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JAPANDEMONIUM
 
yayoi no kokonoka
Fumin
Oyasuminasai

Last time I updated, I was having the weirdest dreams. For the past week, however, I have been having a different problem in the evening: insomnia. It's not from over-caffeination — in fact, I've been seriously cutting down on caffeine and sugars for a few weeks now. It's not that I don't get enough physical exertion during the day. I mean, I work with kindergartners! But for some reason I am having a hard time shutting down each night. The worst night was actually the first, last weekend. That night, I only went to sleep after I had walked to the convenience store and gotten breakfast, which was about 5 in the morning.

Thank goodness I only work mornings a few days a week, or else this situation might even be worse. As it is, I am sleeping in far too often. I need to get a better alarm clock while I'm at it...

Well, at least this column won't put me to zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.....

by Varie

As Pokémon Plus Nobunaga's Ambition's March 17 release is quickly creeping up, here is the last batch of background information on the guest Koei characters.


In the Samurai Warriors series, Shimazu Yoshihiro is portrayed as an older man who has a tense rivalry with Tachibana Ginchiyo. However the region which the Shimazu clan governed may prove to be more interesting than Yoshihiro himself. If you're ever going to a Sengoku period based war simulator such as Nobunaga's Ambition, starting as the Shimazu clan would be a wise choice. That is because the Shimazu Clan's region is situated on the southwestern tip of Kyushu and the surrounding Ryukyu islands. The southern part of Japan would be beneficial in a game such as Nobunaga's Ambition because it is the area where the Japanese trade with Europeans, also called Nanban trade, such as the Portuguese and the Dutch. In other words, players would acquire strong weapons such as the Tanegashima rifle, technology introduced by the Portuguese, before the other clans would.

Gaijin

The power of the Shimazu clan was even greater than it sounds here. Not only were they descended from the Minamoto clan, and thus distant cousins of the Emperor, but they had held their province longer than practically any other clan in the country. Not only did they rule their official feifdom of Satsuma, they also controlled Osumi and Hyuga Provinces, in effect ruling their own country-within-a-country. During the latter years of the Sengoku period they came very close to a full takeover of Kyushu. Even after Tokugawa brought the nation under his thumb, the Shimazu were so powerful that he had to give them major allowances like permission to unilaterally take over a foreign nation (Okinawa). The Shimazu were not a group to mess with.




Juvenile versions of three historical characters — Ishida Mitsunari, Fukushima Masanori, and Katou Kiyomasu — are featured in Pokémon Plus Nobunaga's Ambition. Their friendship is reflected in their characterizations in Samurai Warriors 3 and other games. Unfortunately, fate was against them. When Toyotomi Hideyoshi died, he left his son to take his place and chose a number of regents who acted on his behalf until the child was old enough to rule. However, after Hideyoshi's death the daimyo were split into two camps. There were those such as Ishida Mitsunari who stayed loyal to Hideyoshi, and those such as Tokugawa Ieyasu, Fukushima Masanori, and Katou Kiyomasu who chose to part ways. This conflict led to the battle of Sekigahara where the Tokugawa clan and their supporters were victorious. Unfortunately, Mitsunari wasn't very lucky. It was said that after the battle of Sekigahara Mitsunari was beheaded and had his head paraded around Japan.

There is a person who is noticeably absent in the Pokémon Plus Nobunaga's Ambition character list. He's an integral part in the Samurai Warriors series as well as in history.

Tokugawa Ieyasu's role in history is best explained by a poem taught to Japanese school children. The poem is about a Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu encountering a bird that could not sing. It suggests that Nobunaga would ask for the bird to be killed and that Hideyoshi would force the bird to sing. However it is said that Ieyasu would wait for the bird to sing. Nobunaga was known for his brutality when it came to those who opposed his goal unifying Japan. As for Hideyoshi, through his leadership he unified Japan despite being a commoner. Ieyasu, however, patiently waited until after Hideyoshi's death before he took his turn to rule Japan.

Ieyasu didn't simply just wait for Hideyoshi's death. He grew up waiting as he was taken by the Oda Clan at a young age and later sent to the Imagawa Clan. Although it may seem like hostage taking by today's standards, taking children from vassals happen to be common practice by daimyo as it was done to keep their vassals in line.

Gaijin

To be fair, this happened a lot in medieval Europe as well, which is why the word "hostage" derives from the same roots as "host," "hotel," and "hospitality."

After the events of Sekigahara, Ieyasu would become the shogun. This would lead to the end of the Sengoku period as Ieyasu would establish the Tokugawa bakufu, the government of the shogun, which brought an end to all the wars. So, where is Tokugawa Ieyasu?

Gaijin

My guess? Getting ready to ride in on Reshiram.

I'd like to thank Varie once again for taking the time to write all this for us. I'll definitely be picking this game up next weekend, as well as the newest special pokémon from the McDS promotion.



It seems like Oda Nobunaga has more tricks up his sleeve than we originally thought...

2/20 ~ 2/26 2/13 ~ 2/19 Up / Down Title Publisher Platform
1 * New Arrival! Harvest Moon: Land of Origin Marvelous AQL
2 * New Arrival! Tales of the Heroes - Twin Brave Bandai-Namco
6 * New Arrival! Nendoroid Generations Bandai-Namco
7 5 Last seen at 3 Monster Hunter 3G Capcom
16 1 New Arrival! Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Square Enix
20 8 Last seen at 1 Suikoden: The Centennial Tapestry Konami
24 18 Last seen at 15 Monster Hunter Portable 3rd (PSP The Best) Capcom
25 17 Last seen at 12 Inazuma Eleven Go Shine/Dark Level-5
Off-list 20 Last seen at 10 Ragnarok Odyssey Gung Ho Entertainment
Off-list 29 Last seen at 13 Dragon Age 2 Spike

Elminage is a series that knows its roots. Principally, that means that it makes the most of the first-person dungeon crawling experience exemplified by the Wizardry series. The latest Elminage title, The Dark Rite of Ulm Zakir, shows that the developers also recognize another great influence upon the imagery of the genre: H. P. Lovecraft.


Ulm Zakir is set in the distant kingdom of Ishmag, on the eastern continent. It's a peaceful land, ruled by the wise King Jardin. However, strange rumors have surfaced about the Cave of Tsun Kurn, located some distance away from the city. Monsters are increasing in numbers, but details are few as those lucky enough to escape are too terrified to speak. Many have left to investigate, only never to return. Now the king has sent you, the player, to solve the mystery or die trying. Probably the latter.





While the game presents the player with a variety of character models, there are more options available. Like at least one of its predecessors, Ulm Zakir allows the player to upload images to use as character portraits. The files need to be BMP or PNG format, 48x48 in size, and set to the 256 color palette. For full-size images during battle, the size limit is upped to 272x272. Also, the player can upload WAV or MP3 files to set as background music.





Elminage Gothic: Dark Rite of Ulm Zakir will be in stores May 24th.

Source: Famitsu Online

Haus ten Bosch is sort of an odd idea for a vacation spot. Located at the northern end of Nagasaki Prefecture, it is a little piece of Dutch architecture in the middle of nowhere. It is named after one of the royal residences of the Dutch royal family, and for the most part it looks like an authentic fake. Many of its attractions are actually museums, often with rotating exhibitions. March 17th will see the opening of another such exhibition, one that could only have happened in Japan.





From March 17th to May 8th, the Dragon Quest 25th Anniversary Exhibition will take up space in one of the park's many halls. For the most part it will be the same material that was shown in Roppongi last year. Entry costs 500 yen, which also gets one a nice Emblem of Heroes badge pin. At the same time, children who visit the exhibit may sign up for the Level One or Level Five Adventure Rally (300 yen for either, 500 yen for both). In the Level One Adventure, kids have to look for five different varieties of slimes that have been hidden around the park. The Level Five Adventure is a scavenger hunt based around riddles. Kids have to work through the clues to find the five bits of legendary equipment in the park.




And of course a few more collectible trinkets will be available in the gift store. Not only that, but Luida has set up a branch of her famous bar and kitchen in Huis ten Bosch, with plenty of tasty DQ delicacies on the menu.

Source: 4Gamer

RPG protagonists have come in all shapes and forms. Some were born heroes, some had to work their way up the hard way. Some were exiled from their homes, others welcomed. For the most part, one defining trait of the RPG hero has been determination. Well, until now at least.

In Ore ni Hatarake'te Iwaretemo (You're telling me I have to work!?), the protagonist has something of a dilemma. He's a shut-in, a technical adult who spends his life in his parents' house, rarely leaving his room, and just leeching off them in general. And then they died in some contrived manner. Someone has to pay the rent, even in fantasy worlds like this one, which proves to be rather difficult for a young man who won't even leave his house. Instead, he somehow sets himself up as a job-hunter for wandering adventure types. Still working out of his parents' home, he arranges and organizes quests, then sends his hired swords to do the dirty work.

I'm not sure how it will all turn out, but it looks a bit like this.







The girl pictured above is Lilium, the player's landlady. She must have a lot of patience to put up with a tenant like this...

The rest of the cast all have their own job classes and personalities, so this doesn't seem to be one of those "create your own party member" dungeon exploration games. There are the usual types like Swordsman, Thief, and Archmage, but also things like Servant and Samurai. How it all works out in the end remains to be seen.










Ore ni Hatarake'te Iwaretemo is due out on the PSP on April 8th. It's a digital-only release, and will cost 1000 yen.

Source: Famitsu Online

Imageepoch is up to its old tricks again. Coming probably this summer to a PSP near me, the name of the game is Sol Trigger. Let's meet the protagonists.




These three are the titular Sol Triggers. In this world, "sol" is a form of life essence that can be controled and directed as a weapon. Farrel (left), Ema (center), and Walter (right) all have a beef against the Shinki Kyokai (The Church of the Divine Mechanism). For Farrel and Ema, it's pretty straightforward -- the Church apparently blasted much of their homeland out of existence. For Walter it's not so clear -- the article only states that he has lost friends to the Church and leaves it at that. While he is probably another one of the People of Light (going to go out on a limb here and call them Lumians), the only natural sol-wielders, the Church has apparently found a means of extracting sol from Lumians for use as a power source for their machina weapons. This is undoubtedly a messy process.

Sol and its various uses are important throughout the game. In the screenshots given, it is used to disable locks, power elevators, and of course kick machina butt.
















Two major players have been touted on the design team. Kazushige Nojima is a long-time veteran of game scenario design whose earliest work on RPGs includes the first Glory of Hercules games. He was the director for Bahamut Lagoon and did a lot of scenario and event planning for almost every major Square Enix RPG since the late 90s (with the exception of Final Fantasy IX). Character designs are by Shuuji Sogabe, who has done mostly manga work (including the manga adaptation of Persona 4). His only roleplaying game credits so far have been for the character designs in Gods Eater, released in the US last year.

As mentioned before, Sol Trigger does not have a release date more definite than a vague Summer 2012. We'll be keeping an eye out, though.

Source: Famitsu Online
Title Publisher Release Date Platform
World War Moe Bandai-ban ++ SystemSoft Alpha 3.8.12
Aselia the Eternal - Fulfillment of the Earth Cyberfront 3.8.12
Girls' RPG Cinderella Life Level-5 3.8.12
Mass Effect 3 Electronic Arts 3.15.12
Legasista Nippon Ichi 3.15.12
Shining Blade Sega 3.15.12
Puella Magi Madoka Magica Portable Bandai-Namco 3.15.12
Pokémon + Nobunaga's Ambition Nintendo 3.17.12
Mugen Souls Compile Heart 3.22.12
Fallout: New Vegas Ultimate Edition Bethesda 3.22.12
Fallout: New Vegas (PS3 The Best / Special XBox 360 re-release) Bethesda 3.22.12
Yakuza New Story: Black Panther 2 Sega 3.22.12
New Little King's Story Konami 3.29.12
Atelier Elkrone Otomate (Idea Factory) 3.29.12
Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance Square Enix 3.29.12
Source: Dengeki Online
A Cordial Blackberry Mail

Since you brought up the whole thing about dreams, I recall that there are a lot of popular/traditional customs and interpretation of dreams in Japan, like if you dream about certain items on New Year's eve, then you will have good luck (I do not recall the items anymore). Can you list out a few and shed some light as to why those dreams might be lucky or unlucky?

Xocolatl

Sent from my BlackBerry

Gaijin

Honestly, you're asking the wrong guy here. My little brother's the one who had fun with dream interpretation. I can tell you that fortune-telling by dream interpretation is as popular a method as any in this country (and this is a country that really loves its fortunetelling). There is at least one cell phone app for it (that I could find in less than 10 seconds of searching), and on its main web address there is also an index of common dreams. A quick perusal shows that a lot of it is no different from what can be found in any Western book on the subject.

Specifically searching for dreams of New Year's significance, I came across the expression Ichi-fuji, ni-taka, san-nasubi (First Mt. Fuji, second a hawk, third an eggplant), which is a list of auspicious dreams. The first dream of the new year has special significance, and certainly the first two on that list sound good. I have no idea what's so great about eggplant though. I can't stand the things.

Thanks for writing in!

And now to sleep, perchance to dream...

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

Your man in Japan,

Gaijin Monogatari

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