Earlier this year Shigesato Itoi’s company, HOBO NIKKAN ITOI SHINBUN, surprised MOTHER / EARTHBOUND fans around the world with the announced of the HOBONICHI MOTHER PROJECT. Billed as an ongoing project with a variety of different aspects, we’ve seen an official anthology comic book featuring world-class artists, a new round of t-shirts, and the promise of more to come. Today at the company’s HOBONICHIYOBI gallery inside of Shibuya PARCO another aspect of the project opened, a limited-time gallery featuring the art of longtime MOTHER series fan A・MELICA. Being a massive fan of the series, I booked it over to SHIBUYA to be one of the first fans to check it out!
Once I arrived on the 8th floor of Shibuya PARCO with the other fans, we were lined up outside of the gallery and asked to follow the standard COVID-19 prevention process around Tokyo before entering. They managed to brighten up the mandatory distancing with its own little MOTHER related touch, signs featuring the Giant Step Your Sanctuary location from MOTHER 2.
Located all around the gallery are different pieces of A・MELICA’s work from different time periods, most of which are focused on the MOTHER series. His art style perfectly captures the spirit of the games, and looking at the pieces first hand brought memories of playing through each title rushing back as I walked through. The vocal soundtrack from the first game was playing via overhead speakers with Pollyanna playing as I walked in, adding to the already pleasant atmosphere.
In addition to the art pieces themselves, a monitor showing a video of A・MELICA’s process was featured in an area spaced out for comfortable viewing. Thankfully if you couldn’t stay and watch it all, or make it to the gallery, A・MELICA has uploaded the video to YouTube for everyone to enjoy!
In the middle of the gallery you’re greeted by a display of the new merch that’s been revealed as part of the project so far, along with an additional display of items that are yet to come, and some classic merch that are among the most coveted items within the fandom. The new items shown off include:
GRAY PARKA SERVICE
A company specializing in creating character goods. They have been involved in a number of projects with Hobonichi and “MOTHER” for the last 2 years.
Mr. Norihiko Sakata, a figure producer, has been making plushes for “MOTHER” and official figures of paper clay for more than 10 years. He also worked on “The easily misunderstood Kuma” for Hobonichi.
PROOF OF GUILD
A workshop in Nagoya fronted by Minoru Takeuchi, a goldsmith. The more you use the accessory, the more the texture evolves.
NOBUHIKO IMAGAWA x MIYUKI
Nobuhiko Imagawa, the designer and art director of “MOTHER 3” and MIYUKI, a world-class bead designer collaboration. Reproduction pixel art made with glass beads.
As mentioned, some real treasures were also on display:
Mr. Saturn plush are among the most favorite MOTHER series collectibles out there, I count myself as the lucky owner of one of those giant Mr. Saturn plush from 2009. It’s rare to see these out in the wild, and Mr. Saturn is such a whimsical creature, I couldn’t help but smile seeing them on display. While the signs don’t indicate it specifically, the signs mention a sale date not being decided along with a price, so it’s possible that these might be getting re-produced like the Master Belch plush!
Of course, having copies of the games themselves on display was a must. Maybe these are Itoi’s own personal copies? Either way, the boxes are well-loved which is something I’m sure a lot of fans can relate to.
At the back of the gallery is a large photo spot featuring the iconic heroes of the MOTHER series along with some of the supporting cast. After standing in line a staff member at the gallery would take your photo, and they had print-outs of a hint sign, present box, and Ness’s Dad for you to pose with.
In addition to the main photo spot, there were also a couple of cheeky additional photo spots hidden around the gallery featuring Ness’s hat, and the head mushroom that would cause your controls to flip when inflicted by it in-game.
As a whole, it was a pretty simple little gallery, but it was a really bright start to a rainy June day in Tokyo. I’m loving every aspect of this whole project that HOBONICHI is running so far, and since they tend to cap everything off by saying there’s more to come I hope we see some more fun announcements soon.