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   No One Sleep In Tokyo!  

Rob Hamilton - August 18 '02- 12:56 Eastern Standard Time

Many people would find me very odd for listening to Initial D music as much as I do. Fortunately, I'm not too concerned about those people--I already know I'm odd for many other reasons, and the hyper-eurobeat techno stuff doesn't add too much extra to my idiosyncrasy total.

Interesting letters are coming in! Not all of them relate to RPGs, but that's okay. Most do. Some of you may not care to read about anime, and if you're such a person, then by all means skip those letters. For those of you that do like anime, this column seems to be a little heavier on it than usual. I hope it's a good read for ya.

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Boom Boom Japan

Greetings Chim.

First, a question. On Gamespot, Wild Arms 3 on PS2 is said to have October 10 as it's release date. RPGamer, though, has September 16. Do you know if RPGamer's info is more up-to-date than Gamespot's?

Chimerasame:
I've made an inquiry into the issue. I personally think that it's more likely that Gamespot is up to date, as they've got business dealings on the line. Also, I think games, on the whole, tend to be delayed more often than they're moved up.

Second, an opinion/"your thoughts please".

I don't really think it makes sense when somebody says that they "like anime". Well, first off, they mean Japanese style animation. But, anime can mean both TV series/specials and movies. And, there many different types of animes, spanning over many genres. That's my real point. Anime is a medium, not a genre. I can understand someone saying "I like British comedies", because many British comedies have a specific type of style and humour. The only explaination I can give is that people like watching anime because of the drawing sytle, rather than what the anime show is actually about.

I like some anime movies and a few series, but I wouldn't say I'm a fan. I like about 10% of the anime I've ever seen. Many of the "funny/crazy" anime series I've seen, I haven't liked. But, there have been some quality anime movies and other more serious series that I have enjoyed. I like some things that fall under the Anime medium. I don't "like movies". I like some movies but dislike many others. It may be possible for me to come up with a genres I generally don't like, and some that I generally like. But, I wouldn't say I like movies. That just doesn't make sense to me.

Do you have any insight on the whole anime thing or would you care to rip apart my logic (j/k)? Also, would you care to share with us some of the movies over the last few years that you've enjoyed?

-Rahlious aka Mike White

Chimerasame:
It's interesting you ask this, because it hasn't been too long since I participated in a similar discussion with someone claiming to dislike all anime. The fact that "anime" is an extremely broad term to use for an entire genre is definitely a worthwhile comment, and I agree that it needs subdivision to properly evaluate.

That said, though, many types of anime share things that are rarely found in American television. The most notable is that the majority of anime series are written with a beginning, a middle, and an end. They have a plot that they mean to carry out, and they take a finite amount of time to do it, then stop. In most cases, sequels or spinoffs that get made are seperate stories, and do not infringe on the original. American TV, with a handful of exceptions such as '24,' isn't written this way. American TV shows are written with a beginning, but they do not, on the whole, have a middle or end. After the beginning, they go on and on, each episode containing its individual plot and wrapping everything up quite nicely for the next episode to have a clean palate to start from. Series go on for seasons upon seasons without a goal to reach. The reason for this is obvious: American producers want money, so if they have a show that works, they drag it on as long as they can. Japanese producers care about money too, but there is a much stronger emphasis in Japan over quality rather than quantity.

Of course, this isn't a statement that applies to everything. There exist Japanese shows that drone on with no final goal. (Pokémon, Dragonball Z, and Sailor Moon are the main three examples I can think of--it is likely not a coincidence that these are the best known anime among the American 'mainstream.') There are also American shows that wrap themselves up in a timely fashion, and/or carry plot elements from episode to episode, not afraid to kill characters off or change the situation from episode to episode. I mentioned 24, and I'm also quite fond of most of David E. Kelley's work.

I say "I like anime" to people, and though there are series that I don't care for (the three I mentioned come to mind), I do like a higher percentage of it than you say you enjoy--if I had to assign a number for myself, I'd say 70% or so of what i've seen. The phrase "I like anime" can make sense without me enjoying every single thing out there. People, after all, do make claims like "I like movies" or "I like TV."

 
Don't Stand So Close

About .hack...

The creators actually said on their website that it was inspired by online games...except for people who didn't want all of the crap that came with it. The actual plot is about a kid playing an MMORPG (which further proves that they are just plain EEEEEVIL). From what I understand, it is a single player RPG.

Toodles.

Bossy Lil' Quisty

Chimerasame:
Duly noted. MMORPGs are indeed often filled with people whose time would be better spent in a grade school English class (regardless of their actual age).

Heheh, Quistis rocks.

 
Remember Me

Hello Chime, I, first and foremost, would like to congradulate you on the amazing idea you came up with for the column. It's what I've been waiting for since Aegis and much longer ago Thor left.

I am wondering how strong is your nostalgia? I must admit that mine basically drives me to continue playing videogames. I often am driven to play games I have allready won time and time again.

I have 10 games in my library which are in desperate need of winning yet I am driven to play games I have allready won many times, many years ago. Recently I was trying to win Legend of Dragoon. When I first stopped playing it I was at Death Ciy Mayfil. I fianlly got to Mayfil again and before I committed to playing it for the next 10 hours I surfed around RPGamer and simply saw the name Phantasy Star 4. The minute I saw that I dug up my genesis and listened to the soud test for a good hour and played through the game again. Now I have no interest to contiue playing LoD.

This is not an isolated incident either, and it doesn't always involve titles that are almost 10 years old. I get this with FF7, SO2, and a myriad of other games I've allready won.

I planned on winning all the games I haven't won yet this summer before I go to college in September, and guess how many of them I have won...ZERO.

It's frusterating I tell ya!

Good Day
-Trice

Chimerasame:
My nostalgia is strong. One of my LJ icons is Mikage Souji! I'm not entirely sure how to account for the strong force of wishing for the past, but it takes its form with games, anime, books, and other media. I've played Final Fantasy IV about twelve times through, and like you, I have newer games sitting around half-finished. I've got gigs of unwatched anime, and I'll spend my time rewatching Utena, Trigun, and Initial D.

We're old.

 
My Only Star

Greetings, Chimerasame... Or one-who-used-to-go-by-the-alias-of-Odo. Once upon a time you and I we're regulars at the IRC chat thing, when I still used the name of Starr not realizing that it was a female name. Ah, but that is not why I've come to you!
Yesterday, I was looking through my local video store to get a couple of movies to watch with the folks, and to my amazement, I found a DVD containing the first few episodes of none other than an anime series called Arc the Lad! I had heard rumors of a show in Japan, but I looked and it since it was a DVD it had both subs and dubs. You can only imagine my amazement. Or perhaps I'm clueless and everyone but me knows about this.
At any rate, this might interest a few people. I haven't rented it yet, so I don't know how good it is, but I may next time I'm up there unless I hear otherwise. That and the entire series of Cowboy Bebop. On DVD too!

Until next time our paths cross,

the Wonderful Mr. Pants!

Chimerasame:
Dude! Starr! Haven't seen you on IRC in a while. Did you ever fix that inner ear problem that made you fall over all the time?

The Arc the Lad anime is pretty good. It doesn't rank among my favorites, but it's decent. For anybody with a fast connection (or a lot of patience), I recommend Witch Hunter Robin or Azumanga Daioh, they're the best of the really new stuff, in my opinion (but no American commercial release yet.)

 
Love & Money

Just wanted to let everybody in on the scam they're pulling with the Lord of the Rings DVD release. I went out last night and bought the DVD and brought it home, and my girlfriend and I decided to watch the special features. So we see one about a special extended DVD release, so out of curiosity we pick that one, and it's a five minute video dedicated to telling us about another, better DVD release that's coming out in November. This special release will apparently come with the movie and 3 other DVDs worth of special features. The whole thing seemed to be designed to rub in how stupid I was for spending 30 bucks on this DVD when something better's coming out in three months. Plus, the best part was that they had the AUDACITY to include a coupon for the better version in the box of the one I just bought! So of course I'm really pissed off because of this, so I go to the Lord of the Rings website and write a long, articulate letter on how I believe this to be extremely bad business. I get my reply a day later: "Thank you for writing the Lord of the Rings website! We appreciate your comments, and are glad that you enjoy our product! The Two Towers will be in theaters in December 2002." So today my girlfriend (Robust Alison) and I are going to go return it. So the moral of this story is, don't get scammed like me, buy the special release in November instead and save yourself the headache.

Robust Stu

Chimerasame:
That's not just Lord of the Rings, all kinds of movies are doing that these days. Really, it depends on whether the few extra scenes are worth waiting three months. I wanted the DVD now, and I figure that if I want to watch the extra scenes later, one of my friends will pick it up. Said friend may or may not have a DVD player on his computer with the ability to turn said extra scenes into .mpeg files. Of course, I wouldn't endorse distribution of such files, no! But it's amazing how well files seem to transfer themselves when companies pull stuff like this.

 
Running in the '90s

Hey Chime,

Do you think the trend in RPGs is becoming more mature in nature? I mean with the technology today compared to the first gen. Nintendo we can shove a lot more dialogue, FMV, characters, plot twists, etc, into a video game then we could 15 years ago. It seems that companies have taken this advantage and have sort of grown up with the gamers that played the early systems with games like Xenogears, Vagrant Story, Shadow Hearts, and Valkyrie Profile. Generally I think it started with Final Fantasy VII where a character actually died in the course of the game. Which seems to focus on older audiences more so then the younger. Even in the Arc series there are some jokes that I guess you'd have to tell kids "You'll understand it when you're older." Which brings me back to the question. Do you think this trend will last? (yeah, I know, Kingdom Hearts is a kid game, but there just seems to be less of them now then there was 5 or 6 years ago.)

Sorry about the length, I got carried away. (I would never even dream of sending something like this to Goog)
~Silversol

Chimerasame:
Video games as a whole are much more mature than they were in the NES and SNES era. They used to be considered something for kids and younger teens, and that's not the case anymore--the audience has widened and the medium has widened to match it. People who find interest in more mature themes, like death, are now a very sizeable portion of the market. That happened a few years ago, though.

On the other side of the coin, it's not exclusively mature, by any means. We've got games like Pokémon and Kingdom Hearts coming out the wazoo.

 
Don't Stop the Music

Hey Chime,

Thought I'd just let the AlbinoMonkeyKing know that I remember going over to my friend's house as a little kid and playing this really messed up game for NES in which you could be Noah and try to catch different animals to put on your Ark. I think it was also one of those 2 games-in-1 deal like Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt cause there was another game in it where you were escaping Egypt with baby Moses I think. I dunno, I just remember the cartridge was blue and watching Noah leap high into the air to try and grab a motionless tiger that seemed to be stuck in the trees was pretty funny.

Anyway, have you heard the System of a Down version of the Legend of Zelda song? It's hilarious. Oh yeah, what's the deal with cel-shaded graphics? I love the look but I'm not sure what it's all about. Are the characters actually still made of polygons or are they 2-D on a 3-D background? I'm thinking of the Breath of Fire V screenshots... I think it looks great and I can't wait to see the finished product.

Thanks,
Element

Chimerasame:
Long long ago, I think someone mistakenly (or perhaps intentionally, though I can't fathom why) renamed a certain MP3 so that it would show itself as having been made by System of a Down. Then, with the help of Napster, this incorrect MP3 spread like wildfire, to various corners of the internet. Gamers "recognize" it as a System of a Down song, and send it to each other this way. At least one anime music video has been made that credits the song to SoaD.

It makes me wonder how the actual artists, known as The Rabbit Joint, feel about the whole thing.

Yes, I've heard it. It is quite funny, indeed!

Edit: Perrin, of IRC, found this information on the subject. System of a Down's site does contain they lyrics for Legend of Zelda, because so many people think it was them. However, on their own site, they say "A caller asked if that was them on that track and he [Shavo] said that they DID NOT make the song "Legend Of Zelda" or whatever it's called."

 
Beat of the Rising Sun

Hello Chime,

I was wondering if I was the only one a little perturbed about Square's large announcement of GBA titles. It's not that I'm angry that such great additions to their library are in production, but instead where they choose to place all of their developmental and programming resources. Square like any company has a very limited amount of time and money to place into projects, and I'm shocked that they were willing to develop so many handheld games, as well as port to very very old and antiquated final fantasy games. It seems that now you can count the major projects of square on a single hand, all things FINAL FANTASY.... and now handheld games. With a few minor glimpses of possible other projects. I've always looked forward non-Final Fantasy games (though I truly love them, they're always there, but the last few while pretty, in the end only good, not great... although FF6 is perhaps my favorite game ever). They've achieved greatness or at least expanded the genre in other games, such as the Chrono series, Front mission series, Mana games, Vagrant Story, FFTactics, Xenogears, and even the strange Saga games. The 'other' games are hit and miss: some are quite good, some are quite bad, but I always enjoyed the excitement of one of their titles.
So now we're told that we're continuing them in a minor form, but not spend enough time to do them really well. Handheld market games are great, I've played several excellent games there, but I'll never ever admit that I loved Circle of the Moon as much as I would have a full-fledge sequel to Symphony of the Night. I'd love nothing more than see a continuation of Seiken Densetsu, but why not spend the resources to make a 'real' sequel? They have tons of games that would greatly profit from a sequel: Vagrant story or Tactics were set up for it. Both games featured an excellent fighting system that could easily be adapted to a newer game with a different story, and both have large fan bases. Why not focus upon what they have done right BESIDES final fantasy, and work on it? They've done so many great games, I just hate to see all things besides final fantasy go on the second burner and slowly wither away. I know this is a strange comment to be making with Kingdom Hearts coming out in less than a month, but tell me, can you think of any other new games besides 11 coming out in less than 2 years? The possibility of a new Chrono game, and a Saga game in the works. I am an older gamer, and can remember the days it used to be that long before ANY new game came out, but they were doing so well for such a long period of time.... (grumble, grumble). Just wish they'd make some better choices.

Mark

Chimerasame:
Wow, that's a long one. I think it's a misconception that if Square devotes energy or time to hand-held games and remakes, they end up with less energy or time devoted to new games. In general, they devote effort to each division in proportion to the profit they get from it. A lot of people buy these handhelds and remakes, and that puts money back into Square. One way to look at this is that the handheld division 'pays for itself.' Square is a big company, and can easily afford to have multiple projects going on, each with very talented people.

Besides, since you seem to be making the point that Square is concentrating on Final Fantasy, it's worth noting that some remakes coming up are not Final Fantasy games. I'm quite looking forward to Secret of Mana.

 
Save Me

Hello Chime

Oddly enough i actually have a question instead of nonsensical babble. You see whenever i play Final Fantasy 9 i have an uncontrollable urge to eat pickles. No not pikels and cheese or pickels in kabasa, just plain pickels.
Now this might seem normal and all but the thing is I dont like pickels. So my question is would square have a dark and sinister plot to boost bics and claussens pickel sales? Or is this a result of selling my soul for cookies?

The EVIL PANCAKE WIZARD

Chimerasame:
Even though you are a pancake wizard, you cannot employ your culinary arcana and stop the enchantment coming over you? You can counter this, you have the power! Make the sufficient Spellcraft and Knowledge(Arcana) rolls with modifiers for the Food school of arcane magic, and...

Wait, wait, that makes no sense.

Maybe you're just pregnant. My mom said she had a lot of pickle cravings when she was pregnant.



Quickies

A good book to learn kanji from is Kanji Pict-O-Graphix by Micheal Rowley.

There's also Easy Kanji, by Fujihiko Kaneda. Kaaaaneeeedaaaaa! Teeeetsuuuuoooo!
*cough*
The textbook I use in class is "Yookoso!". (Or was, I believe I'm now beyond where that book series goes.)

It is so weird that you mention "Many Waters" because when I first saw the title of today's column, before I thought of LotR, I thought of "A Swiftly Tilting Planet", also by L'Engle. Specifically, the rune that ends "..between myself and the powers of darkness" Anyway just thought that was weird.

Draconius

L'Engle is a wonderful writer! With a nod to that comment about nostalgia up there, I realize that I want to reread that whole series now. Mitochondria and Farandolae; Miss Which, Miss Who, and Miss Whatsit! Ahh, so great...

Haha.....Dont tell anybody but I really dont have a question. Im kinda lost to be honest. Haha.....shhhh......

If you take the western fork of the main road, you'll find your way to the Hill Fort. There, a ranger can help you on your way.

The Answer to AlbinoMonkeyKing's question is a game called "Exodus" for the NES. IT featured moses and was sort of like Zelda. It was not an RPG (but then again is Zelda?) This game is really bad and I would recommend not even looking for it.

Arthur--- Who will forevermore know that The cool Exodus game was part of the Ultima series (I.E. Ultima: Exodus)

With all this discussion, I keep thinking of that one scene from Mel Brooks' History of the World, Part One. "I give you the fifteen--" *crash* "... Ten Commandments!"

Chiming out:

And with that, the first round of 'Inbox' columns comes to a close. I don't know which title Googleshng's upcoming columns will carry; that's very much up to him, and what he thinks is best.

Incidentally, for those of you who were curious about the odd titles of letters in today's column, as well as the column as a whole--they're all the names of songs from Initial D, a racing anime. It's not something I would describe as a great creation, but for some reason it enthralls me. I'm not a racing freak, and I'm not in love with the plot or characters of the show, but something about the way they handle suspense... each race keeps me on the edge of my seat, even though it's easy to predict the outcomes. This has been Chim's Random Endorsement #882793!

chime "Final Song Reference: 'Lost Into The Night!'" @rpgamer.com

No one sleep in Tokyo, and no one sleep in Fort Worth, Texas, until the caffiene wears off.

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