Saturday, December 13, 2008

First set of manga scans

So, some of you know about this already, but...

I managed to get a copy of a Goemon manga a while back: "Uchu Kaizoku Akogingu" ("The Space Pirate Akogingu"). You can find most of the pages here. However, you may notice that the last two sections are missing, and that's where I come in. I scanned in those last two sections, and put them in a zip file here.

I would've gotten them up sooner, but school and other things came up that I felt were much more important. Some of these scans are REALLY poor quality, and for that I apologize. However, you should be able to see the pictures clearly (and really, I think that's what most people are looking for). If, however, you want to know what's being said, ask me privately through a note, e-mail, or IM, making sure to reference the specific page number. The dialog towards the center are the main ones that are difficult to read. Please note that I will NOT be translating anything in these scans; such requests will be ignored. All I will do is provide you with what the characters are saying, in romaji. And keep in mind, once again, that I won't be able to rescan anything until the middle of January. You're stuck with these crappy scans until then.

All right, that's it, everybody. Happy holidays!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Mononoke Sugoroku

I've got something for all of you that I think you'll like. I managed to snag a copy of Ganbare Goemon: Mononoke Sugoroku for the N64, a Japanese-exclusive game. I got it a few weeks ago, but something came up in my personal life that kept me from scanning the manual for quite a while. Anyway, now that things have finally been taken care of, I was able to scan the manual and upload a zip file to Megaupload. You can find the file here. Please pardon the lopsided pages and excessive blank space that came about as a result. If you'd like me to rescan, let me know by December.

I can't wait to try this game in a month and a half...

Monday, October 27, 2008

Ganbare Goemon in English Not Game

Yes, the bad English is deliberate. It's following something the makers of Ace Attorney (or "Gyakuten Saiban", as it's known in Japan) did recently.

Anyway, I was planning to make this announcement tomorrow or the next day, but since I'm feeling better now then I thought I originally thought I would, I'll just go ahead and let the cat out of the bag a couple days early. I'm pretty sure I've decided what Japanese Goemon-related...thing I'm going to translate next, and as the title suggests, it's not a game. Those of you who know me well outside of DeviantART will probably be able to guess what it is, but I don't want to say exactly what I'm planning so as not to raise hopes unnecessarily. And don't worry, I promise you it's not a musical featuring our favorite mystical ninjas.

By the way, for those of you who are wondering what the heck I'm talking about when I make the references to "Gyakuten Saiban Not Game" or musicals, you can look at the first news item here and at this page (Japanese language support is recommended.)

Saturday, August 30, 2008

They say it's your birthday!

When I write fanfiction, I usually have a rule that I only work on one at a time. This way, I can stay focused and make sure it gets done before moving on to something else, plus I don't have to think about a bunch of different fics on top of what my hectic real life. Well, they say rules are meant to be broken.

But I've got a good reason for that. I noticed a while ago that the birthday of a good friend in the Goemon fandom was fast approaching, so I halted production on the one I was working on at the time to write up something to celebrate the special occasion and show my gratitude. This is the result.

So, happy birthday, RandomS! It took me forever to come up with the story, and it ended up being the longest chapter of any fic I've ever written thus far, but I hope you like it anyway.

Friday, August 15, 2008

GG4 - Omitsu

Ganbare Goemon 4 (English) - Omitsu

And now, I present to you, the good people of the Interweb, the very strange Omitsu scene from Ganbare Goemon 4. Released on July 23, 2008, this video actually took several months to make. Finally, it's here for your viewing pleasure, as is the full script and a (hopefully) brief commentary. Here goes.

Goemon: Omitsu!
Omitsu: Goemon, it’s been a long time, hasn’t it?
Goemon: Omitsu, what are you doing here?
Omitsu: I missed you, Goemon. Say, do you like me?
Goemon: I like you!
Omitsu: It’s true! Say, do you like tanukis?
Goemon: I like tanuki udon.
Omitsu: My soft cheeks are much more delicious than any udon. Mm-hm!
Goemon: Omi-Omi-- Oh my...Dehehehe...
Goemon: Unn...huh? Where am I?
Goemon: Omitsu, what are you doing here?
Omitsu: I missed you, Goemon. Say, do you like me?
Goemon: I like you!
Omitsu: It’s true! Say, do you like tanukis?
Goemon: I like the goal tanuki.
Omitsu: Good! I’m glad! W-Wait, no, I’m not glad...So, why do you like it so much?
Goemon: I want the money from him.
Omitsu: Well, for the right price, my soft cheeks are very, very good.
Goemon: Dehe, dehe, dehehehe...
Goemon: Omitsu, what are you doing here?
Omitsu: I missed you, Goemon. Say, do you like me?
Goemon: I like you!
Omitsu: It’s true! Say, do you like tanukis?
Goemon: I like the goal tanuki.
Omitsu: Good! I’m glad! W-Wait, no, I’m not glad...So, why do you like it so much?
Goemon: Because I want to proceed.
Omitsu: Being away from you and all your encouragement would be bad. So, after this, we will be together forever.
Goemon: Ah, Omitsu, don’t go! Don’t go, don’t go...Ah!
Goemon: Omitsu, what are you doing here?
Omitsu: I missed you, Goemon. Say, do you like me?
Goemon: I hate you!
Omitsu: You’re so awful! You like Yae more than me!
Goemon: That kind of talk can’t possibly be true!
Omitsu: Yeah, you’re right...Say, do you like tanukis?
Goemon: I like tanuki udon.
Omitsu: My soft cheeks are much more delicious than any udon. Mm-hmm!
Goemon: Omi-Omi-- Oh my...Dehehehe...
Goemon: Omitsu, what are you doing here?
Omitsu: I missed you, Goemon. Say, do you like me?
Goemon: I hate you!
Omitsu: You’re so awful! You like Yae more than me!
Goemon: What the hell are you talking about?! Can’t you see that’s ridiculous?!
Omitsu: Well, do you suppose anybody is as charming as li’l old me?
Goemon: Ah! A smelly tanuki!
Omitsu: I’m shocked! (Gasp!) Oof...
Goemon: Eh? You’re kidding, right, Omitsu? You can’t die! Quit messing around and open your eyes! OMITSUUUU!
Omitsu: You’re so awful! You like Yae more than me!
Goemon: What the hell are you talking about?! Can’t you see that’s ridiculous?!
Omitsu: Say, do you suppose anybody is as charming as li’l old me?
Goemon: Eh? “Li’l old me?”
Omitsu: Ah, ha ha! No, no...I said “olé.” You know, like in soccer.
Goemon: You know, I’m pretty good at soccer.
Omitsu: It’s true! Say, do you like tanukis?
Omitsu: Ah, ha ha! No, no...I said “olé.” You know, like in soccer.
Goemon: That’s strange...
Omitsu: I’m telling you, I’m not a tanuki! Please believe me!
Goemon: Prove it!
Tanukichi: But my tail and my ass may be a bit too much proof for you! *Lick*
Goemon: N-Nose...bleed...oof! Pfft...
Omitsu: Ah, ha ha! No, no...I said “olé.” You know, like in soccer.
Goemon: That’s strange...
Omitsu: I’m telling you, I’m not a tanuki! Please believe me!
Goemon: You are a tanuki!
Tanukichi: Pon-poko-pon! You’re absolutely correct! One more thing before the end, though...The happiness of a dream world, or the cruelty of the real world...If you had the choice, which would you prefer?
Goemon: Dream world.
Tanukichi: Of course you would! Everything will be just like a good dream. Pon-poko pon-poko...
Goemon: Unn...
Omitsu: I’m telling you, I’m not a tanuki! Please believe me!
Goemon: You are a tanuki!
Tanukichi: Pon-poko-pon! You’re absolutely correct! One more thing before the end, though...The happiness of a dream world, or the cruelty of the real world...If you had the choice, which would you prefer?
Goemon: Real world.
Tanukichi: Excellent! Well said! You are a splendid fellow in this day and age, aren’t you? You were pleased with the way your life was. I will undo this town’s jutsu for you.
Goemon: Hoo hoo hoo! It’s obvious! You should always be scared when dealing with the Great Goemon!

Yes, it's long, but let me just say a few things about the format. The video itself is divided into "takes", with each take being a separate attempt by Goemon to get past Omitsu. Each of the "---"s in the script denotes the end of a take. Also, there were lots of repeats in the actual video footage. In order to save time and my computer's RAM, I decided to cut out some of these repeats. If I remember correctly, only one of them has the end of the dialog cut out, while most of them have the early dialog and the part where Goemon wakes up in the middle of the desert cut out. Hopefully, this isn't too confusing. Please note that the script as it is seen here is as it is in the actual video, all cuts included. Now, onto the "good stuff."

First of all, it's probably worth mentioning that this is the first scene that was translated without the help of a native speaker. This was translated almost entirely by Sarahsuke and me. With that being said, the likelihood of translation errors is pretty high. I don't know if I'll eventually have my grandmother check this for accuracy or not.

Now then, anybody who wants to read up on tanukis can go here. Now that that's out of the way, let's look at the actual scene.

The tanuki's tactics are simple. Seduce Goemon to cloud his mind and make sure he doesn't get past, so the town could remain under its spell. Omitsu seemed like the best person for the job. Why not Yae? Well, the most obvious reason is that she's currently on a different moon, and it's not really conceivable that she would halt her mission to see Goemon about this (please, let's not discuss how inconceivable it would be for Omitsu to fly to another planet). Another reason is that Yae has never once expressed any romantic interest in Goemon. But has Omitsu? Well, chances are, yes, even in the games. Keep in mind how many times Goemon has saved her. Also, she's clearly on his mind a lot. The whole reason for him going on the quest in Goemon Gaiden 2 is so that he could get enough money to take her on a lavish date. Also note that "Omitsu" accused him of liking Yae more than her, and he denies it either way.

One of the most challenging issues I've come across so far was in this scene, and was largely responsible for the delay in translation. The problem was first person personal pronouns. Though English has only one that I know of that could work in this situation ("me"), Japanese has a bunch ("watakushi", "watashi", "boku", "atai", and "ore", to list a few), with varying degrees of politeness and even ones that are used more by one gender than another. Whereas Omitsu usually uses the second one, she ends up using the fifth one (pronounced "o-ray") in this case. If you look back at the script, I'm looking specifically at where she says "Well, do you suppose anybody is as charming as li’l old me?". "Li'l old me" was a contribution from Sarahsuke, and I'm glad she suggested it because it works better than anything I've been able to come up with since. So, rather than making her speech rougher than usual, she speaks more politely (making her a Southern belle, of sorts). This also works out nicely when she starts to lose it and claims she actually said "olé" (which does sound quite a bit like the Japanese word "ore"). That part of the translation didn't have to change.

The "Pon-poko" stuff is a sound that's typically associated with tanukis. Specifically, it refers to a drumming sound (probably drumming on their large stomachs), and those two "words" are repeated as much as needed. With that being said, in retrospect, it might not have been such a good idea to have him say "Pon-poko-pon"...

Remember, if you will, that the screwy town where Goemon finds this tanuki includes a chapel where he's apparently getting married to Omitsu, and another house where they're holding a funeral for Ebisumaru (I'm not sure if I mentioned this...EBISUMARU, NOOOOOO!!!). If this is the "dream world" that the tanuki mentions, the one that promises "happiness," does that mean that Goemon's dream world is one where Ebisumaru is dead? Holy crap, I hope not!

Well, that's about it, I guess. Hope you guys enjoyed learning about Ganbare Goemon 4. It's a great game.

So, is there anything else coming? Well...I'm not quite sure. The tentative answer is yes, but it'll probably be a while before you see anything of that. I just started the fall semester, and I still have no idea how difficult it's gonna be. On top of that, I might have to look for a new emulator (since I'm moving to a game on a different system, and the one I have now can't record video). As I often say, we'll see.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Announcing...Goemon fanfic #2

This news is a bit late, but almost a year after starting my last fic, I've finally overcome my writer's block (with a little help from Sarahsuke, of course) and started working on my next one. It's called "A Promise Worth Keeping" (another strange title, I know), and the first chapter was published on July 22, 2008. As of this writing, 3 chapters have been uploaded, and the 4th one is a little less than halfway done.

The main focus of this story is on the relationship of Goemon and Omitsu, childhood friends from the first day she moved to Oedo Town and they made a fateful promise to each other (yes, the one that's alluded to in the title). Although Omitsu is far from my favorite character, I still feel like she's unfairly criticized and horribly underrated; thus, I feel it's my duty as a just "artist" of sorts to shine some much-needed positive light on her.

Anyway, it also involves Bismaru the cross-dresser, and if you're patient, Jurokubei himself may make an appearance. I'm not planning on having any major OCs in this story, nor is it going to be as long or epic as AVD. However, I will be attempting to portray characters that are more "real" and easy to relate to, hopefully redeeming myself for any OOC-type behavior that was in AVD.

Enjoy the story! Feedback of any kind (as long as it's comprehensible and at least somewhat helpful...tell me specifically what you liked or didn't like!) is greatly appreciated, as always.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

GG4 - Ending

Ganbare Goemon 4 Ending in English

...Wow, where have I been? Well, suffice it to say that I had other important things to take care of over the past month and a half or so. I apologize for the long hiatus, but I'm back to say a few things about the ending to GG4. This video was released on May 13, 2008, and rushed in its completion due to a faulty computer and that vengeful fiend known as laziness. Anyway, here's the script.

Seppukumaru: Son of a bitch! I think it’s time for...the Seppuku Challenge! AAAAHHH! YOOOWCH! This is the ultimate sport! I have to perform seppuku!
Goemon: Oh no! He’s still got a bomb in his body!
Ebisumaru: Planet Impact will be destroyed!
Impact: I’ll take care of this! Everybody get ready to disembark! Shuwatchi!
Goemon: Impact...I think he’s going to die...
Ebisumaru: Couldn’t we have eaten something first? I don’t feel well...
Sasuke: I’m filled with regret, too...
Yae: No, don’t say that! I’m sure he’ll come back!
Impact: Seppukumaru! I won’t let you do this!
Seppukumaru: D-Damn it!
Impact: And now Seppukumaru and I are going to the sun! Thank you so much for everything, everybody. And...goodbye...
Seppukumaru: Ah! Seppuku, the ultimate sport...I never thought it would be this painful...
Impact: Seppukumaru! Let me give you some advice...Seppuku is not a sport!
Seppukumaru: What did you say?! You idiot!
Impact: WHAAAT THE--?!
Narrator: Seppukumaru hit Impact so hard, he miraculously made it back to Goemon’s location...
Ebisumaru: Ha ha ha! What’s up with your hair?!
Sasuke: My stomach’s all twisted from laughing so hard!
Yae: Oo hoo hoo...It really fits you! Right, Goemon?
Goemon: Ah...ha ha! He can be a great dancer and tour the whole universe!
Impact: D-Dancer?!

The first thing I should do is explain the "Shuwatchi" reference. It's a reference to Ultraman, namely the sound effect of him taking off. Looking up the phrase on Google was like rediscovering a lost part of my childhood. I remember seeing books about Ultraman at my grandmother's house, but I don't remember anything about him at all...

Ebisumaru complaining about not having anything to eat is another pun, though this one was a lot easier to handle than some of the ones I had to deal with in the past. "Shinuki" (dying) vs. "meshinuki" (can't eat). If you look carefully at the Japanese text, you'll notice that these two words are in quotes, so you can see the difference between the two words for yourself.

One thing I had no idea about until beating the game this time around...You unlock another minigame for beating the game with 100% completion. It's called "Time Pilot", and it's a pretty fun, though insanely difficult, shooter. I used the videos on this guy's Youtube channel during the translation process. Use those videos if you want to get 100% completion.

And that concludes Ganbare Goemon and the Sparkling Journey: The Reason I Became a Dancer...well, sort of. There's still that Omitsu scene. Well, fear not, because I have a rough draft of that scene complete, and I'm currently waiting for it to be proofread. Look for it soon.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

GG4 - Part 5

Ganbare Goemon 4 (English) - Impact/Seppukumaru

Released on April 27, 2008, this video doesn't have much. It was made in a relatively short amount of time as a result. I just feel like I've been too busy with other stuff to start writing this before now.

Anyway, this takes care of what happens on Planet Impact and the deja vu final area (thus the naming of this video after both Impact and Seppukumaru, for those of you who haven't played this far through the game), up to and including the "Fainoru Battoru" ("Final Battle") against Mr. Harakiri Seppukumaru himself. What a nut that guy is. Let's just get on with it, shall we?

Scene 22: To Planet Impact

Impact: Oh! Look at that, everyone!
Goemon: The fog is disappearing!
Ebisumaru: Now we’re ready to go to Planet Impact!
Sasuke: We’re all going together from this point on...
Yae: Do you suppose we can find out what that “Seppuku Challenge” is about?
Goemon: Bah! Seppukumaru, Shmeppukumaru! I’ll make him pay!
Impact: Let’s go! To my old home! actually "Heppokomaru" in the original Japanese text. But, this is how Americans show their lack of respect towards something or someone, so I decided to change it. This type of speech seems similar to something that comes up in MNSG, when Goemon rambles on about how he's going to defeat the villains, no matter what food they actually associate themselves with.

Scene 23: Seppuku

Sasuke: You...!
Rokudenashi: Long time no see. I knew you would come here, so we’ve been waiting.
Nyanko: EEE! Thanks to all of you, our efforts were fruitless!
Hatarino: Lord Seppukumaru is really serious about this. We can’t do anything to stop him!
Itakaro: Ke ke! If Lord Seppukumaru commits seppuku, this star will blow up! (Ke!)
Rokudenashi: But we can depend on you guys. You’re our last hope!
Sasuke: What are you saying?
Rokudenashi: Lord Seppukumaru is an extreme sportsman and loves every kind of sport!
Nyanko: But there are some sports he shouldn’t do!
Itakaro: Ke ke! That’s why he wants to try seppuku!
Hatarino: If he decides to commits seppuku, he would be ending his own life!
Nyanko: Well, Lord Seppukumaru has to try everything. Otherwise, he’s not satisfied...
Rokudenashi: But if Lord Seppukumaru decides to commit seppuku, the bomb in his body will destroy this star!
Sasuke: Bomb in his body?! Hmm...We have to stop Seppukumaru! Where is he?
Rokudenashi: He’s on his spaceship, the Sportsman Ship. But nobody knows where that is, exactly...ha ha...
Nyanko: We’re watching Lord Seppukumaru to make sure he never tries his Seppuku Challenge.
Itakaro: Lord Seppukumaru’s escaped, and now that we’ve been seen with you...(Ke ke!)
Hatarino: You must go and take care of this! Farewell!
Sasuke: We have to search for Seppukumaru! Impact, we have to find him for the sake of peace in space!

I think it's interesting how each of the four main characters has a different way of saying "you." That just makes Japanese all the more complicated. I'm pretty sure the specific things that the hero says change depending on which character you use, but like GG3, I would imagine it's the same basic idea. I thought Sasuke would be the easiest to translate. Yae may also have been a good choice for simplicity's sake, but I have terrible luck with her in most of the games, so I tend to play as Sasuke most often.

Yes, I know I said before that Seppukumaru isn't the only person in this game that has a bomb in his body. Looks like I was wrong. Chances are, I made a mistake because the subject of the sentence isn't always clearly stated in Japanese.

By the way, Sportsman Ship may be one of the greatest puns in the entire series. I just wanted to throw that out there.

Also, like I did with the Omikuji Siblings, I referred to the Tsujigiri by their individual names in this scene (as given in the anime, I believe). I hope I got em right.

Scene 24: Final Battle

Seppukumaru: Ha ha ha! You are so foolish! You would dare to challenge the great, extreme sportsman Seppukumaru?! You’ve made me very angry, and that is inexcusable! Planet Impact will easily attract my satellite bomb! All of you, along with this star, will become brilliant fireworks in space!
Seppukumaru: Damn you! How can you embarrass me like that?! That won’t happen next time! Ha ha ha ha! I was just kidding around before, but now I invite you to travel the whole universe!
Seppukumaru: Damn it! You’re doing very well! But how much more patience can I have? I think I’ve been playing around too much...Let’s end this game!
Seppukumaru: Damn it! I’m supposed to be a super strong sportsman! Can this be so?!...I see...huh...I think I may have waited far too long to master seppuku. You dare to say no to me?!

The name of the "level" where you fight Seppukumaru is (I hope I'm remembering this correctly) "Fainoru Battoru", which, as I mentioned earlier, is literally "Final Battle." Clever, eh?

So, why does Seppukumaru want to destroy Planet Impact so badly? Umm...I'm not quite sure. An intergalactic fireworks show, perhaps? But then he wants to destroy Goemon and crew so badly that they end up drifting through empty space for the rest of their lives. What a nut. As if the whole seppuku thing wasn't bad enough.

The very last line would read better if it was something along the lines of "You dare to deny me?!" He's referring, of course, to the fact that everybody (the Tsujigiri and Team Goemon) seems to be trying to stop him from committing seppuku (for obvious reasons). This leads to an interesting hypothesis proposed by none other than the brilliant Sarahsuke: The Tsujigiri imprisoned Seppukumaru on Planet Impact and built the shield to keep him from escaping and wreaking havoc on the whole universe by killing himself. Bored with this restriction, Seppukumaru started causing "all kinds of trouble" on Planet Impact, which prompted Goemon Impact's return to his home. When they got there, they obviously couldn't get to the planet, so they worked to deactivate the shield. Of course, the Tsujigiri didn't want them to succeed, as it would mean the death of their beloved leader and the obliteration of Planet Impact and the surrounding stars. Unfortunately for them, the ninjas were successful, which lowered the shield and allowed Seppukumaru to escape. With nowhere else to turn, the Tsujigiri pleaded with their former opponents to find Seppukumaru and stop him from committing seppuku. Pretty strange, huh? It may not ever be explicitly stated, but it puts a bit of an interesting twist on the story.'s been almost a full month since I started writing this thing (it's the morning of May 30 right now). I apologize profusely. By this time, I've uploaded the translated ending and all the Omitsu scenes without subtitles on YouTube. Why without subtitles? So people can help me out with it. Let me know if you're interested.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Ebisumaru - With A Little Help From My Friends

So, I was looking at a friend's YouTube profile earlier today (or yesterday, depending on where you are), and I noticed she uploaded a new video. My favorite character from this series has been featured in an AMV with an excellent song by my favorite band...happiness on all sides (Ugh...I can't believe I wrote that, I feel evil now). And she mentioned me and the translation project in the video description...that was nice of her, I think.

Thank you very much for brightening my day, mysticalninjaduelist/RandomS! Even if it doesn't help this project get more attention, at least you've made yet another great video! Everybody who reads this should go and tell her how awesome she is!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

GG4 - Part 4

Ganbare Goemon 4 (English) - Yae pt. 1

Because of YouTube's time restrictions, I had to do something a little bit different this time around: I released two Yae videos. This first one was uploaded on April 20, 2008 and covered 5 scenes. Let's start.

Scene 14: Kaizo

Kaizo: Oh! Even someone with a tender face like yours has a great weapon like that! It doesn’t fit someone like you!
Yae: Eh? This bazooka?
Kaizo: Yeah! If I had that weapon, I could have the power of a million people! Well, give it to me! Give it to me!
Narrator: Give the bazooka?
Yae: Give./Don’t give.
Kaizo: Ga ha ha! Gotcha! I was just kidding...Now that I think about it, we don’t even have the necessary parts! There’s an old man in Fubi City who owns a shop where they sell stuff like that. I ordered something from them last month. Would you go get it for me?
Yae: What?! Me?
Kaizo: Of course! I’m gonna do you a favor, so you can do this simple thing for me! Well, I’m counting on you! And Yae's crazy if she's even considering giving the bazooka to him.

Kaizo is one of many NPC names in GG4 that's a pun. The word "kaizou" means "remodeling" or "reconstructing" in Japanese, which fits considering the fact that he (eventually) remodels the bazooka.

I had to do some math with this scene, and with one other one that I'll mention later. The Japanese number system is..."based" on ten thousands (the proper term is escaping me at the moment), whereas English is "based" on hundreds. So, this was 100 ten thousands, or 1,000,000.

Scene 15: That's What I Want

Gatekeeper: If you want to pass through here, you need to pay 100,000,000 ryo!
Yae: What?!
Yae: I understand./I’ll kill you!
Gatekeeper: Very well!

Anybody ever heard of the song "Money"? The Beatles covered it. Anyway, that's where I got the title.

The Gatekeeper guy ends most of his sentences with "zukin," which is a hood (remember that the "hooded halfwits" were "baka zukin"). Unfortunately, there's really no way to translate this weird idiosyncrasy into English, so it had to be cut out completely.

Scene 16: Dirty Jobs with Yae

Nikuemon: Oh my--! Young ladies shouldn’t come to a place like this.
Yae: Mister! I need 100,000,000 ryo!
Nikuemon: Heh...100,000,000 ryo, eh? You’re so young and you need this kind of money? That’s unusual. This job is not what you think. It’s not very clean. Why don’t you look someplace else?
Yae: I understand. I quit!/Please, I want to do it!
Nikuemon: You don’t understand. Once you start this job, you won’t be able to go back after a while. Is that okay?
Yae: I don’t care!/That worries me...
Nikuemon: Are you ready? Then from now on, you’re my slave! I don’t want to hear any complaining out of you! Come into the other room and I’ll give you your assignment. Quickly, now! This way!
Nikuemon: Forget about yourself! Just do as I say and satisfy me needs. I’ll teach you an important lesson! If you go out this door, don’t be ashamed, but buy everything I tell you to! Okay! Hurry! Remember everything I’m telling you! Green onion...Tofu...Shirataki...Beef...4 things altogether! I’ll give you one and a half million ryo, so get started! There are 3 produce shops. Use your head and spend your money wisely. If you don’t buy everything, there will be trouble...Well, my slave! Go to the store!
Nikuemon: Oh! Welcome home, my slave! How did it go? Hand over your sack! Show me. Hmm...beef...okay! Hmm...shirataki...okay! Hmm...tofu...okay! onion...okay! Oh! Splendid! I knew you could do it! Well done, well done! I must reward you for doing such a great job! Here’s the 100,000,000 ryo you asked for!

First of all, the title is a reference to the name of a TV show and the one line where the boss says that this job is "not very clean." I just thought I should get that out of the way.

Nikuemon is yet another punny name. The word literally means "flesh clothing" or "body clothing", probably a reference to something he clearly lacks.

Chances are you already know what three of the items he asks for are, but you may or may not be familiar with shirataki. Well, here's some info. And here is a picture of some different brands (I think). There also seems to be shirataki shaped like fettuccine and spaghetti, so I guess most types of low-calorie Japanese noodles would qualify.

I'm well aware of most (if not all) of the suggestiveness in this scene. Actually, I'm pretty sure I changed some of it to make it seem slightly more innocent, but there's still a bit there. For all I know, this could've been an unconscious decision. I've been corrupted somehow.

Scene 17: Money Makes the World Go Round

Gatekeeper: Oh! Oh! The 100,000,000 ryo! Thank you. Ah! It looks like it’s all there! You know, since you’re such a hot chick, I’ll tell you something great! This town’s Tub Man knows a lot of great magic! If you flatter him a bit, he’ll be glad to teach you something!
Yae: T-Tub Man? Understood! I’ll be sure to go look for him!
Gatekeeper: Well then, farewell!

The "hot chick" term was "pretty girl", then "hot girl" for a while, until I realized that the Japanese term is considered fairly low-class and I could go further with that. Thus, Yae is the hot chick. Big surprise there.

Scene 18: The Missing Piece

Yae: Kaizo from the Stream Town asked me to come and get something for him...
Parts Shop: Ah, I have the part right here. It’s very small, so don’t you dare lose it!
Yae: Th-This is the missing piece? I can barely even see it. Well, thank you very much.

Not much to say here. The fact that this guy tells Yae not to lose the part suggests that she will, but, surprisingly (or perhaps not), she never does.

So, that's it for Part 1 of the Yae series. Part 2, which was released the next day, April 21, 2008, covers the last 3 scenes.

Ganbare Goemon 4 (English) - Yae pt. 2

Scene 19: Rub-a-dub-dub

Tub Man: What’re you looking at?
Narrator: What are you gonna say to improve the Tub Man’s mood?
Yae: You’re so handsome!/You’re so beautiful!
Yae: Oh, you’re just so beautiful! I can’t take my eyes off of you!
Tub Man: Ooh, you understand! You may not be as beautiful as me, but you’re pretty cute yourself. I’ll give you something G-O-O-D!
Yae: Y-Yes, please do...
Tub Man: Voila! I’ll make you beautiful, and you’ll even be able to swim underwater!
Yae: Underwater? Really?
Tub Man: Yeah! You’ll be like a fish woman!
Yae: (Ooh...the power of the Mermaid Jutsu is within me now!)
Narrator: Yae gained the Mermaid Jutsu. Push the blue button while swimming at the surface of the water, and you can transform!
Tub Man: Now go forth! The life of a fish woman is the color of the rose!
Yae: (M-My life...) Umm...if you say so. Well, goodbye!

What a strange person. I know if somebody like Yae called me "beautiful" (or handsome, for that matter), I would probably just stare with a dumbfounded expression on my face and wonder what the hell they're thinking. Or if they're blind or something...err, I'd better shut up now.

Well, if Sasuke can be a spider, Yae can be a fish woman. It only makes sense. But I don't really know what he means exactly when he says that the life of a fish woman is the color of the rose. Does that mean it's a happy life? Like, pink? Or red? I'm kind of confused...

Scene 20: Kaizo Revisited

Yae: (Huff, huff) I brought that part back.
Kaizo: Oh, you’re so late! I was getting tired of waiting for you!
Yae: Please take care of this right away.
Kaizo: Okay! Just a moment, watch carefully how I do this!
Yae: Ah!
Kaizo: Ooh! Success!
Yae: Thank you so much! Well, I think it’s time for me to say goodbye and get going!
Kaizo: Hey, wait just a minute! You have to give me money! Money! Ga ha ha! Oh, never mind. You’re special, so I think this one’ll be free!
Narrator: Yae obtained the lock-on bazooka! Now you can defeat many enemies at the same time!
Kaizo: Do your best, Mr. Long-haired guy!
Yae: I’m a woman!
Kaizo: I’m just joking!

I for one find it hilarious that Kaizo calls Yae a "long-haired" guy, especially considering how everybody else she meets comments on how beautiful she is. And yes, I'm probably gonna get shot for saying that.

Actually, I originally had him being fully convinced (rather than just joking) that Yae is really a boy. But, it's somewhat ambiguous, and given his personality, I thought this made more sense. Oh well. If I got it wrong, I got it wrong. Not a big deal.

Scene 21: And You Must be...the Crybaby

Tsujigiri: EEE!
Yae: Wh-What the--?! It’s a monster!
Tsujigiri: EEEEE! Monster?! What is this? You shouldn’t be so stuck up just because you’re more beautiful than I am!
Yae: Heh heh...ha...
Tsujigiri: I’m just tired because we’ve been busy every day trying to stop Lord Seppukumaru from carrying out his “Seppuku Challenge”!
Yae: “Seppuku Challenge?” How strange...
Tsujigiri: EE EE EEEEEE! Even so, I have to stop all of you from taking over this castle and interfering with our plans! I’ve got an idea! I can fight you with my giant robot!
Yae: Giant robot, you say? I’d better call Impact!

OK...I only used this title because my dad worked on "Thumb Wars." The scene goes a little something like this (I may have gotten one or two things wrong, but...oh well. Most of this is copied from the imdb page.):

Loke Groundrunner: (sobbing)
Oobedoob Benubi: Crying is for little girls, babies, and men who just had their ears ripped off.
Loke Groundrunner: (sniffs) Wh-Who are you?
Oobedoob Benubi: I am Oobedoob Benubi. I have the silliest name in the galaxy.
Loke Groundrunner: What's your middle-name?
Oobedoob Benubi: Scooby-Dooby.
Loke Groundrunner: Oobedoob Scooby-Dooby Benubi?
Oobedoob Benubi: One and the same. And you must be...the Crybaby.

I barely made it here in one piece...the last room in this place is pretty tough to get through. Oh well, that's of little importance.

What is important is that I've figured out that all the mechas that the Tsujigiri use have names. They are:

Itakaro:Junkie (Something like that)
Rokudenashi: Montana Q
Hatarino: Samurainer (The last part is supposed to sound like "liner")
Nyanko: Miss Mizugei (Literally, "Miss Water Tricks")

So, that's it for this post. If you like my work (or even if you hate it), please let me know what you think. Perhaps this is a good time to remind people that you do NOT need an account to leave comments here on the blog. Anonymous comments are welcome.

I can't tell you how discouraging it is to do something like this and get the impression that very few people care. Well, that's how I feel right now. I hate to beg, I really do, but I need more reassurance from the fandom that this is worth it. I'm not saying you have to comment on every thing every single week, but I'm doing this for the good of the fans, and there's no point in continuing if nobody seems to be interested. You can take that as a threat.

Sorry, I just think that this is making me really bitter right now. So, on that rather...unhappy note, I bid you all farewell.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

GG4 - Part 3

Ganbare Goemon 4 (English) - Sasuke

Released on April 13, 2008, this is the video that makes English translations of "Sasuke's scenes" from Ganbare Goemon 4 available to you. This is likely my favorite of the three GG4 videos I've released so far. I think the strange characters that Sasuke meets along the way make this a very interesting batch. So, without any further ado, let's discuss them.

Scene 9: Sasuke the Paperboy

Delivery man: (Cough! Cough!) Unn...I caught a cold, but I have to deliver the morning newspaper. I don’t think I can make it. Do you know anybody else who can do this for me? (Cough!) It would help a lot! (Hack!)
Sasuke: How about me?/Goodbye!
Delivery man: Lucky! Thank you! There are 6 newspapers altogether! You have to deliver all the newspapers before the chicken cries three time. I will give you something great if you can do this! (Cough!) Well, good luck! (Cough! Cough! Cough!)
Sasuke: Here’s your newspaper!
Birobiro: Thank you very much! Just leave it there.
Sasuke: Phew! Just in time. Well, I’d better head back to that news shop.
Delivery man: Oh! You did a good job! I promised you that I would give you something special...(Cough!) With this pass, you won’t have any problems getting past the guard at the edge of town. Well, it’s freezing, so don’t get catch a cold...(Cough! Cough!)

"Birobiro" is apparently yet another punny Japanese name that is the sound of somebody sticking their tongue out. Sarahsuke has proposed a theory (she's a smart one, isn't she) that some of the NPCs in Sasuke's chapter of the game have names that have to do with being sick, since they live in a place that's always cold. Pretty interesting, eh?

The Delivery man actually says he'll give Sasuke important news or information, so I didn't get that one quite right. It'll all make sense later.

Scene 10: We're All Bombs, Hey!

Bomber: Yah! I’m a bomb! You’re a bomb, too! I saw you working very hard this morning. You’re a very nice guy. No, wait, the best guy! Am I right? Ga ha ha ha ha ha...phew...
Sasuke: What just happened?
Bomber: Lately, we’ve been making great big bombs and making lots of money from them! But I’d like to make something even bigger than that! Huge!
Sasuke: Well, you could power up my firecracker bomb!
Bomber: All right, baldy! If you want it, you have to give me 500 ryo first!
Sasuke: Y-You want money?!
Narrator: Will you pay 500 ryo?
Sasuke: Pay./I quit!
Sasuke: Please do it!
Bomber: Oh, this’ll be a piece of cake! Yaaah! Raaah! Oooh waah! A ha! I did it! See, baldy, I made a very powerful firecracker bomb! You can shoot huge fireworks with this baby!
Narrator: Sasuke obtained the Big Firecracker Bombs! These bombs cause a huge explosion!
Sasuke: I’m very happy with this! Well, I’ll see you again sometime. Goodbye!

I'm a dude, he's a dude, she's a dude, we're all dudes, HEY!...All right, I'd best shut up before people get irritated. I don't even know if those are the real lyrics...

Wow, this guy's a real nut. Apparently, Sasuke thinks so, too. He seems really confused a lot of the time in this video.

The Bomber (who is called "Bakudan", which means "bomb" in Japanese) refers to Sasuke as "bouzu", a term that was used to describe young boys at the time. Nowadays, it's a crew cut, but back then boys used to have shaved heads, and bouzu refers to this fact. So the Bomber gives this guy, "the best guy", a nickname that refers to the fact that he's lacking in the hair department. By the way, even though he says he's a bomb, I thought it would be weird to just call him "Bomb". Everybody in this game seems to have a strange preoccupation with them...

Scene 11: The Mysterious Mecha-maniac

Sasuke: I have a pass here. Please let me through.
Guard: I have a pass. All right, you can go! However, there are lots of deep canyons up ahead, so you’ll have a hard time going through. If you can climb the walls, you might be able to make it. Otherwise, you might as well turn back now.
Messenger: (Huff, huff...) Are you Sasuke? I have a special message for you from the delivery man!
Sasuke: You can get a mechanical powerup if you come to Tundra Town. Come and see!...Mecha-maniac. Hmm...I’d better go see what this means!

This was the important news that the Delivery Man was talking about. I don't know whether it's a letter or an advertisement of some kind, but I'm guessing the latter because of the next scene. I hope I made it clear enough that Sasuke is reading from the ad or letter at the end...

"Come and see!" is ripped directly from a refrain in a Decemberists song.

Scene 12: Sasuke the Spider

Mecha-maniac: Oo, hee hee...I am not an octopus! I am the Mecha-maniac! Did you see my advertisement? All right, we’ll power you up right away! Oo, hee hee hee!
Sasuke: I’ve got a bad feeling about this...
Mecha-maniac: All right, we’re finished!
Sasuke: I don’t think anything’s changed...
Mecha-maniac: No! That’s not true! You can use your kunai to climb on walls now! You’ll be an expert at that, it’ll change your entire life! Well? How do you like that?
Sasuke: Th-Thank you very much.
Narrator: Sasuke gained the kunai climbing ability! Move towards the wall and press the blue button!
Mecha-maniac: (There’s still 1 part left over, but I’d better not say anything...)

Spiderbot, Spiderbot. Does whatever a Spiderbot does...wait, that's not quite right, is it?

Ah, Mekamania, which I translated as Mecha-maniac. He's got one of the many weird laughs that some characters in this series are known for (Bismaru comes to mind right away as another example).

It's a bit ambiguous what the maniac's really talking about with the advertisement, so I just assumed that he was welcoming Sasuke as an interested customer who had seen his ad and come in for an upgrade. He's apparently not very good, though. He left a part out, but as far as I know, it doesn't really affect Sasuke negatively. It was probably included just to worry the player.

Scene 13: Hairy (and Grumpy) Manju

Tsujigiri: Hoo, hoo, hoo, hoo, hoo, hoo...
Sasuke: (Hmm...What a suspicious fellow.) (He looks like a manju with hair...) (He’s not saying anything. He’s so quiet, I have no idea what he’s thinking about...) Hey you! Mr. Hairy Manju!
Tsujigiri: H-Hairy manju?! Now you’ve really made me mad! I’m gonna kill you! I’ll fight you with my giant robot!
Sasuke: Hmm...Is something bothering you? Where’d you go? Well, if you want a fight, I’m not going to run away! I’d better call Impact to help me!

Here is the Wikipedia page on manju. Unfortunately, there's no picture. But fear not! That's what Google Image search is for!

Heh, Hatarino's reaction is a bit...extreme. And this is all the proof I need that Sasuke is fairly naive in his interactions with other people.

So, that about wraps it up for this one. I hope you guys enjoyed watching this set of scenes as much as I did. It's likely my favorite of the three so far.

Also, I'd just like to remind anybody who's interested that I'm looking for help with this. You don't even have to know Japanese, contact me and I'll see what I can have you do. I'm most interested in recruiting some translators right now, but even people who want to help with publicity or production of the videos are welcome. Just throwing that out there.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

GG4 - Part 2

Ganbare Goemon 4 (English) - Ebisumaru

I'm a bit later than I would've liked in getting this up, but here it is. (Who would have guessed that I'd have LESS free time during a week where I have no exams?) Released on April 8, 2008, this video covers the Forest Area (Ebisumaru). It was great, although very challenging, to make a video that featured my favorite character in the series. Yes, these scenes laid the weird Kansai-ben dialect on very heavily, making it somewhat difficult even for native speakers of (Tokyo) Japanese to understand. Let's just get to the analysis...

Scene 6: Rivals from the Start

Ebisumaru: H-He looks just like me!
Obisumaru: Oh my--! Wh-What’s going on? It’s like looking in a mirror!
Ebisumaru: Except he’s got an ugly nose. It looks like botamochi...
Obisumaru: B-Botamochi?! Well, you look like a filthy tanuki, with the big gut jiggling from side to side and everything! I think I look respectable!
Ebisumaru: Filthy tanuki?! You’re the one with the big, fat, round stomach and face!
Obisumaru: Can’t you see that I have a beautiful face?
Ebisumaru: If you’re ugly, you’re just ugly! There’s nothing you can do about that!
Obisumaru: I can’t associate with the likes of you anymore! Just listen to this pig whine! Boo hoo hoo!
Ebisumaru: P-P-Pig?! Argh! You’ll regret saying that! I challenge you! I challenge you to a contest! I bet I can bring more girls back here than you!
Obisumaru: I think not! Very well, I accept your challenge! However, beautiful people only. Ugly women don’t count!
Ebisumaru: Are you stupid or something? I only like beautiful people, and beautiful people like me!
Obisumaru: Hoo hoo! We’ll see about that! When you hear the cow cry three times, you have to come back here!
Ebisumaru: Cow crying three times, got it! I don’t have much time, but I will return with beautiful girls!
Ebisumaru/Obisumaru: Humph!
Ebisumaru: Well, hey there, young lady! How would you like to come with me for a little while? Eh? Eh? Eh?
Girl: That sounds wonderful! I don’t have anything better to do, so I’ll go if it’s just for a little while.
Obisumaru: You didn’t run away, even though you can’t possibly win a challenge against me!
Ebisumaru: I thought you would be jealous if I brought back some girls.
Obisumaru: Well, let’s begin! Come oooon, referee!
Ebisumaru: I may not look like it, but I’m a regular ladies’ man! You’re just a small fry! A small fry! Ho, ho, ho, ha ha! (Oink, squeal)
Obisumaru: Aaaaargh! I lost! But how?! My p-p-pride...
Referee: Well done! Ebisumaru has won a special prize. We’ll give him the lovely ballerina drill!
Ebisumaru: Ooh! Ballerina? D-Drill? This is like a dream come true!
Referee: With this, you have amazing power! You can dig into suspicious-looking rocks or ground! Well, please accept it!
Narrator: Ebisumaru obtained the ballerina drill! The blue button lets you spin round and round and drill as a ballerina!
Ebisumaru: Whoa! This is so amazing! It fits me perfectly! Hee hee hee hee...
Obisumaru: Quit it! Help me!

First off: this is botamochi. A pretty accurate description, I'd say. And the tanuki, everybody knows what that is, right? It's the raccoon dog thingy that gives you money at the end of every level (well, actually, that's just a statue...), a type of spirit that causes a lot of trouble for Goemon and the gang. It's known for having a huge stomach and...well, I'll just give you a link.

Obisumaru (or an Obisumaru lookalike) apparently appeared in the towns of Ganbare Goemon 2 as the thief that would take some of your money on contact. So, although this may not be the first appearance of Obisumaru, it is his elevation in character status. Also, if I'm not mistaken, Obisumaru speaks with a Kansai-ben dialect, just like Ebisumaru.

Isn't it strange that Ebisumaru can just barge into a random woman's house, and the woman decides to leave with this strange man because she has nothing better to do? Well, this might be true simply by virtue of living where they do. The city where this scene takes place is known as "Nanpa City", and what Ebisumaru is doing could probably be considered a form of nanpa. Ebisumaru uses extremely charming (and surprisingly masculine) language while asking the girls out.

By the way, there's a no-risk trick to getting at least a couple of the pretty girls during this minigame, if you've got a good memory. Go into all the houses and take note of their inhabitants. I'm pretty sure the person inside each house doesn't change after the contest officially starts. Happy hunting!

Of course, I was apparently too dumb to successfully follow my own advice. The first house I went into had one of the old hags instead of the young girl, but I had started recording before going into the house. I was so shocked by my mistake, I stopped recording before she said anything. Luckily, she was the first lady I picked up, so removing her from the entourage wasn't too frustrating. True story. I just wish I hadn't stopped recording so that I could include both responses in the video.

In my opinion, these girls are wearing too much makeup. They look like ghosts...and they follow you like zombies, with the arms outstretched and everything. Kind of creepy.

Heh, Ebisumaru's life ambition is to be a ballerina, apparently. Kind of odd, but this is Ebisumaru we're talking about here. I guess it's not too much of a surprise. Also, he apparently oinks (squeals like a pig) when he gets excited.

Overall, this is funny, but I think I could have made Obisumaru sound more arrogant and such. Oh well. What's done is done.

Scene 7: Return of the Reflection Shuriken

Ninzo: Ah! Are you a ninja, too? How did you find this secret hideout? Well, since you’re here, I will give you my favorite legendary shuriken from when I was still young and healthy.
Ebisumaru: Ah! That’s mine! I lost it when I came to this star, and that’s made things tougher for me! I think that reflection shuriken is mine!
Ninzo: Eh? Th-This is yours? Oh, ho ho...Well, if you hit the wall, it’ll rebound off the wall and come back to you. Let’s see if you can do it and this is really yours!
Ebisumaru: It’s obvious! Thanks for finding this for me!
Narrator: Ebisumaru regained the reflection shuriken! This shuriken can bounce off of walls!
Ebisumaru: Well then, goodbye!

Notice the similarity in name between Ninzo and Kinzo. Related, perhaps?

As it is, this scene doesn't really make a lot of sense to me, and that makes me think I screwed up somehow. Why does Ninzo say that he'll give Ebisumaru the shuriken, and then he insists on having the Ninja of Justice prove that it's really his? And then nothing happens, but Ebisumaru takes it and leaves anyway. Well, that last one might be a bit easier to explain. My guess is that Ebisumaru just quickly snatched it up and decided to get the hell out of there. After all, his goodbye is shortened somewhat ("sainara" as opposed to "sayonara").

Scene 8: Eggs + Bombs = ???

Tsujigiri: A, ha ha ha ha! Welcome! Isn’t it great to play sports non-stop and work up a real sweat?
Ebisumaru: Thanks to you, I’m practically dripping with sweat!
Tsujigiri: Oh, is that so? Well, we drip with sweat every day because we’re carrying powerful bombs in our bodies. Of all things, seppuku...
Ebisumaru: What?! Seppuku?! That harakiri thing?
Tsujigiri: Oof, how could I let that secret slip?! I guess I have to fight you with my giant robot now! Well, I’m off!
Ebisumaru: Why do you have to do this? Well, what can you do. I’d better call Impact!

Da da da da da da da with those tossed salads and scrambled eggs...OK, I'll shut up now.

Here is the seppuku Wikipedia page. There's lots of interesting stuff there, so I recommend you take a look it if you don't think you'd get sick reading about something like that. Basically, the way it was described to me by my grandmother, was taking a knife, cutting your stomach open, and letting all your innards fall out. It's very slow, and very painful, and somebody would usually be waiting behind you to cut off your head after you're done actually committing seppuku. Seppukumaru's full name is Harakiri Seppukumaru, one of the many punny names in Ganbare Goemon.

Interesting...Seppukumaru's not the only one with a bomb. Does that mean the Tsujigiri have to commit seppuku as well to carry out their plan? We shall see.

So, that's about it, but I do have one thing to say before I go. I don't know who actually takes the time to read this, but if you do, I'm begging you to leave some sort of feedback for me somewhere. A lot of the people I've told about this think I should be getting paid for it. Now, I'm definitely not gonna ask for money, but some comments would be really nice. I know the Goemon fandom is pretty small, but there's gotta be more than just two or three people who are interested in this. It's not exactly encouraging when I go through the trouble of doing this and almost nobody seems to care. Thank you for your time.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

GG4 - Part 1

Ganbare Goemon 4 (English) - Intro and Goemon

Here it is, the first video of my newest translation project. Ganbare Goemon 4, the Introduction and Desert Area (Goemon), released on April 1, 2008. I'm hoping I can divide the videos by character/area, meaning there'll be about 6 of them total, including the mysterious "Omitsu" scene (which, because of its length and complexity, was not included in this video and will instead get its own).

I had some difficulty making this video, not because of the actual translation, but because I was using iMovie HD instead of plain old iMovie. Apparently, the latter doesn't work with the new OS. (A word of advice to all Mac users out there: OS 10.5.1 is more trouble than it's worth.) It is a lot faster and gives me finer control over subtitle lengths, and that's nice, but I'm also more limited in that length and there's a delay as the subtitles fade into and out of view. That can make the video seem somewhat...disjointed, in my opinion. I don't know, maybe I'm not explaining myself well enough, let me know what you think.

Also...HALLELUJAH! It looks like, so far, GG4 doesn't have the framerate issues that GG3 had. I don't know whether that's because of the game itself, or because of the different program, but that is a huge relief for me. Even so, I'll continue putting the full scripts here, with whatever analysis I can offer of the scene itself. They're filled with all the awkward dialogue you've come to expect from me and the Ganbare Goemon series. Let's get started:

Scene 1: A Four-Part Planetary Investigation

Impact: That’s Planet Impact.
Goemon: Why does it look so foggy there, like the ruins of a fire?
Impact: According to my analysis, there is some sort of guard protecting the entire perimeter of the planet.
Ebisumaru: Just in midair like that...
Sasuke: We have to go investigate all those areas surrounding the planet.
Yae: Let’s divide the investigation work between all of us!
Impact: I need everybody’s support here.
Goemon: Okay! Sounds like a good plan! Hurry, let’s go, everybody!

Not much to this one, though it does explain why everybody's separated at the start of the game (in case it wasn't obvious already). Though it does make you wonder what Seppukumaru wants with Planet Impact, anyway...

Scene 2: The Chain Pipe

Hinarin: I just found this strange thing here in this room...
Goemon: Th-That’s a chain pipe!
Hinarin: Oh, this is yours? Well, I am very hungry now. If you give me a rice ball, I’ll return this to you.
Goemon: (D-Difficult girl!) No problem!
Narrator: Will you give the rice ball?
Goemon: Give./Don’t give.
Hinarin: Thank you! All right, I’ll return this to you!
Narrator: Goemon regained the chain pipe! Hook onto and swing from the Manji blocks!
Goemon: All right! With this, everything should be perfect!

"The Chain Pipe" was supposed to sound like "The Crane Wife" (which is based on a Japanese folk tale, by the way). Yeah. I don't think anybody would've gotten that.

How did Goemon's chain pipe end up here, anyway? That's very odd.

Everybody knows what a manji is, right? It was mentioned once or twice in GG3, and I may or may not have talked about it before. Yes, it looks like a swastika, but Goemon's not a Nazi. In the Buddhist religion, the manji represents Dharma (the underlying order in nature), universal harmony, and the balance of opposites. When the manji "faces left" (as it does on the title screen of GG3 and on the blocks in GG4), it represents love and mercy. When it "faces right", it represents strength and intelligence. The right-facing swastika is associated with Nazism, so almost all Buddhist manji nowadays faces left. So, once again, GOEMON IS NOT A NAZI! And I assure you, I'm not either, even if I did go to the "Swastika" Wikipedia page to find all this out...gulp...

Scene 3: Wait, What's That About a Wedding?

Yomezo: And now, Goemon and Omitsu’s wedding...ah! D-Did you defeat the Tanuki? Thank you, I’m in your debt. But how is your strength?
Goemon: Since coming to this star, I haven’t had my usual strength!
Yomezo: If you ask Kinzo in the Oasis Town, he can give you something so you’ll be strong again.
Goemon: Oh, that’s great news! I’ll go to the Oasis Town and talk to this Kinzo immediately! Thank you very much!

Before you "defeat the Tanuki," you can go into a church where the priest begins his speech with that first line. Imagine the shock of walking into a random church and finding out you're about to get married to the girl of your dreams. Heh, I'll probably have to rely on some dumb luck like that. It's pretty much hopeless for me, otherwise.

Umm...anyway, just for your information, they're holding a funeral (or a wake) for Ebisumaru in the house next door. As far as I can tell, the funeral is fairly accurate, though it seems the offering that the deceased's loved ones are supposed to make is somewhat lacking. I guess Ebisumaru doesn't have a lot of rich relatives. Japanese funerals are currently the most expensive in the world, by the way (about 4 million yen, on average). For more info, go here.

I wonder what Goemon means when he says he doesn't have his usual strength. Does it mean he's forgotten all his ninjutsu? Or that his "health" is somewhat low? I have no idea.

Scene 4: Kinzo

Kinzo: Oh! I heard about you from Yomezo! You’ll get your strength back right now. Yaaaaah!
Goemon: Whoa!
Kinzo: (Huff, puff...) Now you should be as good as new...phew...
Goemon: Wonderful! Now I can attack with Koban coins!
Narrator: Goemon received the charged koban! Now he feels like he has the strength of 100 people!
Goemon: Thank you! May you have a long life, sir!

It turns out that the "Flaming Ryo" might actually be a "Flaming Koban." Besides being the name of a ninja cat in the series, a koban is a coin, larger in size than a ryo. Also, Impact's Nasal Bullets aren't ryo. They're koban. The full length version of the song "Ore wa Impact" ("I am Impact") mentions "hana kara koban", or "koban from the nose." Makes sense considering the size difference between the two types of coins.

Bah. I always thought the Flaming Ryo, or Koban, or whatever it is, was somewhat overrated. Get up close and bash 'em, that's the real way to play!

Scene 5: Oedo, Town of the Bodybuilders

Tsujigiri: Ke ke ke! How did you manage to come all the way here? (Ke!) You must exercise constantly and be in great shape! (Ke!)
Goemon: What are you talking about?! Of course I’m in great shape, I’m from Oedo!
Tsujigiri: Ke ke! I don’t understand what you’re saying! (Ke!) But Lord Seppukumaru’s bomb...oops!
Goemon: Bomb?! What are you talking about?!
Tsujigiri: Ke ke ke...You’ll know soon enough (Ke!)...if you leave this place alive, that is! (Ke!)
Goemon: Damn it! I’m extremely worried about that bomb!
Tsujigiri: Ke ke! What? You don’t understand? (Ke!) Well, for the time being, my giant robot will slice you to pieces! (Ke!)
Goemon: Grr! I can’t worry and be defeated by this loser! I’ll call Impact!

Considering I come from a state that's run by "The Governator", I find this title kind of funny. You may or may not find my strange sense of humor agreeable.

Anyway, it seems that, having a boss that's obsessed with sports, the Tsujigiri are concerned with physical fitness, especially that of their opponents. I'm not 100% sure on this, but I THINK Rokudenashi (who Ebisumaru faces) also mentions something about exercise. Of course, look at Ebisumaru and you'll understand why.

In the Japanese version of the anime, all four Tsujigiri end most of their sentences with some word or phrase. The "ke" that Itakaro (I hope I got that right...) uses here is different from what he says in the anime (and I can't, for the life of me, remember what he says there...), but it seems to be more like a chuckle than anything else. If you watch the 2nd OVA, it's very distinctive, to the point of being annoying.

The bomb is a very important component of the story, so remember that. Not like you'll ever forget, right?

So, that about wraps it up for this one. Hope you enjoyed all the useless info I gave you here.

By the way, I'm having way too much fun with the popularity statistics that you can see for your videos now. I don't know how long they've been there, but I just noticed them, and now I can see where people are watching these videos from. States that show up the most? California, Wisconsin (those two aren't at all surprising), Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Texas (which, strangely enough, is completely absent from GG3 Part 9). I've also gotten quite a few views from people in France and Japan.

All right, now I'm seriously wrapping this post up. See ya next time!

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Darkness Comes...(Part 1)

Looks like I've managed to convince myself to do what I had been planning, and secretly dreading, for quite some time now. I'll be writing a companion essay to my recently completed Goemon fanfiction, "A Vengeful Darkness". Why waste my time? After all, it's clear few people actually read the story, and an even smaller number told me what they thought about it. Well, there are several reasons I'm doing this rather than jumping right into my next translation project:

1. I want to put these thoughts into writing while they're still somewhat fresh in my mind.
2. I believe that this will be less stressful than a translation.
3. I was emotionally invested in this story to an unbelievable degree.
4. Perhaps writing about the process of making this story will help me come up with more ideas for fiction. It's a long shot, but it's worth a try. I'm obviously completely void of good ideas at the moment.
5. Goemon International has apparently reached its monthly download limit, so I can't get the Ganbare Goemon 4 ROM from there (Yes, that's right. I've decided to listen to the fans and work on that next instead of Ganbare Goemon 2. But I can't download that one right now, either...).

So, now that you know why I'm doing this, and what I'm doing next, let's get started. Part 1 will deal with the inspirations for the general story, as well as the characters. Of course, I'll also discuss my somewhat twisted, perhaps (at times) inaccurate characterizations. WARNING! THERE WILL BE SPOILERS FOR "A VENGEFUL DARKNESS", "GOEMON'S GREAT ADVENTURE", AND OTHER GAMES IN THE SERIES! DO NOT READ THIS IF YOU HAVEN'T READ MY STORY AND/OR DON'T WANT OTHER GOEMON GAMES TO BE SPOILED!

Before I begin, I'd like to make something very clear. I suffer from crippling feelings of inferiority with everything I do. This is no exception. I seriously can't remember the last time I was genuinely proud of myself or anything I did. Heh, sorry for sounding so overly dramatic; some people tell me I'm kinda emo, if they want to put it nicely. I just don't want people to think that I'm writing this out of pride or to promote my work.

By the way, just for fun, I'm going to make the title of every section, as well as the title of the essay itself, a reference to a movie, TV show, song, or video game. Kudos to anybody who can figure out where they come from. Now, let's see if this will really turn out to be as long as I had originally feared.

I'll Shake You From Your Sleep - The Beginning

If you read one of the first posts in this blog, you can see how I got back into the Goemon series. As you may have concluded, I became obsessed with the series before long. The characters were fun. The humor was unique. The story made almost no sense, but it still managed to suck me into this unbelievably modern and hilarious version of Feudal Japan.

Now, I don't remember the exact sequence of events for a while, but I'll try my best to explain anyway. All of these things happened, but the order may be incorrect.

One night, I had one of my usual bizarre dreams. As you may have guessed, this one involved Goemon. I don't quite remember the exact circumstances in the dream, but it involved a parasitic alien race that infected human hosts for some reason and had the power to manipulate them after doing so. Victims seemed normal in most respects, but there were some telltale signs that they had been infected. The biggest one that comes to mind right away is that the eyes of a host had the ability to emit an eerie yellow glow, at any seemingly random time and for only a split second, if necessary.

The one scene I remember from this dream involves Omitsu in a room, lying on a bed. She had, more likely than not, just been rescued by Goemon, who comes in to check in on her and talk to her for a while before exiting the room to attend to some other matter. You guessed it. As soon as Goemon leaves, Omitsu's eyes glow yellow.

Omitsu being the victim of some thing that had the ability to control her every move and change her physiology and/or anatomy was the only idea from this dream that survived to the end, and that's why I still remember it. I ended up toning down this original idea. Not only did I change the villain(s) from an alien race (which would have given the potential for multiple victims) to a single demon that had this power, I also imagine that my early concept of this story was quite violent and...intense. Basically, I went from "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" (a film which I've never seen, by the way) to "The Exorcist". The only thing missing was Goemon and his friends yelling "The power of Christ compels you!" during one of the final battles. Of course, anybody who's read this fic will (hopefully) agree that the final result is relatively tame compared to something like that.

Anyway, I added fanfiction reading to my list of activities to increase my knowledge of the Goemon series. I had an account on that still didn't have any stories under it, so I thought that now might be a good time to revive an old and long dormant interest of mine. I was frustrated to find that Goemon fanfics were few in number, and even among them, the quality wasn't very good overall. There were a few gems, however, and I tried to use them to figure out what would work and what wouldn't.

And so, Goemon awoke me from my long slumber as a writer...

It Took Me Years To Write, Won't You Take A Look? - The Story

Well, not years, literally. But a great deal of time and care went into trying to prevent the writer's block that I had suffered from during some of my previous attempts at writing fanfiction.

The first thing I did was write some notes on the main characters and major conflicts (both internal and external) in the story, as well as a very specific plot outline (beginning in early August, 2007). After all, I was forced to scrap my second fanfiction after I got writer's block in the middle of writing it, and my third idea never came to fruition because I could never write a good outline for the story. If this was going to fail, it would be better if it happened before I published anything.

Fortunately, it didn't fail, as I completed the outline and it was satisfactory. It's worth mentioning that several changes were made to it while I was writing this fic. Don't worry, I'll mention as many as I can remember at the appropriate times (oh, joy...).

As I mentioned before, Omitsu's possession was the very first element of the story that was conceived. But how does this happen? I thought for some time about enemies that Goemon and his friends had faced in the past, and which ones would potentially have the ability to do this. There was only one real solution I could think of: Dochuki.

I had finished Goemon's Great Adventure not too long before this, so this was a natural choice that was still fresh in my mind. But wasn't Dochuki soundly defeated at the end of the game? Well, in my mind, not quite. True, Ebisumaru's noxious bodily fumes mixed with his spirit, but remember that, soon afterwards, Ebisumaru turned his back to the demon and everybody else passed out. Dochuki would have had ample time to escape.

But would he be free, and does he have the power to possess people? This was where I didn't want to make any erroneous assumptions about Dochuki's powers. So, I created original characters, namely four jealous siblings of Dochuki and an evil father who has the power to possess humans and plans to rescue his favorite son, who has been imprisoned by the inhabitants of the Underworld after returning there in his weakened state.

Next, I had to come up with some sort of excuse as to why Omitsu had to be the victim, and not somebody else. I made up the whole "innocence and clean past" thing, adding the second part when I realized that Goemon would fit the righteous bill pretty easily. Of course, I still felt that Yae would fit that profile, as well, but I found a way for her to avoid being taken.

Speaking of Yae, her career dilemma was another really early idea that stayed throughout the whole thing. Honestly, I still find it a bit strange and...well, stupid when I think about it. I wanted there to be some conflict between her and Goemon, which would ultimately lead to their conversation in Zazen (this was later expanded, obviously, as it was something that came up more often than originally intended).

I suppose it would make SOME sense for Yae's strict, "by-the-book" boss to disapprove of Goemon's vigilante ways. But to threaten Yae with demotion, and for Yae to take this threat seriously and be frightened of it enough that she would choose not to accompany her friends...I think that's a bit hard to swallow.

So, once things finally got would Goemon and co. defeat this new enemy? I don't know whether I came up with the idea of Dochuki having four siblings first, or whether the thought of fighting enemies who represent the four elements (Earth, Wind, Water, and Fire) preceded it. But, eventually, I decided that these four would protect the weapons necessary for them to fight. And thus, the Jewels of Light were conceived.

There was also the issue of when this story would take place. It didn't take long for me to realize that it would be to my benefit to set it a few years after the events of GGA, for several reasons. First, it was vital that Goemon and Omitsu be in a serious relationship during the story, and I just didn't see that during any of the games. Second, I thought I could have more flexibility in terms of characterization this way. After all, time changes everything, especially people. Third, Goemon had to be especially reckless, and I thought him having nothing to do for a while would be a good way for him to get that way. Thus, I threw canon out the window and claimed that the gang had no adventures after facing Dochuki. At that point, GGA was the latest game in the series that I had played, so I justified it for myself that way. Ignorance was my excuse.

There were, of course, other ideas that have been around since the beginning and made it into the story in some way, shape, or form. I'll discuss these when the time is right. Let's move on to the next section of the essay: characters, both familiar (or so you think) and not. Note that I will not be discussing every character I outlined; that would just take too long. In the order that they're presented in my outline:

Through Fire, Justice Is Served! - Goemon

Even though Yae had a great deal of character development and many scenes revolved around her, I still consider Goemon to be the main character of the story. He's the self-declared (and generally accepted) leader of the group, and he's just itching for the thrill of an adventure.

Everybody knows that Goemon is a courageous, headstrong fellow with a short temper who tends to act without thinking things through, but I wanted to explore more aspects of his personality (as was the case with other characters, as well). However, I'm afraid some other fundamental characteristics may have been altered in doing this (again, as was the case with other characters). One such example is his openness, and how he encourages Yae to express herself more often. True, time changes people. But I don't know if it could change him this much. I thought attributing this (gradual) change to spending too much time with Ebisumaru might be a possible way to explain this. Whether it's an acceptable solution is to be decided by the reader.

In general, I don't think I based the specifics of Goemon's character on anybody I know in real life or from a fictional source (well, besides the Goemon games, of course). I don't know whether that's a good thing or a bad thing.

Just for kicks, Sarahsuke and I proposed hypotheses as to what the characters' blood types and zodiac signs are, based on their personalities. We agreed pretty much right off the bat that Goemon is a Leo. Right now, I'm looking specifically at (from Wikipedia): Proud, Risk-taking, Passionate, Ambitious, Loves attention, Very strong, Noble, Leader, Powerful, Protective, Bossy, Egotistical, Boastful, Pompous, Over-aggressive, Argumentative, and Arrogant. He likes the spotlight and luxurious living, but not doing things safely, and probably not pointlessness. Of course, these are debatable, and I feel like I missed the mark on some of them in my story, but I guess nobody's perfect. Now if only I can remember which blood type he was...

The Jewel of Light that "chooses" Goemon is the last one obtained: The Ruby of Courage. This was probably the easiest one to come up with a name for. After all, fire is usually associated with courage (at least in my mind). And both of them are associated with Goemon. So, that one wasn't too tough.

As stated above, Goemon is the main character of this story. He goes through a lot of emotional turmoil (almost as much as Yae, though that statement is certainly up for debate), but usually lands on his feet again in the end. His brashness gets him in a lot of trouble this time, but what can you say? That's just who he is.

He Just Couldn't Appreciate The Beauty In...ME! - Ebisumaru

Yes, the above quote is attributed to the Ninja of Justice himself. And yes, his infamous Hypnotic Dance is back in full force. All right!

Ebisumaru is probably my favorite character in Ganbare Goemon, and this story has a lot to do with that. He was, by far, the most fun to write for. There were so many dumb gags involving Ebisumaru, and chances are I couldn't include all the ones I thought of, for one reason or another. Of course, almost all of said gags involve food in some way, so Ebisumaru is a bit of a one-trick pony in that regard. That was the basis of his conversation with Sasuke on the ship (discussed later, hopefully).

Like many aspects of this story, thinking of funny lines and situations for Ebisumaru in particular usually kept my mind racing at night. I would lie in bed thinking about what to write and how to write it, and I would inevitably think of something for Ebisumaru to do. If it wasn't a new idea, it was either a particular gag that I was looking forward to writing, or one that I had just written and that stood out in my mind.

Ebisumaru, as I have portrayed him here, is proud to call himself the Ninja of Justice, as he deals it out in his own unique way. Fortunately for his allies, this unique brand of fighting turns out to be very useful at various points in the story. In addition, he is, undeniably, a glutton, indulging himself in his love of food constantly. Not only is it all he can talk about, but when it's there, he makes every effort he can to eat it.

Ebisumaru has been friends with Goemon for several years by the time this story takes place, and they're fiercely loyal to each other, even if it seems like Goemon doesn't always treat Ebisumaru very well. Goemon may yell a lot, even going so far as to insult Ebisumaru, but their friendship is more than strong enough to survive that. Heh, of course, this has gone a bit beyond "friendship" in some of the games and the manga, but I didn't know much about any of that before writing this.

I would often refer to Ebisumaru as "the Ninja of Justice" instead of by his actual name. This was just an attempt to break up the monotony a bit, and a similar technique was also used with Sasuke ("The Clockwork Ninja" or something similar) and Yae ("The kunoichi").

I remember it was later speculated that Ebisumaru is a Libra. I'm looking at: Cooperative, Charming, Easy-going, Sociable, Peace loving, Gullible, Pleasure oriented, Cheerful, and Flirty (it says that Libras are loyal in marriage, but it was implied that Ebisumaru cheats on his wife). He likes harmony, beauty, and justice, and dislikes conflict and discord, cruelty, and injustice. I find it a bit funny that "Entertainer" is listed as an ideal career for a Libra. Many people from the region of Japan that Ebisumaru is presumably from are comedians, and the Ninja of Justice can even get a part-time job as an entertainer in one of the games (Ganbare Goemon Gaiden, I believe). Unfortunately, like Goemon, I can't remember which blood type Sarahsuke and I agreed on for Ebisumaru...

Ebisumaru gets the first Jewel of Light, the Topaz of Power. This one was tough to come up with a name for, mostly since I had difficulty finding a yellow jewel. It was a "citrine" for a while, but I changed it to "topaz" because (I thought) it sounded better. The "power" part has to do with the fact that Ebisumaru is usually considered the strongest character of the four, physically.

Ebisumaru is primarily the comic relief of the story. His overly zealous love of food is actually a fun subject to make jokes about. Although usually carefree, he can be serious when the need arises, and he is an indispensable ally in this fight.

By the way, Ebisumaru's wife, Rie, is named after my grandmother. Yes, this is the same grandmother who helps with the translations.

Welcome To The Machine - Sasuke

Ah, Sasuke. Often my favorite character to play as in the games, he's the naive robot created by, and fiercely loyal to, the Wise Man. His mental and emotional capacities go beyond that of what any normal machine can achieve, to the point of Yae insisting that the Clockwork Ninja has a heart and a conscience.

Let's talk about Sasuke's "humanness", his "soul", if you will. Do I believe that machines, even ones that are as complex as Sasuke, are capable of real thought, emotions, and such? The answer is no. There will likely never be a machine like Sasuke, who is able to think for himself and impress his teammates by how he acts less like a robot and more like a person every day. Much of what I wrote regarding Sasuke's abnormally advanced nature goes against what I truly believe. He is the exception, not the rule. Therefore, Yae would be incorrect if she made the same claims about another robot as she did for Sasuke regarding the existence of a heart, and most likely a conscience (I like that definition of conscience I used, by the way, and I'll explain where I got it from it when the time is right).

Again, Sasuke acts less like a machine and more like a human than is really possible. Besides being capable of independent thought, he can feel emotion, comfort, and discomfort, and he requires food to survive like any normal person. Quite advanced.

As we did with Goemon and Ebisumaru, Sarahsuke and I also speculated on the blood type of Sasuke, despite the obvious fact that Sasuke clearly doesn't have any blood. For those of you who aren't familiar with this concept, blood type in Japan is analogous to astrological signs in the West. They believe that a person's blood type dictates their personality and compatibility with others, at least partially. Anyway, we agreed that Sasuke's blood type is AB: Cool, Controlled, Rational, Critical, Indecisive, Unforgiving. It may not describe him perfectly, but neither did the astrological signs for the others (and no, I don't remember assigning a sign to Sasuke). You can also look at this page for more information.

Sasuke is the second ninja to receive a Jewel of Light: the Emerald of Spirit. Unlike Ebisumaru's, this one was easy enough to figure out what kind of a gem it should be, but fairly difficult to assign a quality to it. "Spirit" is a bit...dumb, or cliche, or whatever you'd like to call it. It was probably a sign of my lack of creativity.

I felt like Sasuke was just...there in the story. It seemed to me that he wasn't contributing much, even though he had the radar early on (which was probably a subconscious attempt to give him some purpose). After it was destroyed, his usefulness for the team and in the grand scheme of things declined, in my opinion. Ebisumaru was the comedy, and Goemon and Yae were involved in the huge conflicts, and they all had interesting personalities. Sasuke was just...Sasuke. His naivete leads to a few jokes, but these are few and far between, and some of them may not have been that effective. I don't know.

Foxey Lady - Yae

Of course, a fox in this case refers to a beautiful woman with some spunk, or "bite" (ha ha...OK, dumb joke). That describes Yae as she is presented here fairly well. For whatever reason, I decided to give Yae a very complex personality, at times feminine, but usually very sarcastic. I also wrote "Intelligent, calm, persistent, and famous for her beauty...with a short temper and little tolerance for laziness" in my notes. We'll see just how much of that is true to the games soon enough, but it's worth noting that she's more sensitive than she's willing to admit under much of this toughness, and she cares deeply for her friends (more than she realizes initially), taking the role of the "older sister" to the others (even though, ironically, Yae is the younger of two sisters). It has been mentioned (or at least implied) at some points that Yae is an excellent cook and an appreciator of the arts. Both of these facts were referenced in AVD.

I don't remember when exactly I decided to give Yae a major internal conflict, but it was probably very early on. I knew she should be obsessed with her job, and I thought it would be interesting and create some tension between her and one or more of the other members of the group (particularly Goemon) if they brought it up and how it's affecting her in an adverse manner. Many ideas about how this career situation and other conflicts could manifest themselves between those two were initially devised, but, like most other things, a good number of the ideas couldn't be used for one reason or another. Instead, I decided to include more scenes where they comfort each other and grow closer as friends. Oh, I guess this would be a good time to mention that I never intended to imply any sort of a romance between these two. I'm somewhat hostile towards fics that make Goemon and Yae a romantic couple (with one major exception, which is dramatically different from most of the others), and I even explored the possibility (and questioned its validity) from Goemon's perspective this time around.

That's not to say that I didn't drop hints (and sometimes more than hints) that Goemon and others consider Yae to be very attractive. But, to put it one way, this is definitely NOT manga Yae, who is a completely different entity from game Yae, as far as I'm concerned. I wanted to get the point across that she's a beautiful woman without going totally overboard with sex appeal (even with what little bit you can have in a written story).

I had to make a few assumptions about Yae's job in this story. Of course, there's the fact that I created a twisted, slimy boss, but the exact nature of her work had to be speculated on a bit, as well. I'm pretty sure this isn't totally accurate, but whatever. I never intended for any of this to become canon anyway.

Yae is the only character where I remember both the zodiac sign and the blood type. Yae is likely a Virgo: Analytical, Critical, Precise, Meticulous, Orderly, Methodical, Practical, Intelligent, Inquiring, Responsible, Perfectionistic, Shrewd, Witty, Polite, Hygienic (Notice that she's the only one of the main four that's seen combing her hair, for example.), Reserved, Cool, and Undemonstrative. As for blood type, she's clearly an A: Earnest, Creative, Sensible, Calm, and Fastidious. As she's portrayed here, she likes hygiene, order, cleanliness, details, and peace, but she dislikes sloppiness, uncleanliness, confusion, and especially narrow-minded people and uncertainty. These qualities are highly debatable, even more so than they are for the other three I've written about so far. I also think it's kind of interesting that the elements of the characters' signs don't correspond to the jewels they get here (for example, Virgo (Yae) is an earth sign and Libra (Ebisumaru) is an air sign), but Virgo is associated with the sapphire.

Yae receives her Jewel of Light, the Sapphire of Wisdom, third among the group. I figured she was the "wisest" of the four, and I thought I could come up with some comparison between her powerful, inquisitive mind and the ocean. Most likely, she was assigned to the specific location where she obtains it earlier than any of the others.

Let's see how the personality of this kunoichi compares to that of her video game incarnation. After all, she is, in my opinion, the most mysterious of the main four. But, from what I have gathered from analyzing the way she talks and what she says in the games(the GG3 and GG4 translations were particularly useful for this purpose), I feel like I missed the mark in terms of her personality. For example, in the games, Yae can be a little sarcastic, but she's usually very polite. In this story, she's really only polite to people who can provide some sort of benefit to the team, whereas she's very hostile towards anybody who's even remotely antagonistic. Although this might make some sense, her game self doesn't appear to be this quick to anger.

In addition, Yae swears quite a bit in this story, second only to Goemon in that department (I haven't done a count of how many times each character cusses, so that's just a guess more than anything else), whereas she rarely does in the games (I was actually surprised to hear her say "shimatta", which means "damn it", at one point in the anime). This was probably an attempt to give her more of an "edge."

It is true that the games portray her as a caring, intelligent, usually calm (though this last one wasn't so true at some points in AVD) person. However, it's difficult to say how short her temper is (definitely not as short as Goemon's), although I imagine, being in the type of job where strict discipline is of the utmost importance, she's usually not a very laid-back person. That was more speculation than anything else.

Honestly, I didn't care too much for Yae until I wrote AVD. That's not to say that I didn't like the character, I just didn't find her as interesting as the other three main ones. Yet, for some reason, I felt compelled to give her a large and important role in the story, even revolving an entire subplot around her. She turned out to be one of my favorite characters to write for (second to Ebisumaru), maybe because I grew fond of this interpretation, as inaccurate as it may be. Her internal conflict, despite its stupidity, kept me thinking throughout the whole thing.

Hey, Look At You. You're A Year Older...And A Year Closer To Death. - Wise Man

The Wise Man, throughout a majority of the story, is probably about 102 years old and still kicking. I used to have him as being in his 90s, but that was changed after I translated the intro to GG4 and found out he was celebrating his 98th birthday there. Unfortunately, I believe that this change wasn't made until the second version of this story was released.

He's a caring old man, but with a fairly short temper, especially when it comes to his robots and other inventions. He's proven to be a valuable asset to Goemon and his friends several times in the past few years, offering them assistance and advice during their times of need. He gladly gives it, though he seems less pleased about it whenever anybody makes any kind of a reference to his age.

The greatest thing about writing for the Wise Man is, of course, his obsession with young, pretty girls. Yae is, much to her displeasure, a victim of this obsession a couple times. In addition, I had to make as many references to his sizable collection of pornographic magazines as I could manage. No problems there. magazines, my ass...

However, the Wise Man's usefulness in the plot is evidenced most by his knowledge of mechanics and mythology. I wanted to imply that Goemon's required the former type of service more times than he cares to count. As for the latter, the Wise Man seems to have access to a great amount of literature on ghosts and the like, so I figured he would be the best person (well, he's the only person, really) to report on the current situation in Oedo Town while the others are gone, and also to give them info about the Jewels of Light.

To Know Her Is To Love Her. Just To See Her Smile Makes My Life Worthwhile. - Omitsu

Omitsu is Goemon's beloved girlfriend, though this wasn't always the case. Sure, she's considered by every man who sees her to be the most beautiful woman in Oedo Town. But most of them, including Goemon, don't have the guts to approach her. And I would imagine she admires Goemon the most out of all the men in the town, even before they officially start dating. My guess is that her love for him would become stronger with each subsequent rescuing, meaning there's been a lot of opportunities for it to grow.

Even though it's suggested in some of the Japanese games that Goemon and Omitsu are a couple (though they may be trying to keep it a secret), I thought it would be interesting to come up with one possible theory as to how exactly they got together in the first place, presumably later than any of the games I'm referring to (right after GGA, actually). When he finally gets to be alone with her after the teahouse closes, he (nervously) makes his move and ends up hooking up with the girl of his dreams. Score!

Waitress at Akindo Teahouse...I don't remember which game(s), if any, that name was mentioned in. I'm pretty sure I actually got it from other fanfics.

So, the main four weren't the only ones who were assigned zodiac signs. Omitsu is a Cancer: Tenacious, Resourceful, Home-loving, Loyal, Intuitive, Generous, Emotional, Loving, Sensitive, Protective, Romantic, Warm, Sympathetic, Sentimental, Caring, Maternal instincts, Moody, Hyper-sensitive, Touchy, Clingy, Insecure, Volatile, and Controlling. Some of these are speculative (as Omitsu's character isn't fleshed out as much in the games) and show up only in this story, and many of these are from the anime. Being prone to jealousy is implied in the faults mentioned here, but I wasn't able to incorporate that into the story as much as I wanted to. I also remember reading something that said that Leo men are highly compatible with Cancer women, which supports the idea of Goemon and Omitsu being a viable couple (if you put any weight on those things, that is).

The insecurity that's mentioned above is especially important. It's based almost directly on my own feelings of inferiority, but Omitsu gets it from the belief that she's not only useless, but a burden to Goemon and the others. After all, in her mind, they always have to rescue her because it seems like she's too helpless to take care of herself. This goes against the traditionally accepted notion of Omitsu being the eternal optimist after being kidnapped and rescued multiple times. I thought this would be a more realistic approach, and that's the direction I tried to go in with many of my characters.

Omitsu's been through some pretty difficult experiences, but I wanted this one to top them all. I emphasized over and over again the anguish of being possessed by a demon. In addition, she's bringing pain to Goemon and the others, and I thought it might be interesting to see what happens when they realize that their dear, timid friend is now one of their most powerful enemies. Of course, she really beats herself up over all of that. As Yae says towards the end, Omitsu really goes through hell this time around.

It's interesting to note that Omitsu is easily the most despised character of the series, but I can't figure out why that is exactly. Sure, she's a ditzy, possessive...well, word that starts with a "b" and rhymes with "witch," in the anime. But she doesn't deserve to have that much hatred directed towards her...And even though she's definitely not my favorite character in the series, I still had some unconscious desire to give her an important role. Must be the underdog effect or something.

Speaking of which, this might be a good time to mention that I'm currently in the pre-pre-planning stages for my next fic. Nothing too well-defined yet, but it does involve Omitsu again. Hopefully, this idea will actually go somewhere. (5/2/08)

Ghost Gulping - Suzaku

A cat-like ghost from the "Underworld". Her personality isn't very well-developed in Goemon's Great Adventure, and it gets a small chance to do so this time around. That being said, the story portrays her as being knowledgeable, impatient, and a bit sarcastic, but still possessing a kind heart.

When I first wrote the outline for AVD, I had her name as "Suzaku", which is what it is in GGA. Later, when it came time to include her in the story, I began to have doubts about the name and checked the Mystical Website. They had it as "Suzuka", and that's what I used until I returned home for Christmas break and saw for myself that I was right the first time. I changed it in all chapters that were published from that point forward, but everything before that remained the same until I published the revision. So, her name changed all of a sudden, which must've been a bit confusing, and added a new layer of complexity to the running gag of Ebisumaru calling her "Suzuki".

Suzaku needed to be able to fight in this story, but we never got a chance in GGA to see just what she could do. So, I decided that, since she's a supernatural being, it would make sense for her to have a few magic spells. We only see a few of these, and they're very generic. But they get the job done, I suppose.

The Darkness Shall Prevail - Makurayami

Here he is, the big, evil villain himself. The master of the darkness, who haunts nightmares and instills fear in all who behold him. Yeah, really clever (not).

I gave Makurayami and his four children names that reflect their appearance and/or abilities. In actuality, "Makurayami" isn't a name at all, but rather a Japanese term used to describe complete and total darkness. It seems to be a fairly obscure term. I actually originally named him "Ankoku", which has a similar meaning, but I concluded that it sounded too stupid, so I changed it to something that sounded slightly less stupid.

Besides his main ability of being able to possess people, it was difficult coming up with exactly what else he could do. After all, he's apparently got a reputation for being quite powerful. I debated with myself about what exactly they should be up to the point where they actually fought him.

Oh, I don't believe I've mentioned how I went about writing battles...Well, there really wasn't a whole lot of pre-planning involved. Besides a few key events in each battle sequence, I pretty much made them up as I went along. Probably not the smartest thing, but I was having a really difficult time thinking of how to fill in the gaps beforehand. Something about writing the actual scenes helped me come up with ideas. I didn't want to do this with the last three battles (Possessed Omitsu, Makurayami, and Dochuki, respectively), but after giving myself at least a full day to plan it out before actually writing, I still didn't have clear and specific directions in my mind. So, I just winged it on those like I did with all the others.

To be continued...