A quirky adventure game, or a terrifying ploy to brainwash children of the world into becoming hippopotamus-like big-nosed creatures?

As an American of Finnish heritage, I grew up collecting all of the translated volumes of Tove Jansson’s internationally beloved Moomin series of novels. While many Americans have never heard of the slightly bizarre yet endearing cast of Moomin characters, the franchise is well-known in other parts of the world, and has found a particular strong foothold in Japan.

In fact, I was floored during my first stint of living in Japan by the popularity of the books, which are virtually unrecognizable in my home country. Character goods are everywhere and the presence of numerous Moomin animated television series, Moomin cafes, and an upcoming Moomin theme park promise that the Moomin legacy will endure in Japan for years to come.

Not everyone finds the Moomin characters to be cute, however. Many friends to whom I loaned the books while growing up returned them to me with puzzled expressions, saying “These are a bit too weird for me.” If you’re someone who finds the roly-poly creatures inexplicably creepy, you may find comfort in knowing that you’re not alone.

Japanese Twitter user @kunio9209 recently got his hands on an old-school copy of the Moomin’s Tale Game Boy Color game and was less than impressed with the story. Take a moment to scroll through the following screenshots from a short clip of the game’s opening sequence which he shared:

▼ “The opening for this Game Boy Color game was so scary it made me cry.”

“Are you a Moomin?” → “Yes, I am!” “No, I’m not.”


▼ [If you click “No, I’m not”] “Oh no! You’re really not a Moomin!?”


“The hero of this game must be a Moomin…”


“…Now you will become a Moomin…”


“First, quietly focus your heart…” 


“…and peer into the crystal ball.”


“Become a Moomin, become a Moomin…become a Moomin.”




While we certainly hope that @kunio9209 was joking about the crying bit, other Japanese net users chimed in with sympathy after watching the game’s little hypnosis stunt:

“The way the text speeds up as you turn into a Moomin is creepy!”

“They should be called ‘Boo-mins,’ hehehe”

“You will like Nintendo…you will like Nintendo…!”

“I remember reading the first chapter of the original books at the library and feeling traumatized.”

Maybe there’s more going on with the Moomins than initially meets the eye–after all, they were originally introduced to Japan by spies!

Source: My Game News Flash
Images: Twitter/@kunio9209