I only learned today that there are noticeable differences between the Japanese and English versions of this scene. Many fans feel as though the English translation doesn’t fully capture the tone of the Japanese dialogue. Here’s a post from dissasterrific, containing a translation done by tensai-shoujo. (A lot of tensai-shoujo’s translation work is great; I highly recommend looking through it if you’re interested!)
Most of the differences seem to lie in Bhunivelze’s dialogue. Here are two examples. (tensai-shoujo’s translation is in italics.)
Bhunivelze: Yes, your souls are opaque to me. But that is precisely why they must be redone. What value can they have…If your souls are not known to God? Your flesh shall be returned to clay! Remade! Remolded! Made perfect! Purified, you shall become a vessel for God himself, transcendent and supreme! Rejoice in the light of God’s love! I shall descend and inhabit your frail bodies, to read your heart, and bring you joy. I shall be a god amongst you, almighty and all-knowing. // Indeed, souls are invisible to god. But because I acknowledge this, I chose this lowly human to be my vessel. I returned this body to its innocent form, transcribed it, remolded it, trained it… From this unclean body of flesh and blood, I have created a vessel worthy of harboring a god. Consider my love an honor. As a way to comprehend and sympathize with humans, I have descended to this pitiful state. I have become a merciful god for your kind.
Bhunivelze: Yes, savior! You were to be my new goddess, and so I prepared you with many trials. Show me your new powers, and let this be your final trial! Great and mighty Pulse! From far-flung reaches come to me! Radiant and shining Lindzei! From distant depths come forth to me! Goddess-to-be-born. Bow thy head and open your heart to the benediction of God’s light! Drink in the light and cleanse your soul. Surrender to the radiance… Divine love eternal! // Very well, Savior. I bestowed upon you many trials, to forge you into the new goddess. Now, unleash your power and confront the final trial. Brilliant Pulse, come ye from the isolated beyond. Radiant Lindzei, come ye from the abstruse midst. Let us bless the new goddess with the brilliant light of god. As we sing praises to you with all our might, allow me to discipline you and forever adore you.
Although both texts convey similar meanings, Bhunivelze’s language in English is far more detached. The English dialogue is reminiscent of the language used in Christian worship, making it sound much more impersonal. Judging from tensai-shoujo’s translation, Japanese Bhunivelze speaks to Lightning much more intimately.
tensai-shoujo’s translations of Bhunivelze’s Japanese battle quotes also indicate a significant difference in tone. Many of the lines are (to use their wording) “suggestive.” There’s nothing of this in the English translation; Bhunivelze’s English quotes are mostly just generic boss dialogue.
It’s unclear exactly why the tone of the entire final boss fight was changed in the English localization, but I’m disappointed that it was. Bhunivelze has been trying to shape and manipulate Lightning for the past thirteen days, and the fact that he speaks to her with an almost romantic undertone in Japanese adds a completely new insight to his motivations. By comparison, the English dialogue is flat and uninventive.