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JAPANDEMONIUM
 
fumizuki no juusannichi
Teiden
Konnichiwa!

Earlier this week it looked as if the rainy season were finally over. It was beautiful outside. The skies were clear, the sun was shining, and the mercury was rising. Summer was about to kick into high gear, which is why the week before, the prefectural governments of Kyushu sent out informative papers to every resident on the subject of electrical usage in the home. By and far the biggest drain on energy during the summer is from air conditioning (almost sixty percent, according to what I was sent), and the government is again promoting the "Cool Biz" philosophy to get people to keep their hands off the thermostat.

But on top of that, there are the rolling blackouts.

Kyushu was pretty lucky until now. The KyuDen electrical utility company was able to keep the island from experiencing the same rolling blackout programs that more easternly portions of the country had been experiencing since all of Japan's nuclear power plants were shut down for rigorous inspection and maintenance following the disaster of 2011. With the onset of summer and its spike in air conditioning use, that's just no longer possible. The entire island has been divvied into A sectors and B sectors, with a fairly simple schedule set up to determine when and where the lights will go out between 8 AM and 9 PM.

Fortunately for me, there are a few more factors involved. Areas whose power usage lies below a certain threshold are currently exempt from the blackouts, which is why I haven't had to come up with interesting lighting schemes for a few classes in the past two weeks. In fact, the only inconvenience I've had with it so far is that one day I wasn't able to get a drink out of a vending machine because that area had just had the power turned off. So, nothing for me to complain about.

We do still wonder why and how the pachinko parlors can stay open regardless of the time of day, however. If ever there were a waste of energy on this island....

Apparently Atlus isn't finished milking the Persona cash cow. The anime version of Persona 4 finished up in March, and now the company has this on the horizon.


This is what you get if you click on this link. There's not much information to be had other than the fact that it is coming. While it may look like there's a typical Atlus countdown timer there, the numbers just show the local time.

I do hope this comes to a theater near me sometime soon.

Source: Famitsu Online

Nippon Ichi is up to something. We just don't know what, exactly. This title just appeared on the main Famitsu site yesterday afternoon.

Kami to Unmei Kakumei no Paradox (The Paradox of God and the Fated Revolution) is the name of Nippon Ichi's latest endeavor, but we do not as yet know just what sort of game it will be. Logic and history predict that it's another RPG, but it definitely feels more serious than the majority of the stuff NIS produces. What do we know? First, that the character designs are by someone named Noiji Itou. Second, that the theme song is done by Yosei Teikoku. Third, an examination of the source code on the game's homepage suggests that it will be a Vita title (Thanks, Macstorm!). Fourth, the main character's name is Renya Kagurasaka, God of Choices. The heroine's name is Liriel Saotome, an angel. The third character, Mizayel Saienji, is described as a former angel. Fifth, we can assume from the overall tenor of the video that there's a religious angle to the whole thing. In fact, the title may be a reference to the philosophical paradox of free will, which would definitely make for an interesting game plot premise if handled well.

We shall just have to wait till next week. Knowing NIS, once the media starts flowing there will be no stopping the deluge.

Source: Famitsu Online

For some reason, Famitsu Online gave a double edition of games rankings last week, so this week we have a triple-header. My apologies if this stretches the web page a bit.

7/02 ~ 7/09 6/25 ~ 7/01 6/18 ~ 6/24 Up / Down Title Publisher Platform
1 1 1 New Arrival! Pokémon Black 2 / White 2 The Pokémon Co.
2 * * New Arrival! Etrian Odyssey IV Atlus
3 * * New Arrival! Little Battlers BAKU BOOST Level-5
6 5 5 2 Dragon Quest Monsters: Terry's Wonderland 3D Square Enix
9 4 * New Arrival! Culdcept Nintendo
11 2 * New Arrival! Atelier Ayesha - Alchemist of the Ground of Dusk Gust
16 13 5 1 Persona 4: The Golden Atlus
18 20 13 12 Monster Hunter Portable 3G Capcom
Off-list 10 * New Arrival! .hack//Beyond the World +Versus Hybrid Pack Bandai-Namco
Off-list 22 10 7 Dragon's Dogma Capcom

Looking up at that sales list, several things jump out at me and scream "What's that?" That usually means I have some catching up to do newswise. In fact, most of this week's column consists solely of that. The first order of business is that .hack item that blipped on and off the list in just a week. From CyberConnect's homepage, we get this video.

This is a dual-use Blu-ray DVD. On the one hand, when used in a regular Blu-ray player it shows .hack//Beyond the World, but when put in a PS3, it can also be used to play .hack//Versus, the fighting title based on the series.

Ai-yah! I need to start paying better attention. I'm annoyed that I missed something like this.

Source: Famitsu Online

I admit that I'm not sure what to make of the Culdcept games. They self-identify as board games, but possess some RPG mechanics and a rudimentary story. Still, the latest game for the 3DS didn't set off my gaming radar at all until after its release in mid-June. We cover two other games in the series, though. I might as well show you all what it looks like.







Culdcept is based on the Japanese sugoroku style of boardgames. Originally the term only referred to a backgammon-like game, but the meaning has expanded to include any board game where the player moves pieces along a particular route, like Monopoly or The Game of Life. For a better idea of how this works, feel free to read the preview for the last Culdcept title to come to the US. Not much seems to be changed except for some updated cards and tweaked rules. Presumably there's a new story as well, not that that seems to be a priority for this series.








Source: Dengeki Online

Level-5 sure knows how to run with a good title. Not to mention having guts. Most companies wouldn't try to sell us a game three times in a row like this.





The Little Battlers was first released on the PSP just over a year ago, in June of 2011. By November, an updated version called Little Battlers BOOST was available, again for the PSP. Now, about seven months later, yet another version of the game has just hit the shelves. Little Battlers BAKU BOOST (the "baku" means explosion) is apparently another tweaked and updated version of the game, only this time it's for the 3DS. I suppose that's enough of a change to warrant a new release.







The basic premise is the same. The player buys miniature mecha model kits (LBX), assembles the robots therein, and then uses them to fight other LBX combatants in diorama-like battlefields, on tabletops, or wherever else the story requires. The main changes in this version seem to lie in the competitive modes outside of the story, as three-LBX teamups are now possible for ranking battles or boss fights. Also, the full range of LBX models (and their modular add-ons) has been updated to match what's currently available in the anime series version.




The company does promise that the next Little Battlers game will be a continuation, at least. Little Battlers W is set to come out for PSP and Vita next September.

Source: Famitsu Online
Title Publisher Release Date Platform
Dissidia Duodecim Final Fantasy (Ultimate Hits) Square Enix 7.5.12
Final Fantasy IV Complete (Ultimate Hits) Square Enix 7.5.12
Patapon 3 (PSP The Best) SCE 7.5.12
Etrian Odyssey IV Atlus 7.5.12
Little Battlers Explosive Boost Level-5 7.5.12
Taikou Risshiden IV PSP (Koei-Tecmo Select) Koei-Tecmo 7.12.12
Ni no Kuni - Wrath of the White Witch (All-in-One Edition) Level-5 7.19.12
New Class of Heroes - School of Time Acquire 7.19.12
Monster Portable 2nd G (PSP The Best) Capcom 7.19.12
Record of the Agarest War - Mariage Compile Heart 7.19.12
Rune Factory 4 Marvelous AQL 7.19.12
Persona 4 - Ultimate in Mayonaka Arena Atlus 7.26.12
Nayuta no Kiseki Falcom 7.26.12
Source: Dengeki Online
Long Time, No Mail!

Hello.

First things first, do not think I ever thanked you for answering my email from like an year ago, really do appreciate it! Was very non-game related, haha.

Gaijin

You're welcome! Any sort of letter is fine, really. Well, except for the overly explicit ones, but I've only ever gotten one of those...

Rain season kicking in at full blast? Wish I knew it was rain reason or I wouldn't have went on vacation for 3 weeks in the region. My flight cancelled to Okinawa because of the typhoon and when I did get there the next day, pretty much washed out by floods of water and wind for the 3 days I was there. Thankfully Tokyo was clear skies for a week before the rain hit again.

Gaijin

When I got this email, I was going to say that it looked like rainy season was finally over. We had three full days of sun and relative dryness. Then the torrential rains hit Wednesday evening, full-on sturm-und-drang mode. The flooding's been pretty bad in some areas.

Enough about me! On to my question. With Dragon Quest X coming out soon in August. Curious what are your thoughts and people locally with the game going into the MMORPG industry? Saw many ad posters and the trailer video, some worker at bic camera yelled at me when I tried taking video/pictures in store, hehe.

Gaijin

Well, I haven't plumbed the depths of public opinion as such, but the handful of blogs I've read detailing the beta testing phase for Dragon Quest X all sounded very positive about the experience.

Is MMORPGs really as big and widespread like the rest of Asia? Personally I am big into MMORPGs since early 2000s and only game I found a large JP presence has only been FFXI Online. As a big fan of the series, I fear a big flop like FFXIV Online. I know people in the country are crazy for DQ but makes me concerned on the future of the series.

Gaijin

I see material for new MMORPGs pretty much every day over here, but I'm never sure where most of them are coming from. The majority are probably Korean in origin. There are a few that are based on major Japanese game series, like Uncharted Waters Online, .hack//frägment (discontinued), Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine, or Monster Hunter Frontier. There's also Fantasy Earth Zero, which was a Square Enix title before it got dropped and picked up again by a F2P online game company. Still others, like Emil Chronicle Online are Korea-published but Japan-developed. There seems to be a lot of international development going on in the industry, that's for sure.

Already miss all the foods! However, USD/CAD take quite a hit converting to JPY...

Best regards,

KenZS

Gaijin

Ah yes, the exchange rate. I'm waiting till I feel financially sound before I start transferring money back home, but when I do I hope to make a good deal off the exchange rate going the other way, hehe.

As always, thanks for writing in!

Y'know, there's no telling what the weather is going to be like these days. The sheer force of precipitation over here has been crazy these past few days. So I'm getting the heck out of Dodge this weekend, and seeing what the northern end of the island is like. See you all next week.

And that's the news from Hi-no-Kuni,

Your man in Japan,

Gaijin Monogatari

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