Archive for July, 2010

Koji having some trouble– Japanese games!

July 18, 2010 - 5:17 am No Comments

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Important Importables: San-X

July 18, 2010 - 2:00 am No Comments

Hot Japanese Imports: San-X

Section: Exclusives, Originals, Features, Columns, Japanese Imports, Consoles, PS1, Handhelds, DS & DSi & DSi XL, GBA, Handhelds-Other, Gear, Accessories, Figures & Toys, Genres, 2D, Action, Casual, Children’s, Puzzle, Sim

Hot Japanese Imports logo

Monochrome Monokuro Boo & and Baby Boo Kururin Boo DSWhen people think of things that come from Japan, the cute mascot characters often spring to mind. Typically, one of two companies is behind these adorable figures – Sanrio or San-X. While Sanrio is well known worldwide, thanks to Hello Kitty and, to a lesser extent, Keroppi and Badtz Maru, San-X isn’t a household name.

That may soon change, as San-X characters are experiencing a recent surge of popularity both in Japan and overseas. Characters like Rilakkuma and Tarepanda are becoming more and more familiar. And, now that San-X’s Mamegoma has an anime series, that popularity can only grow.

So this week, Hot Japanese Imports is all about San-X. Read on to find out more about the company behind the cute characters and some video games with San-X characters as the stars.

Nyan Nyan Nyanko Collection GBA

San-X and its adorable mascot characters

While the names may sound similar, don’t confuse San-X with Sanrio. They’re two very different companies, they they both deliver the same sorts of characters and goods. Besides, it’s been around longer. San-X began in 1932 as Chida Handler, while Sanrio didn’t form until 1960.

San-X wasn’t originally about cute characters. It started as a general stationary company with commonplace images and landscapes. In 1973 the company changed to San-X though, and in 1987 it began creating character lines, starting with Pinny-Mu the bear and continuing with Tarepanda in 1995. Shortly after, San-X began capitalizing on the success of character goods and started charging forwards full-force with lots of cute animal, anthropomorphic item and food characters.

While the company still does some landscape and more serious stationary and other novelty goods, for the most part it focuses on characters like Buru Buru Dog, Rilakkuma, Mamegoma, Nyan Nyan Nyanko, Monokuro Boo and Wan Wan Wanco.

Kogepan Pan mo Game wo Yarurashii PS1

Ever seen a San-X game?

If the answer is no, you obviously don’t keep an eye on import game releases. There’ve been a number of San-X games released, especially recently. Almost every one is geared towards younger audiences though, which may have kept them out of your line of sight. Mamegoma, Rilakkuma, Kogepan and Monokuro Boo have even gotten their own games.

There’s a positive side to all the San-X games being somewhat simple and geared towards younger gamers – it means that they tend to be import friendly. Often times, they require very little text to advance the story or guide players. If there is text, then chances are it will be hirigana and katakana, with very little kanji. Or, the kanji that is present is very basic and recognizable.

Some of the most notable San-X game releases include:

  • Kogepan Pan mo Game wo Yarurashii (PS1) – a minigame collection released in December, 2002.
  • Mamegoma 3: Kawaii ga Ippai (DS) – a pet-raising sim that will be released in August, 2010.
  • Monokuro Boo & Baby Boo: Kururin Boo (DS) – an match-3 puzzle game released in December, 2009.
  • Nyan Nyan Nyanko no Nyan Collection (GBA) – a mini-game collection released in March, 2005.
  • Rilakkuma Rhythm Mattari Kibun de Daan Run (DS) – a music game that came out in December, 2009.
  • Tarepanda no Gunpey (WonderSwan) – a puzzle game released in December, 1999.
  • San-X Character Channel: All-Star Daishuugo! (DS) – a mini-game collection released in August, 2008.

COMING NEXT WEEK: Hot Japanese Imports talks about Poupeegirl.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week Hot Japanese Imports looked at everything Bandai does.

Site [Play-Asia] Site [YesAsia] Site [NCSX] Site [Himeya Shop] Site [Strapya World]

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[H] THE TALES OF THE JAPANESE GAMES.

July 17, 2010 - 2:34 pm 2 Comments
hirokiti55nanakusado asked:


The History of “HENTAI GAME for pc8801″ 大人のパソコンゲームの歴史(PC-8801編) ニコニコ動画より転載しました。日本が世界に誇るゲーム文化を理解させる素晴らしすぎる資料動画です。 www.nicovideo.jp この時代にリアルに過ごして生きてきた私には、涙が出るほど懐かしいです。

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Japan Import: Dream Club hostess bar moves to the PSP

July 16, 2010 - 2:00 am No Comments

Japan Import: Dream Club hostess bar moves to the PSP

Section: Gaming News, Features, Japanese Imports, Consoles, Xbox-360, Handhelds, PSP & PSPgo, Game-Companies, Developers, Publishers, Genres, 2D, 3D, Bishoujo, Sim

Dream Club Xbox 360 PSP

You can now visit a hostess club where ever you go, no matter where you live. D3 Publisher is going to be bringing the Xbox 360 game Dream Club to the PSP as Dream Club Portable in Fall 2010. This is great news, as now it’s going to be on a region-free platform.

Dream Club Portable is a game where you frequent a hostess club to visit women there. There are eight in the PSP version, all taken from the Xbox 360 version. As you talk with them, you’ll be able to build a relationship which could end up being romantic. You can also watch them perform.

It also sounds like the PSP version will have downloadable content (re: costumes), just like the Xbox 360 version. The game features ad-hoc support despite the fact it’s a single player game.

Really, this shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Many Japanese game publishers like to port their dating sims to the PSP, sometimes even the DS. So the idea of a PSP adaptation of the successful Dream Club was never really an if, it was more like a when. Besides, now there’s equal representation. The women can pick up Last Escort: Club Katze and the men can pick up Dream Club Portable.

Read [Andriasang] Also Read [Siliconera]

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Important Importables: Bandai

July 10, 2010 - 2:00 am No Comments

Hot Japanese Imports: Bandai

Section: Exclusives, Originals, Features, Columns, Japanese Imports, Lists, Gear, Comics-and-Graphic-Novels, Figures & Toys, Ads & Media, Movies, TV, Game-Companies, Developers, Publishers

Hot Japanese Imports logo

Ah, Bandai. You don’t really think about it, but the company is everywhere. Toys, video games, models, animated series and more! The company even has its own museum in Japan, devoted to honoring famous Bandai characters. Now Bandai is known better by gamers as Namco Bandai, as the two companies merged together in 2006.

Bandai is quite influential, and has built quite a legacy around the world. You can’t really appreciate everything it’s done unless you step back and look at some of its biggest achievements. So this week, Hot Japanese Imports is checking out Bandai’s endeavors in the world of toys, video games and mass media. It’s just a quick way to remind people of what the company’s capabilities

Power Rangers Mighty Morphin Dino Megazord

Bandai toys

Alone, Bandai is probably best known worldwide for its toys. For years, Bandai has been creating toys around the world, many of which become sensations. This is only natural though, as when Bandai first opened its doors in 1950, it made models, and eventually other toys. At the moment, it’s one of the five largest toy making companies in the world.

Check the boxes next time you’re in Toys ‘R Us or Walmart – many of the toys have that familiar Bandai logo. Some of Bandai’s more popular toy lines include:

  • The Ben 10 toys and figures
  • The Digimon toys.
  • Godzilla action figures and accessories.
  • All Gundam toys and models.
  • Most recently, the Harumika line of toys for girls.
  • Kamen Rider stuff too.
  • Those Mugen Pop Pop eternal bubblewrap keychains.
  • The Power Rangers, of course.
  • All the Sailor Moon toys
  • The Saint Seiya figures
  • Every Tamagotchi toy.
Tales of Vesperia

Namco Bandai video games

When you think of Namco Bandai video games, you probably first think of everything created and released just by Namco Bandai. But there’s more than just that. Namco Bandai also is responsible for the D3 Publisher and the developers Banpresto, Cellius and Namco Tales Studio. Bandai started making video games alone before even merging with Namco, and started with games for the MSX home computer and NES in 1984. It continued to create games for multiple platforms alone, until merging with Namco in 2006.

Oddly enough, the name almost could have been Sega Bandai. For a brief time in the 1990’s, Bandai and Sega discussed a merger. The result would have been one of the biggest toy and video game makers in the world, if not the biggest, but as you can see the deal didn’t go through.

Since most of you reading are gamers, Namco Bandai, D3, Banpresto and the Namco Tales Studio should be pretty familiar to you. They’re responsible for games like:

  • The .hack// video games
  • Pretty much every Dragon Ball game ever made
  • Tons of Gundam games
  • Klonoa
  • Many Meitantei Conan games
  • Mr. Driller
  • Pac-Man, Dig-Dug and lots of other arcade classics.
  • Practically every Naruto game ever made.
  • Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords (DS, PC, PSP, PS2, PS3, Wii, Xbox 360)
  • Quite a few Sailor Moon video games
  • The Simple game series in Japan
  • The Soul Calibur series
  • Every Tales of game.
  • Tekken

Lucky Star Manga Volume 1

Bandai media

Bandai distributes media in two ways. It creates anime series as the Sunrise animation studios in Japan and publishes anime series as Bandai Visual. The 1980’s were obviously a busy year for the company, as it not only began making video games then, but it also opened Bandai Visual in 1983. Sunrise was actually established earlier though, in 1972.

Since most people wouldn’t know Sunrise was owned by Namco Bandai, they’d have no idea that many of the most popular anime series out there were created by the companies. The company is quite prolific, and known for both original anime series and anime adaptations of other works.

Some of the most famous Sunrise anime include:

  • Cowboy Bebop
  • Gundam
  • Escaflowne
  • Inuyasha
  • Infinite Ryvius
  • Keroro Gunso
  • Gintama
  • Mai-HiME
  • Code Geass
  • Dirty Pair

Bandai Visual is the segment of Namco Bandai which works on producing anime, as well as manga and music. For example, the Lucky Star manga series is released in the US by Bandai Visual and some Namco Bandai music is released on iTunes by Bandai Visual. Bandai Visual also is responsible for the publishing and distributing of the Sunrise anime series.

COMING NEXT WEEK: Hot Japanese Imports takes a look at San X and some of the games starring its mascot characters.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week Hot Japanese Imports talked about the Neo Geo Pocket and Neo Geo Pocket Color.

Site [Play-Asia] Site [YesAsia] Site [NCSX] Site [Himeya Shop] Site [Strapya World]

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Japan Import: True Dragon Quest fans drink Suntory’s Syrupy Slime

July 8, 2010 - 2:00 am No Comments

Japan Import: True Dragon Quest fans drink Suntory’s Syrupy Slime

Section: Gaming News, Features, Japanese Imports, Consoles, Wii, Gear, Gear-Other, Game-Companies, Developers, Publishers, Genres, 3D, Action

Dragon Quest slime drink suntorySquare Enix and Suntory are joining forces again! The two companies have a habit of teaming up for specialty drinks based on Square Enix’s video games. As you may remember, there’ve been tons of Final Fantasy “potions,” with the most recent batch promoting and featuring Final Fantasy XIII characters on the cans. Now it’s being done for the Wii game Dragon Quest Monsters Battle Road Victory.

There are going to only be two potions released, with two containers. Each container looks like a slime sitting on a pedestal. Don’t worry – the drinks probably won’t be orange and blue. It looks like wrappers are giving the slimes their customary colors. The blue slime container holds Hoimi Cider and the orange Tropical Frizz. Both are designed to be healthy drinks, and not energy potions, and each will cost ¥284 (~$3). So far, no sites are taking preorders. I suggest checking JBox or Play-Asia in a month, since both of those websites carried the Suntory FF potions.

Honestly, I think I’d buy one of these just for the bottle. The Suntory Square Enix potions in the past have been a little questionable when it comes to taste. And by questionable, I mean that the probably one out of ten people will actually love the flavor.

Read [Siliconera] Site [Suntory]

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Japan Import: Idolm@ster 2 debuts in 2011

July 6, 2010 - 2:00 am No Comments

Japan Import: Idolm@ster 2 debuts in 2011

Section: Gaming News, Features, Japanese Imports, Consoles, Xbox-360, Game-Companies, Developers, Publishers, Genres, 3D, Music, Sim

Idolmaster 2 Idolm@ster 2

It’s time to step into the future with Idolm@ster! Namco Bandai has announced Idolm@ster 2 for the Xbox 360. There is a shadow over this great news though – like all Idolm@ster games, it’ll probably be a Japan exclusive and it won’t be out until 2011. So there’s still a while to wait.

Idolm@ster 2 is set five years after the first Xbox 360 Idolm@ster and features characters from both Idolm@ster and the Idolm@ster SP PSP games. Since the first game, all of the characters have established themselves as idols, and you’re now working to continue their success. You have to pick three of them and work to make them a successful girl group.

Let’s watch the first trailer, and see some of the Idolm@ster 2 stars like Haruka, Hibiki, Chihaya, Yayoi and Miki sing “The World is All One!!”:

Looks like all the characters are returning! The only one I didn’t immediately recognize is the brown-haired with the side ponytail dancing with Haruka and Hibiki at the beginning of “The World is All One!!.” It turns out she’s Mami Futami, one half of the Ami and Mami Futami twins who performed as one idol in the original Idolm@ster games.

Read [Andriasang] Also Read [Siliconera] Site [Idolm@ster 2 (Japanese)]

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Important Importables: Neo Geo Pocket

July 4, 2010 - 2:00 am No Comments

Hot Japanese Imports: Neo Geo Pocket

Section: Exclusives, Originals, Features, Columns, Japanese Imports, Nostalgia, Handhelds, Handhelds-Other, Game-Companies, Developers, Publishers

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Neo Geo Pocket ColorWhile it didn’t receive a lot of publicity or recognition, there was a portable handheld system that was fairly successful in Japan, and even received a release in North America and Europe. I’m talking about SNK’s Neo Geo Pocket and Neo Geo Pocket Color series of systems. The first generation, the Neo Geo Pocket, was a Japan exclusive, but its successor, the Neo Geo Pocket Color actually did find its way outside of Japan.

Both handhelds were fairly unique, with a handful of well known titles. They were almost like having small, portable arcade systems, and are notable for being one of the first handheld consoles to have an analog stick. Both systems also had CPUs built by Toshiba. They were also region-free units, allowing owners to import to boost their libraries.

Now, they’re somewhat difficult to find. If you see one and you enjoy portable gaming, it may be worth the effort. I know I enjoy my Neo Geo Pocket Color, though I initially bought it for collecting purposes.

King of Fighters R-1

Neo Geo Pocket

The Neo Geo Pocket was originally released in Japan in 1998 and quickly replaced by the Neo Geo Pocket Color. As brief as that is, that’s pretty much all that’s notable about the Neo Geo Pocket. A good way to look at it is that it was SNK’s way of testing the waters and preparing for the following Neo Geo Pocket Color. It was a region-free handheld and, oddly enough, was forwards-compatible with many of the Neo Geo Pocket Color games. So at least people who did invest in this handheld didn’t waste too much money, as they’d be able to play many of the games from the more robust Neo Geo Pocket Color library.

Notable Games

It’s somewhat difficult to discern Neo Geo Pocket games, because they tend to just get lumped in with all of the Neo Geo Pocket Color games due to the backward compatibility. There were also only a handful of Neo Geo Pocket games released, and the following are some of the best known.

  • Baseball Stars
  • King of Fighters R-1
  • Neo Geo Cup ‘98 Plus
  • Samurai Spirits

SNK vs Capcom Card Fighter Clash

Neo Geo Pocket Color

Not even a year after the Neo Geo Pocket was released, the Neo Geo Pocket Color was released in Japan, then North America and finally Europe in 1999. It had a fairly short lifespan, but that wasn’t due to a lack of popularity. It was fairly popular in Japan, and somewhat successful until it died out in 2001. The problem was that Aruze bought SNK, which marked the end of the Neo Geo Pocket Color overseas and its gradual demise in Japan.

The Neo Geo Pocket Color could be best compared to the Game Boy Color. It had a calendar and fortuneteller included in the base unit, and was backwards compatible with the few Neo Geo Pocket games that were released. It was able to connect to other Neo Geo Pocket Color units, by a cord or wireless connection peripheral, for multiplayer. It even connected with the Sega Dreamcast for several games, if you had the cords and appropriate games.

Notable Games

There were quite a few Neo Geo Pocket Color games, many of them quite good. The legendary Card Fighters series first made its appearance on the Neo Geo Pocket Color. SNK and Capcom both took advantage of the analog stick that the Neo Geo Pocket Color possessed in place of a D-pad, and released many fighters for the system.

Here’s a brief list of some of the best known Neo Geo Pocket Color games.

  • Cool Cool Jam
  • Dark Arms: Beast Buster 1999
  • Evolution: Eternal Dungeons
  • Faselei!
  • Fatal Fury: First Contact
  • Gals Fighters
  • Ghost Photo Studio
  • The Last Blade
  • King of Fighters R-2
  • Memories Off Pure
  • Metal Slug: 1st Mission
  • Ogre Battle: Legend of the Zenobia Prince
  • Pac-Man
  • Rockman Battle & Fighters
  • SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters Clash
  • SNK vs. Capcom: The Match of the Millenium
  • Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure

COMING NEXT WEEK: Hot Japanese Imports takes a look at Bandai and it’s amazing history.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Two weeks ago Hot Japanese Imports reviewed the volume one of Nana by Ai Yazawa.

Site [Play-Asia] Site [YesAsia] Site [NCSX] Site [Himeya Shop] Site [Strapya World]

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Is there a simple way to play Japanese games on my American PS2?

July 3, 2010 - 9:12 pm 1 Comment
Material Defender asked:


I have an American PS2 (NTSC) and I am looking to buy a Japanese game, namely Monster Hunter 2, or Monster Hunter G. Both of which are made for the Japanese PS2 (NTSC-J). Do I need some kind of chip to put inside the PS2?

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Japan Import: Capcom’s stuffed Chibiterasu is the cutest thing ever

July 2, 2010 - 2:00 am No Comments

Japan Import: Capcom’s stuffed Chibiterasu is the cutest thing ever

Section: Gaming News, Features, Japanese Imports, Handhelds, DS & DSi & DSi XL, Gear, Figures & Toys, Game-Companies, Developers, Publishers, Genres, 3D, Action, Role-Playing, Web-Sites, Official-Sites

Chibiterasu stuffed plush toyThere’s no better way to start your day than with a dose of cuteness. If you live in Japan, or know someone who lives there that’d be willing to do some importing for you, you can pick up the most adorable video game-related plush toy ever. Capcom has just announced that it will be selling a stuffed Chibiterasu toy in Japan. So you can play as Chibiterasu in the DS game Okamiden while cuddling your own Chibiterasu.

Chibiterasu is quite a big celestial god-puppy. It’s over 17 inches long and about 8 inches wide. So really, it’s about the size of an actual puppy. It also has all the distinctive red markings and shoulder wing accents that the actual character possesses. The only bad part about it is the price. It will cost 5,040円 (~$57) when it makes its debut in Japan on October 31, 2010. You are getting a lot of Chibiterasu for your money though, so maybe its worth it.

Okamiden is going to be released in North America, but no one knows if Capcom will choose to make this adorable stuffed pup available outside of Japan. Perhaps if we beg, or ask very nicely, we’ll have the opportunity to buy it too. Though I’d prefer a smaller version that doesn’t cost over $50.

Read [Famitsu] Via [] Also Read [Silliconera] Product Page [e-Capcom]

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