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Dengeki Rankings I Front Mission 5 Gets a Date and Media I DS to Explore Deep Labyrinth I Harvest Moon Opens Website of Happiness for World I Wizardry Finding New Home I Rebirth Moon Pre-Order Goodies I Rogue Galaxy Hitting Shelves in December I Culture Corner: Ask Sensei I Sayonara
JAPANDEMONIUM
Mr. Sparkle September 26, 2005


Konnichiwa

It seems like just hours ago I last started writing Japandemonium. In fact, that was about six hours ago. I was taking a short break by trying to fix the battery that I bent when I dropped my old computer, and I was swapping batteries back and forth between it and the new one. I finally got it to the point where I can put the battery in, and when I was making the last swap, I didn't notice I'd bumped my power cable. Powerbook power cords come out if you look at them funny, and this one is no different. Soon as that battery fell out, Chiyo went blank. I'd always wondered if Macs had a built-in power supply that would allow you to hot-swap the batteries on a plane or a similar situation. Turns out, they don't. So, every story I'd written up to that point disappeared along with everything else I had open at the time. I'm writing the whole column for the second time. Kind of a sour end to a week with a paid holiday. Only Japan would make the equinoxes national holidays. Oddly enough, the solstices don't get the same treatment.

In gaming news, I had a couple games that I'd started but never finished. Among those was Metroid Prime 2: Echoes. I made it to the very end, but didn't have it in me to finish the stupid fetch quest of finding all the Sky Temple keys. I put the game down with only a little work left to go. Well, I decided now was a great time to finish. Luckily, I haven't lost much of my skill in these past few months; I picked up the game immediately again. In about 24 hours, I'd finished collecting the keys, slept, gone to work, and ownzed the last bosses. Now that I've got THAT behind me, I can say that the game is pretty durn good, but way too much like the last one. They didn't even change a fair number of the enemies between the two games.

In other news, I would like to hype up the other section I work with. For those of you that are not familiar with Roundtables, they are discussion panels about video games that readers can participate in. They were started a few years back, and they consisted of mainly staff with one reader. Now that I'm at the helm, I'm changing that completely. Now it is 50/50 staff to readers. In my opinion, it is the best form of interaction on this site because it will let readers directly speak with other readers and staffers and then have their chat indexed for the world to see. So far, everyone that has participated in a Roundtable has really enjoyed it, sometimes to their own surprise. So if you have an opinion or two, and you think it looks like fun, try shooting me an email, and I'll put you in a discussion. If these things REALLY take off, I'll hold them more often and try to schedule readers for discussions I think they'd enjoy based on what they tell me in their email. Otherwise, you have to watch me advertise Roundtables every couple months until they become massively popular.

So now that I've done my best to get you all to read Roundtables, I'll explain the column's title for the two of you that don't watch Simpsons. Yes, it is a reference to the mascot formed by combining the logos of the Matsumura Fishworks and Tamaribuchi Heavy Manufacturing Concern to form something that looks an awful lot like Homer's head. For those of you who are really into this sort of thing, it's from the episode "In Marge We Trust," which happens to be the 22nd episode from the 8th season. If you really DON'T know Mr. Sparkle, arguably the best commercial in the history of TV, then I banish you to the land of wind and ghosts until you can find a video online or watch the season 8 DVDs when they are released.

That said, let's all be disrespectful to dirt, and get this party started!



 Dengeki Rankings

This week there are 13 RPGs on the chart, but I am strangely disappointed. It seems that I have been spoiled by great weeks like the last one. When I started doing this column, I would have been thrilled to see more than ten games on the chart. It just goes to show how things have changed. Out of the 13, only one made the top 10, and not surprisingly, it was a GBA game. The GameBoy Micro was released in Japan recently, and GBA games have been flying off the shelves. Leading the pack was Mario Bros. 20th Anniversary Edition, a game that got so many of us into video games; it is a direct port of the original. It may have led the way for GBA games, but it could only lead them to the second spot. The top position is held by Shin Sangoku Musou 4 Moushouden, a game that I am 99% sure was released in North America as Dynasty Warriors 5: Xtreme Legends.

As for the other RPGs, many of them are dangerously close to the bottom. I'm afraid that at this rate, I'll be very disappointed with next week, but here's hoping that the chart proves me wrong. In the meantime, let's view these slightly disappointing numbers.
Position Title Publisher Platform
5 Super Robot Wars J Banpresto
16 Mushiking: Battle of the Beetles Sega
17 Tales of Legendia Namco
21 Kingdom Hearts Final Mix (Ultimate Hits) Square Enix
22 Gundam SEED Destiny Generation of C.E. Bandai
19 Final Fantasy X (Ultimate Hits) Square Enix
28 Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness Nintendo
33 Kingdom Hearts (Ultimate Hits) Square Enix
27 Sega Ages 2500 Series Vol. 18: Dragon Force Sega
31 Final Fantasy X / Final Fantasy X-2 (Ultimate Hits) Square Enix
37 Pokémon Emerald Nintendo
40 Naruto RPG 2 Tomy
45 Rockman Dash Episode 2 Capcom
48 Super Robot Wars Alpha 3 Banpresto
50 Boktai 3 Konami


Source: Dengeki Online



 Front Mission 5 Gets a Date and Media
Square Enix

Square Enix recently set a release date for their upcoming game, Front Mission 5. It will arrive in Japanese stores on December 29 of this year. Currently, there isn't much information available, but new information is bound to pop up soon. There is a US trademark filed for the game, but no official announcements have been made at this time. Until then, please enjoy some gorgeous screens and a page from Shonen Jump.




















Sources: Shonen Jump




 DS to Explore Deep Labyrinth
Deep Labyrinth

Interactive Brains is porting the popular cell phone RPG Deep Labyrinth to the Nintendo DS. The game will feature maps in the top screen, and all the action will take place on the bottom screen. The touch pad will be used for many functions while exploring the game's many dungeons and keeps that all seem to be filled with bizarre creatures. The game will feature a single quest with a story written by Masato Kato of Chrono Cross and Baten Kaitos fame. The game also features a soundtrack by Yasunori Mitsuda, a man known for such gems as Xenogears and Chrono Trigger. Players will be able to embark on their adventure sometime in 2006.












Sources: Jeux France



 Harvest Moon Opens Website of Happiness for World
Harvest Moon: Poem of Happiness for World

Natsume is bringing another Harvest Moon title to the Nintendo GameCube. The newest installment is titled Harvest Moon: Poem of Happiness for World. At this time it is uncertain what distinguishes it from the previously released Harvest Moon: Poem of Happiness other than the release date. When word of the changes is announced, it will probably be on the official website, but that is only a teaser site at the moment.

Harvest Moon: Poem of Happiness for World is set for release on November 10 in Japan for 5040 yen.





 Wizardry Finding New Home
Wizardry Asterisk

Star Fish has decided to bring a classic RPG to the DS. Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord is being reborn as Wizardry Asterisk. The game will feature vastly updated graphics from the original, and will take advantage of both screens.

Currently the game is set for a November release for 5040 yen. There are no other details at this time, but if there are, RPGamer will have continuing coverage.






Sources: Jeux-France I IT Media



 Rebirth Moon Pre-Order Goodies
Idea Factory

Idea Factory will soon ship their latest game, Rebirth Moon, for the PS2, but they have decided to sweeten the deal for those willing to pre-order the game. In addition to getting the game, happy gamers will also go home with a "Premium DVD" containing the lines of all four of the game's main characters. They will also receive the game's soundtrack and nine trading cards.

Those that purchase the Limited Edition will get all that and a little more. They will get a compilation book with character sketches, game information, and artwork. These will all be available on October 20 when the game comes to stores near me.





Source: IT Media



 Rogue Galaxy Hitting Shelves in December
Rogue Galaxy

Those wondering when the highly anticipated Level 5 RPG, Rogue Galaxy, will arrive on Japanese shelves need wonder no longer. Assuming they have 7140 yen to spare, they may do so on December 8. Anyone wondering about a North American release will have to ponder a little longer, as there have not yet been any announcements mentioning a localization.

Sources: Gamefront



  Culture Corner: Ask Sensei

This week I got three more emails. It seems that is my new maximum. I kinda liked it when I had a lot of them. I know I'm getting pressed for time these days, but it is the most fun part. I apologize for the lack of a Japanese lesson this week. With my rush to finish and get some sleep, I can't really make one. That, and I don't have any good ideas for sentences. You'd be surprised how hard it can be.

That said, let me tear into these letters. They're pretty good.



Women's Rights


How are women's rights in Japan compared with the United States? Are they on a more or less equal basis with men? Do men generally see women as equals? What's the general consensus on abortion rights?

Elliot Guisinger


Sensei

For those of you that don't know Elliot, he's a fellow staffer, and he writes a lovely column called Currents. You should all read it when you finish reading my column.

Women have all the same rights as men do, but they are anything but equal. Women are still expected to be a little lower in status than their husbands, and 'housewife' is a very common 'occupation.' Whenever I go to the grocery store, I'll see a dozen or so women that are still wearing their aprons. It's amazing.

As far as household politics go, the father is pretty much the head of the house, or that's how it seems. I've noticed that kids treat their parents different, and wives are different when their husbands are around. Japan is very male dominated in that respect.

Business is almost entirely male. Women are supposed to do traditionally female jobs like nursing or teaching. In most cases, there is a very low glass ceiling for women in corporate life. GEOS is a bit of an exception in that it's management is almost entirely female, but we are NOT the norm.

About the only place where women have any sort of advantage is in relationships. Women these days are holding out on marriage to play the field and date many men. I think of men playing the stereotypical role of a 'player' in America. They are also quite good at getting men do to what they want. Men may be the "head," but women are the "neck" that turns the head. But, this power only extends so far. They seem to be most skilled at getting men to buy them things or give them money.

The good news for women is that Japan is changing due to Western influence, but it is a slow-moving country. It will be a long time before women are seen as equals if ever.

Unfortunately, I don't know anything about abortion in Japan. Sorry

Whew! What a long answer for such a short email. Thanks for writing!


X Bokusu?

I have been reading Japandemonium for who knows how long and I must say I love reading about RPG's that are coming out in Japan that I have never heard of and will probly never see in the states. I was wondering how people are feeling about the Xbox 360 coming out in Japan. I've heard that the orginal playstation is still selling better than the Xbox in Japan. Do you think that the new Xbox will do just as bad as the last or are people really excited about it? and a final question what do people think of the nintendo's controller for there new system? I have it up where I work and most people think its going to hurt nintendo.

Thanks for all the Japandemonium goodness!

Scott


Sensei

The Xbox was a pretty big flop in Japan. I don't really see many games for it in Shikoku. I do run upon them every now and again, but it's only at stores that only sell video games.

As for the 360, right now there's not much buzz surrounding it. In a poll I read on Gamespot, the number of people interested in the 360 tripled recently. It now stands at 6% of the population. This number does not bode well, but I foresee it picking up later. I think no one really believes in it, but it does have some really good support. I don't think it will ever surpass the PS3, but I think it'll do a lot better than the original monster of a machine the last one was.

As for my thoughts on the Revolution's controller, you can read all of them in the first section of the Roundtable, but the short version is that I'm skeptical. I'm sure Nintendo will show us how great it is, but I need to see it in action. Every major gaming site is saying how awesome it is, but I think they feel like they can't speak their minds. If they say they think it'll flop, it will SERIOUSLY insult Nintendo, and I think a lot of people are more into kissing Nintendo's rear than being honest. So I'm not saying much right now. We'll see if this turns out to be something great, or something like the Virtual Boy, good in theory, but bad in practice.

Thanks for the email!


I Hear Voices in My Head

Hey sensei,

In regards to the Japanese release of Final Fantasy 7 Advent Children (which I've sworn to get on its U.S. release) what do you think of the voices? Admittedly I've heard some in the trailers, but you don't really get a sense of it unless you see the whole thing right? I'm especially curious about Cid, Barret and Red XIII because they get almost no appearences in the trailers. No spoilers would be nice, but it's okay if you spill something. Arigato gozaimasu!

(P.S. I'd rather not download it because I think even reading subs would distract from the eye candy. I'm studying Japanese, but I'm not good enough to understand much.)

Nicholas E. Dobkin


Sensei

You may forgive me for spoiling something, but 10000 rabid fans would kill me. And anyways, I try to keep things free of spoilers.

I actually like the voices. They all seem to fit pretty well. Ok, I don't like ALL the voices, since I don't really like Cait Sith's voice, but I think it's supposed to sound annoying. It wouldn't sound right if he sounded cool. So yeah, I think they were dead on. I give the voice cast two thumbs up.

Thanks for the email!



 Sayonara

Another column finished, and it's late again. I'll admit that I actually shed a tear or two when my whole column was erased. I lost all ability to work after that. Hopefully, things shouldn't be late anymore. Im moving Japandemonium to Tuesdays now. That'll give me more time to finish. Thanks for bearing with me. I'm glad.

Catch you on the flip,


Jordan "For Lucky Best Wash!" Jackson




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