Archive for the ‘Excerpts’ Category
On we move to Summers, one of the funniest segments in the game proper. Saori Kumi begins her description of same by playing things a little straighter. Paint the picture, Kumi!
The sun shimmered and twisted as it sunk into the distant horizon. A red belt of sunset stretched along a straight line against the waves rippling into shore. Beautiful white sand, like granulated sugar, spilled across the luxurious beach resort.
Atop a small, gently rocking boat, beneath the shade of palm tree silhouettes in front of the blinding sun, a couple who had come from overseas was sitting on a warm beach mat, soaking in the season of love. They intertwined their arms, pressed their cheeks together, gazed into one another’s eyes, she twirled a lock of hair around a finger… There was also a pair of children engrossed in building a sand castle with their red bucket and yellow shovel.
The miseries of the world, the passing of time, what they would have for dinner tomorrow—everything was forgotten, replaced with the simple, fleeting act of glowing against the shine of a loved one. That is the sort of place this was.
Oh, but the couples. A couple here, another one there, and by them another couple and another couple. Nothing but couples. One every five yards along the coast with the dusk wind blowing. If there were ever a Couple Watching club in the world, they would undoubtedly grovel at this sanctuary, basking in their Mecca.
Beautiful! I’m still thrown off at every turn by Saori Kumi’s wild plot-driving, but I’m willing to guess, reading this travelogue, that something is about to ruin these couples’ collective day. Show me… onomatopoeia!
“Je t’aime, mon amour,” Alêne whispered to Pierre with a sensual voice that tickled at the ears.
“C’est magnifique, la vie en rose.” Louis and Leo softly lifted the chin of their lovers .
“Au chance liez, très bien .” Marie and Katorine batted their long eyelashes. “Chocolat au lait, pudding a la mode,” Francois and Chalut mumbled softly and sweetly. “Caramel bon-bon…”
Jean and Geneviève’s half-opened lips slowly approach one another’s. But then it happened.
For the illustrations, I’ll provide some more excerpts from the novel–hopefully enough to provide enough visuals to work with. Just a reminder, illustrations should be as detailed and dynamic as possible. Even if you don’t think you have what it takes to make a professional-looking drawing, fanart will be happily accepted for the blog, so don’t let that hold you back!
I hate to screw up the order of the chapters, but I’m going to go back to chapter one and start over for the illustration excerpts. So I’m sorry if it gets confusing when I post illustration excerpts mixed in with excerpts from my current progress. This blog is kind of a draft board, anyway, heh.
The first illustration excerpt is going to be a portion of the novel that I originally intended to keep secret, because I’m still preserving a bag o’ spoilers. I don’t want ALL of the novel ruined before anyone has a chance to read it!
I changed my mind with this part because I thought it would be a fun image to include in the book. I also want to make sure that the images are exclusive to the novel, and not just something that looks straight out of the SNES game.
Chewy’s progress through chapter seven continues apace; this is the last of the chapter six excerpts. And where better to close out this globetrotting chapter than in Fourside, the Big Surrogate Apple? In this excerpt it becomes clear that Ness failed to check out the map from his local library (or, perhaps, that while all the information is there, there’s a little more of the information that isn’t there than usual.)
The three kids crossed the Golden Bridge, made their way into Fourside and got a room at a small hotel to start discussing their next plan of attack. They avoided burgers for dinner—even if they’d felt tempted to grab some, the line was ghastly! They settled on a pizza delivery. After all, the pizza shop employees were probably twiddling their thumbs at this point.
Sure enough, the pizza arrived shockingly fast, and printed on the pizza box was a guide map of Fourside.
“Monotoli Building must be that huge, fancy skyscraper… Ahh, a dinosaur museum! I wanna gooo!”
“There’s Topolla Theater, too!”
“Hey—not until we fix up this burger mess,” Paula said, presuming the Big Sister role with a knowing extended finger. “I’d like to search through the Ness Burger kitchens if we could… There must be some kind of secret there.”
“… You mean break in?”
Paula is the Cool Big Sister.
But maybe I should back up a little—why do they need to break into a kitchen? Why is there a line out the door for hamburgers? Why is there a Burger Mess? Back in the Dusty Dunes Desert, George Montague offered the kids the following bizarre explanation for Fourside residents’ equally bizarre behavior.
When we last left Pokey, he was super pissed. Ness, Paula, and Jeff were having a lovely time in the desert while he was cooped up in his office, spying and plotting. How does any self-respecting adolescent male deal with this kind of angst? Angry, atonal music. How does a Japanese lady write angry, atonal music? Like this!
Pokey instinctively blinked his tiny, cold blue eyes for a moment.
The wallpaper was pastel and striped. The carpet had an elegant flower pattern and a distinctly expensive-looking flair. Large, two-doored windows were covered by two-tone color blinds, and recessed ceiling lights with antireflective lighting. The oak business desk was nearly seven feet across.
Lying next to that was an enormous, salmon-pink leather sofa. And right in front of that, a table with an inch-thick piece of glass across it and marble legs. It was a fabulously rich-looking office, one that would come right out of a page of an Italian magazine—modern and casual, yet cutting-edge.
The room itself was big enough for five people to comfortably dance the waltz, but he was plopped down completely alone in the middle of it. The room was so quiet that it sounded to Pokey as though his ears were ringing, but after he dug his finger around in his ear for a while, it turned out that it was just the hum of the air conditioner. The air was dry and cold, with a vague scent of plants.
Pokey clicked at his tongue and got up, scratching loudly at the red sweaty marks on his chubby thighs from where his skin had been pressed against the leather. He went and opened the cabinets next to the wall and turned on the audio equipment inside. Vivaldi, or somebody, was playing—it felt wonderful, as if you were actually in the orchestra hall. He quickly flicked to another radio station. Country western—rap—a Bali gamelan—a choir of clear, high-voiced children—a stand-up comic… and hard rock with a totally slammin’ beat.
GO TO HELL
GO TO HELL
I WANNA YA TO
GO TO HELL
MOTHER 2 Novel Translation blog, are you ready to rock!? I said, are you ready to rock!?
Pokey is ready to rock, no doubt, but Kumi turns the music off after this lovely picture of his having rocked.
Pokey shook his head and his wrinkled, sagging cheeks—the spitting image of a pink bulldog’s face—shook in the air with a twisted smile on his face. The fat on his arms pulled at the sleeves of his t-shirt, which was being swallowed up by his body and ready to tear at any moment. His shorts were also on the verge of snapping in half. It seemed that Pokey had grown even fatter than before.
Does Saori Kumi miss an opportunity to call Pokey fat? I daresay she does not.
Chapter Seven is on the way—Chewy has been swallowed up at work like so much t-shirt, but she’s still committed to defeating the Wall of Untranslated Japanese headed her way. In the meantime, I WANNA YA / TO GO TO HELL.
A bright, cheerful boy in a red baseball cap and a bat across his back, a cute, gaze-attracting girl with a ribbon in her curly blonde hair, and a skinny, genius with thin-framed glasses.
Our three chums walked along together, smiling. While they left their trail of little footprints along the yellow sand of the desert nothing seemed to bother them one bit—not even the intense midsummer sun glaring overhead, sending boiling sunlight burning down on them, or the tiresome, dreary scene that stretched out endlessly, continuing on forever and ever without an end in sight.
This may come as a shock, and it’s certainly out of character, because I was not fond of the Lord of The Rings films, but one thing I love in RPGs: the characters just walking around, wallowing in their heroism a little, exploring. (Editor’s note to self—this is why you don’t hate EarthBound Zero.)
The boy in glasses would look at his watch, then at the sun, and decide which direction they would go next.
Rock, paper, scissors! The boy in the cap’s face turned beet red. Having lost, hepulled all the luggage over his shoulder and began running ahead.
The ribbon girl sang a funny song that she had learned from somewhere in her pretty voice, and made everyone laugh.
If sand got into someone’s shoes, someone would lend a shoulder to lean on; if someone opened up a can of juice, they passed it around and drank it in turns.
After a while, the boy in the red cap stopped walking and blurted something out. Everyone put down their luggage. The boy in glasses took out a short pen-like object. It flipped apart and opened into a parasol. They all sat down under the makeshift shade, and the ribbon girl spread out a picnic mat and handed out wet towels. The boy in the cap pulled something out of his backpack with the proverbial drumroll, and—ta-da! Wrapped hamburgers for all. The boy in glasses connected some kind of cord to the parasol and set out a boxy object that seemed to be covered in foil. It looked like the parasol had become a solar battery, and the foil box was a microwave.
Ding! The hamburgers were piping hot, and everyone dug in.
Can anything ruin our heroes’ makeshift domestic tranquility? How about… a fat kid with friendship issues!
[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!
[Editor's note: This is part one of the 2700 word afterword with which Saori Kumi ends the MOTHER 2 novel. It's filled with a lot of great stuff—notes on her process, the reasons why a novelization was created and why she was uniquely suited to writing it, her thoughts on adapting other people's work, and, most impressively, the fact that she is in possession of a MOTHER 2 Dragon Jacket, quite possibly the coolest piece of merchandise on earth. We'll be posting the second half later on.]
MOTHER turned into BROTHER… (laughs)
Well, it’s been a while. Saori Kumi here. I bring you the long-awaited novelization of MOTHER 2. I somehow managed to meet the deadline—and I’m bursting with excitement.
Come to think of it, it’s coming up on two years already since I first heard rumors about MOTHER 2’s release. I frantically contacted Shinchosha about it. “Please let me do it. I’ll do anything! Please don’t let anyone else write it!”
Benimaru Itoh had a manga that was already set to start running in Fifth Grader. I was worried that they’d just tell me, “We don’t need a novel. We already have a comic.” I thought maybe Itoi and everyone at APE didn’t really like my first novel. On the verge of panic, I sent in my desperate request.
“Sure, go ahead.”
When I heard these beautiful words, I felt like I’d died and gone to heaven. (I’ll explain why later.) I think it was March 1993 when I had the appointment to pay a visit to APE in Aoyama. At that point I knew it wasn’t just a dream. Right before my very eyes—still in bits and pieces, mind you—was the nostalgic world of MOTHER. Little by little, MOTHER 2 was steadily coming to life!
I borrowed a copy of Shigesato Itoi’s handwritten story notes, documents explaining the timeline of events, and videos that showed off the new towns and characters.
“When the ROM is ready, please let me test it, okay?”
And with that, I managed to play through MOTHER 2 before anyone else did!
As if that weren’t enough to psyche me up, before long a big package from APE arrived at my house. When I opened it up, I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was a team jacket. There’s a huge MOTHER 2 logo on the back, with an embroidered Chinese dragon arranged on each side of it—it’s a totally chic and simple piece of work. My Guts shoot up by ten points when I put it on.
But I live in a quiet, unpopulated town in the countryside. It would be extremely difficult to find anyone who’d even know about MOTHER 2, an unreleased game, let alone who would see my jacket—which boasts of my status as a staff member—and get excited about it.
Without a moment’s delay, I headed out to Shinjuku to make my rounds in the Super Famicom section at Yodobashi Camera. I perused the aisles, pretending to browse through the games while I paid special attention to sticking my back out at customers in all directions. It’s not that I knew who anyone was, but I could recognize the guys who seemed to be great authorities in the gaming scene, and the self-confident, composed little children; I checked to make sure their eyes had widened in marvel, and, satisfied, happily made my way home.
But still… that crucial ROM hadn’t arrived in the mail yet…
One of the reasons I was looking forward to MOTHER 2 so much was that I—along with many other gaming fans—was in love with the world of MOTHER. The other reason was definitely more personal.
The fact that I had written the MOTHER novel had a deep impact on me this time around. The Saori Kumi before MOTHER and the Saori Kumi after MOTHER had gone in two different directions. You could say that I became an entirely different person after MOTHER.
First: I was able to climb onto a new stage, Shinchosha.
Up until then I had only been at one company, just writing novels geared toward young girls. Once in a great while I might have done a tiny bit of side work, but it was just isolated instances here and there.
But even a tiny, run-down, simple little used bookstore in the remotest of countrysides would be lined with Shinchosha’s books. Back when I was in school I would stop by the bookstore on my way home and pick up dozens of books from Shinchosha—old ones and new ones, ones I wanted to read and ones I felt socially obligated to read—and completely absorb myself in them. I think they cover the “high chance of being inadvertently snatched up by bookworms” genre. Even now I couldn’t possibly be more proud to have had the opportunity to participate as a writer in such a group. MOTHER turned me from a young girls’ author into a novelist.
Next: it opened my eyes about novelizations.
To be honest, I was pretty indignant about it at first. This is the arrogant way I thought about it: I am an author. If there’s already an original, leave it to the people who can’t come up with anything good on their own. I don’t mean to benefit at someone else’s expense—I’ve just got creativity of my own, and there’s plenty of stuff I already have in mind to write about.
But at Science Fiction events, I talked to an aquaintence of mine who worked at Shinchosha—Nozomi Ohmori, a writer and translator who is quite famous among the Otaku crowd—and for some reason he convinced me otherwise.
MOTHER is, indeed, Shigesato Itoi’s work, he said. And if it were just to be traced straight from the original, Itoi could have written it himself or had someone from the APE crew write it—after all, they were involved in it all along. But Itoi said himself that he didn’t want that.
Essentially, MOTHER is something that Itoi created out of his love for RPGs. There was no way he could entrust this to an author who had never even touched a Famicom before. And if a man were to write it, it would be difficult to mesh his personality together with Itoi’s. If it were a woman she could add her own unique nuances to the story without destroying the distinct characteristics of the original.
“That’s why you’re the only one that can do it, Kumi-san!”
Oh, he’s good. So I went and gave it a shot…
And it was a heck of a lot harder than I’d expected. But I had a blast. It was a really challenging task. Sadly, by the time I was finished, it had turned out better than anything else I’d ever written. (Or so I thought.)
“Maybe I was just made to write scripted novels…”
But just as I started to get depressed about it, Enix got in touch with me. “We read MOTHER. It was excellent. On that note, we have something we would like to discuss—“ They ended up asking me if I would write a story about the goddess Rubiss, from Dragon Quest, and her adventures when she was young.
Actually, before that, I had been invited by the director of a record company and Marchen Maker—a manga artist—to go to Enix to pitch an idea. I was absolutely crazy about Dragon Quest, and asked if it would be all right for us to make a Dragon Quest doujinshi. In the end we weren’t able to go through with it.
But now I feveredly wrote The Legend of Rubiss, followed by the novelizations for Dragon Quest IV and V. I couldn’t have become the chronicler of the Famicom RPG world any other way—it was all because I was determined to write the MOTHER novel.
Dragon Quest and MOTHER were my two favorite games out of all the Famicom RPGs I had played. There were a few other famous titles out there, but I had either not played them, or gotten sick of them halfway through and thrown them aside. I had no connection to them, so I couldn’t care less if someone else had done the novelizations for those games. But I wouldn’t allow anyone else to work on the RPGs that I was so genuinely attached to. How could I!?
Yes, even now, I’ll take the liberty to say such a thing: This—this is my life’s work!
Click here for part two.
“Haaack! That’s enough!” Belch stuck out a small edge of his goopy body and, as if snapping a finger, began to click it—snap, snap—and establish a rhythm. “♪ Perse is Worverse, says the human…Oh, gutter gunk, bloodstain, gangrene… Gahagaha, soundin’ good, soundin’ good! I’m gettin’ my groove back, this song is hot! Burrrurrghrup!”
“…Wow, is he… some kind of poet?”
“Ness! Don’t talk like that nasty thing is some kinda person!”
“I ain’t no lousy poet! I’m Belch the Great, galaxy-renowned Karaoke King! I plan to globe-trot all over the vast universe—well, I don’t have legs, so, I’ll—sashay—and make my glorious debut as a singer-songwriter!” Belch stuck out his chest—no, the general center area of his sticky body—puffed it up like a roasted marshmallow and smirked proudly. “How ‘bout it? Wanna hear my ballad?! I’ll give you a show in a special arena!”
Ness, Paula and Jeff’s eyes widened, their mouths turned into tildes, and as they shook their heads as quickly as they could they pushed their arms in front of them, hands opened and waving, like No—no—! We’re good, we’re good!
Nintendo of America plans to market his debut release as This Album Stinks!! in the states; we’ll see how it goes. In general EarthBound the game tries to elicit its emotional response from the player, with the characters acting as his surrogate, but one place it can’t quite get visceral enough is in its 16 bit depiction of a boss disgusting enough to make even the ever-polite Messrs. Saturn suggest Ness + co. wash up.
In that sense the novel has an easier job; Kumi makes it clear that Paula, who loooooves the Saturns—
“Oh they are all so cute~!♡” Paula’s eyes glistened as she stared in a trance. “I want one! Maybe I’ll snatch one.”
—can’t deal with Belch, whose entrancing voice and chiseled body leaves her “whimpering and on the verge of tears.” But after all is said and done, she turns back into an Innocent Japanese Heroine in time to wonder whether there wasn’t something hauntingly beautiful in his song after all:
“I… feel kinda bad for him.” Paula hesitantly removed her nose plug and let out a deep breath. “His appearance and his stench, and his singing tune were all awful, but I can’t help but feel like he had a certain innocence somewhere inside him.”
What. A. Pushover.
There was the sound of some absurd footsteps, and then a strange pink creature appeared from the other side of the black tree.
It had a big round head. Its eyes, the size of sesame seeds, looked like tiny buttons. Its nose was plump and dignified. It didn’t have anything that looked like a torso because by the time you got to the bottom of its face you found it was already attached to its charming little feet. An antennae-like, stick-like thing stuck out from the top of its head. Its height was about half of that of Ness, and it was carrying a bucket in one hand. Boing, boing, boioing! The thing wandered out from behind the shadow of the tree, toddling its little body heavily.
Ness and friends inadvertently cried out in surprise; the small pink thing noticed Ness and friends and jumped up in surprise at the exact same time.
The translator’s assistant cried out in surprise; the novel noticed him and jumped up in surprise at the exact same time.
Generic TV drama computers expert, zoom in on that sentence and enhance!
An antennae-like, stick-like thing stuck out from the top of its head. Its height was about half of that of Ness, and it was carrying a bucket in one hand. Boing, boing, boioing!
carrying a bucket in one hand.
Is that what I think it is, generic TV drama computers expert? Could it be?
In true Kumi fashion, our heroes find themselves proceeding along their adventure on paths that only have this scent that vaguely resembles what we experienced in the game. No, seriously.
“Hey, look! It’s a cave!” Paula pointed up ahead. “There’s some kind of sign… ‘Shortcut to Saturn Valley’.”
The cave looked like any old cave. Damp, dead leaves that had been pulled inside by the wind lined the floor, leaving a gross sensation when it absorbed their feet as they walked through it. The darkness was unnerving, so Ness took out his mini maglite and turned it on.
“Stay together, guys. Let’s hang on to each other.”
The three kids huddled tightly together as they shuffled through the deep, winding paths of the twisting cavern. Water gathered in puddles on the ground and the rocky stone walls around them were wet and covered in sticky mold. When the light of the flashlight shone onto the walls, it looked like spooky monster faces glaring menacingly at them. Once in a while, a droplet of water would fall on them from the ceiling.
“Hey, is it just my imagination, or… do you smell something funky?” Paula plugged her nose. “It’s you, isn’t it?”
“Why are you looking at me?!” Ness cried. “It wasn’t me!”
“No way! It wasn’t me either,” Jeff said. “I don’t conduct myself in such an ungentlemanly way!”
“But that’s definitely a…H-hey, of course it wasn’t me!”
So now we find ourselves in a cave so deep it twists like a honeycomb pattern. Thank goodness we didn’t have to walk through an enemy-ridden trap like that in the game; Dungeon Man Redux was enough. But wait! What’s this doing outside of Threed?!