It was a summer night around midnight. A young boy tossed and turned restlessly on his tousled, sweaty bed sheets. It was an unbearable, sleepless night. He turned to the right, but the muggy air still lingered; he rolled to the left but still couldn’t settle down. Caught somewhere in a weary halfway state, neither awake nor fast asleep, his heavy eyelids slowly drifted half-open to stare in a trance toward the open window.
Then. Despite the breezeless night, the curtains gently fluttered open. A speck of light appeared in the night sky for a moment, but it quickly seemed to grow larger and larger. From the pinpoint of a needle, to a grain of rice, to a bean, to a ping-pong ball, the rapidly swelling glow pulled a brilliant flare behind it, heading straight here! Tearing toward home plate was a flaming fastball!
So opens the MOTHER 2 novel—and, not coincidentally, the first set of excerpts on the MOTHER 2 Novel Translation Blog. Chapter one is 8,600 words long in English, and takes us from that baseball dream through Buzz Buzz’s death to Ness leaving his supportive family and setting off for capital-a Adventure.
The main point of departure for Chapter one, in fact, is… Ness’s family. The game doesn’t tell you a lot about Ness’s family. His mom watches steamy soap operas, his dad doesn’t believe in working too hard but is apparently fabulously rich, and Tracy is younger than 13 but also answers the phones at multinational conglomerate Escargo Express. After the jump, more excerpts.
This will be, I think, a recurring blog theme: Given the opportunity to fill in the gaps, Saori Kumi will do it with relish. Now Ness’s mom is a “former supermodel” who’s “got a reputation to keep as the mother who looks young enough to pass for an older sister.”
Ness’s dad, meanwhile, is engaged in the most Eaglelandian business of all: the fast food industry.
Ness’s dad was involved in the food service industry and was out on a long-term business trip in some economic superpower. His company was called Ness Burger.
For some reason, Ness had loved hamburgers ever since he was a baby. Since Ness’s mom was very busy as a supermodel when she was young, the kitchen affairs were run by his dad, who at that point was an excellent salesman for Minch’s Supermarket.
He always got lost in his work once he got started; eventually he began using Ness’s keen sense of taste, seeking verdicts from his son as he worked himself to the bone—like a fierce, angry wind aimed toward creating the most delicious hamburger in the world. Before long, the Ultimately Ideal Hamburger that had passed the Ness Test was a big hit at the Bazaar. Using meat from the Minches, he founded Ness Burger. The company grew quickly, and before long there were talks to open branches in foreign countries—but this isn’t the time to be sitting around and chatting about that.
From what Chewy’s told me, Kumi is a strange author to translate—lots of stereotypically hyperactive Japanese phrases, the occasional in-text emoticon, and, as you can see here, a propensity to drop into the story and point it in another direction when she’s said too much.
One more non-canonical but interesting fact: King is apparently an Old English Sheepdog, which does not really look right to me.
At 100 pounds and about 15 years old, he was already over the hill in dog years. He may been small at one point, but as long as Ness could remember, King had always been huge, vaguely elderly, and constantly idling around like a bum.
If he’s that old, he’s more than forgiven about leaving the party early.
Meanwhile: Chewy continues translating. We’ll have another blog entry ready tonight, about her experiences locking herself in a room and reading Japanese videogame novelizations so far.