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Famicom Rocky: The Series Nobody Wanted

MOST RECENT CHAPTER ONLINE: CHAPTER TWO

It's been a while, Giant Bomb. The last time I put out a Japanese-English translation here that didn't involve cartridge labels or achievements lists, we wound up with a Persona 4 fan manga about the game's definitive romantic pairing that, while relatively light on plot, was at least well-drawn and warmly received. Other translation projects of varying scales have since come and gone, although most have been for demographics other than what this site typically caters to, which is why, aside from an absolute torrent of Japanese status updates that only a handful of other people can read on this site, things have been quiet on the translation front for quite some time. That's all going to change right now, though, as I've finished translating the first chapter of a series that I suspect has, shall we say, inadvertent appeal to at least some members of this site.

I present to you all Famicom Rocky, the series that will probably wreck any and all goodwill I had built up from the Persona 4 manga a while back. For a brief description of what this series is actually about, feel free to stick with me and read the section right after the table of contents, which is designed for those who are already familiar with the series and just want access to the latest in "great plots." If you just want to jump into it like a crazy person, though, jump to the section after that one, which is where the first chapter will have a permanent home outside of the main gallery version. Underneath it will be the most recent chapter I've uploaded as well, which will change every time I upload new material. Beyond that, I'll have some additional concluding remarks about this series afterwards.

Also, if you're at all interested in helping me upload new chapters faster, head to the section titled "One More Thing." Assistance is, of course, voluntary, but as I explain in that section, it would be greatly appreciated.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter 1: The absolutely riveting opening to the classic series, in this chapter we're introduced to protagonist extraordinaire Yuki Todoroki, who, despite having never played a Famicom game previously, decides to master the Japan-only F-1 Race because he's just a nice guy like that or something.
  • Chapter 2: Having garnered the respect of the distinctly not nice guy in the previous chapter, Yuki's next challenger involves a former American Air Force pilot whose flying and shooting skills automatically make him an ace at the classic Namco arcade game Xevious. Yuki once again has no idea what a Xevious is, but that doesn't stop him from going on absurd training montages to prove that he's better at it than the dastardly Yankee.

What the hell is a Famicom Rocky, Pepsiman?

No Caption Provided

I more or less asked myself this exact same question when I first learned of this series' existence, third-person references and all. Famicom Rocky is as straightforward as it sounds, though. Created by Motoyuki Asai, author of other such potentially riveting series as Skateboarding Rocky (I'm seriously not making this up), Famicom Rocky is basically Rocky the movie, but with old NES-era video games. The series stars an ineloquent brute of a protagonist who has long, extensive training montages so that he can dramatically compete against vaguely imposing rivals who, for narrative purposes, are deluded into thinking they're better at video games than him. While I haven't finished reading the series in Japanese, as far as I know, there are no Survivor songs nor Russian Communist arch-enemies. As you will discover soon enough, such concepts might have been too complicated for the creator to handle. Each chapter focuses around the protagonist mastering a specific game in some dramatic fashion, often under unusual circumstances that can't really be replicated within the actual games themselves. There are narrative licenses abound in Famicom Rocky, in case you couldn't guess.

You've sold me, Pepsiman! Gimme chapter one!

This is a series best experienced rather than just thoroughly dissected, so below is chapter one of Famicom Rocky. We're introduced to the main cast who will comprise of the series' main trio moving forward and the "Game of the Day" is F-1 Race for the Famicom, a game that is not only not another Nintendo game for the Famicom Disk System titled Famicom Grand Prix F-1 Race, but also only came overseas in the form of a Game Boy sequel years later. We'll talk more about this chapter's actual translation work in the next section, though. Why don't you just bask in the gallery underneath instead and read it for yourself? Like all native Japanese manga, the panels and dialog are read from right to left, top to bottom. In case you want direct access to the gallery so you can properly turn pages and see larger versions of each image, you can go here.

Actually, I'm all caught up! Why don't you give me the latest and greatest on offer?

A couple of Giant Bomb's resident masochists, as well as some outside sites, actually condoned my work on the first chapter and expressed interest in further translations, so here I am with a second chapter. Now that Yuki Todoroki is a certified Famicom Champion(TM) despite only beating another grade schooler at F-1 Race, he now has pressing concerns, such as actually calling himself Famicom Rocky and taking on new rivals, as is par for the course in this sort of series. This time around, he's challenged to a gentlemanly round of Namco's iconic arcade game Xevious by none other than George, a former American pilot who's apparently able to translate his flying skills to the game pad quite easily. As in Yuichiro's case, George is, of course, crazy for thinking he could beat Yuki at a game he's never heard of, as Yuki and company take it upon themselves to prove him wrong. Hilarity (doesn't really) ensue! The gallery version is right here in case you want this chapter in a more readable resolution, but I'll also provide it below. I will note that, for whatever reason, the conclusion page appears first in the gallery; otherwise, everything else is in order.

The Aftermath

If you've finished reading this first chapter, there's probably one thing we can agree with: this series is pretty bad. As I mention in the credits/long-ass rambling page, Famicom Rocky is, by no stretch of the imagination, a good manga. It will not convince anyone that anime or manga is not for jerks and, in fact, if I were to judge the mediums based on this work alone, I'd probably agree that they are actually for jerks. The character designs are hideous, turning what are supposed to be kids of an indeterminate age into adults with profoundly strange proportions. The writing is so vapid and the plot so stupid that they take what might have been a good-dumb premise in better hands and just turn Famicom Rocky into abysmal-bad.

Drama like this is what you all have to look forward to if you tell me to keep going.
Drama like this is what you all have to look forward to if you tell me to keep going.

None of this really gets better as the series moves forward, either; in fact, the next couple of chapters already feature prominent amounts of recycling in terms of plot development and games featured. Honestly, there's not a whole lot to really like about the game other than the fact that it's profoundly idiotic, which is precisely why I've translated it. If people can laugh at it and take comfort knowing that they could probably produce something better, then I've done my job. Sometimes I take things too far for the sake of irony and I can only hope it's been of some use to the community in this instance. After all, I was only inspired to translate this completely irrelevant series after seeing it in an episode of the infinitely superior GameCenter CX, in which the host spent an entire segment reading it in a dingy cafe and laughing at its expense. It was so profoundly bad that I just felt the need to make sure people understood it was bad in another language.

However, should there be demand for me to continue translating this series, I will not hesitate to do so. The best parts of the series' stupidity have yet to be unveiled and I would be honored if the Giant Bomb community actually cared enough to join me on this completely unnecessary and intellectually devoid ride. It is completely understandable to hate this little project; I'm the one who has to stare at every page multiple times in Photoshop for hours on end, so if anybody dislikes Famicom Rocky and what it stands for, it's going to be me. But if people want me to keep going, then I will. This is a series that isn't well-known even in Japan and, at the very least, I always enjoy digging out obscure literature and translating it into another language for new audiences. It broadens the visibility of the original work, even if Famicom Rocky doesn't particularly deserve it in this instance. As additional chapters get uploaded, I'll edit this main post to accommodate them, as well as provide proper access to all other available chapters as well, as evidenced by the table of contents up top. Even if this series' translation stops here, though, at least it's given me a chance to use that Chie image again for that last page. I've always cherished having that be my unofficial mascot as a manga translator since first encountering it back in early 2010.

One More Thing

I mentioned this in the original post before I edited it, but aside from the original Japanese pages, which come from an anonymous source, I handle every aspect of this scanlation on my own. This includes everything from writing coherent English to cleaning up the art. This naturally takes time; bigger groups can churn out chapter after chapter within a matter of days thanks to the magic of collaboration, but since I don't have that luxury, it can take me a while to bring out new chapters. I love the work and will continue to do so since this has attracted an audience I'm keen on satisfying, but do keep in mind that as a result of this solo working environment, delays do happen, especially when my regular life is keen on intervening.

With that in mind, I'd like to once again ask for a little help on the Photoshop end. As I've said before, regardless of whether I get help, chapters will still come out. However, by having other people take care of cleaning up the pages while I work solely on the translation, these chapters can come out a lot faster. Specific details will be discussed via PM, but the work entailed is rarely more difficult than tweaking contrast levels and erasing dialog bubbles. That's not hard, right? If you like what you see and don't mind giving back a little, consider helping out. I'm not a tyrant and won't ask you to help out more than you like, but any and all assistance would be greatly appreciated.

Special Thanks (This is Actually the Last Thing)

Since I originally posted the translation for chapter one, this series has somehow gotten attention outside of Giant Bomb in some surprising places. While this pleases me, at the same time, I feel bad, since having other people notice this translation means that my work is being condoned and that's not what I wanted at all. Nevertheless, this section will be modified in the event that subsequent chapters somehow continue to not result in people driving me off of the Internet, but for the time being, I'd like to thank the following sites for taking time to look at this dumb project and (somewhat?) endorse it or at least acknowledge its existence. Of course, I thank my readers as well, but I have no way of tracking down who you all are and thanking you personally, so I hope you don't mind remaining anonymous here out of sheer laziness.

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