Archive for September, 2010

Japan Import: Super Mario 25th Anniversary DSi LL arrives in October

September 30, 2010 - 2:00 am No Comments

Japan Import: Super Mario 25th Anniversary DSi LL arrives in October

Section: Gaming News, Features, Japanese Imports, Handhelds, DS & DSi & DSi XL, Game-Companies, Developers, Publishers

Super Mario 25th Anniversary DSi XL LLJapan’s getting another new DSi LL (XL) on October 28, 2010. And no, we won’t be getting it. It’s a ¥18,000 (~$215) special unit designed specifically for the 25th anniversary of the Super Mario series. Which is why it’s official name is the Super Mario 25th Anniversary DSi LL.

The casing is what sets this DSi apart. It’s all red, with black lining along the edges. The top also proudly proclaims “Super Mario Bros. 25th Anniversary” under the camera, with Super Mushroom, Fire Flower and Starman icons above it. It also comes with a matching black standard stylus and red and black pen-sized stylus.

Like all DSi XL/LL units, this Super Mario DSi LL comes with three preloaded DSiWare applications. It looks like it definitely comes with the Literature and Science Chotto Brain Training DSiWare games. I can’t tell what the third is though, the box art at Nintendo’s site is too small. It doesn’t really matter though, it’s not like anyone would be buying this particular DSi LL for the included games.

If you feel like you can’t go on without owning this special DSi LL, you could always import it. Just remember that DSi units are region-locked when it comes to certain games. It will play all DS games, regardless of what region they came from, but will only play DSi and DSi-enhanced games from the region that DSi is from. So, a DSi from Japan could only play the Japanese versions of Pokemon Black and White, and not the North American or European ones.

Read [Andriasang] Also Read [Destructoid] Site [Nintendo (Japanese)]

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Japan Import: Prepare for Battle & Get! Pokemon Typing DS with keyboard peripheral (updated)

September 30, 2010 - 2:00 am No Comments

Japan Import: Prepare for Battle & Get! Pokemon Typing DS with keyboard peripheral (updated)

Section: Gaming News, Features, Japanese Imports, Handhelds, DS & DSi & DSi XL, Gear, Keyboards, Game-Companies, Developers, Publishers, Genres, Educational

Battle & and Get Pokemon Typing DSNintendo made a lot of announcements today in Japan during a special press conference. Hidden among the 3DS news was an interesting, and even kind of awkward, DS game announcement. If you’re having trouble learning to type, Nintendo thinks pokemon can help you out. Yes, pokemon. As in Battle & Get! Pokemon Typing DS.

Battle & Get: Pokemon Typing DS features pokemon from all entries in the series, including Pokemon Black and White. The top screen shows the pokemon, words you need to type, a bar showing how much longer you have to type and it looks like figures saying how well you’re doing. The bottom features a full keyboard and 10 fingers, which light up to show which one you should be using when pressing a certain key.

It’s an interesting prospect, to say the least. Not that I’m discounting Nintendo typing programs. Part of the reason I know how to type is because of Mario Teaches Typing. I’m just wondering how valid a typing game can be when it, you know, takes place on the DS. It seems like the sort of thing where you really need a full keyboard in front of you.

Battle & Get: Pokemon Typing DS will be out in Japan sometime in 2010. Nintendo hasn’t confirmed a worldwide release, and I don’t think you should go crazy waiting for one. I seriously doubt this will make it to North America. If you absolutely feel like you can’t live without a Pokemon-themed typing game, you should probably import. It looks like it’s going to be very import friendly.

Update: Andriasang has confirmed that Battle & Get: Pokemon Typing DS will come with a wireless keyboard DS peripheral. So no need to worry about typing on that teeny touch screen. Nintendo has not made images of the keyboard peripheral available.

Editor’s Note: This story was updated at 3:00pm CST on September 29, 2010 to note that Battle & Get: Pokemon Typing DS will include a wireless keyboard peripheral.

Read [Famitsu (Japanese)] Also Read [Joystiq] Also Read [Andriasang] Site [Nintendo (Japanese)]

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PlayStation Store Update: Japanese imports make debut this week (September 22 to 28, 2010)

September 28, 2010 - 2:00 am No Comments

PlayStation Store Update: Japanese imports make debut this week (September 22 to 28, 2010)

Section: Gaming News, Features, Columns, Japanese Imports, Lists, Nostalgia, Previews, Consoles, PS3, Handhelds, PSP & PSPgo, Gear, Accessories, Gear-Other, Ads & Media, Web, Other Media, Updates, Playstation-Store

PSN Store update banner for 2010Japanese PSOne classics hit the PSN store this week

Starting this week players will notice a new category for Japanese PSOne Classics. Don’t worry, most of the games will have the option to read them in English. Those that can’t be translated, well, let’s just say its a good thing they can’t be translated but will have links to help sites to get through the game. Just remember in Japan “X” means cancel and “O” means confirm. But be warned a lot of Japanese games push the boundaries that would drive the US censorship boards nuts.

A good example of this type of game is Cho Aniki (translation: Super Big Brother) which is actually a shooter that features bulging bodybuilders flying through space. So please check out the developer’s English site for information about the game before downloading. This week’s Japanese imports come from MonkeyPaw Games.

This week’s downloadable PlayStation 3 game is Gaia Seed: Project Seed Trap. A rare game first released for Japan only on July 8, 2009, is making its way to the U.S. this week. Very few copies that have been found on online auction sites were sold for up to $300, now players who have been seeking this rare gem can own a copy for $5.99. There really isn’t a description for this game other than its obvious this game is a horizontal shooter. But based on the loosely translated trailer the game seems to allow players to control a Gaia Pilot named Chronos who was chosen by the Gaia Seed to defend earth. Check out Gaia Seed: Project Seed Trap:

This week’s PlayStation Portable Download is Caldun: This is an RPG! for $19.99. An classic RPG style game that allows players to fully customize their own main character from how they look to what they’re wearing using a pixel editor, use one of ten pre-made characters to include the games default character—Pudding—assign a job class to the character and explore the world of Arcanus Cella. With each hero you create you can create a boss character to defeat later in the game. Players can simultaneously invite three friends to help accomplish a difficult mission or play person vs person to see who is the better swordsman.Check out Caldun: This is an RPG!:

This week’s PlayStation Move game demo is Kung Fu Rider. This hilarious wacky demo allows players to take on the role of Toby, an office worker, or his secretary Karin who must escape Hong Kong before the Triads close in on them and put them out of work … permanently. Rolling downhill at high speeds on an office chair, shopping cart or luggage. Players must navigate their characters through a busy street or maintain their balance on clotheslines as fast as they can. If a mobster or anyone else gets in the way either dodge their attacks or kick them out of the way. Check out Kung Fu Rider:

Price Updates

  • International Track & Field (PS3/Original Price $5.99/Now $2.99)
  • Mega Man 10 (PS3/Original Price $9.99/Now $4.99)

Here’s what else is new

New Applications

  • Play Memories (PS3/Free)*
  • *Play Memories allows PS3 Owners to view saved photos stored in the PS3 XMB as a slide show using different features to include making a photo 3D.

New Games

  • PSOne Classic Japanese Import: Cho Aniki (PS3/$5.99)
  • Sonic Adventure (PS3/$9.99)
  • Blade Kitten (PS3/$14.99)
  • DeathSpank: Thongs of Virtue (PS3/$14.99)
  • 101-in-1 Megamix (PSP/$14.99)*


  • Deathspank: Thongs of Virtue Demo (PS3/Free)
  • Enslaved: Odyssey of the West Demo (PS3/Free)
  • NBA ELITE 11 Demo (PS3/Free)
  • Blade Kitten Demo (PS3/Free)
  • DJ Hero 2 Demo (PS3/Free)

PlayStation Move Demos

*Warning: The following demos require the PlayStation Move controller to operate properly, those who do not own a PSMove controller should consider downloading regular PS3 game demos.

  • Sports Champions Demo (PS3/Free)


  • PlayStation 15th Year Anniversary Avatar (PS3/Free)
  • Mega Man 10 Commando Man Avatar (PS3/49 Cents)
  • Mega Man 10 Dr. Why Avatar (PS3/49 Cents)
  • Mega Man 10 Sheep Man Avatar (PS3/49 Cents)
  • Sports Champions Belle Avatar (PS3/49 Cents)
  • Sports Champions Boomer Avatar (PS3/49 Cents)
  • Sports Champions Conner Avatar (PS3/49 Cents)
  • Sports Champions Dallas Avatar (PS3/49 Cents)
  • Sports Champions Giselle Avatar (PS3/49 Cents)
  • Sports Champions Jackson Avatar (PS3/49 Cents)
  • Sports Champions Kat Avatar (PS3/49 Cents)
  • Sports Champions Kenji Avatar (PS3/49 Cents)
  • Sports Champions Rin Avatar (PS3/49 Cents)
  • Sports Champions Tatupu Avatar (PS3/49 Cents)
  • Sports Champions Avatar Bundle (PS3/$2.99)*
  • *Sports Champions Avatar Bundle includes all 10 individual avatars.

Bonus Content

Warning: Players downloading any bundle should own a copy of the game or the system required for the item to work or function properly. Always make sure you have the game the add-on was intended for before downloading as there are no refunds for anything mistakenly purchased from the PlayStation Network Store.

  • Gladiator Begins – Animal Gladiator (PSP/Free)
  • Gladiator Begins – Animal Print (PSP/Free)
  • Gladiator Begins – Crown (PSP/Free)
  • Gladiator Begins – Cursed Panoply (PSP/Free)
  • Dead Rising 2 – Free Pack – Ninja (PS3/Free)
  • Dead Rising 2 – Free Pack – Psycho (PS3/Free)
  • Dead Rising 2 – Free Pack – Soldier (PS3/Free)
  • Dead Rising 2 – Free Pack – Sports Fan (PS3/Free)
  • EyePet – Race Car Driver DLC (PS3/Free)
  • Clash of the Titans – Zeus Challenge Quest Pack (PS3/$1.99)
  • ModNation Racers: Nathan Drake Mod and Kart (PS3/$1.99)
  • Planet Mini-Golf – Stronghold Island (PS3/$2.49)
  • EyePet – Farm Animals DLC (PS3/$2.99)
  • Sonic Adventure DX Upgrade (PS3/$4.99)
  • Mega Man 10 Mega DLC Bundle (PS3/$4.99)
  • Skate 3 – San Van Party Pack (PS3/$6.99)
  • Red Dead Redemption – Liars And Cheats (PS3/$9.99)

Rock Band

*Warning: When purchasing a track pack always review your play list carefully before purchasing as most songs are also included in other track packs or sold individually. Always check first to avoid paying extra for a song you may already own as there are no refunds for purchasing the same song twice. If the song is available in a previously purchased track pack consider purchasing the remaining songs individually.

Note: Now through October 4, select Rock Band Singles and Packs will be on sale.

  • Snoop Dogg Pack 01 (PS3/$13.49)*
  • *Snoop Dogg Pack 01 is offered as a bundle only. Individual tracks may be found in other packs or as individual tracks available in the PSN Store.

  • Bob Marley Legend Album (PS3/$19.99)
  • Individual Tracks Include:

  • “Buffalo Solider″ by Bob Marley (PS3/$1.99)
  • “Could You Be Loved″ by Bob Marley (PS3/$1.99)
  • “Exodus″ by Bob Marley (PS3/$1.99)
  • “I Shot The Sheriff″ by Bob Marley (PS3/$1.99)
  • “Is This Love″ by Bob Marley (PS3/$1.99)
  • “Jamming″ by Bob Marley (PS3/$1.99)
  • “No Woman No Cry″ by Bob Marley (PS3/$1.99)
  • “One Love/People Get Ready″ by Bob Marley (PS3/$1.99)
  • “Redemption Song″ by Bob Marley (PS3/$1.99)
  • “Satisfy My Soul″ by Bob Marley (PS3/$1.99)
  • “Stir It Up″ by Bob Marley (PS3/$1.99)
  • “Three Little Birds″ by Bob Marley (PS3/$1.99)
  • “Waiting in Vain″ by Bob Marley (PS3/$1.99)

Rock Band Network

  • “Packet Flier” by Terrorhorse (PS3/99 Cents)
  • “Chelsea” by The Summer Set (PS3/99 Cents)
  • “Crash Years” by The New Pornographers (PS3/$1.99)
  • “Riot Act” by Exodus (PS3/$1.99)
  • “Step Up (I’m On It)” by Maylene & The Sons of Disaster (PS3/$1.99)

Game Videos

  • Pulse 9/21 Edition (PS3/PSP/Free)
  • Medal Of Honor – The Mission (PS3/Free)
  • Medal Of Honor – Consulting (PS3/Free)
  • Medal Of Honor – The Wolf Pack (PS3/Free)
  • Medal Of Honor – Hammer & Scalpel (PS3/Free)
  • Medal Of Honor – The Catalyst (PS3/Free)
  • Medal Of Honor – Singleplayer (PS3/Free)
  • Mafia II – Developer Diary #4 (PS3/Free)
  • Bulletstorm – Announcement Trailer (PS3/Free)
  • Mass Effect 2 – PS3 Announcement Trailer (PS3/Free)
  • Shaun White Skateboarding – Transformation Gameplay Trailer (PS3/Free)
  • Tom Clancy’s HAWX 2 Trailer (PS3/Free)
  • ModNation Artist Spotlight: Tanner vs. Tyler (PS3/Free)
  • TV Superstars Trailer (PS3/Free)

Themes and Wallpapers

  • Zenonia – Minis Wallpaper (PSP/Free)
  • PixelJunk Racers 2nd Lap Wallpaper #3 (PS3/Free)
  • Sports Champions Archery Theme (PS3/Free)
  • Sports Champions Beach Volleyball Theme (PS3/Free)
  • Sports Champions Bocce Ball Theme (PS3/Free)
  • Sports Champions Disc Golf Theme (PS3/Free)
  • Sports Champions Gladiator Duel Theme (PS3/Free)
  • Sports Champions Table Tennis Theme (PS3/Free)
  • Sports Champions Theme (PS3/Free)
  • EyePet Summer Dynamic Theme (PS3/$2.99)
  • Kung Fu Rider Dynamic Theme (PS3/$2.99)
  • Sports Champions Dynamic Theme (PS3/$2.99)
  • NCAA Dynamic Theme – Army (PS3/$2.99)
  • NCAA Dynamic Theme – Wisconsin (PS3/$2.99)
  • NCAA Dynamic Theme – Auburn (PS3/$2.99)
  • NCAA Dynamic Theme – USC (PS3/$2.99)
  • NCAA Dynamic Theme – Michigan (PS3/$2.99)
  • NCAA Dynamic Theme – Michigan State (PS3/$2.99)
  • NCAA Dynamic Theme – Ohio State (PS3/$2.99)
  • Mega Man 10 Mega Dynamic Theme Pack (PS3/$5.99)*
  • *Mega Man 10 Mega Dynamic Theme Pack includes three Themes.

Read [PlayStation Store Blog] Read [Monkey Paw Games Help Site]

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Important Importables: Atlus

September 26, 2010 - 2:00 am No Comments

Hot Japanese Imports: Atlus

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

Hot Japanese Imports logo

One of my favorite game publishers has always been Atlus. The company is quite unique, daring to take chances on games other publishers would probably pass up as being too risky to release stateside. Plus, the company has always been quite friendly to fans, with an Atlus Faithful email newsletter which informs readers of new developments at the same time, or even earlier than press releases arrive in journalists’ mailboxes. Not to mention the Atlus spoils program, where people who preorder or purchase first run copies receive artbooks, soundtracks, posters, hats and sometimes even stuffed toys.

So this week, Hot Japanese Imports is doing a company profile of the game developer and publisher Atlus.

Persona 2 Innocent Sin PS1


Atlus is a Japanese video game developer and publisher which also happens to have a US branch. Well, technically, it’s more of a publisher than a developer. Yes, Atlus Japan is responsible for developing a few games, but primarily Atlus, both in Japan and the US, focuses on developing games. Atlus was formed in Japan in 1986, and Atlus USA was founded in 1991.

Recently, there was a bit of a stir as an announcement was made stating Atlus was going to merge with Index Holdings. And while it made for a tense moment, it was really more of a non-issue. Atlus actually became an Index subsidiary in 2006, so it was technically part of the company all along. Even after the merger, Atlus will still keep it’s name and identity, despite being completely part of Index. This move just makes it easier for Index to create mobile games based on existing Atlus properties, like it’s forthcoming Persona 3 cell phone game that’s headed to Japan.

As far as Index goes, it’s also interesting to note that some other well known media companies are part of it and so related to Atlus. Madhouse, a very well known animation studio, Interchannel, a computer game developer, and in 2005 Nikkatsu, a movie and TV production company became part of the empire.

3D Dot Game Heroes

Notable Atlus games

Atlus is best known for both developing and publishing the Shin Megami Tensei series, which is very well known in Japan and also building quite a cult following in other regions. They also are the creators of the Trauma Team and Etrian Odyssey series. But primarily, the company is a publisher which helps share other developers’ works with Japan and the US.

Here are some of the most notable games both developed and published by Atlus:

  • The Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner series. The first game, Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner, was released on the Saturn and PSP, and the two sequels were released on the PS2.
  • The Shin Megami Tensei: Persona series. There have been five entries released so far (Persona 2 was released in two parts, Eternal Punishment and Innocent Sin) and entries have been released on the PS1, PS2 and PSP.
  • The Trauma Center series, which have been primarily released on the DS and Wii. The latest Wii entry slightly changed the formula and series name and was called Trauma Team.
  • The DS Etrian Odyssey series of dungeon crawlers.
  • Catherine, a darkly disturbing horror game and the first game Atlus has developed for the PS3 and Xbox 360.

And here are some of the most notable games published by Atlus:

  • Crusader of Centy (Genesis)
  • Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen (SNES)
  • Thousand Arms (PS1)
  • Tail Concerto (PS1)
  • Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure (PS1)
  • Ogre Battle 64 (N64)
  • Disgaea: Hour of Darkness (PS2)
  • Rule of Rose (PS2)
  • Odin Sphere (PS2)
  • Dokapon Kingdom (Wii)
  • Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis (GBA)
  • River City Ransom EX (GBA)
  • Summon Night: Swordcraft Story (GBA)
  • Contact (DS)
  • Touch Detective (DS)
  • Izuna: Legend of the Unemployed Ninja (DS)
  • Kenka Bancho: Badass Rumble (PSP)
  • Shiren the Wanderer (Wii)
  • Demon’s Souls (PS3)
  • 3D Dot Game Heroes ()

COMING NEXT WEEK: Hot Japanese Imports talks about Nippon Ichi Software (NIS).

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week Hot Japanese Imports reviewed Pop’n Music 2 for the Dreamcast.

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

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Important Importables Review: Pop’n Music 2 for Dreamcast

September 18, 2010 - 2:00 am No Comments

Hot Japanese Imports Review: Pop’n Music 2 for Dreamcast

Section: Reviews, Exclusives, Originals, Features, Columns, Japanese Imports, Consoles, Consoles-Other, Game-Companies, Developers, Publishers, Genres, 2D, Music

Hot Japanese Imports logo

Pop'n Music 2 Dreamcast box art

Title: Pop’n Music 2
Price: $15-30 (depends on where you buy it)
System(s): Dreamcast (Also on the PlayStation, though the PlayStation version isn’t region-free)
Release Date: September 14, 1999
Publisher (Developer): Konami (Konami)
ESRB Rating: N/A
Pros: Lots of catchy music to play along to, visual memory unit can help you keep track of which buttons to push, bright and colorful, import friendly since there isn’t too much text to keep track of and much of it is in English, can use it as a key disc to play the Pop’n Music append discs,
Cons: Having the Pop’n Music controller peripheral is practically a necessity and the graphics aren’t outstanding.
Overall Score: 9/10 if you have the Pop’n Music peripheral controller, 7/10 if you have a standard Dreamcast controller with a Visual Memory Unit inserted, 5/10 if you only have a standard Dreamcast controller.

Pop’n Music is a Konami Bemani series staple. It’s a series that involves precise timing, cute characters and incredibly catchy music. While the series hasn’t had a chance to develop or catch on overseas, it’s been an arcade and console staple in Japan for over 10 years. One of the best, early home entries in the series was Pop’n Music 2 for the Dreamcast.

Hit the Pop-kun to hear the song!

Pop’n Music 2 looks very easy to play. The screen has nine bars running down the center. There are nine circles below it, colored white, yellow, green, blue, red, blue, green, yellow and white. Between the bars and the circles are a red line. Little colors Mr. Pops will drop on the bars from the top of the screen to the red line. The goal is to hit the Mr. Pops in time with the music. Do well, and you’ll build chains and the bar at the bottom of the screen will fill. If you’re successful your character (at the left) and the computer character (on the right) will cringe and wince. Fail, and your character wilts, the computer’s character mocks you and the song ends.

There’s a wide selection of music, from many different genres. So there’ll be classical music, Japanese rock or pop, visual kei and many other styles. Also depending on how well you’re doing, the Mr. Pops faces may change to add a bit of variety.

All about the music, and the right controller.

Pop’n Music 2 doesn’t look pretty. It’s very bright and colorful, but it’s also quite bland. This may dissuade some music game fans who are used to Guitar Hero, with a virtual band in the background, or Dance Dance Revolution, who get to see music videos while they dance. While it is somewhat rudimentary, it’s also understandable. Pop’n Music 2 may start out simple, but can get quite difficult and confusing. Especially since there are nine buttons players have to keep track of. So in this case, simplicity works in the games’ favor. A little more flash would have been nice, but when you’re playing you really have to focus on the notes.

It’s also interesting in that you aren’t playing along with any one particular instrument in Pop’n Music 2. Your note presses could at times trigger the songs’ vocals, keyboards, drums or other instruments. It makes the experience more unique.

Plus, it is incredibly import friendly. There’s tons of English text in the game, so you don’t have to worry about any kind of language barrier. Besides, the main game is all about pressing buttons in time with the Mr. Pops. There’s even a training mode, which comes in quite handy for players who’ve never encountered a Pop’n Music game before.

There’s only one downside, the controls. If you have enough money and time to search for a Dreamcast Pop’n Music controller, which actually has the nine colored buttons to push then you’re fine. If you only have a regular controller, you probably won’t be able to play the game. It’s far too complicated without having the actual buttons in front of you. If you have a Visual Memory Unit you can plug into a regular controller it helps, since the VMU screen will show what buttons to press next. Still, nothing compares to playing with the right equipment.

Absolutely worth it, if you can find the right pieces.

Pop’n Music 2 is a fantastic game and could very easily be considered a Dreamcast classic. But that Dreamcast classic status is conditional. The game is at its best when you have all of the necessary equipment, that is the game and the special nine button Pop’n Music controller. Even when Pop’n Music 2 was new, getting both was quite expensive. Now, with the Dreamcast’s light fading, it’s a horrible chore.

You can still enjoy this incredibly import-friendly and catchy music game with a standard controller with a VMU, but it takes a lot more practice and patience to master. For some people, the effort might not be worth it. I’d still say go for it and give it a chance, because Pop’n Music 2 is worth the effort. Besides, if you own Pop’n Music 2, you can always get the append discs Pop’n Music 3 and Pop’n Music 4 to expand your music library and game options.

COMING NEXT WEEK: Hot Japanese Imports takes a closer look at Atlus/Index.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week Hot Japanese Imports offered a brief introduction to the world of Japanese dramas.

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

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Japan Import: Namco Bandai making PSP dating sim starring AKB48

September 16, 2010 - 2:00 am No Comments

Japan Import: Namco Bandai making PSP dating sim starring AKB48

Section: Gaming News, Features, Japanese Imports, Handhelds, PSP & PSPgo, Ads & Media, Home Video, Genres, 2D, Adventure, Sim

AKB48 AKB1/48 Idol to Koishitara

Namco Bandai is hoping to capitalizing on the portable dating sim trend with AKB1/48 Idol to Koishitara, a PSP dating simulation that stars members of the Japanese pop group AKB48. Well, it’s not so much a dating simulation as it is a love simulation with almost an hour and a half of video footage (all of the girls confessing their love) and over 10,000 photographs.

In AKB1/48 Idol to Koishitara, 48 girls are in love with you, the main character. (Yeah, that’s realistic.) And they aren’t going to wait for you to woo them. They all want to happily proclaim how much they love you. The thing is, you can only have one of them. So you have to avoid 47 girls so you can get with the one you want. 

Namco Bandai must think AKB1/48 Idol to Koishitara is going to be a huge success, as there are going to be four different editions available on December 23, 2010. The first two editions, the ¥5,229 (~$63) standard edition which includes the game and one picture of a random AKB48 girl and the ¥7,329 (~$88) limited edition that comes with the game, three random AKB48 pictures and a bonus 120 min. UMD with video footage of the AKB48 girls not used in the game, are fairly normal.

Then there are the AKB1/48 Idol to Koishitara ¥10,479 (~$126) first press and ¥36,729 (~$442) premier special editions, which are quite creepy. The first press edition comes with the game, bonus UMD, 2 Making of AKB1/48 Idol to Koishitara DVDs, 10 AKB48 pictures, 48 kiss marks from the 48 idols, and 24 optional UMD case covers for the game, all in a collectible box. The premier special edition includes all of the contents of the first press edition, plus a special AKB48 pink PSP with 48 kiss battery covers that look like the AKB48 members kissed it.

AKB48 is currently one of the top female idol groups in Japan. They sing, they dance and they promote stuff. And yes, there really are 48 members of AKB48. But they aren’t all singing and performing at once. Most often, AKB48 splits off into their respective teams, which each have 16 members in them. There’s Team A, K and B. AKB48 also has their own Akihabara theater where they perform every day.

Read [Famitsu (Japanese)] Via [MELOS no Michi] Also Read [Siliconera (Japanese)] Site [AKB1/48 Idol to Koishitara (Japanese)]

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Call of Duty: Black Ops gets a Cero Z rating

September 14, 2010 - 2:00 am No Comments

Call of Duty: Black Ops gets a Cero Z rating

Section: Gaming News, Features, Japanese Imports, Consoles, PS3, Xbox-360, PCs, Windows, Game-Companies, Developers, Publishers, Genres, 3D, FPS

Call of Duty Black OpsAn interesting tidbit concerning Call of Duty: Black Ops was revealed by Square Enix today. While Activision and Treyarch’s FPS received a Mature rating in North America and deemed appropriate for gamers ages 17 and up, it’s received a Cero Z rating in Japan. Cero Z is equivalent to the ESRB’s Adults Only rating here, for people over the age of 18. Square Enix made the announcement because it’s responsible for bringing the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of Call of Duty: Black Ops to Japan.

The Cero Z rating comes even after the announcement that Call of Duty: Black Ops will be censored, due violence, in Japan. It’ll still be bloody and there’ll be harsh language. Japan just made Square Enix remove any scenes that might show soldier’s arms or legs being blown off. Apparently, those kinds of images aren’t considered appropriate in Japanese video games.

In case you’re curious, Call of Duty: Black Ops received downright lenient ratings in both Europe and Australia. It has a BBFC rating of 15, meaning it’s recommended for gamers over the age of 15. The OFLC gave it an M rating, which means the game has been deemed appropriate for players 13 and over.

Call of Duty: Black Ops will be appearing at Square Enix’s booth at the 2010 Tokyo Game Show this year, and debuting in Japan in Winter 2010. Except for the Windows version, which has a TBA release date. People in Japan will be able to choose between dubbed and subtitled versions of the games. Call of Duty: Black Ops makes its US debut November 9, 2010.

Read [Square Enix Extreme Edges (Japanese)] Via [Kotaku] Also Read [Siliconera]

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Important Importables: Intro to JDramas

September 12, 2010 - 2:00 am No Comments

Hot Japanese Imports: Intro to JDramas

Section: Exclusives, Originals, Features, Columns, Japanese Imports, Ads & Media, TV

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Japanese language learners are often advised by teachers to look into the cultures media to help make the learning process go faster. By immersing oneself, like by watching TV shows or listening to music from the country, people can get used to hearing spoken Japanese.

While Japanese anime, music, children’s picture books and manga are often suggested, as they allow students to refine language and translation skills by watching characters on the screen or in the pages of a comic and getting comfortable with hearing Japanese and seeing kanji, katakana and hirigana, there’s another kind of TV show learners can turn to. Japanese dramas, often referred to as Jdramas, can be another helpful resource.


What are Jdramas and how can they help people learn Japanese?

Based on the name, Japanese drama, newcomers may be inclined to consider them soap operas. Which for the most part is wrong. Yes, there are some series which comfortably fit in that genre, but it’s easier to think of most Jdramas as general television series, which can fit into romance, drama, comedy or historic genres. A typical series is around 12 episodes long, though there are exceptions, and episodes are filmed a few weeks before they are shown on TV. They also tend to have very catchy opening and ending theme songs.

Jdramas can be a valuable resource for non-native Japanese speaker because, like Japanese music or anime, they provide listeners a chance to hear the language being spoken while also watching on screen interactions. The optimal situation is to find a series that has English subtitles. That way, the viewer can know exactly what’s being said, start to pick out words that he or she finds familiar and perhaps even get an idea of how sentences are formed.

Jdramas may even be more helpful than anime, in terms of learning Japanese. Situations in Jdrama series usually aren’t as outlandish as in animes and actors performances aren’t exaggerated.

When it comes to watching them, however, you’ll probably have to stick to YouTube. Most DVD box sets you’ll find on eBay are bootlegs and the original DVDs won’t have English subtitles and will be region encoded, so you’d only be able to watch them on region-free DVD players.

Hana Yori Dango Jdrama

Jdrama recommendations

Many times Jdramas are based on popular manga series or novels, which could be a good way to help newcomers get into series. If someone is familiar with a particular story, like Densha Otoko, the Jdrama adaptation may be a good place to start.

Here are a few series newcomers may want to look into:

  • 29-sai no Christmas: Noriko is 29 years old and her life is falling apart. She’s no longer a fashion designer and her boyfriend cheated on her and left her. So she moves in with her best friend to regroup.
  • Densha Otoko: A shy man named Yamada saves a train stewardess named Saori, and turns to the 2channel website users for help find a way to talk to her and build a relationship with her.
  • Ginrou Kaiki File: A detective series where, after a motorcycle accident with a friend, the surviving high school student named Kosuke develops a second personality.
  • Gokusen: Kumiko is a new teacher and is looking forward to it, ntil she realizes she’s been made homeroom teacher to class 3-D, which is filled with delinquents.
  • Hana Yori Dango: Tsukushi is an ordinary girl attending a prestigious high school. The F4 rule the school, and pass out red tags to anyone who offends them, causing the person with the tag to become a target. When Tsukushi steps up to defend her friend, she becomes the next target. But she’s a weed and won’t back down!
  • Kimi wa Pet: A businesswoman named Sumire finds a young man living on the street. She takes him in and agrees to keep him as her pet, Momo. She’ll keep him and take care of him, as long as he promises to love her and be like a pet dog to her.
  • Samurai High School: Kotaru Mochizuki is a rather weak boy. He finds out in a history book that he shares a name with a legendary samurai, and his father confirms that Kotaru may be descended from him. He then finds himself transforming into a samurai to help others in dangerous situations.

Personally, I’d recommend watching Hana Yori Dango. It’s funny, has great casting, wonderful theme songs and can be found with English subtitles.

COMING NEXT WEEK: Hot Japanese Imports reviews Pop’n Music for the Dreamcast.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week Hot Japanese Imports talked about TinierMe.

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

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TGS 2010: Xbox 360 version of Final Fantasy XIII headed to Japan with Easy Mode

September 10, 2010 - 2:00 am No Comments

TGS 2010: Xbox 360 version of Final Fantasy XIII headed to Japan with Easy Mode

Section: Gaming News, Features, Japanese Imports, Consoles, Xbox-360, Game-Companies, Developers, Publishers, Genres, 3D, Role-Playing, Conventions, Tokyo Game Show

Final Fantasy XIII Xbox 360 Chocobo Screenshot

Square Enix decided it’s time to release an enhanced version of Final Fantasy XIII for the Xbox 360 in Japan. Just in time for the 2010 Tokyo Game Show too! I guess that was one of the previously announced, secret games Square Enix was hoping to surprise people with. Japan was the only region not to get an Xbox 360 version of the game, until now. (It was a PS3 exclusive there.)

The Japanese Xbox 360 version of FFXIII will be playable at Square Enix’s booth at TGS 2010, though attendees may not be able to see the changes in the demo. Instead of just bringing the Xbox 360 version released worldwide, with Japanese voice acting and subtitles, Square Enix has added a new feature – Easy Mode.

Easy Mode is designed to make battling and equipment enhancing more user friendly. The computer controlled players are better fighters and supporters and it’s supposed to be even easier to reach enemies breaking points so battles move faster. Players who choose to turn Easy Mode on during play will also be able to earn more items from battles and have an easier time upgrading equipment.

Also, like most “International” editions of Square Enix games, the Japanese version of FFXIII will allow players to choose between Japanese and English voice acting.

I, for one, wholeheartedly welcome a version of FFXIII with Easy Mode. Not because the enemies or battles are too difficult. No, it’s because I am playing through the North American PS3 version right now and have had little to no opportunity to upgrade my character’s equipment. The item drop rate is terrible and there are too few opportunities to credit and incentive chips to buy store-bought items for enhancement. Even after spending four hours level-grinding and item-hunting, I’ve found on the final chapter of the game with Lightning, Fang and Vanille wielding low-level upgraded Flamberge, Dragonhorn and Marlboro Wand.

Read [Andriasang] Also Read [Scrawl] Site [Final Fantasy XIII (Japanese)]

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TGS 2010: Arc System Works brings Arcana Heart 3 and BlazBlue: Continuum Shift

September 4, 2010 - 2:00 am No Comments

TGS 2010: Arc System Works brings Arcana Heart 3 and BlazBlue: Continuum Shift

Section: Gaming News, Features, Japanese Imports, Consoles, PS3, Xbox-360, Game-Companies, Developers, Publishers, Genres, 2D, Fighting, Conventions, Tokyo Game Show, Web-Sites, Official-Sites

Arcana Heart 3 PS3

Arc Systems Works is going to have its very own booth at the 2010 Tokyo Game Show. I know, it’s a little surprising since its a small developer and publisher that mainly works on fighting games, but it’s true. The company even set up its own, small, TGS 2010 website.

That Arc System Works website is one that TGS 2010 attendees will desperately need. The company is only going to have two games at the show, Arcana Heart 3 (PS3, Xbox 360) and BlazBlue: Continuum Shift (PS3, Xbox 360), but they will only be able to be played at certain times. For example, on September 19, 2010 attendees will be able to play Arcana Heart 3 on PS3 and Xbox 360 units almost all day, but will only be able to play BlazBlue: Continuum Shift, with Valkenhayn Hellsing playable, on PS3 units from 3:30-4:30pm.

The primary focus of Arc System Works’ booth are on stage shows and presentations. There’ll be developer discussions, cosplay photo sessions, tournaments and lots of Arcana Heart 3 gameplay trailers and presentations. If you’re actually going to be at TGS 2010 and intend to stop by, I recommend consulting the website now to figure out when you’d want to visit. Make sure to be there at a time when test out Arcana Heart 3, if you can, so you can get a free poster!

Read [Andriasang] Site [Arc System Works Tokyo Game Show 2010 (Japanese)]

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