa. She also becomes fairly dependent on Severa, though Severa doesn’t really seem to mind that too much in the end.
And yes, they also get a couple of conversations in the Harvest Scramble DLC. Severa has her eye on a particular necklace at an archery stand, and gets Noire to win it for her. Severa does this because it matches one she obtained earlier, which she offers to Noire as a gift to show their friendship.
I’ve saved the best for last – well, at least in my opinion, anyway. Severa and Kjelle.
In their first support conversation, Severa gets distracted by Kjelle’s ‘serious abs’. Kjelle outright asks if Severa has the hots for her, and Severa’s response is that Kjelle couldn’t handle for an hour… I’ll leave you to interpret that how you wish.
In their B support conversation, Severa starts calling Kjelle ‘dear’ and tries to get her to be more feminine – it doesn’t take.
Then you have their A support conversation, in which Severa calls Kjelle ‘naturally beautiful’, whilst Kjelle has some sweet and ladylike compliments for Severa.
And then there’s their conversations in the Harvest Scramble DLC. In the first one, Kjelle gets hold of a bottle of mysterious frothy purple liquid from a bandit and decides to drink it on the off-chance that it is a strength potion. Severa tries to stop her, but fails to do so.
Their second conversation… well, just take a look:
H-hey, Shevera… Y’know what? You’re cute. Real…really cute *hic* cute.
Huh? Kjelle? Why are you slurring? Are you sick? What the heck’s gotten into you?
Mmmebbe I got a toofache. ‘Cause yer shooo *hic* shweet. Heh heh. I been thinkin’…I…I’m tired of all these *hic* weak boys… I wanna shpend more time with… with… you inshtead… ‘Cause yer sho strong *hic* and pretty… Reeeal pretty…
H-hands, Kjelle! Hands to yourself! Honestly, what is wrong with you?! Look are you! Your cheeks are all flush!
I dunno… But I feel reeeally good! Hee hee… *hic*
Ack! Let go, you brute! You’re squeezing the life out of me! Oh, don’t tell me… I think I’ve figured out the secret to that “miracle brew” of yours.
Didja? Gosh, and yer shmart too… This just proofs it! Hee hee… “proof.” Shounds funny, doesn’t it? That thief shaid it too. He shaid this shtuff was “hundred proof.”
He said WHAT?!
And quit tugging at my clothes! You’ll stretch them out, you lummox! Rrrgh! You’ve left me no choice. Sorry, Kjelle, but… HU-YAAAH!
*Huff, huff* *Ahem* …Um, Kjelle? Are you, like, still alive?
Owww… Ngh? Where… Severa, what happened?
Ah, good. Sounds like that did the trick. …It better have. I think I chipped a nail.
I can’t seem to remember what- Severa, why are your clothes all crooked?
Where do I even begin, except to say THAT THIS WAS ALL YOUR FAULT!
How about…at the beginning? And maybe…a little softer? …Argh, why is my head pounding? Sorry, but I think I need to go lie down for a little while.
Yes, maybe you’d better. You’ll be doing us all a favour. Mm? It’s that stupid bottle… She must have dropped it when I slugged her. Wait… This thing doesn’t say anything about “proof”! It says “truth”! Gods, this print is so tiny, how can… Oh, gods… “Truth Serum”?! “This patented blend of fast-acting herbs relieves the body and mind of tension, allowing users to speak their minds more frankly than they ever thought possible!” Wait, then that was… Then she really… WHAAAAAAAT?!
That’s pretty blatant, huh?
Also included in the extras for Fire Emblem: Awakening is the ‘Hubba Tester’.
Old man Hubba is a fortune teller who will gauge the compatibility of two characters you have recruited, whether they are plot-relevant or bonus characters from the DLC. The results are pretty much randomly generated every time, but you often get results where two female characters can be infatuated with each other. One thing to bear in mind is that is just for fun, but I figured it was worth mentioning.
So, that pretty much covers all the games that have had an international release with the exception of Fates. Have you played any Fire Emblem games yourself? Any pairings that caught your eye in them – maybe I’ve already mentioned them here, or perhaps you have a favourite I haven’t written about.
Oh, and please refrain from talking about Fire Emblem Fates – it’s my intention to go into that game with as little knowledge as possible, so I can fully appreciate the stories it has to tell.
With the part of the post encouraging discussion over, I’ll leave you with this final thought. In Fire Emblem: Awakening, it was pretty much made canon that the Fire Emblem franchise has a multiverse, particularly with the DLC. Bearing that in mind, that means there is potentially several universes where these yuri pairings are canon. I guess that also means we have universes for yaoi pairings, all female characters, all male characters, etc. – the possibilities are endless.