"Balan Wonderworld ~Maestro of Mystery, Theatre of Wonders~" is a novelization of Balan Wonderworld, written by Soshi Kawasaki and translated to English by Kristin Osani.
The Balan Theatre will always be there when your heart needs it most.
Though you might not remember, you’ve been to this theatre many times before. One day—just as it does for you and for all—it appears to an aloof boy and a warm-hearted girl in their time of greatest need. Through its doors they embark on an adventure into the magical land that dwells within all our hearts: Balan’s Wonderworld!
The following contains spoilers to Balan Wonderworld.
The Beginning: The novel begins with Leo Craig refusing to join a group of dancers, instead continuing to walk down an alleyway. One he had passed by countless times, but is just now getting the feeling of being called to it. The feeling becoming stronger the longer he wanders down the alley, Leo spots a mysterious theatre. He enters, the doors closing behind him, and vanishes from the world.
I Unexpected Company: Leo, who has now been in Wonderworld for so long that he has forgotten his name and is no longer considered "Leo", spends most of his days dancing on his stage- or the world he made for himself within Wonderworld. As he continues to dance, he suddenly becomes uneasy, and a vision flashes in his mind, throwing him off focus and to the floor. In his vision, he sees a girl of around thirteen or fourteen- his age- who he had never met before, yet somehow seems familiar. Behind this girl stood a strange, shadowed figure with a large grin and a top hat pulled over his eyes. He sits in distress over this vision until a voice calls out from behind him. The boy turns around to see Lance, the maestro of Wonderworld, asking him what's wrong. The boy comes up with the excuse that he was thinking of a prop he needed for his dance routine, and comes up with a fire hydrant. Like how Lance taught him, he merely thinks of the item and it appears before him. With that, Lance vanishes and Leo breathes a sigh of relief, as he prefers to be alone.
As he resumes to dancing, his concentration is once again broken, but this time by the sound of clapping. He turns to to see a girl of around ten years of age with turquoise locks and a bow in her hair. She introduces herself as Clocktower Kid, and says Leo's name is Streetbeat. Leo wants to argue that that isn't his name, but he realizes he never even knew he had a name until Clocktower Kid said so. After taking Clocktower Kid on a tour of his stage, Streetbeat gets dragged along by her to visit her stage. Taking a few steps in a specific path is the way to do it. Vaulting over a wall, Streetbeat comments on her agility, comparing her to a cat. At this, Clocktower Kid suddenly gets thrown into a panic, covering her ears and repeatedly saying she's not listening. Once Streetbeat insists on forgetting what he said, she starts forgetting and mumbling to herself. Quickly making herself forget, she picks herself up off her feet and continues on her way as if nothing had happened.
Soon, they make it to Clocktower Kid's stage- a bustling plaza with a clocktower in the middle. However, something seems to be missing, but Streetbeat can’t put his finger on it. Clocktower Kid shows Streetbeat all around her stage, and Lance soon reappears before the two. Only checking in on them, he vanishes, and Streetbeat comments on how much Clocktower Kid must like the place. She agrees, but something seems to be bothering her. However, the topic is quickly changed, and Clocktower Kid gets the idea to visit another inhabitant’s stage.
The pair arrive at a stage that looks like a giant amusement park. Something is missing here, too- there’s sounds of a parade, yet no parade to be found. They meet Pensive Pierrot. The three hop onto a gondola of a ferris wheel. As they ride, Pensive suddenly begins to shake, shutting his eyes and the blood draining from his face. He soon snaps out of it, but is left shaken up.
“Who… are they?”
Streetbeat, Pensive, and Clocktower all agree on seeing a grinning man and a girl in their visions- however, there are a few differences in each person’s vision. Alongside the girl and the grinning man, Pensive sees a woman with silver hair, and Clocktower Kid sees a scary, shadowy figure with pointed ears. Streetbeat, though, only sees the girl and the grinning man.
Because all those who inhabit Wonderworld can know someone’s “name” just by looking at them, Clocktower Kid states that the girl in the visions’ name is Fighter.
The trio decide to visit everyone else’s stages, to see if they have had these strange visions as well.
The first stage that they decide to visit belongs to a man named Scarecrow. Over beverages, the three bring up the topic of their visions to Scarecrow. He agrees that he’s seen them, but the difference in his visions is that he sees “dancing trees”. Satisfied with the information, the trio continues onward to the next stage. The next stage they visit belongs to a girl named Bugsy. After introductions, the smile leaves Bugsy’s face as she admits that she too has been receiving visions. The difference in her visions is that she sees a slithering creature that slowly approaches, almost as if to eat her. Butterflies are missing from her stage.
They then visit the Watcher of the Woods’ stage. As expected, she has visions too, as she reveals as they speak in her treehouse. The difference in her visions is that she sees a “giant beast”. Birds are missing from her stage. Next, they visit Sentinel of the City’s stage. The difference in his visions is that he sees someone that looks like him. Fire hydrants are missing from his stage. As they finish speaking with Sentinel, Lance appears and warns them against investigating any further. However, Streetbeat doesn’t listen, and he and Clocktower Kid and Pensive press onwards.
Continuing their investigation, they visit Skygazer’s stage next. As they speak with him, he suddenly receives a vision, confirming their suspicions. What he sees is a machine made of spinning gears and whirring drill teeth, coming right towards him. In Seagazer’s visions, there’s a sea monster that tries to kill her. Skygazer and Seagazer decide to stay back in their stages- Pensive, Clocktower Kid, and Streetbeat continuing onto the next stage.
They next visit Madam of the Mansion’s stage. Before they can ask about her visions, she suddenly freezes and tells everyone to quiet down. While Streetbeat couldn’t see anything, he could feel something’s presence. The Madam describes them as something fuzzy. They soon ask her about the visions, and she agrees that she’s seen them. What she sees is a pitch black wall coming right at her. They then visit Checkered King’s stage, where they see him ruling his stage happily alongside his queen. The queen, however, is no more than another one of Wonderworld's illusions, conjured up by the king. The fuzzy creatures appear once more, but vanished before anyone could do anything. Checkered King admits he's had visions as well, and he sees a “gold chalice of legend”- the one he had sent his stage's knights to scour his stage for, but to no avail. But the king goes deep into thought, considering Lance’s warning, and realizes something.
“I’ve never given it much thought until now, but I realized I know next to nothing about Wonderworld.” Checkered King begins to question many of Wonderworld’s rules. The negati, the drops, and- most importantly- how names work. “Wonderworld is the name of this place, right? And we need names in order to distinguish one thing from another. So, if this world has a name, it must be to distinguish it from another world. And…” However, he dismisses his thought before he can finish it. Taking that as their cue to leave, the three continue to the next stage.
They go on to explore the Invisible Custodian's stage, ancient ruins blanketed in moss and vines. When asked about the visions, Invisible Custdian says he's in the same situation as Streetbeat, where he only see the grinning man and Fighter. He also sees the strange fuzzy creatures, which are becoming more and more visible. They all agree to come together and have a meeting about the visions and fuzzy creatures in Clocktower Kid's stage, but they realize that there's still one stage in which no one has visited. Invisible Custodian agrees to gather the others and walks off as the remaining three agree to try and find a way to the mysterious stage. However, before the three can go anywhere, Lance reappears once more.
He warns them against continuing once more, appearing genuinely concerned for the trio. However, Pensive expresses that they merely want the truth. With a sigh, Lance lets them go, but states that if they need help, he's always there. With that, he disappears.
Being warned twice now, Pensive starts to have doubts about their mission, especially since this hidden stage is tough to find. However, Clocktower Kid suddenly points to where Lance once stood, and past his place was Fighter, pointing somewhere. They approach her, but she vanishes, reappearing in the place she was pointing. The process continues and Pensive catches on, saying that he thinks she's leading them to the hidden stage. Clocktower Kid worries that it's a trap, but Pensive says that they can't find out if they don't follow her. Soon, thanks to Fighter's directions, they reach the very edge of Invisible Custodian's stage, and everything goes white.
They appear in at the top of a snowy mountain, and gaze down at a small village resting at the foot of the mountain. More TBA.
II Transformation: With a finger, Lance touches Pensive's forehead, and a symbol appears. He remembers the princess whom he cannot confess his feelings to. He began to hate himself for being such a coward, as he could never confess to her. That’s when the doors to a mysterious theatre appeared, and only Pensive could see them. That’s when he entered Wonderworld.
Clocktower Kid, too, begins to remember what brought her to Wonderworld. There was a stray cat that she had always loved to play with. But one day, as Clocktower Kid called the kitten over from the other side of the street, there was a car crash. The smoke obscured the scene, but she was too scared to look, and ran away in her guilt. As she finishes her story, a dark glint appears in her eyes.
Two lights suddenly shoot out of her, and her body begins to transform into a giant cat. And as she changed, as did her stage. Everyone looks on in horror, but Lance only smiles. He reassures them that this is only temporary- once Balan is defeated, Lance will repress everyone’s memories once again. Under Lance’s orders to “protect Wonderworld”, the cat disappears into her stage, leaving the others to their own devices. The rest of the inhabitants agree to undergo their own transformations in their own stages, and protect Wonderworld as well.
Returning to his stage, Streetbeat is hesitant to transform, yet knows he must protect Wonderworld too. Deciding to transform, his stage slowly begins to change around him, and becomes a maze rather than a desolate city. He looks down at his hands to see if he has changed as well, but sees that he’s still human. He begins to feel angry at himself, thinking himself scared and useless for being unable to change. It’s there that the same dark glint that was in Clocktower Kid’s eyes appears in his own.
But before he can transform, a voice calls out to him. “Leo-- no!”
Streetbeat turns to see the girl from his visions, the girl he saw in Lady of the Midnight Sun’s stage- Fighter. And right behind her stood the grinning man. She rushes over to Streetbeat, but he backs away, not recognizing her. Saying his name is Leo and her name is Emma, Fighter urges Streetbeat to remember when they first met in the lobby of the Balan Theatre. Soon enough, he begins to remember. Not just meeting Emma, but more than that...
Everyone in his town always said he was the best dancer and wanted him to join, but Leo always refused. He didn’t need anyone to dance with. He didn’t need friends.
That’s when he found the Balan Theatre, and met Emma in the lobby. They had explored the theatre together, and met Balan afterwards.
Emma reintroduces Balan to Leo (as Balan hates repeating himself after introducing himself to so many people for so long), and Balan explains how he is the true maestro of Wonderworld. He also goes on to explain the purpose of the Balan Theatre, and how Lance took advantage of every inhabitant’s negative emotions- including Leo- and trapped them within Wonderworld.
Lance is “the product of all the chaos and war since civilization's birth”, and has existed for more than 3000 years.
The reason that Leo fell under Lance’s control was because he had ran up to fight Lance straight away without preparing. Emma wasn’t tricked because she had trust in others, but Leo did not. But the reason Leo didn’t transform like the others is because of his hidden desire to trust anyway.
Leo finally agrees to help fight against Lance, but Emma doesn’t go with him, saying that she has something else to do and we’ll see what it is. Vanishing, Leo and Balan are left alone. The two decide to visit Scarecrow’s stage.
III Battle: Detailed summary TBA. In this section, we go through the story of the game, but in a different stage order. Leo learns how to use costumes. He does it by remembering the strength his friend had and it gives him powers. The last two stages we enter are the Clocktower Kid’s and The Lady of the Midnight Sun’s. At the end of both, Balan removes his hat and speaks to the two inhabitants kindly, consoling them for their losses. Most notably, Balan doesn’t smile, gazing at them solemnly as he speaks. After rescuing everyone, Emma’s illusion points to Lance’s location, but tears appear in her costume. We discover that she tried to fight Lance on her own, and failed. After figuring out the real Lance from the fakes, Lance takes on his true form, Shadow Lance. Leo gets extremely weakened while fighting Lance- about to pass out- until Watcher and Sentinel attack Lance in costume. Soon, everyone joins and attacks, all wearing costumes as well. Emma, having recovered, lands another hit on Shadow Lance, and Leo gets the final hit. Shadow Lance is defeated, and reverts back into his humanoid form from the beginning of the story. His last words are, “You may not believe it’s true, but I only ever loved all of you”, before the story continues to say, “and then he was gone”.
Leo and everyone else appear in a blank white space. Balan explains that they passed the test- in a way. Leo’s real test was to make friends, but Balan knew that he’d refuse straight away, so he gave them the guise of defeating Lance as a test to see if it would come to him naturally. And it did! Balan bids the inhabitants farewell. Removing his hat for a moment, they all comment on how handsome he is. Once he puts it back on, Emma and Leo throw themselves in a hug before Balan gently pushes them off to their doors. The inhabitants all promise to stay friends after they leave, and they make promises to themselves on how to improve their lives. Lance awakes, but is fading away. He explains that he was once called Balan 3000 years ago, but he grew too attached to humans. He felt guilty, and grew attached to their negativity, and became Lance. To restore the balance, Lance created a new Balan, the one we know now. Lance warns Balan of getting too attached, as he could become a “Lance” too. Balan adamantly refuses the idea, but Lance says it’s too late as he walks off into Wonderworld. Lance says it’s too late for Balan- that he’s grown too attached- because Balan didn’t wipe the memories of these people and let them remember the events of Wonderworld.
IV After: Detailed Summary TBA. We follow Pensive Pierrot- now Attilio once again- as he exits Balan Theatre. His new goal in mind, he walks up to the Princess he was so hesitant on asking out and finally does it. The Princess smiles as she removes her silver wig, and he see her real hair underneath. Emerald Green. She is the Clocktower Kid, Cass Milligan. She is ten years older- now 20 years old- and did everything in those ten years to see Attilio again. Soon enough, she becomes Cass Caccini. They take each other’s hands as Cass leads Attilio to meet the another inhabitant in their new life. Cal (or Checkered King) now teaches younger people how to play chess, and picked up cooking. Lucy Wong (the Madam of the Mansion) had become a successful painter. Haoyu (Skygazer) managed to fly, and Fiona (Seagazer) is slowly learning to overcome her fears of the ocean. Sana (Watcher) watches after an endangered species of birds, and Eis (Sentinel) now braves danger with courage. Yuri (Bugsy) taught her classmates about the butterflies and got them to care. Jose (Scarecrow) managed to regrow his crops, and met Yuri on the mountain where she gets a special type of grass for her bugs to eat. Bruce (Invisible Custodian) cleans up after his home still. Iben (Lady of the Midnight Sun) learned to move on and start a family, and she had two kids. One of which met Bruce as he was cleaning, and chose to help him out.
On the news, a meteor shower that Leo and Emma had spoke about is being reported about. All of the inhabitants see it, and decide to meet up there to see if they can meet with Leo and Emma. When they see him, it’s before he had entered the theatre, so they do not interfere. But they are amazed when they see the theatre before them once again, welcoming Leo and Emma inside. The two soon emerge, no time passing at all, but now they recognize everyone and meet up once more. Something that had brought them together was a breeze in the air, described to having a similar scent to Balan or Lance, or “maybe both”.
- In the novel, Lance claims that his negative form is his true form- but in the game his humanoid form is revealed in a way that makes it seem as if that is his true form. Which is true is unknown. What is certain is that Shadow Lance- the final boss of the game- is Lance's original form, as he claims in the novel, so it can be assumed that he was misleading everyone into thinking that his true, humanoid form is, in fact, what he really looks like.
- Almost each section has its own few pieces of art to go along with it. "The Beginning" has 1, "I Unexpected Company" has 2, "II Transformation" has 1, "III Battle" has the most with 5, and "IV After" has no art.
- Section "III Battle" is the longest segment of the novel. "The Beginning", while not counted as a section in the novel, is the shortest.
- We learn that the people that appear in the stages are illusions created by Balan meant to guide us to the end of the level.