kikuzuki no juuyonnichi
Doki-Doki, Waku-Waku

The Japanese language has a large assortment of words that look like they've been doubled. Very often these are used adverbially or with the all-purpose verb suru ("to do") to make an action. Sometimes they have kanji that are usually ignored in favor of katakana spellings. The two we're looking at today are doki-doki and waku-waku.

The main reason to put these two together is that they essentially mean the same thing when translated into English: excited. Doki-doki is meant to be an onomatopoeia for the sound of a rapidly beating heart. It can be used for any sort of heart-pounding experience, and not always a good one either. It can be the excitement of thrills and scares just as often. Waku-waku, on the other hand, means "to tremble or be nervous," and often denotes a sense of growing expectation or awe that builds into excitement over something. Kumamoto City hit a big urban development phase a few years back, and a lot of the promotional material seen around town for the new improvements calls Kumamoto the waku-waku toshi or "exciting city."

Six days left till the Tokyo Game Show. I'm feeling kind of waku-waku and doki-doki myself over here.

While cleaning out my backlog of random stuff, I happened upon this little title. It had had a nice intro article on the Japanese site Windows Forest, and I bookmarked it because good information on indie games has been hard to come by as of late.

KonekutoNeibaa (possibly "Connect Neighbor," though I have no evidence to support this) is a side-scrolling action RPG with a slightly younger audience in mind. The protagonist is Hiroto Sasegawa, a 6th grade student in a peaceful town in Japan. Five years ago, a strange light burst out of the clock tower in the center of town, which somehow brought a halt to weather-related disasters around the globe. Now, a group calling itself Destroyer is trying to bring about a new time of disasters. For reasons unknown, Hiroto has been granted the ability to transform into a hero in order to fight Destroyer's minions. This seems to be a regular thing, as the previous hero, codenamed Helix, frequently shows up to lend a hand as well.

The game boasts a wide variety of tricks that can be unlocked on a skills board in the menu. These include different elemental attacks, energy drains, physical trickery, and powerful special attacks to use on bosses.

Anyone wishing to brave the wilds of Japanese indie gaming can find this game here. It works on Windows XP, Vista, or Windows 7 machines.

Source: Windows Forest
9/03 ~ 9/09 8/27 ~ 9/02 Up / Down Title Publisher Platform
2 * New Arrival! Lost Heroes Bandai-Namco
4 9 Last seen at 3 Pokémon Black 2 / White 2 The Pokémon Co.
6 * New Arrival! Lost Heroes Bandai-Namco
7 2 New Arrival! Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers Atlus
10 11 Last seen at 4 Dragon Quest X Square Enix
16 6 New Arrival! Gundam AGE Universal Accel / Cosmic Drive Bandai-Namco
19 18 Last seen at 10 Monster Hunter Portable 3G Capcom
23 5 New Arrival! Hyperdimension Neptunia V Compile Heart
28 26 Last seen at 17 Little Battlers BAKU BOOST Level-5
Off-list 28 Last seen at 16 Persona 4: The Ultimate in Mayonaka Tournament Atlus

I've been a fan of RacJin for a while, partly with the hopes that those guys get permission to continue with their SaGa series remakes. They've been keeping busy with other stuff as well, though. There's this little title, for example.

Sengoku Puzzle: Animal Daigassen looks like what you might get by sending a few Nobunaga, Pokémon, and Puzzle Quest titles through a blender. It uses a standard Sengoku period backdrop populated by cutesy anthropomorphic animal samurai who can be upgraded as they gain levels. The interface looks a lot like a Bejeweled clone, but the player can manipulate attacks via the overall shape of the matched symbols. At least I think that's what's happening. There's a video on Youtube, but it looks pretty amateurish.

Skip to around the 0:55 mark for actual gameplay. Most everything before that is just starting up the game and choosing a scenario. It looks like a decent time-waster. I'm still waiting for that Romancing SaGa 2 remake to miraculously appear, though.

Source: Famitsu Online

I swear, every time I click on a link for Project X Zone I find more characters and more games that I've never heard of. Case in point:

We have some more characters to add to the good guys list. These four are referred to as allied solo units, so they may only have a limited appearance or usefulness in the actual game. There's Batsu, one of several rowdy high schoolers from the Rival Schools / Project Justice fighting games, followed by Vashyron from Resonance of Fate. The older girl is Alisa Bosconovich from Tekken 6, whose design came about mainly because someone on the Tekken staff wanted a character with chainsaw arms. The younger girl is either Neneko or Neito, from a series called Yumeria. Neneko is the owner of the body, while Neito is the subject of some retrograde reincarnation who's come along for the ride.

A game like this is no fun without rivals, though. From Street Fighter we get Juli, an assassin working for M. Bison's organization. The devs are apparently using the SFIV storyline as the basis for any character appearances as the next character over is Seth, the main boss of that title. From the Darkstalkers series, Jeda makes his usual bloody appearance as well.

Reimsianne is the fairy queen in Shining Force EXA and a deadly shot with her various magic spells. She is still after the Shining Force, even in this game. The bat-winged lady wearing barely anything is Ayame, a villainess from the original Sakura Taisen. For some reason, she seems to have her own army of faux Xenomorphs. And from the .hack series, Skeith has come to data-drain us all.

And finally there's the big guy, the main man from Tekken, Heihachi Mishima in all his pointy-haired glory. He's definitely looking younger, though.

There's less than a month to go before this is released. I wonder just what will show up next.

Source: Famitsu Online

I finished Atelier Ayesha almost two months ago, but Gust has been tempting me back to its latest title with a nice variety of downloadable content. This stuff has been appearing regularly over the past month and a half.

The first item to show is a new area open to exploration. Hidden deep within the Altugle family's herb garden is a gate to a secret garden that does not quite seem to fit within the bounds of Euclidean geometry. All manner of rare items and dangerous monsters lurk within.

The main game has six characters who join forces with Ayesha, but one of them only becomes available late in the game, and another can't come along until after the primary boss of the game has been defeated. This next round of DLC allows two more characters, Marion and Odileia, to join in the adventure. They're both major characters in the game's plot, but rather married to their jobs. It's nice to see them get out of that stuffy office and library.

And of course there are the completely cosmetic DLC items, namely swimsuits. Ayesha looks adorable, but I have to wonder just how they got the ever-utilitarian Rinka into an outfit like that.

I'll probably be getting the new area (150 yen) and the new teammate DLC packs (350 yen each) eventually, but I might pass on the swimsuits (300 yen each). They'd be good for a laugh, but probably not much more than that.

Source: Dengeki Online

Is everybody ready for the flood of news out of the Tokyo Game Show next week? I hope I am, since I'm going to be in the thick of it all. If I have the time (not to mention the letters), I'd like to do a Culture Corner standalone sometime next week. If anyone wants to ask questions about what it's like in Tokyo or at TGS, be sure to write in!

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

Your man in Japan,

Gaijin Monogatari

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