Second Country: Jet-black Wizard (二ノ国 漆黒の魔導士) is the full name of the NDS game, which came out in 2010. While the word "kuni" was translated as "world", literally it means "country, land". The PS3 game, which came out in 2012 in Japan and 2013 in America/Europe, instead has the subtitle "Wrath of the White Witch (白き聖灰の女王, queen of white holy/sacred ashes).
The NDS game was developed by Level-5 and Studio Ghibli, being a famous children's game company and a famous children's animation company respectively. Studio Ghibli designed the characters and areas of the game, as well as did most of the cutscene animation in the NDS game, character sprites, etc. In the PS3 game, a lot of the animation and drawings were replaced with computer-generated animation, whereas CG animation and pictures were only in a few of the smaller scenes/areas in the NDS game.
The NDS game was never translated to English, due to "too many difficulties". However the PS3 version was translated. The PS3 game also apparently exists in a few other languages, including German.
Differences between the NDS and PS3 games
The overall story is the same, however there are still some differences (not counting the differences due to the official English translation):
- The Magic Master/Wizard's Companion was a physical book necessary to play the NDS game, as you were occasionally required to draw in spells on the screen or solve riddles using clues in the handbook. In the PS3 game, the book was built into the game and the physical English version was only given to owners of the special pre-order edition of the PS3 game.
- Many of, or at least a few of, the seemingly hand-drawn graphics (in cutscenes, still images, etc) were replaced with 3D, computer-generated ones in the PS3 game.
- Some in-game locations were slightly changed, including their layouts. Similarly some quests and events were slightly modified. For example, in the PS3 game the cat king himself goes down into the sewers/well, but in the NDS game it's only Oliver who goes.
- Some of Shizune/Drippy's actions and dialogue were transferred to a character that's only in the PS3 game, called Pea.
- The dreamworld that you're taken to when sleeping in inns, was seemingly removed from the PS3 game.
- The merit/stamp card was given more possible rewards, but at the same time there were "levels" that needed unlocking before acquiring better rewards.
- The layouts of various screens was changed, for example the screen where you care for your familiar/imagines.
- The Fairyground in the English PS3 game originally didn't have any faeries and was a cross between the PS3's Fairyground and Crypt Casino, in the NDS version. It was simply a city-like town with normal citizens and electric lights. The characters were normal humans in upper-class city style, for example suits, handle-bar moustaches, and dresses. See the Fairyground page for more info.
- In the NDS version, there was an internet trade center normal to most Japanese NDS games, in which users traded familiars/imagines with each other. This appears to have been shut down by now, as is common for the DS and 3DS's wifi-related games. In the PS3 version there was/is DLC (Download Centre) content, which included the “Golden Mite” and “Golden Drongo” familiars/imagines.
- About half of the items (in total, of both normal items and alchemy/cooking items) are different between the two games. See the provisions page for more info.
English translation versus Japanese original
There are many, many changes and liberties that the English translation took.
- Keywords were changed, for example "imagines" became "familiars", "runes" became "spells", and some keywords were "added", for example the term "soulmate".
- Most names are needlessly different, for example "Mark" became "Phil", "ancient tree" became "Old Father Oak", "The Middle Continent" became "The Summerlands", "Teleport" became "Travel", "Refreshing Coffee" became "Iced Coffee".
- Some names were drastically changed, ex. "Babanasia Kingdom" became "Al Mamoon", however some lines of dialogue and item names were left without changes, such as the name of the fruit "babana" remaining unchanged in the English version. The most notable example of name-changing is that "Goroneeru Kingdom" went through a complete name change in order to force a pun about an English rhyme that wasn't in the original:
- The first rhyme is "Hickory, dickory, dock / The mouse ran up the clock / The clock struck one / The mouse ran down / Hickory, dickory, dock."
- The second is "Ding, dong, bell / Pussy’s in the well / Who put her in? / Little Johnny Flynn / Who pulled her out? / Little Tommy Stout / What a naughty boy was that / To try to drown poor pussy cat / Who ne’er did him any harm / But killed all the mice in the farmer's barn"
- Some of the changes to Goroneeru Kingdom were:
- The kingdom name became "Ding Dong Dell"
- Goroneeru underground waterway (taken to mean "Goroneeru sewers") became "Ding Dong Well"
- "King Nyandal" ("nyan" being Japanese for "meow") became "King Tom XIV"
- The term "his meowjesty" was added in the English translation, whereas in the Japanese original he was almost always simply called "King-sama", and occasionally "King Nyandal".
- "Miranto" became "Horace", and his title was changed from "magic user" to "The Sage of Ages".
- The large mouse mini-boss' name went from "チューベル chuuberu / kiss-bell" (most of the Japanese monster names are nonsense), to "Hickory Dock".
- "Miruko" became "Tommy Stout".
- Characters' titles or item names were changed or were given extra names/designations not in the original, for example Miranto/Horace went from "magic user" to "The Sage of Ages", Shelly/Myrtle was nicknamed "Starey-Mary", and Solon was given the extra name "Rashaad" along with the extra title "Supreme Sage". In the Japanese, he's called "wizard-sama" or "Solon-sama" ("sama" being a polite suffix used to refer to people vastly superior to you, ex. royalty, although in the past it was a more common title equivalent to "Mister/Misses"). Another example is that Phil/Mark's drag-racing car is known as "The Philmobile" in the English version, whereas in the Japanese version it had no nickname.
- It's possible that some characters' personalities were changed in the translation (but since this Wiki editor hasn't played both the English and Japanese versions, I can't say this for certain). However, changing a character's personality and adding lots of puns is extremely common in Japanese to English (American) translations.
- The English version of the Magic Master/Wizard's Companion uses incorrect "old english", whereas the Japanese doesn't.
Ni no Kuni's soundtrack was created by Joe Hisaishi, who has made the music for several Studio Ghibli films. All music was performed by the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra. The soundtrack can be bought in iTunes, among other places.
PS3 English cutscenes
Warning: the videos contain spoilers.
PS3 Special English Edition Items
- A hardback copy of the Wizard’s Companion/Magic Master, which is the spellbook Oliver uses throughout his journey in the game. The English PS3 edition has been slightly "colourized" (there is more colour than in the Japanese version, or it seems that way). The layout of the English PS3 book is also a little different from the Japanese version, and includes a spell page for "Mornstar", which the original doesn't.
- A plush doll/stuffed animal of Drippy/Shizune.
Instead of a proper, all-on-one-page walkthrough, what we do have on our Wiki is information separated into pages. For example, go to the "enemies" category page to see lists of enemies in every section, and go to Miranto/Horace's page to see answers to the riddles/quests he may give you. For everything else, try searching for a word and seeing on which pages it comes up (including Japanese words from the NDS game). Additionally, please edit or create any pages necessary.