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Dengeki Rankings I Special Report: The Top of Japan I Final Fantasy VII: Before Crisis Chapter 16 I Dragon Quest VIII Goes Triple Platinum I Code Age Commanders Gets Image Song I Slime Mori Mori 2 Website Opens I Video of Generation of Chaos V and Goodies I Langrisser III Being Remade I Culture Corner: Ask Sensei I Sayonara
JAPANDEMONIUM
Mt. Fuji July 25, 2005


Konnichiwa

Last week, there was no Japandemonium because I had to do a special teaching job for GEOS. Right now is the hiring slump, and we were a little short on teachers. So I was sent to one of our biggest schools in Kobe to be a substitute teacher. I greatly enjoyed it, but it came with the high price of no internet for the week. Granted I was able to use an internet cafe, but I can't really work in one of those smokey places. Not to mention that I didn't have access to an HTML editor or my own hard drive to store pictures. The only thing I could effectively use was AIM Quickbuddy to talk to my fiancée. If you've never used Quickbuddy, it is a very stripped-down version of AIM that runs in Java. It's REALLY buggy, and I hate it. But I do what I can.

After my teaching gig was over, I didn't go straight home. I decided to take a small detour to Mt. Fuji. I won't say much here, but I'll give a better story in the report following the Dengeki chart. A full account can be found on my livejournal. Needless to say, it was an experience that I will not soon forget.

I don't have much in the way of gaming news. I have thoroughly finished We Love Katamari, so now I am looking for another game to occupy my time. I will then look for still another game in a couple weeks when I come back to America. I'm debating between Kirby Canvas Curse and Meteos. Anyone that has these games is more than welcome to write in and give me their thoughts.

So, now that I'm safely back in Niihama, I suppose we should go to the top of Mt. Fuji to watch the sunrise and get this party started!



 Dengeki Rankings

I was unable to get the Dengeki chart from last week, so those numbers will be lost to the ages. From the looks of this week's chart, there was only a little major action. The only major player I noticed last week was We Love Katamari coming in 3rd place. It now holds the 11th spot.

As for this week, there are three RPGs on the chart in the top 10, but there are also none after 30. All the games that were struggling to hold on last week have lost the ability to cling to the charts. The good news is that gives the games in the top 30 plenty of room to hang on, so it is possible that we'll have a nice full chart again soon.

I also usually mention the top spot, and this week will be no different. Sadly, the top game of the week is not an RPG. Instead it is Jikkyou Powerful Puroyakyu Para Puro 12 for the PS2. For those that are unfamiliar with this series, it is a baseball game by Konami that features chibi-looking players. I have never played it myself, but I get the idea that the physics are tweaked a bit to make it more interesting. The game appeared on at least the PS2, PSP, and GC last week, and there is also a GameCube release that placed 6th on the charts.

Before I show you the numbers, I want to give an honorable mention to DDR with Mario. It managed to debut in the 10 spot, and that's a pretty impressive feat due to the nature of the game. I have a love for DDR, so I feel that it is my duty to mention DDR games that make the chart. So without any further ado, let's see those numbers!

Position Title Publisher Platform
6 Naruto RPG 2 Tomy
7 Mushiking: Battle of the Beetles Sega
8 Gundam True Odyssey Bandai
12 Brave Fencer Musashiden Square Enix
23 Mar Heaven KNOCKING ON HEAVEN'S DOOR Konami
26 Zill O'll Infinite Koei
29 Pokémon Emerald Nintendo
30 Drag-On Dragoon 2 Square Enix


Source: Dengeki Online



 Special Report: The Top of Japan
Japandemonium Special Report

As I mentioned in my intro, I climbed Mt. Fuji last week. I had been planning on climbing it for a few weeks, and as each day drew passed, I became more and more excited. I found myself reading stories of other climbers and tried to plan how I would actually get to the mountain. I think I drove my manager crazy with all my Google searches for Fuji, but I wanted to be ready for it.

Before leaving for Fuji, I did a bit of preparation. I packed my flashlight, warm clothes, and sunblock. But when I got to the mountain, I discovered that I had forgotten my sweatshirt in my apartment in Kobe. I was about to attempt Fuji in a T-shirt and thin PVC rain jacket. I wasn't worried because I normally don't get cold, but then again, I don't normally climb very tall mountains. This mistake led to my trip being a bit harder than I would have liked.

The mountain itself is rather majestic when viewed from afar, but up close it is various shades of black and gray with some red tossed in for good measure. The mountain does not look inviting at all as you ascend to the 5th station through a forest that is very thick and is notorious for being easy to get lost in.

I opted for the climb at night option so I could see the sunrise. This actually proved to be quite easy with the light of the moon, but moonlight is not as warm as sunlight. The mountain got colder with each step. It wasn't bad if you could keep moving, but if you stopped to rest, the cold mountain air would freeze you. It was even worse if you took off your backpack, because that would expose your sweaty lower back. It seemed to take forever for your pack to warm your back again after the cold got to it.

With all this against me, how did I manage to make it through the night? To be honest, I holed up in a bathroom on the 8th station. The bathroom was made of cedar and smelled quite nice and had the benefit of a huge generator producing heat. It allowed me to rest, dry out, and read Harry Potter 6 all at the same time. For all those climbing on the Fujinomia trail, forget staying in a cold, dark mountain hut for 50 bucks. The bathroom on the 8th station is a STEAL for two dollars. I think I got my 200 yen's worth for my 3 1/2 hour stay in there.

After emerging from the bathroom, I began my trip to the summit. I hit the top of the mountain around 40 minutes before sunrise, but there was still first light to take pictures of. It was an amazing experience even if I was shaking violently from hypothermia. The wind on the summit is terrible. It was so bad that I actually decided to go home and miss seeing the first light of the sun, but luckily I found a place to warm up on the summit. The station on the top had another massive generator, and the exhaust pipe's warm fumes gave me the strength to go on to weather station to take the picture of me standing on the very top of Japan. 3776 meters. It's something I'll never forget.





 Final Fantasy VII: Before Crisis Chapter 16
Final Fantasy VII: Before Crisis

The newest chapter of Final Fantasy VII: Before Crisis became available for download on July 22nd. In this newest installment, gamers will pick up after the attack on Avalanche by the Turks at Wutai, but it seems that the anti-Shinra group has sprung up in Correl now. Also making an appearance in Correl is Barret, but at this time he is not yet the leader of Avalanche. In fact, this younger version of Barret is a staunch supporter of the new Mako Reactor in Correl.

As with the previous installments, Final Fantasy VII: Before Crisis is only available to owners of the DoCoMo 900i or 901i series cellular phones with an extra 525 yen to spare.

Source: Famitsu



 Dragon Quest VIII Goes Triple Platinum
Dragon Quest VIII

At the recent PlayStation Meeting 2005 in Tokyo, some awards were given out to PlayStation games released between May 2004 and May 2005 which had surpassed certain sales records. Games that sold between 500,000 and 1,000,000 units received a "Gold Prize," and 112 titles received that award. Games that sold between 1,000,000 and 2,000,000 units received a "Platinum Prize," and 32 titles won that award. Better still is the "Double Platinum Prize" for selling between 2,000,000 and 3,000,000 units, and five games earned that distinction. But the highest award given was the "Triple Platinum Prize" for selling between 3,000,000 and 4,000,000 units, and three titles walked away with that one.

Of the Gold winners, only a few were RPGs, but one was Namco's Tales of Rebirth. No RPGs went Platinum or Double Platinum, but Dragon Quest VIII was one of the three to go Triple Platinum.

Dragon Quest VIII was released in November 27, 2004 in Japan and is slated for a release in the US sometime next year.

Source: Dengeki Online



 Code Age Commanders Gets Image Song
Code Age Commanders

In more Square Enix news, the image song for the upcoming polymorphic content title, Code Age Commanders has been announced. Singer and actress Shibasaki Kou will sing "Memory Pocket," a song she wrote after reading the script for the game. The song will appear on Shibasaki's upcoming CD, "Sweet Moon," that is set to go on sale in October. The game is set for release on October 13.

Source: Game Watch



 Slime Mori Mori 2 Website Opens
Square Enix

In still more Square Enix news, they have also opened a website for the upcoming DS game, Slime Mori Mori 2. The game is an extension of the almost Pokémon-like love for slimes of the Dragon Quest series that so many fans seem to have. Players will control a slime as they operate giant slime-shaped tanks that also double as castles, go on random adventures, and communicate with other types of slimes and monsters. From the looks of the website, 88 varieties of slimes will be included. If you want to see more, feel free to check out the website for yourself.




 Video of Generation of Chaos V and Goodies

Idea Factory has posted the opening video of the upcoming Generation of Chaos V on the game's official website. Those interested in seeing it should check it out.

In still more Generation of Chaos V news, fans that pick up the game fast enough will be treated to a mini-calendar.

Generation of Chaos V was released in Japan on July 21 with a price of 7140 yen for the standard edition and 9240 yen for the limited edition.


Source: Game Watch



 Langrisser III Being Remade
Taito

Taito is remaking Langrisser III to be released for the PS2. This updated version will feature improved graphics and an album mode for browse videos and graphics from the game once you view them.

Langrisser III is set for a September 29 release for 6090 yen.


Source: Game Watch



  Culture Corner: Ask Sensei

After a week's absence to go to Kobe and climb Mt. Fuji, it seems that my letters have gone back to a normal amount. That's OK. Lots of letters are fun, but I AM doing QnA this week, so I'll get plenty of it. That's not to say that you can't send me letters on a regular basis. Send me letters, and I'll answer them all. Even silly ones.

Looks like the only thing left to do is give you guys my weekly Japanese lesson and get started on this week's letters!

That said, let's get started!



One out of Two Ain't Bad?


Dear sensei

Thanks a lot for answering my letter last time ('bout girls with glasses :P) Here where I live it's very different, but I feel a lot better about it now (most ppl here where I live think I am kinda odd for liking them T_T "what? u like her? but she's got specs!"...^_^;)

Anyway, I just have a little Q today...I happen to be a big fan of Tanaka Kunihiko-san's art, and l came across his work of "Girls the Gathering" (www.girls-the-gathering.net) and I was wondering if you knew anything about it, whether it's a series, an OVA, manga...? I've only found info on this website (can't read most of it... yet!), and heck I'm dying to get one of the figures, too >_<

thanks a lot for your time ^_^

alex


Sensei

I do my best to answer all questions here, but this one is beyond my scope of knowledge. Knowing that the Japanese have a thing for glasses is one thing, but there's just so much on the internet that I can't keep up. It appears to possibly be an online doujinshi. Good luck getting a figure, but I didn't see how. Granted, I only played with that website for a few minutes.


I'm 0 for 2

Hello there!

Just two short questions: Firstly i was wondering about vide games advertisements in Japan. There always seems to be strange/wacky Japanese TV adverts for games popping up on western videogames websites and i was wondering if commercials for video games were common place on TV or even in print and radio etc?

Secondly, have you ever seen/used either the Mario Kart or F-Zero Arcade cabinets! I have always wanted to have a go on one of these but coming from the UK its hard enough to find an arcade at all, and even when there is one, its full of old game =(

Thanks,

Jim.


Sensei

I have an all-singing, all dancing-TV, but I never watch TV. But I have seen some TV spots on websites before, so I would think that the major networks DO have commercials. But they usually aren't quirky from what I have seen.

As for the arcade cabinets, I haven't seen them either. I don't think they're very common. The things you see in most arcades are the ones that make the most money: Purikura (print club photo booths) and UFO catchers. Every arcade in Niihama is almost exclusively those two things. They'll usually toss a Taiko Tatsujin (Taiko Drum Master) in for good measure, but arcades here are pretty lame. I'm told that things are different in the REALLY big cities, but I didn't find anything in Kobe. Lots of people blow two bucks a pop to try to win things that I wouldn't have ANY use for whatsoever, and every Japanese has a cell phone. But that's not enough. They ALSO have to have a print club picture of their friends and/or significant other on them. They also change these quite frequently. The culture here is hard to explain, but they really do strive to all be the same sometimes...


Annie May


Heya,

Just wanted to weigh in. I really like your column, and appreciate the Japanese lessons and the reviews and previews. I dunno how you do it all. 8-) As someone who's been interested in RPGs for over a decade, and anime for over a year, I've always been on the cusp of Japanese culture without ever actually getting a view into it, so this is a great eye-opener for me.

As for questions, I've got two, both anime-related. Firstly, do people in Japan really act the same way people in anime do? I mean, I know they don't get huge sweatdrops on their heads when they get into an awkward situation, but the people in anime seem to be much more open than Americans, at least - they're perfectly comfortable with telling everyone their innermost ideas without worrying about being embarrassed. They also seem to be incredibly corny, but maybe that's just the stuff I've watched. 8p I know Hollywood movies aren't exactly a window into your average American, so I was wondering.

Second question is more technical... what exactly is the difference between "ore", "boku", "atashi", "watashi", and "washi" (and similarly, I guess, would be "omae", "kimi", "anata", and "anta")? They sure make their language work for them. 8-)

Keep up the good work!

--Cidolfas
Webmaster, FFCompendium.com


Sensei

I'm glad you like the column. I do my best to do a pretty good job for my readers. It does take an entire day to do it, but it's worth it.

As for your questions, to an extent, yes, Japanese people do act like this. Granted, it is taken a bit out of proportion, but the Japanese are more open about some things that Americans are not. One area that they are more open about is the human body. Nudity isn't a big deal to many Japanese, nor is showing off a bit of skin. Micro-mini skirts are all the rage in Japan for every girl from five to fifty.

But also like in anime, people are not very good at speaking their true thoughts to you. This is just something the culture as a whole is not built around. If they have something negative to say, they will tell someone else, who tells someone else, who tells someone else, who tells someone else that tells you. This is to prevent you from losing face. Of course, now everyone and their brother knows that you screwed up, but that doesn't cause you to lose face at all. This aspect is changing, but it's going to be a while before Japan is even remotely as direct as the West.

As for them seeming horny, Japan is a rather unusual country in that aspect as well. Sexually, the Japanese are more free than Americans. They don't seem to be as disapproving of things that go against what Americans would consider the norm. For instance, people can read pornographic magazines on the subway and not be seen as 'perverts.' But at the same time, they are a rather sexually repressed society that is all too male dominated. But this too is changing. Women are holding out longer until marriage to play the field more. Other statistics are hard to come by, so I don't know what sort of effect that is having on the population as a whole. But one fact that I can find is the birthrate of Japanese is dropping, and the average age of Japan is rising quickly. Japan's population is dropping at an ever-increasing rate.

As for the second question, they are all varying degrees of being polite or casual. As far as I understand it, it goes like this watashi-->boku/watakushi(male/female)-->ore(male only) and Anata-->kimi-->anta-->omae, both sets in order of polite to casual. The ones at the end would be very rude when not used in a close circle of friends. Essentially, everyone has a very set place in Japanese society. Where you are in relation to everyone else is very clear, and you must speak to everyone accordingly. This is not uncommon among Asian societies. While I think that it's taken a bit too far sometimes, I'm not one to say it's 'wrong.' Their culture is just what it is. And it must be taken as such. It is not our culture at all, so we shouldn't try to impose our standards or norms upon them.

Thanks for the questions. They took a while to answer, but they were fun.



 Sayonara

There you have it. Another Japandemonium up. Sorry that there was no column last week. I really wanted to write one, but without a weekend to do it, I was not having much luck. There should be no problems with a column for the next couple weeks though. Hope you like the pictures from Fuji. I've already started on the next special report. Find out more about it in a month or so.

Catch you on the flip,


Jordan "Where are you Richard? We cannot find you now." Jackson




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