Omega: EarthBound, the international version of MOTHER 2, came in a much bigger box that other Super Nintendo games. Was that your idea, Mr. Itoi?
Itoi: Nintendo of America came up with that.
Omega: Ahh, okay. It was really surprising to see that huge box.
The first time I saw EarthBound was back in Canada, at a game rental place. I was looking through the shelves for a game to rent, and suddenly saw this huge box among all the others. “Whoa,” I thought, “what the heck is this?” It made quite an impact.
This installment brings the focus towards the series’ distinctive soundtrack.
An Ear for Music
Itoi: No matter what specific role they play, when you’re working on a game, everyone on the team is focused on figuring out ways to make the game fun. But it’s important to give consideration to how you’re going to make the parts that aren’t fun, too.
Ryokun: Now that you mention it…
Itoi: Thinking through how to make the parts of a game that aren’t fun is like laying down a base coat of primer before you start painting a picture.
At the end of the second installment of Wild MOTHER Party, Kenny Omega mentioned Porky – a major antagonist in the second and third games in the series. In part three of the round table discussion, Omega, Shigesato Itoi and Maximum the Ryokun continue talking about…
A Villain Named Porky
Nagata: Mr. Itoi, you consider Porky to be central to the series’ overall theme, isn’t that right?
Itoi: There’s a very special place in my heart for Porky. Taken as a whole, MOTHER is Porky’s story, really.
Nagata: Mr. Itoi, you often say that creating MOTHER has led you to meet all sorts of people. Do you mean that there’s something different and unique about MOTHER that brings you into situations like this?
Nagata: I’m sure everyone here plays all sorts of other games. What do you think is special about MOTHER that draws people in?
Itoi: I think what it is, is that MOTHER is kind of uncomfortable.
Hobonichi (“Almost Daily”) is a Japanese company that designs and creates a popular line of notebooks and day planners. The company’s founder, Shigesato Itoi, is more widely known as the creator of the beloved MOTHER series of roleplaying video games. MOTHER 2 was released outside of Japan as EarthBound in 1995. The series has long influenced game designers all over the world – and, apparently, professional wrestlers and nu-metal musicians as well.
Hobonichi recently hosted a round table discussion about the MOTHER series with Itoi, IWGP Heavyweight champion and known gamer Kenny Omega and Maximum the Ryokun, guitarist and vocalist for Maximum the Hormone. They’ll be posting transcripts of the talk on their website throughout December, and I’ll be translating them one at a time.
The former Nodoka Oneesan made her (second) debut at Tokyo Joshi Pro’s Korakuen Hall event on August 25. Now Nodoka Tenma, she showed off a new costume, new entrance music, a new finisher – everything. I previously translated her final blog post as Nodoka Oneesan, so it only seemed appropriate to do her first as Nodoka Tenma as well.
One thing about me is, deep down, I’m pretty gloomy. Like, really. To the roots. Make no mistake, Yuki [Aino]’s always been the brighter, more optimistic, more annoying sister between us.
But even so, when I was a kid, I loved singing and acting. I was fearless and loved to be the center of attention.
I performed in musicals, I played in a band, and all that. But as I grew into adulthood, I started to see my own ceiling. And that’s a scary thing! So I set my limits before I could risk crashing into that ceiling.
In the latest episode of Count 2.99, Koji and Sean run down their predictions for G1 Climax 28 and the Mae Young Classic, then talk with Japanese Stardom fans to get their perspectives on foreign talent, Stardom alumni in WWE and more.
Bear with me for a little bit of introduction before the translation this time around. Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling, as a promotion, is more character-driven than most. Though there’s little in the way of official translated content available, many of the characters fit into archetypes – Wannabe superhero! Serious martial artist! Disgraced pop singer! Snooty aristocrat! Hungry zombie! – that any audience can immediately identify, no matter what language they speak.
Nodoka Oneesan (my personal favorite member of the TJPW roster, incidentally) is not one of these characters.
Nodoka’s current character is based on hosts from Japanese children’s shows – most specifically, from a program called Okaasan to Asobou (Let’s Play with Mommy!) that aired from 1966 to 1982. One incarnation of this particular show is the origin of both her entrance music and Pin Pon Pan Taiso, the aerobic dance she leads as part of all of her pre-match promos.
Similar programs still air on TV in Japan today, most notably Okaasan to Issho (Together with Mommy), the inspiration for much of Okaasan to Asobou, which has run on NHK since 1959. A cast of “Big Brothers” and “Big Sisters” hosts the show, leading children in songs and simple exercises. Each of them suffixes their name with oniisan or oneesan and writes it in easy-to-read hiragana, just like Nodoka Oneesan’s current ring name. Big Sister Nodoka.
Anyway, now that you know all that, read on to find out why you don’t need to know all that anymore.
(This interview was originally published in Japanese in the August 2018 issue of Ladys Ring.)
For this installment of Ladys Ring’s “Dangerous Women” series, we sat down for a candid interview with Maki Ito – the outspoken “idol wrestler” who has an army of Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling fans calling her name whenever she brings her unique presence to the ring. Interview by Junichi Sase.
Your wrestling career has a lot of people talking. When is it that you feel most like you’ve truly become a wrestler?
Back when I was an idol, all I did was sing and dance, week in, week out. But nowadays, working out – not to mention getting tackled and so on – has become more of an everyday thing for me. As an idol, I just felt blank. But now that I’m a wrestler, I’m constantly suffering. I’m finally feeling something! It’s like, “Ah, this is what it means to be a wrestler!”
Your wrestling career has roots back in 2013, when you participated in DDT’s Idol Lumberjack 4-Way at Ryogoku Sumo Hall as a member of LinQ. What did you think when you first got that offer?
I was completely on board! I had absolutely zero interest in pro wrestling, but it’s Sumo Hall, right? I’d never performed there before, of course, so I said yes for the chance to get on such a huge stage. Besides, it’s not like I did any actual wrestling in that match! Just headbutts.