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Dengeki Ratings I Grasshopper Contacts New Details I DS Getting Tengai Makyou II: Manji Maru Remake I New Iron Feather Details Float In I Devil Summoner Kuzunoha Raidou Special Edition Goodies I Yggdra Union Pre-Order goodies I Three For One On Square Enix News I Pokémon Ranger Spots Release Date From Afar I Culture Corner I Sayonara
JAPANDEMONIUM
Ichigo January 17, 2006


Konnichiwa

Another week has flown by, and hopefully I am a little wiser than last week. It's been a crazy and stressful week, so I'm not so sad to see it pass. My wife is now safely settled into our new home in New Orleans, and I will be joining her soon. My plans were to leave Japan in five weeks, but I may be able to speed that up a bit. Here's hoping I can, and for those of you wondering what happens after I get back, don't worry about a thing. Living in Japan merely helped me get the job; it isn't a requirement. I will continue to update Japandemonium from wherever I am in America, and there's a good chance it'll be on time more often as well. As much as I love my hours, they are not the best for getting work done, but they are just what the doctor ordered if you like waking up after ten o'clock for work.

Now that my Xbox 360 is thousands of miles away, I've been playing my other Christmas games. While I thought Mario and Luigi 2: Partners in Time was a little bit on the 'so-so' side, Final Fantasy IV Advance has exceeded my expectations in just about every way. I believe the new translation is the best of the three, even if some scenes might have been better in other translations. Then you have the two new dungeons. I'll be honest, the Cave of Trials is pretty much a joke that must be completed at least two times to fully unlock. It's a bit annoying, but the bosses were almost fun to kill. It isn't until you get to the Lunar Ruins that the game really exceeds anything that has come before it. When the game was originally released on the SNES, the game was really, really easy. I used to run from as many battles as possible in attempts to beat the game as fast as possible and on the lowest level possible. Incidentally, my record is eight hours and seventeen minutes for a speed run, and my lowest level was an average of 42. Now I'm level 56, and I'm sweating bullets on some of the boss fights. I'm not even CLOSE to being able to take out some of these bosses. Lunar Odin wiped out my party in one hit. I've still got quite a ways to go. Long story short, that dungeon will nearly double your play time alone. Looking for a fun RPG to take anywhere? It's hard to beat Final Fantasy IV Advance. I'd give it a strong recommendation to anyone that enjoyed the game back in the day.

As for today's title, it means strawberry in Japanese. Many of my past titles have come from what I had to eat that weekend, and today's title is one of them. As some of you may know from past columns, I absolutely LOVE pancakes. They are one of the few meals I can make with just one burner, they are cheap to make, a 200 gram pack of mix makes food for two meals, and, most importantly, they are delicious. I always put something in my pancakes, and strawberries were on sale. Two days and six pancakes later, I am a happy, full sensei, and I have an update title to boot. It's win-win.

So without any further ado, let's get this party started!



 Dengeki Rankings

This week's chart is absolutely amazing, especially if you are Square Enix. They took almost all the spots for RPGs with Kingdom Hearts titles coming out of the woodwork to make it in the top 50. A whopping 13 titles made it this week, and they did everything except claim the coveted top spot. That honor goes to Kahashima Ryuuta Kyouju Kanshuu: Motto Nouo Kitaeru Otona DS. That roughly translates to More Brain Training for Adults. It also wins an award for the longest title ever.

In other news, this chart has a few other things of interest. Minna no Golf Portable jumped up from 67 to 44 proving that even after games fall off the chart, they can still come back. On top of being one of the largest upward moves I've seen a game make, that sets a new record for a game coming back from a position lower than 50. Also, this marks the first Xbox 360 game to make the chart, Dead or Alive 4 at number 12. If the system actually gets some games in Japan, there just might be other games up there, too. And finally, the DS has overtaken the PS2 as the king of Dengeki. There were 20 DS titles and only 16 for the PS2. It's no wonder that the little handheld is sold out across Japan and is retailing for double the normal price in some places. The Japanese have gone crazy for the it, and I can't honestly blame them.

So let's check out these double-digit numbers!

Position Title Publisher Platform
2 Kingdom Hearts II Square Enix
5 Mario and Luigi RPG 2 Nintendo
7 FRONT MISSION 5 ~Scars of the War~ Square Enix
11 Pokémon's Mysterious Dungeon Blue Nintendo
13 Super Robot Wars MX Portable Banpresto
14 Pokémon's Mysterious Dungeon Red Nintendo
15 Tales of the Abyss Namco
24 Final Fantasy IV Advance Square Enix
26 Rockman EXE 6: Dennoujuu Grega Capcom
30 Rockman EXE 6: Dennoujuu Falzer Capcom
31 Mushi King: Road of the Greatest Champion DS Sega
36 Kingdom Hearts Final Mix (Ultimate Hits) Square Enix
38 Rogue Galaxy Level 5
43 Kingdom Hearts (Ultimate Hits) Square Enix


Source: Dengeki Online



 Grasshopper Contacts New Details
Contact

The DS is the new hotspot for games these days, and Grasshopper is planning continuing that trend with Contact. The game stars a young boy named Cherry who is skipping school and taking a nap one day when something shiny suddenly falls out of the sky and lands nearby. He goes over to look at it, and then a space ship suddenly crashlands next to it. A man known as the Professor pops out, yells at Cherry not to touch the shiny object, gets it himself, and then yells at Cherry once again to tell him to get in the ship because there is danger coming. The boy scuttles inside and thus begins a series of strange adventures to recover the Elements to repair the Professor's space ship, but what he really wants is to go home for dinner.

Battle in Contact is as unique as the story. Players can fight whomever they want whenever they want. By locking on to a target with the stylus and pressing the B button, the game shifts to "battle mode." Then it's only a matter of running up to the enemy and pounding the daylights out of it.

As previously reported, enemies drop a variety of items, including "stickers," which are used anywhere at any time to do just about anything. If that's too open-ended, consider this example. If the player puts a sticker on a balloon, it can be used to do damage in battle. Then, the new balloon sticker is peeled off using the stylus and then stuck into the battle screen to be inflated in battle by blowing into the built-in mic. Keep blowing, and the balloon will pop and do considerable damage to the enemy.

As previously reported, Cherry is competing against a woman named Mint to collect the Elements, but it seems that Mint is not alone. She also has Maria, a calm and logical woman, to be in charge of most of the operations. Another operative, Raster, is in charge of searching for Elements, and Bull is the mechanic and resident powerhouse. Then there's Millian, a white mini-chimp, but nobody knows exactly what is going on with him.

Contact is set for a March 30 release in Japan for the standard price of 5040 yen. So far, no word on a North American release has been announced, but I'm hopeful. This one looks pretty interesting.



Source: Famitsu



 DS Getting Tengai Makyou II: Manji Maru Remake
Hudson

The DS is getting yet another RPG. This time it's a remake of Tengai Makyou II: Manji Maru, which originally was released for the PC way back in 1992. So far, few details have been announced for the remake, but it is known that the game will feature loads of special attacks for dealing massive amounts of damage.

The game is slated for a March 9 release for 5040 yen. While the odds of this game coming crossing the pond are really quite slim, you can at least enjoy these pictures showing what it will look like.











Source: Famitsu



 New Iron Feather Details Float In
Iron Feather

Konami has revealed some new details concerning items in their upcoming Iron Feather. It seems that they can be acquired and used in more than one way. Besides obvious things like treasure chests, players can use the stylus to touch various objects on the screen, and sometimes that will make items fall out. These items can be anything from weapons and armor to fish, bugs, and rocks. Some of the less conventional items can be used as ingredients to create better items, or they can be given to other party members as presents. If the player gives a present that the recipient likes, they will be friendlier with the player, and that translates into more opportunities for powerful combos in battle.

Iron Feather is set for a January 19 release for an unusual 5229 yen.



Source: Famitsu



 Devil Summoner Kuzunoha Raidou Special Edition Goodies
Devil Summoner Kuzunoha Raidou

Atlus has announced that the upcoming Devil Summoner Kuzunoha Raidou will have a special limited-edition version that includes a soundtrack featuring music from all three titles in the Devil Summoner series when it comes out on March 2. The CD is first-come-first-serve, and it will only be included with the initial shipment of the game.


Source: Game Watch



 Yggdra Union Pre-Order goodies
Japandemonium

Sting has announced that their first run of Yggdra Union will come with a few special goodies. It will include a "Making Of Character Card" and an "Yggdra Union Full Metal" mobile phone strap. "The Making Of Character Card" is actually an illustration guide book that features character and game level designs along with character sketches and illustrations.

Yggdra Union is currently set for a March 23 release for 6090 yen.



Source: IT Media



 Three For One On Square Enix News
Square Enix

March is shaping up to be a big month for Square Enix. They announced that they are delaying the upcoming DS game Seiken Densetsu: Children of Mana by a week to increase the game's quality. It was originally set to hit stores on February 23, but now Japanese gamers will have to wait until March 2 to plunk down their hard-earned yen to play this highly anticipated game.

In other handheld news, Square Enix will extend the extremely popular Ultimate Hits series of reduced-price games to the GBA as well. Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, and Slime Morimori Dragon Quest - Shougeki No Shippo Dan will all share shelf space on March 3 for 3300 yen.

And in console news, Logitech is releasing a special edition 2.4 GHz wireless controller featuring the Final Fantasy XII logo. The controller will run for 50 hours on three AAA batteries and will come with a cell phone strap for only 4980 yen.





Sources: IT Media I Magic Box I Game Watch



 Pokémon Ranger Spots Release Date From Afar
Pokémon

Nintendo has announced that the DS game Pokémon Ranger will see Japanese release on March 23. No details about the US release have been announced, but the odds are pretty good it'll make it over sooner or later.


Source: Famitsu



  Culture Corner: Ask Sensei

I've got a nice batch of letters including one that led me to find the absolute best guide to learning Japanese I've ever seen in my entire life. I like it MUCH better than any of the textbooks I have learned, and as a language teacher, I feel that I know some of the pitfalls of textbook language better than others. I really enjoy the random Japanese language questions because they keep me on my toes, and if I don't know it, I enjoy looking this stuff up.

So that said, let's get to the letters, shall we?



Thanks!


Wow Congratulations

I must have miss reading that you had come home to get married. I read your response to Douggie and got answers to many of the questions I was going to ask :D

Lots of big steps you are making, but bet it must be wonderful having made one if not the most important steps which was getting married. So Law school that should be another fun challenge. So with all these things happening will that mean your departure from RPGamer may also be nearing, and even closer for Japandemonium?

Once again congrats and I wish Caroline and you the very best on your path together.

David


Sensei

It has been a bit of a big month, and I've got some other big stuff coming up very soon. But even with my departure from Japan coming up, my departure from Japandemonium and RPGamer are not in my immediate future. This is especially true since I just bought my plane tickets for E3, so don't worry about that for at LEAST a few months.

Thanks for writing!


UPC


If this is good enough fodder, feel free to use it. If not, then I would actually like to know.

I've recently begun to import a few Japanese GameCube games, and I've noticed that they do not have UPC labels. Do UPCs exist in Japan? If not, do they have any sort of universal tracking system that's similar to what we use?

Tyler


Sensei

Hrm. This is an odd question. I looked at what few Japanese games I haven't taken home, and they all have UPC bar codes with the words ONLY FOR JAPAN in all caps. But in your defense, none of them are GameCube titles. I have DS, PSP, and PS2 games. This leads me to think that either something about your imports is different, or Nintendo is just plumb silly. I'm leaning toward the former, but it's hard to rule out the latter. Japan most definitely DOES employ UPC codes, so I don't know what to tell you other than thanks for sending the email.


Best. Verb. EVER


You do realise the Chinese New Year doesn't begin until January the 29th (2006), don't you? So you have roughly another two weeks of err..Roostering to do. (Basically, you have to wait for the second New Moon after the Winter Solstice.)

Hendecable


Sensei

Yeah. I know it's not the Chinese New Year yet, but the Japanese don't really go by it. In the meantime, I'll um... do all the Roostering I can.

Thanks for writing and telling me exactly when and how the date for Chinese New Year is selected!


Grammar and Plushies


Heya, Wow, you get two weddings? That's pretty cool...you get twice the celebration;) I actually have a question today, I hope it's not a silly one: what does it mean when adjectives have 'sa' or 'shi' added on the end...like yasashii becomes yasashisa or yasashishi...is that like gentle becoming gently? Oh, something else just occurred to me; I'm still learning kanji but, I often wonder when I see Japanese names just how native speakers now how to pronounce them (like which reading to use). Is it just a question of knowing how each particular name is read from experience (even I can tell Matsumoto and Yamada and such) or is it somewhat of a guessing game even for them (the less common ones anyway)?

On an unrelated note, I just started collecting plushies (and my meager budget isn't helping;); I have Chiyo's cat-father from Azumanga Daioh and a tiny little Al from FMA, and I recently saw a Vash the Stampede that has my name all over it...;) An army of plushies huh? Sounds like the world's cutest revolution to me;) Thanks!

Elysse


Sensei

I'll start with the easy stuff first. I'm looking forward to the second wedding. It'll be something I've never experienced before, and I'm always looking for a chance to celebrate. People have asked which anniversary we'll celebrate, and my answer is that I'll celebrate both of them. I also celebrate the anniversary of our first date and the day I proposed to her. Of course, my TRUE wedding anniversary is December 26, but I don't mind having another.

Whew. You asked a grammar question that I had in my Japanese class YEARS ago, but I can't remember. Luckily a little google searching and knowing what to look for helped kickstart my memory. One adds 'shi' to the end of verbs and adjectives when making a list for actions or states of being. For example, you would use it if you were saying I am kind, handsome, and interesting (among other things). It is most similar to the particle 'ya' which does the same thing for nouns. It denotes a list that includes things other than which are listed. If you wish you make your list of nouns static, one would use 'to'. For adjectives and verbs, a static list uses the 'te' form of the components in the list.

The other question was something that I had forgotten SO well that I forgot that I forgot it. If that makes any sense. I at least knew that I couldn't remember the function of the first one. Adding 'sa' to an adjective makes an "amount noun." For example, 'takai' meaning 'high' becomes 'takasa' meaning 'height'.

If you can handle the Japanese writing, this is the site, and it is one of THE best sites I've ever seen. It appears to have stuff more advanced than my textbooks, and I just bookmarked it. Thanks for asking this question; you led me to this super-mega-awesome site that I am now sharing with all my readers.

And since you asked about gentle becoming gently, i-adjectives form their adverbs by replacing the 'i' with 'ku'. Using your example, 'gently' would be 'yasahiku'.

As for the names, I am 99% sure that if there are two or more kanji, they will all use either the on-yomi or kun-yomi. That will eliminate at least half of the options right there. From that point, assuming you know both readings of the kanji, it should be pretty easy to recognize the name. To a Japanese, these names are almost as common as Smith or Johnson, but this is not always the case. Anyone that has seen or read Azumanga Daioh might remember the scene where Tomo misreads "Iriomote Island" by reading the wrong reading. This mistake is not uncommon. When we got a new manager at our school, she sat down and looked at a map of Niihama and read each of the "streets," but there were several that she wasn't 100% sure how to read. Some can go either way, and it's either a matter of knowing or guessing.

And finally, yes, it WILL be an army of plushies. Some of Caroline's best include Ein (Cowboy Bebop), Yuuki (Fruits Basket), Vash the Stampede, and a host of others. Some of my favorites include a Prinny, a Slime Mori Mori 2 slime, a FF7 Golden Chocobo, Yomi in a yukata and Chiyo in cheerleading outfit (Azumanga) and Bou Nezumi from Spirited Away. And those are only our favorite ones that have names. We both have several unnamed ones, and I have tons more at home. I can only imagine what would happen if we gathered them all in once place.

Thanks for writing! This led me to a WONDERFUL find.


BEST way?


I want to learn how to speak and write proficiently someday. I was just wondering what you consider the best way to learn Japanese. Thanks for your input!

Rpgguy11


Sensei

Honestly, the best way to learn Japanese is to come here and immerse yourself. I know that's not the answer you are looking for, but it's the truth. The next best way I've seen is to study in school. That way you'll hopefully have a native speaker to teach you, but the textbook will be crap. As the site I linked to above says, textbooks in English are terrible, and a guide like the one written is FAR superior. If you have any knowledge of Japanese at all, go to that site right this instant. It is the BEST Japanese tool I've ever seen.

Thanks for writing!


Suits


Heya J, I'm going to continue this line of questioning spawned from some crazy neurosis i have here, so just wondering, did you get your suits in japan or the U.S.? Also how did you learn japanese back home? just through the courses at the university or what? Many thanks for taking to the time to answer all us crazy people out there... -Barooboodoo

Oh ya if you got to listen to any mayumi kojima tell me if you liked it :D


Sensei

I got my suits in America before I came over. For those looking for suits like mine, I recommend Bluefly and Overstock.com. I got my suits for half price. The catch is that they are last season's suit, but for me, they will be this season's suit, next season's suit, the one after that, and so on. I had the option of buying a nice suit for around 200-300 or a NICE suit for around 500 each, so I went for the better ones. Why have a suit you like to wear when you can have a suit you love to wear? In fact, I plan to use these sites to buy my tuxedo for my next wedding if I can.

The other main factor besides price is the fact that I am not Japanese. While I can find a suit that will fit, a western suit will fit me better. My general shape is bigger than most Japanese. It's not just that I am taller, but my shoulders are broader, and my arms are bigger. In order to get the best fit, I thought that I should get my suits from home.

Thanks for sending in another letter. If I get ahold of any Mayumi Kojima, I'll definitely mention it. I'm gonna go get some new music soon. Maybe this weekend. Maybe the one after that, but I'll do it before I head out for sure.



 Sayonara

So there you have it. There's another column that is literally chock full of news. I was tempted to expand my template to have more stories, but I combined all those Square Enix ones. Anything to save a bit of work...

Catch you on the flip,


Jordan "And I'll form the head!" Jackson




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