Hobonichi is a Japanese company that you wouldn’t normally hear about. They apparently make clothes and daily planners, among other things. However its founder, Shigesato Itoi, is a prolific writer and the creator of the Mother series, also known as EarthBound in the West. And the new “Hobonichi Mother Project” will release a Japanese book containing the scripts of all three Mother games from NES/Famicom, SNES/Super Famicom, and Game Boy Advance respectively.
Clyde “Tomato” Mandelin and Chris Kohler on Twitter provide these details for non-Japanese speakers:
Just in case anyone asks, this is an announcement that they're releasing a book at the end of the year with all the game text from the 3 Mother games
At the end it says there'll be other news before then too https://t.co/1mGggVrxp6
— Mato (@ClydeMandelin) April 30, 2020
Mandelin, who provided the excellent fan translation of Mother 3, additionally explains that books compiling video game text are not uncommon in Japan.
The Mother series has a strange presence in the West. The first game was fully localized as Earth Bound in the States but canceled before release. Mother 2, which did release as EarthBound in the U.S., was a commercial flop upon release. Mother 3, as Reggie Fils-Aime can tell you, never saw an official localization, though the aforementioned fan translation exists. However, Ness’s inclusion in Super Smash Bros. prompted fans to look into the series a little further, and the EarthBound fan community has produced so many amazing things in the past two decades or so, including one of the premier video game merch sites, Fangamer. In 2015, Nintendo got the message and released the original game as EarthBound Beginnings on the Wii U, though Mother 3 is still missing in action.
Most fans in the West will not be able to read the Hobonichi Mother Project script book, but I doubt that will stop many of them from buying it. I wouldn’t be surprised if it inspired a few of them to start learning Japanese. I won’t be buying it personally, but it’s still cool to see official Mother merch, especially from a company with such a deep tie to the series. With a script book on the way and more waiting to be announced, I’m very excited to see what the rest of this collaboration brings.