In EarthBound, the Montague brothers are the guys who give you a giant diamond after you get rid of all the giant moles in the Dusty Dunes gold mine. Their names are George and Gerardo Montague.
In MOTHER 2, their names are Shouji Mochii and Chuuji Mochii. The whole Dusty Dunes gold mine thing is a reference to Itoi’s own gold mining escapades in real life, and his main partner then was Shouji Mochizuki.
In EarthBound, when you see the final Runaway Five concert at the Topolla Theater, the announcer says, “Welcome to the final Runaway Five performance at the Topolla Theater! Thank you It’s going to be a great show! We’re so good it makes me think that those kids by the exit will wet their pants! Those kids are hip, baby!”
In MOTHER 2, he talks in English a bit using katakana, so if a Japanese person read the text aloud, it’d sound like English. This was to make the announcer seem hip and gives the place a more “big city” feel I feel.
Anyway, he says, “Welcome to the last Tonzura Brothers concert at the Topollo! This performance is going to rock so much you might just wet your pants a little! This one’s dedicated to the little runts over by the entrance!”
Going Drug Shopping
Just like with the Twoson department store, the word “DRUG” in the Fourside department store was replaced with “SHOP”.
Heaven and Hell and Spooks
In MOTHER 2, the Department Store Spook says the following before you fight him: “Gwehehehe! I’m impressed you actually made it here. This department store is going to be your grave! Gwehehe! Die and go to hell– No, to heaven!”
In EarthBound, they didn’t want to mention death and hell, so some rewriting was done: “Gwaaagh, Gwarrrgh!. You finally made it. This department store is gonna be your grave! Gwaaagh. You will be gone, and you’ll be burning in… Well, you’ll go to heaven!”
One thing that’s always bugged me as a professional translator is that a lot of text in EarthBound has very bizarre punctuation and capitalization. I could make a list out of it, but I’m not THAT crazed. Yet. But we see one example of it here, with “Gwaaagh, Gwarrrgh!.” The second word is capitalized even though the punctuation before is only a comma, and for some reason there’s a period after the exclamation mark. I’m sure most people don’t notice or care about this stuff, but since I do this kind of stuff for a living, it really stands out for me. Try and see how many other instances of weird punctuation and capitalization you can find in the game!
Sixth Sense Mouse
In the Fourside department store, a mouse tells you that he has a feeling that there’s going to be a blackout. He also says something slightly different afterward.
In MOTHER 2, before the blackout, he says, “For some reason, I get the feeling there will be a blackout. Call it a mouse’s sixth sense.” After the blackout, what he says varies ever-so-slightly from the original line, which is supposed to be a tiny bit of humor. He says, “For some reason, I got the feeling there was a blackout in this department store. Call it a mouse’s memory.”
Because the two lines are so similar, the localizers in EarthBound were probably rushing through and didn’t notice that these two lines were slightly different. So the before line is, “(Somehow, I feel like the lights will get turned off in the department store. I guess it’s just a mouse’s sixth sense…)” and the after line is, “(Somehow, I felt like the lights would get turned off in the department store. I guess it’s just a mouse’s sixth sense…)”
I can understand this mistake though, because I almost did it myself with the mole cricket shopkeepers when I did the MOTHER 3 translation. Many of their lines were so similar that I thought they were 100% similar, but upon closer look during the second draft I saw my assumption was wrong. I’m guessing that’s what happened here, too, except they didn’t catch it. It’s not a big deal anyway, though.
Speaking of which, a mouse in MOTHER 3 was planned to reference this thing. He was supposed to be at the garbage dump and also talked about his mouse’s sixth sense. But the mouse was removed from the game at some point.
Take Me Out
In EarthBound, this lady in Jackie’s Cafe says, “There’s a loud noise outside. Must be the seventh inning stretch, and the fans are singing ‘Take me out to the ballgame’ at the stadium.”
In MOTHER 2, she says, “There seems to be a real commotion outside. I wonder if Swallows fans are singing ‘Tokyo Ondo’ or something…”
The Swallows are a Japanese baseball team, and as a tradition, fans sing Tokyo Ondo after every run or after every good play. Japanese baseball is highly organized, even the cheering is organized, so it’s hard to explain. Here’s some more info about it and here’s a video of it in action.
In MOTHER 2, this person says, “Someone’s lying on the ground here. You don’t suppose he’s dead, do you?”
To avoid talking about death, the EarthBound localizers changed it to, “There’s a person lying on the ground. I wonder if he’s… he’s…”
Corpse Good, Dead Bad
In MOTHER 2, this lady says something like, “Yick, I can’t believe someone’s died in a place like this…”
In EarthBound, her text was changed around to avoid “death”. The answer: just use the word “corpse” instead! “Oooo… I don’t like seeing a corpse around here.”
Everdred & Mani Mani
Everdred’s little speech demonstrates a whole bunch of localization changes.
|MOTHER 2 (literal)||EarthBound|
|……*wheeze wheeze*||….. *Wheeze, wheeze*…|
|………….Ness… Is that you, Ness?||….. Aren’t you Ness…?|
|…Everything’s so *cough* blurry that I can’t see you… You’re Ness, right?||…I can’t see too well… Everything’s blurry…You are Ness, aren’t you?|
|I-it’s me, Tonchiki, from Nusutto Park in Twoson. You remember me, right? I’m the world’s greatest thief.||It’s me, we met in Twoson… Everdred from Burglin Park. You must remember. I’m the best thief around.|
|Basically… Carpainter of Happy Happy Village had been *wheeze wheeze* secretly holding on to something strange.||That… Carpainter in Happy Happy Village was hiding something… *wheeze, wheeze*… strange.|
|I stole it and brought it to this city, hoping I could sell it…||I stole it, and thought about selling it in the big city…|
|A wise old guy called it the Mani Mani Devil. It was this ominous-colored figure thing.||An old, city-wise man called it Mani Mani. It’s a strange-colored, doll-looking thing.|
|Ughh… Ugh… The pain…||…Ohh… *wheeze*, I’m in pain.|
|…So… that bastard Monotoly tricked me and took it from me. He tricked me, a thief!||…and ….. Monotoli tricked me and stole it… from me! He tricked a thief!|
|And not only that, since I knew the secret about it, he tried to get rid of me.||He wanted me out of the way because I know his secret…|
|He’s getting the devil’s power from that figure.||He gets his evil power from that statue!|
|Listen, I’ll only say this once, so pay attention.||…Listen! I’ll tell you only once.|
|Check the counter in the bar.||At the cafe, check… behind… the counter…|
|I said just now I’d only tell you once… but if you insist, I can say it again…||I said I’d tell you only once… But if you insist, I’ll tell you once more…|
|D-d-do you want to hear it again?||Do do do you wanna hear it again?|
|(If you say no then want to hear it a 2nd time:)|
I ain’t that nice of a guy. I really am close to dying here.
|(If you say no then want to hear it a 2nd time:)|
I’m not that nice of a guy. Besides. I’m slipping away…
|In that case, here’s a haiku before I die.||…Before I go, here’s my last haiku poem:|
|“When you leave your house / say so out loud for others / and then lock the door –by Tonchiki”||When on your way out / Be sure that you say goodbye / then lock the door tight.|
|This is my final request. Don’t go followin’ me, you hear?||This is my final request… Don’t follow me.|
|We thieves have a reputation to uphold.||I must be on my way…|
|SO LONG!||So… long!|
There are so many little differences in there that I won’t bother mentioning them all. This scene is like a huge blob of tiny localization changes that we’ve noticed throughout the game so far. For some reason, Everdred’s lines in this game had a lot of editing and tiny mistakes.
It’s also important to note that this is supposed to be the first time we officially hear the statue’s name (he mentioned the name in passing in Twoson but he wasn’t sure of the name), but the EarthBound localizers were weird and referred to it by name back in Happy Happy Village.
Again, death is written out of this line. In MOTHER 2, this person says, “I guess he wasn’t dead after all, huh? …But he sure looked like he was about to die.”
In EarthBound, it got dumbed down to, “He’s not dead… I thought he may have passed on.”
But Wait, He’s Not Dead Yet!
In MOTHER 2, this lady says, “Do you suppose that man’s going to die?”
In EarthBound, she says, “Is that man going to… to…?”
- A pun in the theater that was overlooked in translation
- A line in MOTHER 2 that was revised in future ports/re-releases to adhere to Japanese game industry content guidelines
- A clearer look at the mouse with a sixth sense, including some industry insight on the issue that occurred
- What happens when Paula is kidnapped while she has the Pencil Eraser, as well as dialogue that was changed during localization when this rare situation happens
- Further details on the Yakult Swallows baseball team, including photos, info, and even a surprising real-life connection we made with Itoi while researching the topic!
- Some extra cultural info about poems like Everded’s final poem