Liar: So. Chewy. If I am looking at my notes correctly, and not numbers, chapter seven of ten marks the halfway point of the translation project.
Chewy: Yeah. I think that’s supposed to be really invigorating and gratifying, but I’m freaked out by the fact that I have as much ahead of me as I already struggled through.
Liar: Successfully struggled through. Gotta keep that in mind. It took more than Golden Week—he said, leading the interview—but it’s happening.
Chewy: Yeah. I guess considering it’s been stuck halfway through chapter one for six years, relatively speaking I’m translating at the speed of light. I’m upset that my time goal fell through when I realized I take a lot longer than I thought, but I think it’s going to be genuinely good quality in the end.
Liar: Yeah—the I Have to Rewrite The Mother 2 Novel Translation Blog would be less interesting than this one. And you might have to get another co-blogger.
Here’s a follow-up to the last e-mail with Saori Kumi; if you’re like me, you were wondering about the chances of a MOTHER 3 novel. First, in reference to the MOTHER novel, she made an interesting comment:
“With my novelizations, I think the M1 novel turned out better than the M2 novel. I made it a point to avoid just bringing out all the ideas I had already used up in the M1 novel.”
For those of you who don’t know, the main character of the MOTHER novel was actually Ana. I haven’t read the book yet myself, but I look forward to reading it after this project is done; I’ve heard nothing but good things about it. Tomato has some page-by-page summaries to quench our thirst, for now.
Anyway, as I had feared, it looks like there were never plans for a MOTHER 3 novelization. I was skeptical about the idea, because the layout of the game was so drastically different from the last two, particularly its use of chapters. The story itself is so much deeper in MOTHER 3 that compressing it into a single book actually seemed like too intimidating a task… Turns out I was right. Kind of.
“As far as a MOTHER 3 novelization, honestly, I was mulling it over at one point. But Itoi-san (from the time of MOTHER 3’s release up until last year, when another publishing company expressed interest in it) just stated, ‘I don’t think we’ll be doing one.’ So there’s really no chance of it working out.
Itoi could change his mind about it, but who knows.
To tell the truth, M3 is an extremely difficult story to put into a novel. I think you’ll understand what I mean when you play through the game, since one of the twin boys, a main character, is simply missing throughout the entire game, and doesn’t show up until the very last moment.
As an author, I think it would be fascinating to write the story from the perspective of Claus after he had gone missing and of Lucas while on his search for Claus. Or rather, write the entire story about Claus during the time he was missing. But I’d have to make it in such a way that Itoi-san could get behind, lest he say something like, ‘Well, actually, it was really like this.’
If I were allowed to do what I wanted with it, it wouldn’t be impossible—but when certain limitations start coming into play, I feel like even then it would still be pretty tough to pull off.”
So there you have it. The excuse of limitations doesn’t really fly with me because we all just saw Jeff Gump fly through Winters on a Hyper Wheelchair, but hey, who am I to judge? Anyway, the nail in the coffin was the oh-so Japanese answer of “I don’t think we’ll be doing one.” For those of you not well-versed in the Japanese Zen of Obsessively Avoiding Confrontation and Rejection, that translates to “No.”
I believe this leaves us with one of three options:
1. Itoi remains steadfast in his decision against a novelization. Unnamed “other” publishing company whimpers off with their tail between their legs. Kumi watches TV or something.
2. Unnamed “other” publishing company starts dropping hints on their big upcoming project—nothing obvious, but they mention something about cross-dressing gypsies and a boy named Mucas. Kumi watches TV or something.
3. Dance, dance, dance.
Really, there’s nothing any of us can do about those first two options, so I think it’s up to us to work on that third one. Don’t even think why. Because if you start to think, your feet stop, and if your feet stop, we get stuck. So don’t pay any mind, just keep the step. You gotta loosen what you bolted down, or we’re never going to get this novelization up off the ground! So to speak.
I got in touch with Saori Kumi to let her know about my plans to translate the novel, and to give her my general fangirly regards. Luckily, she was nice enough to write back to me with some kind words. This might clear up some questions regarding an official publication of the English version.
Thank you for your e-mail.
I’m glad you liked the MOTHER novel!
As for an English translation, the copyrights to the novel (publishing rights, etc.) are not only with me, but the owner of the rights of the original—in other words, the game production company (Nintendo), the original creator, Shigesato Itoi, and all of his staff. So while it is my novel, I cannot decide the various other matters at my own discretion.
This is unfortunate, as I’d like to tell you to just “go ahead,” since I’m sure there are many people who would be pleased with an English translation.
For the time being, I’ll show this e-mail to the editor in charge at the publishing company who published the MOTHER novels.
[In response to my expressing interest in her other works, undoubtedly, not just her tooting her own horn:]
By the way, I also wrote the MOTHER novel. People who read that ended up liking it, so I also wrote a spin-off novel for the popular RPG Dragon Quest (Was that released in America, too? I wonder if that one is also under a different name) as well as for the sequels, 4, 5, and 6. Personally, I like 5 the best. If, by chance, you happen to come across these and read them, I would be very grateful.
Thank you for such a happy e-mail. May you and all of your friends have many wonderful things ahead of you!
I was glad to see her enthusiasm for an English translation of her MOTHER 2 novel, and was even more excited when she offered to pass my message on to the editor at the publishing company. Unfortunately, I don’t think she’ll make much of a ripple against all the walls between our translation and the publication rights. I might as well hire Indiana Jones to scuttle through a booby trap-ridden Temple of MOTHER 2 Publishing Rights Doom.
This isn’t the end of the road, though, as we’ll be evaluating our options for how to approach the project later. In the meantime, the translation continues apace.