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JAPANDEMONIUM
 
kisaragi no nijuuyonnichi
Mukyo
Ohayo gozaimasu!

Something weird's been going on for the past two weeks. Almost every night I've been having the weirdest dreams. Nothing too scary, thankfully — though I have had to stop my own dreams once or twice to keep them from spiralling into zombie horror flicks (I hate zombie movies).

Here's an example: I'm traveling somewhere with my brother. We're at some sort of station when an alien approaches me. It looks like one of those three-eyed people from the Star Ocean games. For whatever reason, this doesn't seem that strange to me. We get into a discussion of alien religions, and when my brother gets back I have to explain to him how this alien guy is collecting old toenail clippings as part of a religious observance, but I can't donate because I'm stuck in a wheelchair (again, reasons unknown, but I was sitting in it the entire dream).

That's just one sequence. Another night, I had a whole series of dreams loosely connected to the movement of a pizza clock. I can't remember how most of them went, but I do know that the toppings for any given hour on the clock had some sort of significance. The sausage and potato pizza hour slice in particular had the feeling of something odd.

(This is part two of a series on the history behind the characters of Pokémon Plus Nobunaga's Ambition. Part one is here.)

by Varie

Apart from Oda Nobunaga and his competitors, another popular rivalry during the Sengoku period would include Uesugi Kenshin and Takeda Shingen. Although information on whether these two daimyo interact in Pokémon Plus Nobunaga is still unknown, their choice of pokémon makes for great opposition between them. In the game, Shingen's Groudon is a ground pokemon and Kenshin's Mewtwo is a psychic pokémon. Since neither pokémon have weaknesses towards each other it is likely a reference to the rivalry that Shingen and Kenshin had on the battlefield.



During the Sengoku period, Shingen and Kenshin's armies battled each other on five separate occasions in what is called the Battle of Kawanakajima. However, neither army stood out as the victor. A popular, yet possibly highly fictionalized, event which occurred during the fourth battle of Kawanakajima was when Kenshin rode into the Takeda camp and confronted Shingen head-on. During the incident Shingen was said to have protected himself against Kenshin's attack by using an iron battle fan. This weapon appears to be Shingen's weapon of choice in the Samurai Warriors series. Also, the battle fan is seen being held by Shingen in Pokémon Plus Nobunaga's Ambition. Apart from the battles of Kawanakajima, Shingen is also famous for his role at the battle of Nagashino. There, Shingen's famed cavalry were pitted against Oda Nobunaga's riflemen. Despite the large amount of casualties Takeda's army received, the Battle of Nagashino marked a turning point in warfare during the Sengoku period. That is to say, the daimyo had to move forward and embrace new technology such as the matchlock rifles which were brought into Japan by the Portuguese.

Most depictions of Uesugi Kenshin feature the daimyo in a hooded monk outfit. This is an reference to Kenshin's connection to his Buddhist beliefs as well as the popular belief where he was conceived to be an embodiment of Bishamonten, the Buddhist god of war. Would Kenshin's connection to Bishamonten be the reason why his chosen pokémon is Mewtwo? Why else would Kenshin be assigned such a revered pokémon?


The first thing you may notice with Imagawa Yoshimoto is his character design. His clothing and use of cosmetics make him look considerably different from the Koei characters in both Pokémon Plus Nobunaga's Ambition and the Samurai Warriors series. In the series, Yoshimoto is presented as a bumbling and playful man who does not stand a chance against the other daimyo and samurai. However, Yoshimoto's carefree ways can also correspond to his character design which roots in the Heian period, a time where art and literature flourished under the rule of the aristocratic elite. This Heian period inspired design is in reference to the Imagawa clan who claims that they are a descendent of the Emperor Seiwa who was in power during that period. Yoshimoto's costume, painted white face, painted eyebrows, and lacquered horse hair hat is similar to what male courtiers would wear during the Heian Period. Additionally, Yoshimoto's weapon is a sword and a kemari, a kickball type sport which was popular amongst the Heian courtiers.


Sanada Yukimura is the poster boy for the Samurai Warriors series. He has appeared on numerous game covers as well as Koei's cross-over hack-and-slash series Warriors Orochi. Surprisingly, Yukimura was not one of the characters included in the initial Pokémon Plus Nobunaga's Ambition announcement. Instead, he was announced several weeks later in a trailer. Although Yukimura mainly stood out in his role during the Seiges of Osaka Castle, his role in history was perhaps not as prominent as his Samurai Warriors counterparts. Instead, he seems to be popular for being an ideal hero.



Tachibana Ginchiyo (on the left) is possibly the most battle ready female character in the Samurai Warriors series. Her character design dons her in appropriate but attractive armor for battle. Also, her strong and determined personality shows no vulnerability against her male daimyo counterparts. Ginchiyo is depicted with this hardened warrior personality because in history it was said that her father requested that Ginchiyo be made leader of the Tachibana clan following his death. She would remain leader of the Tachibana clan until her marriage to Muneshige (on the right)

Gaijin

To be continued, I hope. The game's cast page has twenty named characters (with probably more to come), and we have only talked about half of them so far. The game's coming out in about two weeks, and I am definitely looking forward to it.

Source: Pokémon HP

Another year, another Pokémon movie. This summer, theater-goers can see Kyurem VS The Sacred Swordsman Keldeo. Accordingly, the film's namesake will also be made available (officially) for the first time.



Keldeo is the fourth member of the BW Musketeer trio. Which is to say, he's the d'Artagnan of the group — the youngest, brightest, and most daring. The other three members — Cobalion (Athos), Terrakion (Porthos), and Virizion (d'Aramis) — are all available normally in Pokeémon Black/White.

I assume this is going to be another one of those direct-from-the-screen download affairs. I might just mosey over to the local theater on a cheap day sometime in late July, just to get one of these.

Source: Dengeki Online
2/6 ~ 2/12 1/30 ~ 2/5 Up / Down Title Publisher Platform
1 * New Arrival! Suikoden: The Centennial Tapestry Konami
3 5 Last seen at 4 Monster Hunter 3G Capcom
10 4 New Arrival! Ragnarok Odyssey Gung Ho Entertainment
12 12 Last seen at 10 Inazuma Eleven Go Shine/Dark Level-5
13 10 New Arrival! Dragon Age 2 Spike
15 15 Last seen at 14 Monster Hunter Portable 3rd (PSP The Best) Capcom
26 14 Last seen at 3 Tales of Innocence R Bandai-Namco
28 29 Last seen at 27 PokéPark 2 - Beyond the World Nintendo
30 30 Last seen at 30 The Little Battlers: Boost Level-5
Off-list 28 Last seen at 26 Final Fantasy XIII-2 Square Enix

If there is one constant in Japanese media, it is fanservice. And few series do the fanservice to the level of Queen's Blade. While there is no word as to if or when a third installment in the Spiral Chaos tactical game series is in the works, the wondrously endowed amazons return in the form of a browser game.







Well, Queen's Blade: The Conquest is definitely an online RPG of some sort, and the timers in some of those status screens would imply that there is a wait time for the player to recover from big damage. There's also a stamina stat, which probably means that there's a limit to how much one can play before being forced to wait for it to be restored. The exact nature of combat is probably more clicky than active, though the game's website makes a point of showing that the series' signature mechanic of knocking armor off foes is still in effect.

Storywise, it seems that the world of Queen's Blade has been caught up in a great war, and the player must lead his or her chosen warrior to gather seven mystic orbs and save the world somehow. Blatant cheesecake will be involved, of that we can be sure.

Just yesterday, Atlus announced that the fourth installment of the Etrian Odyssey series, title tentatively translated as Etrian Odyssey 4: Titan of Lore, will be coming to a 3DS near me on July 5th. Hopefully the news of an overseas release will follow soon, but until then, let's look at some pretty pictures.



The background art director for this game is Nizou Yamamoto, whose body of work has been almost entirely in the realm of animated films up to now. He has worked on several Ghibli films -- including Castle in the Sky, Grave of the Fireflies, and Lupin III: Castle of Cagliostro -- not to mention the animated adaptation of the Highlander series, for which he did the background work. Etrian 4 looks to be a pretty game.





Some things never change. The Etrian series is known for its dungeons, its combat, and its mapmaking, and the fourth game is no exception to that. While Etrian 2 had a snow theme and Etrian 3 had a south seas vibe, Etrian 4 goes with broad expanses of green, titanic trees, and all the sorts of woodland critters that one might expect. Traversing the wilderness might take a while, which is why Atlus has provided extra transportation.




Who doesn't like a ride in a hot air balloon, after all? Just pack a few airsickness potions just in case...


Finally, we have the first new job class of the game to show off. This is the Swordsman, a testament to how little the Japanese understand gender-sensitive nouns in English. The latest issue of Famitsu has also confirmed a few more. The heavy character type this time around is called Fortress class. Runemasters are in charge of elemental attacks. Nightseekers are specialists in exploiting weaknesses while Snipers take out FOEs from afar. Finally, the Dancer class provides support abilities.

Again, Etrian Odyssey 4 is scheduled to be in stores on July 5th, 2012.

Source: Famitsu Online

Once more we speak of Mugen Souls, with its multilayered world and day-of-the-week themes. Four days have been mentioned so far, and today we are talking about two more: ThursWorld and FriWorld.




Just from their respective heroes, it is easy to see that ThursWorld and FriWorld are two very different places. ThursWorld is a realm of lush vegetation and dangerous wilderness. In this jungle of giants, Chou-Chou & Co. will meet the twins, Welsh and Sharuru Cocott. Welsh is the older one with the goggles and Sharuru is the younger one with the cap. These sisters are in training, but not for the same job. Welsh is the apprentice hero of Thursworld, while Sharuru is actually supposed to be the next dark lord of the realm. It looks like she still needs some work. FriWorld, on the other hand, is a place of chrome and wire, so it's appropriate that its resident hero is a robot. Dees Vanguard was designed to be the perfect hero for her world, with a personality (and figure) carefully molded to fit that image.







In a move that should not really be that surprising, Mugen Souls also provides a good deal of cosmetic alteration for its character models. Clothes, hairstyles, accessories, and weapons all come in a variety of styles.





Mugen Souls is still slated for a late March release in Japan.

Source: Dengeki Online

It's time to visit indie games land again! Today's game comes courtesy of 4Gamer.net, albeit a few months late (the latest version became available back at the end of November). Grana Embrace is the latest project from Classic C Koukairou. Classic C has previously produced games based around concurrent action and active-time battle systems, but this particular series is a strategy title.








Grana Embrace Extra: Knight of Ounzroset is the second game in its series, following Grana Embrace Chapter 1: Children of Gran Verdit. Focused on the adventures of two young inhabitants in the fortress of Alodante as they search for a legendary weapon. Their foes were representatives of the Kingdom of Ounzroset (spellings are approximate). In Grana Embrace Extra, the hero is actually the princess of Ounzroset, Qurola (in the armor), along with her bodyguard Tserk (with the saber). Set a while before Gran Verdit, this game seems to focus on an assault against the bandits who have made Alodante their home base.

The game has six character classes — Knight, Archer, Magician, Warrior, Ranger, and Monk. Character stats can be manipulated according to the player's wishes, and a variety of skills are available. It's fairly standard SRPG fare, though overall it looks quite promising.







As I was looking up more information on this game's designer, I found that Classic C has actually gotten a game outside of Japan. Crescent Pale Mist, a side-scrolling action-shooter game, was released on PSN back in 2010.

Source: 4Gamer; Classic C HP

Well, it's about time I got to bed. What dreams may come this time around? We shall just have to see.

And that's the news from Hi-no-Kuni,

Your man in Japan,

Gaijin Monogatari

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