Chapter 6: Sunflower Fields
This chapter contains no combat, no chimeras, and no technology. Only one word is spoken, and it is in a flashback. And yet, this is arguably the most emotional chapter of the game.
Lucas finds himself in the middle of an endless field of sunflowers basking in sunshine. They surround him on all sides, swaying in a gentle breeze, as if they represent thousands of open arms embracing him. He walks a short way through the field and then stops. The screen fills with bright light, and the player can see a room with two windows, a chest of drawers, and a small end table. On the end table sits a vase containing one sunflower.
A voice speaks only one word: “Lucas.”
Lucas finds Boney, and is alarmed to spot a flickering image of his mother Hinawa, walking away from him. Lucas and his dog walk a short distance together, desperate to reach her and find out where she could be going. Boney takes off, clearly not the only one who can see her, and Lucas has no choice but to go after him. As he walks through the sunflower fields, a gentle melody echoes through the air, reminiscent of childhood songs with bells and xylophones, providing both a sense of comfort and terrible nostalgia.
Lucas continues to walk, and after a few moments he comes upon the ghostly image of his mother, standing still in the sunflower fields and facing him. He pauses, unsure what to do. If he draws closer, will she disappear? Will she run away from him? Will she tell him what he is supposed to do?
As he steps forward, she turns and continues to walk away from him. At last, he reaches the end of the sunflower fields, which opens onto a small patch of grass with nothing beyond. It is a cliff. Hinawa stands upon a large fluffy cloud, just beyond reach of the cliff’s edge. They stare at each other for a long moment, the distance between them enough to span two different worlds.
Lucas steps forward. His mother does not run this time. In a final, desperate attempt to reach her, he launches himself off the edge of the cliff. The chapter comes to a close.
It may seem that this chapter does not belong in Mother 3. It is unclear whether it is a hallucination, a dream, or a fantasy, but regardless, the vision of the sunflower fields is extremely powerful. It is also vitally important to understanding Lucas. He is alone, chasing after his mother but never getting close enough to touch her. She does not tell him that she loves him, that she is proud of him, or offer any advice about what he is supposed to do in such helpless circumstances. She does not even explain if Claus has joined her in the afterlife. In Lucas’ mind, his mother has abandoned him.
Even though the sun shines down on the bright yellow sunflowers, the emotion evoked in this chapter is one of utter loneliness. The sunflower fields are endless, stretching for miles and miles in every direction, and the only sounds which break through the nostalgic bells are the occasional chirps of birds. Lucas is a speck in an impossibly large world. As if this wasn’t hard enough for a young boy to deal with, he has to grow up without the guidance of his mother, the one person whom he needs even more than he needs his twin brother, his other half.
But neither of these people is there to hold him anymore.
Shigesato Itoi has clearly put a great deal of thought and consideration into a chapter which may be called “inappropriate” or “random” in the game. Why bother to include it if it leaves the player with more questions and answers? Is it simple tear-jerking fluff designed to tug at sentimental players’ heartstrings?
The short answer is no. Itoi will demonstrate throughout the remainder of Mother 3 that nothing is random or without purpose. And so, chapter six closes with Lucas still falling from the sky.
Who will catch him and his friends?
Itoi, Shigesato. Mother 3. Nintendo: Japan. 20 April 2006. Game Boy Advance.