GameCube Index Episode 69: Mutsu to Nohohon

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Tomy has been an entertainment giant for nearly a century. Founded in 1924, they have gone on to amass an empire in toy and entertainment properties, and merged with Takara in 2006. This week, we are zeroing in on one product in particular that was released in 2001: Mutsu Water Loopers, and the video game based off of them: Mutsu to Nohohon.

In order to properly understand Mutsu to Nohohon, which is a title with an astoundingly low amount of information online, one must first understand the Mutsu Water Looper. Essentially a Tamagotchi, the Water Looper was a toy pet that resided in a specially designed bowl of water. The Mutsu itself is a fish-like creature that (made of plastic and technology) that swims around in the bowl and does its own thing. You can interact with the Mutsu via a small, one-button controller, wherein a combination of long and soft button presses can cause it to dance, chirp, move to attention, or swim around. It always starts out shy, but over time will become more interactive. Mutsu even came in a variety of different styles, from fish to penguins to turtles.

If you’ve been paying attention, you might have figured out that the video game Mutsu to Nohohon does essentially the same thing as the water looper, but on your GameCube. This time, instead of a simple series of button presses, your interactive options are much larger. For instance, you can feed the Mutsu, and they will react differently based on whether they enjoyed the food or not. You can use text input to speak to and teach your Mutsu different words and actions. There was even a musical option, similar to Animal Crossing, with which you could teach your Mutsu a short melody.

Another feature that could only be possible with a video game is data trading. Using a GameCube memory card, you could bring your Mutsu data to a friend’s house and your Mutsu information could affect and inform their Mutsu. As you progress and grow with your pet, different options become available, such as taking them out of the aquarium to participate in races, or in expanded locales. An assortment of members of the Nonohon tribe make an appearance in different parts of the game, tying this specific toy advertisement into another toy advertisement.

Mutsu to Nohohon was a severely text-heavy game, and there is almost zero information available on the Internet about this title. As such, while the basic premise is easy to figure out pretty quickly, actually moving through the menus and modes is a tough feat if you can’t read Japanese text. The title itself is cheap enough now that if you’re in Japan, or really want to import to another country, you won’t be breaking the bank, but at a certain point, it’s not worth the trouble unless you’re going for a complete GameCube collection. Mutsu to Nohohon was pretty clearly a game designed only to advertise the toy line, and judging from the asking price for a Mutsu Water Looper on eBay these days, I’d say that it worked swimmingly.

Did you ever play Mutsu to Nohohon? What did you think of it? What did you like or hate about the game?

For more GCNdex content, including HD scans of the box art and instruction manual, visit gcndex.com. If you’d like to support the series, and get access to videos a week early, consider backing us on Patreon.

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About Geoff Girardin

Geoff Girardin is the producer of GCNdex, a weekly series that covers every GameCube game in chronological order. He also helped make two tiny humans, and he eats so much that his wife is worried. You can follow him on Twitter @geoffgirardin, or keep up with his experience with fatherhood on geoffgirardin.com.

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