ichigatsu no ni-juu-ni-nichi

Round and round the seasons go.... It seems like just last week we received record levels of snowfall here in Hi-no-Kuni... oh wait, it was just last week. Now it's in the mid-50's. How quickly things change, especially when one works at a kindergarten. Only a few months ago I had little kids starting their new textbooks, and here we are at the last big unit of the school year, the seasons and months. This is not my favorite chapter of the book by far.

Seriously, after so many useful units on fairly concrete, easily understood topics like colors, food, jobs, and actions, the book decides to go into more abstract material like prepositions and calendar units. This is the book designed for four-year-olds, and somehow I have to make it work in spite of some pretty poor page layouts. At that level, my kids are doing well to recognize most letters, but that section of the book is largely text-based. Well, I already have the prepositions section covered pretty well. What can I manage for the months of the year?

Now these, I can work with. Good for games, races, flashcard activities, drills, or just for decoration. Score one more for the arts and crafts wizard!

Now on to the column!

Every week, as I peruse the latest Famitsu Weekly, I spare a glance for the comics section. Just a short one though, since I don't find their regular series to be all that interesting, and the parody comics can be hit or miss. This one, however, I just had to share.

The problem of the hour is, with both Final Fantasy XIII and The New Super Mario Bros. for the Wii coming out at the same time, how is one to choose what to play first? The answer? Combine them and see what happens! Now introducing Final Mario Fantasy!

Seriously, I think the scans kind of say it all...

Source: Famitsu Weekly
1/4 ~ 1/10 12/21 ~ 12/28 Last Seen At Title Publisher Platform
1 New Arrival! New Arrival! Kingdom Hearts - Birth by Sleep Square Enix
5 2 New Arrival! Legend of Zelda - Spirit Tracks Nintendo
6 6 Last seen at 4 Pokémon Heart Gold / Soul Silver Nintendo
8 4 Last seen at 1 Final Fantasy XIII Square Enix
10 11 Last seen at 12 Phantasy Star Portable 2 Sega
14 7 Last seen at 6 Inazuma Eleven 2 Fire/Blizzard Level Five
16 21 Last seen at 27 Dragon Quest IX - Defender of the Stars Square Enix
22 13 Last seen at 7 Poké-Park Wii -- Pikachu's Big Adventure Nintendo
26 23 Last seen at 28 Power Pro-kun Pocket 12 Konami

Whenever I make the effort to get a new DS game on the day of release, one of my first concerns is where best to settle down and get acquainted with my newest purchase. Sometimes I'll get a chair at the nearest cafe, sometimes I'll play it after a light lunch. Some days, I have to play it on the bus because my desire for the game conflicts with my work schedule just a tad. If I were to be in Tokyo around the end of the month, when Dragon Quest VI - Realms of Reverie hits the shelves, I'd be quite tempted to start my game here:

Luida's Bar is an important locale in Dragon Quest IX, and now it's a definite stop for any major DQ fan in the greater Tokyo metropolitan area (at least, all the fanatics over the age of 20). Where else, after all, can one try the famous Giant's Club of roast chicken?

Or fancy cocktails named for major magic spells from the DQ series?

From left to right, we have the Hyado Cool (named for the ice spell), the Virgin Melazoma (named for the nastiest of fireball attacks), and the Sexy Beam (whose name should be self-explanatory).

In other DQ gourmet news, Famitsu Weekly has had a long-running feature where they showcase bento (box lunches) with DQ themes. While I don't usually comment on these, seeing as that's a near-infinite kettle of fish that I'd rather not have to worry about, this seems like a good time to mention them.


As the Japanese school year comes to a close, a new graduating class has high school to look forward to. One of the big decisions these students will have to make is what extracurricular activities to participate in. So, to all you incoming high school freshmen out there, have you given any consideration to joining the Specialized Extracurricular Execution Squad? Benefits include special martial arts training, transcendental experiences in which you encounter your inner self, and all the fun that comes with saving the world every now and then. Also, they're now offering these snazzy bracelets as a signing bonus:

If you want the bling without the danger of imminent obliteration, they'll also be available here starting in March, for the tidy sum of 9500 yen (about US$105).

Source: Dengeki Online

We've had Digimon Stories - Lost Evolution on the radar for a month or two now, but aside from the game's largely uninformative website, we haven't heard much about it. It's time to update our information.

As for the story, apparently the Digital World has been struck with a strange malaise that prevents its denizens from achieving evolution. The hero has to step in to help. In order to bring a relative level of normalcy back the realm, the player has to uncover "digi-plates" containing the evolutionary info of various Digimon. By using a special system called the Repair Ring, he or she can restore these plates and expand the powers of his Digimon pals.

Okay, so it's not much, but we now have real screenshots here.

Source: Dengeki Online
Place Title Publisher Release Date Platform # Sold
50 Magician's Quest Mysterious Times Konami 11.13.2008 218,139*
47 Tales of Rebirth Bandai-Namco 8.6.2009 231,351
44 Monster Hunter G Capcom 9.17.2009 236,020
42 Dissidia Final Fantasy Square Enix 12.18.2008 242,136*
41 Poképark Wii - Pikachu's Big Adventure Nintendo / Pokémon Company 12.5.2009 243,075
36 Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles - Echoes of Time Square Enix 1.29.2009 259,705
30 Tales of the World - Radiant Mythology 2 Bandai-Namco 1.29.2009 317,730
28 Legend of Zelda - Spirit Tracks Nintendo 12.23.2009 320,940
27 Pokémon Platinum Nintendo / Pokémon Company 9.13.2008 328,490*
25 Tales of Vesperia Bandai-Namco 9.17.2009 337,783
20 Pokémon Mystery Dungeon - Explorers of Sky Nintendo / Pokémon Company 4.18.2009 417,226
14 Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days Square Enix 5.30.2009 522,260
11 Mario & Luigi - Bowser's Inside Story Nintendo 2.11.2009 717,940
10 Monster Hunter Portable 2nd G (PSP the Best) Capcom 10.30.2008 911,497*
9 Inazuma Eleven 2 - Fire/Blizzard Level 5 10.1.2009 943,615
8 Monster Hunter Tri Capcom 8.1.2009 968,033
5 Final Fantasy XIII Square Enix 12.17.2009 1,698,256
2 Pokémon Heart Gold / Soul Silver Nintendo / Pokémon Company 9.12.2009 3,382,597
1 Dragon Quest IX Square Enix 7.11.2009 4,100,968

*this year. Magician's Quest has sold a total of 451,588 copies. Dissidia has sold a total of 902,398. Pokémon Platinum has sold a total of 2,515,827. Monster Hunter Portable 2nd G has sold a total of 1,110,614.

All release dates are for the Japanese market.

Source: Famitsu Online
Future Titles

Hey Gaijin,

Is there any potential for new anime or manga series to be adapted into an RPG?



There's always new potential, it's just a matter of figuring out what hasn't already been optioned. I mean, Sergeant Frog is getting an RPG this year. Last year, Linebarrels of Iron and Zettai Karen Children did too. Year before that, I remember Home-Tutor Hitman Reborn! getting an RPG. And let's not forget Shonen's White Comic or Cross of Venus.

The question is usually not "Will this be made into a game" (because the majority of anime do get such treatment), but "Is this show the kind of thing that could be made into an RPG?" Even if the answer is "yes", there's a greater chance that it'll be a fighting game or adventure game rather than an RPG. Just look at the current line-up. There's some potential there.

Thanks for the letter, Nyx!

We're in the post-holiday news lull at the moment. Hopefully we'll hear of more new and interesting games in the near future. It's about time for Atlus to make their next big game announcement, now that I think of it. Any bets on what it will be this time? Write in if you have anything to say on the matter (or any other matter)!

And that's the news from Hi-no-Kuni,

Your man in Japan,

Gaijin Monogatari

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