I can be an odd conversationalist at times. I won't deny that. When I was on the phone with my parents last Monday the topic managed to wander into the field of marine biology, something I've been finding very interesting lately. I even got them to google a picture of an anglerfish, though i had to wonder if we were looking at the same thing as there are a lot of varieties.
As luck would have it, that very afternoon the Kumamoto University diving club had an open-air photo gallery and fundraiser downtown, and among the postcards for sale I found a picture of the very fish I'd been thinking of that morning. This fish:
This is a small angler that can be found in and around the Sea of Japan. It's either the Painted Frogfish or a close relative. The first time I saw one of these was on a Japanese nature program, where I learned that the scholars of classical Kyoto had believed it to be a sort of frog that had adapted to salt water, and not a fish at all.
I can't really blame them for that, since this little thing's just plain odd in so many ways. Its front fins really contribute to its froggy image, as they're stubby and stiff, and appear to be jointed in the middle. When the frogfish is paddling through the water, close to the sea floor, it really looks like it's trying to crawl around. It has an esca, the little wiggly thing on the forehead that gives anglerfish their name. What they do when the prey is brought close, now that's the interesting part. This little guy can expand its mouth and stomach to catch and swallow fish that are as big as it is, or even a little bigger. The snap-and-trap is so fast that most other fish in the area won't even notice it happening, and scientists are still trying to figure out how such an action can be done faster than neurons can fire.
Seriously, why don't we see these things more often as RPG bosses? Ninokuni has one, though to be accurate it's more like an angler-shaped golem built out of flotsam and jetsam. It's still a great design.
If you couldn't guess from the header, but this is going to be a Super Robot Wars Z2 update. Specifically, it's about the new guys in town.
The story of SRW-Z2 plays off the "many worlds" aspect of the original Z's storyline, and presents its setting as just one of many alternate Earths created by the Great Time Rupture that happened 20 years before. This particular world is still caught in a political nightmare exacerbated by the chaos of the Rupture. Big nations jockey for power, small nations fight amongst themselves, resistance groups clash against established authority, and Earth and its space colonies find their relationship strained by constant arguments and terrorism.
And then the interdimensional space monsters start arriving.
That's where these guys come into play. Kuro Brust and his armor suit Blaster are part of the Earth's special forces unit. Kuro apparently joined the military to spite his father, who in turn cut him out of his will. He's a typical nihilistic loner, and should fit in pretty well with the large number of similar super-robot protagonists who have similar outlooks on life. The other character is Traia Scott. I'm still not sure what gender this character is, and the Dengeki article doesn't spell it out either. Traia and Kuro have a cat-and-dog relationship, which is unfortunate since blondie there is the lead researcher for the anti-monster weapons division as well as Blaster's designer.
Blaster's signature moves include "Crouch Sniper" and "ACP-55," and Kuro really seems to enjoy shouting "One shot kill!" a lot.
I know that this is no big news, but there are a heck of a lot of online RPGs out there. I see at least three updates related to them every week on Dengeki or Famitsu, and honestly they all tend to blend together after a while. Normally I don't bother talking about them, since they're most often 1) Korean-based, and 2) US-bound before I even notice they exist. Recently though there's been a move towards MMORPGs releasing handheld single-player versions. The most recent example of this is Red Stone DS.
I found out something interesting about Red Stone while I was researching this title. The game's eight major classes are actually two-in-one. Lancers can turn into Archers, Magicians can become Werewolves, and Necromancers can transform into Demons, just to give three examples. Here are a few pairs shown on Famitsu last month. Each pair is actually a single character within the game.
The DS port of Red Stone apparently has one character per class pair in the original game. The Necromancer is ironically named Angie, while the Magician/Werewolf is appropriately named Wolfram. The Princess/Witch character is Florence, while the Priest/Fallen Angel character is named Gale. These are the four for whom we have pictures of both forms, but the other four class pairs are also represented.
The article on Famitsu doesn't really talk about story, though it's to be expected that it will involve whatever the main plot of the MMORPG happens to be. The graphics appear to be more or less like the original game. I'm not sure if that's good or not, though.
Red Stone DS makes its handheld appearance on May 26th.
Last week we had a look at Lucky Star - Miko Miko Kagamin, an indie title from a very odd doujin group that combined characters from Lucky Star with the combat style of Muramasa: The Demon Blade. One of ChinchillaSoft's earlier works was a Clannad-based remake of Spelunker, for another oddball matchup. Late last year, they did it again.
This group's MO is simple. They take an anime series they like and pair it with a game style they adore. In this case, they've returned to Clannad and combined it with aspects of the Romancing SaGa series to produce Romancing Clannad, or RomaNado for short. From what I can tell, only some parts of the SaGa formula have come across into this title. Group formations are very important, and in fact I can recognize several that were used in Romancing SaGa 2, while the graphics remain fairly similar as well. The various characters from Clannad have been assigned adventurer classes, and each has his or her own preferred weapon and skillset, and there's no sign of the Glimmer System in use. They did include the running effect from RS2 and 3, though, where by running you severely reduce visibility and make it more likely to encounter monsters.
For some reason the game's own webpage lacks any screenshots, but it does have a link to a gameplay video. It actually looks pretty fun.
Up to now, all the media concerning the upcoming Queen's Gate Spiral Chaos has been about the new girls in town, many of them brought in from other franchises. Last Friday a new wave of media hit Dengeki's site, and it showed that seventeen ladies from Queen's Blade would also be coming back for more.
I won't bother with all the names. Anyone who's really that interested in the lineup will probably be able to identify them more readily than I could. As before, the cast runs the gamut from A to ZZ-cup. Yes, they do use all the letters of the alphabet for this group.
Of brief mention are the new outfits (most likely fetishy) and attacks, some of which seem to be in tandem with other characters. Now that we've mentioned it, it's time to move on.
Queen's Gate has shown itself to be all about the cameo characters, and this update is no different. So who is it this time?
First we have Lily, from the Tekken series.
Next we have Ivy, from Soul Calibur.
And then there's the mystery chick. Through the miracle of Photoshop her identity has been obscured. All that's known is that she hails from one of Bandai-Namco's many series. Anyone care to make a guess?
Remember what I said last week about it being nice and warm? Forget all that. The temperature went from 70 degrees last Friday to 35 degrees this morning. Seriously, Japan. What's going on? If I'd wanted yoyo weather like this, I'd have stayed in Oklahoma!