[Part one of the afterword is available here.]
It isn’t much of a career for an author, but as a mercenary of Famicom RPG novelizations it’s pretty dang good. I’ve built up enough experience and HP and MP to withstand anyone. I’ve sorted through weapons and items to optimally equip myself. So now I’ve got pride and confidence!!
Now that I’m in that kinda state of mind… when MOTHER 2, the work that became such a huge turning point in my life, came onto the scene, I felt—as one who has warmed up to the genre—an obligation to repay it. I didn’t want to hand over the position of Novelizist of the Great Honorable MOTHER Series to anybody else.
Finally, the third influence of my novelization work: I’ve been able to expand my writing into the fantasy genre. When I was a child, I loved stories with swords and magic, monsters and ghosts, princes and sorceresses and dragons and talking creatures. I’d always revered and envied them. But I assumed there was no way someone like me could write something like that. You had to have a vivid knowledge of myth and folklore, history, religion, and ethnicity; you had to analyze it well and understand it; you had to be an expert on the human psyche.
On top of that, having read through all the famous fantasy works, new and old, I thought you had to handle your writing in a beautiful and noble style. I thought of fantasy as a mysterious and expensive gem that nobody, under any circumstances, should smudge with their dirty little hands.
But doesn’t this world I had to novelize have a fantastical feel to it? When I gave it my best shot and sat down to write, I had a lot of fun with it. I really got sucked in. I was burning with excitement.
So—fully aware of everything, my inexperience, shame, and insolence, I had the pleasure of being allowed the opportunity to give it a try. The final product wasn’t as good as I’d have liked to be, but my goal is to get better day by day. I hope you’ll follow my progress with an open mind.
At the very moment I was diligently writing my third volume of Son-Ton-Cycle for Shinchosha, the MOTHER 2 ROM arrived. I wanted to finish my book as soon as possible, so I held off on the game for the time being. (I already had arrangements with another company, so I couldn’t just come back to it—I hope you understand.)
So. The game awaited orders while the better part of a year passed. Then I finally came face to face with the newly created, long-awaited MOTHER game to which I owed so much. Oh, I was so happy!
You all may already know that many things in this sequel aren’t as interesting as MOTHER [the novel]. Because the atmosphere, which everyone loved, stayed so much the same, some difficulties arose when I tried to do some new things. Since MOTHER was packed with the developers’ best stuff, all their powers and ideas, it would have been easy for MOTHER 2 to look like a thin, washed out duplicate.
But MOTHER 2 is different! It’s fun, cute, thrilling—it makes your heart flutter. It’s scattered with tricks that catch you off-guard. Even in the middle of it, I was swept off my feet by Mr. Saturn, which is why I went and caused so much trouble for dear Shinchosha. (As a rule, it’s sneaky for a novelization to use visuals as a weapon, but all I wanted—more than anything—was the Mr. Saturn font. You all would want to read Mr. Saturn’s lines in that font, too, wouldn’t you? Right?)
One of the things about the gameplay that impressed me was how an enemy’s response changed based on the level you’re at when you encounter them. In the cave before Lilliput Steps the Mighty Bear was so scary I would shriek and beg them not to chase me down. On my way back, though, they skittered off like little baby spiders. I’ll never forget the sight of their little butts wiggling around as the poor things tried to keep running when they hit a dead end. Of course, at first I’d go give them a thrashing, because it was a prime chance to get more experience points. I chased them around, herded them together, and gave them all a thorough beat-down. But two or three times into it I looked at the bears’ adorable little wiggling butts, and it tugged at my heartstrings.
“I’m the warrior who will save the world, aren’t I? I can’t just go picking on the weak!”
Of course! In MOTHER 2, even if I didn’t go out of my way to chase down enemies that were running scared, so as to smash them into smithereens—in other words, force up my level—I could move forward in the game without a hitch. I could save the world.
I love this worldview.
I think the point of RPGs is for each individual player to be able to apply themselves to the hero and have an adventure across every unexplored corner of the world. If a game aims for a really dramatic production that makes the player think, “If I have to go through this kind of stuff, I’d rather be dead,” it’s not an RPG. Stories like that aren’t tailored for games; they’re best left for novels, comic books, and movies.
Well, I was given the task of taking the game’s extremely compelling storyline and turning it into a novel, which has completely different rules and is played on a completely different court. Putting things into the novel, even if they were interesting in the game, meant I had to take some pretty obvious parts out (like battle scenes) and simplify them. The result was that some characters became really inflated. Some characters probably turned out to be completely different from what you had envisioned when playing through the game. I’m sorry if I made things feel out of place.
For example, Loid, from the previous game (love him! ♡), and Jeff (love him, too! ♡) are uncanny in their looks and personality. But because I really wrote the heck out of Loid in the last book, I thought it would be boring if I wrote about the same kid this time around, too. So I ended up giving Jeff a characteristic far beyond what anyone would have ever imagined, although I won’t mention it here in the afterword to avoid spoilers. But looking back on it, I’m pleased with my whim; by coming to embrace Jeff in this way, I hope that young readers can come to feel a sense of closeness with other people who share his circumstances.
For this adventure, and for the permission to novelize this wonderful piece of work, and for all the freedom they allowed me in creating this book, I am eternally grateful for the generosity of Shigesato Itoi and his staff. If there comes a time for another one, I hope we can work together once again.
Miss Kyoko Sakurai, in the Shinchosha editing department—we sure got fired up together, didn’t we? Thanks to your sharp-witted interjections and ceaseless encouragement, I had a great time working on this project. Thank you. Let’s go out for some delicious meals again, sometime.
The one who was there for me through all my ups and downs was my husband, Taka Hitano (who, incidentally, is the same one who shows up in the afterword of my last book for having never played a video game before.) He carefully checked over my final draft for me, too. I always rely on him, and I always will; thanks.
Finally. To everyone who enjoyed my last MOTHER novel, and wrote me letters. To everyone who found out about MOTHER 2 and immediately told me, “You’re writing this one too, right? I’ll be sure to read it, so good luck, and write another interesting story for us soon!” I’m truly grateful to you. This book is, first and foremost, your book.
I hope it lives up to your expectations.