Brrr! This week has been positively frigid here in Hi no Kuni -- or as the locals say, magosamui. Temperatures dipped from the mid-60s all the way down to the freezing point on Monday and held steady down there for several days. We even had flurries on Wednesday, much to the delight of kindergartners throughout the city. All I can think, though, is that I have to walk home every evening, and it would be nice if I knew what sort of coat or sweater I'd need before packing them all up for the spring.
Let's hope that's the last of that for the season. Now onto the column!
For all you fanciers of the female form, be you artists, enthusiasts, or merely perverts, here is an event for you.
Next weekend in Tokyo Bandai-Namco is hosting the first Queen's Blade fan convention. Almost all aspects of the game are to be covered, including the table RPGs, the PSP title, the anime, and various goods, but obviously excluding the cleavage. No one wants that covered up.
Unfortunately, it's limited capacity and the registration deadline was this past Wednesday. Still, there should be some interesting things to come out of it, for those who are interested.
In the twilit world of Amberground, the people huddle in the shelter of an artificial sun while monstrous insects lurk in the shadows. The elite courier group known as the tegamibachi, or Letter Bees, are given the dangerous task of maintaining connections between communities, aided by mysterious fossils called spirit ambers.
I'm not sure how much more I can or should say about the background for Tegamibachi: To the One Who Turns my Heart, a new licensed RPG for the PSP. The manga's English wiki page is as enthusiastic as it is poorly written, and I've never read a single volume of it, so I don't have much context to work with.
What I do have are all the known available screenshots for this title. I even managed to find two that were not from cutscenes, which puts RPGamer ahead of several Japanese gaming news sites and blogs in terms of coverage.
Look around you, fellow gamers, and rejoice in the pleasures to be found in this modern age. Video games, junk food, television, internet, working toilets -- all these things we take for granted. In the world of Metal Max 3, these are but fond memories of a not-so-distant past, before the Great Destruction.
Not everyone has nice memories of the World Before, though. Our protagonist, for instance, can't remember a thing that occurred prior to waking up on Dr. Mince's surgery table. The Good Doctor was kind enough to put him back together again after someone or something went through so much trouble taking him apart.
Now the question is, can the hero survive in this brave new world and discover who did it unto him before they have a chance to make it more permanent? And can he survive rogue robots, murderous mutants, and his fellow humans along the way?
The makers of Legendary Hero's Legend - Legendary Saga had one last thing to share before the game's release last month -- special, optional material. Like a good many games these days, the Redundant Game of Epic Redundancy boasts an optional dungeon for those who have beaten the main game. Called the Dimensional Pathway, its 50 levels go a long way towards padding the game's content.
Hey, You're Giving Away the Plot!
That title may not seem too funny -- until you realize it's said during a Charlie's Angels ripoff called Angels Revenge as one of the title women is climbing a ladder and she's being photographed from below with special emphasis on her posterior.
I think I've seen that movie in the rental stores over here. Nice to know it's exactly as advertised...
Toyota sure has been having some problems lately. Have these mechanical difficulties made it into the Japanese media at all, or does the company try to keep that stuff out of the home market?
Nope, it's pretty much been center stage in the evening news for a while now. The meltdown of a pillar of national industry is pretty hard to ignore.
How widespread were the tsunami alarms from the Chile earthquake?
Every bit of coastline except for Niigata (on the back side of Honshu) had an alert up, though the highest threat level was for Aomori and Miyagi Prefectures on the north end of Honshu near Hokkaido. Even Kumamoto City had a tsunami warning in effect, and it'd be difficult to get one to reach all the way in here.
It mostly turned out to be a dud, with some areas getting hit and most not. Still, the last time there was a super-quake in Chile, about 50 years ago, over a hundred people died in Japan from the waves. The evacuations were probably a good idea this time too.
How long would you say Yukio Hatoyama has left in his job?
Hard to say. Just judging from the current amount of coverage, he's doing better than Aso or Fukuda did, but he's nowhere near as popular as Koizumi was. Maybe another year?
I understand Japanese attitudes towards drugs are a little less tolerant than some other parts of the world, except for tobacco and alcohol. Care to elaborate on this for all the uninformed?
Well, let's start with the fact that the Japanese practically invented methamphetamines, and the abuse of that drug family was pretty rampant until the government cracked down on everything ephedra-related in the '70s. Nowadays, it's technically illegal to bring cough syrups like Benadryl into this country. That doesn't mean that lots of foreigners don't do it anyway, because the customs officials often don't check luggage for small bottles. Possession of harder drugs is of course a fast way to prison time. Magic mushrooms, on the other hand, weren't even criminalized until 2003, I think.
But then there's the demon rum. Yes, it's expected of Japanese salarymen that they'll go out and get hammered with their coworkers every weekend, but heaven help them if they even think about driving afterwards. There is a legal limit of zero alcohol for driving in this country, because if the police catch you on a driving infraction and you set off the breathalyzer by even a fraction, you're looking at massive penalties.
This is serious business. Japan has two prisons designated just for major drunk-driving offenders. The TV ads against drunk driving in Japan flat-out tell you that you're going to prison for being a dirty scumbag if you get behind the wheel after just one beer. So yeah, um... don't do it, okay?
Most of the big cultural events in recent years seem to have worldwide appeal (Harry Potter, Twilight, Star Wars, Star Trek -- just for starters). I'm curious if you've ever seen any that just don't seem to click in Japan, for whatever reason.
Iron Man comes to mind. That movie was already out on video in the West for months before it came to Japanese theaters. In comparison, it was showing in Korean about a month after the US release. I can't recall the actual reasons, except that someone thought that it wouldn't hold much appeal to a Japanese audience not familiar with the character.
In your completely objective and not biased at all view, what is the single best RPG that never left Japan?
Completely biased and not objective at all? Romancing SaGa 2. Oops, you meant the other way around? Same answer.
Thanks for writing in, Jumes!
I have only one more thing to say. I have weasels in my ceiling. That is all.
Oops, I changed my mind about that. I also beat Final Fantasy XIII today. Now, that is all.
And that's the news from Hi-no-Kuni,
Your man in Japan,