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September 4th, 2010 | EarthBound, Uncommon Knowledge

The recent revealing of the upcoming MOTHER 2 figures probably has a few people wondering why some of the figures look different from their official EarthBound clay models. This is because Nintendo of America altered some of the clay models when they were localizing the game into EarthBound.

For example, you can see how Ness was changed:

MOTHER 2’s Ness on left, EarthBound’s Ness on right

And Paula had even more changes:

Prototype MOTHER 2 Paula on left, final MOTHER 2 Paula in middle, EarthBound Paula on right

I’m guessing that they changed the models to look older so they’d seem less kiddie to the teens and young adults that they were aiming the game at (reference). I don’t recall if the EarthBound Player’s Guide ever gave Ness and Paula an age, but according to various MOTHER 2 materials I think he’s supposed to be 11.

I haven’t really gone through and compared all the different clay models between the two games – does anyone know if any others were changed?


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65 Comments to Different EarthBound Clay Models

Umbreonic said on Sep. 4, 2010

Not sure where I read this, but I remember Nintendo saying he’s 13 or 14. Something like that.

I like the way both Ness’ look, but MOTHER 2 Paula is better then her counterparts for sure.

MG said on Sep. 4, 2010

Yes, for sure. Earthbound Paula looks off too me.

Ninji said on Sep. 4, 2010

Yeah, Umbreonic is right, EarthBound said that Ness is 13, and MOTHER 2, claims that he’s 11. Honestly, 13 seemed more appropriate for his affairs with Paula, and when I was 11, I could barely walk three blocks without an adult without getting worried that I might get kidnapped. But, if I had a bat, and PSI, that wouldn’t be much of a problem at all. And, EarthBound Paula always kinda weirded me out. 😛

Seifer said on Sep. 4, 2010

The very last page of the EarthBound Player’s Guide, before the reference section, is a Onett Times article that says Ness is 13 years old.

Catherine said on Sep. 4, 2010

I like the Mother 2 figures a lot better. Their necks are too skinny in the EarthBound ones (although Ness doesn’t really have a neck in the Mother 2 one).

meleemario said on Sep. 4, 2010

I think the Mother 2 versions (of Ness and Paula in particular) were/are the trophies in Super Smash Bros. Melee… I seem more familiar with the Mother 2 versions than their American Earthbound counterparts.

MechaMutoh said on Sep. 4, 2010

In my opinion, EB Ness looks better than M2 Ness and M2 Paula looks better than EB Paula.

Maybe it’s the absence of her ribbon. She just looks too weird to me. 😐

Ice Sage said on Sep. 4, 2010

Well, this is why I always thought it was weird that they changed Ness’ and Paula’s models to look older, because none of the other models were altered at all as far as I can tell. Jeff and Poo look exactly the same as the M2 models, as well as every other model. It really starts to look strange when you look at all of the US Chosen Four models at once.

Although I do like how the US models’ heads aren’t as fat. But that’s just me.

Penguiness said on Sep. 5, 2010

The Chosen Four got a bit older on their trip to America.

Saturnome said on Sep. 5, 2010

I’m more used to the American models, because of the player’s guide. Maybe that’s why I prefer them, at least for Ness. The cap, the hair, the eyebrows, there’s a bit more life in it.

Satsy said on Sep. 5, 2010

For those bringing up the age from the EB Players Guide, much like the season 1 Digimon characters some ages didn’t transfer over the same, to better appeal to the target audience. So the Ness and Paula you have there on the right is indeed said to be 13 in the EB game. But what’s his age in the M2 game. 😉

Poe said on Sep. 5, 2010

yikes @ prototype paula D:

conn3r said on Sep. 5, 2010

prototype paula has….. no ears o_e

Zaxtur said on Sep. 5, 2010

Stuff like this drives me nuts. It’s something so small and unimportant, but still someone decided it was important enough to take the time and energy to change the clay models. I don’t know, I guess they had their reasons, but come on. Does changing the models really make a difference? It seems like such a wasted effort to me.

Anonymous said on Sep. 5, 2010

Thanks for sharing, feeling nostalgic now 🙂

What'sHerFace said on Sep. 5, 2010

I think Ness and Paula were the only two characters that didn’t get their models altered.
Thinking about it now, as a Kid I assumed that Jeff was younger than the others because his model just looked that way in comparison.

Also, is it me, or does Paula’s US model seem to have some texture on the top half of her dress? It makes her look more like a shirt and skirt instead of a one piece dress.

Prototype Paula freaks me out a little bit.

Mato said on Sep. 5, 2010

I wonder if the Happy Happyist clay model was changed. The Starmen.Net clay model page seems to be lacking it, though.

ShirowWolf said on Sep. 5, 2010

It is kind of funny that the ‘Tall Paula’ model has no bow in her hair, like the others, when she clearly has one in the game itself. 😛

linkdude20002001 said on Sep. 5, 2010

Actually, Mr Mato, Ness was never given an age in Mother 2; it’s Paula who’s 11. Though, Jeff is mentioned to be the same age as Ness (whatever age that is…) In EarthBound (according to an issue of Nintendo Power I have) Ness, Paula, and Jeff are 13, and Poo is 14.

Mato said on Sep. 5, 2010

Yeah, I know he wasn’t given an age in the game, what I meant was that it’s mentioned in other materials, like guides/books/etc.

LakituAl said on Sep. 5, 2010

Is it so wrong of me to like Prototype Paula better than the others?

I’ll answer my own rhetorical question before anyone does with a rhetorical no.

Violet said on Sep. 5, 2010

In the guide, the Happy Happyist has the HHH blocked out by a rather conspicuous white circle.

The main two of Runaway Five seem to have a slight adjustment so they’re not wearing black either, although their shades look the same as ever.

For some reason, Venus’ figure looks weird, making me think that the Japanese version was different, but I don’t know.

Starstormer said on Sep. 5, 2010

It might just be me but I prefer the US earthBound models. Anyway I always thought Ness was 13 but maybe thats just me.

Roo said on Sep. 5, 2010

I could have sworn reading in the player’s guide that Ness was 13, Paula and Jeff were 12, and Poo was 14.

Jason said on Sep. 5, 2010

I never knew they were made older in Earthbound. I never read any guides and just assumed they were all about 13. To me the ~13 age sounds right for the sort of coming of age type story the game has. Plus, the sense of self, and of independence the characters seemed to have (or maybe that I’ve projected onto them, since they don’t talk or anything, lol) seems more appropriate for the psychological development of 13 year olds.

Maybe in Japanese culture there’s a different idea about what “an 11 year old” is compared to “a 13 year old”. Does anyone know?

neonix said on Sep. 6, 2010

No, I don’t think it was a wasted effort. Yes, it makes a difference. It is marketing. Logos, colors, tiny little things can affect someone’s decision in buying something. Changing the clay models was appropriate for NoA’s target audience, but the waste comes in when you realize that they barely used the clay models in their advertising. The only clay model that appeared in everything was Belch >_>

Dumbo said on Sep. 6, 2010

Always thought they were 12.

linkdude20002001 said on Sep. 6, 2010

Actually, Mr Mato, I WASN’T referring to the game. In the Mother 2 Nintendo Official Guidebook, it says Paula is 11, but nowhere can I find an age for Ness. I’m thinking you just remembered wrong, and got the person the age belongs to mixed up.

blahblah said on Sep. 6, 2010

The Mother2 Ness and Paula look waaaaaaaaay better. Paula looks UGLY in the Earthbound model. And Ness’ Earthbound model has EYEBROWS LOL!

PK Mudkip said on Sep. 6, 2010

Ness started out as 13 in EarthBound but finish almost 14 (age given in call from dad at end of game when he says “I’ll be home for your 14th Birthday”)

kalasad said on Sep. 6, 2010

I always imagined them as 12 or so, but in the back of my head I sort of knew I was wrong and that they were more like 10. The MOTHER 1 characters I vision somewhat younger than them.

resetsurvivor said on Sep. 6, 2010

Ooo.. I like that proto Paula

Violet said on Sep. 6, 2010

@PK Mudkip

There is no mention of Ness’ age in the text dump.

Anyway, I always imagined Ness and his friends to be a similar age to Lucas, which was always meant to be 11 or so anyway. Besides, Paula carries a teddybear… wouldn’t she be a bit old for that at 11? Makes more sense for her to be 9 or so.

This isn’t unusual for anime, or Nintendo even, as the Pokemon characters got an age boost in America as well.

Nesu said on Sep. 6, 2010

did someone noticed that the Earthbound Ness wears a small red handkerchief on his neck?

Pigmask Private said on Sep. 6, 2010

His shirt has a red collar.

PK Mudkip said on Sep. 6, 2010

Text dump? I could have sworn that he said something like that at the end of the game before the epiloge. Also in the Pokemon games trainers start at 10 (except Coloseum and Black/White) Which oddens me as in Brawl “Pokemon Trainer” is CLEARLY TALLER THAN NESS!!!

PlooKon09 said on Sep. 6, 2010

The Earthbound clay models don’t match the sprites in the game. They forgot to add Paula’s red ribbon! Ness does look like he’s 11 but he acts like a thirteen year old. I guess we will never truly know how old Ness is supposed to be.

Leirin said on Sep. 7, 2010

I love them both. 😀

MoonSide said on Sep. 7, 2010

I <3 Proto Paula.

FireStarter said on Sep. 7, 2010

Honestly I can’t see ness or lucas being younger than ninten, whose 12 according to the Mother Encyclopedia. As for other age oddities, how about Pippi being seven, taking her kidnapping quite well and being as strong as Teddy.
Also, the Mother 2 clay model almost looks exatly the same as the smash bros. ness.

Moogi said on Sep. 7, 2010

Am I the only one who prefers the MOTHER 2 clay models over the EarthBound ones? xD

Violet said on Sep. 8, 2010


I prefer them, but maybe that’s because they look closer to how they look in-game and in Smash Bros. and living in Europe I never owned EarthBound and obviously didn’t have the manual.

Plus I’m never fond of the whole angry eye Kirby effect.

@PK Mudkip

I used a text dump (basically a compilation of the text in the ROM) to search for that piece of dialogue and while I think he mentions how he’s matured he doesn’t mention an age. I’m willing to be corrected, but I don’t think his age is mentioned (this is partially because he’s meant to represent the player and giving him an age would break that illusion to an extent).

Anonymous said on Sep. 8, 2010


At the end of the game, when Ness’s Dad calls him, the dialogue says he will come home for Ness’s 14th Birthday.

Violet said on Sep. 8, 2010

I checked the text dump here…


And this is what I get for the piece of dialogue you seem to be talking about.

Hi, it’s your dad! To get to the next level… Ha hahh! I guess I don’t need
to tell you this any more! … Next week will be your birthday, Ness. I’m
trying very hard to be home for that big day! I’ll be sure to get you a good
present! I’ve been following your adventures closely, but I want to hear
about them from you, in person. You sound a lot more… mature over the phone.
…Well, I’ll see you at home, then. Bye!
(Click! Beep-beep-beep…)

Save Frog said on Sep. 9, 2010

I knew the games had different clay models but i didn’t know why.

liarxagerate said on Sep. 9, 2010

EarthBound Ness looks so much better—this is why the SSB Ness was so jarring to me at first, he looks like a little no-necked fatty in the MOTHER 2 model.

Anonymous said on Sep. 9, 2010


Sorry, I thought it said it was Ness’s 14th Birthday in a video I watched about that (I haven’t finished EarthBound so I had to watch a video).

Naja said on Sep. 10, 2010

There’s also another version of the Paula model… it’s almost the same as the first prototype, but her eyes are blue and have eyelashes, like in the final Mother 2 model… the strange thing is that this model is on the back of the Mother 2 box.

Anonymous said on Sep. 10, 2010

I prefer the EB Ness better than the M2 Ness.
But I like the M2 Paula than the EB Paula….what?

motherman said on Sep. 18, 2010

i prefer MOTHER 2 clay models better…they are CUTER! <3

EarthboundPrincess22 said on Sep. 19, 2010

The Mother 2 Ness is cute but the Earthbound model is the one I prefer 🙂
The Earthbound Paula though dosen’t look…right but the Mother 2 model is cute.

Caligo said on Sep. 28, 2010

I know that Jeff and Poo also had their clay models changed a little bit to look “older” in the American version. I’m not too sure about the Insane Cultist, though.

I think I remember seeing a clay version of him, but there wasn’t the little poof on the end of his hat, nor was there the “HH” on it, either. I could be imagining things, though. 😐

Plus, prototype Paula freaks me out a little. I think there’s something about her long face and her black eyes…it’s just kinda strange.

And as for Ness’ age, from what I understand, he is indeed supposed to be 11 years old, as is Paula. I couldn’t find an age for Jeff or Poo, however, I imagine they’re probably the same age.

TheMr.SaturnGuy said on Oct. 2, 2010

Since Ness is supposed to be 11, i thought the japanese clay model looked PERFECT!
Prototype paula is creepy.
Could she be RELATED to GYGAS?!?!?!?

Ninten Ness Lucas said on Oct. 3, 2010

i like the m2 more!
mother 3 is my favorite mother game i want m3 figs!

PSI Rockin' said on Jan. 7, 2011

. Prototype Paula stares into your soul!
. Mato’s defence went down by 9!
. Prototype Paula looks you over!
. Mato’s offence went down by 9!
. New Paula attack Prototype Paula! SMMMMMAAAAaaash!

Thenumber1Yoshi said on Mar. 25, 2011

I guess maybe it’s because I saw Ness how he looked in Smash when I earned his trophy as My first exposure to how the clay art looked so I don’t mind either one really but I’m more used to the Japanese one due to how much I’ve seen it in Melee (and it’s similar Brawl counterpart thats close to the Japanese clay figure but with some small differences). I don’t mind the American one though I as for an age I think the players guide they sent with you said Ness was 13, they definitely put his age somewhere around that of a young teen as well as the rest of the Chosen Four and Pokey. Not much to say about Paula since I don’t think theres any trophies of her in Brawl, and My only other exposure to her Japanese clay figure was her single trophy in Melee.

I guess since they wanted to say Ness was that age in the guide they needed him to look older. Its not really shocking that when people first see Ness they think hes around 11 or 8 (same goes for Lucas) their voices in Smash make them sound even younger, really surprises some how Ness and some other Mother characters are older than they look. Heck in Brawl Pokemon Trainer who is around 11 or 10 (or so I’ve heard) is so much taller than Ness and Lucas in Brawl despite saying thier age is around 13.

Jhonny said on Nov. 28, 2011

Ness’ shoes:
Mother 2 – Classic Vans
Earthbound – Classic All Star Hi

Earth Saturn said on Mar. 24, 2012

I like the Mother 2 clay models better. They just fit better with the game’s style and they look more like the in-game sprites than EB’s. Plus I’m so used to how Ness looks like the M2 clay model design in Smash Bros.

Matthewtheman said on Oct. 17, 2012

The game does give Ness’s age. In the ending, if you call your dad, he’ll mention Ness’s upcoming 14th birthday, which means Ness is 13. I’ve always assumed Paula and Jeff were around the same age as Ness, and that Poo was around 1 or 2 years older. I prefer EB models to the M2 ones, since they make them look more like their actual age. The M2 ones make them look about 8 or so, and the EB ones make them look around 13 or so, which how old they are in game.

Earthbound912 said on Nov. 2, 2012

I heard Mother 2’s was supposed to look like Ninten.

Flint said on Nov. 26, 2012

I know this is old news, But I could bet that the American ones are Photoshopped versions of the Japanese ones. Doubt new ones where created for us. Now this reminds me that I had the idea of trying to reproduce the American ones, lets see if I can get to that.

M1Fan said on Dec. 26, 2012

I guess the Ness in SSBB is based on the MOTHER 2 clay model. And since NOA doesn’t care about EarthBound they didn’t even bother to change it. Sad.

Just Call Me Daddy! said on Feb. 17, 2013

I actually like the Earthbound Paula better. If only she had the bow!

Guilherme Vinícius said on Jan. 30, 2014

Where I can buy this??


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