As with all the other town maps, “DRUG” has been changed to “SHOP” (and this happens twice on this map), the red cross was replaced with “HOSPITAL”, and the “o”s in “FOOD” have been increased in size.
Blonde Joke Here?
In EarthBound, this lady on the Summers beach says, “Don’t talk to me. My mind is a complete blank.” A popular theory among EarthBound fans is that this lady is the zombie lady from Threed, and she says her mind is a complete blank because she was brainwashed by Giygas/Belch/the zombies earlier in the game.
In MOTHER 2 though, she says something closer to, “Could you please not talk to me? Because I’m not thinking about aaanything at all.” or, “Could you please not talk to me? Because there’s noooothing on my mind at all.” It sounds more like this lady is someone with nothing to say because she has nothing in mind to say. The text doesn’t seem to have much (if any) connection to the lady in Threed who just happens to share a similar sprite.
This hotel guy’s name in Japanese seems to be “Reso’cha Richmond”, with “Reso’cha” being a Japanese term for “resort charter”. Japan Airlines started a “Reso’cha” campaign in 1994, the same year MOTHER 2 was released, so it’s possible that’s where the name comes from.
In EarthBound, his name is “Risosha Richmonde”. The slightly-different consonants in his name is probably because many things in Summers have European-style names and the translators probably didn’t know what to do with “rizotcha”. That, or they knew but didn’t know what to do with his name in translation as the wordplay would be lost, so they just went with whatever they wanted. My money’s on the former.
One of the guys in the hotel remarks that they don’t pronounce the letter “h” in Summers, saying that “hotel” is pronounced “otel”. He then wonders if “otter” is pronounced “hotter” where Ness is from.
In MOTHER 2, this works almost exactly the same way, except instead of “otter” and “hotter” it’s “hotaru” and “Otaru”. “Hotaru” is “firefly” and “Otaru” is a city in Hokkaido.
The Helpful Man
A lady in the hotel lobby talks about the guy in the museum. In EarthBound she says he “…isn’t very nice. But he can be helpful.”
In MOTHER 2 it’s more like, “I hear he’s not a very nice guy, but that he’s supposedly an easy man to manipulate/exploit.”
It’s definitely splitting hairs and being super-picky, but there’s a difference between being helpful and being easily exploited by others.
In MOTHER 2, this lady in the hotel says, “Excuse me.” as it’s pronounced in English. This gives the place a sort of upscale vibe, kind of like, “Wow, I’m really in a foreign place!”
She says the exact same thing in EarthBound: “Excuse me.” Except since English-speakers are playing the game, that sense of wonderment is gone, only to be replaced by, “Huh? Why would you say that?” Almost all of the other text in the game has wit behind it, so this very generic-sounding line always felt out of place to me.
In EarthBound, this person tries to order “Braised Boa Over Minced Baby Leeks”.
In MOTHER 2, he asks for “Chabane-hebi cooked onigarayaki style”.
I know almost nothing when it comes to food terms in any language, so I’m not really sure what that is, but I know it’s not what’s used in EarthBound. According to reader e-mails, the Japanese term might translate to something like, “brown-wing snake split down the middle and charbroiled”, with the “brown wing part” referencing the fact that with the snake split like that, it looks like it has wings, and when seasoned and cooked, they look brown in color.
Food stuff like this is always hard to translate; I never would’ve figured this out myself. I have a feeling it went over the translators’ heads too. Stuff like this is tough!
Another alcohol reference removed. This time, in MOTHER 2, the guy says something like , “How do I put it? Having beer in the daytime like this is truly, how do I put it…”
In EarthBound, it became, “Drinking glass after glass of ice coffee is… well…”
The Trouble with RPGs
In MOTHER 2, this guy says something like, “Talking to all the other customers in a restaurant is like busting into a newlyweds’ room unannounced, looking through their drawers for a small medal or something. Though I guess depending on the situation it can’t be helped.”
In EarthBound, he says, “Hey, talking to people at another table in a restaurant is like… breaking into their room and checking their drawers for valuables. Yeah, other people on important adventures do such things, but you have to admit that it’s bizarre!”
Mainly it’s odd that they took out the newlywed part.
I’m assuming the talk about “medals” is a Dragon Quest reference too, but it would probably have been lost on a lot of American kids at the time – or maybe even just the translators/editors?
Get a Job
In EarthBound, this guy says, “Should I become a porter so that I can get tips from all the old folks?”
In MOTHER 2, he isn’t asking you a question, he’s already made the decision. “I guess I’ll carry luggage and get tips from old folks.”
This shop clerk’s text is an instance where the nuances of the Japanese text come across really well in English translation. There’s not much more to say than that, but it impressed me enough that I thought I’d mention it 😛
Bird is the Word
There’s a myna bird in Summers that will say random quotes from Summers people. In MOTHER 2, when you talk to it, it says, “MYYYYYNA BIIIIRD!” but less annoying-like. But it’s clear that the bird is saying it.
In EarthBound, it doesn’t seem like the bird talks at first, because the text says, “(It’s a Myna bird!)” I think the translators did mean for the bird to say it though, because understandable animal text is usually written in parentheses in the game.
This kind of reminds me of how they handled the Starmen text. I’m not sure why the translators/editors went with this odd style, but in the end it’s not a very big deal.
Where’d the Rum Go?
In the Summers museum are a lot of old artifacts. In MOTHER 2, many of these artifacts belonged to a guy called “Rum Raisin”, which is a popular ice cream flavor in real life. The name was used here because it also has a sort of old-Egypt vibe.
In EarthBound, they call him “Ram Raisin”. It’s hard to tell if they missed the joke like they did with the Pokey/Porky thing where there are several possible spellings but one that’s more likely than the other, or if the censors didn’t want the “rum” reference in there. Or it’s possible one of the translators figured the alcohol reference would be a problem and wrote around it to begin with.
Not Until You Grow Up
In EarthBound, this guy in the museum won’t let you pass, but he hints that he could be bribed to move out of the way. Part of what he says is, “…Once you hit adulthood, you’ll understand.”
In MOTHER 2, he actually says, “If you were an adult you’d probably understand.” It’s being picky, but the English one sounds odd in this context, it almost seems to imply that you’ll need to come back when you’re older. The Japanese version hints better at the “Read between the lines!” idea.
A Pain in the Butt
In EarthBound, there’s a poorly-skilled nurse in Twoson who’s not good at giving shots. She has a cousin in Summers who’s also a nurse, and this cousin says, “The one she gave me was painful.” in reference to a shot.
In MOTHER 2, the cousin nurse says something closer to, “My cousin is a nurse in Twoson, but she’s terrible at giving shots and they always hurt.”
It’s another instance of being picky, but the EarthBound version uses a past tense for whatever reason, making it sound like the cousin was administered one shot by the Twoson nurse, when in actuality that probably never happened and the cousin is saying that every shot the Twoson nurse gives to anyone is painful because she sucks.
Not an important difference, of course. This line always sounded odd to me when EarthBound first came out though, now I know why!
As usual, the red cross on the local hospital has been removed in EarthBound.
Pokey Leaves a Sign
In EarthBound, this sign between Summers and Toto has a message from Pokey scribbled on it. It says, “Ness can eat my shorts! For a neighbor, he’s a loser!”
In MOTHER 2, the scribbled message says, “Bonjour, Ness! By the time you read this, I’ll already be… Heheheh!”
Name Yourself #1
At one point while walking around the port town of Toto, you’ll get a phone call from Tony. He eventually asks for the name of you, the player.
In MOTHER 2, the naming screen that pops up has only capital English letters. The Japanese player was supposed to write his/her name out using English letters. I’m not sure why it was done this way, maybe it helped add to the international feel of the place. Later in the game, another similar screen will pop up, but with the Japanese alphabet only. So you get to enter TWO names for the player in MOTHER 2. I’ll have more info on this stuff later in the Tenda Village section part of the game.
Anyway, since EarthBound is already in English, this “enter your name as it would appear in English” thing doesn’t work. So it becomes a generic “what is your name?” screen. Nothing wrong with that, of course. The word/name-related fun Itoi intended here was left out of the English version, that’s all.
Incidentally, there’s something exactly like this in MOTHER 3. When we translated it into English, we followed EarthBound’s example to make it uniform to the series. If you get a chance, play the Japanese and the English versions of MOTHER 3 and you can see these differences in action there too. We went all out to make MOTHER 3 seem as official Nintendo-like as possible, this being one example.
Pray It Loud
As your conversation with Tony comes to a close in MOTHER 2, he says to Jeff, “I pray from the bottom of my heart that I’ll get to see you again!”
In EarthBound, they changed this to, “I hope that I can see you again when you are feeling up to it…”
The MOTHER 2 version makes him sound like an excitable but generally nice guy who cherishes Jeff’s friendship. The EarthBound version almost makes him sound like a depressed, clingy guy with low self-esteem.
How Now Cow
In EarthBound, this dog says, “Bow… now brown cow?”
In MOTHER 2, it’s clearly doing some sort of word play with, “Uuuuu… manbo!” Sadly, I’m not sure what this is or why it’s saying it. If anyone has an idea, let me know. I’ve looked around but can’t find anything definitive.
I do like how this was treated in translation though, it’s genuinely funny and matches with the humor of the game. So good job working around the word play, localizers!
In EarthBound, this trumpet player says, “If you come closer, I’ll play the trumpet!” This sounds like a creepy invitation to come closer.
In MOTHER 2, he/she is actually giving the player a threat: “Come any closer and I’ll play!”
In EarthBound, this guy in Toto says, “Dinosaurs existed! I saw one!” Which seems weird, because it’s already been established in the game that dinosaurs once existed. It’s not under dispute at all. You saw dinosaur bones in the Fourside museum, even.
In MOTHER 2, he says, “Dinosaurs DO exist! I saw one, I swear!”
In EarthBound, the Magic Cake lady makes a cake for Ness using what she says is “leftovers”.
In MOTHER 2, she says she used “the last of my ingredients”.
It’s not a big deal, but there’s definitely a difference between the two. The thing is, the slightly-wrong “leftovers” actually makes it sound nastier/scarier, which fits well with the result of eating it. But it was intended to simply be made from “the last of her ingredients”.
This section of the EarthBound Legends of Localization book also includes:
- The name of Summers’ hotel in Japanese, and its inconsistent names in English
- The answer to whether Summers is meant to be a city or a country
- More information on the “otel” guy, and an additional line in which he uses a comedic combination of Japanese and French
- More details about the owner of Summers’ hotel, including the origin of both his first and last name
- The history of Japan’s Reso’cha airline campaign, including photos
- The final, definitive, and corrected explanation of the strange dish the man in Summers’ restaurant orders in MOTHER 2 – the result is pretty funny!
- Some extra info on MOTHER 2’s “searching for small medals” line, including a screenshot of what’s specifically being referenced
- Japanese rum raisin ice cream
- The definitive answer on what the growling dog in Toto is saying, as well as the joke behind both the Japanese and English versions of the line
- A clear, definitive explanation of the naming screen scene in Toto
- A surprising, goofy little game trick that almost no one has ever seen before
- More insight into the text in the Stoic Club, particularly in how it relates to the Magic Cake lady and her relationship with the club