Mr. Saturns Do Stuff
After returning to Saturn Valley, in EarthBound this Mr. Saturn says, “I do what I say… Cross heart…” It’s a strange line that doesn’t seem to relate to anything else that’s going on.
In MOTHER 2, what he says is an idiom that translates to something like, “When the going gets tough, the tough gets going.” in the sense of, “You can count on us to get stuff done when it’s really important.”
It’s a strange combination of Mr. Saturn text, unusual context, and a Japanese idiom, so I can understand why it wound up slightly weird in translation.
This Mr. Saturn in a cave says in EarthBound, “Must make! Daddy! Boing!”
I think the natural response to this is, “WTF?!”
In MOTHER 2, the full line translates to, “Invention is the daddy of necessity.” Which is a take on the famous phrase, “Necessity is the mother of invention.”
So, no, Mr. Saturn doesn’t want to have Saturn babies with Ness 😛
In MOTHER 2, this Mr. Saturn says phonetically, “Da n su ga su n da”, which translates to “The dance is over.” If you look closely though, you’ll see that it’s actually a palindrome.
In EarthBound, this was apparently lost on the translators and/or editors, so this line still says, “Dance is over…” Ideally, they would’ve inserted their own little English palindrome in there.
One of Mr. Saturn’s most famous EarthBound catch phrases is, “Dakota!” It’s so strange though, because only one Mr. Saturn says it, and only after a certain part of the game. But it still took off, which is good since the Japanese version took off with Japanese fans too, which made translation nice and easy for MOTHER 3 and such later on.
In MOTHER 2, this same Mr. Saturn says, “Gunma-ken!” This translates to “Gunma Prefecture“, which is a landlocked, spacious “state” in Japan. I think it’s also where Itoi was born.
Obviously American players would have no idea what Gunma Prefecture is or what images it evokes, so the localizers changed it to an American equivalent of sorts by going with “Dakota”.
And now you know the story behind one of Mr. Saturns famous phrases!
In EarthBound, Dr. Andonuts asks you to retrieve something called “Zexonyte” from the meteor back in Onett.
In MOTHER 2, this is actually called, “Substance XYZ” or “Material XYZ”.
I’m guessing that Zexonyte was inspired by what one might pronounce “Xyz” as, but who knows.
In EarthBound, after you bring Dr. Andonuts the Zexonyte he requires, he says, “Well, I’ve never actually seen this incredibly rare element before…”
In MOTHER 2, it’s a little more like, “That’s it! Hmm? I’ve never seen this type of metal before!”
The important thing to note is that Zexonyte/Substance XYZ is a metal. Not that it makes much of a difference, but maybe fan theory people might find it interesting.
After doing a bunch of stuff, Ness and friends use an upgraded Phase Distorter to go to the place where Giygas is attacking from (only it’s not the correct point in time).
Then, in EarthBound, Dr. Andonuts shows up and says, “The Phase Distorter has been completed.” This seems weird, since he already completed it, it’s how you got here!
In MOTHER 2, what he actually says is, “The ‘Space Tunnel 3’ has been completed.” (Remember that “Space Tunnel” is the Japanese name for the “Phase Distorter”.) Basically, he gives the version number here.
In a line a few minutes later, though, Dr. Andonuts suddenly calls it the “Phase Distorter 3” in EarthBound. So it looks like the translators made a tiny inconsistency mistake here. Nothing too big, though.
Attacking from the Past
In EarthBound, Dr. Andonuts explains about Giygas’ attack by saying, “Giygas is attacking from our exact location, but he is attacking from many years in the past.”
In MOTHER 2, he says, “Gyiyg is attacking from this exact location – that is to say, he’s attacking from this very location, in the past.”
The important thing to take from this is that MOTHER 2 says he’s simply attacking from “the past”, not “many years in the past” as EarthBound says.
Incidentally, Gyiyg is attacking from the past – and this is why Ness and company go back to fight him. They don’t go into the past to kill him before he’s born as some theories suggest.
Fire Up the Engines
After you step into the new Phase Distorter, Dr. Andonuts says in EarthBound, “Ness! Paula! Poo! Jeff!… my son… There is no turning back now. Ness, activate the Phase Distorter 3 by your own hand, thereby following your own destiny…”
In MOTHER 2, he says, “Ness! Paula! Poo! And… my son… Jeff! Sit… in the cockpit. There is no turning back now. Ness, I ask that you press the button yourself.”
The part about the cockpit is missing in the English translation, and the English translation adds in the whole part about activating it yourself to follow your own destiny.
I also want to note that this might be the first time Dr. Andonuts finally really acknowledges his son. It’s a cool little moment, but if you’re rushing through the text you might not realize it. Hurray for Jeff!
That said, if you make Ness say “no”, Dr. Andonuts then asks Jeff to press the button. If you say “no” again in EarthBound, he says to Jeff, “Oh, you lost your nerve…” In MOTHER 2, he actually says something like, “Y-you weakling!” or “Y-you coward!” Ouch.
This section of the EarthBound Legends of Localization book also includes:
- Much more info on the “Dakota” line, including a quick geography lesson
- The legacy of the Japanese version of the “Dakota” line for the past twenty years
- A quote by Shigesato Itoi on the original inspiration behind the Mr. Saturn character and why the Mr. Saturns were named after Saturn
- A line by Dr. Andonuts that was rephrased and toned down in EarthBound