shichigatsu no mikka

After a few false starts, tsuyu (the Japanese rainy season) came with a vengeance this week. For three and a half days, it was short bouts of light drizzle coming between long periods of absolute downpour.

Guess who walks to work every day?

Adding insult to injury, the rain petered out every afternoon, right around the time I'd have appreciated a good washout to cancel a few lessons. And then, as I made my way home in the evening? Yup, more rain. No, it has not been a particularly good week over here.

I think I've mentioned this before in the column, but Japan possesses a singular measure of how deeply a series has penetrated pop culture -- the pachinko machine. If it gets adapted into a pachinko or pachislot game, then it's among the most popular franchises in the country. The last time we looked, it was Tengai Makyo getting the pachi-pachi treatment. This time around it's...

Shin Megami Tensei! Or specifically, SMT 3 - Nocturne. Everyone's favorite quest of existential quandaries was unveiled as a pachislot machine line just this Tuesday, and Atlus adds yet another platform to the list of systems that Megami games appear on.

Source: Dengeki Online
Position Up / Down Title Publisher Platform
3 Down from 2 Kingdom Hearts - 365/2 Days Square Enix
10 Holding at 10 Pokémon Dungeon - Explorers of Sky Nintendo
11 Holding at 11 Mario & Luigi RPG 3 - Bowser's Inside Story Nintendo
17 Up from 44 Pokémon Platinum Nintendo
21 Down from 13 Yuusha 30 (Half-Minute Hero) Marvelous
29 Down from 12 Arc Rise Fantasia Marvelous

The Zelda franchise certainly has its fair share of weirdos, but one in particular stands out in his bright green costume. Tingle, fairy enthusiast and all-purpose gay joke of the series, has seen his share of action, having been in at least five entries of the series as well as his his own spin-off. Well, Little-Man-Who-Wears-Green is back, and he's on the prowl.

Coming direct to the DSi later this summer is Tingle's Balloon Trip of LOVE. The little green goofball is looking for love in all the wrong places -- and let's be honest, he's not exactly a prime catch to begin with. Will Tingle succeed in finding someone who won't run screaming in terror at the sight of him? That's up to the Japanese players to find out, as I don't doubt this title will join Rosy Rupee Land in the list of Nintendo titles that avoid US shores.

Source: Famitsu Weekly

Once more Gung-Ho Works takes their flagship online property offline -- this time to the AU and Yahoo cellphone networks. Ragnarok Online Saga: The Thief and the Forbidden Treasure follows up on the previous title The Swordsman and the Sealed Sword, which I apparently missed out on a while back. In true Gung-Ho fashion, there's an ongoing campaign for the month of July promising online goodies to players who fill out a questionnaire. Also, upon completion of the cellphone sagas, special new items can be uploaded to the player's RO account.

Source: Dengeki Online
Title Publisher Release Date Platform
Infinite Undiscovery (Platinum Collection) Square Enix 7/02/09
My World, My Way -- Princess of Light and Darkness Global A 7/09/09
Dragon Quest IX Square Enix 7/11/09
Ys I & II Chronicles Falcom 7/16/09
Blazing Souls Accelerate (remake) Idea Factory 7/23/09
Narisokonai Eiyuu-tan Irem Software 7/23/09
Rareland Story Arc System Works 7/23/09
Final Fantasy XII International - Zodiac Job System (Ultimate Hits) Square Enix 7/30/09
NuGa-Cel Lupinas / Idea Factory 7/30/09
Crisis Core - Final Fantasy VII (Ultimate Hits) Square Enix 7/30/09
Final Fantasy II (Ultimate Hits) Square Enix 7/30/09
Final Fantasy (Ultimate Hits) Square Enix 7/30/09
Final Fantasy Tactics - The War of the Lions (Ultimate Hits) Square Enix 7/30/09
Source: Dengeki Online
A Novel Question

Dearest Gaijin,

My question to you this week is the following: I've been reading Brave Story by Miyabe Miyuki for the past few weeks and I wanted to know how often in Japan does a book get adapted into a video game? Also can you point me to some more suggestions for things I should look into reading?

Keep up the awesome work!

- Nyx


Well, aside from Brave Story, offhand I know about Deltora Quest (DS), Parasite Eve (PSX), and Digital Devil Story - Megami Tensei (MSX and NES), all of which were based off of novels (or novel series in the case of Deltora) with varying levels of accuracy to the source material. If you want to be technical, novel-based tabletop games like Queen's Blade would count as well. Sword World, another book-based tabletop game, almost works in reverse sometimes, as novelized versions of some game sessions have become bestseller fantasy novels (for example, Record of Lodoss War, which ended up being remade into a game or five of its own).

Trying to search for these on the internet is more difficult, since there are so many wish-lists and what-if message board threads dedicated to stuff like this. One other that I found was Magician's Academy (PS2), which is also an entire series of fairly silly fluff novels. And of course, there's Dengeki Academy RPG - Cross of Venus, which is a crossover RPG for the DS with characters from I'm not sure how many light novel series.

Honestly though, researching this question is like trying to answer the age-old question of the chicken and the egg. There are some games that were novels that were manga that were games that were... it's just hard to figure out where some of these IPs start. And when we start in on the visual novel genre, it just gets more complicated.

As for reading recommendations... Well, I know I already recommended you read Nisio Isin's Kubikiri Cycle, which should be out in English by the end of the year. I've also been reading the first novel of Isuna Hosekawa's Wolf and Spice series. Since I can't read them too quickly, I haven't acquired a lot of light novels in the time I've been here. There certainly are a lot of the things in the stores though. Thanks for the question!

And that's it for this week. Hopefully there will be more to read about next week, and less precipitation. More rain is predicted for the weekend though. Yay. I have to walk in it. Boo. Have a fun Fourth of July to everyone in America. Cherish your ability to actually light fireworks (assuming you all aren't having your own local rainy seasons right now too).

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

Your man in Japan,

Gaijin Monogatari

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