Oooh, there goes my diet, at least for this week. Since Valentine's was on a weekend, I've been getting little presents for a few days now. Some were very nice store-bought boxes, others were little bags with Hello Kitty on them. A few were homemade.
Homemade chocolates have become a big fad in Japan in the past few years, and every February the stores are filled with varieties of ingredients. Moms and daughters take the time to make large batches for daddy, boyfriends, classmates, or favorite teachers. Words like ganache or fondante have entered regular, public use -- to the point that my second-graders know their proper meaning. It's really rather funny. Delicious and funny.
Sega and the lovely co-eds at the Gallian Military Academy would like to wish you all a happy Valentine's Day. In particular, Cosette Koolhaus, Juliana Eberhardt, and Aliasse send their love.
If anyone feels like giving them a gift in exchange, this game's supposedly slated for a US release this summer.
As best I can figure, Level-5 Games holds the naming rights to the (former) Hakata-no-Mori stadium until the end of March, 2011. Fans of football (or soccer, if you'd prefer) will continue to associate the company's name with the popular Fukuoka Avispa FC for at least another year. Plenty of time to make one last cash-in, right?
Right! After having won the Football Frontier championship in the first game, then successfully defended their favorite sport from extraterrestrial eradication in the second, what's a team to do? The Inazuma team is going big-time as the Inazuma Japan FC, representing their country in the world championships on "Soccer Island." With new managers, new rivals, new locales, and presumably a new villain or two, the future looks interesting for the little team that could.
Among other features, Inazuma Eleven 3 will allow the player to import characters from IE2 for exhibition matches, which allows for the interesting possibility of having twins of the same character in the same game.
Finally, Level-5 has announced that they are holding an official Inazuma Eleven 2 Tournament. Apparently the actual announcement was a few weeks back and I missed it, but there are still two more chances to get in the action, with the Sendai qualifying tournament next Sunday (the 21st) and the Sapporo qualifier the week after (on the 28th). The big event will be March 28th at the Tokyo Big Site Convention Hall.
Everywhere you find foxes, you'll find fox legends. Mischievous or malign, foxes are always tricky customers to deal with. Japan has its own share of fox tales, from the serene and powerful kyuubi (nine-tailed) fox-spirit to the wicked bakegitsune, or devil-fox. The creative minds behind the Pok?émon series have already given us one of the first type, now it's time for the other.
Now introducing Zorroa and Zorroark, the newest additions to the Pokédex. While Nintendo has yet to say much about the next Pokémon title except that it is in the works, it is now known that the inevitable next movie in the series, Zorroark, Champion of the Shadows, is ready for the summer film season, and these two are the stars of the show.
Once there was a young man named Tsuna who was a complete wimp. By a strange quirk of fate, it turned out he was the direct descendant of a Sicilian mafioso who emigrated to Japan in the early Edo period. By an even stranger quirk, he was named heir-apparent to the Vongolo crime family after all the other candidates met with "accidents." To help him train, the boss of the family has sent his best man, a three-year old contract killer who won't go anywhere without his pacifier. Don't worry if none of this makes sense to you. It doesn't make much sense to me either, and I've read the first five volumes of the manga. In English, even. Home Tutor Hitman, Reborn! has been popular over here since it first came out, which of course means it gets its own game spin-offs. Apparently it's already up to its third RPG installment.
Home Tutor Hitman, Reborn! - Fate of Heat 3 - The Guardian of Snow is a stand-alone story (as is common for comic-to-game adaptations) and is set in Italy. The title character, Gelarro the Snow Guardian, has issued a challenge to Tsuna's growing New Vongola gang which can't be ignored. Aside from that nothing else is known about the game, though. We can't even be sure how the battle system plays out, since the only screens we have are for story sequences. It's set to be in stores at the end of April.
Out of all the characters in Gust's Atelier Judie, only one may be at all familiar to Western audiences, and that would be the fiendishly cute, living-impaired Pamela Ibiss. While she made her first appearance in Judie, she also shows up in Atelier Violet, the Atelier Iris series, Mana Khemia, Atelier Rorona, and Trinity Universe, making her the most widely traveled character in Gust's history. Apparently she's picked up a few tricks in her travels, as she is also now the most tech-savvy character in the company as well.
Gust is inviting all Japanese-speaking technophiles to follow the company Twitter account, managed by none other than "Pamera" (sic) Ibiss herself. What does she have to say? Mostly she's commenting on making stuff with alchemy, or common in-game events like earthquakes from Mt. Pokkam. Click here to start following her comments!
When I first saw this item, I had to ask myself "Who is this?" Having not played any Nippon Ichi games in the last few years, I apparently missed out on one of the whackier recurring characters the company has dreamt up: Asagi Asagiri, the crazed would-be protagonist. In her quest to become the star of her very own video game, she has appeared in (or invaded) five Nippon Ichi games so far. Now it's time for number 6. Prinny 2 features Asagi in a special, unlockable B-side storyline. Dood looks like a lady...
Some unspecified time in the past, Asagi got herself killed and reincarnated as a Prinny (eh, it happens). She's made herself a home in the Underworld with the former angel Flonne. One day as they're watching the telly, the news announces the start of the Asagi Wars, a reality TV battle royale. The winner will be declared the one, true Asagi and will receive the title of Protagonist. Prinny Asagi is determined that this time, she'll get the attention she deserves. To battle! She just has to defeat....
Kurosugi Asagi, pop-singing sensation.
Asagi Schwarze-Nature, super macho machine gunner.
The Accursed Asagi Doll (and her giant robot, too!).
Asagi the Beetle!
Asagi of the Dead!
And 8-bit Famicom magical girl heroine Asagi!
It's a mad, mad, mad, mad world...
Last weekend's Family Show was a roaring success. So much so that it's a bit of a let-down this week, especially the part where I have to finish all those student progress reports I've been putting off in favor of practicing for the family show.... C'est la vie. At least there are some interesting games coming out in the near future.
And that's the news from Hi-no-Kuni,
Your man in Japan,