shigatsu no tsuitachi
Majime ni shiyou!

Well, as I warned everyone, the update schedule around the end of March is always going to be a bit screwy. I'm lucky to be able to put anything up one week after the last update, to be honest. To make matters more annoying for me, the Japanese Bureau of Verification and Fact-Checking (JBVFC) took one look at the proposed date of the next column, and brought out the shock collar. It seems they're still not too happy about last year's little exercise in creative column writing.

In any case, after much begging, pleading, and kowtowing (that's where you get on your knees and bow down so hard you crack your forehead on the pavement), the JBVFC put the torture implements away and agreed to a compromise. I have to present the following games as straight as possible, with no elaboration or literary pretention whatsoever. In exchange, I get to tell one big lie for April Fools' Day this year. That's where the fun comes in. You see, one of these games is not real. In one way or another, one of the games in today's column is not really what I say it is. I may have changed the name, the platform, the genre, or used screenshots from a completely different game.

The question is, can you guys figure out which one it is?

Position Up / Down Title Publisher Platform
1 New Arrival! Super Robot Taisen K Bandai-Namco
4 Down from 3 Mario & Luigi RPG 3 Nintendo
9 New Arrival! Dengeki Academy: Cross of Venus ASCII Media Works
15 New Arrival! Ape Quest SCE
20 Down from 8 7th Dragon Sega
29 Up from 31 Inazuma Eleven Level 5
34 Down from 26 Pokémon Platinum Nintendo
35 New Arrival! Brandish - the Dark Revenant Falcom
47 Down from 12 Atelier Annie Gust

Our first game today is Souken Bukyoku, or "The Dance of the Twin Swords," a mobile-phone game from Games Arena. What makes this one special? Well, to read from the Dengeki article: "It is a quest-based RPG experience that can be played alone or in cooperation with others. There exists both campaign and PVP modes." In other words, this is an MMORPG. While it's not the first such game to appear (Square Enix has made at least two of which I'm aware), this game looks to go a bit farther than the likes of Friends of Mana or Ellark in terms of actual multiplayer ability.

Source: Dengeki Online

Our next item, Dark Quest, isn't so interesting. A simple hack'n'slash RPG, Dark Quest takes the Hero on an adventure to defeat the evil faeries and find as much loot as he can carry off, in a standard isometric view. There are spells to gain and special moves to master, but since it's all on a mobile phone anyway, I don't know how well Gameloft is going to do on this one.

Source: Famitsu Online

Just two weeks back, Alicesoft released a new dungeon-explorer RPG, called City of the War God III. The story is simple, with a young warrior named Nacht trying to live up to his father's reputation by enrolling in an upcoming tournament. As he prepares for the trials ahead, he meets new friends, makes alliances, and does what he must to win. What makes this game different is, it's X-rated. Literally. This game is part of one of a few eroge (AY-roh-GAY, short for "erotic game") RPG series on the market. I even have the pictures to prove it. Naturally, this game is only available on the PC, as no game publisher in their right mind would so much as consider putting this one on a console.

Our last game of the column comes from a little store down the corner called "The Daiso." For those unfamiliar with Japan, The Daiso is a 100-yen store. Not everything in there is actually 100 yen, but it's all quite cheap. They even have a discount PC program section, with a wide variety of cheap games, all 100 yen apiece. This one's the only RPG I could find, but I think there may be one or two more.

Lost Memory is, apparently, about a young adventurer struggling to find himself in the world when he hasn't a clue who he is. I don't have much of a clue, either, as the game did not have a story summary on the back cover, and while an internet search got me some screenshots, it did not get me any information on the game's story. Let's take a look anyway:

Source: The Daiso HP

Well, today on Culture Corner we're taking questions on matters which the staff deemed of the utmost importance in any study of Japanese culture. After a few rounds of shochu, we came up with some real winners to ask and answer. I hope you all enjoy them.

Questions from Green Nu

1. How many Gundams would it take to kill Godzilla? How many Godzillas would it take to kill a Gundam? Can Godzilla and Gundam ever be friends?


Depends on the Gundam model. Original Gundam? Probably half a dozen working together. One of those super-type models from the later series? One beam-cannon shot from orbit. On the other hand, if Godzilla were able to close in and grapple, it would conceivably take only one giant lizard to take out one giant mecha. Can they be friends, though? I guess a few hundred gallons of high-octane peppermint schnapps / jet fuel could make anyone friendly.

2. When does Cho Aniki RPG come out? Have any specifics on the game?


When the sun is reduced to a cold, red cinder.

3. Are Japanese cyborgs better than American cyborgs? Are you a cyborg?


Of course they are! Don't you know the Japanese electronics industry can do anything they put their collective hive-mind to? As for me, well... I don't like to brag, but my left arm isn't 100% original anymore, if you know what I mean.

Anyway, thanks for the interesting questions, Green Nu!

Questions from Nyx
What's the deal with panty vending machines? Also, is it true that there are used panties in them sometimes? Also, what is the deal with panty humor in general?

Used panty vending machines? Nope, not true. They're used panty UFO catcher games! My friend the Journeyman saw one once in the Nakasu red light district of Fukuoka. I never could find the thing, but then again his directions weren't the most coherent either. Japanese panty humor can largely be attributed to the fact that much manga is written for junior high school boys, for whom such humor is the height of hilarity. It should also be noted that many manga writers themselves have not matured much past this point either.

So there you have it folks. Four games, one of which is not what it seems. Which one do you think it is? Click on the nice message board link down below, and vote for your answer.

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

Your man in Japan,

Gaijin Monogatari

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