Archive for April, 2011

Important Importables: Japanese iOS visual novels

April 30, 2011 - 2:00 am No Comments

Hot Japanese Imports: Japanese iOS visual novels

Section: Exclusives, Originals, Features, Columns, Japanese Imports, Handhelds, iPhone & iPod Touch & iPad, Genres, 2D, Adventure

Hot Japanese Imports logo

Import games are a luxury, and usually come with a hefty price tag. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to test out a Japanese game without paying $40? Oh wait, there is. The iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch have become home to quite a few visual novels. Think of them as Choose-Your-Own-Adventure games. The genre is much more popular in Japan than it is in other regions, but now companies are starting to test and see if people are interested in these kinds of games in other areas thanks to iTunes. If you pay attention, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a Japanese or translated VN to test out.

This week, I make it easier for you. I’ve gone through iTunes and picked out 11 visual novel games. Some are in Japanese, ready to play. Others have Japanese and English language options. Plus, for those who don’t read Japanese but still are interested in the genre, there’s a nice assortment of English-language VNs to try. Some of them are even free, so why not take a look to see if there’s something you want to play.

Road to Emerald iPhone iPad iPod Touch

iOS VNs in English on iTunes

If you’re just getting into visual novels and don’t speak Japanese, then you’re going to have to stick with the translated games appearing on iTunes. Well, in some cases they’re translated. In others, like in the case of Ripples, they’re VNs created by developers outside Japan that tend to mimick the style and fashion of the imported games. Just brace yourself if you get a completely translated game. If it’s a smaller company that took care of it, there’s a chance the script could suffer.

Here are some English-language games to check out.

The Flower Shop: Summer in Fairbrook
Price: $4,99
Age Rating: 4+
Description: A visual novel and dating sim about a slacker college student who has to go to the country to help out at his uncle’s farm and do some actual work. Your choices affect the story, and influence who Steve ends up with. It is also an adapted port of this computer game.

Phantom Seeds
Price: Free
Age Rating: 12+
Description: This is a fairly straightforward visual novel by an English speaking developer. A small village thrives due to its rice paddies, but when a strange child comes to the town, it ends up having a detrimenal affect on everyone’s lives.

Phoenix Wright
Price: $4.99
Age Rating: 9+
Description: This is an iOS port of the first Phoenix Wright game. Technically, it’s an adventure game, but there’s enough text to sneak it in here. Plus, playing this could help you determine if a visual novel is really the kind of game for you. Help defense attorney Phoenix Wright defend his clients and prove their innocence.

Pinky Distortion
Price: Free
Age Rating: 4+
Description: In this visual novel, you help a band manager named Maria make the visual-kei rock band DIS:CODE a success, while also getting close to the various members. The script’s translation supposedly has some quirks, but it’s free so it couldn’t hurt to try it. Also, it has otome (girl’s dating sim) elements.

Ripples
Price: Free
Age Rating: 4+
Description: A rather short, boy-meets-girl visual novel. Cynical boy meets friendly girl who helps him open his heart. It’s free and by an English-speaking developer, so there won’t be any script issues.

Road to Emerald
Price: $1.99
Age Rating: 4+
Description: A visual novel inspired by Wizard of Oz. A girl named Makoto falls into the book and has to get home. It’s also an otome game (girl’s dating sim). The script isn’t a perfect translation, but it’s good enough. Also ImageCircus, the company that brought Road to Emerald to iTunes, has more Japanese-language VNs available to buy.

Kira Kira iPhone iPad iPod Touch

iOS VNs in Japanese and English on iTunes

If you’re just starting to learn to read Japanese, then these visual novels present an interesting opportunity. If you pick up one with two language options, you could take a chance at actually reading it in Japanese. Then, if that attempt doesn’t go too well, you could fall back on the English translation. Like with the aforementioned group of iOS VNs, the English translation’s script may not be perfect. Also, watch those age ratings! The dual language VNs tend to be where adult VNs can sneak in.

Here are some games with English and Japanese language options to check out.

Gift
Price: Lite version is free, full version is $15.99
Age Rating: 9+
Description: There’s no English version of this yet, but it is on the way. It’s a visual novel dating sim set in high school. It even has voice acting. All people in the game have a power known as Gift, which allows each person to perform one miracle. Players follow Haruhiko, who has a wish to use, and decide which girl to use it on. The original computer game was for adults, but the iOS adaptation is a port of the all ages PS2 game.

Kira Kira
Price: $4.99
Age Rating: 12+
Description: This is a suspenseful visual novel about a young man who’s taking in his younger sister, who was abused by their parents. It’s an example of a darker kind of visual novel, so I’d even say it may be better if people who are 16+ pick it up.

Shall We Date? Heian Love
Price: $1.99
Age Rating: 12+
Description: A visual novel set set in the past. Players play as a young woman who could fall in love with a number of suitors. Yup – it’s another otome game. The English translation may not be perfect, but it’s still an additional option. Plus, it’s on sale for $1.99 until May 11, 2011.

Chaos Head Noah iPhone iPad iPod Touch

iOS VNs in Japanese on iTunes

A Japanese language visual novel could be a nice place for intermediate Japanese language learners to start. You get to experience a new game genre and put your new language skills to good use. Granted, you’ll have to pay to do it, but still. It’s a good learning experience. Again, be sure to check the age rating, as there are some adult VNs on iTunes.

We’re going to go with two 5pb games here, because 5pb is known for making great visual novels.

CHAOS;HEAD NOAH
Price: $25.99
Age Rating: 17+
Description: This is a thriller visual novel, so keep that in mind before buying. A high school student named Takumi stumbles on a murder on his way home from school. It seems a serial killer is around. To make things worse, Takumi is losing his grip on reality and police think he’s the murderer because it seems they are somehow connected to him.

Memories Off 6 ~T-wave~
Price: $18.99
Age Rating: 12+
Description: A high school dating sim, where players help Shio live his life and perhaps find a girlfriend. The Memories Off series is well known and has many fans in Japan, and has even inspired an otome game called Memories Off Girl’s Side.

COMING NEXT WEEK: Hot Japanese Imports talks about 5pb.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week listed some Tokyopop manga you should grab before they go out of print, since the company’s going out of business.

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

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Important Importables: Tokyopop video game manga series

April 24, 2011 - 2:00 am No Comments

Hot Japanese Imports: Tokyopop video game manga series

Section: Exclusives, Originals, Features, Columns, Japanese Imports, Gear, Comics-and-Graphic-Novels

Hot Japanese Imports logo

By now I’m sure you’ve heard about Tokyopop’s forthcoming demise. The publishing company that helped bring Japanese manga to North America in English is closing up shop. While Tokyopop does have a bit of a checkered past, and many may even think that it brought this upon itself, it’s still sad to see the company disappear after 14 years.

So this week, Hot Japanese Imports is going to honor Tokyopop and help you find some manga to pick up. After all, once the North American branch is gone, all those series will go out of print. We don’t know if some, or even any, will even be picked up by other North American manga publishers. Let’s take a look at some series gamers might want to grab before they’re gone.

Devil May Cry 3 Volume 2 Code 2 Virgil manga

Tokyopop manga inspired by video games

If you’re a gamer, then the best place to start when getting into manga is to read manga based on video games. The story is familiar, you might learn something new and there’s a good chance you’ll like it – especially if you loved the original game or series.

  • Alice in the Country of Hearts: This is a manga series based on the Quinrose otome game Heart no Kuni no Alice. Basically, Alice comes to Wonderland, and most of the inhabitants are handsome men who all fall in love with her. Typical shojo fare. Tokyopop released five volumes of this series, each one costing $10.99. It was supposed to release the sixth volume in July, 2011, but that probably isn’t going to happen now.
  • Atelier Marie & Elie: This is losely based on the Japanese GBA entry in the Atelier series, Atelier Marie, Elie & Anis. Marie is the daughter of a famous alchemist and has come to Zarlburg Royal Magic Academy. There, she meets Elie, and the two open a alchemy workshop together. This is a five volume series, but Tokyopop only released the first four volumes. Each costs $9.99.
  • Castlevania Curse of Darkness: This is a two volume manga inspired by the PS2 and Xbox game of the same name. Think of it as a prequel, as it sets focuses on Hector, the game’s main character, as he leaves Dracula and tries to find a life for himself among ordinary people. As you can guess, that didn’t go well. Each volume costs $9.99.
  • Devil May Cry: Tokyopop covered two Devil May Cry manga adaptations. The first was a two volume series called Devil May Cry, inspired by the game but only loosely based on it. This series is out of print, so good luck finding it. The second series is Devil May Cry 3, based on the game of the same name. It was a three volume series, but like Atelier Marie & Elie, Tokyopop only released the first two volumes – Code I “Dante” and Code II “Virgil”. You can still find them for $9.99 each.
  • Kingdom Hearts: Tokyopop used to have the licenses to the Kingdom Hearts manga series, and released all four volumes of Kingdom Hearts, both volumes of Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories and the first two volumes of Kingdom Hearts II. All of the series are adaptations of the video games, though they’re generally more lighthearted than the source material. The series is already out of print, so you’ll have to buy it used.
  • Ragnarok: Ragnarok is a manhwa (Korean manga), but it was published by Tokyopop and inspired by the MMORPG of the same name, so it works. It was a 10 volume series inspired by Norse mythology, following Chaos, an amnesiac who is Baldur reincarnated. It’s a standard shonen adventure. All 10 volumes are available in English, and you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding them.
  • Sakura Taisen: Tokyopop grabbed this seven volume series based on the RED and Sega visual novel/strategic RPG series. It’s a steampunk series set in the 1920’s, where a group of women are actresses by day and members of the Imperial Assault Force Flower Division piloting mechs and fighting evil by night. They’re led by Ichiro Ogami, who’s one of the few men able to pilot a mech. You may have trouble finding the seven volume series, as it, like many others on this list, is out of print.
  • : This is a pretty direct adaptation of the PS2 game Suikoden III. It also does a pretty admirable job of putting in cameo appearances of the 108 Stars of Destiny and following the three main characters – Hugo, Geddoe and Chris. All 11 volumes were released by Tokyopop, but you’ll probably have trouble finding any of the volumes before volume 6. If you do find them, expect to pay $9.99 each.

I think that about covers it for for video game manga series Tokyopop released. If I missed any, let me know in the comments and I’ll add them to the list!

Ai Yori Aoshi volume 2 manga

Tokyopop manga that later inspired video games

Many anime and manga series also inspired video game spin-offs. It’s a logical move, companies figure they can entice fans to spend money on a game adaptation. Or, sometimes fan-demand makes companies create them. While a lot of anime and manga inspired games don’t make it to North America, it does happen. So some of these manga sound familiar to you.

  • .hack: The .hack series encompasses a number of anime and manga series all set in a fake MMORPG called The World. Namco Bandai released both the .hack and .hack//G.U. PS2 series in North America and Tokyopop brought the .hack//4Koma, .hack//G.U.+, .hack//Legend of the Twilight, .hack//LINK and .hack//XXXX series to North America. .hack//4Koma is a $12.99 one volume manga, the three volumes of .hack//Legend of the Twilight have been compiled into a one $19.99 compilation and you can find assorted other volumes of the other series in stores for between $9.99 and $10.99.
  • Ai Yori Aoshi: This was a more mature series about childhood friends who were betrothed. They meet again as adults and fall in love. It inspired a PS2 and Windows PC game of the same name. You can even still get the PC dating sim/visual novel version from JBox. Tokyopop released all 17 volumes in English and you can get them for $9.99 each.
  • Cowboy Bebop: Ok, so the North American release of the game was canceled, but regardless. Everyone who’s ever watched Adult Swim late at night knows Cowboy Bebop. Tokyopop released two Cowboy Bebop series – one called Cowboy Bebop that was a three volume collection of original mini-adventures and one called Cowboy Bebop: Shooting Star that was a two volume alternate adventure. Each volume costs $9.99.
  • Rave Master: Surprisingly enough, some of the Rave Master GameCube and GBA fighting games made it to North America, and Tokyopop released all 32 volumes of the manga series in English as well. It follows Haru Glory and Elie as they attempt to find the Rave stones to complete a sword and stop Demon Card from unleashing Dark Bring on the world.

COMING NEXT WEEK: Hot Japanese Imports lists iPhone visual novels to test out.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week reviewed Katamari Fortissimo Damacy.

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

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Important Importables Review: Katamari Fortissimo Damacy Original Soundtrack

April 16, 2011 - 2:00 am No Comments

Hot Japanese Imports Review: Katamari Fortissimo Damacy Original Soundtrack

Section: Reviews, Exclusives, Originals, Features, Columns, Japanese Imports, Consoles, PS2, Gear, Audio, Genres, 3D, Action

Katamari Fortissimo Damacy Soundtrack CD

Hot Japanese Imports logo

Title: Katamari Fortissimo Damacy (Original Soundtrack)
Artist: Various Artists
Price: $9.99
Rating: 10/10
Pros: You get 21 tracks for your money. Multiple artists appear to perform. Most of the songs appear in later Katamari Damacy games as well. Most of the songs have a lot of personality and energy. Also, most of the songs are incredibly catchy.
Cons: Some of the songs are a little weird. There’s a good chance that you might not be absolutely in love with every song. Some tracks are a little short.

If you play video games, you’ve heard of Katamari Damacy. Even casual gamers recognize it. Sure, they may not know the exact name, but describe the premise and they’ll know what you’re talking about. (“Right! That game were you roll stuff into a ball.”) Better yet, just singing along with the main theme can clue people into exactly what game you’re talking about.

“Na na na na na na na na na na Katamari Damacy!”

Suddenly everyone recognizes it, and perhaps sings along. Which is a testament to just how good the Katamari Fortissimo Damacy soundtrack is. Most of the music is so identifiable and good that people will easily and unknowingly memorize their favorite tracks. It’s just an amazing video game soundtrack.

Here’s what you get

Katamari Fortissimo Damacy is the soundtrack to the first Katamari Damacy game on the PlayStation 2 and contains every song and instrumental you’d here in the game. In case you’re curious, here are the 21 songs you’ll get for your money.

  1. “Sasasan Katamari”
  2. “Katamari on the Rock ~ Main Theme ~”
  3. “Overture”
  4. “The Moon and the Prince”
  5. “Fugue 7777”
  6. “Lonely Rolling Star”
  7. “The Wonderful Star’s Walk is Wonderful”
  8. “Katamari Mambo ~ Katamari Syndrome Mix ~”
  9. “You are Smart”
  10. “A Crimson Rose and a Gin Tonic”
  11. “Wanda Wanda”
  12. “Que Sera Sera”
  13. “Angel Flavor’s Present”
  14. “Katamaritano”
  15. “Katamari Stars”
  16. “Cherry Blossom Color Season”
  17. “Lovely Angel”
  18. “Stardust Fanfare”
  19. “Last Samba”
  20. “Katamari Love ~ Ending Theme ~”
  21. “Katamari March Damacy”
  22. Na na na na na na na na na na Katamari Damacy…

    There are two reasons the Katamari Fortissimo Damacy soundtrack is so awesome. The first is that it isn’t filled with random Japanese pop and rock. There are multiple genres of music, performed by many different artists, represented in this game, and all of them are there on your CD. So you’re not only just exposing yourself to some new music, you could also be discovering new genres you’ll enjoy.

    All of the songs on Katamari Fortissimo Damacy are also incredibly catchy. Even shorter tracks, like “Fugue 7777,” the King of All Cosmos’ theme, will stick itself in your head. Plus there are multiple variations on the “Na na na na na na na na na Katamari Damacy” song, and odds are one of them will become your favorite. I prefer the more traditional and simplistic “Sasasan Katamari,” but “Last Samba” and “Katamari on the Rock ~Main Theme~” are also great renditions of the classic song.

    It’s really the kind of enjoyable and entertaining soundtrack you can get into without even trying. Plus, some of the songs are just so sweet that even people who traditionally ignore video game soundtrack are interested in it. There are so many songs available and they’re all so different that odds are you’ll like at least a third of the music you’re buying. I might be one of the few people in the world who gets annoyed by “You are Smart,” but the inclusion of “Lonely Rolling Star” balances that out.

    Pretty much a part of video game history

    While you probably won’t hear songs from Katamari Fortissimo Damacy performed at concerts like Video Games Live, the music found on this CD is instantly recognizable by most gamers. The tracks are all lighthearted and full of personality. It’s just a fun soundtrack listen to. Plus, there’s an added bonus if you pick Katamari Fortissimo Damacy up – the soundtrack doesn’t vary much from one Katamari Damacy game to another. Most of the songs constantly reappear, in one form or another, so if you grab this entry, you’ll get all of the best and most recognizable themes.

    COMING NEXT WEEK: Hot Japanese Imports looks at some iPhone visual novels to check out.

    IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week talked about Meiji.

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

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    Popularity: 3% [?]

Japan Import: Prepare for a Persona 4 anime announcement (Update)

April 12, 2011 - 2:00 am No Comments

Japan Import: Prepare for a Persona 4 anime announcement (Update)

Section: Gaming News, Features, Japanese Imports, Consoles, PS2, Ads & Media, TV, Game-Companies, Developers, Publishers, Web-Sites, Official-Sites

Persona 4Have you heard of Mayonaka TV?

Yes, that’s a Persona 4 reference – except English speakers may be more familiar with Midnight Channel. See, a mysterious countdown website has appeared on the internet with the address mayonaka-tv.jp. There, you can watch a 15 second introduction video that mirrors some scenes from the video game.

Here, watch and see for yourself.

Don’t worry about all the text and talking. It’s all people asking about the Midnight Channel/Mayonaka TV.

This is the build up for the Persona 4 anime. The show was officially announced today, April 11, 2011, in Japan. Hey, all of the events in Persona 4 began on an April 11! Talk about really laying it on thick. We don’t know any definites yet, like when the show will air, if the original voice actors will reprise their roles and so on. We do know that it’s an Atlus and Aniplex project though!

There’s a good chance the Persona 4 anime could be released outside Japan, after it’s initial run is done. NIS America was able to bring Persona: Trinity Soul to North America. Maybe if it does well, we’ll even see a company like Viz pick up the Persona 4 manga series!

I’ll admit, I’m a little dismayed. I’m sure the Persona 4 anime will be awesome, but I was really hoping for a 3DS port! After all, Atlus is supposedly working on a Persona 3DS game. Persona 4 Portable, maybe with an option to have a female heroine, would have made my day!

Update: The official Persona 4: The Animation website is now open. All voice actors from the game will be reprising their roles. The hero, which players were able to name in the game, will be called Yu Narukami. There is also a new 38 second animated trailer for the series, which you can see below.

Editor’s Note: This story was updated at 1pm CST on April 11, 2011 to note that the countdown had expired, an official website had been opened and a new trailer had been released.

Read [The Escapist] Also Read [Siliconera] Via [AnimeNews.biz] Site [Mayonaka TV (Japanese)]

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Popularity: 95% [?]

Important Importables: Meiji

April 10, 2011 - 2:00 am No Comments

Hot Japanese Imports: Meiji

Section: Exclusives, Originals, Features, Columns, Japanese Imports, Lists, Gear, Gear-Other

Hot Japanese Imports logo

While writing last week’s Hot Japanese Imports, the one with all the candy and snack suggestions, I suddenly realized that many of the items I was recommending were made by one company – Meiji. Meiji is one of the most well known snack companies in Japan, providing an array of tasty goodies. It isn’t limited to that one continent though. Meiji’s goods can be found worldwide.

So this week, we’re doing a little something different here and looking at Meiji Holdings Ltd. That way, the next time you’re at the grocery story you could find something new to try.

Meiji Takenoko no Sato

Why should we be interested in Meiji?

When you think of Meiji, you’re actually thinking of Meiji Seika. It’s the part of Meiji Holdings Co. Ltd. that focuses on the delicious candies, cookies, drinks and other treats. Actually, the Meiji Seika branch of the company doesn’t just focus on food. It also makes health and beauty products as well. It’s products are most often found in Asian grocery or specialty stores, like the Mitsuwa Marketplace chain. It also has a North American branch, since purchased the Stauffer Biscuit Company in early 2000. The Stauffer branch mainly handles cookies and crackers that are typically found in North America.

Meiji is also tied to the Meiji Dairies, and that’s where the whole company got its start in 1916. Meiji Dairies is still going strong to this day, and releases all kinds of dairy products in Japan. Both the Meiji Dairies and Meiji Seika branches are located in Tokyo.

Of course, the details are unimportant. What people really care about is the food! Meiji’s items could make a great snack for anyone interested in Japanese pop culture.

Meiji Pucca box

What kind of delightful goodies is Meiji famous for?

Meiji makes lots of different kinds of candies and cookies. There are tons of items out there, and if you hit the candy aisle of a Japanese or Asian grocery store you’ll likely be blown away by the options available to you. Here are a few of Meiji’s best known (and most tasty) varieties.

  • Apollo: Apollo candies are delicious! They’re little strawberry chocolates shaped like tiny cones. They’re bite-sized and provide a perfect balance of flavors. They’re also cute cute, with a brown chocolate base and pink strawberry cap.
  • Chelsea Scotch: Chelsea Scotch is a flavored, hard candy. You can suck on it, or you could nibble if you like. It’s good either way. It’s available in multiple flavors, like butterscotch, chocolate and yogurt.
  • Chip! Chop:: These are weird. I don’t care for them, but others may want to give them a try. It’s a chocolate cracker chip. So it has a chocolate flavor, but is also salty, and is kind of flakey like a wafer cracker but also crunchy and thin like a chip.
  • Feel Mint Chocolate: These aren’t my thing, but a friend swears by them so they’re on the list. They’re mint chocolate candy sticks that supposedly offer a near perfect balance of mint and chocolate flavors. Meiji also makes Cinnamon Chocolate and Dark Chocolate sticks.
  • Gummy Choco: Gummy Chocos are kind of hard to describe – they’re a little like a chocolate covered raisin, except with a fruit-flavored gummy candy in the center instead. The gummy is surrounded by chocolate and coated by a thin candy shell. They are also available in multiple varieties. I recommend the general fruit or strawberry flavor.
  • Kinoko no Yama: Time for mushroom cookies! They aren’t actually mushroom flavor – that would be icky. They’re just shaped like mushrooms. The base is usually a vanilla cookie, and the cap of the cookie is dipped in some kind of flavored, chocolate frosting. The chocolate and strawberry frosting varieties are most common, but seasonal flavors are also available.
  • Meiji Chocolate Bars: It’s pretty self explanatory. Meiji makes chocolate bars, and they’re quite good. They’re available in multiple flavors, like milk chocolate, dark chocolate, strawberry, mango, blueberry, marshmallow chocolate and matcha (green tea). I recommend trying the matcha, if you’re feeling adventurous. It’s quite good!
  • Melty Kiss: Meiji’s Melty Kiss chocolates are awesome. They’re these perfect-sized chocolate cubes that have been dusted with cocoa powder. The second you pop them in your mouth, they start melting. It’s delicious. There are multiple flavors available, as well as seasonal varieties. The original chocolate flavor is good, but I just found a extra milk chocolate variety at Mitsuwa that’s amazing.
  • Pucca: If you like Pocky, then you’ll probably enjoy Pucca. They’re little pretzels shaped like fish and filled with different kinds of cremes. Chocolate creme, strawberry creme – you get the idea. I honestly prefer Pocky, but these are fun to try once.
  • Takenoko no Sato: Here’s another cookie treat. Takenoko no Sato are little cookies shaped like bamboo shoots that have been dipped in some kind of chocolate coating. Unlike the Kinoko no Yama, the cookie part is usually chocolate, and only rarely vanilla. The shape’s a little weird, but they’re still something new to try. (I prefer Kinoko no Yama.)

So there you go! Now you have a little shopping list to work off of. Did I miss anything that you’d recommend?

COMING NEXT WEEK: Hot Japanese Imports reviews the Katamari Damacy soundtrack.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week discussed 10 kinds of Japanese treats to try.

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

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Japan Import: Yakuza: Of the End gets charitable on June 9, 2011

April 8, 2011 - 2:00 am No Comments

Japan Import: Yakuza: Of the End gets charitable on June 9, 2011

Section: Gaming News, Features, Japanese Imports, Consoles, PS3, Game-Companies, Developers, Publishers, Genres, 3D, Action, Adventure

Yakuza Of the End PS3 Box artYakuza: Of the End (Ryu ga Gotoku: Of the End) no longer lingers in release date limbo! After the March 11, 2011 earthquake in Japan, Sega decided it would probably be in everyone’s best interest if the latest Yakuza game, one set in a post-apocolyptic Kamurocho beseiged by zombies, not be released on March 17, 2011. So it slapped the game with a TBA and then stayed pretty much silent for almost a month. The TBA has officially been replaced now with a June 9, 2011 release date.

If you placed a pre-order somewhere, then prepare to get your game a little over two months from now. Actually, Sega’s also done something special that will make you feel a little better about paying ¥7,980 (around $94, but it’s $89.90 at Play-Asia) for your import PS3 game. Yakuza: Of the End is now partially a charitable endeavor. Sega’s donating some profits from the game to the Japanese Red Cross, and is letting everyone know by tagging the PS3 box. All games from the initial box will have a sticker on it that says, “Ryu go Gotoku Ganbaro, Nippon!” Essentially, it’s saying, “Let’s do our best, Japan!”

In Yakuza: Of the End, Kazuma Kiryu, Shun Akiyama, Goro Majima and Ryuji Goda are all fighting off zombies and trying to survive in Kamurocho. I guess Sega wanted to show how the Yakuza world would handle a zombie outbreak. Despite the darker subject matter, the game will still feature many Yakuza trademarks, like mini-games. If you get tired of zombie killing through each of the heroes’ stories, then you go play some ping pong or go fishing. Oh, and there’s karaoke too!

We still don’t know for sure if Sega will take a chance on releasing Yakuza: Of the End outside of Japan. I’m leaning towards yes, since North America has seen Yakuza 1-4. Perhaps we’ll hear something at E3 2011!

Read [Ryu ga Gotoku (Japanese)] Via [Joystiq] Also Read [Andriasang]

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Popularity: 1% [?]

Japan Import: Miss Princess becomes a Neo Romance game

April 8, 2011 - 2:00 am No Comments

Japan Import: Miss Princess becomes a Neo Romance game

Section: Gaming News, Features, Japanese Imports, Handhelds, DS & DSi & DSi XL, Gear, Comics-and-Graphic-Novels, Game-Companies, Developers, Publishers, Genres, Adventure, Sim

Miss Princess 公主小姐 ミスプリ!It’s no secret that there’s an otome game fan here at Gamertell (cough, me, cough), and Tecmo Koei’s Neo Romance line is known for its fantastic contributions to the genre. It turns out, a new game is on the way, one that should make DS owners and manga fans very happy. All you Miss Princess (or Misu-Puri!) fans will be pleased to hear that you’ll be able to help Kokoro find love and possibly become the next Miss Princess. The game will be called Miss Princess too, by the way.

See, Kokoro Himeoka wants to be a model and fulfill a promise she made years ago by entering and winning the Miss Princess contest. There’s a catch to it though – all Miss Princess contestants have to have a personal butler. I don’t know why. Maybe you need to have a doting assistant to be a really good model? Anyways, it seems like Kokoro is out of luck. She’s a tomboy and doesn’t have the cash for a butler. Amazingly, she steps in to help an old lady in trouble. It turns out the woman is Badora’s President, a company that specializes in providing people butlers. Only in the world of manga folks!

This means Kokoro now has four butlers at her beck and call. Of course they’re gorgeous, and there is plenty of potential for romantic hijinks. Kokoro now can enter Miss Princess and try to win it.

The Miss Princess game will be pretty faithful to the basic premise of the series. Ruby Party is developing it and Miss Princess mangaka Madoka Seizuki is in charge of the art. Players will help Kokoro become Miss Princess, while also helping her find love with one of her brand new butlers.

Read [Andriasang] Via [GoNintendo] Site [NeoRomance (Japanese)]

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Important Importables: 10 kinds of Japanese treats to try

April 2, 2011 - 2:00 am No Comments

Hot Japanese Imports: 10 kinds of Japanese treats to try

Section: Exclusives, Originals, Features, Columns, Japanese Imports, Lists, Gear, Gear-Other

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Hi-Chew MorinagaWith Easter coming up, candy and other sweet treats are sure to be on people’s minds. When making up goodie bags for people, adding in some exotic treats could bring an unexpected smile to their faces. Trying new things is fun, and Japan has a wide selection of awesome snacks and candies. Whether you need to make an Easter basket or just want to get someone some spring sweets, here’s a summary and selection of 10 pretty cool items you could grab for people you want to impress.

Just be aware, the price below are an average. The following candies, cookies and drinks could be a little more or a little less, depending on where you live or buy them from.

Apollo
Made By: Meiji
Price: Usually between $1.69
What is it? Little cone-shaped, strawberry-flavored chocolates.
Why is it so awesome? They’re tasty and bite sized chocolates that taste wonderful. It’s hard not to like them. Plus, the little pink bunny mascot is adorable.

Cara Crepe (Caramel Crepe Cookies)
Made By: Bourbon
Price: $2.49
What is it? A crepe-cookie with a flakey exterior and caramel goo inside.
Why is it so awesome? It’s a little more elegant than Pocky. Especially with the wafer outside. They’re great with coffee, or as an ice cream garnish.

Choco Baby
Made By:Meiji
Price: $1.69
What is it? Little pieces of chocolate. They’re about [  ] that big.
Why is it so awesome? They’re ever so tiny, but also ever so tasty. You can eat a bunch at once, and not feel guilty about it. Plus, the container fits perfectly in a purse, backpack or pocket. The only thing better was the strawberry Choco Baby, but they don’t make those anymore.

Hi-Chew
Made By: Morinaga
Price: It depends on the size pack, but usually $1.79
What is it? Fruity candy chews, kind of like Starbursts.
Why is it so awesome? They’re quite tasty and flavorful. Plus, they’re available in quite a few different flavors and varieties. Hi-Chews are also pretty easy to find in Asian grocery stores.

Kit Kats
Made By: Nestle
Price: $1.99, though this can vary by size and type
What is it? Chocolate covered-wafer cookies.
Why is it so awesome? Japanese Kit Kats are better because they are available in so many flavors. Aside from the typical milk, dark and white chocolate varieties, there are also flavors like apple, cherry, rose, wine, strawberry, green tea and more.

Koala’s March
Made By: Lotte
Price: $2.99
What is it? They’re Koala Yummies! Little vanilla cookies shaped like koalas with chocolate creme inside.
Why is it so awesome? Like I said a moment ago, Koala’s March are really Koala Yummies in disguise. If you’re a child of the 80’s or 90’s, you’ll remember these great little cookies that had different koala designs on them and just tasted awesome.

Pocky Dessert OrangePocky
Made By: Glico
Price: $1.99 for the basic chocolate variety, but other flavors will usually cost more.
What is it? Cookie-biscuits dipped in frosting or chocolate.
Why is it so awesome? When people think of Japanese treats, Pocky is immediately what springs to mind. It’s practically the official snack food for the country. It’s inherently simple, but the fact that there are so many different varieties and flavors ensure that there’s a kind of Pocky for everyone.

Ramune
Made By: Sangaria
Price: $1.99
What is it? It’s a carbonated soda drink. It’s most often found in a lemon-lime flavor, but there are also lots of other varieties to choose from.
Why is it so awesome? It’s unusual and recognizable. Plus, it’s just plain fun to open, since the drink always comes in a glass bottle where you have to use the cap to press a marble down so you can start drinking it.

Sakuma Fruit Drops
Made By: Sakuma Candy
Price: $2.99
What is it? Fruit-flavored hard candy. They are also available in other varieties. If you look hard enough, you may find liquor-flavored varieties.
Why is it so awesome? They’re tasty on their own, plus they appeared in Grave of the Fireflies. Also, I’ve found Fruit Drops come in quite handy if you aren’t feeling well. Especially if you have a cough or sore throat.

Yan-Yan
Made By: Meiji
Price: $1.19
What is it? Biscuit cookies that you dip in strawberry, vanilla or chocolate frosting. Sometimes, the sticks have saying or fortunes on them.
Why is it so awesome? Yan-Yan are slightly superior to Pocky, in a way, because you can control the amount of frosting and icing on there. Of course, the downside is you probably end up using all of the icing on the first five cookies you eat, meaning you have to eat the rest of them raw.

COMING NEXT WEEK: Hot Japanese Imports talks about the Meiji candy company.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week reviewed Freshly-Picked: Tingle’s Rosy Rupeeland for DS.

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

Full Story » | Written by Jenni Lada for Gamertell. | Comment on this Article »


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