10/15 – Holy Umbrella: Dondera no Mubou!!
Hello and welcome! My name is Katosepe and I’ll be your host for today’s Video Game of the Day.
Translation for games can take a lot of effort and back in the 16-bit era, it often wasn’t determined whether or not a localization would even happen until sales figures were in at the home region. This made it commonplace for the west to not see Japanese games localized for a year or two, if at all. If a game came out late in a console’s life-cycle in Japan, it likely wouldn’t be worth it to localize it in the west as people will have moved on to the next big thing. This was likely why the west never saw today’s game, Holy Umbrella: Dondera no Mubou, developed by Earthly Soft and released exclusively in Japan in 1995
Holy Umbrella: Dondera no Mubo, which translates as Holy Umbrella: Reckless Dondera, has players play as a nameless boy who picks up a stray umbrella in a rainstorm. He is then spirited off to a magical kingdom at war. Rebels fight against the Emperor Dondera and his empire’s invention, the Dondera Tank. The protagonist becomes swept up in the conflict as rebels try to stop Emperor Dondera from opening a magical gate and obtaining great power. The boy uses his magical umbrella to help stop them.
Holy Umbrella is an action RPG, with the developers taking influence from games like Secret of Mana, Legend of Zelda and Super Mario World. Players travel the world via a world map, similar to Super Mario World. Each level is a 2D side-scrolling area that must be traversed and explored to pass. Defeating enemies grants the player coins which they can use to buy items when they reach town. There are also items scattered around the world that extend the player’s life bar or increase his attack or defense.
Holy Umbrella was never officially localized likely due to it being late on the SNES. By the time it came out in 1995, the Sony Playstation was already released in Japan and the Nintendo 64 was well into development. Plus, anime wasn’t as big in the west during the 1990’s as it is today. Many publishers tried hiding a game’s anime roots from western audiences to try and prevent a loss of sales but Holy Umbrella’s bizarre premise would have been a tough sell for publishers at the time. Fortunately, a fan translation is available online allowing the entire game to be played in English.
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