Why Hasn’t EarthBound Received an Anime Adaptation?

Over the past four decades, there have been numerous animated adaptations for popular video games. Mario, Sonic, and Kirby have all received their own animated shows that captivated fans who watched them. In more recent years, Dragon's Dogma and Castlevania have been animated to varying degrees of success. The list of video game anime adaptations has grown larger over the years, but one title is noticeably missing from said list. The EarthBound series, known as the Mother series in Japan, has yet to see an official adaptation despite its cult following.

The second game in the series was the first to be released in the US under the title EarthBound and followed the exploits of Ness as he and his friends try to stop an intergalactic entity called Giygas from completely taking over their world. The game has received critical acclaim since its release, garnering an even larger following since the progression of internet usage by gamers all over the world. Ness and Mother 3's Lucas both feature in the popular Super Smash Bros. game series, and EarthBound has been cited as a source of influence by indie and Triple-A developers alike. Toby Fox has said that it was one of the biggest inspirations for the hit game Undertale.

So with all of the praise that the series has received, why hasn't it gotten an official anime adaptation? Nintendo has had no problem adapting other titles like PokemonSuper Mario Bros., and even Animal Crossing, so why do they not have so much faith that the Mother series would see the same amount of success as the former two? It could be because they have little faith in how successful it would be on the foreign market. This was their reasoning as to why Mother 3 never received an official English release, so they may not hold much faith in an anime adaptation succeeding as well. Another guess would be because the three protagonists from the games are silent, though this reasoning is slightly moot with series like Komi Can't Communicate and Ranking of Kings seeing relative success despite focusing on non-verbal characters.

The answer could also lie within the subject matter of the games. In EarthBound, there is a cult called Happy Happyism that worshiped the color blue and at one point even tried to sacrifice a child. There are also instances of police violence against children, which could also make Nintendo hesitant to go forward with animating. There are many dark themes within the series, and Nintendo wanting to come off as family-friendly could be preventing them from releasing an animated Mother series. They want to keep that squeaky-clean image and an anime that contains varying instances of violence against children by adults and other children would certainly raise a few parents' eyebrows.

Overall, it feels like EarthBound has been forgotten by its parent company though all is not lost for fans. Until there is an official release by Nintendo, fans have taken up the task of filling the void left by the company in the meantime. One YouTuber named 綿野レモンT/ WatanoLemonT has created their own fanime of the EarthBound series and uploaded them to their channel for fellow fans to enjoy. It's complete series and each episode lasted only about a minute, but the style is charming and pleasing to watch. Hopefully, Nintendo will open up to adapting this beloved gaming classic in the future.

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