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Dengeki Rankings I Massive LostMagic Media Montage Discovered I Falcom Releasing Drama CD I North America Getting a Final Fantasy First I Summon Night Getting Crafty on the GBA I Tales of the Abyss Pre-Order Goodies I Beet Hitting the DS I Final Fantasy Voices I Culture Corner: Ask Sensei I Sayonara
JAPANDEMONIUM
Kumo October 11, 2005


Konnichiwa

Once again I sit in my chair with my computer resting on a pillow on my lap and begin writing my column. Now that I do my column on tuesdays, the rush to finish is gone, and I am much less stressed about the whole process as I try to finish on time. The only downside to it is that I seem to work more slowly and still end up rushed to finish. But now I am rushed to finish a little bit of the column, and before I was trying to finish a much larger portion. All in all, I feel that I will declare it good.

In gaming news, there was a mini-contest on the site by which a staffer would win a Dragon Quest VIII demo disk. This was run by our delightful PR Manager, Christopher Beaupre. Some of you may know him as Lord Klaxor, and his magic 20-sided die decided I should be the lucky one to get a taste of the goodness to come. After playing it, I am quite excited about the game. The dialogue is well dubbed, and it's actually localized instead of just translated. I think so many of us forget what goes into the localization process, and I believe this game will help to remind us. I'm not ashamed to admit that it made me giggle a few times. The game also presents a challenge that I've not seen in a long time. Regular monsters are a cinch, but bosses are another story. It promises to test the mettle of all that attempt to restore the cursed king to his former glory. I'm going to give it a solid recommendation to all that enjoyed the earlier games in the series and a strong recommendation to everyone else. It's worth checking out.

For the first time in a while, my intro is quite short. It is already time to explain the meaning of my update title. Believe it or not, picking a title is usually the hardest part of writing my column. Then I translate it, and in this case, there are two separate meanings for the word. Depending upon the kanji used, 'kumo' can mean 'spider' or 'cloud'. In spoken Japanese, the only way to distinguish the two is context in which it is used. I greatly prefer the fluffy kind, but right now Niihama has a LOT of spiders. They are everywhere, and some get as big as my hand. But that said, there are also some beautiful sunsets here, and those are made even better as the clouds change color with the sky. So I'm going to go with the notion that this column is named after the pretty white ones rather than the eight-legged ones that feed upon the insects that feed upon me.

That said, let's all gaze toward the sky and get this party started!



 Dengeki Rankings

Once again, the chart has an even smaller number of RPGs than the previous week. This was brought upon largely by the fact that no new faces showed up on the RPG front. Most titles shifted downward, but a few favorites that never go away managed to move up a bit. It means less work for me, but I'd like to see some new games on the chart. It gives me hope that more games will come to the US if they do well here. I am always in favor of more games coming to North America.

As for the top spot, Mario Bros. 20th Anniversary Edition, now leads the pack. In fact, the top three from last week are still there, but they've shifted a bit. I'm very surprised that Mario stuck it out to eventually become the best selling game this week. I never saw that coming, but I think it is indicative of slow sales all around if a game that is a port of a 20-year-old game sells better at least three weeks after its re-release than all other games on the shelves. Japan needs some big titles, but I think they're coming. We just have to be patient.

So let's see these easily coded numbers!

Position Title Publisher Platform
7 Super Robot Wars J Banpresto
12 Rhapsodia Konami
14 Mushiking: Battle of the Beetles Sega
23 Tales of Legendia Namco
25 Kingdom Hearts Final Mix (Ultimate Hits) Square Enix
28 Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness Nintendo
32 Final Fantasy X (Ultimate Hits) Square Enix
38 Pokémon Emerald Nintendo
39 Princess Crown Atlus
44 Gundam SEED Destiny Generation of C.E. Bandai


Source: Dengeki Online



 Massive LostMagic Media Montage Discovered
LostMagic

Those wondering what the main characters from the upcoming LostMagic have to wait no longer. The game looks more interesting with every update, and this one is a doozy. There is also a video on the official site that is yet another reason I'm buying this game as soon as it hits store shelves this winter.


Isaac Lightblood - The 14-year-old hero of the story that got separated from his parents when monsters began to run rampant through the world. He spends his time with his teacher, an old witch, learning magic to the best of his ability. He vows to become strong enough to find his parents, but while he is adult enough to take serious things in stride and not worry about things, he still has a tendency to fidget childishly.

Tristia Windel - The heroine of the story, she's a bright and cheery 16-year-old witch. She first meets Isaac when she's in the middle of a tough fight with some monsters. The two of them manage to find off the beasts, and Tristia decides to follow Isaac on his adventures. She acts somewhat like an older sister to Isaac, but she is also a little bit scatter-brained. She tends to think with her heart instead of with her head.

Leonard Davis - A 19-year-old wizard that comes and goes as he wishes, Leonard excels at using monsters in battle and teaches Isaac to do the same. But his reasons for doing so are unknown.

Hanna Arient - She is The Old Witch in the Woods, and she happens to be Isaac's teacher. Hanna found Isaac alone in the woods one day and took him under her wing. She tends to be a sweet old granny, but she can be very scary when angered.

Ge Olg - The Bearer of the Earth Rod, he is serious to a fault. Once a goal is in his mind, he'll work himself to the bone to attain it. He has a tendency to focus so much on the details that he forgets the bigger picture.

Russel Lightblood - Isaac's father is a strict man that has always sought peace and orderliness. He shoulders a heavy fate since he is parted from his son when the monsters begin causing problems.

Bobocratis Froidental - Bearer of the Water Rod, he is a lover of philosophy and long-winded discussions. That's probably the reason all his students run away before finishing their studies, so he's looking for a replacement student at the moment.

Kristevia Fanstream - Bearer of the Fire Rod, she's as volatile as the fire she manipulates. Of the seven Bearers, she has the greatest attack power and is feared as the most powerful of all magicians.

Seere Seidria - A fortune-teller that lives out in the desert, she can see the future, but due to her current depression, she can only see a future of total destruction.

Parakelsusu - A strange bird that has decided the top of Isaac's head is the perfect spot for a nest. Fortunately, he is capable of human speech.





























Sources: IT Media




 Falcom Releasing Drama CD
Falcom

Falcom has created a special Drama CD based on the Gagharv title Eiyuu Densetsu VI: Sora no Kiseki. The CD brings life to much of the story to the game by adding voices to most of the dialogue. It also includes scenes that lead fans into the upcoming sequel Sora no Kiseki: 2nd Chapter.

At this time, it is unsure whether the CD will see a standalone release, or if it will be included as a pre-order bonus for Sora no Kiseki: 2nd Chapter. Regardless, Falcom says that if the fan reaction is positive enough, they may produce a second or even third drama CD for the series.




 North America Getting a Final Fantasy First
Final Fantasy IV

In a move surprising many gamers, Square Enix is releasing Final Fantasy IV for the GBA in Japan two and a half days after it hits North American shelves when time zones are factored in. The game will be in stores near me on December 15. Currently, the price nor the details surrounding the GameBoy Micro faceplate have yet to be given. The game is set for a December 12 release on the other side of the world.

Source: IGN



 Summon Night Getting Crafty on the GBA
Summon Night Craftstory

Banpresto has announced Summon Night ~Craftsword~, the latest entry into the Summon Knight series. Unlike most new RPGs these days, this game is coming to the GBA, making it more accessible to Japanese players.

The plot revolves around a pair of sword-smith apprentices called Richie and Riffie. They are joined by a 100-year-old "tora-mata," which is something like a cat sprite, and Randoru, a living machine.

The gameplay will focus around real-time action battles and a weapon creation system that is similar to the Atelier games. Players will go on quests to find materials to forge better and better weapons, and the summoned monster battle system will show up as well.

For those that pre-order, there is a special "Premium Data Disc," but it is unknown what it will contain. Summon Night ~Craftsword~ will hit Japanese stores on December 8 for 5040 yen.



Sources: Famitsu



 Tales of the Abyss Pre-Order Goodies
Tales of the Abyss

Namco has just announced the pre-order goodies for those that secure their copy of Tales of the Abyss early. In celebration of the series turning 10 years old, pre-ordering gamers will receive a special DVD titled "Tales of Fandom." It includes an original Tales drama acted out by the voice actors that have had roles in previous games in the series. The goodies also include an illustration book and a worldbook.

Tales of the Abyss will be in stores near me on December 15 for 7140 yen. As of yet, there is no North American release announced.



Source: Game Watch



 Beet Hitting the DS
Bandai Namco

Fans of the popular manga series Beet the Vandal Buster that want to take it with them in RPG form will get their wish in the form of Beet DS. Players will become a "Buster," a type of monster hunter, and will go to "The House" to check out and accept quests. That's where the adventuring comes in, and by completing those adventures, the player gains money. Should the quest get too tough to take on alone, it is possible to create characters and assemble your own crack team of "Busters."

Sources: Famitsu



 Final Fantasy Voices
Square Enix

Square Enix just opened a website for an upcoming concert called Final Fantasy Voices. It will music from the Final Fantasy games composed by Nobuo Uematsu. At this point, it is only a teaser site, but it does say the concert will be in early spring. We'll have more details as they develop.




  Culture Corner: Ask Sensei

This week I finally found some good gashappon to send to those that won my sig pic contest I had a while back. I know that seems like ages ago, but thanks again to everyone that submitted a sig pic. I got some really great ones, and it was really hard to choose. I the end, I had to have Caroline help me pick the winners. So the two winners will be receiving their gasha in just over a week. Congratulations to you both.

That said, let's get to the letters!



First Winner


Hi Jordan! ^_^ I'm glad to hear from you! Don't worry I always feel super excited when I see you using my sig pic and that's the best reward ever :). I do love your column bunches it makes me all happy because I feel closer to to Japan and all the Japanese things I like (videogames, music, culture, ect) I just got my copy of DDR Extreme2 but I haven't had a chance to play it yet. I am however, playing a LOT of the arcade version of Extreme (all that we have here) so I've gotten pretty good considering how I was playing before. I'm trying to pass everything in heavy mode but so far I can only do up to 8 feet maybe some 9 songs or 10 feet slower songs like bag if its done in x5 speed lmao... hard song. In any case if you ever want to look at some interesting doll pics er... maybe your fiancée might like this. You can check out my LJ at www.livejournal.com/users/anayari_78 If she likes Japanese anime style things (Big eyed big headed style, these dolls have huge heads and eyes) or even you might even enjoy the pics of my dolls... I might do a bit of a Katamari Damacy cosplay with them dressed up for Halloween so u might enjoy that, well see... Also, have you played Shadow of the Colossus? I don't know if it's out in Japan but I am dying for it to come out this month, the demo left me drooling. Ico is one of my fav. Games EVER! Ok I know most of this isn't rpg related but I think you're pretty cool and like some of the same things I do L) Take care now I'll try to come up with some questions for the column that can be posted there rpg or Japan related ^_^ Take care! I hope u and yours are doing well!

OH and I know this is ages alter u placed it but I am living Nintendogs super cool game along with e love Katamari are my thing right now! What are you playing?

Ok bye for real now lmao!

Heartly_unangel ^_^


Sensei

Thanks yet again for making the awesome sig pic. I do my best to rotate between them. Sometimes I forget to change, but I really do love them both the same. The DDR one has a special place in my heart even if I'm not in DDR shape anymore. I can't do my 45 song workouts like I used to, and I struggle to do 9-footers like Healing Vision Angelic Mix. I shall have to remedy that when I get back. Extra DDR homework for me.

As for the livejournal, it was kind of interesting. You spend SO much effort into it. Dolls aren't really my thing, but I can appreciate how much you love what you're doing. I don't put NEARLY the effort into my Gundam models that I wish I did. I'd love to paint them and detail them to look nice, but I am unskilled in that regard. I enjoy the building the most, so I'm content just to build them and display them around my bed. So keep doing what you do and have fun with it. That's the most important part. I also say go for the Katamari cosplay. Sounds like fun.

I have never played Shadow of the Colossus nor Ico. I play so many games that I don't have time for games that look interesting sometimes. Most staffers only play RPGs, but I frequently play everything from fighters to music games. Currently, I'm playing the English We <3 Katamari and Super Smash Bros. Melee. I alternate between the two. I don't know what got me on the Smash kick, but I'm not complaining. I'm getting better at it.

Thanks for writing. I'll send your gasha to you soon. I hope you like it.


Second Winner

Sure you didn't have to send it but thanks : )

thanks again lol and btw what is a gasha!~! I think of Geisha, and a tea cerremonial lady with full make up isnt probably what it is lol!

Sean Cassera


Sensei

Gashappon are little bubble 'toys' that you get from little vending machines in Japan. They are similar to the gumballs and cheap toys you get for a quarter in America, but in Japan, they cost anywhere from one to three dollars. They are also a LOT cooler and made better. Many people collect them, and I have a sizable collection right now. I tend to get Eva or Gundam ones. But I sometimes pick up a gasha when I have 200 yen to spare and see a nice one.

Thanks again for sending in the sig pic. Oddly enough, yours was the only Gundam-themed one I got. And you picked a good one. I love the Zeta. Happy reading!


D'oh

Jordan,

Thanks for answering my mail on your column, but probably because of your enthusiasm of me asking about "Catch you on the flip"-thingie, you didn't answer my first question about how far Japanese go with their collecting. Would you care answering that question?

You don't really watch TV, me neither, but maybe it's worth to watch one of those wacky game shows I've heard about. I guess if you can download pretty much all anime and J-Drama TV you're not missing a lot, don't you?

Well, I guess that's. This is actually fun getting my mails posted on your column, as I never really got much through on other sites *cough-thegia-cough*. I might as well take advantage of it!

Thanks,

Douggie

PS. You didn't have to show the last sentence, as it's just my ol' signature!

PS.2 Where did the mini-Japanese lessons go? Actually, for those interested there's a great Japanese grammar guide, which is interesting to read, even if you don't know Japanese, called "Japanese for the Western Brain" at http://www.mindspring.com/~kimall/Japanese, but it seems down at the moment.

"We all know that birds fly, but now can you tell me where they are actually flying to??"


Sensei

You know, I REALLY meant to answer that question. I had something in my mind as I was typing. To be honest, that is what happens when I answer my email after three in the morning.

So to finally answer your question, I think most Japanese people collect things. This country made for the "gotta catch 'em all" mentality whether it is gashappon, your favorite pop idol's CDs, merchandise with a mascot on it, Mushiking cards (they're what you use to play the Mushiking arcade game), or anything else. The strange thing is that Japanese people have much less room to store all their collected things. But in the end, I think they're not that different than Americans. We tend to collect a lot of stuff too. I just think in some cases, we have to work harder for it by going to a larger variety of specialty shops than the Japanese do.

As for me, I have a small collection of gashappon, a plushie collection, and a sizable collection of plastic models from Gundam and Zoids.

Sorry I missed that part of your question the last time. As for your P.S, if I didn't put the signature, it wouldn't make the P.S. make any sense, now would it? And the Mini-Japanese lessons will be back eventually. The hardest part is coming up with a sentence to translate. I really don't know what people want to learn. In the beginning, I was hoping people would send in a letter saying 'How do you say THIS in Japanese?' or something. If people give me some ideas of what they want to know, it'd make making them a lot easier.

Thanks for the email and the link!


Best for last *sparkle* *sparkle*

Hello, Sensei. Before my question, I just want to say two things. Firstly is a humble 'Domo Arigato Gozaimasu' for answering my questions in the past - you were a huge help! The second is a warning. That's right. I'd better not find out you've been skipping out on your sparkling duties (now you remember me... the one with good math skills...)! Maybe I'll send your fiancée a paper-fan and a click-trainer to keep you in line...

As for my question... What are the rules on 'translating' a name into Japanese? For example, I would someday like to go to Japan with a friend of mine by the name of Christie. Are there unspoken rules on how to introduce someone with a name difficult to the Japanese tongue? Or do you just say it with its native accent and cruelly leave them to practice until they either get it right or come up with a nickname? Thank you so much for your help!

Just one sparkle for us? Please?

Kyrie


Sensei

How could I forget one of my most favorite letters of all time? I still smile about that sometimes. As for keeping me in line, I don't think even Caroline can do that. I might even be beyond her reach. You might try sending the fan and click-trainer though; she'd probably like them.

Translating a name isn't actually THAT hard. It's generally going to sound a lot like the English name. "Jordan" is pronounced "Jyoudan" in Japanese, and that honestly sounds a lot like the original. In the case of your friend, she'd probably be "Kurisuti." Some things to keep in mind is that any of the sounds with a 'u' in them are generally pretty short. So what you'll effectively end up with is something that will sound like "kristee." If you want kanji for that name, it's harder. I was REALLY lucky to find good kanji for my last name, Jackson, and I think EVERY Japanese thinks of the kanji for 'joke' when they hear my name.

Glad I was able to help last time. And ONE sparkle? Heck, I'll give you three. *sparkle* *sparkle* *sparkle* Anything for a fan.



 Sayonara

So I sit here on Wednesday morning finishing my column again. I have a whole day's worth of extra time, yet I always finish at the last second. At least this time I had the good sense to go to bed and get some sleep. Sometimes I try to stay up all night and work on it. That leads to some pretty big mistakes like forgetting to answer questions. I'll do my best to make sure I keep posting good columns. That said, if people have suggestions for games to cover or ideas for the Japanese lessons, send them on in. This column is more for the readers than it is for me.

Catch you on the flip,


Jordan "You know, fingerprints are just like snowflakes. They're both very pretty." Jackson




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