||November 29, 2006
It's been a busy couple weeks despite the lack of Japandemonium. Many of you can probably surmise what happened last week. Like most Americans, I was celebrating Thanksgiving with my family. But the week before that might need a little explaining. My computer died two weeks ago. Some of you might remember when my first laptop, Chibi, fell to its death last August at Kansai airport in Osaka. I quickly ordered its replacement I named Chiyo that was almost identical except for improvements to basics like RAM, larger HDD, and a slightly faster processor. Sadly, its hard drive randomly crashed leaving me computerless. So once again, I went to the Apple Store to buy a new one, and this time I upgraded EVERYTHING. I am now the proud owner of a 15" MacBook Pro with all the trimmings, but I have yet to name it. Any suggestions can be sent to me for the Culture Corner.
In other news, I'm one of those people that managed to get a PS3 AND a Wii. The PS3 is shiny, but that's about all I can say for it right now. Gundam was a huge disappointment, and I'm only marginally into Untold Legends. So far that's OK, but it needs a camera really badly. They seemed to have forgotten to implement one. Though the launch lineup was a disappointment to me, I still believe in Sony, and I know the PS3 will eventually rock. Some would argue that it's silly to get a system that's not very good yet, but if you didn't get it on the 17th, there's no telling when you'd get one. And I like being the guy with a PS3. I also have an extra one I'm looking to sell if anyone wants one. Send me some emails and make some offers.
On the other hand, the Wii has more or less exceeded my expectations. I have been greatly enjoying the Mii channel and Wii Sports, and I've been logging in massive amounts of time in Twilight Princess. A review is forthcoming, but my impressions of it at the 80% mark are that it's a lot of fun, but a few parts are marred by tediousness. My review won't be scathing, but I won't exactly be singing its praises, either. I do really like the game, but I feel like I've played it before back when it was called every other Zelda game. There are some nice new elements, and the graphics are quite pretty, but I'm wondering when a Zelda will really shake things up and surprise me. I know the continent of Hyrule isn't huge, but there doesn't always have to be a fire dungeon on Death Mountain or a water one under Lake Hylia.
Oh, and if you have a Wii, feel free to email me your friend code. I'll reply back with mine, and you can see my Mii.
As for the title of this week's column, it roughly translates to 'long time no see.' I know two weeks isn't THAT long, but it feels like a long time to me. I feel bad when I can't give you all the Japanese goodness you all deserve, so I'll try to make sure this week's column is nice and long.
That said, let's get this party started!
Since last we met, not much has changed on the chart. Most of the games from back then are still on. In fact, there are no new RPGs on the chart. If it weren't for Pokémon, there wouldn't be any in the top 18. As for the top spot, Samurai Warriors Empires 2 takes home the gold.
Since the amount of RPGs wasn't particularly interesting, I thought I'd do some other counting. The first thing I looked for was the number of PS3 titles on the chart. It had an impressive four titles on there despite the fact that only a handful of Japanese have the system. PS2 gained 10 more for Sony with the PSP matching it's newest shiny brother at four. Not surprisingly, Nintendo cleaned house. Again. The DS claims a whopping 29 spots with the GBA holding on to the remaining three.
Honestly, I don't think anyone thought the DS would totally usurp the PS2. It nearly TRIPLED the number of titles the highest ranking Sony system could muster. What's even crazier is the over seven to one ratio of DS to PSP.
Level 5 has just announced two new characters for its upcoming PSP game Jeanne d'Arc. One is a thief named Rose who specializes in using a whip. The other is a magician named Carrie, but only one of these characters will be able to join Jeanne in her quest. As the game progresses, choices made in the game will affect the path of the game, and both characters are in separate story lines.
Jeanne d'Arc hit Japanese stores on November 22 for the standard portable price of 5040 yen. So far, no announcement of a North American release has been made, but I'm hopeful. This one seems interesting, and my PSP could certainly use some play time.
Normally games hit Japan and then travel to North America a few months later, but for Marvel Ultimate Alliance, this is not the case. Featuring 140 Marvel heroes, 20 of which are playable, players will build teams of four to prevent Dr. Doom from world domination Though a firm release date has yet to be given, Activision says the PlayStation 3 and Wii versions will ship sometime next year in Japan. On this side of the globe, both versions were launch titles for their respective systems.
Those who want to be the first on their block to own Marvelous Interactive's newest DS RPG Luminous Arc will be treated to a nice treat. They will receive the "Luminous Works" guidebook featuring character designs, interviews, and illustrations that cannot be found anywhere else.
Luminous Arc will hit shelves on February 8th of next year and will cost 5040 yen. Considering the success rate for DS games coming to the US, I'd give it better than 50/50 odds for a North American release, but nothing has been announced yet.
Namco Bandai has announced that the release date for PS2 remake of Tales of Destiny has been delayed. Originally scheduled for 11/22, Namco Bandai states that unexpected problems have forced them to delay the release. A new release date has not yet been announced.
Usually news accompanies new screens, but sometimes all you get is eye candy. With that in mind, I give you Media Madness. First up is Blue Dragon.
As if that wasn't enough, here is some spiffy new Shining Wind media.
Despite the lag between columns, I only got one letter. I'm hoping to have an inbox with more letters next week. It'd be sad if there weren't any letters, and you don't want a sad sensei, do you? At any rate, thanks go to my regular letter-sender-in for saving the section this week.
Howslife? Thanks for putting up my other e-mail, it means that -
technically - I haven't missed another week! But seriously though, I fell
asleep coming home from work, so when I woke up next morning I realised I
missed it when I saw Japandemonium.
Any news yet on the SNK vs. Capcom Card Fighters? That's probably the only
game I've ever played while travelling with the train. I never play my
handhelds anywhere but home, most of the time just a quick play of
something while waiting for something to render, to download or just while
taking a quick break. It makes me wonder what the Japanese do, I mean
they're the ones with the high mobile technology, do you see a lot of
Japanese people play while travelling or while in waiting rooms or
something like that? Not only the handhelds PSP, DS, etc. but also mobile
phones or even use portable media centres? Here in Holland I occasionally
see somebody play DS or watch a movie on their PSP while in the train or
metro, but what's keeping me from doing that I don't like to show off
expensive stuff, the chance to be mugged will be higher. Is that also an
issue in Japan? Older kids stealing handhelds/mobile phones from little
Oh, I attended my second anime convention and it was a smaller one, but
more fun nevertheless. Even though the organizing was a bit more on the
chaotic side, the rules were less stricter than the other one. I attended
the whole 3 days (weekend) and met some nice people on the way. Also
attended the AMV-contest and guess what? I won! I really didn't expect to,
because it's not loaded with special effects and is more story-based and I
thought the jury was more into the special effects, but yeah, that was
surprisingly good to hear I won! You can check it out on a site I made
especially for the Dutch AMV contest results, http://www.amvinfo.nl ,
under Abunai 2006. I still have to update it, but the results of the top 6
are on it.
How do you manage to get the time play so many RPGs? I can't? Tell me the
secret! I also want to play Mother 3, just hope the fanlation comes out
Well, that's it, gotta do some stuff for school! Thanks and have a nice
PS. Also wondering, is every schoolbell the same for every (high)school in
Japan and if so, why is that? Is there only one manufacturer of
schoolbells or is it some sort of regulation?
"We all know that birds fly, but now can
you tell me where they are actually flying to??"
It's OK if you miss a week you know, but I do appreciate that you try to write something every week.
I haven't heard anything about the card fighter game you mentioned, but I did see kids with portable systems all the time. They were usually a DS or GBA. Honestly, there is little need for theft since everyone already has at least one, but I find Japan has a low occurrence for theft anyway. Unless it's an umbrella or bike, no one seems to take things. It's just part of the culture, I guess.
As for how I manage to play so many RPGs, it's mainly because my wife studies so much. She's glad that I have something to do while she has her nose in so many books. I feel bad for playing in front of her, but she feels bad that she can't spend more time with me. We manage the best we can.
And finally, school bells do seem to be the same all across the country. Japan embraces group mentalities. It's the exact opposite of how we embrace our originality. In fact, even schools look alike everywhere. It's amazing. I don't know if it's government or if it's just that they want them to be all alike. At any rate, they are all just like in anime.
Speaking of anime, glad you enjoyed the con. Send me a link to your AMV. I'd love to watch it.
Thanks for the letter. See you next week!
There you have it. I managed to pull myself away from Twilight Princess long enough to finish this update. It's not easy considering I really want to finish the game. That last dungeon was cool, but it was REALLY long. It wasn't TOO hard, but I missed something and had to do some backtracking. There were also a lot of puzzles to figure out that weren't too hard, but you had to put some thought into them.
Catch you on the flip,