The Legendary Starfy (series)
The The Legendary Starfy series, known in Japan as the Densetsu no Stafy series (Japanese: 伝説のスタフィー シリーズ), it is debatable if it was formally known as the Legend of Stafy (from the Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga cameo) and The Legend of Stafy series (from the credits of the leaked iQue prototype leaked long after it was produced) is a video game series that was published by Nintendo and developed by TOSE.
The series is about Starfy (Japanese: スタフィー), "a legend" who is the prince of a kingdom high above the ocean, above the clouds called Pufftop. Joining Starfy's adventure is Starfy's best friend Moe the clam and after the events of Densetsu no Starfy 2, Starfy's younger sister, Starly. In all five games, something causes Starfy to fall into the ocean and fight evil. So far, all of the Starfy games have been released exclusively for handheld platforms.
The games are officially known as "Marine Action" (Japanese: マリンアクション) games due to a good portion of the game taking place underwater, although not all stages in the games are set underwater, however, official creative genre names for Nintendo games is not uncommon.
There are occasionally platformer elements in the series, and the official English Nintendo mini-site, as well as the Nintendo of Australia mini-site, lists the latest game in the series, The Legendary Starfy as a platformer game.
Others may call it a "Marine Platform(er)" game, but unlike "Marine Action", it may have not been called this officially.
Gameplay generally involves Starfy and/or his younger sister, Starly, solving the problems of other characters while defeating enemies and bosses on their quest in bringing peace to Pufftop, or in the Nintendo DS games, another kingdom, including the Amiy Kingdom (Densetsu no Starfy 4) and Planet Bunnera (The Legendary Starfy).
The The Legendary Starfy series originated when Nintendo producer Hitoshi Yamagami was asked by his boss to come up with a kind of 'floaty platformer'. Later, he worked together with TOSE producer Yasuhiro Minamimoto and the end result, Densetsu no Starfy, starred Starfy; a starfish like creature with traits of a celestial star, although a jellyfish was another consideration; who could have speculatively became a character such as the Jueri.
The first game in the series, Densetsu no Starfy was originally meant to be released for the Game Boy Color. A trial demo of the Game Boy Color game was shown at Nintendo Space World 2000 but development later moved to the Game Boy Advance. Various changes were made during the transition for example, the Japanese name of Moe changed from "Kyororon" to "Kyorosuke". Prior to this, it was the untitled balloon/bubble pushing games; a series of experiments between Hitoshi Yamagami and his "boss".
Due to relatively good reception of the game, four sequels were released, namely two more Game Boy Advance games Densetsu no Starfy 2, Densetsu no Starfy 3, and Nintendo DS games Densetsu no Starfy 4 and The Legendary Starfy (released in Japan as Densetsu no Stafy Taiketsu! Daiiru Kaizokudan and completely different to Densetsu no Starfy 4).
The fifth game, The Legendary Starfy is significantly more child-friendly, and introduced a completely different art-style, making the characters look chibi or like plush dolls.
Conversely, the story and tone of Densetsu no Starfy 3 is known for being particularly dark, with a personification of Evil and slavery, confirmation of the actual death of three characters (soft spoiler: 1, 2 and 3 (a group of characters)) and other potentially questionable themes for an otherwise child-friendly game such as an evil clown called Mad Piero. Densetsu no Starfy 2 also alluded to the death of Moe's mother, though was less heavy in its portrayals. In this sense, Densetsu no Starfy 3 is similar to another Nintendo-published game Tomato Adventure also released during the Game Boy Advance era; a generally child friendly game but with a few very dark themes (such as the dark portrayal and music of REM and Non-REM Labyrinth), or the Custom Robo series and the selling of illegal parts (this phenomena is known as "Yami Nintendo" in Japan).
According to an interview with Yasuhiro Minamimoto in Nintendo Power, the first Densetsu no Starfy was well received and that is why TOSE would go on to make a sequel. Eventually, a whole series was made due to continuing good reception, including Densetsu no Starfy 2 and Densetsu no Starfy 3 for the Game Boy Advance, Densetsu no Starfy 4 and The Legendary Starfy for the Nintendo DS.
The Legendary Starfy series is a relatively minor franchise in terms of sales, compared to Nintendo's more popular franchises such as the Pokémon series, Mario series, The Legend of Zelda series but still has a cult following, and was successful in terms of its continuity and reception. There was also a large amount of merchandise produced, though acquiring some of it is difficult, with some such as the stuffed toys in particular Big Starfy stuffed toy and many more rare items being sought after by dedicated collectors.
Out of the five games in the series, Densetsu no Starfy 2 sold the most copies with 298,967 sold by the end of 2003, giving it the position of number 4 on Japanese sales charts. Since the release of Densetsu no Starfy 3 however, it seems that the sales of the games have continually dropped, with The Legendary Starfy selling a relatively low 126,428 copies in Japan by the end of 2008. However, this ignores overseas sales of The Legendary Starfy, and many people have grown up with the overseas version; introducing them to an otherwise inaccessible franchise.
- Main article: Fan translations of The Legendary Starfy series
Unofficially, people have wanted or expressed interest in fan translations of The Legendary Starfy series in terms of hacking the ROM to actually play an English game, such as the early Blackmage907. After a dormancy in the conceptual stages of this (circa 2012-), of which the conceptual stage was important because of Normmatt's variable-width font hack, User:Torchickens and Pablitox formed Starfy Translation Team and the related Discord group years later. In between that, Torchickens uploaded experiments of hacking English text into Densetsu no Starfy of her own, via her secondary YouTube channel (/user/Torchickens), using both her hex editor/limited GBA programming knowledge and also making use of the Atlas setup (a tool for applying fan translations to the ROM quicker) and Densetsu no Starfy text dump produced during the conceptual stages.
Today the ROM hack of Densetsu no Starfy by Starfy Translation Team in terms of just the text is mainly complete. Work needs to be started on texts stored as graphics, and typos and newly introduced glitches need to be fixed. Fan translation work has since been started on some of the other Densetsu no Starfy games.
Without consent, reproduction carts containing the fan translation have been sold online; i.e. there have been some Game Boy Advance carts in a blue shell with a sticker with The Legendary Starfy art and a seascape but containing the fan translation beta, however the reception to this in Starfy Translation Team has been mild. This can happen with fan translations, and may encourage some projects to add like a 'splash screen' noting details like it is an unofficial product, is not to be sold, after the game is booted-up, like the one in the Mother 3 fan translation initiated by Clyde Mandelin.
Other non-ROM hacking translation groups or people are important, such as the works of Autumchild on YouTube, or Starfy Wiki itself. Prior to this, there were a few English fans who attempted to interpret the games, such as via the the Tobira Majin translation guide by NessEggman. Another key Starfy Wiki contributor in terms of translation was User:Star Light.
- Densetsu no Starfy (Game Boy Advance, 2002 in Japan)
- Densetsu no Starfy 2 (Game Boy Advance, 2003 in Japan)
- Densetsu no Starfy 3 (Game Boy Advance, 2004 in Japan)
- Densetsu no Starfy 4 (Nintendo DS, 2006 in Japan)
- The Legendary Starfy (Nintendo DS, 2009 in North America and Australasia, 2008 in Japan)
In an interview with Nintendo and TOSE in 2009, Hitoshi Yamagami suggested that there are plans for a sixth Starfy game in the series. When Hitoshi Yamagami was asked by Nintendo Life whether are "any plans for a sixth Starfy title in the works?", he replied "Yes!" with a long pause and then a laugh. However, no further information has since surfaced about the game.
There have been two series of The Legendary Starfy series manga collated in tankōbon form. The first series, simply known as Densetsu no Starfy was based on the events of Densetsu no Starfy, Densetsu no Starfy 2 and Densetsu no Starfy 3. It was frequently submitted to issues of CoroCoro Comic from June 2002 (before the official release of the game Densetsu no Starfy in June 2002) until October 2005, and it was illustrated by manga artist Yumiko Sudō. The manga was published by Shogakukan and Nintendo and TOSE own the copyright to the tankōbon.
The second series, known as Densetsu no Starfy R (Japanese: 伝説のスタフィーR) ran from April 2006 until April 2008, and it was illustrated by Suzuo Yadaka (Japanese: 矢高鈴央, やたか すずお) as a follow up to the original Densetsu no Starfy manga series based on the events of Densetsu no Starfy 4. Densetsu no Starfy R is an abbreviation of Densetsu no Starfy Returns (Japanese: デンセツノスタフィーリターンズ). Like the first series, it was published by Shogakukan and submitted to CoroCoro Comic. Nintendo and TOSE own the copyright to the tankōbon.
In addition to the two aforementioned manga series, a series of The Legendary Starfy manga illustrated by Sayori Abe predating the manga by Yumiko Sudō appeared in appeared in certain pages in issues of Shogakukan's Separate Grade Learning Magazines (Japanese: 小学館の学年別学習雑誌), from April 2002 up to December 2002 (inclusive) and was never released in tankōbon form.
Included in the November 2008 issue of Enterbrain's Video Game Magazine is a small manga called Starfy's Adventure (Japanese: スタフィーのぼうけん) based on The Legendary Starfy, as well as three manga included in the magazine itself called Defeat the Enemy!, Hidden Room Discovery! and Combined by Transformation!.
- Densetsu no Starfy (Sayori Abe) (based on Densetsu no Starfy) (April 2002-December 2002 in Japan)
- Densetsu no Starfy (Yumiko Sudō) (based on the the Densetsu no Starfy Game Boy Advance games) (June 2002-October 2005 in Japan)
- Densetsu no Starfy R (based on Densetsu no Starfy 4) (April 2006-April 2008 in Japan)
- Character Parfait Densetsu no Starfy manga (based on Densetsu no Starfy: Taiketsu Daiiru Kaizokudan) (2008 in Japan)
- Video Game Magazine Densetsu no Starfy manga/Starfy's Adventure (based on Densetsu no Starfy: Taiketsu Daiiru Kaizokudan) (November 2008 in Japan)
Localization of the series overseas
Although there are currently five games in The Legendary Starfy series, The Legendary Starfy (Densetsu no Starfy Taiketsu! Daiiru Kaizokudan in Japan) is the only game to have been localized and officially released outside of Japan. Nintendo of America officially localized The Legendary Starfy and released the game on June 8, 2009, just over a year from the Japanese release and one day earlier than scheduled. Nintendo of Australia later released and produced the game in Australasia in October 2009, although currently no other branches of Nintendo have officially released the game elsewhere. The Australian and North American ROMs are exactly the same, but their packaging is slightly different.
An English localisation prototype for the first game also exists with its own font. It appears to have been intended for an official English release, based on the account of an anonymous owner of a prototype, but cancelled. In the prototype version, Moe is known as "Kyoro" (shortened from his Japanese name Kyorosuke), and one of the conversations with him features profanity (an easy mistake to mistake from translation of derogatory Japanese words without regard to connotations, audience and impact).
The prototype came with 128M flash memory in a regular colored Game Pak but resembles a special type of cartridge such as a rumble or tilt cart. It is also marked with a red sticker with the writing Tose 四条分室 (Shijo Branch Office) No 062 (possibly Shijo Street in Kyoto; the city where Tose operates). The prototype was found on an eBay listing from a seller of various prototypes, according to an October 2018 archived 4ch thread.
This coincides with an official account by Nintendo Treehouse but regarding a different game; the fifth and only localized official The Legendary Starfy game for Nintendo DS, though it is not known if Bihldorff misremembered the game for the original.
There is an obscure Canadian box art variant, but the game itself is still in English.
Chinese (iQue) prototypes
In March 2019, unreleased but official Chinese versions of Densetsu no Starfy and Densetsu no Starfy 2 were leaked to the public. These were reportedly intended for the iQue editions of Nintendo hardware (likely the iQue Game Boy Advance), which are Chinese equivalents to the English hardware. In China, the series is known as Sitafei De Chuanshuo (Chinese: 斯塔非的传说).
The Legendary Starfy was registered as a trademark by Nintendo of Korea, but no games in the series have been released there.
Staff views on localization of past games
Nintendo of America appear to have no plans of localizing past games in the series. In a 2009 conference call set up by Nintendo between Nintendo Life and six developers of The Legendary Starfy, producer Hitoshi Yamagami joked that the reason why Starfy took so long to debut in the US was that he 'was swimming all the way from Japan' and explained that the series was always developed for a Japanese audience. The developers stated that they always wanted to bring Starfy to the US, but that Nintendo of America deemed the games 'too Japanese' for American audiences. In fact, various elements of the games such as certain Items and Stuff are full of Japanese cultural references. Hitoshi Yamagami, however, stated in the conference call that although TOSE had no intention of releasing the previous The Legendary Starfy series games, the possibly of releasing them exists "if Starfy proves to be a huge hit and fans demand that they have the first four Starfy games".
According to Yasuhiro Minamimoto, the development team were conscious of the sales of The Legendary Starfy from the planning stage, so he feels that is why the game made it out of Japan. Despite this, there are various localization changes in the fifth game, where for example the manga style cutscenes in Densetsu no Starfy Taiketsu! Daiiru Kaizokudan were changed and made to read from left to right instead of right to left.
Gallery of logos
Please note, the ordering may not be accurate chronologically. The patent below was registered in 2006, even though its image is based on Densetsu no Starfy's logo. The manga logos are taken from their tankōbons when applicable, but it's possible that a black and white version was shown at an earlier date in the publication it was originally shown.
- Wikipedia article
- Densetsu no Starfy (tentative title) (Japanese)
- Densetsu no Starfy Japanese official site (Japanese)
- Densetsu no Starfy 2 Japanese official site (Japanese)
- Densetsu no Starfy 3 Japanese official site (Japanese)
- Densetsu no Starfy 4 Japanese official site (Japanese)
- The Legendary Starfy Japanese official site (Japanese)
- The Legendary Starfy North American official site
- Similar to his sister Starly who shares her name with a Pokémon, there is a character from a different franchise called Starfy, although not a Nintendo one.
- During development, both the Game Boy Advance and Game Boy Color prototypes' names were marked （仮称, tentative）, which may suggest the name was not fully decided, but the game was released as Densetsu no Starfy anyway.
- Official page for The Legendary Starfy on Nintendo.com
- Official page for The Legendary Starfy on the Nintendo of Australia website
- Interviews: Nintendo/TOSE - The Legendary Starfy - DS News @ Nintendo Life (with insight about the development of Densetsu no Starfy)
- Nintendo Power, Volume 244, page 74
- Gamesutra - Latest Japanese Sales Charts - Week Ending September 7 (2003)
- Nintendo Life Nintendo/TOSE interview - The Legendary Starfy
- List of manga appearing in Shogaku Third Grade (小学三年生) (in Japanese).
- List of Shogakukan Grade Comics manga on AnimeComic-Cell (in Japanese).
- Character Parfait The Legendary Starfy manga creator's blog
- Screenshots from an anonymous 4ch user, mirrored on Twitter by LuigiBlood
- Archived 4ch thread
- Nintendo's Secret Weapon - Kotaku April 22nd 2014
- Zhihu (not linked for legal reasons)
- Hidden Palace (not linked for legal reasons)
- 한국닌텐도「더 레전드 스타피」상표 등록 Daum 루리웹
- Archived Nintendo Space World 2000 listing
- Archived Nintendo Space World 2001 listing