Dengeki Rankings I Summon Night Ecstacy Info and Media I Familiar Faces in Egg Monster Hero I Nintendo DS Showing New Colors I Musashi Gets a Date I Fire Emblem: Trail of Blue Flames Pre-Order Campaign I New Tales of Legendia Scans I Culture Corner: Ask Sensei I Sayonara
Gashapon April 11, 2005


Another week has come and gone. It's amazing, but no matter how long the week seems in the beginning, at the end it feels like it passed in the blink of an eye. This was one of those weeks. I've got piles of paperwork to fill out, and I was stressed out at work a few times, but I managed to get through it. Now, I have yet another challenging week ahead of me. But after this, things should slow WAY down, and that'll be good. Too many stressful weeks in a row are bad for me.

In other news, my school had its hanami party yesterday. All of my students told me that it was going to rain, but they shouldn't quit their day jobs to take up meteorolgy. Weathermen they are not. The weather was absolutely gorgeous, and I was able to get some more pictures. I might have another special report sooner than planned if news slows down. As it is now, I've got enough stories to save those for a slow week. If it comes down to it, I'll make them available for download in another way later. The pictures are more of the same from last week, but this time I climbed a much higher mountain. It nearly killed me to ride my bicycle up that thing, but I was rewarded with one of the best views of my small city. I have several aerial shots of everything, and they're really neat. I also got a few more pictures of Sakura.

Aside from that, I don't have much news. My attempts to obtain Wipeout Pure ended in failure as it was already sold out by the second day here in Niihama. No fast-paced tecnho cart action for me. It's looking like I'll have to import it from America.

For those that are curious, the title of today's column comes from the surprisingly high-quality toys that can be obtained from vending machines here. I'm sure we've all been to Wal-Mart and seen the worthless little toys that come in plastic bubbles for a quarter. Well, we have them here too, except they cost 100-300 yen, and they're really cool. I have several Gundam and Evangelion figures scattered around my room that I obtained from gashapon. I had some others, but I gave them to my fiancee.

That said, let's put 200 yen in the slot, turn the crank, and get this party started!

 Dengeki Rankings

This week is almost a complete copy of last week as most games haven't moved very much on the chart. Two games dropped off, but there's a new kid on the block. All in all, I'd say it's still a good week for RPGs. Wild Arms 4th Detonator is managing to hold on pretty well, and I'm pretty happy with that. I'll probably pick it up soon once I finish my latest Gundam Series.

In other news, the top spot was taken by Tekken 5, a game that brings the Tekken series back to its roots. I'm quite happy with my US copy. But there's going to be some big titles hitting Japan soon, so we should see an RPG topping the chart any week now.

So let's see some numbers!

Position Title Publisher Platform
4 Wild Arms 4th Detonator Media Play
7 Shining Force Neo Sega
8 Egg Monster Hero Square Enix
9 Megaman.exe 5: Team of Colonel Capcom
17 Tales of Eternia Namco
28 Phantom Kingdom Nippon Ichi
28 Shinten Makai Generation of Chaos IV: Another Side Idea Factory
30 Pokemon Emerald Nintendo
37 Megaman.exe 5 Team of Pruus Capcom

Source: Dengeki Online

 Summon Night Ecstacy Info and Media

Another game in the Summon Night series has been announced titled Summon Night Ecstacy, and this time it's an Action RPG. The game will feature summon monsters to help in and out of battle, and it will also have its famous "night talks."

Summon Night Ecstacy's main characters, Leon and Eina, are unique in that they just so happen to share the same body. At the beginning, players pick their hero, but later in the story, they can switch back and forth at any time. Both Leon and Eina's plots intertwine, so there should be no problems with missing half the story on the first play through.

As for the characters, Leon is a powerful, blunt, and straight-forward, and he's admittedly not exactly a social butterfly. Due to this, Leon tries not to speak any more than he has to, but this makes people incorrectly assume that he is cold and distant. Naturally, Leon is confused by his shared body with Eina, but he does his best to make her feel better by confronting the situation with confidence.

Eina is the type of woman that does not worry about details or misunderstandings. She says what she knows, accepts what she doesn't, and lets everyone know it in no uncertain terms. Eina also tends to help people that she thinks need her help without thinking everything through first. Like Leon, she is confused about her shared body, but she eventually comes to accept it.

Summon Night Esctacy, the latest offering from Banpresto and Flight Plan, is due out this summer in Japan. In the meantime, feel free to look at all the pretty pictures.

Source: IT Media

 Familiar Faces in Egg Monster Hero
Egg Monster Hero

According to the latest issue of GE-DANE, Egg Monster Hero will have some familiar faces hiding in the eggs just waiting to be summoned. The game will also include moogles, chocobos, an Excalibur sword man, and the Magus Sisters of Final Fantasy IVfame in the form of a trio of potatoes.

Many of them have changed a bit since their previous games. The moogle shown in the picture wears a mask and snorkel and carries a trident. As for the Magus Sisters, well... There's a tall skinny potato, a short fat one, and a middle one. All of them have arms, legs, and something that resembles a face. Excalibur looks like a man wearing a long blade for a hat, and his body forms the hilt of the sword. Oddly enough, the chocobo seems to be just a regular chocobo.

Egg Monster Hero was released on March 24th in Japan and currently has no official release date in America.

Source: GE-DANE

 Nintendo DS Showing New Colors

In handheld news, Nintendo is releasing the DS in some new colors and even a Pokemon themed DS. The new colors are Pure White, Graphite Black, Turquoise Blue, and Candy Pink. All four sell for the same 15,000 yen as the original DS and have caused sales to double for the handheld.

The Pokemon-themed DS comemorates Pokepark in Nagoya, and it will be Metalic Blue with a sillouhette of Pikachu obove the right speaker and the Pokepark logo on the top. Fans wanting to pick one up will have to wait until May, but the regular colors have been available since March 24.

Source: Famitsu

 Musashi Gets a Date

Yet another of Square Enix's major titles has its date set. This time it's Musashi Samurai Legend. The game will come out on July 7th. The game will retail for 6800 yen, and it locks up the month of July for a 'major release.' Guess we'll just have to wait yet another month for some Final Fantasy XII goodness.

 Fire Emblem: Trail of Blue Flames Pre-Order Campaign
Fire Emblem: Trail of Blue Flames

The upcoming Fire Emblem: Trail of Blue Flames will have some goodies for those that pre-order. Gamers that pre-order will receive a calendar set and a soundtrack CD.

Fire Emblem: Trail of Blue Flames is the first game in the series to appear on the Game Cube. It features some impressive 3D graphics, and it will hit Japanese shelves on April 20.

Source: Game Watch

 New Tales of Legendia Scans
Tales of Legendia

Namco recently revealed some more images of Tales of Legendia. These scans show some more scenes with the two heroes, Senel Coolidge and Shirley Fennes.

Tales of Legendia is set for a spring release in Japan for the PS2.

Source: Jeax-France

  Culture Corner: Ask Sensei

Once again, I check my email, and I rescued a single email from my spam filter. Had I not saved it, there would be no Culture Corner this week. At least it was on topic. From this, I can either assume that 100% of my readers like my special reports, or 99.99% are indifferent. Being the optimist that I am, I'll go with the former. ^_^

If anyone has any suggestions for future Special Reports, or just wants to send a random question about life in Japan, shoot me an email. I answer all emails that I actually see in my inbox, and I'm getting better at checking my spam folder too.

Gomen ><

Hey J Sensei,

Let me first start off by saying I envy you so much. You're living a dream that so many of us RPG and Anime fanatics could only wish for. Anyway, this is in regards to your new special reports section, it rocks. All of the pictures really give us people not living in Japan a wonderful insight on the culture and beauty found over there. It must be a great feeling to wake up everyday and be surrounded by such a beautiful place. I had a chance to visit a Japanese park located in Mississauga, Ontario, and in my opinion it was breath taking, so I can only imagine what the real deal is like, once again, I envy you. I myself am gradually learning Japanese on my own, but I'm a university student, studying computer engineering in hopes of one day being able to program games, and finding time to study Japanese is kind of hard. My question is how long, and how much time is required to get a good grip on the language? Also, are games in Japan cheaper or more expensive to buy as opposed to those here in North America? As for pictures you could take, how about some with some lakes and ponds and some fish and animals native to Japan.



Glad you like the Special Reports! Photography is one of my hobbies, and I like being able to share things with my readers. It's not the same as being here, but it gets you just a LITTLE closer, you know? I'll do my best to get some pictures of wild life. Possibly the next one.

As for learning Japanese, it takes roughly 3000 hours of studying a language to be fluent. I studied formally in Japanese classes for four years, and I'm only so-so. I only know 500 kanji at most, and my grammar is ok. I can understand most of what my kids say, but adults still go WAY over my head. While I'm still miles from being fluent, I've come a long way since first stepping foot in Japan almost 9 months ago. If you want to learn, you're going to have to get to Japan. Try JET, it's the best for learning the language. Eikaiwa like GEOS don't provide nearly as much opportunity as I would like....

As for games, they're more expensive. Sometimes, they're MUCH more expensive. Games in the States are 50 bucks for the PS2 when they come out. Doesn't matter if it's Final Fantasy X, Tekken 5, or Mary-Kate and Ashley: Sweet 16 -- Licensed to Drive. They're all the same price on the shelf. In Japan, a huge game like Dragon Quest VIII can retail for well over 80 US. That's even with the dollar being strong right now. I had to hunt to find Paper Mario 2 for less than 60 bucks. At least games are frequently sold back to second-hand stores. Used games here are almost new and a fraction of the original price.

Well, I hope that answered your questions. Thanks for writing!


And so ends another week. It's almost 2 AM, so it's my bedtime. I had a pretty fun weekend, so I can't complain. Doesn't mean I want to go to work tomorrow, but some things can't be helped... At least the guy I used to work with is gone.

I hope you all have a good week, and send me some emails this time.

Catch you on the flip
Jordan "I'm on a rampage!" Jackson

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