Welcome to the Mystery Project portal (aka Touhou 4Kids translation), where all game content is translated like a so-bad-it's-good anime dub/abridged parody.
This project gives us a glimpse into a What If-Scenario of some dubious American game publisher getting the localization rights on the Touhou series and completely butchering it up with total disregard of the the source material, to better suit it western tastes.
You might say: "Touhou with westernized names that reads like a bad anime dub? That sounds horrible!... I like it :)"
Based on an original idea by Dancingbug11.
Mysteryland Prologues: Pre-story fanfic about Melissa's arrival in Mysteryland. Takes place a few weeks before Mysteryland Origins 1.
Mysteryland Origins: The Beginning of Things (Th01)
Mysteryland Origins 2: Rachel, Melissa, Fantima, and Other People (Th02)
- SoEW: After weeks of harsh training and nightmares, Rachel is ready for her first hunt.
Mysteryland Origins 3: Some Ruins, A Prize, Scientists, Robots, and Other Things (Th03)
Mysteryland Origins 4: Gangster Ghosts, Team-Ups, Lakes, Waking Up Monsters, and Other Stuff (Th04)
Mysteryland Origins 5: Quadruples, Living Dolls, Gods, Wonderlands, and All that Jazz (Th05)
Mysteryland Mysteries: The Scarlet Mistery (Th06)
A mysterious red mist makes people sick all across Mysteryland. It appears that someone's cooking out something bad again in the fast-food kitchen down at the old O'Hara mansion.
- EoSD Marisa: The mystery in which Melissa follows her nose.
Mysteryland Mysteries 2: Perfect Cherry Candy (Th07)
Spring won't sprung. Rachel and her cohorts decide to follow the trail of cherry candy wrappings to the "Other Dimension" and solve the mystery of the everlasting winter.
- PCB Reimu: The mystery in which Rachel beats up a weather woman, gets a horrible cold and no tea.
- PCB Reimu Extra/Phantasm: In which Rachel wastes her time.
Mysteryland Mysteries 3: Nights of Neverends (Th08)
An everlasting night hangs over Mysteryland. Hooray! That means no school tomorrow, right? ...right? ...yeah, as if. You know what that means. Grab your flashlight, go out there and catch the culprit before you have to sit through homeroom class in the dark.
- IN Boundary: The mystery in which Rachel and Ingrid go on an epic quest for delicious cake!
- IN Boundary Extra: The mystery in which Rachel punishes a firestarter!
Mysteryland Mysteries 4: Flourishing Flowering (Th09)
Big shock! Someone's been careless and put too much magic fertilizer on the flower fields of Mysteryland! Now everything's blooming wherever you look: The fields, the streets, inside Rachel's house, Allison's bathtub... Whoever might be behind this inflorescence infliction? To find the culprit, Supreme Judge Justine is calling everyone in for a court meeting.
Mysteryland Mysteries 5: To the Top of Monster Mesa! (Th10)
There's a new shop in town (or rather, high up on dreaded Monster Mesa), making even the lives of the monsters of Mysteryland miserable. It is up to Rachel and her witch rival to show them who is the true monster hunter.
- MoF Marisa: The mystery in which Melissa is trying to buff up and makes a new friend on the way.
- MoF Marisa Ending A: In which Melissa hears about a top-secret project!
- MoF Marisa Extra: In which Melissa resolves an old family feud.
Mysteryland Mysteries 6: The Deep Down Thermal Dilemma (Th11)
A cold winter has reached Mysteryland. To endure this harsh season, Rachel and Melissa decided to make the most of it and give their brand new hot tub a warming up party... but the dream of soaking in heated tickly bubbles bursted, when they realized that the whole town mysteriously had run out of hot water. Now they have to venture underground and deal with mindreaders and atomic supermutants? What a bummer...
The shady new construction business on the Mesa apparently had something to do with renovating the underground water heating plant. Let's investigate! And maybe pick up a spa bar from Underground Walmart on the way.
- SA ReimuYukari
- SA Reimu Ending: The mystery in which Rachel takes down an evil Class 5 Supermutant.
- SA ReimuYukari Extra (Unfinished)
- SA MariPache: The mystery in which Melissa journeys to the center of the Earth and stuff. (Unfinished)
Mysteryland Mysteries 7: UFO Panic!! (Th12)
UFO sightings all over Mysteryland! But don't worry. Our girls will show those alien jerks who's boss!
- UFO SanaeA: It's Samantha's first hunt for monsters, UFOs and popularity.
- (WIP video).
- UFO SanaeA Ending: In which Aunt Prescilla meets an English person.
- UFO SanaeA Extra (Unfinished)
Mysteryland Mysteries 8: The Last DJ (Th13)
After the alien jerks from the last story settled down in Mysteryland, a huge swarm of "Icky goo-like wants" suddenly appeared. Let's go ghostbusting and rescue DJ Awesome!
- TD Reimu: The mystery in which Rachel's dream comes true.
- TD Reimu Ending: In which Rachel is invited to a concert.
- TD Sanae: The mystery in which Samantha becomes a true hero!
- TD Sanae Ending: In which Samantha finds an old vinyl record.
- TD Sanae Extra: In which Samantha is on the radio.
Mysteryland Mysteries 9: Contrary Calamity (Th14)
You just can't get any solid work done if all your tools are acting up like crazy due to polarity reversion. But maybe the "Contrary Castle" floating in the sky holds some answers.
- DDC Marisa A: The mystery, in which Melissa sees right through a nasty trade fraud.
- DDC Marisa Endings: In which Melissa almost loses her mind!
- DDC Marisa Extra: In which Melissa jams with a metal band leader.
Mysteryland Mysteries 10: Moonatic Moondness (Th15)
Stupid bunny infestation... it looks like the only solution for this lapine problem lies on America's greatest treasure. The Moon.
- LoLK Sanae: The mystery in which Samantha can breathe on the Moon.
- LoLK Sanae Ending: In which Samantha does her homework.
- LoLK Reisen: The mystery in which Raisin stops a simulation while high on cough syrup.
- LoLK Reisen Ending: In which Raisin gets copious amounts of exposition.
- LoLK Reisen Extra: In which Raisin gets roped into yet another colorblaze duel.
Mysteryland Mysteries 11: The Wheel of Seasons (Th16)
Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter are all completely out of control! And for some reason, our girl's favorite TV series are aired out of order! Let's go look for the fabled wheel of seasons and put this seasonal strangeness into order again!
Lore & Stuff
Worldbuilding drafts and personal notes
- The Big Mysteryland Table of Everything: Contains everything from names, terms, spell cards and whatnot.
- About Mysteryland
- O'Hara Vampires
- The Cherry Tree of the Other World
- The Borders of Mysteryland
- The Loony Moon
- DJ Awesome and the Ethereal Trinity
- The Trio Trickster Pixies (Fanfic WIP)
These scenarios don't fit the quality standards of the project and have been rejected from the the Mysteryland canon.
- EoSD Reimu: In which Rachel resolves the villainy of the scarlet mist and plays baseball with Iris Nightflower. (Dancingbug11)
- IN Ghost Team: In which Sandra and Betty set off to slay a Dragon. (Dancingbug11)
- PoFV Reimu: In which Rachel keeps suspecting other people about the flowers, meets her tumblr idol, goes fishing, and works with a judge. (Dancingbug11)
- PoFV Youmu
- SA MariAlice, SA Marisa Ending: In which Melissa ventures underground. (Dancingbug11)
- UFO ReimuA, ReimuA Ending, ReimuA Extra: Rachel hunts down monsters and UFOs. (Dancingbug11)
- UFO MarisaB, MarisaB Ending, MarisaB Extra: In which Melissa takes down the Alien Queen. (Dancingbug11)
- TD Youmu, Youmu Ending: Where Sandra rescues a princess trapped underground for forty thousand years. (Dancingbug11)
- DDC ReimuA: In which Rachel reverses polarity. (Dancingbug11)
- LoLK Reimu demo: In which Rachel meets another Loony Bunny, makes a new friend, and gets advice. (Dancingbug11)
- SA MariNitori: In which Melissa tries to solve a watery problem. (Lightbox87)
- HSiFS Reimu, Reimu Endings: In which Rachel won't dance. (Splashman & Lightbox87)
Geemu Entertainment Inc. is a fictional American localization house for import media.
It's founder, Ron Mulberg, originally had a dream to publish the best quality entertainment for video games lovers of every age. This dream was shattered when his wife unexpetedly fell ill and became a nursing case. Burdened with the bills and having other things on his mind that quality entertainment, he now publishes low-quality 2nd rate works that are guaranteed to make a quick buck. What is left of his old dream is but a faint shimmer.
Through a series of inexplainable circumstances - which involved a trip to Japan, a chance encounter with ZUN, liters of beer, a rubber ducky, and, most likely, a pact with the Devil - Geemu Entertrianment somehow managed to secure the American localization rights to Touhou Project from Team Shanghai Alice.
Among its staff - most of which has already left or been fired - are a handful of talented translators who actually know and love Touhou, and despite the regional concept changes try their best to give it a respectful translation.
These good intentions always clash of course with the more numerous part-time college slackers who have no idea what these Chinese flying girls shooting colored balls are all about, not to mention the marketing, play testers, focus groups, and censor department who constantly breathe down their neck. Mr. Mulberg usually sides with the latter half because it means less work for him.
But on his rare good days he might actually accept a good scenario draft.
"So what is it that you're doing here? Deliberate censorship of Touhou?"
That was the original justforlulz idea, but then that idea started to flourish into something much greater than what we imagined.
Allow me an example: Didn't we all groan when we saw the characters from Pokémon eating jelly filled doughnuts, which unmistakably were onigiri riceballs?
Well, years later here we are, fondly remembering that scene and having a good laugh at 4Kids idiocy. This is what we're aiming at.
Basically, Mystery Project is supposed to be a satire and reconstruction on censorship and westernization. Although it started out as a dumb, kid-friendly version of Touhou, the concept development showed us we're still able to apply a broad range of ideas to make it all sorts of entertaining.
"Isn't this just a dumb parody?"
Yes and no.
From one moment to another, the characters can go from dumbed down and flanderized, to well rounded and respectful to the spirit of the original. Same goes for the story, which can begin as a stupid, absurd and ridiculous concept, yet with carefully applied amusing, dramatic, sometimes even scary, and of course our beloved heartwarming moments.
It is the balance between Macekre (the disregard of source material) and Woolseyism (doing the very best with and improving on what you have) that makes this project work, and our ability to build our own interpreted world based on Gensokyo, with its very own history, inhabitants and mythology. Thus, Mysteryland itself will become its own thing and could even develop a fan-following.
"How can you do this to muh 2hu??"
Remember: If there's anything Touhou has taught us, it would be that its fandom knows absolutely no limits and can create anything great out of the source material, in all shapes, forms, sizes, numbers, columns and colors - you only need to let go of common sense and make something good.
Mysteryland, Eastern States of America
Mysteryland is a remote town somewhere in the Eastern States of America (ESA) of our current time, where magic is of common use and monsters with the shape of human girls roam around and make everyone's life miserable. Only few people can freely enter and exit Mysteryland, because it is guarded by the famous monster hunter Rachel Heartway, who's in charge of the border that encompasses the town... as in, it is a literal border, with checkpoints and fences.
The rules of Mysteryland work pretty similar as those in Gensokyo. Monsters still use "power cards" in order to avoid any killing and censorship, and everyone has a "secret power". For example, Letty has the power to predict the weather by 95% correctness, and Ichirin has the power to distort any pictures shot of UFOs.
Most of the girls go to Junior High and live at home with their parents, even some of the monsters do. Unlike Touhou, our characters have established ages.
- Rachel Heartway: Monster Hunter
- Rachel is very famous all around Mysteryland and is the best monster hunter the town has ever seen. Without her, everything would fall apart. Because she's always overworked with hunting, border patrol and school, she can be antisocial and bit of a jerk sometimes, and snobbishly looks down on others due to her famous status. Lives on the eastern border checkpoint of Mysteryland. Melissa nicknamed her "Ray-Ray", and it's her berserk button. Her full name is Racquel Ethel Heartway. She hates that name even more.
- Melissa McDonalds: Wicked Witch from the Ranch
- Rachel's best friend and rival. Always thinks of a new comeuppance when it comes to beat her at monster hunting. She doesn't really like school, but secretly is a bookworm and her favorite subjects are chemistry and astronomy. She grew up on her family's ranch in Texas country, but when she got older they decided to send her to live with her Uncle Ryan in Mysteryland to keep her from putting spells on the cows. Now has a whole fanfic devoted to her backstory, but we can still abbreviate it Fresh Prince style.
- Sunnyday Samantha: The Super Unpopular School Girl
- A total ditz, obsessed with UFOs and other tech stuff. Cheerful but lonely. Despite her claims that she's super popular in school and has lots of friends there, she's actually lying to herself. Her only real friends are Rachel and Melissa, who helped her get into part-time monster hunting. Lives very high up on Monster Mesa with her two aunts.
- Iris Nightflower: Sporty Waitress
- Has a part-time job as a waitress at the O'Hara Café and plays in the local baseball team. Despite her ability "Secret Power" being time manipulation, she's always late for baseball.
- Spooky Sandra: Suave Spectre En-garde
- A cool and suave swordsmaster who lives with her teacher Betty in The Other Dimension. Works hard to someday become a spooky ghost. Has great theoretical knowledge about scaring people, but her actual scares only come off as adorable. Has a Spanish accent, but sometimes slips into French. Learned sword techniques from her great great great...great Grandfather Rodriguez, whose spectral manifestation follows her around. Everybody thinks its a giant marshmellow.
PC-98 era: Mysteryland Origins 1-5
Windows era: Mysteryland Mysteries 1-10
Ground fighters: Mysteryland Bout! 1,2,2+alpha
Flying fighters: Mysteryland Brawl! 1-3
Shoot the Bullet: Mysteryland Scoop
Fairy Wars: Mysteryland Tricksters
Impossible Spell Card: Mysteryland ɹǝʌǝɹsǝp
Published by Geemu Entertainment Inc. (ZUN copyright will stay in place, out of respect).
4Kids is thought to be more of a general term for this patch, so perhaps we shouldn't restrict ourselves completely to the style of this one localization group. Just stick to the general concept, keep the censorship in mind and write whatever you think is funny. You can make use of the original dialogue, pop culture references and even memes, but try not to rely on them too much. Work hard to come up with something on your own. Also feel free to slip things under the radar.
Spell Cards/Power Cards
Here's where translators have assumed almost full creative control, can take out their frustrations, and even break the fourth wall, because the games are so hard that the boss/censors will never see them anyway (especially Ran&Yukari's manji/swastika cards...)
Censorship & cultural changes
- No mention of death or killing. Threatening to eat someone is okay.
- Only mild swearing (darn, dang, crap, curses)
- No mention of religion or religious symbols.
- No nudity or eroticism, but that won't be a problem with TSA anyway.
- Weapons: some are okay, others aren't. no guns, knifes, or sharp objects except swords. Swords are heroic.
- Change most traces of Japanese culture to western.
- No alcohol. Make it soda or milk instead.
Visual changes require some serious image editing to the sprites, character portraits, etc, but maybe we can find some artists who want to help out:
- Reimu's iconic miko attire could be changed to a really cool looking red/white conteporary outfit, or something like a border patrol uniform.
- Change the Hakurei Shrine to a border checkpoint, and the torii to an entrance gate (it could say "Welcome to Mysteryland").
- Change Sakuya's knifes to baseballs
- Change Komachi's scythe to a fishing rod or something even more ridiculous (like a certain spring loaded shoe-thing on a stick).
- Change Eiki's rod of remorse to a judge gavel
- Swords can stay, but maybe give them a softening glow like in MegaMan NT Warrior.
- Reisen's th15 gun looks like a toy to begin with, but should we do anything about her bullet shaped shots?
- Are needles okay, like Reimu's and Sukuna's?
- Change Ringos dango into something more american and call them "jellyfish doughnuts", "cheesy poofs" or something. as an even odder twist, we could change them back into nigiri.
- Change Nemuno's knife into a broom and add a hat and a cat to their sprite in order to give her the feeling of a wicked witch.
Mysteryland Bout! (Th75)
Mysteryland Bout! II (Th105)
Mysteryland Bout! II+α (Th123)
Mysteryland Brawl! (Th135)
Mysteryland Brawl! II (Th145)
Mysteryland Brawl! III Hyper Tag Combo Edition (Th155)
Mysteryland Scoop (Th095)
Mysteryland Scoop 2 (Th125)
Mysteryland Tricksters (Th128)
Mysteryland ɹǝʌǝɹsǝp (Th143)
rachel: likes the candy herself, but is more concerned about the missing spring. gives a big speech about "free" market and democracy in the end.
melissa: loves cherry candy more than anything and follows the wrappings just out of curiosity. thinks there might be a tree growing with candy at the end of the trail. turns out she's absolutely right.
iris: she's not a big fan of sweet stuff, but they need the candy at the o'hara cafe.
th07 extra: vixy: tells her story about how she had high hopes after her graduation, but now she's just a freeloader at Ingrid's place in exchange for daily IT support and other services.ingrid: she's the mayor of mysteryland, but is really bad at her job and only lazes around, so she lets others do the work for her. she's really a nice lady, even if very immature for her age. meeting up with the monster hunters fires her up a bit to become more active. despite her lazy reputation, the mysteryland citizens wouldn't think of voting someone else.
has a different plot for every character pair. things they share: long night, fake moon, kimberly's birthday.
all ingrid wants is to crash kimberly's birthday night so she could get a slice of her cake, and so she drags Rachel along so she can help her find the place where the princess lives. it turns out her plan to secretly stop the night, break out of the fake confusion moon and into the hidden observatory was just a big waste of time, because she forgot to bring any presents (and the cake is inedible for anyone but the princess).
melissa/allison: one night when melissa and allison were out moon gazing, they couldn't help but notice something was off about the moon. they decide to go out and find the moon observatory hidden in the bamboo labyrinth and report this strange occurrence. in order to get there in time and not miss school in the morning, they stop the night.
iris/remi: flanders broke iris's magical stopwatch (which caused a neverending night), and now she has to go find someone who can fix it. remi comes with her because it she thinks it could be an amsing experience.
sandra/betty: sandra is a good student at her master's school for ghosting & witchcraft, but betty wants her to become more experienced in the field. so she stops the night for sandra to get a whole day's worth of nightly spooking around. sandra, being the good girl that she really is, is faced with a conflict between being a scary ghost and a swordmaster heroine.
All four scenarios in this game have a different plot. The reason and the outcome for the long night can be very different for each characters.
(for exmple, Ingrid and Rachel investigate an unknown cause, Iris messed around with her magic stopwatch, etc...)
after resolving the moon incident, all pairs hear that someone's been making a fire behind the moon observatory. they meet up with monica phoenix, the immortal immoral firestarter. turns out that she reason for the fire was not entirely malicious(monica and kimberly are also bitter rivals here. kimberly invited her immortal bestie to a birthday party in the past, but monica blew out the cake candles as a joke. kimberly didn't take it well and the party ended in a great disaster. ever since then, kimberly hates celebrating birthdays and prefers to be left alone with her cake)
(palace of the earth spirits could be underground walmart, but why does it look like a mansion?)
for navigation, the girls keep open a magical skype connection with their partners.
anya: is reluctant to help, but needs something to post on her tumblr that will generate big followers, even though underground doesn't sound relaly trendy. turns out the underground wrestler, mindreader and atomic supermutant is just the thing she needs.
ingrid: is bored like always. decides to help rachel and make sure she picks up the right skin care products.
sophie: is curious about the underground because she might encounter an interesting person there (she's either friends with courage, or a big fan of her).
allison: is most concerned about missing hot water, because she can't make any tea. (why doesn't she just cook it? let's find out)
nitro: her family's waterpark can run fine without hot water for the most part, but then how will they arrange the special health event for the elderly every wendesday?
mimosa: (...I dunno, any idea?)
th11 extra:when the girls find out that the missing hot water was partly the blowhard company's fault, they decide to climb monster mesa and put in a complaint. nobody's home but Samantha... and a little lost girl who's been wandering around aimlessly for months because she missed the bus and decided to walk to school. somehow she ended up up the mountain.
- Nazrin should make references to being a mighty mouse, the third most famous mouse, and go for the cheese jokes and references to Mickey Mouse and Tom and Jerry.
- Oh, don't forget Pikachu.
- Oh, don't forget Pikachu.
- Kogasa talks in stupid rain-puns.
- Murasa is now a hip Vogon ship captain speaking slightly british. sorry, couldn't resist...
- Shou Toramaru would have at least one joke about how she doesn't look like a tiger in a fairly Abridged-series like fashion. Also, she's a huge fangirl of the retired superhero called Tiger-Man (Bishamonten).
- Byakuren is the Alien Queen who brainwashed EVERYONE, except for Kogasa.
- She acts like the Queen Bees at Samantha's school.
- The planet she lives on is called Planet Hissyfits. Hokkai's her lair, and Makai is extraterrestrial terrain. Also, under the brainwashing, Planet Hissyfits looks like a cool hangout ala this animated short. In Rachel A's scenario, she recites THIS word-for-word. (Just look at the way he snaps his fingers, I can't get through the damned thing without laughing. It took me 10 minutes to watch that because I couldn't take it at one sitting without laughing so hard my heart stops. I couldn't even breathe. Especially that freaking slow snapping. The "And that was that." part had me on the floor alone.)
- Bea speaks like a bee, a borg queen, and a snobbish school bitch. But she's mostly beatnik. (Touhou facebook admin - huge namusan fanboi - and Dancingbug11 like it)
- In 12.5, she still is beatnik, but she mostly just references the video above, and in 14.3 she references the PC from Twitch Plays Pokemon and Game Grumps's Play with the Teletubbies video. (especially 2:53-3:41)
- She acts like the Queen Bees at Samantha's school.
- Nue Hojuu is a radical '90s gal. She prank calls people with the Fresh Prince theme song.