Mr. Needlemouse Makes an Appearance

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Gryson, Jan 24, 2021.

  1. Gryson

    Gryson

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    I found this series of Tweets between Yuji Naka and Sega's Yosuke Okunari hilarious.

    Background: As you probably know, Naoto Ohshima's original sketch for Sonic included the name "Mr. ハリネズミ", where the Japanese is read "harinezumi", meaning hedgehog. However, it's literally two words put together: hari = needle, nezumi = mouse. Someone, somewhere, at some point in time long ago, mis-translated "Mr. Harinezumi" as "Mr. Needlemouse" rather than the correct "Mr. Hedgehog." This mis-translation persists everywhere on the internet and has even been used officially. Even Sonic Retro's page for Mr. Needlemouse calls this "an alternative translation," which it isn't -- it's just wrong.

    OK, so back to the Tweet. Yuji Naka just finished taking Sega's 60th Anniversary Test, and he complained about one of the questions:

    Question: Choose the name given to Sonic before he was famous.
    Answer: Mr. Needlemouse (the actual Japanese was: ミスター・ニードルマウス)

    Here is a quick, partial translation of the Tweets:

    Naka: I took the test again and did even worse. I didn't know the answer to this: "Choose the name given to Sonic before he was famous." Even though I made Sonic.

    Okunari: That's from the rough sketch that Ohshima did. An American translated "Mr. Harinezumi" to "Mr. Needlemouse." Even though you made Sonic, that question's impossible for a Japanese person...

    Naka: What the heck? Shouldn't "Mr. Harinezumi" be translated as "Mr. Hedgehog?" I wonder who made up this "Mr. Needlemouse?"

    Okunari: I think the source is this North American fan site that picked up the sketch from some magazine or video: http://info.sonicretro.org/Mr._Needlemouse

    Naka: If this is something that a fan made up, isn't it weird for the question to say "before he was famous?" It's clear they just translated "hari" and "nezumi" separately. It feels wrong to talk about this "Mr. Needlemouse" which I have no memory of ever using.


    I can feel Naka's pain. It's amazing how this mis-translation has persisted and grown to the point where it's being included in Sega's official test.
     
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  2. Asagoth

    Asagoth

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    Jesus!!! I'm speechless!!! ... We (and the entire world) were wrong all this time?! ... good job, mate ;) ...
     
  3. Speeps

    Speeps

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    I remember seeing this called out before a few times on here (Example), glad there's a proper response now.
     
  4. RDNexus

    RDNexus

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    I think I first read the name at Sonic 4's announcement.
    Still funny how Naka suffered with that whole affair... xD
     
  5. McAleeCh

    McAleeCh

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    I remember this being called out before now, but it's good to have an official word on it for anyone who was inclined to think it's correct simply because SEGA themselves have referenced it before now.

    Speaking of which, I reckon "Project Needlemouse" works even better as a codename for Sonic 4 in this context - a poorly translated codename for a poor imitation of the classic 2D Sonic games, haha! XD
     
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  6. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    I did think it was odd. But when Sega are using it, I guess we're not wrong to think it was a real thing.

    All of our Sonic 1 development coverage needs an update.
     
  7. Prototype

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    Let's just be thankful that Hedgehog was never translated as Bushpig.
     
  8. Ashura96

    Ashura96

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    lmfao

    Just like Streets of Rage 4, now Sonic has been plagued by improper fan translation.
     
  9. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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  10. Clownacy

    Clownacy

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    ...I thought this had been known forever.
     
  11. YuTwo

    YuTwo

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    This an amazing revelation. Thanks for informing me. It's too bad this misinformation seems to have been so prevalent and has existed for such a long time now that even Naka isn't sure how to answer a question on an official quiz from SEGA because of it. I noticed that @Speeps mentions that this information has already been mentioned before as well.
    I've archived the conversation with Naka and Okunari here: https://archive.vn/Vbhfv

    On the subject of that page, I noticed The Cutting Room Floor has an image of a rejected character design that the Retro page seemingly doesn't have.
    The image in question is this one:
    [​IMG]
    It was in this section: https://tcrf.net/Prerelease:Sonic_the_Hedgehog_(Genesis)#Creating_Sonic
    The description says it was from an "Origins of Sonic" video on the Blu-ray of the Sonic movie. I was surprised to see it when I came across the page. By the way, has anyone else seen that "Origins of Sonic" video? I can't seem to find it online. I know it will probably have the same general info but if it had this concept art in it I would be interested in watching it.
     
  12. Gryson

    Gryson

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    Yes - I was a bit taken back by the reaction to this. I can recall it being brought up a number of times before, and if you speak Japanese it's very obviously a translation mistake. But nothing beats the power of the game's developer pointing out how absurd it all is.
     
  13. Pengi

    Pengi

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    Hmm.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  14. SystemsReady

    SystemsReady

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    I assume this is the rabbit who would pick things up and throw them? or was this them reusing that concept as a Sonic char...?
     
  15. Asagoth

    Asagoth

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  16. Malchik

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    Mr. Needlemouse just seems like one those those Japanese eccentricities so I never questioned it.
     
  17. Blue Spikeball

    Blue Spikeball

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    No, that was a different rabbit design from what I understand. Specifically this one:
    https://info.sonicretro.org/images/a/a5/GD_Sonic1_Concept_Sonic_01.png
     
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  18. kyasarintsu

    kyasarintsu

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    I'm surprised this is a revelation in the first place. I thought it was widely known in this community that needle + mouse = hedgehog in Japanese, and that needlemouse is just a strange and literal translation of hedgehog.
    This reminds me a lot of the Etrian Odyssey fanbase's insistence on translating the Japanese name as the awkward and clunky "Labyrinth of the World Tree" instead of the "Yggdrasil Labyrinth" reading as given by both the localizers and even the original Japanese games.
     
  19. Asagoth

    Asagoth

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    I thought I was "Robin Hood" but then I realized I'm just Asagoth... can't we just be happy for having a confirmation straight from the devs, to have as "McAleeCh" said an "official word on it for anyone who was inclined to think it's correct simply because SEGA themselves have referenced it before now"?
     
  20. ICEknight

    ICEknight

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    Here's a bad quality cellphone upload:


    [​IMG]
    *facepalm*
     
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