Dengeki Ratings I More Atelier Iris: Grand Phantasm Details Materialize I Artifact Box Poses for the Camera I Final Fantasy XII Briefly Sees Shelf Space I Yggdra Union Soundtrack I Culture Corner I Sayonara
Hamusuta March 30, 2006


Another week has passed by, and the Thursday time slot seems to be working better for me. I feel pretty confident that columns will be able to go up and not be late with this kind of schedule, but my work schedule doesn't help. When you're working in the number one Best Buy in terms of revenue in the country, it's understandable that you'd be working hard. In fact, I had 39.5 hours in only four days. I'd have gladly gotten a little more, but I get written up if I hit 40. So if the column is ever late, that'd be why. Never know when I'll have to pull an extra shift.

In gaming news, I should be able to finish Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim soon. The loading is still an issue, but it's not as bad at the end. What I will say is that the game can be annoyingly difficult while you're trying to do some of the extra stuff. I've never been one to throw controllers, but it's a game that would make me want to start. Hopefully I'll have a full review soon. Be looking for it.

Looking up, I see that this is one of the shortest intros I've ever written. I suppose I don't have much to say, so I'll just go ahead and explain this week's title. 'Hamusuta' is the katakana English word for 'Hamster'. I was struggling to think of an update title, and I heard my hamster munching on something in his cage and named the column after him. Sadly, not all of my titles are deep or interesting. That's just how it goes.

That said, let's get this party started!

 Dengeki Rankings

This week's top spot is no surprise to anyone who keeps up with Japanese release dates at all. Final Fantasy XII hit Japanese shelves on March 16 for a split second before being snatched off and bought. But aside from the top two spots, RPGs didn't have much presence in the top half. They did relatively well in the bottom half, but that means that some may not be there next week. It looks very possible that the chart could be barren again soon. But only time will tell.

Let's take a look at them!

Position Title Publisher Platform
1 Final Fantasy XII Square Enix
2 Pokémon Ranger Nintendo
13 Yggdra Union Sting
18 Seiken Densetsu: Children of Mana Square Enix
30 Eye Shield 21 Max Devil Power! Nintendo
32 Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth Square Enix
34 Pokémon's Mysterious Dungeon Blue Nintendo
35 Mario and Luigi RPG 2 Nintendo
37 Doraemon Nobi Futo no Kyouryuu 2006 Epic Company
40 Wizardry X 2 Mugen no Gakuto Michaelsoft
42 Suikoden V Konami
44 Rockman EXE 6: Dennoujuu Grega Capcom
48 Pokémon's Mysterious Dungeon Red Nintendo
49 Rockman EXE 6: Dennoujuu Falzer Capcom

Source: Dengeki Online

 More Atelier Iris: Grand Phantasm Details Materialize
Atelier Iris: Grand Phantasm

Gust recently divulged some more details of the upcoming Atelier Iris: Grand Phantasm. Like other games in the series, this one will also have a character named Iris, but for the first time, she will be the game's lead heroine. But she will not be alone; an adventurer named Edge Vanheight will be her traveling companion. The two are childhood friends and have worked together completing quests for the Guild, but one day a seemingly small quest leads them toward potentially finding an artifact so powerful it is thought to be only a legend.

As for the battle system, it will be improved over Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana 2 with better speed and timing control. There is also an update to the "Break and Chain" system called the "Burst Chain Mode." This new feature allows the party members' attacks to chain together to form one massive attack that can result in bonuses at the end of battle.

Another new system is the "Blaze Master System;" depending on which Guarding Mana a character receives the blessing of, their weapon and skills will change. That should shake things up for subsequent play throughs to still feel unique and fun while allowing for character customization at the same time.

Also, it wouldn't be an Atelier game without item crafting, and Grand Phantasm will not disappoint. Iris will be able to concoct over 300 items for Edge to use in his travels.

Currently, the game is set for release on June 29 in Japan. A localization has not been announced, but the first two Atelier Iris games have made the journey to North America.

Ashe Von Abenstein - This 21-year-old adventurer is one of the few in Edge's profession to hold the highest rank. Due to his rare talent, he has been able to get anything he's ever wanted through only his own efforts. With that overwhelming ability, he finds most of the world boring and spends a a lot of his time searching for something that might be passably entertaining.

Iris Foltner - She is 16 and is the daughter of a family of alchemists, but she is still a beginner in the art. Her bright and optimistic nature helps her overcome any failures along the way.

Nell Ellis - She is a 15 year old who is so cheery that she can be annoying. Nell just joined the adventurer's guild. Her family used to be high nobility in a distant country, but they fell on hard times. Nell comes to Iris's town with her two elder sisters in the hopes of rebuilding her family's name and fortune.

Edge Vanheight - He is 19 years old and is an adventurer that specializes in traveling to other worlds. Since he's rather new, his rank in the adventurer's guild is still kind of low, but he is much higher than anyone with his age and experience. He grew up with Iris's family because he is an orphan. Since he is short-spoken and blunt, he tends to appear to be rougher than he really is.

Sources: IT Media

 Artifact Box Poses for the Camera
Valkyrie Profile: Silmeria

It was recently reported that Square Enix is releasing a special premium package for its upcoming Valkyrie Profile: Silmeria, and now we know what it looks like. As mentioned before, the box contains a special case, a statue of Silmeria, and a soundtrack with music from both games. The pictures also reveal that it will contain a keychain.

The Artifact Box will retail for 14,910 yen and will be available on June 22. The standard edition will sell for 7800 yen. While no official localization announcements have been made, both Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth and Valkyrie Profile: Silmeria have been trademarked in the US.

Sources: Kotaku I Dengeki Online

 Final Fantasy XII Briefly Sees Shelf Space
Final Fantasy XII

Square Enix's Final Fantasy XII sold 1.817 million copies in the first weekend of its release. For comparison's sake, Final Fantasy X flew off 1.832 million shelves, and Final Fantasy X-2 sold 1.543 million units in their first weeks. That combined with the perfect score from Famitsu means the game has a lot of selling potential still to come.

Source: Dengeki Online

 Yggdra Union Soundtrack
Yggdra Union

Sting is releasing the soundtrack of its recently released Yggdra Union on April 21. It is titled "Perfect Audio Collection Plus" and features all of the background music from the game plus five previously unreleased new "image songs" and arranged tracks. And those wishing to add the two-disc set to their collection will only need 3150 of their hard-earned yen.

Source: IT Media

  Culture Corner: Ask Sensei

As I take a look in my inbox, I see a lot of spam, but sadly, I don't see any letters for the Culture Corner. I was always afraid that this section would die out if I left Japan. It seems that this may eventually be the case. If you want to see the Culture Corner stay in the column, send me some letters. It's my favorite part of the column, but if I don't have letters, well.... it'll be scrapped.

If you DID send a letter and I don't reply, well it got caught by my spam filter. I get over 100 spam emails a day, and it's hard to sort through it all. I deleted 1000 emails this morning. If yours was one of those, re-send. Maybe someday things will get better round here. Maybe.

For now, I'll leave you with my 'template' email. For the record, I neither wrote the email or the reply. I did snicker when I read it though. Since I have no letters, you can see what I do with them when I get them.

I'ma gonna sic teh Cheat on you

Dear Sensei, how do you type with boxing gloves on your hands?



Ask this once more and I kill you. Seriously.


Been a long week. Maybe next week'll be slower. Here's hoping. Send me some letters.

Catch you on the flip,

Jordan "No time and no letters make me something something" Jackson

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