Touhou Fangame Translations With HakanaiBlue
Touhou Fangame Translations With Hakanai Blue
Hi, I’m HakanaiBlue and I translate Touhou fangames. What sets me apart from other fan translators, though, is that I actively reach out to devs to either work with them directly to bring their games to English-speaking fans, or at least get permission to make and release my own unofficial (but still authorized!) English patches.
To start with, I’d like to show off a few of my translation projects. Some of them are already released, and some are still in the works.
Hina-chan’s Big Trade! Millionaire Lunch
First off is “Hina-chan’s Big Trade! Millionaire Lunch.” It’s a visual novel made by mizusoba, of the single-dev circle ISY, and I worked directly with him to add dual language support. It was previously only available for purchase on sites like DLsite and Booth, but you can now purchase the dual language version on Steam.
The gist of the game is that due to Hina’s lack of work – in other words, her lack of appearances in games for such a long time – she’s strapped for cash and is struggling to afford food. She gets the idea to trade for food instead, like in the Japanese tale of the straw millionaire, hence the name. For Western fans, you could compare it to the guy who began trading with a red paperclip and ended up with a house.
The game features six different characters to trade with: Nitori, Suika, Reimu, Sanae, Joon, and Minoriko, and over 300 different items to trade. Almost every single item has unique dialogue for every character, so pair that with the game’s time limit (you’re preparing for LUNCH, after all) and you’ve got a game you can play a bunch of times to get very different experiences.
Hina’s Big Trade is available on Steam for $6.99 USD. You’ll definitely get more than your money’s worth if you decide to commit the time to go for 100%!
Help Me Remember, Satori-sama!
Next up is “Help Me Remember, Satori-sama!”, another game by mizusoba. Its dual language version came out on Steam on March 7th.
Satori has overworked herself for too many days straight and finds herself unable to fully use her mind-reading powers, but Okuu needs help remembering things, like which kind of vegetable she’s supposed to go out and buy, or which type of animal youkai she scheduled a job interview for. With Satori’s powers mostly unusable, you’ll have to rely on logic to figure out the answer by asking Okuu questions.
Each stage has a lot of possible answers, so there’s quite a lot of replayability to be had here. There are also per-stage achievements for things like guessing the answer within a certain number of questions, or without using your power of recollection. Oh, and speaking of your power…
Though you can’t read hearts, you can still utilize Satori’s power of recollection. Okuu will sometimes answer questions incorrectly or not remember the answer at all, and you can use this power to confirm and correct her responses. It takes time to recharge, so you’ll usually want to save it for important questions. If she’s thinking of a mammal but answers “no” when you ask her if she is, that’ll really throw off your deductions, after all.
On top of all this, Orin and Koishi will sometimes interfere with your question and answer sessions. Orin will knock and try to come in, and you’ll have to knock back at the right time to let her know you’re occupied. Koishi will sometimes appear and try to surprise you, but you can tell her to go away by clicking on her before it’s too late. Letting Orin in will waste some time, and failing to stop Koishi from startling you will interrupt whatever you’re doing and make you lose some of the info in your log.
“Help Me Remember, Satori-sama!” is available on Steam for $6.99 USD. The developer is still active, so if you like what they do and want to see more of their games get English translations, go buy Hina-chan or Satori-sama’s games to show us both that Western fans are interested!
Touhou ROCK MAIDEN
The next game (or series, actually) that I’d like to show off is Touhou ROCK MAIDEN. It’s a trilogy of challenging platformers modeled after the classic Mega Man games made by the doujin circle Capricorn, who gave me permission to create and release English patches for them.
The plot of the games involves Kaguya stealing Reimu’s donation box for… well, presumably SOME reason, and then bribing various Touhou characters to act as bosses to stand in your way. In the first game, Reimu takes up arms and goes up against eight bosses, which range from characters from Embodiment of Scarlet Devil up through Subterranean Animism, before finally storming Eientei to take down Kaguya herself.
In the second game, you can also play as Youmu, who previously appeared as a boss in the first game. She plays similarly to Zero from the Mega Man X series, possessing a three-hit sword combo. Naturally, Youmu is a close-ranged fighter, but you can still charge up for a ranged attack to hit hard-to-reach enemies. As a bonus, her attacks also pierce enemy guards. She’ll gradually expand her arsenal of sword skills as you defeat bosses. Which character you start the game with will also influence who you fight in the opening stage.
The third game lets you play as either Reimu or Marisa, and features a structure very similar to Mega Man 3. Sanae will appear as a midboss in some stages just like Proto Man would, and a certain special something might happen after defeating the main eight bosses… Let’s just say that if you know, you know.
You can download my patches for the Touhou ROCK MAIDEN series from the links below, which also contain DLsite links where you can purchase the original games. The devs have also released two 8-bit Touhou ROCK MAIDEN FC games which come with English translations loaded in by default (not translated by me, just to clarify), so if you play the first series and enjoyed them, look into those next!
The third game I’d like to show off is a free fangame called Moyashi Monogatari, or “Bean Sprout Story” (a clear take on Doukutsu Monogatari/Cave Story, and meant to describe the lanky little Patchouli we play as). It’s a passion project made by a solo developer named J・J, and one of my favorite games to have been given the opportunity to translate. I worked directly with J・J to add dual language support to the game.
The game begins with a very cheeky remake of stage 1-1 from Super Mario Bros., and not too long after that, you’ll end up at the Kirisame Magic Shop. Approach the house and an angry, Mario-style Marisa will come out to try to shoo you away, but beat her up and you’ll gain access to her shop. I guess that means she forgives you for your violence.
At this point, you might be thinking Moyashi Monogatari is just a simple mashup of Cave Story and Mario, but, well…
…keep playing and it’ll quickly become clear that it’s not quite that simple. The game descends into madness, parodying everything it possibly can and more. Some stages change the genre entirely, though the game is still a platformer at its core. Here’s a few stages and references that Western players may appreciate:
Metal Gear (Rabbit Eater): A stealth showdown with Reisen in a quiet forest reminiscent of a certain Metal Gear Solid boss.
I Wanna be the Girl: A parody of I Wanna be the Guy. Bonus points to anyone who gets why there are Ringos on the trees.
One-Winged Goddess: The final boss fight of Final Fantasy 7, but with Sagume replacing Sephiroth. Comes fully equipped with a recreation of your favorite overly-long Supernova animation (which only does 1 damage to you).
Aunn Ain’t Stupid: That horrid autoscrolling Poochy level from Yoshi’s Island, but now you’re riding on Aunn instead. Probably one of the most frustrating levels in the entire game. The flowers are looking a little suspicious, too…
And to help broaden your horizons, here’s a few stages that would be more recognizable to Japanese players:
Hot Teacher Quest: Based on the “Sis RPG” series of videos, which are videos of (non-playable) RPG Maker games with misleading titles and questionable quality. Explaining just what kind of wild ride they are is beyond the scope of this article, but they’re subtitled on YouTube if you want to look them up.
Embryo’s Dream Diary: Okay, so a lot of Western Touhou fans likely know about Yume Nikki already, but I’m putting this here anyway. If you’re familiar with Yume Nikki, you know what this level is already – enter doors, explore strange places, get lost, see cool events. The level’s name may clue you into the boss’s identity, but the way the battle plays out may surprise you…
Underground Geyser Center: An all-too-faithful recreation of Spelunker, that one game on the NES and other old consoles where falling more than two feet causes you to break your legs – in midair. Maybe you’ve heard of this one already, but its legacy is a LOT more notorious in Japan.
Scarlet no Yakata: A parody of a legendary kusoge called Noroi no Yakata (“The Cursed House”). Comes complete with an obnoxious Flight of the Bumblebee piano solo, just like the original.
The game features three different playable characters – Patchouli, Alice, and Satori – all of whom have different abilities. Patchouli has a wide variety of magic attacks, many of which will seem familiar if you’ve played the official fighting games. Alice can set up her dolls and command them to do all sorts of things… or you can just throw them at enemies like Pikmin, which is way stronger than it should be. I’d recommend NOT doing that during boss fights if you want to experience the game properly. Lastly, Satori can scan enemies with Terrifying Hypnotism to gain the powers of various Touhou characters, like in the Kirby series.
There’s also a large overworld with several submaps, boasting over 100 different stages in total. There are also a ton of collectibles, such as records that let you play the game’s music in the music room to learn about its source and sometimes get additional comments.
Moyashi Monogatari is a wonderfully charming game with surprises around every corner. It’s also available for free from the developer’s site! If you’d like to play it, head to the dev’s site, click on Games, then もやし物語（日本語/English), which will bring you to the dev’s Google Drive where you can download it. The game lets you select your language via the first stage on the overworld, and there’s also some files included that you can extract and drop into the game’s folder to translate any text in images. A few level names are left untranslated in the currently uploaded version, sorry – they were translated at one point in time, but we crossed wires in a couple places during the transition from a standalone English version to a dual-language one.
Next up is Clownpiece RPG, another free fangame. This one is an RPG Maker game created by Omyaga using mostly free assets, but don’t let that dissuade you from giving it a try.
The story is that two of Hecatia’s planetary orbs have suddenly gone missing. She’s naturally too busy sitting on her throne (in classic JRPG fashion) to go look for them herself, so she sends Clownpiece out instead.
On the way, you’ll encounter Junko, Koishi, and Doremy, who will make up your party for the main story (there might be some other characters to find, however…). You might be able to guess as much from Doremy’s involvement, but the story has some connections to dreams and will take you through the Dream World multiple times.
Clownpiece RPG is Omyaga’s first game, and he admits that it may not be as balanced as well as it could be, but I think it still has plenty of neat ideas implemented into it. It’s available (for free!) on his itch.io page, so check it out and give him some encouragement to let him know that you’d like to see more from him someday! Game development isn’t his main field, however – he’s usually creating original Touhou-style songs on his YouTube channel, so check those out if you’re into that sort of thing. If you dig deep enough into Clownpiece RPG, you might just find one of his songs in there (and it might just be my favorite he’s made)…!
The last game I’d like to show off is Harvest Yuuka, a game by the doujin circle Chiyuudou that takes inspiration from the Harvest Moon series. I’ve been working with them directly to bring the game to Western audiences. It’ll be releasing it on the Switch… when it’s ready™!
After a nightmare where she scares off innocent fairies with her presence alone, Yuuka decides she’s fed up with her fearsome reputation. She makes the decision to create a garden (more of a farm, really…) where people can come to relax, and she even opts to not use her plant powers in an attempt to bring herself down a peg and be more relatable.
Like you’d expect from this sort of game, a lot of what you do will be prepping your field, growing crops, and harvesting them. Eventually, however, you’ll also unlock cooking, animal caretaking, and, of course, fishing.
There’s plenty of things to do and quite a few places to visit, but the game’s real charm comes from character interactions. It features characters from Embodiment of Scarlet Devil all the way up to Double Dealing Character (oh, and Mima is there as the general store owner, too).
Unlike Harvest Moon, there’s no gifting or romance, but you can still raise your friendship with characters by talking to them daily. Characters will give you seeds or recipes once you get close enough to them, and some characters have special events, too. The game has a total of 17 different endings, many of them featuring characters that we’re not used to seeing Yuuka interact with (though the list of characters we HAVE seen her interact with in canon is admittedly pretty small).
Harvest Yuuka will be coming to the Switch, but the devs are currently hard at work porting it so please be patient – it may be a while. The port is taking a lot of work and they’re also working on a new game at the same time, hence why I can only show off the opening at the moment. Sorry about that!
About What I Do
There are many, many Touhou fangames out there and plenty of people who’d like to play them, but many of them are difficult to experience without knowledge of Japanese. At the same time, hiring a translator isn’t worth it financially for a lot of doujin circles, and we’ve all seen how poor machine translations are when it comes to producing natural-sounding scripts.
With that in mind, my goal is to act as a sort of middleman between Western fans and Japanese developers. I reach out to them and offer to translate their games for free, and I receive monetary support through my donation sites.
If you’d like to help bring Touhou fangames to Western audiences, please consider donating to support my activities. I also have a Discord server where I post things like developer contact updates. It’s also the easiest way to keep up with project announcements and polls, and it also has an up-to-date list of which games your name will be put into if you donate.