Once Poo has joined Ness and friends in Summers, the main adventure continues. One of the first people you’re most likely to talk to is this girl on the beach.
In EarthBound, she says, “Asian boy, you’re so cool… Don’t look at me like that…”
Which always struck me as a strange thing to say. It turns out the translators accidentally left out a line of text at the end. In MOTHER 2, she says something like, “Oh, oriental boy. You’re so cool and handsome. Oh, don’t look at me that way… You’re too charming ♪”
Booted from the Club
In EarthBound, this guy in the Stoic Club remarks how the Magic Cake lady “seems to have been removed from the members list.”
It’s a tough call to make, but from a translation perspective it looks like the original translator might have misread the word “hazureta” as “hazusareta” here. The main difference here would be in nuance; the EarthBound version suggests that she was stricken from the list/kicked out by someone, but the MOTHER 2 version hints more toward her leaving the club of her own accord. This would fit in with the line by her husband, the boat captain, who mentions that she’s “woken up” and “quit talking about all that crazy crap”.
Another Eating Implement
Just as Mr. Spoon of Fourside was originally called Mr. Ricebowl, Mr. Fork of Summers was originally called Mr. Chopstick in MOTHER 2.
A prophecy is written on the hieroglyph artifact in the Summers museum. I get questions about this all the time, so here is side-by-side with a more literal translation for comparison.
|MOTHER 2 (literal)||EarthBound|
|We constructed a pyramid fortress to battle an invader from the heavens.||“To fight against the invaders, we built this pyramid fortress.|
|However, we were defeated.||However, our efforts were futile, and we lost.|
|Nonetheless, our fortress was protected by the gods of Scarabi.||Nonetheless, our pyramid was protected by the gods of Scaraba.|
|It is said that every 1000 years, the invader from the heavens will be reborn and attack again.||The invaders will be reborn every millennium and will attack again.|
|Hidden in the depths of time, the invader placed a “hive” of evil.||Even now, the invaders hide beyond space and time and build their evil stronghold.|
|The depths of time are far beyond the Evil Lands. Beyond the Abyss.||A place out of time is beyond the Dark, and is even farther beyond the Lost Underworld.|
|The Evil Lands are completely dark.||The Deep Darkness is shrouded, it is without light.|
|Only the “Hawk Eye” can see.||Only one with the Hawk eye can pierce the dark.|
|The Sphinx watches over all, waiting for the coming of a truly brave warrior.”||The Sphinx now watches over everything, waiting for the coming of a truly brave hero.|
|Dance in front of the Sphinx.||Dance in front of the Sphinx!”|
A couple things to note here. First, “Evil Lands” is called “Deep Darkness” in EarthBound. “Abyss” (or more literally, “the bottom of the earth”) is what is called the “Lost Underworld” in EarthBound. “Scarabi” is called “Scaraba” in EarthBound.
Next, we see that references to “heavens” are removed. Even just calling it the “sky” would have worked fine for the censors, I’m sure.
The fact that the invader is said to come from space also gives a connection with how Gyiyg/Giygas attacks the planet in MOTHER 1 in his mothership.
The evil “hive” part is strange. The word usually translates to “nest”, “bird nest”, “hive”, or “bee hive”. I’ve never seen it translated as “stronghold” before. It’s not necessarily wrong, but the Japanese word doesn’t have the same nuance. Giygas’ lair is hardly a stronghold when you actually visit it, it’s more just a place/machine/thingy that seems to keep him alive.
I’ve seen a few Japanese fans wonder if the “hive” refers to Giygas’ lair (which I believe) and that the invader might actually Pokey, because he had access to time travel and likely appeared in different eras causing trouble. I don’t know if I buy that, but it’s an interesting idea.
In all, the prophecy wasn’t changed very much, aside from some little details. Hopefully this will clear up a lot of questions fans have!
Prodding Mr. Fork
In EarthBound, Mr. Fork talks about how Mr. Spoon from the other museum has been calling lately. In the English translation, he sounds extremely competitive, almost like a real jerk. In MOTHER 2, his personality comes off a little differently.
|MOTHER 2 (literal)||EarthBound|
|Apparently, Mr. Ricebowl of the Fourside Natural Museum has been calling lately, acting all proud and boastful about something…||Why would Mr. Spoon from the Fourside museum try to call me? I bet he just wants to brag about something…|
|But what about, I wonder?||Well, let him try… I wonder what he wants to tell me?|
|Argh, I just gotta know!|
|Argh, this is so frustrating!|
|Bah! I dare him to try and upstage me…|
|…Oh, I was just talking to myself. Don’t pay it any attention. *cough*||Oh! Pardon me… I was just talking to myself… *cough*|
Of course, the EarthBound version sounds more natural, so his personality change was more of an unintended side effect of polishing the text up.
It’s a Poo-ny Tail
Once Poo joins the party, a few people around town comment on his hair. In Japanese, his hairstyle is known as a “benpatsu”. It’s the kind of pony tail that you often see in Chinese martial arts movies.
Anyway, since the equivalent word for that hairstyle isn’t as well-known in English (it’s apparently called a “queue”), the translators had to write around it a bit. In one instance, they call Poo a kid with a “kung fu-like hairstyle”, while in another they call Poo a “samurai kid”.
Nothing wrong with that, I would’ve done the same thing. Just, if you’re studying Japanese and playing the game, don’t expect to see the words “kung fu” or “samurai” here 😛
This section of the EarthBound Legends of Localization book also includes:
- A little more on how NPCs refer to Poo
- More on Poo’s “queue” hairstyle
- The museum guard’s Japanese idiom when he’s being bribed, its English equivalent, and the difference between the two