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miyu no RPG KORUMU
miyu - December 16 '99- 4:12 Eastern Standard Time

Interesting...very interesting. I got lots of opinions on the various Final Fantasy systems, and which ones are the best, plus thanks to all the people who wrote in offering their opinion on the anime in the column recently. It was definitely the best round of letters I've gotten yet. And with that said, let's mosey!

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Karekano is great! Just wait until next year, it's been picked up! :D
ANIMEGamer we are not, but...
Hi there-

In response to your open request for suggestions about whether or not anime should be in your column, I have to say, leave it out, please. I am an otaku of 7 years, and Japanese pop culture is my first love, but I've mentioned this to the other RPG Q&A columnists - your job is to answer RPG questions. There are online anime magazines that *have* Q&A columns with people who are paid to know what they know. They are experts. You're supposed to be someone who can answer RPG questions. I wouldn't want someone to get misinformation or anything from this site. Leave the anime to the people who are actualy focused *on* anime and stick to your guns, RPGs. Gaming and Anime are NOT the same thing, as many people seem to get this fact confused. Merely because one plays RPGs with manga style character designs does NOT make them an otaku or even an anime fan. While yes, your knowledge of the topic is obvious, again, if you want to answer anime questions, try and get a job doing Q&A on an *Anime* site. Please.

-Irritated Otaku
Today I read Steve's letter about how he didn't like how much anime there is on the column and would prefer it to just be an RPG column. I couldn't disagree more. It may seem strange, but I believe RPGs and anime are very closely tied as far as the fans go. RPGs and anime are aimed at the same audience. People that like a good story and usually like something that challenges their mind, makes them think, or is just entertaining on an intelligent level. It seems like it is a real stretch of the imagination that two such different things could be connected simply because they cater to people with intelligence. But it is true. Many RPG fans that I talk to usually mention at some point in the conversation that they are massive anime fans. So really, this column is giving quite a lot of people a column based on two of the things they like best in all forms of entertainment, that being anime and RPGs. Also, the two are merging more and more often, with the PlayStation's standard CGI FMV being replaced with anime FMV. And many RPGs, including some of many people's old favorites, have a distinct anime style and can, in some way, be connected to anime. For example, the fact that Akira Toriyama of "Dragon Ball" fame did the character designs for Chrono Trigger. So I think anime and RPGs really belong together, and this column caters to both fans of RPGs and fans of both RPGs and anime really well. Garrett Fitzgerald ^_^

Well, these are two of the for and against letters I received on the anime topic. While I can certainly see some of the Irritated Otaku's points, in light of all the letters I received today, I think I'm going to continue answering the questions that people send me. I certainly wouldn't give someone an answer to a question if I wasn't sure of the answer, so I don't think I'll be misinforming anyone, and I and apparently many other people enjoy a spice of anime in our RPG column. This isn't the most formal part of RPGamer's site, and I'm not making up these letters as an excuse to talk about anime or anything. I do try to keep the anime content down since RPGamer isn't an anime site per se, but as Garrett says, RPGs and Anime are targeted at very similar groups of people, so there is bound to be a lot of overlap.

I write this column because I like interacting with other people who have similar interests to me, and because those people send me anime-related letters, I will continue to answer them. Most of the letters I got said that I should try and keep a good balance, and that I was doing a good job so far, so unless I get an overwhelming negative response tomorrow, things are going to stay about the same. Long live the anime-RPG relationship!

Gee, RPGs sure have nice messages!
Okay here's the idea.....I was reading your column and noticed someone commenting on morals in RPGs. Well I can't just leave that topic alone, so I'm gonna spout some of the morals I've noticed in various games.
In Final Fantasy 1, the moral as I understand it is the dependance of people on power and the consequences of the loss of that power ( which is also the plot of Legend of Legaia)
In Final Fantasy 3, the moral looks to be use the gifts given to you, even if they seem insignificant ( ah words to live by)
In Final Fantasy 4, the moral is the power to choose our own path in life is the most important power of all.
In Final Fantasy 6, the moral is the consequences of the abuse of useful power.
In Final Fantasy 7, the moral is to respect life on Earth, because you never know what will happen tomorrow.
In Final Fantasy 8, the moral seems to be that good and evil don't exist, it all depends on our perception of an action.
Enough of me babbling. Thats enough life lessons for now.
David Boudreau

Well, I was saying that RPGs can make you think about life, and here are some good examples. These somewhat trite sentences don't make you think about life themselves, but if you play through the games themselves, you can really find out more about what you yourself believe. I believe that people who read books, play RPGs, or watch anime with substance can really learn a lot more about life than those who do not, because there is only so much you can realistically experience in your life, and you can live vicariously through these things to expand your frame of reference.

Those last two letters should fill our serious quota for the day...
I don't get something. Why does it seem now for it to be a BAD thing to hate Saga Frontier and to be different and like it is cool? NO. Ok so maybe i don't up and say it sucks but come on people. You don't have to be different. Saga Frontier was just bad. On another note....J-Pop. Hmmmm... i always loosely defined it as Japanese music that's mainly used in anime....guess i was wrong but one thing should be pointed out about it. NEVER listen to it in english. Ohhhhh......why does it sound so BAD when translated to english WHY!? -Ross Levine

Funnily enough, I've gotten about 30 letters praising SaGa Frontier's merits and its attempt at something different in the RPG world, and only 2 saying that it's the most horrible game they've ever played. It really raises my faith in the RPG fandom. We don't think the game was bad, we thought it was interesting and fun, with flaws like most games have. You can't really say that we're just jumping on the bandwagon, either, because each and every letter has reasons for why they like different aspects of the game. I never hear people say "SGF rox" without any reason to back it up, but I've heard plenty of "SF sux. period." from detractors. Besides, *I'm* the Q&A guy, so while I'm doing the column, it's officially cool to like SaGa Frontier. Nyah, nyah.

Actually, your definition of J-Pop is pretty wrong. J-Pop is really the music that's *not* used in anime. It has a different quality to it than the songs that are used in anime. I've listened to a ton of both, and the difference really is there. J-Pop in English is usually pretty bad though. A good example of this is the old Lunar: SSS theme song. It's pretty good in Japanese, but HORRIBLE in English. If you don't believe me, just listen to them. ^_^

hahaha! it's an anime letter!
Princess Mononoke grossed the second-highest EVER in Japan (under Titanic). However, when Miramax opened it in LA, NY and Minneapolis-St. Paul, and it flopped in Minnesota, they didn't commit. BUT, since they did bring it out, we might get it on VHS/DVD. Princess Mononoke, by the way, means "Princess of the Beasts."

Well, since we've been talking a lot about Princess Mononoke, I just thought I'd say a couple more things about it. For one, the primary reason the movie grossed so much in Japan was that it was hyped up so much. Ghibli seriously spent a ton of money promoting the movie, trying to make it *the* movie for families to go see, and they succeeded. It's not necessarily the best anime movie ever made because of that, just to get false impressions cleared up.

As for the title, translating from Japanese to English is really non-literal, so it could be translated many different ways. "Mononoke" really does mean ghost or supernatural being, but Princess of the Beasts is still a valid translation because in the movie the beasts really are spirits too. The heroine is the princess of those spirits, so technically either way the translation is correct. And while we're on the topic, everyone who likes anime should go see it, if for no other reason than it is kind of the quintessential anime to see. Even if you don't like it, it will be informative. :)

Where *is* the action at?
I read in the column the other day that you don't actually play many of the Action/RPGs. I do . The trouble is, I don't keep up enough with the gaming news to know what Action/RPGs are out for the playstation. I know Alundra and Musashi, but any others that you know of?


I may not play many A-RPGs, but I really enjoyed playing Musashi, and a new A-RPG from Square is coming out sometime next year, Dew Prism. It looks to be a much-improved game, with Square actually learning from their mistakes and building upon their strengths. If you're a fan of Musashi, I definitely recommend this game. And of course, Crystalis is being re-released on the Game Boy Color early next year I believe, along with Alundra 2 for the PSX. So A-RPG fans should have a good year ahead of them!

Gahhh...I'm not dead, but don't heal me!
Hi again Miyu,

To Seth, who said you cannot heal dead characters in SaGa Frontier in battle; of course you can! As long as that character has at least 1 Life Point left, just use a Cure or Repair Kit on them and *voila!*, they are ready to open the 10-gallon tub of whoop-you-know-what on the enemies. As for healing items, just equip your character with the most endurance with the Backpack item and you can use any item from your inventory! 3rdly, here are all the healing spells in the game: Mind Heal (Mind), Starlight Heal (Light), Power Grab (Shadow; steals enemy's HP), Vitality Rune (Rune; enables auto-cure every turn), Light Shift (Space; enables auto-cure every turn in sunlight), and Dark Shift (Space; enables auto-cure every turn).

-MagusAkaAlex, otaku and RPG player extraordinare

Well, about 20 people wrote in telling me how to heal people in SaGa Frontier, proving that I really should write these things earlier than 5 in the morning. Of course, the system is a real departure from the standard RPG, so it's logical that I would forget something like that...yeah, that's it! The more I think about it though, the more I like this way. Both systems have their merits, but it's more sensical than the regular "Oh they're not dead, they're *wounded*"
"So why can't I just cure them"
"Uhh, I dunno, just play the game!"
system of most other RPGs. Don't you think?

I'll kompress you!
Dear Sir,
Are Ultimecia's motives in Final Fantasy 8 ever explored or explained within the game. Did I miss why this witch from the future suddenly decides that she wants to compress time. Or did I miss yet another vital plot point in this utterly horrible game. Thank you.

Well! I think you fell asleep or something, because I think Ultimecia's motives were gone over quite plainly in the course of the game. I believe they were something like that she wasn't satisfied with control over the world, she wanted control over all of the universe, at every point in time, so with time kompression, she could be everywhen at once and be master of everything. Come on, she's not any more insane than Kefka, so you can't complain. :P

So, in conclusion, falling asleep during gameplay greatly decreases your enjoyment of games. Caffeine is your friend.

Ghibli and SGF2...not related though :P
Hey Miyuski,
I bought Mononoke Hime on video when I went to Japan in 98. It's the best anime I've ever seen and the story is simple enough to grasp, even if you don't know the language. Do you know of any other Studio Ghibli animes that were released in America?

I don't know much about the first Saga Frontier, but how do you feel about Saga Frontier II taking the Suikoden battle approach by having group, individual, and army battles? I think it's going to be great because the combat system is most important to me in an RPG. Thanks!

Kaeru no Ehon

My Neighbor Totoro was released by Fox Video a couple years ago, and Kiki's Delivery Service was released by Disney not too far back, both good movies from what I've heard. Disney also has the rights to the rest of Miyazaki's films, although they haven't decided what to do with them yet. I think a theatrical release is looking unlikely at this point, but you never know....

SaGa Frontier II has me really excited. I'm hoping that the combat systems turn out really great, but it's hard to tell without having actually played the game, so we'll just have to wait! The eternal fate of an American RPG player. Wait, wait, wait.

Final Fantasy System Showdown
I just wanted to say that I agree totally that FF4 had the best class system. I liked it best when each character in the party had his own specific function. They just seemed more unique that way.

Barry Dancer
hey miyu,

Just wanted to put my two cents in but i happen to think the best class/system was in the first Final Fantasy. Yes i am old enough to remember getting that brand new game for my NES and sitting down and playing it almost solidly for like a month till I beat the whole damn thing darnint and after following the series through all its incarnations i have decided that the system where you picked your party and where stuck with it was kinda cool. Made it seem more like a true pen and paper RPG (maybe thats why they dont use it anymore?) Besides we all know that the blue belt/Master was the best FF char ever!!


Well, I received quite a few letters on the different Final Fantasy systems, most of them promoting different games. All of the systems have their ups and downs, but after reading all of the letters, I have to say that FF1 and FF4 are definitely my favorites, for exactly the reasons stated above. It really bugs me that you can just mold your characters into anything at any point in the game in all the other Final Fantasies, and it really does make the characters more unique. With definite classes the characters in FF4 had both personalities and their own special role in your party, and I think that's one of the things I really liked about the game.

Jasc the RPG! Part III!
oh my there is only one screenshot today but wow this is unusual! the first minigame cameo in RPG history! it is rumored that if you find the secret video game console item in Jasc the RPG you can play this popular minigame from another RPG whose name is not important! here is the screenshot!

I'm powerful!

Yikes, Jasc the RPG seems to have many cameos from famous RPGs! That is sure to make it a hit! Surely you'll be able to raise your own Squall and feed him lots of strawberries! Yum!


Xenogears sucks like Dragonball Z!

At least XG is just boring sometimes, you can still look at the pretty pictures!

How the heck can they say that FF8 is the most romantic game??The Romance Factor in that game is 0/10. Xenogears has to be the most romantic game of all time. Hell even Crash Bandicout is more Romantic than FF8.

Um, maybe you should try that tip I had above. You seemed to have slept through the last half of the game.

what the? SaGa's better than Xenogears, in Japan?! Don't tell me, please don't, WHAT's better than say, Evangelion, in Japan.

-JRider -''Enemy of the Rich and Famous''-

Well, the most popular anime is of course Cyber Team in Akihabara. Everyone knows that.

It isn't millions of rays of light
Get it right Xenochick!

The Four Camel Jockeys of the Apocalypse

Rhymes with silver!

Post this cookie and I'll give you a quickie--no, wait--print this quookie and I'll give you a cickie--dammit...

~Dan Quayle,presidential hopeful

Zap! You are the first victim of my new god-like powers. And now I'll eat your cookie too!

Is it just us, or does Krile (FFV) Suck? I mean, c'mon! Just when you thought the game was going great, suddenly...pop! I know! (FF5 Spoiler) Let's kill off Galuf and give you KRILE! Like we want Krile. Her battle animations for all of her jobs really, REALLY suck. We don't like Krile, and are starting an anti-Krile website

-Sadres and Kylar

Actually, I have to agree, it seems like they did her sprites as an afterthought. Oh well....

Closing Commentary on Topics Relevant to Today's Column:

Man, I said everything I had to say today in the actual column. Isn't that amazing? Oh, and if you can, watch Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou (His and Her Circumstances) now or when it comes out in the US next year. It's good, and I just keep getting recommendations about it. :)

Curtis "I win!" Harmon
I'm better than Squall! Not that that's saying much to most people... ;)

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