ShaShinShuuShuu July 22, 2007

Hello, everybody! It's been a good month for Japan-related stuff. A couple conventions, E3 gaming, and a steady stream of news. Things are really going to hit the fan though in September during the Tokyo Game Show.

If you have any fun stories or pictures you want to share from AnimeNEXT or Otakon perhaps, feel free to send them in and I'll post them in the letters section.

Alright, let's head over to the Dengeki.

Not a very good week for RPGs on the Denkgeki chart. However, while a lot of old favorites have dropped off, Pokemon Diamond & Pearl have continued their ascent after weeks of declining numbers. PETA can't be happy about that.

Position Title Publisher Platform
1 Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirrors Square Enix
2 The Legend of Zelda: The Phantom Hourglass Nintendo
9 Super Robot Taisen OG Banpresto
12 Pokemon Diamond Nintendo
16 Pokemon Pearl Nintendo
35 Super Paper Mario Nintendo
49 Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker Square Enix
Source: Dengeki
Square Enix

I used to be a lot more active in Final Fantasy XI. I began as Elmer the Pointy, an intrepid, young TaruTaru named for his unique hairstyle which, unlike a message from JuMeSyn, culminates in a point.

Although he lived in Bastok, Elmer was destined to reconnect with his ancestral roots in Windurst and become a level 75 Black Mage. Then he was destined to unlock the Holy Crest of the Dragon and rise to be a level 75 Dragoon. Then he leveled-up Warrior because he wanted to get merit points faster. Finally, he discovered his true, true destiny to become a level 75 Puppetmaster. Having run out of destinies to fulfill, he decided to go do something else for a while.

I still like to keep tabs on the goings-ons of Final Fantasy XI from time to time. This especially includes the advent of its 5th expansion, Wings of the Goddess. Recently, the development team from Square Enix attended the E3 gaming convention. I translated a few of the Japanese interviews for Order of the BlueGartr, a prominent end-game forum that I like to frequent.

I've copied those transcripts over to our RPGamer Forums. There is an interview by Game Watch, as well as one by 4Gamer.

While they are nice and comprehensive, new information is still very sparse. Hopefully, the Tokyo Game Show coming up in September will reveal a lot more about this new expansion.

Take out your iPhones and mark down August 16th, 2007 in your iCalendar. I'll be performing at the local Women's Club and trying out my infamous "salty uterus" joke. If you can't make that, you might want to at least check out GungHo Online Entertainment's latest addition to the Japanese MMORPG market, Ragnarok Online II: The Gate of the World, produced by Gravity in Korea.

While the original felt like a Final Fantasy knock-off, the sequel appears to be completely over-hauled. The game is completely 3-D, and features a new "Complex Job Change" system, which will allow players a lot more freedom by not locking them into one particular character class. Jobs and job systems will also vary amongst the several different races available, making Ragnarok Online II a much more unique experience.

Below are some pictures that have just recently been released.

Operation DarknessAssassinate Hitler! Finally, this battle-cry has moved from forum flame-wars onto your Xbox 360. Operation Darkness is a new Simluation-RPG hybrid, in which you simulate the operations of a small infantry group in World War II by fighting zombies and vampires with magical powers. Straight out of the history books!

As a simulation-styled game, you move your soldiers around a map and try to strategically engage your enemy. As an RPG, the game features a system of levels and stats, where your characters can improve as the story progresses.

I sure hope those are her friends...

Are you sure these are regulation women's uniforms?

Oh my god! He's bleeding numbers!!

Choosing weapons and ammo appears easy to navigate for potential importers

Status screen is also easy to understand. Items may pose a small problem

Action Menu

Oops... now they'll never save Hitler's brain :(
More at:
Source: Famitsu

About a month ago, I wrote my last Japandemonium column. More importantly however, Rezel Cross was promised a Japanese release. Originally from China, this PSP-based RPG follows five people who have been chosen to receive the power of the Rezel. There are an assortment of Rezels that grant "holy power" upon the recipient, except for the yellow ones, which are kind of gross. These lucky characters are the "awakened ones," and play a main role in the story.

Rezel plays a great part in battle as well. Those who have been awakened can employ a variety of abilities to aid them. First, there is "Boost," which raises a character's attack and defense power as well as their basic attributes. Beyond this is "Rezel Arts," which are special techniques of the awakened ones. These are unique to each character and can unleash a large amount of damage on the enemy. So far, Isle has "Zwei Break," "Gemini Lights," and "Machine-gun Smash." Leifa has "Light Element," "Earth Element," and "Silver Fang."


Job: Beast Hunter
Age: 18
Sex: Male
Personality: Cheerful, brave with a strong demeanor. His naive appearance belies the trauma he has dealt with in his past.


Job: Performer (Magic, Knife Throwing, etc)
Age: 17
Sex: Female
Abilities: Quick and agile with a light body and great sense of balance. (Her acrobatic abilities far exceed that of the average person.)
Personality: Kind with a strong conviction. Stubborn to a fault, and refuses to change once she sets her mind to something.

Some background pictures are also available, and show a distinct hand-painted style. This merging of traditional art and computer graphics is a defining technique of Rezel Cross.

Source: Famitsu
I received another letter from JuMeSyn that delves into three different topics in his own unique way. I'm not allowed to rap anymore for legal reasons, so I just answered him the old-fashioned way.

Shinsengumi, Saitoh Hajime

Far out, man! It's like, totally awesome that I'd get such wicked Knowledge from you, dude! *High five.* Super cool, dude! So, like, I should totally ask something now, y'know? Righteous, I so wanna know what you think the deal's gonna be with those hella frozen Kurile Islands, man! Cuz, y'know, Japan has some beef with the Russkis having all of them. Major bummer, dude.


The "Kuril Islands" are a bunch of over-ethusiastic volcanoes that form an arc from the Northeast of Hokkaido to the southern tip of the Kamchatka Peninsula. In Japanese, they are called the Chishima Islands, or Thousand Islands... islands.

The ownership of these islands has been a point of contention between the Japanese and Russians, due to copyright issues. The Russians claim that "Thousand Island dressing" is way too much like their own Russian-style dressing. But everyone knows that Russian salad dressing is simply mayonnaise and ketchup, so the Japanese can hardly be blamed for having a similar variant.

There are also reportedly some political issues, such as the Russo-Japanese war, World War II and the various treaties and boundary agreements stemming from said events. However, it probably has little if anything to do with the issue. In the end, it depends on how much pressure Russia receives from the U.S. or Europe, which depends on how the political climate changes. It doesn't seem like Japan and Russia have been able to work it out themselves as of late.


Oh, I have so got a tubular notion man! Have you heard of this kinda bitchin' program called JET, dude? I dunno, man, embassies don't grow on trees or something. That's my only sorta/kinda problem really, so let fly with all the most excellent wisdom you have to share!


The JET program is a government-sponsored cultural exchange program, which allows English-speaking foreigners to teach in Japan. I'm guessing you need to visit an embassy in person to get your Visa application stuff filled out and submitted. Unfortunately, that's a requirement you may not be able to get around, as they do not allow proxies or anything to apply for you.

The only embassy is in Washington, D.C. However, there are several Japan Consulates across the United States. I visited the Japan Consulate in New York City during my application process to NOVA, one of the foreign-language schools in Japan. Here is a list of Japan Consulates across the United States. If you want to apply for any of the teaching programs, find the one nearest you and give them a call or go in person.


Would it not be way cool to have tons of bodacious robots around, dude? Geez, I dunno - so's I'm asking the dude with the word! Have I not heard that Japan's quite tight solution to its demographic decline is the gnarly notion of putting robots into society, so as to compensate for the most heinous lack of younger people to do these somewhat uncool things? Out of sight, dude!


I watched a Twilight Zone episode the other day where a man made man-made robots. They all looked like him and they all sucked. The only one that proved useful went out and through a homeless lady in front of a subway train. Then he returned with his fiancee to where his memory bank told him his hometown was. However, nobody knew who he was, so he wandered around banging on doors and going out of his mind. Once night fell, he tried to kill his beloved with a rock, but instead got hit by a car. Desperate and destitute, the automaton found his way to his creator by looking him up in the phone book. In a final act of rage, he attempted to kill his maker but instead got his ass kicked and died. So to answer your question, robots would be a hilarious addition to society.

Okay, I hope you enjoy all the pictures and info. I've got a new section in mind, which might prove interesting, so hopefully it'll be up for next time.

Mata ne,

Bret "CactusLeaf" Mayer

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