The Japanese like to hold onto mementoes of the past, no matter how unwieldy they might be. Two weeks back, I was out stuffing flyers in people's mailboxes when I saw a giant wheel in front of one man's house. It was an entire wheel off an R-51 model steam locomotive, the last of which had been decommissioned in the early 70s. This multi-ton piece of scrap metal was housed in a clear plastic shelter and kept in excellent condition by its owner, the head of the Kumamoto Train Appreciation Club.
That's not the only random thing to be found in the neighborhoods around the community center where I have my classroom. One interesting bit of the past is actually located on the first floor.
This is a fire engine, circa Showa 10 (1935). It was used by the volunteer fire department of Tamukae-machi, and has the area's name kanji written right-to-left across the front. It wasn't until the 50s that left-to-right became the standard for printed Japanese, so the right-to-left printing is often used to hang a scene in historical settings for dramas or manga.
I have no idea why it's directly below my class space, but it makes for an interesting conversation starter. All my kindergartners and elementary schoolers find it fascinating because it's so old. Of course, these are same kids who have trouble identifying my DS for what it is, because it's such an old model to them. Six years can really feel like an eternity when you hang out with the little ones, can't it?
Last week we saw a bit of the new cosmetic content being added to the Vita release of Atelier Totori - The Adventurer of Arland. It turns out that there's a lot more in the costume box than just what we've seen so far. Of course, this being Totori, everything has to be cute.
You'll get no arguments from me on this one. I like cute girls with glasses. These spectacles, along with other accessories, can be made from recipes gained by beating bosses and possibly other methods. Various costume bits can be mixed and matched, like this white apron and hair accessory combination.
Some, however, will only be available by DLC codes for those who get their copies early, like these bathing suits.
But enough with the fashion show. Last week we also mentioned the Alt Galaxen, a new area with new challenges. This week, we see another one of its nasty denizens, the Iron Giant.
Finally, we have some bigger news. For the PS3 release of Totori, several characters were recruitable via DLC, namely Cordelia, Iksel, and Ceci. This DLC is going to be included within the main body of the story in the Vita release.
Atelier Totori will be arriving on the Vita November 29th.
While at TGS, I asked a few people about details for Kami-sama to Unmei Kakumei Paradox, the newest announced title from NIS. Unfortunately, I asked all the people who were not actually working on the project, and so had little to say except that it looked kind of like a tactical game. That's sort of true, as the following screenshots show, but it looks rather more like the gameplay to Z.H.P. - Unlosing Ranger vs. Darkdeath Evilman. As our reviewer seemed to love that title, I can only guess that this is a good thing.
As mentioned previously, the hero of Kami-Para used to be a normal high school boy until he won big time at a local lottery and was named the God of Choices, which gave him the power to help decide (or change) the fates of people he meets. This apparently involves diving into metaphysical dungeons representing the wyrd of the person he is trying to help. The promotional video shows the gameplay in full motion, starting around the 1:16 mark.
Kami-sama to Unmei Kakumei Paradox was originally scheduled for a late December release, but that was recently revised to January 24th instead. There's no word yet of a foreign release, but it is still considered highly likely.
I don't know where the Japanese picked up the symbology of the one-winged angel, but I've seen it in many places besides a certain final boss battle. This next game is just one more example.
Shining Ark is the latest in Sega's "new" Shining series that began with Shining Tears on the PS2 and has continued on the PSP with Shining Wind, Wisdom, Blade, and Hearts. It is not to be confused with Shining the Holy Ark for Sega Genesis, however.
The story of Shining Ark focuses on Panis, a young girl who washes ashore upon the isle of Arcadia. She is a beautiful innocent with an astounding singing voice and, most notably, a single wing growing from her back. Discovered by Freid, leader of the island's defense force, she is a harbinger for the changes that are soon to come to this remote island.
Along with Vanis and Freid are two more major characters. Shannon the elven baker/archer and Zinga the lupine warrior are old friends of Freid, and often treat him like a little brother. Zinga is also a member of the defense force, while Shannon helps out when she's needed.
The four of them are going to have to work together to defend the village, however, because there's also this guy:
This is the Nephilim, a giant statue-like monster that attacked Azel Village under the light of a red moon. Its goals and origin are unknown, but the damage it causes is immense. While the Famitsu article stops there, it's pretty obvious where this plot is going. We shall just have to wait for further updates to see if any surprises are in store.